"The Fourth Commandment: God's Rule Through Authority!" Micah 7:18-20

July 03, 2022
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to our Crucified and Risen Lord Christ Jesus. He rules the godly in His Church by grace through His Word. He rules the ungodly in His World through His authorities placed in the state by the rule of natural law and the power of the sword keeping evil in check. Sermon on the Fourth Commandment - "God's Rule Through Authority!" Preached for the 3rd Sunday After Trinity, July 3rd, 2022 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

Third Sunday After Trinity                                 3-July-2022
Sermon Text: Micah 7:18-20
Sermon Theme: “The Fourth Commandment: God’s Rule Through Authority”

I.N.R.I. Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (2) "HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER," which is the first commandment with promise: (3) "THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU AND YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH." (4) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” The Spirit of Truth through the pen of St. Paul teaches us of God’s Order within Christian households. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace and order within His Churches, the Home, and the State. In the book of Ephesians the Spirit of Truth teaches us Christ’s doctrine of the Church. The Church isn’t a building, but it is all those called, gathered, and enlightened by God the Holy Spirit through preaching and God’s Word who fear, love, and trust in Christ Jesus as Lord. Church doesn’t end at 11a.m. on a Sunday morning it permeates all a Christian’s relationships beginning with the Home. Christian husbands love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Christians wives respect their husbands as the Church submits Herself to Christ in everything. Christian children honor their parents as their God given authorities clinging to God’s Word of promise. Fathers teach their children Christ’s doctrine from infancy onward - teaching them the Holy Ten Commandments, The Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer - that they might be wise unto salvation which is in Christ Jesus their Lord.
    Over the past few weeks we have learned of the Only True God who blesses us with His Name and draws near to us through preaching and His Word. When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in God’s Law He responded: “Matthew 22:37-38 .... 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' (38) This is the first and great commandment.” We call the first three commandments - the First Table of the Law - for it deals with God’s loving relationship to us in Christ Jesus through His Name and Word - and our loving response to Him by the power of God the Holy Spirit working in us through the Gospel. (Micah 7:18) Today we begin to learn the second table of the Law - as Jesus summarizes it: Matthew 22:39 And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' God’s love for us sinners in Christ Jesus seeks us out restoring us through forgiveness, freeing us from the prison of self worship to lovingly serve our neighbor within our various places in life.
    Lord Jesus teach us,“The Fourth Commandment: God’s Rule Through Authority”
  (LSB pg. 321 4th Cmdt W.D.T.M?) The fourth commandment establishes our Creator’s rule through the authorities He has established in this world. When our Lord Jesus stood on trial before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate history records, “John 19:10-11 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” (11) Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” A legitimate government’s authority isn’t self made or mob rule, but it flows from the Creator and His Natural Law through those called to rule.
    This weekend our nation celebrates independence day. Contrary to the Lie indoctrinated into our culture over the past decades - our founding fathers where not godless blood thirsty slave holders. They were Christians - study their writings not the nonsense of academia. Men who knew and believed the truth of natural law flowing from the Creator of our world. They wrote, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”(Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776) The founding fathers of the United States declared independence from Great Britain with a firm dependence upon their Creator - the God of the Holy Bible.
        When a nation forsakes the Truth of God’s Holy Word, Satan the father of lies takes its captive and stirs up chaos. The prophet Micah warns the nations of Israel and Judah of their impending collapse. They are like a basket of rotting summer fruit. Micah 7:2-3 The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. (3) Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. He sees the decay of their nation within their homes, Micah 7:6 for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.” Satan rebels against all that God created and instituted. It was only with the creation of human beings in God’s image, made either male or female, then married for life and blessed to have children and raise a family - that our Creator proclaimed this creation “very good!” Satan destroys nations stirring up chaos by destroying the family. His pro-death, anti-family, anti-marriage strategy destroys nations - it has wreaked havoc in our nation also.
    Micah calls us to repent and fix our eyes upon Christ Jesus alone - the God of mercy. (Micah 7:18-20) God’s mercy flows through the order He has established. (LSB pg. 321 4th Cmdt W.D.T.M?) We are to “fear” God’s just wrath and not act contrary to His Commandments. We are to “love and trust” in God’s promise to us in Christ Jesus. Jesus, our Brother, perfectly fulfilled the Law in our place. Now God the Holy Spirit frees us to live in Christ running in the path of these Ten Commandments lovingly serving our neighbor.
      Before sin entered this world, the Lord God created marriage and the family. He blessed Adam and his wife to procreate children through God’s life giving Word. The Lord orders this world through authority - it is a blessing - not a curse. Adam the God given head of the household was given God’s Word to teach and property to tend as he cared for his wife and family. His wife was to be the heart of the household standing by his side as his closest companion as they raised their children together. It was only after the fall into sin that our Lord instituted earthly governments to keep evil in check. The government’s authority flows from our God through father and mother - the Home - to it.
      The Lord God commands us to “honor our father and mother” not just to love them. Honor is much more than love. They are stand as God’s representatives and spokesmen in our lives. Through our father and mother the Lord God created us, cared for us, nurtured, and taught us. We always view our parents through the lense of God’s Word to see them as honorable no matter how odd they may seem to us.(LSB pg. 321 4th Cmdt W.D.T.M?) Fearing and loving God we are not to despise our parents. You are where you are created to be within your family - it is not good for man to be alone. You are here in this place and time according to God’s good and gracious will. Trust His rule and care for you first within your home through your parents. Secondly we are not to despise other authorities - Christ’s Church or the State. The Church existed within Eden before the Fall. The State arose after the Fall to punish evildoers and reward those who do good. (T.O.D. pg.328) Relationships to each other - Church, State, Home.
      Look at the Commandments that come before the fourth commandment. The Home and other authorities have no jurisdiction over the commandments that come before the fourth. That is the Home, the Church, the State cannot invent a god for people to fall down and worship. They have no authority over the free exercise of religion to stop Christians from gathering to pray together. They have no authority to ban or contradict the truth of God’s Word. Governments can control outward actions - it has no jurisdiction over the conscience. When the state promotes the religion of wokeism - Christians must boldly confess the Name of Jesus and say with St. Peter, Acts 5:29 “We must obey God rather than men.”
      (LSB pg. 321 4th Cmdt W.D.T.M?) The commandments that follow the fourth commandment are under the jurisdiction of father and mother - and through their office the Church, and the State. From marriage human life is given and is to be protected. Marriage isn’t defined by the State - it is instituted by God. Private property is entrusted by God to individual families to provide for its needs and to help others. A good reputation is to be guarded and defended against slander. Lawful government doesn’t create or define any of these natural rights - they flow from God and are to be protected by the state - never surrendered to or usurped by the state through the sword. To put it another way - the State cannot redefine the family, dispose of human life like an infection, redefine marriage and human sexuality, steal private property for redistribution, or hold people guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Nor does legitimate government stir up mobs to tear each other apart fighting over possessions or different vocations in life.
      Jesus teaches us a distinction between the authority of the Church and the State. History records: Matthew 22:21 They said to Him, "Caesar's." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Those who want to use separation of church and state to silence the Church err. First they are promoting Christian doctrine. Secondly the State has no authority over the Church, nor does the Church rule over the State. The Church deals with eternal Truth - its confession cannot be silenced - it rules by grace through the Word of Christ. The State keeps evil in check through natural law ruling through the sword. They have separate spheres of authority flowing from God through the family.
      We honor our parents as God’s representatives, serving and obeying, loving and cherishing them as God’s gifts to us. Amen.

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