Church Tough Issues
Securing the Blessings of Liberty
November 5, 2016
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The silhouette of Statue of Liberty under sunrise background

The presidential election is just a couple days away and our nation is more confused, fearful and polarized than at any time in history even more so than the civil war era. Our American culture is a reflection of our elected officials. In other words, we get what we deserve. There are several things that make this election unique in the history of our nation. This is the first election where there is great confusion and division within the evangelical demographic. This is a very alarming indicator that much of the church in America is conforming more to the world than being transformed by God’s Word. Also, never before has the chasm between the values and worldview of Americans been so vast. The two political platforms could not be any more different in the vision they lay out for America and their view of humanity and God.

So, how is the follower of Jesus and the Church to respond in these serious times?

Throughout history believers have never had as much opportunity and voice into the political direction of a nation. America is truly “the grand experiment, “ a representative democracy where we can get involved and model good citizenship. So, the right response should never be to pull back and isolate. One practical way to be involved is that we need to shift our discussion from primarily talking about the candidates and focus more on the platforms. Simply put, vote for the platform not the candidate. If a majority of our nation would spend more time reading and discussing the platforms it would force the media to shift from covering petty issues related to the candidates to the real issues. Both platforms are about 50 pages long. Every responsible citizen should review them and understand that we should be voting for a platform more than a candidate.

Rights come with responsibility. But if a culture and people forget where their rights come from and “who” ultimately they are accountable to the idea of personal responsibility falls apart. And what happens to a culture where personal responsibility falls apart? The same thing that happened in Israel when they rejected God, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25) Personal responsibility falls apart when we forget where our rights come from and our attitude moves from gratitude and humility to entitlement and narcissism. Our system here in US will fall apart without its people looking to God for our rights. John Adams states this clearly,

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” People must be virtuous for republican government to succeed.”

But followers of Jesus have a greater responsibility and influence over the nation than political involvement. God’s Word in several places states the fact that if His people will humble themselves and obey His Word, He will bless that nation. God desires to bless us and any nation that turns to Him. Our founding father’s stood on this biblical principle and realized that to secure the blessings of liberty the nation must look to God for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It is stated in the preamble of the Constitution, the purpose of those documents, “to secure the blessings of liberty.” Look at the incredible promises of these verses:

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Jeremiah 18:7-10

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.

Repentance and Renewal must take place within the Church first and then flow outward to the community and nation.

The 4 Rs of Renewal: to secure the blessings of liberty

Repentance – Revelation – Rights – Responsibilities

(1) If we want to secure the blessings of liberty- the blessings of God – we must nurture a heart of repentance.

(2) Repentance is conviction of the Holy Spirit that we have been setting our minds on the things of man and not on the things of God.

(3) Repentance positions us for revelation to hear again God’s voice and blessing.

(4) Without a heart of repentance we lose a healthy perspective of our rights and responsibilities.

When we lose sight of where our rights come from and think they come from us it has a detrimental impact on our responsibilities. Practically what does this look like? When we lose sight of who created us, we lose sight of how to be responsible with our body and we lose sight of our responsibility to care for our children, which includes our children in the womb. When this happens the public discussion becomes more about our rights than what being responsible and truly caring looks like. The very fact that we are more concerned about our personal “rights” than our responsibility to care for our children in the womb reveals how far we are from God’s heart and His blessings. And the fact that we are more concerned with our sexual “rights” and our own definition of marriage rather than our “responsibility” to honor God and others reveals how far we are from God’s heart.

God is patient with us and He has been patient with the nations, but there is a day of reckoning and all we have to do is look at the history of the nations. He has blessed us, but He will not continue to bless us if we do not turn our hearts back to Him.

We can see throughout the scriptures the truth of Jeremiah 18 that when people and nations turn to God, He blesses them. We can see the whole city of Nineveh repent before God at the strong prophetic word of Jonah. And God in response withheld his judgment. God will bless America, but only if repentance begins in the Church. We can see that John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by calling the people to a baptism of repentance. Jesus came to baptize us in the Holy Spirit. But we must remember that a baptism of repentance must always precede the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It would appear that the Church in America has been going after the baptism of the Holy Spirit and all the good gifts of God but unwilling first to embrace the baptism of repentance.

May the Church in America fall on its knees and be willing to repent and have the house of God purified so that God’s rich blessings can flow over our nation once again.

 

 

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About author

Stephen Woodrow

Steve is the pastor of Crossroads Church in Aspen Colorado. He is married to Meshell and they have 5 wonderful kids.

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There is 1 comment

  • William Mitchell says:

    Wednesday morning I will bow my head and weep for the United States and pray for forgivness that we have fallen so far from what God would ask of a country he has blessed. Whoever wins is deeply flawed and lack Biblical wisdom and guidance. Both platforms are lots of words and well intended but God wants our hearts and our actions and not a lot of blah, blah words. As long as a portion of the evangelical demographic hold that the two greatest and most horrible sins are abortion and homosexuality and turn a blind eye on the whole gospel message , we will continue to flounder in all our sins and consequences. We men love to rail on the horror of abortion because not one of us have ever had an abortion, forgetting that that every abortion is the result of a man’s action/sin. Abortion is horible and not God’s plan. But it is relativism when we start trying to proclaim it somehow worse than any other sin. I need to concentrate on the sins in my life. We have little difficulty overlooking fornication and adultry and yet hate homosexuality. No wonder young people are having trouble understanding what it means to be Christian. Too many envangelicals love to dwellin in selected laws of the Old Testament and forget being Christ like (Christian). They are more selective legalistic than many orthodox in the Jewish faith. We are told not to be quarrelsome, slanderers, to not use angry words. I am embarressed by the vile philandering represenatives of each side speaking out for their side. No wonder God turns a deaf ear to our pleas.

    God so loved the world that he sent his Son. We somehow hear or think he so loved America that he sent his son. I fear too many Americans worship democracy more than they worship God. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in a democratic country, BUT we need to focus more on being Christ-like and less on being a good Democrat or Republican. The platforms focus more on policy than faith and Christian responsibility. Our politicians love to end their speaches with the demand that “God Bless America”. When we need to hear, ” God please forgive us for how we have squandered your great blessings, delivers us from evil, and help us to forgive as we have been forgiven”.