EBible Fellowship Sunday Bible Study – 19-Oct-2008


by John McOwen


Today’s study will be on a topic, and it is going to be a specific one.  I had a chance to talk to a couple of youngsters a few weeks ago about a couple of great ideas for a Bible study.  It is going to be on ruling, or position of authority, or being in charge of people. You might think that is odd that I was speaking to some youngsters about that and how that would come about, because the Bible talks about ruling and leadership, ruling over people a lot of times in government, especially kings in the Old Testament times.  But interestingly enough, the more I looked into the Scriptures about the topic of being in a position of authority, the more I found out.  And the more you think about it, the more obvious it is that almost each and every one of us at some point in our life, no matter how old or young we are, have some position of authority at some point.  Now the most obvious is if you are a ruler of a country. And right now we are in the midst of a Presidential election.  That is at the peak of America as far as office, it would be, the President of the United States. And then you have kings in other lands.  You can be a Congressman, you can be a Mayor, you can be a Judge in your state, your county, you could be a Supreme Court Judge, you can be a manager at work, you can be an executive at your company, you could perhaps be a supervisor just over a few people and doing some of the line work yourself.  But think about this too, this is a very relevant topic for all of us, you are a parent, you are in a position of authority, you have children under your rule. 

So whether you are a Mom or a Dad, both of you are in a position of authority, you rule in the household, and you have different offices there, and posts that you perform.  How about children, they do not rule over anyone do they?  What if you are a Captain of your sport’s team?  Then you might have a position of some authority there.  What if you are the oldest child in your family, and you are left to babysit the rest of your siblings, or you may have another position in your school, whatever it may be, in your activity, your club where you are leading other children or other of your peers.  You may be a counselor at a camp in the summertime, you may be 12, but you may be a counselor for the 6-year-old group.  You see how no matter where you look in life, there is a possibility that you may very well be in a position where you are in charge of other people even if it is briefly for three hours if it is a babysitting stint.  Or it may be everyday in the workforce, or as a parent, it may be 24/7, all week every day you have authority and control in the position of ruling over your family, over your children.  So what does the Bible have to say about how we behave in that position of authority?  Let us all take a look at the Scriptures, and see there are a couple of simple lessons we can gain today from looking at it.  And the first is going to be in 2 Samuel 23, because David said it perfectly here in 2 Samuel 23, right before his death. Anyone remember how old he was when he died?  He was 70 years old. Remember he was 30 when he took the throne, and he ruled in Israel over Judah, and then Israel for 40 years, so he was 70.  But anyway in 2 Samuel 23:1-3, after all those years of experience here is what he says:

Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, …

So you see how much he is reiterating over and over, this is the “Word of God,” I am saying it, I am ready to speak it, but God is saying it through me, and he finally says here, when he said, “the Rock of Israel spake to me,” in verses 3-4:

… He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; …

So he is likening successful ruling and leadership as the “light of the morning.”  How many of you wake up, especially over the last week or two, we had some very wonderful weather here in Pennsylvania, and you wake up in the morning, the sun is shining, it is bright, and what a blessing to just step outside in that crispness, or that freshness of the air, the bright light after a night of good sleep hopefully, and you just feel good.  Most people feel good when they start the day, it is later on we get tired.  So he is likening this ruling successfully with really just the best part of someone’s experience of how bright, how good it can be to people who are under your rulership, how good they can feel if you do it right.  Just like the sun causes us to feel wonderful when it is out, and sometimes we feel a little more miserable or a little more distressed when it is a cloudy day or rainy day.  So you see the contrast.  But here is what he says in verse 3:

… He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

I just want to translate that verse and the early part of verse 4 with the literal translation because it is going to tell us a word that is used other than just, “just.”  If you “rule over men you must be just,” whatever that means.  The literal rendering is:

One ruling over man righteously who rules in the fear of God is as the light of the morning, as the sun shines the morning without clouds; …

