God Is Still on The Throne Pt 3: Ministers of God

God Is Still on The Throne Pt 3: Ministers of God

God is Still On The Throne Pt 3

The Ministers of God

Pr Edi Giudetti

The Minister for Good

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

God has laid out before us in this passage that which continues, expands and explains what began the chapter in verse one, simply: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers”.

Every soul, every person to whom he addresses this letter, every Christian.

There are none exempt from the command and there are none occasion short of a direct disobedience to Gods other orders, in which this command is to be neglected. And now Paul goes on after making it clear to us in verse 2 that “there is no power but of God and the powers that be are ordained of God”, that it is God who is in control and has placed these governors in power, now without any contradiction, he begins verse 4 stating “For he is the minister of God to thee for good”.

I want to remind you first and foremost that we are dealing with the word of God here. This is not some “self help guide” to which you have the luxury to either accept it or to deny it. This is not some optional, arbitrary notion that gives you the right to reject. Paul is emphatic on this and is without any contradiction in the entire passage, nor is this anything but affirmed elsewhere in scripture;

there is no power but of God and the powers that be are ordained of God (v2)

For he is the minister of God to thee for good (v4)

The ministry of “the powers that be” that rule and govern us, as much as in this day as well as in the days of the tyrannical rulers to which Paul was in subjection, have the same calling upon their lives and the same purpose to which they were “ordained of God”.  Whether they liked it or not, whether they knew it or not, their work was partially as “ministers of God to thee for good”.

How often it is that we think ministers are given to us for an evil work when God has made it abundantly clear in the word of God that the thoughts he has toward us are, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you and expected end” (Jer 29:11).  Jesus spoke of God having more care for us than of the birds of the air that he feeds. That he has himself numbered the very hairs of our head, that not even a sparrow shall fall to the earth without his knowing it, and he says with all sincerity; 

Fear not ye therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt 10:31)

But somehow WE THINK the rulers that govern our day-to-day lives, God seems to have placed to work an evil work, for an EVIL END against us..??? We ignore verse 3 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil” and claim to suit ourselves thinking the opposite must be true rather than believe God at his word. Somehow we think that our INTERPRETATION OF present, personal experiences are justifiable to deny the truth of Gods words in this passage, we come up with a multiplicity of “yeh but’s” and so we justify responding against our rulers the same way those to whom the rulers are ORDAINED TO BE A TERROR!

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil

Our confessed hatred of them betrays to us that we do not think Gods word in this passage is fully true. Each time we see their faces on the TV or hear their voices, we are sickened and filled with loathing, rather than saddened and filled with longing.

Yes, longing for the Lords coming, but more so, longing for their salvation, for the time is drawing near.

You see, it is generally a lack of patience and understanding how God works that believes the difficulties we temporarily endure are to work an evil end.  I know we know this cannot be true, and I also am fully aware that many Christians have sorrowed of late for many diverse experiences ordained by “the powers that be”, but don’t make the mistake of believing the journey is the judge of the destination. The destination is good, the end for which God has ordained these are to work for our good, “for rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil” and he is the minister of God to thee for good (v4)

We know this is true because we don’t always interpret negatives in life as ultimately evil. We are all well aware that the greatest enjoyments we can obtain, come at the end of a journey of some trial. 

  • Going from a child to an youth includes growing pains, 
    • going from poverty to wealth includes work and toil, 
    • the presentation of a wonderful meal has been preceded by much effort and work not all of which was enjoyable. 
    • Getting lean and fit takes sacrifice and sweat
    • The bitter goes before the sweet. This is LIFE generally.

This reality of general life seems to be BASIC TRAINING for when ministers are given us by the Lord as a present trial to our manner of living and life. Perhaps this is where there is an opportunity to show how the Lord works through the bad to bring about the good.

  • Is it a trial of faith?
  • Is the Lord doing a work to draw you nearer?
  • Is the Lord asking, 
    • “will you trust me?”
    • “Will you depend upon me?”
    • “Will you have your rest in me?”
    • “Will all your desires and burdens be laid upon me that I might show you my glory?”

 We will consider this more as we go on.

 God is still on the throne, and the powers that be are indeed ministers of God unto thee for good. And if all it does is draw you near in dependence on the Lord, then it is in very deed… Good!

