Welcome to the month of November the most special month of the year 2012. Unless you have been living on Mars you know that 2012 is an election year that could change the course of American history for decades to come. Not only the presidency but numerous state and local offices are up for grabs. As citizens of democracy we have the ability to make their voices heard in effect the outcome of this election. I urge you to keep informed on the issues and vote your conscience.
Voter apathy among Christians is alarmingly high. As an evangelical I am shocked to hear that 2/5 evangelicals do not cast a ballot. There’s no excuse for this, when it takes but an hour out of your busy day to pull the lever, fill in the bubble and let your voice be heard. There’s no excuse not to vote for this is the only way as Christians to make your convictions heard from coast-to-coast. It is our duty as Christians to be good citizen.
How Should We As Christians Love God and Love Our Country
I. BY REMEMBERING GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
First of all we must realize that God is sovereign over government. The apostle Paul wrote, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except…” Except what? “…except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
Now that doesn’t mean God appointed Sadaam Hussein or Hitler or Stalin & used them as puppets on His string. But it does mean that God has established the principle that government is needed to be in charge of society.
And as Christians, we are to be in submission to the governing authorities even though we may not always agree with them. Believers are to be model citizens, known as law-abiding not rabble-rousing, obedient rather than rebellious, respectful of government rather than demeaning of it.
Continuing on in Romans Chapter 13, we see in verses three-four the purpose of government. The First Purpose Is To “Do Good.”
I quote “Rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right & he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good.” (Romans 13:3-4a)
The Second Purpose for Government Is to Restrain Evil.
Verse 4 goes on to say, “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
Now we all know from experience that this is true. Every time you hear a siren or see red lights behind you, what do you do? Do you look at the speedometer to see if you’re driving within the speed limit. And do you wonder, “Is my seat belt fastened? Do I have my insurance card? Is my inspection sticker up to date? Is my state license sticker current?” If all the answers are “Yes,” then you breathe a sigh of relief. But if you have broken the law, then you’re afraid because the government has the power to punish you for your disobedience of the law.
As Christians we are convinced that a republic based on democracy is the best because it has served us well here in the United States for well over 230 years. But here is where the rubber meets road; our Constitution was written assuming that the citizens of this land would be moral, God-fearing people.
That’s the only way democracy will work because democracy becomes whatever the people are. If the people become pagan & immoral & violent, then the government becomes pagan & immoral & violent.
For example if you put five people on an island, three men and two women, and the three men vote to rape the two women, that’s democracy. But that’s democracy at its worst. So democracy has the capability of becoming an evil form of government if the people are evil. The Constitution of America depends not on words but in morality. Morality is the invisible foundation that upholds all forms of government
Once, theocracy was the form of government over Israel. That is, God was their ruler. He gave the laws. The prophets & priests were His spokesmen. But as time passed, the people began to desire a king like all the other countries. So God finally allowed them to have kings. And it didn’t take long for them to become unhappy about that, too.
Here is the point: whatever the form of government – democracy, theocracy, monarchy, pagan or godly – God has still been able to work in or through them to accomplish His will. And He wants His people to work in them for Him, too.
II. How Should We As Christians Love God and Love Our Country?
BY PRAYING FOR GOD TO “SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE”
We need to seek God’s continued grace upon our nation.
Looking back over the pages of history, I’m convinced that it is only by God’s grace & mercy that our nation even came into existence, & that we lasted long enough to enjoy the freedoms & blessings that are ours today.
And of all the nations & empires that this world has seen, we are now the only real superpower left, & the one most of the world looks to for help when troubles arise & disasters strike.
I think God’s grace was poured out upon us when our founding fathers sought His guidance & protection in forming a republic on this continent unlike any other that the world had ever seen – a nation dedicated to the ideal of being “one nation under God.” Truly, God has blessed America!
But let me call your attention to the words of Isaiah 40:15, “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales…” Now why did I mention that verse? Simply to remind us just how fragile & temporary all nations are no matter how powerful or rich we seem to be. In God’s hands any nation is just a disaster or two away from destruction. And if God chose to do so, He could blow America away just as easily as the wind blows the dust off the scales.