It says there, “ruling over man righteously.” So it is synonymous with being “just” who rules “in the fear of God.”  So there are two points to this.  So here is what we want to take away from the lesson today, whatever application you have in your life where you are in a position of rule or have authority, again whether it is briefly for a few hours, or whether it is on your team, or your club, or at school, or whether it is at home all the time, or at work five days a week. You have to be just or righteous, doing it righteously “in the fear of God.”  Let us study what those two things mean.  What does it mean to be ruling just or righteously?  And what does it mean then to do it in the fear of God?  Well, the word “righteous” or “just” as it is translated here, we will find it in a couple of places in the Bible. And let us see what it means to be “just” as we rule.  Genesis 6:9, and right there we read:

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man …

There is our word “just.”  Remember David said, “He that rules over men must be just.” 

…Noah was a just man …

And here we see:

and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

So, what is the further explanation of the word “just” as we found it in Genesis here? What else does it mean to be just?  Just means to be blameless, or the word in the King James here, “perfect.” Yet we cannot achieve perfection yet, the Bible says if you are ruling over men, think about this parents, or again whoever you are in a position, whatever it may be, where you have people under you, you have to be perfect.  Wow, that is a tough challenge, but yet, the Bible says that that is what it means to be just, to be perfect.  Well let us go on. Why would I have to be perfect?  What happens when I am not perfect, when I am in charge of other people?  What are the consequences of that?  Inevitably it happens, it happens.  What is one of the consequences? What does it bring to the office of your position?  What about a President who runs into some difficulty?  Remember we had an issue about eight or nine years ago and there was a sexual issue in the Presidency?  It brought shame to the office.  That is one of the consequences. 

What else happens if you are in charge of a couple of people, you are a teacher, you are a parent, you are the captain of your team, whatever it is and you do something wrong, what does it do?  Right away if you are the one in charge as Terry said, you do not achieve the goal, immediately there is going to be failure, and it is not just you who has the consequence, it is the people who are under you too, so you feel miserable when you fail them.  A babysitter who does not know the basics of calling 911 if there is an emergency, is going to have a horrible conscience if something happens to one of the children, and it was because they just did not have the wherewithal to follow certain protocol to call for help as an example. 

Well, Proverbs 25 tells us what that is like when we are in charge of other people and we do not do it quite right.  So here is what happens, and here is what it looks like.  Proverbs 25:26, and this is the same word “just.” Remember David said, “He that rules over men must be just,” but it is the same word “righteous,” they are synonyms, and here it is translated as “righteous”:

A righteous man …

So it is the word “just.”

… falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

So picture a fountain or a spring. Do any of you buy spring water?  Some of you do, I do. Or maybe you drink it out of the tap, but if you have spring water you pay that money, that premium to buy a gallon of spring water and it is corrupt, and it has bacteria in it, it defeats the whole purpose.  So “a corrupt spring,” “a troubled fountain,” when you are in charge of other people, instead of having that nice glorious fresh, clean, pure water flowing, it is corrupt, someone spilled oil in it, and it is messy and you cannot even drink it.  So it shows you what happens when you are in charge of others, and you fall down before them.  It is messy, it is an ugly picture, and it just ruins it for everyone who is under you.  Again, David said, a man that rules over others must be just, “ruling in the fear of God.”  Again “just” being perfect as Noah was as the Bible said. 

Genesis 7:1 tells us another one about this “just”:

And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

So it is the word “righteous.” We said earlier it was the word “just,” it is the synonym for the word “righteous.” And where is our righteousness found?  In Jesus Christ, we know that is the ultimate spiritual truth to it.  So if you are ruling over men, what do you then have to first and foremost be most diligent in?  If you are to be just and righteous you have to be spiritually minded first, that you are right with God.  It all starts there. I cannot discipline myself enough, I cannot be perfect in anyway, but if I am ruling over other people, the primary objective is for me to be righteous. If I am going to do it justly, and righteously, I need to be righteous, and I can only be righteous in Jesus Christ. So, I have to be very, very diligent to “Strive to enter in at the strait gate,” “labour therefore to enter into that rest” as the Bible commands us to do.  So I am constantly reading the Bible and studying the righteousness of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.  That is the only way I can be an example to others when I am ruling and I am in charge of them, and I am in a position of authority.  Let us go to Exodus 9.  Again, how can I rule justly over other people or righteously?  Exodus 9:27 says:

And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.

