Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who is that tall, skinny, guy with the great hair?

This is not the best quality in the world, but it is fun to remember. This was in 1986 at Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles, La. One of the last Common Good concerts. Also, its good to remember Gary Griffith, one of the best friends I ever had. He stands now in the presence of Christ and the assembly of the first born! Miss you brother!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

THE BIBLE AND THE ELECTION

God commands believers to think and act Biblically. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16 to let the Word of God dwell richly in you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom through it. This means that God’s word should direct our thoughts and our actions. God’s word is the one true source of wisdom for the believer.
And wisdom is certainly what we need as we approach this election.

So, what does God’s word have to say about the coming election?

I) GOD IS IN CONTROL SO WE HAVE NO NEED TO FEAR – Psalm 24 tells us that the Earth is the Lord’s and all the fullness of the thereof. In Psalm 145 God is called a great king and the Lord of all. This means that He is sovereign. He is in control.

A) GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL THINGS -
Isaiah 14:24-28 – God’s purposes and plans will come about.
In Isaiah 46:9-10 I am God, and there is no other. I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘my counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.

Too many Christians are approaching this election as if God were up in heaven wringing his hands saying, “Oh my goodness, what am I gonna do now.”

Nor do we believe that God is uninterested in what is happening in our nation today, or any other nation on the planet. We do not believe that God was simply a cosmic watchmaker who created the universe and humanity, wound it up and then sat back to let it run without any input or interest.

We believe and the Bible teaches that God is active in the affairs of men, and that his purposes and plans will be carried out. No one and nothing can frustrate the plans of Almighty God.

Remember Proverbs 21:1 – The King’s heart is like channels of water n the hand of the Lord, He turns it wherever he wishes.
Regardless of who is elected, God’s purposes will be accomplished. No man, no group of men, no demon of hell, nor Satan himself can stop God’s purposes!

B) GOD IS SOVEREIGN EVEN OVER ELECTIONS –
Proverbs 8:15 (ESV)15 By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just;
Daniel and his friends are interpreting King Neb’s dream about the future.
Daniel 2:21 (ESV)21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
God has established government and establishes who governs.
What this means to us is that we should not live in fear of what may occur because of this presidential election.
ILLUS: Internet fear mongering. Dr. James Dobson’s letter from 2012. God is not caught off guard by anything that is occurring in our world today. As believers we can and should live in confidence and hope.

II) CHRISTIANS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO VOTE -
The fact that God is sovereign does not mean that we should not vote. Listening to the radio the other day I heard a man complain that he didn’t like either candidate and just simply was not going to vote.
I don’t believe that is a viable option for a believer.

In an article in Christianity Today Chuck Colson calls voting our sacred and civic duty. Voting is required of as good citizens and as God’s agents for appointing leaders.

Romans 13 – God established government. God has a God-given purpose of enforcing law and order and punishing evil doers. Christians have a responsibility to be good citizens of the government under which we live.

In the book the City of God Augustine states that believers live in two cities, the city of God and the city of man. While believers live in the city of man they do not belong to it. We are like people living in a foreign country, our true home is in the city of God or heaven.

Augustine taught that if we live in the city of man and enjoy its blessings, we must take on the obligations of citizenship. And instead of doing our duty out of obligation or duty, we do it with joy and devotion to Jesus Christ.

III) JUSTICE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ECONOMY -
Remember the slogan – “It the economy stupid!”
Well, “Its about justice stupid”

Moral issues are more important than the recession. They are more important than the crash on wall street.

Proverbs 14:34 (ESV)Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

It is righteousness that exalts a nation. It is righteousness that brings the favor of God upon a people.

We have to take more than a surface look at candidates. Simply claiming to be a Christian should not be enough.

Martin Luther’s famous statement – I’d rather be ruled over by a competent Muslim, than an incompetent Christian.

Two issues of justice in America today.

A) ABORTION – I refuse to vote for any candidate running for any office that supports abortion. Abortion is the legalized murder of unborn children.

There are 1.37 million abortions per year in the US. That amounts to 3700 a day.

