Saturday, July 05, 2014

Happy July 4th-America Celebrates Its 238th
...the stewardship of freedom and faith

We at CampOnThis celebrate our nations independence and are grateful for the sacrifice of the many men and women who have given their lives to protect the freedoms we so richly enjoy in our great land—especially those fighting the war in Iraq currently. We should never take them or our freedom for granted. To all the families who have sons and daughters in the military today, our prayers are with you and your children; we appreciate you greatly!

Freedom is a precious thing. It is not the desire to do what we want, but the power to do what we ought.
Burning the American flag is not an expression of freedom, but of disdain for our nation, its constitution, and its citizens. Taking the life of an unborn child is not an expression of freedom, but a complete disregard for the sanctity of human life. Gay marriage is not an expression of freedom, but of disrepute for God's divine design of marriage.

This is key for the church to think about—doing what we ought to do, not just what is expedient to do. As the church is gallingly trying to reinvent itself today to adapt to the tensions, struggles, moorings and beliefs of our postmodern world, we must never forget beloved: the cross waves higher than the flag. I am proud to be an American and thank the Lord for our great nation; but first and foremost, I am a citizen of heaven and my principal allegiance in this life is to the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we have a stewardship to use the freedom we enjoy in this great country as a voice for the faith.
The Lord has given every Christian the duty of being a faithful witness and testimony to His gospel of grace. We are to be salt and light in the sphere of influence that the Lord has sovereignly placed us. Right where we live, whether we are 11 or 88, we can be a witness for the Lord and His truth. The most tool for evangelizing this world is the transformed life lived out, right where we live.

But some believers today (and thankfully they are decreasing in number) see the way to transform our nation is through the political realm, not by proclaiming the gospel.

In response to their cobelligerence, I submit the following:

If every member of Congress were Christians; if every member of the Supreme Court were saved; if every judicial appointee by the President confessed Christ as Lord; and if the President and every member of his cabinet were born again, it would have little impact upon the spiritual condition of our nation.
God has not sanctioned the government to set the spiritual tone of our land. That influence and power comes through the ministry of the local church by the proclamation of the gospel (Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus).

You cannot call boldly to repentance those to whom you are beholding to pay political capital. Evangelical political activism is a playground for Christians who really don’t believe in the transforming power of the gospel and think that legislation is the key to societal moral restitution rather than regeneration.

In trying to legislate a cultural morality, they unwittingly remove the offense of the cross. Their tongues can't help then but stutter instead of speaking clearly when given opportunity to proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because faith to them must be cloaked in politics; and relationships within those circles guarded, courted and smoothed over, rather than confronted and called to repentance.

They do this for the purpose of garnering acceptance in the governmental arena, to insure continued access to mainstream media, and shore up alliances with nonbelievers for the purpose of moral recovery through the veneer of family-values living. Politics is the art of compromise and makes poor bedfellows for anyone in genuine biblical ministry.

When Daniel Webster was asked why he attended a little country church and didn’t attend the politically acceptable church in the heart of town, he replied, “at that church downtown they preach to Daniel Webster the statesman; in that little country church, they preach to Daniel Webster the sinner.”

If a pastor of a church were to run for political office and was elected President of the United States, he'd be stepping down. For though the President has weighty duties and responsibilities, the care for the souls of men through the gospel is far greater— for it is an eternal work that the servant of Christ does.

God is "He who sits in the heavens [and] laughs..." the Psalmist says. At what; at who? "...the rulers that take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed."

Better is the ministry of the Lord's design, than the playground of politics. Better to preach the Word; better to herald His gospel; better to love your neighbor; and better to call lost people to repentance by grace through faith in Christ alone.

Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July with your family and friends.

His Truth is Marching On...
Steve
Acts 20:24

6 comments:

Phillip M. Way said...

Thank you for the clear and concise presentation of the truth.

Am I glad to be an American? You bet!

But as an American I will give an account to God for how I have used the Freedom He has given me for His purposes and glory.

Thanks for the reminder.

~pastorway

donsands said...

Those were some fine thoughts and words.
My heart is in complete agreement.

The Gospel is what should rule our hearts and minds.
All other endeavors must be considered in the light of the Gospel. The Gospel should be the heartbeat of the Church.

Thanks Steve for sharing such an excellent teaching from God's Word.

Mike Miller said...

Steve,

Well said. Thank you. I also posted on this theme at my blog, and I included 3 verses to "God Bless America" that I wrote in case anyone would like to see/use them. I think you can get to my blog through my profile (it's called LifeAnswers).

I'm also wondering when and how the shift occurred that equates patriotism with Christianity. What I mean (and I am very patriotic, by the way) is that it seems many people believe that if you are a good American, then you are a good Christian, and the flag is as important as the cross. Any ideas?

