Today is November 9th, one day after an election where Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. It is also a fact that he is president in large measure because he received over 80% of the Evangelical vote. Since I was one of those who went through the agony of eventually voting for our president-elect, I also feel very qualified to offer the following article on the other side of the election.
Voting for Mr. Trump was one of the most difficult and excruciating things I’ve ever done. In the end I did so primarily due to one issue – abortion. After watching former Secretary of State Clinton coolly and confidently support abortion up until the last minute before a child is born, while also stating that an unborn child has no rights whatsoever – that was the turning point for me. There was no sense of anything in her except great pride that we do this in America. Because Mr. Trump had made it clear that he would oppose abortion (albeit with a promise – not exactly the most trustworthy currency in an election) I chose to vote for him. I did so without a sense of great pride in my vote – without any kind of bravado – I simply did it to protect the unborn. Having said this – and having read far too many facebook posts from both sides that broke my heart after the election – I want to offer unsolicited advice to those who are evangelicals who voted for president-elect Trump.
President-elect Trump needs our prayers (as does President Obama) as he faces the presidency. First and foremost, it is my opinion, based upon his actions and words, that we need to pray for this man’s salvation. I was never under any deception that he was or is a Christian – regardless of what the President of Liberty University says. This man needs to repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – period. By the way, if that statement offends you, I believe all men and women need to repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If you are a “true evangelical” then this is THE issue for us ultimately – is he (or anyone else for that matter) someone who has come to understand that he is a sinner by choice and by nature – has come to understand that Jesus is the God-man who came and paid for sin by His death, burial, and resurrection – and has come to repentance over his sin and now has put his faith in Jesus Christ to pay for his sin and make him acceptable to God.
President-elect Trump also needs our prayers to govern wisely as the chief executive and commander in chief over our armed forces. Ask anyone who has ever held this office, there is tremendous pressure and responsibility associated with it. And take it from someone who is only a father and pastor of a local church – the more authority you have – the greater the damage you can do by making unwise and ungodly decisions. My unwise choices affect the 14 people in my family – and at least 175-200 people who attend the fellowship I am honored to serve. Things like pride, ego, marital infidelity, foul language, caustic comments, and perverse treatment of women, are unwise and ungodly from a biblical perspective. Sorry if this offends you but I am a pastor who is responsible to teach God’s Word – and advance a godly and righteous lifestyle. We can support him in some ways – but we need to be clear that these actions and attitudes are unacceptable. Should we show our president-elect grace and love? Absolutely. But can we afford as evangelicals to just gloss over the clear elephant in the room when it comes to his character and ungodliness? If we do – we will lose the moral authority to speak to our society – especially those who opposed him in the election who need the gospel so badly.
President-elect Trump – and our nation – need our prayers for healing and unity. Only someone who has lived under a rock for the last year and a half is unaware of the incredible rift that there is in our nation. He is not responsible alone for this rift – but this past election cycle only made us aware of how wide it is. I am painfully aware that much of this rift is due to vastly divergent worldviews. Both sides of this divide view the moral stances of the other as moral bankruptcy. He will face deep divides that will require wisdom, patience, and understanding to even begin to address. As an evangelical there are issues within our nation where I have to take a stand that is unpopular – very unpopular with those who oppose it. There are moral issues – issues about sexuality – issues about justice – issues about racism – issues about abortion and crisis pregnancies – issues about how to help those in financial need – so many issues that even trying to list them makes my head swim. What makes it worse is that currently any discourse about them has become so incendiary that basic communication (where we respect one another) seems almost impossible. We so quickly descend into sound bytes and insults at the drop of a hat. Oh how we need to move away from listening to the talking heads and talk radio and actually listen to one another once again. The rhetoric of the election has left us all battered and worn out emotionally. Pray that our President – and our president-elect can begin to heal the fractures – rather than make them worse.
