Sunday, August 16, 2020

Christian Politics – Part 1: Does it Matter if/how I Vote?

 

Christian Politics –

Part 1: Does it Matter if/how I Vote?

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

Online Audio Files | HOF Church Facebook | Truth Digest Facebook

 

This Document is a Sermon Outline, you may hear the full audio of the actual sermon by following the link Online Audio Files located above for this, and other Full Sermon Audios.  For a complete list of Sermon Outlines, visit TruthDigest.org or Truth Digest on facebook; for our Official Church website, visit PS127.org, or find us on Facebook at House of Faith Church

 

SERMON INTRODUCTION

Does it matter if / how I vote?

With the upcoming elections (November 3rd, 2020) I feel it is important for us as Christians to examine some very important issues, such as whether or not you should vote, if so how should you vote?

Now, when I make the statement “how should you vote,” I am in no way implying I will tell you who to vote for, or how “I think” you should vote on issues, rather, what the bible says about important issues that face us as a society today.

If we are followers of Christ, then we live by His ways, not ours, and for us to be a light in the world we need to examine and understand His ways so we can rightly represent the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at some of the following issues.

Ø  Would Jesus vote is he physically living in the USA today?

Ø  What about the matters of life and death? Stem cells, suicide, healthcare, abortion, euthanasia?

Ø  Crime and punishment

Ø  War, defense, and national security

Ø  Guns and matters of defense

Ø  Immigration and matters of national security

Ø  Marriage

Ø  Education

Ø  Economy, budget, trade, campaign finances

Ø  Green Values

These are the major issues at hand today, and we need to remember, we have the choice to defend values during an election for out nation, and in the immortal words of the rock group RUSH, if you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

If you are more science than rock band, Albert Einstein said “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.”

So, let us look at our series, Christian Politics

 

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 22:15-22

“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.”

 

             I.        SHOULD CHRISTIANS VOTE?

a.    Jehovah’s Witness and their beliefs on government

                                                 i.    Some of their teachings are the traditions of men

                                               ii.    Some of their teachings are misunderstood scripture

                                              iii.    They do not believe in voting, joining the military, serving in public office, pledging allegiance to our flag.

 

b.   Why don’t they vote?

                                                 i.    Because of John 17:14 where Jesus states that His followers are not of this world,”

                                               ii.    Sounds legit

1.    Not of this world

2.    We belong to the Lord’s Kingdom

3.    We shouldn’t take part in worldly things if we are not part of the world 

                                              iii.    However, this is not what Jesus meant.

                                              iv.    We are not “of” this world, but are called to live in it to be a light

 

c.    We are not to “conform” but be transformed

                                                 i.    Romans 12:2 states that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (think like Christ)

                                               ii.    Then, by testing we may discern the will of God, what is good and perfec 

                                              iii.    Once transformed, discerning the will of God, what is good and perfect, we can then be a “light” in this dark world 

                                              iv.    If Jesus meant that we, as His followers, were NOT to take place in any government involvement, then He would not have stated the following in the Bible;

 

1.    “Give unto Caesar what is his…” Matthew 22:21

 

2.    “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2

 

 

 

3.    “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

 

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:11-17

 

                                               v.    Does this sound like Jesus doesn’t want you to do your part in the government in which you live?

 

 

           II.        I BELIEVE WE ARE TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR CITIZENSHIP

a.    Jesus was very political in His ministry

                                                 i.    Not a “church-state” rather a state that honors God

1.    Roman Catholics had a church-state in England

2.    We left it to start a FREE country not ruled by Kings who oversaw the operation of the church using it as the Romans did to control Jews through the Sanhedrin

 

                                               ii.    Jesus didn’t tell followers who to support

1.    Didn’t form political “parties”

2.    No political programs

3.    No political protests or marches

4.    No steps to influence Caesar, Pilate or Herod

 

                                              iii.    Yet His whole ministry was political as in His concern with the way human society lived and operated.

 

 

b.   Liberty, Freedom and the Sovereignty of God

                                                 i.    This is the teaching from the Word of God that led to the foundation of our Constitution and the American Revolution

c.    We can see what God thinks about politics and citizenship in the Word

                                                 i.    There are many scriptures, including the reference used today, that gives us insight and direction in how we are to serve God through our being Good Citizens!

