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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
August 26, 2018
Obligations to Caesar; Obligations to God
Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26
It is Wednesday of Passover week and the antagonism between the Jewish religious leaders and Jesus is reaching its peak. The day before this, Jesus had cleared out the merchants and money changers from the Temple. (See: Condemned City, Condemned Nation) The Chief Priests and the Elders had been intimidated then, but on Wednesday morning they went on the offensive, and when Jesus entered the Temple, they challenged Him about the source of His authority to do all the things that He was doing. Who or what entity authorized Him to not only drive out the people who were defiling the Temple, but also to teach and do miracles as He did?
Their purpose was to find a way to discredit Jesus before the people, but instead, they were the ones discredited. Jesus told three scathing parables against them. They are like the disobedient son who said he would do the father’s will, but did not. They claimed to be pious, but disobeyed God’s commandments and refused to listen to John’s the Baptist’s call for repentance. (See: Who Does the Father’s Will). They are like the wicked vine-growers. They are the descendants of those who killed the prophets of God throughout Israel’s history and they were now plotting to kill Jesus, the Son of God. (See: The Longsuffering Landlord & His Son).They are like the rude wedding guests who will suffer destruction for their disregard of the King’s invitation and their treatment of His servants. (See: Invitation to a Royal Feast). They were under God’s condemnation.
We rejoice because the invitation to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God has gone out to all, so we are included. Yet, we are also unnerved by the stubbornness of sin seen in these hypocritical religious leaders because the same qualities are still seen in people today. They ignore or reject truth in order to pursue their own desires, and they seek to destroy those who proclaim the truth.
As we begin our examination of our texts for this morning, Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26, we find that Jesus’ enemies are even more determined to find some way to discredit Him so that they can put Him to death.
The Trap – Matthew 22:15-17; Mark 12:13-15; Luke 20:20-22
During the course of this day, four groups of people will come to Jesus asking questions designed to somehow entrap Him. First, there were the Chief priests and elders that we have already seen Jesus rebuke by His three parables. Second, are the disciples of the Pharisees who come with the Herodians which we will examine today. Next will come the Sadducees, and then finally the Pharisees themselves. By the time this is over, no one from any of these groups will dare ask Jesus a question, but their resolve to murder Him will still be carried out. If they cannot entrap Him, then driven by their hatred, they will do whatever they must to get rid of Him.
Matthew 22:15 reveals the Pharisees have retreated after getting included in the parables Jesus told against the Chief priests and elders. They huddle together to devise a new plan of attack. “Then the Pharisees went and counseled together how they might trap Him in what He said.” Their goal of getting rid of Jesus has not changed in the least. They still must find some way in which they can discredit Jesus so they can arrest Him, or perhaps they can bring the wrath of Rome down upon Him directly. They have retreated to some area of the temple where they could counsel with one another. They are brainstorming ideas about how they can get Jesus to say something that would either be unpopular with the people, or get Him in trouble with the government.
They finally come up with a plan that seems perfect for it will put Jesus in a position where He will either have to say something that the people will not like, or He will have to say something the Roman government is not going to like. Either way, Jesus will be caught. However, to carry out this plan, they will have to be careful. Jesus knows them too well and would be too cautious around them. So they will have to get someone else to do their bidding and ask the question for them. And who better for that than their own disciples? Jesus would not know them and they might be able to present themselves as people with a sincere question. Luke 20:20 expresses this idea and their intention stating, “they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor.”
But there is a complication in their plan. They will need the help of another group to be their accomplice in this trap. Matthew 22:16 explains, “And they sent their disciples to Him along with the Herodians . . .” This is an extremely unusual situation. It would be a rare occurrence for the Pharisees and Herodians to be found together much less cooperating. They were usually on the opposite side of issues with each other, but in the desire to destroy Jesus they found common cause and became allies.
The Herodians were a political group that was supportive of Herod and Rome. Some may have been Jewish, but many were of the same nationality as Herod – Idumean, descendants of the ancient enemies of the Jews, the Edomites. The Pharisees despised them for they considered them to be irreligious traitors. But now they needed their help. The Herodians were glad to help in this plot for they too hated Jesus simply because Herod Antipas wanted Him dead. Jesus was even warned about this in Luke 13:31 and that He should leave the region of Perea because Herod Antipas wanted to kill Him. Jesus did leave saying, “for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33). This was the Herod that had murdered John the Baptist, and though He had been curious about Jesus, he was afraid of Him because He thought Jesus was John raised from the dead.