The Bible tells us in Psalm 139 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That God has knit us together in the womb. In the book of Luke chapter 1 John the Baptist leaps in his mother’s womb when Mary, pregnant with Jesus comes near.

We have to remember that who ever wins this election, especially if its Barrack Obama, will probably have the opportunity to place 2 or more new supreme court justices on the bench. I will not tell you who to vote for, that is between you and God, but for this reason I will not vote for him.

B) SAME-SEX MARRIAGE – The Bible is clear that marriage is one man and one woman until death do them part.

In California Prop. 8 will if passed make Gay marriage unconstitutional. Whether or not it passes, Gay marriage is an abomination to God.
I do not believe that homosexuality should be outlawed. But it should not be made legitimate. It is a perversion.

C) CARE FOR THE POOR – As Christians it is our responsibility to care for those who are without. In Acts the church in Jerusalem writes to the Gentile that they should not be circumcised and become Jews, but they should care for the poor.

If a candidate appeared on the scene tomorrow who could fix all our economic troubles, erase the national debt, make all Americans financially secure and clean up the environment, I would not vote for him or her if they stood on the wrong side of issues of justice.
The Bible tells us that God is in control, that we as believers must vote. We have found that justice trumps the economy. Now, we find that
IV) ALL BELIEVERS ARE CALLED BY GOD TO SUBMIT TO AND PRAY FOR OUR LEADERS
Christians have a responsibility to their leaders.
A) SUBMIT TO OUR LEADERS –
Romans 13:1 – Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. We are to respect them and obey the law as long as that law does not break God’s law.
IE – If the law says drive 55 – believers should.
If a law were passed that said I had to marry homosexuals – I would not.

Whoever wins will be your president and should be respected and honored as such. I think many Bible believing Christians blew it on this with Bill Clinton. None of us liked many of his stances, none of us could agree with his immoral actions, but he was president and the Bible called us to respect and honor him as such.

B) PRAY FOR OUR LEADERS – I Timothy 2:1 – First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

NOTE – Prayers and thanksgivings. Wed morning we should get up and pray for our new president, regardless of who we voted for.
Thanksgivings – that’s right.
Now remember, Paul is writing these words to Christians who are suffering under the rule of pagan Roman emperors. These men were cruel, bloodthirsty and godless. They harshly persecuted believers. Yet, Paul instructed them to pray for them and thank God for them.
It goes back to God’s sovereignty. We should thank God for this great nation, for the privileges we enjoy and the man God has placed as our new president!

V) FINALLY, THE GOSPEL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS ELECTION.

With all the TV coverage and press that this election has received, you would think this is the most important issue in the world. Now, it is important. I would not preach this message if it were not.
It is not the main thing.

NO PRESIDENT AND NO GOVERNMENT CAN SAVE YOU!

Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to turn this nation around.
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Government can change a person’s heart. Government cannot provide an answer to mankind’s greatest problem, Sin.
Only through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can anyone’s sin be forgiven. There is only one name by which anyone can be saved. That name is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ created this universe with all its wonder and glory. He came to earth as a man, born in a stable. He lived a sinless life. Performed miracles that proved he was the Son of God. He was crucified, buried and rose again on the third day. He sits at the right hand of the Father today. And one day he will judge all of humanity. Only those whose names are in His book of life will enter into heaven and live eternally. All others will spend eternity in a devil’s Hell.

The main thing is to lead people to faith in Christ. What will do in faith visitation this afternoon is far more important than Tuesday’s election. The witness you share at school, at the university, at work, or even at home is far more significant than the vote you will cast this week.

That is why we have hope.
Remember Augustine’s city of man and city of God. The city of man, this earth, this life, this country, this world system we live in is passing away. There is coming a day when it will cease too exist. The city of God is eternal. When the election of 2008 is a memory a million years old, God’s saints will still live and rejoice with the heavenly father.

The most important thing is live a holy life, pray and share you faith with those around you.

CONCLUSION:
What does the Bible say about this election?
God is in Control – don’t fear it!
Vote – that is our sacred duty as believers.
Remember that justice outweighs the economy.
All believers are commanded by God to submit and pray for our next president.
And finally, the Gospel is more important than any earthly election could ever be.
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