 

 

          III.        EXAMINE THE WORD ABOUT JESUS AND POLITICS

a.    The political question asked of Jesus

                                                 i.    Just before the Crucifixion of Jesus he was examined by the high priests (as was the custom in that day to examine the sacrifice to ensure it was blemish-free) though they did not realize they were doing so.

 

                                               ii.    The Sadducees along with the Herodians set out to trap Jesus

 

                                              iii.    Sadducees believed they should not pay taxes to a worldly government, and the Herodians were pro-tax in helping the government

 

                                              iv.    These two were usually enemies, but united forces to attack Jesus, wanting Him to choose a side.

 

 

b.   Jesus saw it was a trap

                                                 i.    Though they opened with flattery, “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.” Matthew 22:16b

 

                                               ii.    They ask the question, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”

 

                                              iii.    Jesus still answered setting the precedent for not just taxes, but our relationship with government and political issues.

 

 

c.    Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?”

                                                 i.    They were hypocrites because they didn’t really want an answer, they were trying to trick Jesus into picking a side, because either side He publicly chose would put Him in a bind, but Jesus knows that!

 

                                               ii.    Jesus replies, “Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

                                              iii.    Render, used here (GRK: Apodidomi) means to pay back or give back

1.    Jesus implies here an obligation or debt, not optional, but required

2.    Jesus is saying this is a legal AND moral obligation

3.    Scripture instructs us to obey the laws of the land

 

 

d.   Citizens and their moral obligations according to the Word of God

                                                 i.    According to Jesus, we as citizens have a divinely ordained obligation to pay taxes to our government and Tithe to God

 

                                               ii.    Jesus did not make exemptions or exceptions, He did not say, “as long as the government is good”

 

                                              iii.    The State has a divine right to assess taxes and citizens have a divine obligation to pay them

 

                                              iv.    Paul gives the universal principle of submission to governing authorities in Romans 13:1

 

                                               v.    According to Jesus, there is no room for conscientious objections

 

 

 

CONCLUSION – What if the State requires citizens to do that which is in opposition to the Law of God?

 

Daniel was a Godly man who worked for an evil government. He served as a good citizen respecting the authorities as we are instructed in scripture.

 

When the day came that a law was enacted that no one may serve or worship God, Daniel did not obey, but quietly continued praying to and worshipping God.

 

He didn’t for a party against the government

He didn’t start a petition

He didn’t gather like minded individuals to oppose the rule

He didn’t protest, picket or start riots in the streets

He didn’t even make public his views or beliefs in opposition to the rule

 

Why?  Because he continued to serve, honor and respect the authorities to serve God as a Good Citizen as we are instructed in the Word.

 

The ONLY reason he was cast into the lion’s den was because spies caught him praying.

 

Would Jesus vote if He were alive and, in the USA, today?

 

I believe YES because of the general principle in scripture to submit to government authorities, we are called to be a light, and Jesus said to render to the government what belongs to the government and to God what belongs to God.

 

In the USA citizenship requires certain responsibilities as listed in the Citizens Almanac.

 

Ø  Support and defend the constitution of the united states against enemies both foreign and domestic

Ø  Stay informed of issues affecting your community

Ø  Participate in the democratic process (vote)

Ø  Respect and obey federal, state and local laws

Ø  Participate in the local community

Ø  Pay income taxes and other taxes honestly, and on time to federal, state, and local authorities

Ø  Serve jury duty when called

Ø  Defend the country if the need should arise

In Joshua 5:13-14 when Joshua met the Lord (before He was called Jesus), Jesus states that He is the commander of His people (followers of the Lord) and the host of heaven (angels in heaven).

This was His answer when Joshua asked: “who’s side are you on, theirs or ours?” Jesus answered, “Neither,”

The Lord is not on “your” side or “theirs”, He is not democrat or republican, either we are on the side of God, or not.

During a speech by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War in 1863, someone in the crowd yelled, “The Lord Is on the Union’s side!”

Lincoln responded, “I know the Lord is always on the side of the right, but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”

We are called to be lights in this world, to renew our minds, think like Christ, so that we may know His will, and be on His side, then live this in this world through Good Citizenship!

1 Peter 2:13-17   “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

Romans 13:1-2   “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

 

Would Jesus vote? Yes

 

Should Christians vote according to scripture? Yes

 

NEXT WEEK: Matters of Life and Death

 

 

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