The Herodians were needed by the Pharisees to carry out their plan for their question was designed to put Jesus in the position of either supporting Rome or agreeing with common Jewish sentiment against Rome. If Jesus spoke in favor of Rome, then the Pharisees could take care of the matter themselves and rally the people against Jesus. However, if Jesus spoke against Rome as they expected, then they would need people who were pro-Roman present to then make charges against Jesus as a subversive to the Roman authorities. The Pharisees could not have done this without becoming suspect themselves because their anti-Roman sentiment was well known. Instead, the Herodians, though detested by the Pharisees, were now useful to them as credible witnesses against Jesus to the Roman government.
The trap has now been planned, Matthew 22:16 explains how it is set. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.”
Mark and Luke record the same statement of flattery in their effort to try and catch Jesus off-guard so that He might say something without thinking about it carefully enough. Flattery works because everyone likes people saying nice things about them. It strokes our ego and builds up our pride. They figured that Jesus was like anyone else, and if they flattered Him enough, He would fall into their trap.
Flattery is excessive praise used from motives of self-interest. It is therefore insincere and used by a person only in an effort to get what they want out of the person they are flattering. Lying is usually a part of flattery, but here it is in its worse form, for it is using truth as a means to gain a wicked end instead of being spoken as true praise.
Their use of flattery in posing their question exposes their true character for both the Scriptures and the Talmud speak against the use of flattery. Proverbs 20:19 warns us not to get involved with someone who has flattering lips. Proverbs 26:28 warns that a flattering tongue works ruin, and Proverbs 29:5 makes the point directly that a man that flatters does so to entrap his neighbor. Psalm 12 states that the Lord will cut off those who flatter, and 1Thessalonians 2:5 tells us as Christians that we are not to use flattering words at anytime. Why? Because it is insincere and really just a cloak for covetousness. It is a means to selfishly gain from someone else by inducing them to be favorable to you.
Jesus was a teacher in the greatest sense of the word and He was also truthful in everything He taught. There was no waywardness in the least in Him. These disciples of the Pharisees were correct. Unlike their own teachers, Jesus did teach the way of God in truth. In addition, Jesus was not dependent for His authority from men for it came from God, for that reason He did not defer to men. He was not afraid of anyone. He courted no one’s favor. He was impartial.
The question is then posed to Jesus in Matthew 22:17, Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? (Mark 12:14; Luke 20:22).
They thought they had Him now. They had flattered Him and did their very best to make their question seem sincere asking, “What do you think?” The wanted it to appear like they really did want to know His opinion and learn from Jesus since He was such a great teacher who was truthful, unafraid and impartial. But the question was specifically designed to get Jesus in trouble with either the general Jewish population or with the Roman authorities. The question about the poll-tax was their trap.
The poll-tax was not the most expensive tax most people had to pay, but it was certainly the most resented of the many taxes they had to pay. Nations occupied by Rome’s forces paid many taxes in order to compensate the Roman soldiers in the occupation army as well as fund the various public works projects they would undertake such as building roads, aqueducts, public buildings and such. There was an annual land tax assessed at 10% of grain produced and 20% of wine and oil. Wage earners paid a 1% income tax, and customs taxes on merchandise were collected at all the ports and major crossroads.
The poll-tax was assessed on every adult male yearly and so was some times called a head tax. This was the tax that was in mind when Rome would have a census taken, such as when Joseph & Mary had to return to Bethlehem, in order to ensure that the proper amount was being collected. In addition, this tax had to be paid with a Roman denarius which was a silver coin minted for the purpose of collecting this tax. A denarius is the amount a Roman soldier would earn per day. It was collected by the Procurator or Roman Governor of the province (Pontius Pilate at that place and time), and then sent to Caesar.