One final word though to those of us who are evangelicals – and it is a word of great warning. If we choose to swagger through the next several months before and after the inauguration we are going to see the gospel itself face a terrible backlash. If we act as if Mr. Trump has great moral authority after what we’ve learned about how he treats women and his own marriage – we will alienate a large group of women who need to hear the gospel. They will see our joy over his election as an endorsement of his immoral actions – and will turn a deaf ear to the message of the gospel. If we act as if it wasn’t a problem that he didn’t distance himself from the KKK and other white supremacist groups with the strongest words possible – we will alienate many in the black community. They will see our joy in his election as an affirmation of what they already see as systemic racism and will turn a deaf ear to the gospel. If we act as if Mr. Trump’s bravado and pride – and the many morally questionable insults toward his opponents – should be seen as just politics as normal – we should not be surprised to see a rejection of our gospel as if it is associated with such insults. If we don’t at least attempt to see the political discourse toned down from its new lows in foul language that should offend people’s sensibilities - too many will deduce that we have come to endorse of this kind of talk. They will mock us when we say that the Bible teaches us to reject “corrupt communication from our mouths.” They will see such statements as just another way we’ve embraced hypocrisy as Christians. This will, in turn, justify in their minds turning a similar deaf ear to whatever else we have to say about salvation and the gospel. I’ve already seen too many posts by those on the other side of the political divide who are saying that if Trump represents evangelicalism – they are done with it.
Be careful precious saints of God – and be wise in the days ahead. Our attitudes and our demeanor can do much to either advance the gospel or turn people off to it. May God give us wisdom, especially in these days to prove ourselves true sons of God – who embrace both truth and our role to be peacemakers. THE most important thing is that we, as evangelicals, see that what our nation needs most is the grace of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the only things that will bring about the much-needed revival in the church and the even more-needed spiritual awakening among the lost. So that these things may come to our nation may God give us grace to be men and women wise enough to navigate such a time as this.
Why is it so difficult for a Christian to decide whom to vote for in this upcoming election? It seems that the more I talk with fellow believers about the presidential election that looms before us in the first week of November the more I hear of people who just don't know what to do. Here are a few things I hope will comfort your heart on this matter if you are one of these people.
First of all politics is not exactly the most godly arena in our culture today. We are watching a race between two people who are on the lowest end of the moral scale in our society. Mrs. Clinton has obviously broken laws in her email scandal. She has also been less than forthright about what happened in Benghazi and her role (or lack thereof). But when we look on the other side we see Donald Trump, a serial adulterer and a man who has gained much of his fortune as a result of the gambling industry. We also see someone who is a braggart and whose Twitter account and speeches are filled with far too much insulting of the other candidates involved - first in the primary and now in the general election. When we are faced with this kind of choice between candidates at the bottom of the moral barrel, it is difficult to say you are FOR either of them.
Second, we are once again choosing the lesser of two evils. I've actually heard it described this political season as a choice between the evil we know and the possible evil we hope won't materialize in the end. This is not the kind of choice we are used to as believers. Jesus told us to, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness . . . “ The focus in our lives is on seeking what is right, good, holy, and godly. There is not an area in our relationship with God in which we are encouraged to choose the lesser evil. We are consistently taught to strive for the right and the best. Therefore such choices as the ones we've had to make over the last couple of decades are difficult for us - if not downright odious.
There is a third reason voting is becoming more difficult for the Christian. Both parties have been far from cordial or gracious to the Christian conservative candidates who represent the kind of moral views we would like to see advanced in our Republic. To be honest - the Democrats don't even try in this area. But the way that conservative Christians and their views are being treated in the Republican primaries makes us wonder if we are even a part of that party any longer. Watching these things unfold - and being told that this is just the way that politics works - in once again something many Christians don't have a stomach for every four years. Especially when we are told after a candidate is chosen, who has had to change their views to stand for abortion from public statements they've made in the past, that we now have to come together and support them (even though we are very wary of them - because of how they've treated us just 6-10 months ago).
The fourth and final reason I'll put in this article has to do with the direction of our nation. My personal feeling is that the choices we have this fall are between watching our Republic and its Constitution being quickly dismantled by one candidate - or - seeing the same thing happen with the other - just more slowly. Neither candidate even wants to address sexual morality - or gender issues for that matter. This leaves me with the horrific choice between a fast or a slow decline and destruction in our nation. One can grasp with this (as well as the other three reasons before it) why we struggle to know whom to vote for this fall.