So there we have it, the LORD is the one who is righteous.  So that proves our prior point, that I can only be righteous in Jesus Christ. So if I am in a position of any authority, I am doing myself a huge favor, and others the more I am in the Bible, over and above anything else, because then I am hopefully found righteous in Christ, in God Himself and then I will have His guidance to make the right decisions, and His blessing upon all that we do.  My wisdom is not going to do if I am the President of the United States. Do you think you are going to be able to make all these decisions to get us out of the economic issue we are in right now?  You need God, you need God’s wisdom.  You are better spent spending an hour on your knees praying for that as a President rather than seeking and searching Wall Street for the name to bring calm to the markets.  The Bible tells us here, Pharaoh recognized it finally, “I and my people we are wicked” but God is righteous.  So we are acceding to Him for His guidance.  So we need to be praying for God’s guidance, for His righteousness to shine through me as I am in charge of my family, or people at work or whoever it may be. 

Proverbs 4 is another one talking about ruling justly, he “must be just” as he rules over men, and that of course means people, men, women, and children.  Proverbs 4:14-19 says, another good description here:

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just …

There is our word “just,” “He that rules over men must be just”:

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Back to Terry’s point.  If I am just, if I am in the path of justice what is it liken to?  God gives us another beautiful analogy here, but David said the same thing in 2 Samuel. And what is it?  When you are ruling justly what are you providing for the people under you?  Light, vision, pathway, clearness, the ability to walk in the light. Here it says you will “shine more and more unto the perfect day.”  But if you are doing wickedly and you are in that position, what happens?  It is darkness for you and for everyone else, and if you are in darkness, obviously your family is going to be in darkness too, right?  They are not going to be able to find the right way if you are not teaching the right way.  If you are not leading by example, if you are not speaking the right words, if you are not acting the right way with your decisions, your demeanor, your attitude, and your emotions.  So you see here, picture it, when you are in a position of leadership and you are doing it justly, rightly, you are avoiding evil, you are avoiding it, you are passing by it, you are not going to walk near it, you are doing it because you are bringing light to not only yourself, but the light is now going to shine onto the people under you, and now they can see where they are going, and have a clear path, which we are going to see in a minute where that ultimately leads. 

There is one other element to walking justly, in other words ruling over men doing it justly or righteously.  One other way we can really do it and focus in on it.  There are two verses we are going to look at, Proverbs 10:31-32. If you would turn there with me:

The mouth of the just …

There is David’s words again, “He that rules over men must be just.

The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: …

There is the same word “righteous,” “just.”

… but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

First let us go with the bad word there, “frowardness.”  What does the word “froward” mean?  Does anyone know? Gary?  Rebellion is a good synonym, contrary, you are disposed to disobedience, especially habitually.  That is what being froward means, you are habitually disposed towards that, contrary, disobedient, attitude.  So, in other words this contrasting is saying:

   The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: …

Verse 31:

The mouth of the just …

There is the same word.

… bringeth forth wisdom: …

So, if you are in a position of authority, what do you really have to have control over?  The tongue, the mouth, you have to know when to speak, when not to speak, and what to speak.  So immediately that dispossess us with the freedom to just snap and start to yell, to be angry, to speak things that we ought not.  So you have to be of a calm spirit, you have to have your tongue under control.  So when you are in charge of other people you have to be careful what you say.  You have to constantly be mindful of what you say.  Why?  Because people are listening, people are listening.  I have two nieces, six and four years old and I was with them briefly yesterday for a few hours, and I was tinkering with my car a little bit, and they were around me, and the six year old tattled on the four year old, and I had to be careful what I said.  I started this, because I was thinking of this message too. And in my mind, I had gone over it and I was like, I have to be careful how I say this. And I said to the six year old, “well, what she said was very negative,” that was a word she was not familiar with, negative, “What does that mean Uncle John?” And I started to say, “that means bad or wrong.”  So she started using the word negative all afternoon and I said, Wow, see how they listen.