This is one of the reasons that the Jews, and especially the Zealots, resented this tax so much. They viewed themselves as belonging to God alone and not to Caesar, and this tax signified Caesar’s personal authority over them. It was this tax that was the cause of an insurrection in A.D. 6 by Judas of Galilee that resulted in the deposing of Herod Archelaus and the appointment of a Roman governor for the area. Judas’ rally cry was that God was their only God and Lord, the census tax would not be paid. Later, in A.D. 66, this tax was one of the factors that led to the national revolt that eventually resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by Roman General Titus.
That may seem a little radical to you until you factor in the second reason this tax was hated, which also ties in with the first. The Mosaic Law, specifically the 1st and 2nd Commandments in the Ten Commandments, prohibited making any graven image or worshiping any one other than the Lord God, creator of heaven and earth. Starting with Augustus, the Roman Caesars started to attribute to themselves either the position of high priest or of deity itself. In 17 B.C. an unusual star appeared which Augustus took as some sort of sign, and he proclaimed a 12 day celebration during which the Roman college of priests, of which he was chief, granted mass absolution from sin for all people of the empire. In the same year, coins were minted which proclaimed Augustus as the son of God. This idea was favorable to the pagans, but utterly repulsive to the Jews.
The Roman denarius that had to be used in paying the poll tax ascribed glory to the Emperor that was to be reserved for God alone. The engravings on the coin itself were offensive for this reason. Engraved on the coin was the image of Caesar, either Augustus or Tiberius depending on when it was minted. The one with Tiberius had his head engraved on one side with the inscription “Tiberius Caesar Augustus: Son of the Divine Augustus.” On the other side it had an image of him with a diadem on his head, sitting on a throne, clothed as a high priest and the inscription read “Pontif Maxim” which means High Priest. This was why the Jews despised this tax so much. They felt that participating in it was contrary to the First and Second Commandments. It had a graven image on it, it had blasphemy written on it, and the Caesars used it as a means to attain both political and religious homage.
The trap is set. They expected Jesus to answer against the tax, especially since He had claimed the title “Son of God” for Himself, and if He did, then the Herodians were present to be witnesses and charge Him with insurrection against Rome. If Jesus said the tax should be paid, then Jesus will lose favor with the people, and the disciples of the Pharisees are present to make sure everyone would know about it in order to turn the people against Him. How will Jesus respond?
The Trap Perceived – Matthew 22:18; Mark 12:15; Luke 20:23
The main failure in all the efforts all these various groups make in trying to deal with Jesus is that they do not believe that He is deity – God in human flesh. You cannot catch God in a trap, and they do not catch Jesus. Matthew 22:18 states, But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?” Luke 20:23 adds that He “detected their trickery.”
They had tried their best to appear sincere and had given Jesus a lot of flattery, but He knew their hearts. God knows your heart, so you cannot deceive Him. It will never do you any good to give feigned respect and obedience to God for He knows your thoughts and your motives. In this passage we find that Jesus detected their trickery and knew their evil purpose. He exposed them for what they were and what they were trying to do. “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites.” They were hypocrites, two faced, seeking to cover their real intentions with a false mask. They told Jesus that He was a teacher of truth that showed the way to God, but they were not interested in knowing the truth of God. They were treacherous using their evil cunning in an effort to cause trouble for Jesus as part of the overall plan to destroy Him. These men have now proven themselves to be disciples of the Pharisees, for when a disciple is fully trained, he will be like his teacher, and the Pharisees were hypocrites.
The Trap Reset – Matthew 22:19-21; Mark 12:16; Luke 20:24
Jesus now turns the table and resets the trap for them. He will answer their question, but in a way which will demonstrate their hypocrisy and how far they have strayed from God’s design.
