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Sermons & Study Guides

National Church Establishments Pt. 16 - (The National Church—The Magistrate’s Power Circa Sacra 2)

James Dodson

National Church Establishments

(The National Church—The Magistrate’s Power Circa Sacra 2)

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (1 Tim. 2:2)

Question.—What are the general rules which must guide the magistrate under the New Testament? Answer.—The general  duties  of  magistrates  must  be  constrained  by  two overriding principles of concern: First, It is the duty of all men to study the glory of God in all departments of life,  especially  their  callings, Eccl.  9:10;  Col.  3:23;  apart  from  which  they  only plow in sin, Prov. 21:4.  So, too, kings and magistrates must order and regulate their  business,  whether  matters  of  commerce,  peace  or  other  interests  of  the commonwealth, to make all subservient to Christ’s great interest and the good of His church, Eph. 1:22. Second, They are to take care that all the Lord’s institutions are observed as well as His glory promoted throughout the kingdom, Ezra 7:23; 6:10-12. Question.—What particular things must the magistrate do for the promotion of the true religion? Answer.—Among  the  particular  duties  of  magistrates  on  behalf  of true religion are: First, They should act as godly Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah by sending forth, according to God’s  order, approved and faithful ministers, by whom the  true religion  will  be  published,  purity  of  worship  studied,  and  holiness  of  life inculcated, as well as discovering and reproving all ungodliness, 2 Chron. 17:8, 9; 29:11-19.  Indeed, they should be forward in the reform and up building of the people of God, 2 Chron. 30:1, 5-9.  Furthermore, they should speak comfortably to those ministers who are faithfully discharging their duties, 2 Chron. 30:22.Second,  They  should  erect  and  maintain  schools  and  universities  for  the better educating of the people in the principles of the true religion, Eccl. 1:12; 2 Chron. 17:7.  Additionally, it belongs to them to allow ministers an honorable maintenance because it is God’s express ordinance, 1 Cor. 9:14; in this way, they bring the wealth of the Gentiles into the church, Isa. 60:16, 17. Third, They may command and order the people to come and attend upon the ministry of the Word, as the great means appointed by Jesus Christ for their instruction unto salvation, Luke 14:23. Fourth, When people have declared themselves to be a willing people, and profess  to  embrace  the  Lord  and  His  ways,  Ps.  110:3;  it  is  competent  to  the magistrates to engage them by covenants, stirring them up in a moral way, 2 Kings  23:3.    To  this  end  they  may  also  command  days  of  fasting  and thanksgiving, especially in conjunction with covenant renewals, 2 Chron. 20:3, 
13;  Jon.  3:5-8;  Ezra  10:11  (the  word  translated  “confession,” ,  means thanksgiving or praise). Fifth, It belongs to magistrates to reject corrupt and unworthy ministers, such as starve and fleece the flock, Ezek. 34:2-6; because as nursing fathers, Isa. 49:23; they cannot commit the  charge of their children to such in faithfulness, Ezek. 34:23-25.    It  was  to  this  end  that  Samuel  made  an  annual  circuit  throughout Israel, 1 Sam. 7:15-17. Sixth,  They  ought  to  prevent,  and  pull  down  idolatry,  superstition,  being spiritual adultery, and esteemed by God as the defiling of the marriage bed of the nation, Isa. 57:5-9; for this is the duty of the magistrate, as demonstrated in the Old Testament, so that the uprightness of their heart was judged by this, 1 Kings  15:26,  34;  16:26,  31;  2  Kings  10:29;  23:19,  24.    It  is  said,  in  the New Testament, that ten kings shall come unto Christ and, in so doing, they shall hate the whore and make her desolate, Rev. 17:16. Seventh, On the same account, they ought to do the like with all blasphemies and damnable doctrines, 2 Chron. 34:33; Lev. 24:16; Deut. 13:5-15; the spreaders whereof are termed dogs and evil workers, etc., and should not be tolerated, Phil. 3:2; Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29. Question.—Why should magistrates concern themselves with such matters? Answer.—Because  magistrates,  holding  the  office  of  nursing  fathers,  Isa. 49:23; should not merely provide wholesome bread for his children, but keep them back from poison, since: First, Heresies are works of the flesh, Gal. 5:20; and can no more demand toleration than any of the other works of the flesh described, Gal. 5:19-21. Second,  They  are  compared  to  a  leprosy,  or  gangrene,  2  Tim.  2:17;  which must be excised from all society, Lev. 13:45, 46. Third,  These  cause  the  way  of  truth  to  be  blasphemed  and  make  religion appear a vain thing, 2 Pet. 2:2.  Which is contrary to the duty of magistrates to make beautiful the house of God, Ezra 7:27.