Friday, April 03, 2009

Coping with Social Collapse (9) - Officials

Positions of Authority
Christians in positions of authority may be able to use their influence to protect people from unnecessary harm. When Paul was shipwrecked on Malta, Publius the chief official of the island cared for Paul after his father had been healed.

They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed (Acts 28:10).
Christians should be open to God placing them in positions of authority where they can use their authority to do good in times of trouble. Many Christians would assume that Obadiah had compromised when he accepted a key position in Ahab’s evil government.
Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (1 Kings 18:3).
Yet God used Obadiah to protect many of his people. We should not be ashamed to take positions of influence in evil governments, if that is God’s purpose. God may put Christians in high places to protect his people.

Honest Officials
Paul was protected several times by honest gentile officials.
The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city (Acts 16:38,39).
The town clerk of Ephesus protected him from a riot (Acts 19:28-41). Paul used his rights as a Roman citizen to get protection from Gentiles rulers when he thought they might protect him. For example, he appealed to a Roman centurion when his life was under threat.
As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, "Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?" When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it….. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains (Acts 22:23-30).
While in Corinth, Paul was protected by Gallio the proconsul of Achaia.
While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court…. So Gallio had them ejected from the court (Acts 18:12,16).
Christian lawyers will use legal means to protect people who are being persecuted by hostile governments or dishonest leaders. They should study the law to find ways to protect Christians in trouble.

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