  So you have to be careful what words you use.  I am glad I used the word negative rather than that was mean or awful, or she is a bad sister, or however I could have put it otherwise.  But we have to be careful with our mouth because it has to bring forth wisdom, and the only way we are going to be wise is not to study the Encyclopedias or the Internet, it is going to be to understand God’s wisdom and always have God’s Word ready to answer an issue for the children. If I am a parent, or even have people under you at work, or wherever you are in a position of any type of authority over other people, it is God’s Word that you want to have ready on your tongue to speak. 

Well, one more on this how to rule justly. Remember David said, “He that rules over men must be just,” or righteous.  Talking about the tongue, James 3:1-4, let us really just finalize this issue of speaking with wisdom, because that is part of what it means, as we just read in Proverbs, that is part of what it means to rule over men justly, or righteously it is with your tongue:

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

So right away it is saying, do not be many teachers. It is not like you are raising your hand to try to be in charge of every little council, committee, be teaching, or whatever it may be, because you are going to “receive the greater condemnation.”  Why?  Because other people are under your tutelage, and if you are not doing it right, you are going to affect a lot of people negatively.

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, …

Remember we said that Noah walked perfectly, remember he “was a just man” and he walked perfectly, and that is the same word David used, if you rule over men you have to be just.  Noah was perfect. And here we see you are a perfect man if you do not offend anyone in word.  So if you are soft spoken, you immediately have a huge advantage in your position of authority.  If you are a parent, think about that this week. How can I make sure I always speak, even if it is firmly, with authority?  I speak softly though, I speak right words, I speak wise words.  And here it goes on to say:

… we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth [wills].

So, in other words, the analogy is being made. A little steering wheel controls the whole car to use today’s analogy. What controls your whole body?  Your tongue, your mouth that controls everything else, it all starts with the mouth.  If you get one thing out of today’s lesson, if you are a parent, if you are a babysitter, if you are in charge of a club at school, whatever it is, watch the mouth all week, be careful of everything you say.  And if you are conscience of that all day every day for a week, you will find that your behavior will be a lot different probably then it sometimes is, because this happens so naturally we do not even think about it, we just start talking, and sometimes the wrong things come out of our mouth.  The Bible says in verse 5 of James 3:

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

Someone comes to you in confidence, let us say a younger brother or sister comes to you in confidence and says something. If you tattle or gossip what happens?  It spreads, you say one thing to one person that you should not and then boom!  The whole class knows about it, the whole family knows about it, whatever it may be, the whole work place knows about it.  That is unfortunate, and it all starts with the tongue, talking to other people about it.  So we have to really, really be careful because verses 10-11 of James 3 says:

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

We are back to that analogy again of the fountain.  Remember the “corrupt spring”?  When you are “A righteous man falling down before the wicked,” when you are a leader and you make a mistake, you sin, it is like a corrupt fountain or spring.  Here it says here, if your mouth is speaking both cursing and you are kind of gossiping on one side, but on the other you are blessing God, you are praising God, it is like a fountain.  Is it going to send forth both bitter water and sweetness?  Usually one or the other, you either have a messy body of water, or you have nice clean spring where they bottle beautiful spring water for you.  So that is the analogy you want to leave with today, with the mouth.  You are in charge of anyone you are ruling over, anyone you have a position of authority, even briefly, or all the time, watch the tongue, that is one way you can rule over men justly. 

