C.A.C Sunday School Manual For May 30 and June 6, 2021, Lesson TEN : Topic – GOD IN THE POLITICS OF THE FIRST CENTURY
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH WORLDWIDE
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
THEME: GOD IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF MAN (II)
(KINGDOM OF GOD FAMILY)
Unit Three : In Jesus and The Church
Date: May 30 & June 6, 2021
Lesson : TEN
TOPIC : GOD IN THE POLITICS OF THE FIRST CENTURY
When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to pontius Pilate the governor
The Bible is very clean on what our relationship should be with those it has made clear to us that God has put in positions of authority both secularly and spiritually. Don’t disobey the Ruler of all.
God is sovereign, all powerful, Almighty, and the mastermind of all things, events and affairs. He created all things (both living, and non-living, including humans), for His pleasure (Rev. 4:11). The earth is the Lord’s and its fullest thereof… (Psa. 24:1). God has a way of using even the most terrible government and political leaders to fulfil His own purpose. He used Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Pontiu Pilate, Herod, and even the hundred and notorious Pharaoh, to fulfil His own purpose, even without their consciousness. He is the greatest mastermind and manipulator cum Chief Administrator and the most honourable executive Governor of the Universe. He used the activities (both good and bad) of the Roman government to both prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and to facilitate the expansion of the Gospel, without the awareness of the Roman Emperor and his entire cabinet. They all became living robots in His hands, working for Him and did not realise it. He, in the first place, established and sustains the Roman government and all other governments for His purpose. He even commanded all to honour and respect them because He put them there for His purpose (Rom. 13:1-7). He also would not condole any form of rebellion against, or disobedience to them, as He regards such as against Himself. They are His tools of operation and even though they may not be so conscious of this fact. He commands respect for them as they directly, indirectly, consciously and unconsciously fulfil His purpose.
Devotional Bible Readings For Week One
Mon. 24: Herod Sees Jesus As Political Threat (Matt. 2:1-12)
Tue. 25: Herod Seeks To Kill Jesus (Matt. 2:13-23)
Wed. 26: Jesus Condemns Leadership Corruption (Matt. 23:1-12
Thur. 27: Jesus Enlightens A Supposed Leader (Jn. 3:1-12
Fri. 28: Jesus Pronounces Judgment On Corrupt Leaders (Matt. 23:13-29)
Sat. 29: Jesus’ Disciples Boldly Preach To Authorities (Acts 5:27-42)
1. God can use anyone and anything at all, either consciously or unconsciously, to fulfil His own pleasure.
2. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart for His own pleasure and to fulfil His own purpose. Be careful when your heart seems hardened over a particular matter. God would still take the glory at the end, but what then would become of you?
3. God has a way of making even a man’s enemy work for the fulfilment of His purpose over man’s destiny – Prov. 16:7, Rom. 8:28). We must only understand that God is at work, permitting all events (both good and bad) for His own purpose, which is for our own good (Ps. 46:10a).
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Matthew 2:1ff; Acts 23:12-25; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: To show that, even in politics, governance and leadership, God still dictates the tune of the music.
Objectives: At the end of this lesson, the readers should be able to:
i. discuss how God got involved in the Roman government and used them as tools to carrying His divine purpose;
ii. show that God can use anyone and anything to orchestrate His own plan and execute same;
iii. explain how even secular authorities can be tools in God’s handle, and therefore, they must be honoured and obeyed as He has instructed. After all we are all pencils in His hands; and
iv. defend the fact that rebellion against constituted authority can be equivalent to rebellion against God’s ultimate purpose, and against God Himself.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: Matthew 2:1FF; LUKE 2:1-7; 7:1-10; 22:47; 23:56; Acts 23:12-25; Romans 10:11-15; 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17
We give God alone the glory for His unending grace and mercy, most especially, for the privilege of being blessed by Him in His Word on a weekly basis. His Name alone be praised, forevermore. It is our utmost prayers that His Word will continually trigger a great transformation in all spheres of our lives and eventually present us qualified by grace, for rapture. Amen!
The previous lesson, JESUS’ PERFECT ADMINISTRATION PATTERN, clearly showed to us how God, the Chief Administrator, through His Son, Jesus Christ, displayed His infallible administrative skills in words and actions, thereby showing to us exemplary leadership pattern, as well as His supremacy over all and sundry. What a balance!
This present lesson, the tenth in the series, is titled: GOD IN THE POLITICS OF THE FIRST CENTURY. This would be examined in two major ways: How He used the Roman government to prepare for the gospel expansion; and the other deals with how He sustains secular governments.
May we not miss even an inch of all He is set to teach us this time around, now and in eternity, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION
This is a two-week lesson, which is divided into I and II, with each division sub-divided into A and B, respectively.
DIVISION I: WORKS THROUGH ROMAN GOVERNMENT:
This division reveals how God used the Roman government of the day to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. From the decree made by Caesar Augustus for everyone to return, to his or her homeland for proper census, which led to the Messiah being born in Bethlehem as earlier prophesied, to the visit of the Magi, the exit and return to and fro Egypt, through the Roman government road network, even up to His torture, suffering, crucifixion and death were all orchestrated by God to happen, with the Roman government instrumental in the happenings, despite their being somewhat ignored of them.
DIVISION II: SUSTAINS SECULAR GOVERNMENT:
This division exposes to us God’s mind on constituted authorities. God is the King of kings, and has put other lower kings, governors, emperors, chiefs, and other leaders in place to see to human affairs in the physical as they represent Him in such capacity. God sees any act of rebellion against those set of people as against Himself, and such rebellion and disobedient acts would not go unpublished. God does not condone insubordination to constituted authorities. Therefore He instructed all and sundry to desist from such, thereby honouring them and ultimately Honouring Him too.