BUT - and please hear me in this - we live in a rare time in history where we can influence who will lead our nation. It may not be ideal. It may not involve having the perfect candidate - or maybe honestly - not even a decent one. The fact remains we need to look at biblical issues (as Christians) and decide where we can vote to advance godliness and the ability to function as Christians with as little interference as possible (see 1 Timothy 2:2-4). Our goal is to be able to, “ . . . lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." This passage refers to us praying for our leaders - but I honestly believe it can also b taken to mean, in our culture, to pray as to WHO are leaders should be as well. I know that it is not an easy or joyful task, saints. But I believe it is one we should not abandon.
One last thing I need to say in an article like this. The choice of our national leaders often reflects the nation itself. One of the reasons why we are faced with such choices is that the church has not been the evangelical force it should be in leading people to Christ - and then seeing those believers become effective disciples. The ungodliness of our leadership choices only reflects the ungodliness of our nation - and it is with a broken and sad heart I have to say - our churches as well. Let's vote saints. Let's take the time to examine that vote in light of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. But - let's pray! If we just vote - and don't get very serious about prayer - we've made a horrific mistake. The need of our nation is revival in God's church and spiritual awakening among the lost of our nation. Without that our nation will continue to slide toward the abyss of ungodliness that we are moving toward currently. As badly as our nation needs good leaders - it is even more imperative that our nation has good churches filled with godly men and women who are laboring in the gospel to see many in it saved. May God bless us with godly leaders - but in light of our current spiritual malaise - it may be even more important that God bless our nation and His church with godly, broken, praying people.
This morning as I came to work I stopped my car at a stop sign. Now I imagine for the vast majority of you this is not earth shattering news. Some may think that our pastor may be losing it to write a comment like that (or that I am really stretching for anything to write in this article). But as per the usual – there is a method to my madness in writing that statement. Ever wonder why we just stop at these signs? To be honest, there were no other cars coming – or even there at the 4 way stop. There was no police officer to enforce the law – and for any real practical reason – there was little or no need for me to stop. Pragmatism would even argue against stopping as it would delay my arrival at work – as well as cost me more gas to decelerate and accelerate again. So . . . why did I do it? Why did I obey an octagonal red sign with the word “STOP” in the middle of it? What power does that sign have over me that I automatically stop when I come to it.
Inherent in answering that question is an understanding of a few things as we get started. The sign is there because of the law. If I go through that intersection without stopping, I am breaking the law. If I get caught doing this I will receive a ticket that will cost me money (both in a fine and in higher auto insurance rates). If I do it often enough it could even cost me my license. If I do it at the wrong time – and hit another car and injure or even kill someone, I could lose my freedom in jail. All of this is true – but it only answers why I might stop in a higher risk scenario. Why did I stop this morning? Why, when there was no risk – no danger – no real threat – did I stop all by myself – then – start back on my way?
The reason that I want to obey the law is because God, a higher authority than government, commands me to do so. He states in Romans 13 that all the governing authority on earth is there because He has allowed it. Unless a law commands me to directly disobey Him, I am to willingly and joyfully submit to it (as well as to those who make them). To do otherwise is far worse than just not obeying a stop sign. To disobey the governing authority is to act in rebellion against authority – and when I follow that line of authority – it winds up ending at the throne of God Himself. But – as I considered this further I saw even more to all this. Let me explain.
For at least 18 years I was not a believer – and yet I still stopped at STOP signs. You see, I was a product of the society in which I lived. That society has a basic understanding of the rule of law. That value was passed down to me by a succession of parents, grandparents, teachers, relatives, and neighbors. I grew up with a basic understanding that I was to honor the law, those who enforce it, and the constitution upon which it is based. Those were all givens. As a result of those givens, there was a basic order which I enjoyed as a child – a freedom – and a basic sense of security I experienced. All these were given to me because my parents, grandparents, etc. had chosen to live their lives under God.
When we obey the law – and as believers do so under God’s ultimate sovereignty – we are blessed people. We are not only blessed people – but we are blessing future generations as well. But, all is not well in our nation – or in our hearts. For decades I’ve watched as the rule of law has begun to break down. I’ve watched it in the highest echelons of our government. I’ve watched it as entertainment has glorified the bad boy mentality – and set before us anti-heros and thugs as examples and those we are told to emulate. I’ve watched as sexual immorality and perversion has been normalized and things like virginity and life-long heterosexual marriage has been increasingly viewed as strange. I’ve watched as the church has become increasingly antinomian (means without law) as a sloppy grace or no need for grace at all have been exalted in our world. Our society has disintegrated over these years and a lawlessness and moral anarchy has begun to be passed on to the next generation. I shudder at what will be given to my grandchildren as “the norm” for their generation.