The Minister for Wrath

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

For as much as our rulers are ministers to us for our good, we are also warned here by Paul that we are not OUTSIDE any risk of evil coming justly upon us when we do evil. Christians who do the wrong thing in this world are not FREE OF PUNISHMENTS IN THIS WORLD. If you do evil, then expect to be dealt with for your evil, “for he beareth not the sword in vain”. If you are going to disobey government, be sure to understand that you are also subject to government to whatever end.

I have sadly watched too many Christians on YouTube vent anger and abuse at the police because they disagreed with how they were handling matters. I have seen “Christians” proclaim tremendous arrogance against law enforcement that looks NO DIFFERENT to how the LOST present themselves and it makes me wonder where our faith is at.

But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Paul writes here excluding no one, but specifically INCLUDING Christians. Governments do not bear the sword in vain, they have been given authority and they will employ it where they see fit, but the Lord somehow brings it about for good to them who do good, yet retains evil to them that do evil.

The Old Testament is filled with examples of this very thing. Where God has called the nation to obey the Lord and the nation turned from the Lord, he them sent evil upon those who denied the Lord but blessed those who trusted in him, we had witnessed this in the last message on the subject. In the wilderness wanderings he sent plagues and pestilence, even fiery serpents. From the garden, through to the time of the Exodus and well beyond the taking away of the nation to Babylon, God separated the good from among the just and he did so by employing rulers to execute his righteousness.

We are this day living in a world where wickedness and atheism has not seen such numbers since the time of the flood.  It makes sense of Jesus statement that “as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt 24:37). Should we not therefore expect to see wicked rulers govern those who hate God? : for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Be careful then beloved. Be careful to trust the Lord in this matter. Don’t be caught up with the atheism of those who hate God, believe him for good to you and pray for those who have no hope.

Example 1: Daniel was set as the Prime Minister of Babylon because he had a fear of the Lord and trusted him rather than the politics of the land. God then set him and his three friends as governors over all the provinces of that world empire. But back in Jerusalem there were leaders refusing to be put under the yoke of the King, and the Lord chased them down to deal with them by the hand of that same King Daniel faithfully served.

Example 2: In Persia, Mordecai, an Old man, a Jew, the cousin of Esther, who was himself taken captive out of Jerusalem as a child, saved the life of the one who kept him captive,  Ahasuerus, the King of Persia. Later he was placed second in charge of the empire. But back in Jerusalem, rebellious Jews where attending to the very things that had them banished from the land to begin with in taking to themselves wives of the nations (See Ezra 9).

But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

God remains on the throne of the world irrespective of what people may think, he has charged the rulers of the world to do his will, he puts them into power and when it suits his purpose, others he pulls down and replaces. BUT, through them all he EXECUTES WRATH UPON HIM THAT DOETH EVIL. Peter wrote;

13  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (1 Pet 2:13-14)

We have no ability to judge the MANNER of a matter, nor do we always have the wisdom to understand the METHOD. But if we believe God at his word, we can always know the MOTIVE. To the Good, this minister of God, is “the minister of God to thee for good”. To the Evil, this “Minister of God” executes evil.

The Minister for Conscience

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

The 1980’s was a time in China when the Gospel was reaching fever pitch particularly in the north. Mao’s Cultural revolution did not quench the fire of the Gospel, but instead precipitated the flame. 

By the 1980’s Chinese Christian students started becoming increasingly bold for the Gospel and took seriously Jesus proclamation to “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that my house may be filled” (Lk 14:23), Chen Cao was one of those young men. He and some friends initiated witness in the streets approaching strangers with the blunt proclamation of the Gospel, teaching that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23)

“When the local police warned them to stop, they ignored the warning. So the policemen tried to silence them by beating them with long lashing sticks. Enduring the beatings, the men began gathering crowds who looked on, amazed. And the young men began to sing;

Upon the Cross my Savior died

The Son of God there crucified.

Chen Chao, sang loudest of all: 

O might I share and understand

The cruel hurt that pierced His hands!

The police ordered the men to get up and go to their homes. “It was truly the joy of the Lord in my heart!” Chen Chao later told his wife. “To think of it—insignificant and unknown Chen Chao suffering for our Savior’s glory! We must go back again!” And within the week, the men did.