We’re all familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14: but let me repeat it to you again to see how it relates to the idea of being a good citizen. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves & pray & seek my face & turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & will heal their land.”
Morality is the underpinning of all nations.
III. How Should We As Christians Love God and Love Our Country?
BY MAKING OUR FAITH SEEN AND HEARD
As Christians we must make our faith relevant in the marketplace of ideas. Every day we must live it out in the world around us. As the salt of the earth and the light of the world we as Christians must get involved on school boards, in our universities, and in our municipal, state and federal organizations
Fortunately, we have learned from our mistakes in the past of withdrawing from public life. We dare not be intimidated into believing that we have to keep our mouths closed. We need to stand up & speak up & begin to work within the system(s). We must encourage people who are guided by Christian principles to serve in government offices & change the direction of our country. We must do it if we are to avoid the collapse of the Christian influence. It is very encouraging to see more and more Christians getting involved in politics and doing something to change the direction that the country is now going. To me this is the only way America will get back on track.
IV. How Should We As Christians Love God And Love Our Country?
BY PRAYING FOR OUR LEADERS
In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 the apostle Paul said, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession & thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings & all those in authority, that we may live peaceful & quiet lives in all godliness & holiness. This is good, & pleases God our savior, who wants all men to be saved…”
Our president needs our prayers. Our governor needs our prayers. Our military leaders need our prayers. Our mayor needs our prayers. All 100 senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives need our prayers. We need to pray that they will do the right thing, the wise thing, and represent “we the people,” and not put we the government, nor greed or selfishness above the common good of the people they were elected to serve.
V. How Should We As Christians Love God and Love Our Country?
BY REMEMBERING YOUR ULTIMATE CITIZENSHIP
As Christians we must always remember where our citizenship really is.
Listen again to the apostle Paul,
“…For, as I have often told you before & now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of…Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, & their glory is in their shame….”
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who…will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:17-21)
The Christians we are citizens of two kingdoms; this present world, and the world to come. While we are here on earth let us do our best to make it a better place than we found it. Let us pass on to our children a better civil society than the one we now enjoy.
We have all heard the saying, “Freedom is never free.” We all live in a country that cost men their lives to make us free. They made the ultimate sacrifice, & some are still doing so let this very moment so that you and I can be citizens of the greatest country on earth.
The famous Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky told the story of the time he was arrested by the Czar & sentenced to die. The Czar, though, liked to play cruel psychological tricks on some of his prisoners by blindfolding them & standing them in front of a firing squad. The blindfolded prisoners would hear the command to fire and the rifle shots, but would feel nothing. Then they would slowly realize that the guns were loaded with blanks.
Dostoevsky went through this experience himself. He said that going through the process of believing that he was really going to die had a transforming effect on his life. He talked about waking up that morning certain that it would be his last day of life. He ate his last meal & savored every bite. Every breath of air he took was precious. Every face he saw, he studied with full intensity. Every moment was etched into his mind.
As they marched him into the courtyard, he felt the heat of the sun & appreciated its warmth like never before. Everything around him seemed to have a magical quality. He was seeing the world in a way he had never seen it before. Then when he realized that he had not been shot & that he was not going to die, everything had changed. He became thankful for everything about his life, and grateful for people he had previously hated.
You see, Dostoevsky was given a temporary reprieve from earthly death. Yet, because of sin, like all of us, he still faced a certain and eternal death. But in the same way that our freedom in this country was bought with the blood of our ancestors, so also our home in heaven has been purchased by One who died to set us free. Jesus paid the price so you and I could be citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
So let me ask you – are you a citizen of heaven? If you were to die today, would you have a home in heaven? It won’t be good enough to say you were an American. It won’t be good enough to say you gave to charity. It won’t be good enough to say you went to church. The only way to become a citizen of heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord & your Savior. You did not choose where you were born, but you can choose where you will spend eternity.
He’s Only a Prayer Away!