I. WORKS THROUGH ROMAN GOVERNMENT
A. USES IT TO PREPARE FOR THE SAVIOUR’S COMING
B. USES IT TO FACILITATE GOSPEL EXPANSION
II. SUSTAINS SECULAR GOVERNMENT
A. COMMANDS ALL TO RESPECT THEM
B. CONDEMNS REBELLING AGAINST THEM
I. WORKS THROUGH ROMAN GOVERNMENT (Matthew 2:1FF; LUKE 2:1-7; 7:1-10; 22:47; 23:56; Acts 23:12-25; Romans 10:11-15)
The royalty of the period became God’s too for His purpose. He could have used any other leadership or government, but He decided to use the policies, decrees and activities of the Roman government who were the power then, in His own way and for His own result.
A. USES IT TO PREPARE FOR THE SAVIOUR’S COMING (Matthew 2:1ff; Lk. 2:1-7; 7:1-10; 22:47; 23:56)
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered (Lk. 2:1).
i. Lk. 2:1-7: Scripture must be fulfilled. Christ (Messiah) would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), but Joseph and Mary were in Nazareth (Lk. 2:4). So, God moved the Roman Emperor then, Caesar Augustus, to order a census that would take everyone to his own city (v. 1).
ii. vv. 5-7: It was while the couple were in Bethlehem that the expected birth of the Messiah and. God used the order of a Roman lord to fulfil His purpose.
iii. Matt. 2:1ff: The visit of the Magi to worship the born King Jesus as well as the God-controlled escape and return of baby Jesus to/fro Egypt, among others, were facilitated by the presence of the Roman roads security.
iv. Lk. 7:1-10: The multi-ethnicity of the Roman Empire brought Jesus in results-oriented contact with Jews as well as gentiles. As example is this centurion. Another is the case of the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mk. 7:24ff).
v. 22:47 23:56: Christ would have to suffer in the hands of gentiles, be arrested, tried and crucified (Isa. 53:1ff). The Roman government and setting were readily available to fulfil these.
vi. Just as God used the Roman government to carryout His divine purpose, even when they did not know of it, God also used Joseph’s brothers to help fulfil his destiny, even though they thought they were trying to stop him. God exclaimed: You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20).
B. USES IT TO FACILITATE GOSPEL EXPANSION (Acts 23:12-25; Rom. 10:11-15)
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom. 10:14)
i. Rom. 10:11-15: The salvation Christ brings is for whoever believes, whether Jew or gentile (vv. 11-13; cf. Jn. 3:16). But how will this gospel of salvation reach ‘whoever’, wherever they are, if the preachers don’t have access to them? (vv. 14,15) Roman protection was a ready tool in God’s hand.
ii. Acts 23:12-25: God used the Roman authorities to save Paul from his assailants who would have surely killed him and, in a way, hampered the spread of the gospel. God used the Roman Empire to help preserve, and in some cases, spread Christianity.
iii. Jesus has given us the pattern of the Great Commission in Acts 1:8,it would obviously involve travelling on roads. God controlled the Roman government to put these in place. Roman engineers were among the best in the world (at that time). They built excellent road system, so remarkable that many of them are still being used today. These roads provided safety from bandits and harsh traveling elements. These helped the likes of Paul in his missionary activities.
iv. Another factor is the callousness of the Romans. The Roman Empire could not tolerate the people of the Way because they rejected emperor worship, authorities (cf. Heb. 10:34; 1 Pet. 1:6-8). The first persecuted of Christians under the Roman Empire was during the reign of Emperor Nero in 64 A.D. after the Great Fire through a decree known as The Edict of Milan by Emperors Constantine and Licinus.
v. However, God was causing a stir within Rome herself. Many began to belive and put their trust in Christ, with many ready to die for His sake. That is similar to what happened to the persecution of Acts 7 and 8 that launched the Church into what we know today as real missions in the Acts 1:8 pattern. God thus decided to use the persecution to solidly establish and spread the gospel of Christ.
vi. The persecution in a way, led to the scattering of some of the then disciples abroad, leading to the spread of the gospel as they kept in the witnessing everywhere they fled to.
vii. God is still in the business of turning tables around for His own purpose, so much that the activities of the enemy of the Gospel become the necessary instrument for the fulfilment of His divine will. May God turn all the enemies’ actions of glory for you and your household in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1. Salvation must be preached by all means, and it must be through human tools, hence God chose the Roman government and officials.
2. God used the Roman government of the day to convict, crucify and fulfil the promised ultimate sacrifice of the Messiah.
WORK TO DO
In several places, non-Christians are in government. What should be our attitudes, as Christian, to these sometimes very wicked and corrupt leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-7)?
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
i. Firstly, the corrupt and wicked activities of leaders in government do not serve as an excuse for Christians to rebel against them. They are there by God’s knowledge and for a purpose, though most times, unknown to man.
ii. The judgment of leaders is not in the hands of the followers. Followers should only obey and cooperate with the leaders, even as they apply wisdom of God, no matter how ungodly and corrupt the leaders are.
iii. Followers, most importantly, have the responsibility of praying for such leaders and committing their hearts unto God (Prov. 21:1).
iv. All Christians must be careful when dealing with ungodly leaders, as any act of insubordination and disobedience would be frankly punished by God.
v. We should instead pray that God fulfils His ultimate desire and purpose for putting such leaders in place at such time. God, at times, may decide to enthrone an ungodly or corrupt leader to punish the people for their sins. This however does not last forever (Psalm 30:5).