Who will save America, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?
There is not an evangelical Christian who wouldn’t immediately respond with the obvious answer, “Neither – Jesus Christ is the only one who can save this country!”
We truly believe that He is the answer but we live, react, worry, post, retweet, and rage as if our salvation is dependent upon one of two corrupt political parties.
Here is the truth. Politicians will come and go. Kingdoms will rise and fall. But the church of Jesus Christ will last forever.
Therefore, we must…
1. Stay Focused on the Mission of the Church
The church has survived the persecutions of Rome, the heresy of the Papacy, the brutality of the Ottoman Empire, and the insanity of European state-sanctioned churches. Nero could not break us, Diocletian could not contain us, Pope Gregory IX could not turn us, and Nietzsche could not silence us. We are the overcomers, outliers, and ultimate survivors. And as long as we stay focused on THE MISSION we advance the cause of Christ regardless of national identity.
- Love God & Love Others
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
- Tell Them, Teach Them, Help Them
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
In the first quarter of 2017 churches across America will wonder why they saw little numerical and spiritual growth during the 2016 calendar year. Few will recognize that they spent most of the year advancing the platform of the GOP or the DNC rather than the Gospel of Jesus. We will blame our spiritual stagnation and lack of productivity on the worsening culture. When in reality we simply took our eye off the ball. This has happened when our Facebook friends know more about our choice of candidate than they know of our love for Christ, when our church is known for its political affiliation rather than our neighborly affection.
And the political machine keeps moving down the track, occasionally using church of Christ as a voting block and then kicking us off the train once November turns into December. And we wonder why our churches keep shrinking.
2. Stop Prostituting the Bride of Christ
It’s amazing how excited we get when politicians show us a little attention. They promise to fulfill our dreams of religious freedom, sanctity of life, and a return to traditional values. They are professional sweet-talkers who take advantage of our naivety while telling us how beautiful they find our worldview. We then offer ourselves up to these pariahs. We give ourselves to them in exchange for promises of a better future. But once they’ve had their way with us in November we can’t seem to get a return call in December. And then we opine, “I thought they really liked us.”
Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
We give them our pulpits – knowing we only have 40 minutes a week to extol the virtues of the Gospel we choose rather to promote a politician. We give them our social media – our public voice is limited in scope but we spend our limited influence on worldly matters. We give them our minds – thinking continually upon the election rather than thinking continually upon the God of Heaven. We give them our hearts – trusting that these Messiah figures will bring lasting change and societal hope.
If we spend more time in political arguments than in evangelistic efforts & discipleship moments – WE LOSE. When we win the political argument but lose the opportunity of advancing gospel – WE LOSE. If someone unfriends you, leaves your church, or cuts you off for the sake of the Gospel – this is fine. But if these are happening for the sake of American politics – this is dangerous.
We are the Bride of Christ. We belong only to Him. The GOP has no claim on us with their message of Self Reliance. The DNC has no claim on us with their message of Social Justice. When the world begins to view us as a predictable voting block rather than a supernatural place to find answers – we’ve lost. And more – MUCH MORE – is at stake than the House or the Presidency.
3. See the Sovereign Hand of God in All Things
I don’t remember an election that wasn’t “the most important election in our lifetime.” How could every election be the most important? I remember Bill Clinton being elected in 1992. I heard that we should expect a great depression and a removal of God’s blessing upon our country. In 2000 I remember lying in bed, listening to the radio as the results were tabulated (again, and again) in Gore v. Bush. I was elated by the news that an evangelical Christian was now entering the white house. Everything would change now for the better.
I’m not saying that voting doesn’t matter. I’m not saying to let go and let God. I’m simply reminding us that God can be trusted to guide the affairs of man.
Psalm 75:6-7 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will.
So, what can we do?
Yes. It matters. People throughout history have given their lives for the right to vote. For us to squander this opportunity would be wrong and unwise (Romans 13:7). Vote your values. A Christian should view every decision through the Gospel Lens. This is also true in the civic duty of voting.
God gave you a voice. Use it. I thank God for the godly Christians in American history who patiently and calmly expressed their political views. John Adams, John Jay, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr., are among those who stood for Biblical principles when unpopular to do so. Yet I would caution that we not speak out about everything – every time. Speak when you have the greatest chance at actually influencing someone. Speak when you are adequately informed. Speak only after you have listened to and heard the other side.
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Calm Down & Pray
“You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” – John Bunyan
Trust God’s Decision
At times we, the people of God, tend to forget that God is playing a long game here. He knows what He ultimately wants to do with America. He knows what this nation needs to become in order to advance His Kingdom. He knows, better than we, what must occur on November 8th.
Daniel 2:21 He removeth kings, and setteth up kings.
STAY FOCUSED ON THE LOCAL CHURCH
Grow it! Encourage it! Love it! Advance it! Promote it! There is only one thing that Jesus promised would thrive long after our deaths… and it wasn’t the promise of America.
Matthew 16:18 I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
I believe that our Devilish Enemy has learned that nothing from without can hinder, let alone stop, the church of Christ. But what if he can divide us from within? What if he can distract us with lesser pursuits? What if he could get us off message and off mission?
At this point, could it be that the enemy has given up the idea of defeating us and is simply content with distracting us?
What are your thoughts? Where am I going wrong? Where do you agree? Please comment in the thread below and I will attempt to answer each.
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Bob MorrisseyOctober 17, 2016 at 10:24 pm
Love your biblical attitude and approach to this political mess that we Christians are wading into.
Fred GomezOctober 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm
Thank you for this, preacher. I have been wanting to say exactly this to all my friends on both sides. I feel like I lack so much when it comes to putting thoughts down on paper. I appreciate you speaking out.
Jon BarkerOctober 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm
I hope others under your influence will follow this leading. It is refreshing to hear preachers we know approach this properly.
Justin TalbertOctober 21, 2016 at 5:26 am
Appreciate this post. If I could think of one word to describe it I would say, Biblical. And because it is Biblical, it is encouraging and draws us to focus on the most important thing… Jesus! Thank you for using your voice to help Christians understand where to keep their focus. I agree it is our responsibility to vote. So we vote, pray and continue the work we have been given. Thank you.