There was one other thing David said, and that is what we are going to finish up with today.  Remember he said in 2 Samuel, David, “the sweet Psalmist of Israel” said, the Lord spoke by me saying, one of his last words, 2 Samuel 23 says these were the last words of David.  He said, “He that rules over men must be just.” Ruling how?  “In the fear of God.”  How do you rule? How do you walk before others “in the fear of God”?  Let us look at two Scripture examples and apply it.  2 Chronicles 19 will be the first one.  How do I rule “in the fear of God?” What does that mean?  2 Chronicles 19:8-10:

Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem.

What does it sound like in our day today?  What are these people?  Judges, they are to rule for controversies in judgment.

And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do …

So you are going to judge:

… in the fear of the LORD, …


… faithfully, and with a perfect heart.

We are back to that again that “perfect heart.”  How was Noah perfect?  Well one way was, and the only way is in Christ, but you are showing it with your mouth.  He who has control over his mouth is a perfect man, James 3 said.  So I am starting with my mouth, so you are faithful with a perfect heart:

And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, …

Domestic dispute, in other words today.

… between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, …

Someone violates the law of the land they are before the judge.

… ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass.

So how do I rule “in the fear of God”?  If I am in a position of judgment, or ruling, I have the ability to send a child to their room, or to ground them, or to take privileges away from them. Or I can control someone’s pay at work if I am their manager or supervisor or their employment even, whether they are fired, or they continue their employment. How do I do it “in the fear of God?”  How am I judging these people’s behavior against the laws or rules of the household, or the rules of the land, the laws, “in the fear of God.” What did verse 10 insinuate, or really say?  Whatever I am doing as I issue judgment, I am following it up by telling them as verse 10 says, you are warning “them that they trespass not against the LORD.”  You see, it is not because you made up some kind of crazy rule, or some kind of whimsical rule for the household, it is the fact that God has me in this position, these are the rules that we have set up to honor Him.  You violated them before Him, it is not me that you are doing it against.  If you are a manager of a company and your employee habitually comes in late, they are not doing that against you. Whom are they doing it against?  It is before God, they are not being diligent in their work before God.  You are to “warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you.”

So to rule people “in the fear of God” means that, you are tying in your judgment, in your position. If you have to make someone do twenty pushups, you are not doing it just because it makes you feel good and powerful, you are doing it because you want them to realize that this is a minor rule you just broke, but you want to make sure they do not violate God’s commandments where wrath will really come on the last day.  See that is how to do it “in the fear of God” because you want them to fear God as you fear God.  You rule “in the fear of God,” so that they would fear God, so you have to tell them that.  You tie that into every time you have to discipline, every time you have to make a judgment or decision, maybe hurt someone’s feelings, you are doing it with that in mind. 

Deuteronomy 31, is the second example of “ruling in the fear of God.”  Deuteronomy 31:12 says:

Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:

So here we have it.  What are they doing?  They are hearing:

… that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:

So here is the beautiful tie-in.  You may have a rule in your household that says they have to be back at the house by 9:00pm, that is your curfew.  It is not in the Bible anywhere,  But they come in at 10:00pm.  You have to discipline, you are not doing it “in the fear of God” if you do not also follow up with what this says here, that they may hear and learn, and they heard you, they heard the law and they are learning because you disciplined them, you grounded them for a week because they violated that family rule.  But here is the key, that they may learn to “fear the LORD your God.” So you have to tie that in and say it again. The reason why we have this is for your safety, but you have to understand that when you violate a family rule, it is just like violating God’s rule in the Bible which is going to lead to death, damnation.  You see, “ruling in the fear of God” is instituting the fear of God into others, because of the rules you have, and a lot of the rules are Godly and right in accord with the Bible.  But some of them may be just housekeeping ideas, and rules and what not, or protocol for whatever it may be in your club or whatever. 

So you see “ruling in the fear of God,” you have to do it by reminding them that violating God’s commandments is the ultimate reason why we have these rules in the first place, to remember that the consequences of that are so huge, you being grounded for two nights, is nothing compared to death because of sin.  So you are always tying that in, always tying that in to every time you discipline, or judge, or issue a ruling over someone. 