Matthew 22:19-20 records Jesus saying to them, “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
Jesus asked them to show Him the very coin, literally here “the poll-tax coin,” that was at the center of much of the contention the religious Jews had against this tax. Jesus then brings out the two very things about the coin that were the cause of the strife. Whose image was engraved on it and what was the inscription. The disciples of the Pharisees see their chance, they think Jesus is going side with them, denounce it as blasphemous and thus get into trouble with the Roman government. So they quickly give Him the answer that every child knew, verse 21, They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
What Jesus said next caught them so off-guard and so astounded them that verse 22 states, And hearing this, they marveled . . .” They were amazed and caused great wonder at such a wise and discerning answer. They now knew they were no match for Jesus. Luke 20:26 states “they became silent.” Matthew 22:22 states their next action as a repetition, “and leaving Him, they went away.” I would like to think, and this is just speculation on my part since we do not know anything else about these men, but I would like to think that the repetition in that verse means that they left Jesus’ presence and then went away without going back to the Pharisees. There is no doubt the Pharisees are still in the Temple area waiting to find out how their plan worked. My hopeful wish is that after having their hearts so exposed by Jesus and hearing His wise answer these disciples of the Pharisees did not go back to them. They left Jesus, and then went away, perhaps to contemplate all that they just went through. Again, this is just my speculation based on God’s gracious nature and hope that these men learned from Jesus.
Maybe you are in the same position today. You do not yet believe that Jesus is who He says He is, but you have come to hear about Him and what He teaches. You might even have great skepticism and are hoping to find a flaw in what Jesus teaches. My hope for you is that when you leave here this afternoon, you will not return to the training you received from your former teachers, but that you will go away thinking deeply about Jesus, His teaching and His claims.
His Answer – Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25
Jesus gives His answer to their question about whether it was lawful or not to pay the poll-tax in Matthew 22:21. They have shown the coin and stated that it is Caesar’s image and inscription on it. Jesus then said, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
The supreme wisdom of this statement is often missed because it is so simple. It is a short statement. It is a pithy statement. It is an answer that could never have been anticipated by them. It is an answer that is neither rebellious against the government nor God. It is an answer that proclaimed clearly and practically God’s command to meet our obligations and fulfill our responsibilities to both God and government.
The first part of Jesus’ statement is to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” “Render” (ajpodivdwmi / apodid mi) means to pay or give back and implies a debt, a duty, an obligation. It is not an option. It is a responsibility that must be fulfilled. The disciples of the Pharisees had the posed the question as whether it was lawful to give this tax. It is a related word (divdwmi / did mi) which means to pay or renumerate, but without the added idea of obligation. You would pay to purchase a field, but purchasing the field was optional. They did not see themselves as having a God given responsibility to pay the poll-tax to Caesar. Jesus makes it plain here that they did.
People still do not like taxes and that is made worse by resentment in how those taxes are spent. Calls for tax boycotts are often based on the idea that the government funds things that we know are a reproach to God. It is obvious that practices such as abortion, using fetal tissue for research, pornographic “art,” and public schools that teach children paganism, amorality and immorality are all contrary to God’s moral laws. So is stealing from one person to pay someone else. Certainly, as citizens of a nation where such things can be fought, we need to fight these things. However, we also have a God given obligation to government, and that is more than to just pray for governmental authorities as directed in 1 Timothy 2:1-3.
The apostle put it this way in 1 Peter 2:13-15, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
Turn over to Romans 13 where Paul was even more direct. 1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God; and those which exist are established by God. It is important to remember that the government Paul was talking about in this passage was pagan, and persecution against Christians was already beginning to rise.
2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. This is a serious warning to those who rebel that it is not just the state they are fighting with, but God’s ordinance. Why? Verses 3 – 4 give the purpose of governments, 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. 5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. God sets up governments to restrain evil. That is their purpose.
And since God has a purpose for them and we receive the benefit them, there is an obligation on our part to support it. Paul lived with both the oppression and the benefits of the Roman empire including the “Roman Peace” which restrained theft, murder, etc. and allowed Paul to travel all over the Empire on Roman roads. Verse 6-7 add, 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them; tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Our duty to the state falls within our duty to God, and we are to always fulfill our duty to state until the state wants something that God has not regulated to it. If Peter and Paul said these things living under a pagan, despotic reign, which had many excesses and physically persecuted Christians, then how much more does what they say apply to us. We render to Caesar – and Governor Coumo and President Trump – what is due them. In this nation we have the privilege and responsibility to peacefully influence government and get it to carry out its affairs in a godly manner, but we may not rebel against it or refuse to pay our taxes. We render to human government what belongs to it for we receive the benefits that come from it including armed forces, police, fire protection, roads, safety and business laws, and even the weather service.