All this came from stopping at a stop sign? Yes, but it came from wondering what made me stop when I was the only one there. Or was I the only one there? You see, I believe God was there – that I live before Him. I believe He sees all – and all that I am responsible to honor and glorify Him in “everything” I do. (By the way – I do not congratulate myself for stopping – and my sanctification has such a long way to go on so many other issues). Ultimately, all this is about Who is the authority in your life – and how you respond to the ultimate Authority. A STOP sign in a small thing – yet a simple test. Am I an authority unto myself – or – do I truly recognize the ultimate Authority over all things? Submission to authority (and ultimately to the Authority) is a fact of life. How I respond in this everyday realm is like taking my temperature. It is an indicator of whether I have heart-issues or not. Not stopping at a stop sign – speed limits – obeying an earthly authority – all are just indicators of where my heart is. Whether I like it (or even admit it) or not – these indicators have much to say about where I am with God. You see – by submitting joyfully to them I not only am blessed – but I am being a blessing to my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my society as well. And if I read the Bible correctly – my submission will also create a better environment in which I can share the gospel as well. So, saints of God – how are you doing at obeying STOP signs – and the One Who is ultimately The Authority behind them? Simple submission is a blessing – to you – and to far more than you. May your submission to God’s authority in all things bring you that blessing – and bring it to a generation that desperately needs a fresh example of it once again!
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this article finds you growing in grace and a desire to step up into greater roles in the body of Christ. Yesterday I worshipped the Lord in Orlando, Florida with the saints at Lake Baldwin Church. It was a wonderful service - both in worship and the Word. But there was something that made this experience even more enjoyable for me . . . I had no responsibilities whatsoever for anything other than coming to worship God. That does not happen very often for me. I usually am responsible for the service - and die a thousand deaths with any and every mistake or miscue that happens in music, sound, powerpoint, what is printed in the bulletin, and of course - the way that the Word is taught to God's people. Therefore - just sitting there among the saints was a delight for me. It was easier for me to lose myself in the worship of my God and Father. It was easier to sit and take notes on the great teaching from the book of 1 John. I thoroughly enjoyed things from start to finish. For one Sunday this was good - but for the rest of my life - this is not good. It was wonderful to get away and just be another brother in the church for a single Sunday. But the fact that I cannot get away from is that it is God's will that we step up into greater and growing roles within the body of Christ. As a baby Christian I was just a brother in the fellowship, yet as I grew in the Lord that role changed. Maturity spiritually meant stepping up and taking on roles in the church that require men of God. Sure it was fun to step back for a Sunday and relax. Sure it was a reminder to me that even in the midst of my responsibilities I need to focus on worship and meeting with God. But stepping away from my God-given responsibilities in His church would NOT be good. God desires for all of us to grow in Christ. This means getting into the Word, praying, being a witness, and being a discple and disciple-maker. It also means finding our place of service to the Lord in the body of Christ. Having nothing to do for a Sunday was nice - but it would be disastrous if we all took that mindset all the time. It would be a disaster to the work of the church - whcih would grind to a halt due to disobedience. It would also be a disaster to the work of God in our hearts. We do not mature in the Lord by doing nothing. We mature as we step up into greater and greater roles in the body - serving both our Lord and one another. If we do not do this - we will become stagnant spiritually. It is in these spiritually challenging situations that we grow and flourish. It is in serving God and others that we mature in our understanding of grace, forgiveness, and servanthood. It was good for a rest to have nothing to do, but only for a rest. God has much for me to do and it is my hope that as I return from vacation I will be even more motivated and energized to take up the task - do the work - and live for the glory of God in the tasks He gives me to do in His church.
What kind of men are we? That was the question I had to ask myself after reading a couple of things today. The first was a quote by John Stuart Mill. He wrote the following about war,
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degrading state of moral and patriotic
feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to
fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance
of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill -
When I read this I honestly wondered about myself. In light of what we face as a nation, can I say that I am not guilty of a certain "moral and patriotic decay" that shies away from the war for the very soul of our nation at present? There is a battle for the soul of the United States and it rages every day. Some would have us move toward being a nation that is based upon a philosophy of Socialism where the state becomes the caretaker of all within it. We are walking in that direction and fast destroying the once great nation given to us by God and our forefathers. It is said that Socialism only works until the government runs out of other people's money to spend. That is quickly coming upon us each day that we do not rise up to the moral, social, political, and spiritual battles that surround us.