A larger contingent of police came this time, each wielding a menacing cane, each moving quickly to curtail the illegal witness. Once again, joyfully as before, the men sang of sharing Christ’s suffering. Chen Chao sang the loudest again. The police sergeant, who led the attack, vented his rage against Chen Chao specifically. He not only struck the zealous man to the ground but also beat him as he lay writhing. “God bless you, officer!” Chen Chao called out. “God bless you and save your lost soul!”

The Bible speaks of us being made subject to wrath especially when we have done no wrong. There are not many who take chastisement patiently, even among them who havedone wrong. 

Chen Chao demonstrated the true heart of the Christian who knows his life is in the Lords hands and trusts him by faith. 

He honoured the Lords command to be subject unto the higher powers, he doesn’t cry out for tentative rights like the lost do, he knows he has a freedom greater than any temporary one here and he obeys the Lord thinking himself blessed to be found worthy to suffer for Christ sake.

The third time the young students went out to witness in the streets the Police were again notified by some of those who were being witnessed to.  The Sergent that struck Chen Chao took a thick rod with him instead of a lashing stick or cane. When he arrived on the scene he went straight for Chen Chao and struck him on the back of the neck. Chen could barely stand conscious and turned to see the same Police officer from last time. He smiled and just before blessing him received a merciless clout on the lower back, Chen Chao fell limp into the street.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, 

Turn to 1 Peter 2:19-24

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

There is abundant reward with the Lord when we are willing to be subject to wrath as he was. In sharing in his injustice and pain we have a share in his glory. For the good that God sees for you and I is not limited to this life, but extends to all eternity.  This is how we reconcile the trouble we might face from time to time in this life. Even through the trouble, not only do we have hope, but we can even rejoice. 

James 1:2-4 says

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

The text in Romans 13:5 goes on however and states;

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

There are times we deliberately flout the law of the land. Times when we break the rules and do so on purpose.

For most of my driving life I felt it was “My Right” to catch up to and overtake cars in front of me. The very fact that they had the audacity of leaving before me needed an answer, and I was always ready with my foot on the accelerator. Passing each vehicle gave me a sense of accomplishment, but relief of conscience only ever came when I slowed to the speed limit.

There is a strange anxiety that occurs in us when we know we are doing something wrong yet try to justify it in our minds. Our conscience aggravates us and we, very easily, get quite tense and uptight.

We might go on doing the wrong thing for days, weeks, months and years, but the toll of a seared conscience can be damaging. To some it affects sleep, to others it affects health, to others it reveals itself in impatience and bouts of anger over seemingly small things.

Beloved, this is true of us as Christians who sin against the Lord as well as being unwilling to be subject to those God has ordained to have the rule over us.

It’s been almost four years now. Four years ago I had the choice, either lose my Licence or do something I had not done in over thirty years, conscientiously obey the driving law recognising the privilege I have in being permitted to drive on the road. Not only have I retained my licence, but I am now subject to the road rules for conscience sake. 

No doubt in these days there are multiple examples I could have used, you can select those that apply to you, but one thing is certain, when you make the call to obey a law, you are free from the worry of trying to defend your wilful neglect of it. Your mind and conscience is then clear to think on those things that matter most. Perhaps sharing the hope that is in you to those who hold you in subjection.

O, by the way, that Police officer did actually break that young man’s back, but the story didn’t end there.

The injured man remained conscious as his friends carried him home. He continued praising God, thanking him for the privilege of such great suffering. As Chen Chao’s wife looked on, his friends laid him tenderly on their bed. “Thank you, Lord!” he called out repeatedly. “Thank you! Thank you!” Suddenly, all of those in the room heard a distinct, resounding crack, as if two stones had been struck together. Chen Chao became instantly silent. Then he sat up, his eyes widening, lips searching for words, hands reaching for his back. His wife tried to restrain him. “No, tax tai!” he protested. 

Then he stood up beside the cot. “Jesus fixed it!” he called out. “My back! My back! Jesus fixed it!” As his friends began to realize what had happened, they joined him in exclamations of praise. After a moment he held up his hand for silence. “Come,” he said with solemnity, “let’s go to the police station. I must show the sergeant how Jesus fixed my back.” News of the miracle spread across community. And the astonished police sergeant became another of the many communist officials who have been touched by the manifestations of God’s power so prominent in contemporary China, especially in the North.