And please note that paying taxes does not make you complicit with the evil that government does. The government and those making evil decisions and carrying out evil deeds will answer to God who condemns people for their sin, and, let me stress this, He removes governments for failure to carry out His purposes (See Daniel 4).
The second part of Jesus’ command is render to “God the things that are God’s.” Jesus does not make a separation between the secular and the sacred, for all things are under the sphere of God including human government. That, not patriotism, is the reason that Christians strive to be good citizens. The government is placed there by God. What Jesus states here is a limit to our submission to government due to our greater obligation to submit to God. We pay our taxes, obey the laws, and are good citizens until such point that government demands we disobey God or tries to take for itself what only belongs to God. In the specific case of this morning’s texts, that is worship. Caesar is to be paid his taxes for they belong to Him, but Caesar is not to be worshiped. Our allegiance is first and foremost to God, not government, but that is reason totalitarian governments persecute Christians. They want to be in positions that belong only to God.
When conflict comes between God and government, we, like Peter and all godly men and women that have gone before us, “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). If we suffer for being Christians, we are to follow the instructions in 1 Peter to make sure that it is because of our submission to God and not because of being obstinate or sinful. That is reality of life for many Christian brothers and sisters around the world, and an increasing one in this country too. Will you be like Jack Phillips and so many other Christians who suffer because their pursuit of holiness precludes them from participation in celebrating what God declares to be abominations – or would you bake the cake, take the pictures, arrange the flowers and attend the celebration of a perverse wedding? What would you do if you lived in California and faced the consequences of the Must Stay Gay law (AB 2943) which appears to be heading to the Governor’s desk before the end of the month. It will make it illegal for “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” as a consumer fraud issue. Would you comply with the law or continue to call sinners to salvation and help them to learn to live a holy life?
Jesus’ command to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” turned out to be a two-edged sword against the Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees. That same sword still hangs over people today. The Herodians sought to render to Caesar, but they did not render to God. The Pharisees and their disciples did not render properly to Caesar, and their claim to render to God was false. They were in constant rebellion against both. The Herodians and the Pharisees would remain under God’s judgment.
What about you? How well do you carry out this double command? I don’t want to pay any more taxes than required, but I am obligated before God to pay all that is required. Cheating is not an option for Christians for that would be dishonoring to Him. I do not have to agree with or like governmental authorities, but I am obligated before God to obey them until what they require contradicts God’s laws. In the United States and countries of Lex Rex, where law is king, it also means obeying the law and not officials who contradict the law.
Your obligation to God is your complete allegiance. That begins with seeking His forgiveness for your sin through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It grows as you learn to walk with the Lord in seeking His will and glory instead of your own. It continues even when persecuted for His name’s sake by government or anyone else.
Rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s is the easy part. Rendering to God what is God’s demands your whole being and changes your purpose of existence. Jesus’ answer to their question about paying the poll-ax is much more than a pithy saying. It should be life changing. I pray it is for you.