Let me better define the war of which I speak. It is my hope that it will never descend into a war of weapons where the outcome is dependent upon which army destroys the other. But at present it is a war of ideas. A war that is fought with words and actions based upon those ideas. There is a greatly decayed moral state in America that must be addressed if we are going to survive as a nation. Nations fall not because of conquerors who fight from without - but because of moral decay and destruction within. We must first stand against the moral decay that is rotting us from the inside out. That means fighting the battles that rage in our flesh. It means once again valuing honesty, integrity, honor, hard work, faithfulness, and a host of other character traits which are far more often mocked by our godless society than glorified. It also means recapturing our homes as the primary place where education takes place. It is in the home where morals and godly character must be taught. More than this it is where moral character must be displayed by fathers.
Such an endeavor will mean that we have to fight and war against some things. I will list several here. Please understand that we can either realize war is what MUST take place against these things - or we will lose. We can either fight in this war - or remain one of Mill's miserable creatures who live only for their own safety, security, and comfort. If we do, we will have to rely on other, more godly and principled men to maintain our freedom. My concern is that there are not many such men left in this hour - possible not enough to stem the tide of moral decay and political tyranny.
First, we must fight and war against our own pacivity men! It is the easiest thing to start out days at the mercy of the clock. What I mean by this is that we get up so late that we do not have time to get quiet and meet with God. We must awaken early enough to spend time with Him - both in reading God's Word and in praying for ourselves, our family, and our nation. This is where is HAS to start. Men, we need to war against the moral decay in ourselves. If we do not, we will have nothing of substance to give in the war that rages all around us.
Second, we must war for our marriages and our homes. I ask a simple question men. What is the state of your relationship with your wife? Do you cherish her? Do you nourish her with the Word? Are we patterning for our children and those around us a delight in God's institution of marriage? One of the most blighting scourges that is rotting our nation from within in the state of marriage and family in our land. We can either decry it and weep on the devastated landscape around us - or - we can begin to labor to restore the ancient foundations by loving our wives and loving our children. And that being said, what is the state of your role as "father?" Do YOU inspire your children with your lifestyle - and with your regular teaching. If we do not want a "nanny-state" we must then take on the rearing of our children and not leave it to the state and to the educational system. Do you speak to your children of the morals they should embrace? Even more - do you yourself display them to your children?
Third, we must fight and war against the rule and reign of entertainment in our lives. I have nothing against entertainment - unless our devotion to it outstrips our devotion to God, our family, God's church, and our country. Too often we sit and decay simply by allowing the entertainment industry to speak to us - then for us in our homes. Think of their values men. Think of what you've seen and heard on television and in movies. Then realize that they not only reflect the moral decline in our nation - the urge it to continue to new heights.
Lastly, are you warring for godly leaders in our land. I find it disturbing that over and over again we are told that morals in a man do not matter when it comes to electing our officials. A man can stand and say that he wants to lead our nation - indeed take an oath to do so - when he has not even honored his oath and covenant to his wife! Such men should be questioned much about these things. I understand that we all need God's grace - but do we not have men among us willing to run - who have not cheated on their wives . . . while being an elected official of our land. The Democrats defend President Clinton while he commits adultery in the White House - and the Republicans now defend Newt Gingrich while he does the same in the position of Speaker of the House. We must fight for principled men to lead us. If neither party is willing to put up such men should we not so war against them with our words, our financial contributions, and our direct involvement until such men are put forward? We will not see change - godly, moral, principled change - until we demand it.
Men, I know this has been a long article - and I also know that many of us suffer from moral as well as family and patriotic failures of our past. But there truly will not be change until we passionately seek it. May we not be the pathetic, overindulged, and unwilling miserable creatures that John Stuart Mill described above. May we instead be the men who are willing to war against the culture - war against our own self-indulgence - and war for the reviving our our own hearts, marriages, families, churches, and nation. There are some things worth dying for in life. So I ask once again, "What kind of men are we?"
