Buddies, Beer, and Bibles

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Trending on social media the last few days is the controversy raised by a campaign and a conversation. This was a conversation that involved Buddies, Beer, and Bibles. The Bible Society of Australia is celebrating their 200th Anniversary and in commemoration of this occasion, Coopers Brewery will produce a special batch of limited edition light beer cans. A part of this celebration from the Bible Society’s end is the launch of a campaign called “Keeping it Light”. This was to be a series of “light discussions on the heaviest topics. Starting with the topic of same-sex marriage”. Continue reading Buddies, Beer, and Bibles

A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

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Our Father, the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign of all things. Blessed be Your Name forever and ever, to You belong wisdom and might. You alone are the Lord, the great, the mighty, and awesome God. By Your power You change times and seasons; and remove kings and set up kings. You are the One who gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. I ask that You forgive us for our sins. Our nation has ignored Your ways and has chased after corrupt things. As a nation we have rebelled against You and chosen evil rather than good. According to Your great loving kindness and mercy, I pray for Your forgiveness. Continue reading A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

The Earth is the Lord’s – Part 1

World

Have you noticed that the world is a big place? I live in Melbourne, Australia. If I want to travel north to Sydney by car, it will take me at least 9 hours (and that is without pit stops). That is only one example that reveals the size of the Australian continent. Consider the vast range of terrain and resources in the North and South American continents. Travel across the oceans and then discover the huge space of the African, Asian, and European continents. Of course, there is also the earth’s southernmost continent Antarctica. The world is a big place right?

After taking time to allow this to sink in, consider the words spoken by King David, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,the world and those who dwell therein” (). This is an amazing statement. Why is the earth the Lord’s and what are the implications? I will answer those two questions in two posts. For now, let us briefly consider the first.

Why is the Earth the Lord’s?

Firstly, He is the Source of all things. All things exist because He is the Creator.  The opening words of the Scriptures say, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (). The earth is the Lord’s because He made it.

Secondly, He is the Sustainer of all things. All things work and function because He makes them work. The function and operation of the world is complex. Just consider the growth of plants and trees. All these things work and are sustained by God. We read, “And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You” (b). The earth is the Lord’s because He sustains it.

Thirdly, God is the Sovereign of all things. The psalmist proclaimed, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (). He is the all-powerful ruler of the universe. As the Sovereign over creation, this means He looks after the stability of the physical universe (), the circumstances of nations within the world () and the length of human life (). He is the ruler over all things.

This is why David rightly declared, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof“. What does this mean for us? And what does this require of us? These questions will be answered in our next post. For now, take time to acknowledge that this world belongs to the Lord God Almighty. In the words of the hymn writer,

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet“.

24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

89 Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,

Since his days are determined,
and the number of his months is with you,
and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

The Christian and Government

Parliament

What is a Christian’s responsibility to their governing authorities? In we will observe three realities regarding the Christian and the Government. When it comes to this relationship, the Christian has an obligation to display the behaviour of one who is being transformed by the renewing of their mind ().

This passage begins with a clear-cut command, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (13:1a). There is no qualification regarding the political persuasion, equity or even competence attached to this command. At the time of writing this, Paul’s governing authority was the Roman Empire. It is possible for a Christian to disobey when it comes to matters that go against the Word of God (cf. ). However, on such occasions this is to be done in such a manner that the attitude of submission is still evident (cf. 13:7). Let us now consider the three realities regarding the Christian and the Government.

The Source of the Government’s Authority (13:1b-2)
Why should we submit to the government? Because governing authorities are placed in the position of authority by God (13:1b-2). The fact that God has ordained and instituted governing authorities doesn’t mean that every authority is morally good or economically sensible. In His sovereign plan there will be varying reasons for their appointment – whether it be blessing or judgment. Regardless of the authority, the duty of the citizen remains the same. 

The Sphere of the Government’s Authority (13:3-4)
How far does the government’s authority extend and what is their duty granted by God? God has appointed government to reward good and restrain evil. The reward is seen in protection and the promotion of peace, whereas the restraining of evil is seen in the application of just punishment.

The Submission of the Government’s Subjects (13:5-7)
As citizen’s that are commanded by God, it is our duty to subject ourselves to the authorities. This is displayed by our attitude and actions. Paul provides the specific example of willingly paying taxes (13:6). Christian’s may not agree with the amount required in taxation nor may they agree with the government’s use of taxes. Nonetheless, the Christian is to “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (13:7).

Government is an institution ordained by God and for this reason the Christian is to willingly submit. Such conduct is a reflection of an individual that is not conforming to this world but being transformed by the Word of God.

Here are some questions to carefully consider:

  1. Why should a Christian willingly obey the government? When should a Christian disobey the government? See ; ;
  1. If an occasion arises in which a Christian out of necessity must disobey the government (provide some examples), in what manner should this be done?
  1. What are some benefits of governing authorities?
  1. How can we pray effectively for our government? See also

13:1 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 good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Carols at Hills

Carol's Flyer HBC

On 22 December at 6:00 pm will be the Hills Bible Church carols service (Carols at Hills). There will be congregational carols, items in song, Scripture readings, a message from God’s Word and supper after the service.

You are welcome to join us Sunday evening.

A Prayer for Australia Before our Federal Election

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Our Father, the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign of all things. Blessed be Your Name forever and ever, to You belong wisdom and might. You alone are the Lord, the great, the mighty, and awesome God. By Your power You change times and seasons; and remove kings and set up kings. You are the One who gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. Continue reading A Prayer for Australia Before our Federal Election

A Reply to Mr. Rudd’s Unbiblical Answer

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Monday evening on Q&A, a Christian pastor asked a few questions concerning the Prime Minister’s changed view on homosexuality and asked “why don’t you believe the words of Jesus in the Bible?” Mr. Rudd (who identifies himself as “a devout Christian”) gave his reply, “Well, mate, if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition.” He went on to state that homosexuality is a normal condition. An examination of his eisegesis can be considered another time. After listening to Albert Mohler’s Briefing on 3rd September, I thought I would share with you some of the things he had to say (emphasis in the quotation is mine): Continue reading A Reply to Mr. Rudd’s Unbiblical Answer

The Lord is King

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Things around us can change quickly. Various changes can unsettle people and cause unrest, fear, disillusionment or even disappointment in the behaviour of others.

In Australia there has been a lot going on the political scene concerning the leadership of our nation. It is important that even at times like this – regardless of what happens on the political front – we are to remember that the LORD is King. Nothing can alter, change or prevent that from happening. Many years ago, king David declared, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers” (). Continue reading The Lord is King

24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.