Jesus Is Lord; Caesar Is Not.
There is a brief health update at the end of this message.
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from John Stott's book THE CROSS OF CHRIST (highly recommended). This excerpt is from the chapter that deals with "loving our enemies" and discusses the Christian's appropriate allegiance to God and to the state.
JESUS IS LORD; CAESAR IS NOT.
I confess that I find it extremely impressive that Paul writes of both the "authority" and the "ministry" of the state; that three times he affirms the state's authority to be God's authority; and that three times he describes the state and its ministers as God's ministers, using two words (DIAKONOS and LEITOURGOS) which elsewhere he applied to his own ministry as apostle and evangelist and even to the ministry of Christ. I do not think there is any way of wriggling out of this, for example by interpreting the paragraph as a grudging acquiescence in the realities of political power. No. In spite of the defects of Roman government, with which he was personally familiar, Paul emphatically declared its authority and ministry to be God's. It is the divine origin of the state's authority which makes Christian submission to it a matter of "conscience" (Rom. 13:5).
Nevertheless, the fact that the state's authority has been delegated to it by God, and is therefore not intrinsic but derived, means that it must never be absolutized. Worship is due to God alone, and to his Christ, who is the lord of all rule and authority (Eph. 1:21-22) and "the ruler of the kings of the earth" (Rev. 1:5; cf. 19:16). The state must be respected as a divine institution; but to give it our blind, unqualified allegiance would be idolatry. The early Christians refused to call Caesar "lord"; that title belonged to Jesus alone.
--John R. W. Stott, THE CROSS OF CHRIST. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1986, p. 305. ISBN 0-87784-998-6.
[Have you ever heard John Stott preach? Perhaps you would enjoy listening to one of his sermons on worship from Romans 11:33-36. If so, please go to www.sbts.edu/icw/resources and click on "John StottóWorship." This MP3 recording is available through the generosity of the tape ministry of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London. I think it will be a HUGE blessing to you.]
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, RECOVERING CANCER PATIENT
Today (July 1) was my monthly Zometa treatment and the three-month appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Naveed Chowhan.
All my blood levels are in the normal range. The Dexascan from several months ago also showed normal bone health. Dr. Chowhan has scheduled me for a CT scan next week (July 9). The last of those body scans was in September. I will continue with the monthly Zometa treatments (more calcium to my bones). I am trying to be pretty rigorous in my daily exercise, but he still wants me to avoid high-impact activity, so there is presently no tennis or running (or sky diving), but the elliptical trainer is my friend.
You can see from the latest photos at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam (click on "photos") that a full head of hair is on the way, even though I am presently keeping it rather short.
Please continue to pray for the full recovery of my back. Pray, too, for cancer patients in your church and family. Prayer matters.
Trusting the Great Physician,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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