I wanted to take a one week break in the midst of this series of articles to ask a simple question. That question is this, "Are you fighting?" That may seem like an interesting question to ask - but it is very applicable to the battle of being a godly man. Let me quote a pamphlet with that same title, Are You Fighting? which was written by J. C. Ryle.
"There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians . . . but you never see any 'fight' about their religion! Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His apostles preached. True Christianity is a 'fight.'"
As we've walked through Psalm 101 we've seen some pretty strong language used. One might even say that this language is the language of conflict - of battle - of war. My answer to this is simple - IT IS! Our fight is perennially one against the flesh, the world, and the devil. These three are our main enemies - and if we are not engaged in a fight with them - we are most likely enslaved by them. One thing the Bible promises to us is that these enemies will not be idle. They are constantly looking for ways to make inroads in our lives. They want to set up beach heads that will serve as launching pads for further incursions into our lives morally and spiritually. What I am trying to say is that if we are not having any "fight" in our religion - we are losing a battle of which we not even aware.
Raging all around us currently is a war currently for the souls of the men of our nation. The main front of that battle is for the menl of the church. But even that front has multiple avenues where we are being attacked. Let me mention a few (and please know that in no way is this seeking to be an exhaustive list).
#1 - Guys . . . are you fighting with your eyes? I know this is a battle that seems to rage everywhere you go. From the grocery store where they put immoral magazines right at the checkout lines (and no I am not referring to Playboy, but to the women's magazines and tabloids in saying this - anyone want to argue with me biblically on this point?) to the television, to movies, to the way that women dress in our society, the battle is raging. But guys, we need to fight with our eyes - by turning them away from lust. Jesus put it this way, "if you right eye makes you stumble - rip it out and throw it from you." That sounds like a fight to me? But are we fighting? May God grant us grace to battle the lust of the eyes daily. I know that it is tough - and that at times we grow weak - but we cannot give in to the immorality of the world - the lust of our own flesh - or the lure of the devil in this. We need to FIGHT!
#2 - Guys . . . are you fighting with your mind? This is closely related to the first - but it is important. What is filling your mind? The world will offer you a smorgesboard of things to fill your mind - and none of them will draw you closer to Christ - or encourage you to walk in His ways. Our flesh will rise up and fight getting into the Word - but do it anyway. With younger men this battle rages through the world of games - both on game consoles and on the internet. The amount of time that is wasted by our young men in this pursuits is monumental. Hours upon hours are spend filling our minds with worthless quests into an electronic world that provides escape from the real world. The frightening part of all this is that these escapes are from reality - and from the real issues of manhood that should be wrestled with at this age. To bring this up, I realize, is to possibly alienate myself from a whole younger generation. But unless someone says something - we are going to either delay an entire generation from becoming real men - or - lose them altogether. We need to fight for our minds.
#3 - Guys . . . are you fighting for your morals? Here is a third area where we are being destroyed by the world, devil , and the flesh. I am speaking about pornography and gratifying our flesh. Recently I went to a sight that helps men get free from these things - and saw that they have had over 320,000 clients come to their site for help. According to their reasoning - this represents about 1 in 10 of the men in the church who struggle with these sins. If that is accurate - we have a problem in our country. There is reason to believe that somewhere in the rage of 3 million men, IN THE CHURCH, have these problems. I am not saying this to make you feel condemned, but rather to call all of us to action. If we are not free - we need to be - as soon as possible. Once we get free - we need to continue to FIGHT - not just for ourselves - but for our brothers in Christ as well.
#4 - Guys . . . are you fighting for your integrity? This goes beyond the battle in our minds - to the battle for our daily actions in our jobs, our homes, our churches, and anywhere else we walk. This is the fight to take what we learn from the Word and make it a part of our lifestyles. Here is the reason why so much is falling apart in our society - a lack of integrity. Every scandal at its core happened because someone somewhere did not maintain their integrity. When you multiply that times over 350 million Americans - you are going to have serious problems. Are you willing to fight for integrity - even when your competitor does not? Are you and I willing to trust the Lord to prosper and keep us afloat - even if we do not cut corners and "cook the books" for our benefit? The worst crisis we face as a nation is not financial. Our worst problems are not healthcare, jobs, or security. Our key crisis is one of integrity. Without men of integrity our nation will not continue to stand. Will you be one of the first to embrace God's call to integrity - and fight for it even though many other men around you will not?
