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Sermon #3341

Church and The State (5)

A Sermon on Romans 13:1-7


Romans 13:1-7 ESV KJV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to …

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Sermon Description

How do the church and ruling government interact? Are they co-equals working together for the greater good? Do they share the same end goal? In this sermon on Romans 13:1–7 titled “Church and the State (5),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones first examines the historical context of church and government traditions that attempt to work together. Many church leaders have fallen under the tyranny of traditionalism in various ways. One such way is the acceptance of the Roman Catholic position of the church and state relationship as one of mutual exchange, power, and respect. Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges evaluating this relationship in light of Scripture, not in light of tradition. Scripture, according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, shows a negative position regarding the power and authority of the state, not a partnership. Biblical evidence clearly points to an understanding of two distinct kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of humanity. These two kingdoms are eternally different and the Christian must be wary of trying to join the two, especially when it involves the power of leaders. Heed Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s warning to take seriously Jesus’s words that His return will establish a reign and rule that is entirely different from worldly rule.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The church and state are distinct according to the New Testament. There is no warrant for either controlling the other.
  2. It is dangerous to put new wine into old wineskins by failing to recognize the uniqueness of Israel's position where state and church consisted of the same people.
  3. What happened under Constantine was a departure from New Testament teaching and early church practice.
  4. The Roman Catholic Church perpetuated Constantine's error and the Protestant reformers also perpetuated this error by not examining it.
  5. Traditionalism is the danger of exalting a teaching into an absolute and unchanging legalism. It paralyzes thinking.
  6. The Pharisees are an example of traditionalism obscuring the word of God with human traditions.
  7. Traditionalism leads to a rigid, unchanging system and a refusal to consider other perspectives out of fear. It turns men into popes and documents into infallible authorities.
  8. We must examine all traditions in light of Scripture and be willing to change based on what we find.
  9. The function of the state is a crucial question. Is its role entirely negative or does it have a positive role based on common grace and Christ's lordship?
  10. It is wrong to speak of "Christianizing" society. Only Christians can live Christian lives. Unregenerate men cannot do so.
  11. It is wrong to speak of Christ's kingdom coming gradually. Scripture teaches it will come suddenly. The world will be in a terrible state, not a gradually improving one.
  12. History shows a periodic rise and fall in morality, not gradual improvement. Revivals bring temporary benefits but not permanent change. Society always degenerates again.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.