It’s Election Time Again

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012 in Sermon Notes | No Comments

September 23, 2012

Introduction

Here we are in another season of election ads. Election ads in general frustrate (and even anger) me most of the time. Most of these ads seek to create a desired image of the candidate, hoping to appeal to the greatest number of people while destroying the image of the the opponent even it means using deception and misrepresentation. Very rarely, it seems, does an ad actually present a substantive statement of a candidate’s actual position.

The ads produced by the political parties and the PACs are often even worse. All too often they seek to feed peoples’ fear rather than to present any kind of statement that would help a person understand a position so that he or she can come to a reasonable conclusion.

You may have noticed that that this past Monday was the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

An examination of the direction in which our nation has moved over the past decades, at least since Franklin Roosevelt was elected, shows that we have consistently drifted from the plain statements and intent of the Constitution and from the framework of belief which most of the founders held in common. That drift has been almost totally in a consistent direction—in weakening and rejecting the intellectual and moral foundation that guided those founders when they were producing the Constitution. A few quotations that I shared in a message on July 3, 2011 will suffice to indicate some of that drift.

A few comments from the United States’ founding fathers on freedom and liberty

“(T)he foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; …the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be
expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained…”
George Washington, First Inaugural, April 30 1789

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Adams

“Political interest [can] never be separated in the long run from moral right”
“Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God?”
Thomas Jefferson

“The citizens of the U.S. are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a
political society.” …”We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for
self-government.”
James Madison

American presidents on the Bible

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible”
George Washington

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government … not in the Constitution… (but) upon the capacity of each and every
one of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments.”
James Madison

“That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests.”

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for it we could
not know right from wrong” …”It is the duty of nations as well as men to recognize the truth announced in Holy Scripture and proven by all of history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

Abraham Lincoln

“The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of the law for the virtues
of men” …”The foundation of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these
teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” Calvin Coolidge

It is clear to any honest student of history and observer of our society, in terms of our moral
foundation, our laws, our economic policy, our educational philosophy and content, that the
people and the government of the United States are deliberately rejecting God’s revelation in
Scripture. As a nation we have the general movement of mankind and nations in relation to the
kingdom (government, ruling) of God as given in Psalm 2, a clear and succinct Biblical summary
of mankind’s rebellious history.

ESV

Why do the nations rage1
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King

Andrew Jackson

Acts 4:25, 26

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on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.2
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron3
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.4
Kiss the Son,5
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

The Message

Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up:
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread for him on the holy summit.”

Let me tell you what God said next.
He said, “You’re my son,
And today is your birthday.
What do you want? Name it:
Nations as a present? continents as a prize?

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Romans 1:4; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5, 5:5
Revelation 2:27, 12:5, 19:15,
4 Hebrews 12:28; See also Philippians 2:12, 4:4
5 John 5:23

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You can command them all to dance for you,
Or throw them out with tomorrow’s trash.”

So, rebel-kings, use your heads;
Upstart-judges, learn your lesson:
Worship God in adoring embrace,
Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah!
Your very lives are in danger, you know;
His anger is about to explode,
But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!
We need to understand that our nation CANNOT endure as the free country it has been if we
continue “rebuilding” our lives, our social (dis)order and political system on secularism and
pluralism.

The central message of biblical Christianity is the possibility of men and
women approaching God through the work of Christ. But the message also has
secondary results, among them the unusual and wide freedoms which biblical
Christianity gave to countries where it supplied the consensus. When these
freedoms are separated from the Christian base, however, they become a force
of destruction leading to chaos. When this happens, as it has today, then, to
quote Eric Hoffer (1902–), “When freedom destroys order, the yearning for order
will destroy freedom.”

At that point the words left or right will make no difference. They are
only two roads to the same end. There is no difference between an
authoritarian government from the right or the left: the results are the
same. An elite, an authoritarianism as such, will gradually force form on society
so that it will not go on to chaos. And most people will accept it—from the desire
for personal peace and affluence, from apathy, and from the yearning for order to
assure the functioning of some political system, business, and the affairs of daily
life. That is just what Rome did with Caesar Augustus. (Francis Schaeffer, How
Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought And
Culture, Crossway, 1976, p 245.)

Without the responsibility and restraint of self-government under God—that is, people whose
character is developed according to the Bible’s instruction
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be
complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
—a nation cannot continue allowing the freedoms that our forefathers sought to establish and
protect.

All we have to do is consider what happens when civil government, whether local, state, or
federal, is forced to cut spending and balance the budget. The majority of us say that we are
for less government spending and will support balancing the budget UNTIL the cuts threaten a

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benefit we have come to depend on. Cut everything… but don’t cut that!

Where am I going with this? Well, I’m certainly not going to tell you how to vote. I do believe it is
important that we vote!

We may well find ourselves asking, if neither the Republican right or the Democratic left (and
certainly not the moderates in the middle) are going to significantly change things for the
better, and if no one else has a real chance to win, then why vote at all? I think we need to
vote simply because God has placed us in a nation in which the citizens have the constitutional
responsibility to vote.