These are just four areas where the battle rages - or should be raging. What is sad is that many shun the fight. They just want a comfortable life - one without difficulties or the struggles it takes to "fight the good fight of faith" the Bible presents to us. But as long as we remain on a fallen earth - filled with fallen people - who do fallen things - and who promote fallen lifestyles - there is going to be a fight. So hear me brothers as I seek to encourage you today!
Brothers in Christ . . . we are called to be MEN OF GOD! We are called out of this present darkness into His glorious light to embrace the conflict that WILL begin the moment we are saved. We are not perfect - but we are in the process where God is perfecting us! We are not sinless - but oh how we are called to both hate and battle sin in our lives. We are called to put on the armor of God - daily putting each piece on so that we can stand - and after we have fought to the last ounce of strength which God provides - to keep on standing! We cannot afford to quit! We cannot afford to be lazy and undisciplined! We fight for our families! We fight for our children - esepecially our sons, who are watching and begging us to be men they can follow! We fight for the church - the bride of our Lord - the pillar of truth - and the manifestation of God's grace - and the place where the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should shine forth the brightest!
But in this hour, my blessed brothers, we are fighting for our lives! The devil and his world system feel they are on the brink of victory. They flex their muscles through the media and government thinking that they will win the day. We face onslaught after onslaught - attack after attack - and battle after battle. They fight us personally in our minds - relationally in our homes and churches - and morally in our national discourse. But like those who have stood in what seemed like impossible battles - we stand. Like the 300 Spartans who stood alone against the invaders who landed on their shores - we stand against hordes of those who fight against our God and against His Word. But know this, brothers, we will stand. We will stand upon the Word of God that has faced countless attacks and yet stands firm as the revelation of God. We will stand upon the grace of God in the gospel that has won millions upon millions in every generation - under every form of government - in every trial - and under every type of oppression. Finally, we will stand with our Lord Jesus Christ - Who has vanquished sin, death, and hell by His cross. Who has stood strong against the attack of every false prophet, every false philosophy, every false religion, and every falsehood the devil has thrown at Him. We will stand in Him knowing that He has won the victory - not just at the end of the age - but He has won the victory in every generation. Now is not the time for us to faint. Now is the time for us to FIGHT!
God led Paul to write to Timothy the following statement, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-3, NASB) It is one that we need to heed—especially in light of the current problems that we are facing as a nation—and the way that our leadership is choosing to lead us in the midst of them.
As a nation, we are facing difficult times. It is during those times that a leader has the greatest opportunity to lead. It was during such times that we watched great leaders like Winston Churchill rise to lead in extraordinary ways. It was in those times that the greatest leaders led their people to pull together and face the problems they faced with a unified front. Unfortunately for us—our current leadership is not following their lead. Instead of pulling our nation together—they are pitting one group against another for their own selfish interests. What I am referring to is our current president’s practice of encouraging class warfare in light of the crises we face. Jesus told us that a house divided against itself will not stand. I can only hope that our current administration will read these words and cease fanning the flames of social conflict in our land.
There is a conscious effort by President Obama to pit the rich against the poor. In the midst of growing unrest, he and others in the Democrat party are encouraging protests that are attempting to further increase this growing rift in our nation. Whether or not you agree with his economics—one thing is certain—this will not turn out well in the end.
There were two revolutions in the 1700’s that radically changed the politics of our world. One was the American Revolution. It’s purpose was to spread freedom. The other was the French Revolution, which was supposed to be about freedom, but which degenerated into class warfare in the end. One led to what is arguably the greatest spread of freedom in history—while the other wound up shedding copious amounts of blood as well as precipitating a period of chaos ending in a totalitarian state that severely limited freedom.
Why do we need to pray? Because if we continue on this path of pitting one against another “within” our society economically, it will only be a matter of time and political desperation until the next step will be pitting one race against another. The leaders who today want to divide us on financial lines—will in the near future step up their rhetoric to divide us on racial lines. If you think things are problematic now with the encouragement of class warfare—wait until they begin encouraging racial conflict as well. We need to pray for wisdom to prevail—and—we need to do all we can as the church to heal these divides—not further encourage them. This is why I urge you to follow the admonition of Paul to young Timothy. It is a time for us to pray—and pray diligently for cooler, wiser heads to prevail in the halls of leadership.
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
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