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Devotional - "post-election 2012 –back To Kingdom Business"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. – Matthew 10: 16 (ESV)

    There are days when even as a reverend you just about have had all you can take. After months on end about politics, it all came to an end yesterday when the President was reelected. But it didn’t come to an end because Christians took to social media to vent the most hateful, divisive, and generally ridiculous things they could muster, wrap it up in God, and then have the impudence to lay it at the feet of the world that is still walking in darkness. Please understand that everyone is entitled to their own political opinion. As believers however we are not entitled to our own Biblical opinion. We especially are not entitled to use God to prop up our pre-formed political opinions. The Bible says we will be held to account for every careless word and there are a lot of careless words being flung around right now. Dear Lord, do we even take God seriously anymore? Are we no longer terrified by His majesty that we think that we can manipulate the Word of God to hide our own political bigotry? Do we think that when God says to work out our salvation with fear and trembling that it is only a suggestion?

    The key verse comes from when Jesus first sends out the twelve Apostles to preach that the kingdom of God is near. Nowhere does Jesus say to berate them morally. Nowhere does Jesus instruct them to act piously and lord themselves over those who need to hear the Word. He tells them that they are sent as sheep among the wolves. Unfortunately today the sheep have become as ravenous as wolves. We do not approach the world with the love of Christ. We approach them with the morality of religion. We pick up the sword of the Spirit and use it to tear them to pieces for their sin. Then, as they are lying in the pool of blood we have spilled, we have the audacity to blame everything that is wrong in this country on the fact that they refuse to join us in the hunt of other sinners to bludgeon. Are we serious? Jesus gives them two analogies for how they need to behave and it remains true for us today as we spread the Gospel. You remember the Gospel right? Go into all the world and preach the Good News. Setting captives free, opening blind eyes, release for those prisoners in bondage? Nothing about our pet political agendas. Nothing about being judgmental. Just two analogies which we fail miserably at. Be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.

    I have seen far too many willfully ignorant Christians. Wise? Hardly. Just in the first hour after the results were in last night I saw postings from Christians insisting that this was “the beginning of the end” and that “God was now going unleash His judgment upon sinfulAmerica.” Branding anyone who dared not vote for the guy who was part of a non-Christian cult, as somehow betraying God and the Bible. It was quite a spectacle to behold. The lack of wisdom is staggering. First of all, it completely dismisses the God they claim to serve and the Word they claim to know:

    He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power.He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. – Daniel 2: 20-21 (NLT)

    I know this will disappoint many of the Christian political operatives out there but it really is NOT our job to try and influence culture through political means. It is our job to save people from the decaying culture by presenting them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That He loves them and died for them so they can have eternal life. Nothing about protesting at abortion clinics. Nothing about screaming about which state adopted gay marriage. God does not expect us to set up a theocracy in this country beloved. He expects us to show the love, grace and mercy we have received to others. God does not expect us to prepare this world for His arrival either. That is known as dominionist theology. We should not seek to be relevant to the culture of this world and we should not seek to force it to change to what we believe. We are supposed to be salt and light; not pepper and glitter. These verses from Daniel assure us that even though we may have been surprised at the election results last night – God wasn’t! I actually saw one Christian brother excusing his hateful rants by confusing the decretive will of God with His permissive will. The permissive will being what God permits, and decretive being what He chooses in His sovereignty. Here is the newsflash – they are both His will! Either way, based on these verses from Daniel it is clear that the course of world events such as presidential elections falls under the sovereign decretive will of God. What does that mean in non-Christianese? It means God voted for Barack Obama last night. Is it wise as serpents then to rail against the will of God? Because that is exactly what I see so many Christians doing. Does that mean in his heart that Obama represents everything God wants? Of course not. We don’t either I might add yet He chose to use us as well.

    The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases. – Proverbs 21: 1 (NLT)

    The heart of all leaders is in the hands of God beloved! Is it wise to continually question the ability of God? Is this the “beginning of the end?” Is this man simply too much for God to handle? Was Nebuchadnezzar? How small do we make God appear to non-believers when we openly act as if the world ended yesterday? In fact – what is our proper responsibility?

    I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. – 1Timothy 2: 1-2 (NLT)

    I remember an old friend who used to confuse his politics with his faith, and he actually said after the 2008 election that he would not pray for the president. Then you are not only being willfully ignorant but also willfully disobedient. Is that being as wise as serpents? Listen, you do not have to pray that everything in his worldly agenda is achieved! Just that God’s will is achieved through him! I can see the ruffled feathers already – God can’t use a liberal! God can use anyone beloved. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer. You want to see a walking Jerry Springer show – take a look at the life of Jacob. Twelve children with four different women who all lived together! We are absolutely meant to pray. We are to pray for the president and all who are in authority – not for our agenda but for God’s. His agenda is outlined in the above verse. That we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. Dear Lord help us to be wiser when it comes to our interactions with the world.