Our constitution begins, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect
Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
God has placed us in a nation in which, as President Abraham Lincoln put it, the government is
to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”6

If we the people don’t vote, then we have no reasonable right to critique the government that is
to represent.

We also need to vote because we are first of all citizens of the kingdom of God. We are
the “ecclesia”, an assembly of citizens called out to represent God’s government here on
earth. Our votes, like our prayers and proclamations, should not represent our own ideas and
preferences, but, to the best of our ability and understanding, should represent and promote
doing God’s will here on earth as it is done in heaven.

God — THE SOVEREIGN KING over all the nations and people groups

Ultimately, the Bible is clear: it is God who decides who will govern.

For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another. (Psalm 75:6-7 ESV)

Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding…
(Daniel 2:20-21 ESV)

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Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

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This truth was revealed clearly to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who gradually came to a
great understanding about who God is and who he was. He said,

The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and
Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this
mystery.” (Daniel 2:47 ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants,
who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their
bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I
make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the
God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their
houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”
(Daniel 3:28-29 ESV)

King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the
earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs
and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.
How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
(Daniel 4:1-3 ESV)

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to
me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,
for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and
splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my
kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol
and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who
walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4:34-37 ESV)

Years ago I heard Brother Charles Simpson say, “God blesses or afflicts us with leaders
according to our need.”

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Why is it that the worse earthly governments tend to bring out the best in God’s people?
Consider the courage of the disciples and the spread of the faith under pagan Roman during
the first few centuries of church history. Consider the courage of disciples and the spread of the
faith under the Communist government of China.

What kind of leaders and what kind of government do we need to “encourage” us to become
courageous and dedicated disciples who live and who spread true Biblical faith and practice in
our culture?

How shall we respond in light of God’s sovereignty and our responsibility?

Here are some final Scriptural realities for us to consider.

1. We are first citizens of an eternal kingdom, and the United States as well as other nations
has a beginning and will have an end.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and
earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands,
as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and
breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind
to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the
boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel
their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like
gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people
everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the
world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has
given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31 ESV)

2. Cities and nations as well as individuals will be judged by King Jesus.

And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there
until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let
your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And
if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from
your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more
bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for
that town. (Matthew 10:11-15 ESV)

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“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he
will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he
will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from
the goats. (Matthew 25:31-32 ESV)

Hasten and come,
all you surrounding nations,
and gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
Let the nations stir themselves up
and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
all the surrounding nations. (Joel 3:11-12 ESV)

(See also Psalm 2:8-12; 96:13; 98:9; 110:6; Isa 2:4; 3:13; Micah 4:3)

3. It is not to the United States or to any other earthly government that we should looking for
government and for help.

For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver;
the LORD is our king; he will save us. (Isaiah 33:22 ESV)

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the LORD!
And yet he is wise and brings disaster;
he does not call back his words,
but will arise against the house of the evildoers
and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
The Egyptians are man, and not God,
and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the LORD stretches out his hand,
the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
and they will all perish together. (Isaiah 31:1-3 ESV)

The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure. (Isaiah 33:5-6 ESV)

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4. Since we live in a nation where there are now many people of differing ethnic backgrounds
and religious faith, should we expect our nation to acknowledge the God of the Bible and Jesus
our Lord? Don’t we need to tolerate all? We can’t expect everyone to acknowledge our God and
Lord, can we?

“Tolerate” in the sense of allowing people to make their own choices and thus deal with their
own consequences… yes.

“Tolerate” in the politically correct sense of pretending that there is no true God and no Truth
and that no one is right or wrong in what them believe or do…no way.

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned
with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for
the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I
proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined
Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the
leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the
rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of
Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find
them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities,
shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here
also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees
of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” And the people and the city
authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. (Acts 17:2-8 ESV)

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people
everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the
world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has
given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31 ESV)

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Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted! (Psalm 47:6-9 ESV)

For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:3 ESV)

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5. Our nation needs God’s law because the nation and it’s people will face judgment under the
law.

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4 ESV)

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:1-4 ESV)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has
been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the
end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

• Aren’t we the means through whom Jesus is bringing his word of justice and his ways of

righteousness to the nations? Aren’t we the means through whom God is working to make the
nations Jesus’ footstool? (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:22;

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Hebrews 2:8f; 1 Peter 3:22 Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42,43)

6. Wouldn’t we be discriminating if we expected our nation’s laws to be based on God’s law?

Yes… and we should be using the law to discriminate.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this,
that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for
the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their
fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice
homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound
doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with
which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:8-11 ESV)

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been
for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to
covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity
through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart
from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the
commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that
promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through
the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and
the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Romans 7:7-12 ESV)

But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in
Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the
coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian [‘paidagogos‘
—tutor] until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
(Galatians 3:22-24 ESV)

• If the law is God’s gift to reveal rebellion in the rebels so that they will see their need of

Jesus the Lord and Savior, then how dare we not seek to see every nation where God
gives us influence base its on God’s law?

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