Sermon Notes – 8/12/2018
Obligations to Caesar; Obligations to God – Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26
The Chief Priests & Elders have challenged Jesus’ __________and He has rebuked them with three parables
We rejoice at the open ______________to heaven, but man’s stubbornness in sin is unnerving
The Trap – Matthew 22:15-17; Mark 12:13-15; Luke 20:20-22
________groups will challenge Jesus on this day, but by the end of it, none will dare question Him again
Matthew 22:15 – The Pharisees retreat and huddle to make a new __________ of attack
They develop a question to ________Jesus and either lose favor with the people or be in trouble with Rome
They send their disciples to pretend to be righteous and ____________to ask a sincere question (Luke 2:20)
Matthew 22:16 – the Herodians, usually their rivals, are willing ________________to the trap
The Herodians were a _____________ group of mixed ethnicity that favored Herod and Rome
The Pharisees would ____________Jesus if He spoke in favor of Rome, and the Herodians if against Rome
Matthew 22:16 – they use ______________ to try and catch Jesus off-guard
Flattery is excessive praise used for the purpose of manipulation – they speak the truth but for _____motives
The Scriptures and the Talmud both speak against the use of ______- Proverbs 20:19; 26:28; 29:5, Psalm 12
Jesus was a great teacher of __________ showing the way to God and was impartial
Matthew 22:17 – their question is _______as a sincere desire to know what Jesus thought about the poll-tax
The poll-tax was not the most expensive tax, but it was the most __________
Also called a “head tax” was imposed yearly on every male adult as a ____________to Rome
This tax was at the center of two Jewish ______________against Rome in A.D. 6 and A.D. 66
They considered it a ________of the 1st & 2nd Commandments of promoting another God & a graven image
The Trap Perceived – Matthew 22:18; Mark 12:15; Luke 20:23
Matthew 22:18; Luke 20:23 – God is omniscient and _____________be caught in a trap
Jesus __________ their hypocritical character and motive to entrap Him
The Trap Reset – Matthew 22:19-21; Mark 12:16; Luke 20:24
Matthew 22:19-20 – Jesus asks them to ____Him the very coin used for the tax which caused the contention
They quickly state the obvious and are caught in Jesus’ trap for them – and are __________by Jesus’ answer
Luke 20:26 – they became silent, and Matthew 22:22 – and leaving Him, they went away
My hopeful wish is that the repetition means they left Jesus and also went away from the ____________
My hopeful wish for skeptics is that they will go ________what Jesus taught and not return to their teachers
Jesus’ Answer – Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25
The supreme __________ of Jesus’ answer is often missed because it is simple, short and pithy
“Render” (ajpodivdwmi / apodid mi) means to pay or give back and implies a debt, a duty, an ____________
Their question was about the legality of paying (divdwmi / did mi) the tax – payment ___________obligation
People do not like taxes and even more so because the funds are ___________or used for what is immoral
1 Timothy 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13-15 – Believes are obligated to pray for and __________to human government
Romans 13:1-2 – governmental authority comes from ____________, so opposing it is opposing God
Romans 13:3-5 – God’s purpose of government is to promote good and _____________evil
Romans 13:6-7 – we render tax, custom, fear and honor to government officials as ____________of God
Our duty to state – even corrupt ones – falls within our duty to __________.
In democratic republics, _______________have an obligation to try and influence government for good
Paying taxes does not make you complicit in the __________done by government
Christians are _____citizens because all things are under the sphere of God & we submit to Him in all things
Caesar is paid his due, but that does not include ___________or first allegiance which belongs to God alone
When government conflicts with God’s commands, we obey ________rather than men (Acts 5:29)
Expect to ____________for walking in holiness and proclaiming the gospel
Both the Herodians and Pharisees ____________keep Jesus command – most people still do not
Christians are to obey government until what they require _____________God’s commands
Our obligation to God is complete _______________ even if persecuted by government
Following Jesus’ command about the poll-tax should be ____________________
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “tax” is used. 2) Discuss with your parents the boundary between obligation to government and obligation to God
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is its context of Matthew 22:15-22? Why have the Pharisees retreated from Jesus? Why do they send their disciples instead of going themselves to ask Jesus their question about the legality of paying the poll tax? Why did they need the Herodians to also be present? Who were the Herodians? What did they believe? What was their normal relationship like with the Pharisees? Why would they cooperate with the Pharisees now? How did they think this question would entrap Jesus? How would the people have reacted if Jesus supported the tax? How would the Roman government have reacted if He opposed it? Why do they use flattery before they pose their question to Jesus? What does that reveal about their character? What is flattery and why is it wrong to us it? What was the poll-tax? Why did the Jews hate it so much? What was the relationship of the poll tax to the Jewish rebellions in A.D. 6 & 66? Why did all the efforts to entrap Jesus fail? What does that reveal about Jesus’ identity? What coin was used to pay the poll tax? What was on the coin? Why did Jesus answer / command cause them to marvel? What was their reaction? What does it mean to “render” as compared to just making a payment? What is to be rendered to Caesar? Use Scripture to support your answer. What is the limit to rendering to Caesar? Explain. What is to be rendered to God? Use Scripture to support your answer. What is the relationship between rendering to Caesar and rendering to God? Why is that a motivation for Christians to be good citizens in any country in which they reside? How are you doing at “rendering to Caesar”? How are you doing at “rendering to God”? What needs to change?
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