Michele Rayburn said...

If you notice, in the picture of the flag that Steve has put on this particular blog post, you will see the sun shining on the flag in such a way as to form a cross, where the stars are on the flag.

It makes me think of how the "politics of war" intersected with the sovereign plan of God for my family, and how God used World War II to "get the ball rolling" in God's plan of salvation for us.

The first evidence of God's direct intervention in bringing salvation to my family seemed to begin with the day my Dad tried to enlist for the war, but was turned away because he had a hernia. So, my Dad quickly went for an operation to remove the hernia, and tried to enlist again. This time they accepted him.

I mention this because if he had not gotten the hernia operation, he would not have been enlisted, and if he were not enlisted, he would not have met a fellow soldier named W. Lee (I won't give his full name for privacy purposes), who was Pastor of a small country church outside of Dallas, Texas.

Pastor Lee became friends with my Dad as they served side by side in World War II. And my Dad told me of how Pastor Lee would always talk to him about the Lord.

We were a Roman Catholic family. We didn't know the Lord, and all this talk was new to my Dad and had a profound influence on our family for years to come.

After World War II, Pastor Lee would send our family a Christian Christmas card each year with several gospel tracts in it, and a beautiful letter telling us about the Lord. I remember the first time I became aware of this Christian friend of my Dad's. I was very moved that this man cared so much for our family.

By the time I was 23, I came to know the Lord. And I attribute it initially to the fervent prayers of this Pastor, and his Christian witness in our lives. I later led my sister to the Lord, and my Dad may be saved, but I'm not certain. He passed away in 1983. I gave my testimony in another comment section on Steve's blog post called "The Best Case Against a Therapeutic Form of Sanctification I've Ever Read" (Feb.1,'06) if anyone would care to read it.

Soon after I was saved, I went to visit W. Lee in Texas. It was like he knew me his whole life. It was such a small town he lived in, that by the time he got home from church, he knew that I was waiting for him at his house, because "word got out"! He walked into his house, and when he saw me, he opened his arms to embrace me and said "Michele!" It was a day I will never forget.

I had the privilege of spending the 4th of July with our soldiers at the Fort Campbell Army Base, home of the 101st Airborne, as we do on most 4th's because we live only a few miles down the road from them. We had a wonderful day.

It was tricky getting onto the Base, as we needed not only personal i.d., and car registration, but also proof of insurance. So, Terry had to turn the car around to go home and find his recent proof of insurance. Then we had to turn the car around again to attend to some other business, all the while hoping it wouldn't rain before my son would have a chance to go on the carnival rides there.

By the time we got to the gate, and the soldier asked for Terry's registration and proof of insurance, and Terry asked me to "find it" for him again...well, I just began laughing and couldn't stop. I tried my best to hold it in, because I was afraid I would look suspicious. Fortunately, they didn't frisk me! But we all still had to get out of the car, as is routine, and open all the doors and trunk so they could do a brief search. After they were done, I said to Terry, "Now that I feel violated...let's have some fun!" And off to the fairgrounds we went.

The 101st Airborne Band is an excellent band. They played the theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean", and "Stars and Stripes" among others. But for their finale, they played the "1812 Overture", and as it reached it's climax, where cannons usually explode at this point, instead the fireworks began, which brought a tear to my eye. It was a most beautiful display and very moving.

My husband, being a door-to-door salesman for burglar alarms and real estate sales, is able to visit the homes of many of these soldiers and their families, and has the opportunity to reach out to them in Christian love every day. This is a very precious ministry. Terry sees first hand the sacrifices these soldiers and their families are making, and they need our prayers. Please remember our soldiers in your prayers. As one soldier recently said, "We are the land of the free because of the brave."

In His Love,
Michele

Denise said...

I agree Steve. Many people forget that WE cannot change men's hearts, only God can. Any other view is man-centered and powerless, and quite frankly, offensive.

I wonder, if this nation were to generally live moral lives whether as RCers, Mormons, or Christians, would that make these "Christian pundits" feel better? Even though they are lost as a goose? I mean, what is their aim? And what is their weapon?

I believe that as a Christian living in America, I have a duty and privilage (sp?) to participate in the politics as far as voting is concerned. We have a unique opportunity to vote in and vote out leaders, as well as have a say about laws being made. And I do enjoy living here. I take my voting very seriously.

However, I will not compromise my faith by lowering my standard when it comes to the same. When there is no candidate that I can, before God, explain with a clear conscience, why I put my name and vote behind him, I will NOT vote.

I will NOT fear man (ie, the "opposition to the party") rather than God.

I will dare to be a Daniel.

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