A. Society is a collective group of people.
1. It includes all the people in a certain area or community.
2. Church members and non-church members are all included.
B. But society is not simply a group of people who have no relation to each other;it is an organism.
1. The people in society are not related to each other as grains of sand are, but as parts of the body are to each other, as hands and fingers.
2. As part of the organism, each person has a unique and special place and function which God has determined for him.
C. God created society as an organism
1. Scripture speaks of the world and its population as an organism.
2. In one picture, the elect are considered the kernel of wheat, the reprobate as the chaff; yet both are part of the same plant.
D. It is our purpose to determine what is the relation between the chaff and the wheat.
1. We know they are in an inseparable relation.
2. What is it?
A. Politics is the science of and is in the service of the government of this society. It is:
1. The principles of government
2. The methods of government
3. Here we will speak simply of government, and not really politics.
B. God has ordained government for punishing evil and rewarding good.
1. See Belgic Confession, Article 36.
2. See Romans 13.
C. In our country humanism controls politics, and politics controls government. This is all backwards.
1. Scripture should be the guiding principle for government and for the science which lies behind it.
2. Instead of being in the service of the kingdom of heaven, most government seeks to rob God of His power and glory.
3. Instead of promoting and protecting the ministry, it seeks to overthrow it.
III. Therefore, what is our responsibility to government, politics, and society?
A. We must remember that first of all, all of our responsibility is to God.
1. The purpose of all our life is to glorify God.
2. This must be our starting point when we consider what is our proper relation with and responsibility toward society and government.
a) We may never let our relation to society and government determine our relation with and responsibility toward God.
b) But our responsibility to God must control and guide all our other activities.
B. As individuals:
1. We must seek the welfare of the fellow believer.
a) Both the physical,
b) And the spiritual welfare.
2. But we must also seek the welfare of those not in the church.
a) Often we think that our responsibility to help others ends at the back of the church directory.
b) But Scripture tells us otherwise: (Mt. 22:37-40, Luke 10:25ff, and Gal. 6:10).
C. As a church:
1. Our responsibility is first of all to preach the gospel. This is the one calling of the church.
2. There are many ways in which some say the gospel can be preached, other than off the pulpit.
3. But everything the church does must be directly in the service of preaching the gospel of Christ.
1.What is the relation between society and politics?
2. Where did government originate?
3. What is the purpose of government?
B. Individual responsibility
1. To government
a) Is there such a thing as political neutrality? Why or why not?
b) God gives us a place in society and an opportunity to direct its leaders. How can we do this? How far may (must) we go? Have you ever written a congressman? Is that proper? How did John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul deal with politics or governmental leaders in their lifetime?
c) Must we obey government when it is contrary to the law of God? When may we, or may we, refuse to obey? May we pay taxes that support abortions? That support illegal wars? May we fight in an illegal war? Is revolution or rebellion a proper way to change government? (How was the U.S. government formed?)
d) Can we effect change in government merely by voting and writing letters? Do the principles of the government have to be changed first? Is it the place of a Christian to seek to gain office in government for the service of the church?
e) Why do we rarely hear anyone pray for our government’s leaders? (Belgic Conf. Art. 36) How should we pray?
2. To society.
a) Who is your neighbor?
b) Whether elect or reprobate (and we don’t know) church member or not, we are called to love our neighbor. How do we show this love? Give concrete examples and discuss thoroughly!
C. Responsibility as a Church
1. What is the Church’s goal in all its activity? Is it to reform the world and transform society to be thoroughly Christian? Who believe this? Is it wrong? Why or why not? Will this ever happen? Prove from Scripture. Is this a valid reason not to attempt it?
2. What kind of work may the church do in its community? Would it be proper to set up social relief programs for the poor? Is the work of the deacons limited to the church? Prove. If not, where else would they begin? Where would they end?
These are only a few of the many questions that could be asked. Yet they are probably way too many for an hour discussion. Choose which you think are most interesting and most important and concentrate on those.