                                                                        Anderson, Ken. Bold as a Lamb .

This is why we KNOW it is GOD who is still on the throne. He works miracles that suit his will and purpose and if he desires to undertake a miracle healing to draw the wicked to him, then he does so and we rejoice.

The Minister to Remunerate

6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Ahhhh money. The Bible says that it is the love of it that is the root of all evil. It’s amazing how strongly we hold on to it. We treat it likes it’s our security blanket. We hold onto it even to the cost of our own integrity because of our love for it. 

BUT God wants to be our comfort and our trust, yet far too many of us act as if our real comfort comes from the abundance of the money we keep. I remember the feeling all too well, it makes me sick now when I think on it. 

Giving to the work of the Lord was the last major hang-up of my life, once I began to do that, the hold that money had on my life was beginning to be truly over. Before that, not a day went by in my life from the age of 15yrs to at least 35yrs, that I did not think about money, until I finally gave that concern over to the Lord.

The Bible speaks a great deal about supporting the work of the ministry of the Lord, but I will bet you had never in your wildest dreams thought it might also relate to the taxes we pay! We happily give to the Lord to support his ministers at the pulpit who faithfully preach those eternal truths, but for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Beloved, to you it is given to remunerate your ministers, those with the charge of your eternal life, but also those with the charge of your temporal life. How many of you had ever thought paying tax was equated to remunerating a ministry? Yet the conclusion is inescapable if indeed they are “Gods ministers, attending continually upon this very thing”.

So again, to one ministry you give for the support of your everlasting happiness, and the other ministry you give for the support of your temporal happiness.

Jesus provided the clarity;

Turn to Mark 12:13-17

13 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. 14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. 16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. 17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

Beloved, you are legally obliged to pay your taxes, and so should you. Do not avoid paying your taxes illegally for conscience sake. Doing so ILLEGALLY and justifying it by keeping your money in your pocket, you will soon find as I did, that your pockets end up with holes you cannot see.

What I discovered is that God somehow multiplies our wealth in ways we cannot explain when we do that which is right in his eyes. But, incredibly, when we do that which is wrong enough for our own conscience to bare witness to, somehow we are never the poorer. 

We take our money home in a bag with holes.

Turn to Haggai 1:2-11

2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. 9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. 10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. 11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

Seems like there is nothing new under the sun. Gods ministry needs to be covered and attended to, and when it is, the people are blessed and he rebukes the devourer for their sakes. Be sure to do that which is right, remunerate the ministers of God, 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Do not be caught by the Lord loving money more than him, you cannot serve two masters.

Beloved this concludes this difficult portion of the Bible in Romans 13. Not difficult for exposition, difficult because of the tendency to a rebellious nature and difficult because of the days in which we live.

God is the one who remains in control of all things, and we are charged to simply trust him at his word. We know how the chapter of this world ends, and we are not ignorant of the days in which we live. We live in the Times of the Signs that Jesus spoke of and knowing this, THERE IS AN EVEN GREATER RESPONSIBILITY ON YOUR PART TO TRUST HIM.

Different if you did not know or recognise the times we live in, you might have an excuse for ignorance thinking you are to fight for a better world. But those of you who are in this church are well versed in the scriptures, you have no excuse to live rebelling against the “ministers of God”.

We obey God when we obey those who have the rule over us. But let’s also understand that we never disobey God when we are commanded to by those same rulers.

We are not to live our life as those who have no hope beloved, we are not to live as those who have their only hope in this life, we are to live with the ever present knowledge of eternity, and “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Tit 2:13).

There are some who are looking for the hope that you have, the hope you demonstrate each day in your joyful expectation of Christ, TELL THEM.

TELL THEM that “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23).

TELL THEM that you were once like them, the servants of sin, with your hope firmly entrenched in this life, 

TELL THEM that now you have a heavenly expectation that sees you living this life, with all its uncertainties, in hope, with joy, looking for and hastening to the day of the Lord Jesus.

All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, that is the simple promise of the Gospel. Live in the light of it.



Leave a Reply