    At the same time however, we need to be as innocent as doves. Another translation says as harmless as doves. The sad truth however is that we do plenty of harm to the kingdom of God through our arrogance, judgmentalism, and bloated sense of pseudo-piety. In the church we often get things backwards, and when it comes to judging we definitely do:

    It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”– 1Corinthians 5: 12-13 (NLT)

    Instead, we turn a blind eye to the judgment of sin inside the church by misusing the “judge not” verses from the Gospel of Matthew and then turn our eyes towards a world that is walking in utter darkness and berate them for not repenting. There is a reason why the verses from Chronicles says if the people who are called by MY name will repent and turn from their evil ways that God will hear those prayers and heal the land. Repentance always starts with me – not the other guy. Take a good honest look at the landscape of the church inAmericaand you will find the problem. Churches that have sold God out for money and prosperity, fleecing the poor in the name of God. Churches that adopt heretical theories of church growth thinking that they provide the increase that only God provides. Churches that water down the Gospel and invite secularism and the spirit of antichrist directly into the body of Christ in the name of relevance. I have written extensively about this but it bears repeating. The church is the chosen vehicle of God. Not to overturn Roe versus Wade but to bring the Gospel to the lost. Not to trump up the sin of homosexuality into a super-sin so we can feel better about ourselves but rather to be salt and light to a dying world. Those that are on the outside of salvation looking in have their own problem and when Jesus comes back it will become painfully aware to them. But the notion that God is going to come back to visit judgment upon the unsaved in this country and pat the church on the back for protesting gay pride parades is ludicrous and shows an unbelievably poor understanding of scripture. God is infinitely concerned about the role the church plays beloved because we know better than those walking in darkness. We have the greater responsibility.

    Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” – John 19: 11 (NLT)

    These are the words of Jesus to Pilate! So the man who sentences Jesus to be crucified after he had Him flogged to within an inch of His life does not have the greater sin. Why? Because Pilate was an unbeliever. He was merely doing as the world he lived in did. Is it sin in the eyes of God? Absolutely, but not the greater sin in this story. That belonged to the High Priest Caiaphas; who turned Jesus over to Pilate and orchestrated events to ensure His crucifixion. Caiaphas has the greater sin because he had the greater responsibility – because he knew better! Likewise, we in the church are supposed to know better beloved. We are not supposed to ignore portions of the Bible when it doesn’t suit our pre-conceived political agendas. Harmless as doves we are supposed to be! Do no harm! You want to make a political argument that the country made a bad choice last night – knock yourself out as long as you are truthful. But stop wrapping God up in your politics and pretending that those who may have voted otherwise somehow violated Scripture. God is not a respecter of man. When I think of how we act sometimes I am reminded of this short story in the Gospel of Luke:

    As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them.So they went on to another village. – Luke 9: 51-55 (NLT)

    There’s the spirit of the modern church! If they don’t agree with us, let us call down fire from heaven to consume them! This is a great analogy for us today. The Samaritans were part Jewish but they believed Mount Gerizim, not Jerusalem, was the place chosen by God for His temple. So when they saw Jesus was passing through to get to Jerusalem, this appeared to them as foolishness. As such, they did not welcome Him. Likewise, when we concentrate on our beliefs and try to transpose them onto those in the world, it will appear to them as foolishness as well. They also will not welcome it beloved. You can scream at a homosexual all you like that they chose their lifestyle, they will not believe it. You can insist to a woman that what is growing inside of her is a precious human life but she may not see it that way. Things that are spiritually discerned require the spirit of the living God. But there are two other lessons here for us.

    First of all, look at the reaction of James and John! They certainly appear quite offended and seriously consider calling down fire from heaven! Oh how often do we act similarly when the world rejects the absolute truth we know? Once we are saved it is no longer about us and our delicate sensibilities beloved. It is about them and how we can show them Christ. The Bible is a two edged sword, not a blunt instrument designed to smack people over the head with. Too often we wield it like a mace instead of a sword. The reason it is double edged is that it is supposed to cut us right back as well. Secondly, they simply went on to another village. There is always someone else that needs to hear the Gospel! Remember, those who refuse to hear will have their hands full when we are held to account. When Jesus looked out upon the multitudes He was moved with compassion because He knew they were like sheep without a shepherd. Too often when the church looks out upon the multitudes it does so with derision, blaming them for the ills we find in our society. We then judge them with a measuring rod they simply do not understand and then we wonder why they want nothing to do with us.

    The election is over. God has in power who God wanted in power as part of His decretive will. The Bible says our job is to pray for that person and all leaders. Furthermore, we need to stop all the vitriol, hate, and leveraging of God for our own personal and political persuasions. There is a world out there that is separate from their God. They need to hear the Gospel. They need to hear it preached in love. They need to taste the saltiness of Christians and see the light within us to lead them to the cross of Jesus Christ. They do not need us to call down fire from heaven to consume them. It is time to be wise with our words and do no harm by our actions. It is time to get back to Kingdom business.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – November 7, 2012
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