All right, so there it is. David said, “He that rules over men must be just” and he must do it “in the fear of God.”  So let us summarize it all and finish the lesson today.  I am ruling, or I have a position of authority, I have judgment over my siblings for three hours, am I going to get a haughty spirit about it?  Am I going to get proud and really be harsh with them if I have the chance?  Here is what the Bible says in Matthew 7, here is something to remember while you are ruling, parents while you are ruling too.  Matthew 7:1:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Here is how I want to summarize that, that does not mean that you cannot judge someone else if you are in that position.  If I am in a position at work and I have people under me, and there are five employees, and they can either all get a 3% raise or we can distribute it differently as long as it all equals out 15% total.  If there is one employee who is out all the time, comes in late, and is always goofing off, it does not make sense to give them 3%, maybe they get 1%, but a good employee gets 5% for a raise that year.  That is judgment, I can do that, you are the manager you have the right to do that.  But how are you doing your judgment?  If you are not the judge, lest you be judged.  Whatever judgment you judge, you are going to be judged the same.  Here is how I would put it. What if you were on the other side of that table, or you were the person who is under the position of authority, how would you want to be treated?  That is the key, that is how you want to make your judgment to your children or whoever it is.  If I were them how would I want to be treated?  And then that is how you want to adjudicate the judgment, the punishment, or the discipline, or the correction, whatever it may be, think of it that way.  Here is what happens, here is the good result.  When you rule “in the fear of God” and do it justly, here is the good result, Proverbs 29:2.  We are back to the idea of others being under you so you are either all going to succeed or fail.  A lot of it has to do with how you are going to lead if you are a leader.  Proverbs 29:2:

When the righteous are in authority, …

There is our word “just.” Remember David said,  “He that rules over men must be just,” when you are righteous and in authority:

… the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

So the people under you, your children, your team, your club, your siblings, they are going to rejoice when you do it right.  You are going to have a happy family when you are doing it God’s way and they are going to rejoice.  The nation will rejoice if there is a Godly President and he or she is ruling justly “in the fear of God.”  Israel did when Solomon was in charge.  It was unbelievable, it was nothing like it in the nation in his days. 

All right, so let us summarize the whole lesson.  If you want to think about this again tonight for the week in your position of ruling or authority, or you have some type of responsibility in your week, however and wherever it may be, I am going to give you one passage.  It is nice sometimes when Scripture will summarize a lesson in one passage.  I really think it does what we have talked about in Romans 13:1.  Let us go to Romans 13:1, and I am going to close with this. Romans 13:1-4:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whether you like it or not, you have a Mom and a Dad, and they are your Mom and Dad, and that is who God gave you, and that is who it is.  Whoever is elected President next month, that is who is the President, and that is the way it is.  So be it.  They are ordained of God:

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, …

Meaning that if you do good, if you are in the family, and you are behaving, your Mom and Dad are not going to do evil to you if you are behaving. 

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. …

When you do wrong, that is, when they have to step in and discipline.

Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

If you are doing good you are going to be reinforced. And as a ruler, as a leader when people are behaving, you cannot just take it for granted, you have to reinforce it.  When the children are doing good, you have to reinforce that behavior and compliment them, and reinforce it positively.  Do not just discipline then when they are acting good, just be like, well, that is the way they are supposed to be:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

So there you have it.  If you are ruling, if you are in authority, if you have responsibility in any aspect of your life, remember you have to do it justly, perfectly with your tongue especially, and in God, in Christ by being in the Book.  You have to do it “in the fear of God.” When you issue a judgment to someone, a penalty, a discipline, you are always reminding them that it is an example of when you disobey God’s Word, the wrath that comes from that is a million times worse. 

So, may God give all of us whoever of us here today that are in any of those positions of authority, the wisdom to do it His way, and that the people under us might be blessed.  Amen.