Bible Lesson 124

BIBLE LESSON #124 (1st in Series)
The Pulpit and Politics

“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.” NKJV 1st Corinthians 5:9-10

“There are none, to lead, as qualified as those who know God and follow His commandments, Christ gave the church and individuals the responsibility to shed light, not darkness, in the world. (Matthew 28:19-20). Brobob

In this lesson, we want to look into a situation where we find much disagreement, in our midst, about the organized church. We disagree because we have probably never really examined or explained what we are disagreeing upon.
We as the Church exist in a duality of realities since we are God’s people living in God’s world that is in darkness, because of sin. What are Pastors and elders and evangelist to do when they face the devil on his territory?

They are always to witness the love of Christ. That does not mean that everyone in the world is loved by Christ. Christ Himself preached and said to us that “He who hath my commandments and keepeth them, he is that loveth Me, and he that loveth Me shall be loved by My Father and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21. Our teaching and witness consist of many things and the first thing that we need to teach a sinner is that He is lost and undone, dead in trespass and sin, separated from God (Ephesians 2:1).

The sinner must understand that He is under the penalty of death (separation from God); however, there is a solution to His problem and that solution involves the death of Christ and the substitutionary sacrifice that He made for those who would believe in Him (John 3:16; Hebrews 5:8-9). The sinner must understand that God requires repentance of His sin, which involves godly sorrow and a turning away from sin and a turning to serve God (2nd Corinthians 7:10; Luke 13:3; Romans 6:20-22). The sinner must understand that he must surrender the throne of his life to King Jesus, it can no longer be the throne of self (Matthew 16:24). The sinner has to understand that there is only one way to Christ, and that is to enter that strait gate (come to Christ divested of everything) and walk that narrow path that leads to eternal life. That narrow path is the path laid out by the Word of God (Matthew 7:13:14).

That is the job or commission that becomes the commission of every truly saved person. How then, can we who preach and teach the Word of God, do anything other than becoming involved in our political system. We are commanded by God to obey the laws of our government (unless and until they cause us to violate our Christian faith); but does that not also allow us to have an input into that system that governs all of us, both Christian and non-Christian?

We will attempt to walk through the minefield that we have set for ourselves; because we have taken the easy path and decided that there is something sinister between the church and the government. There is not anything more sinister there than there is in our everyday contact with the world. It was God who ordained both the Church and the government, so there should be nothing sinister between them except when and where we the people vote in an immoral people into office. Sin is the genesis of sinister, so if we were the people we should be, many of the people that we send to Washington to administer our law, would never be sent there.

If we understand what the duty of the Church is, we have to realize that the Church exists to preach and teach the Word of God, knowing that God will use our faithfulness to preach ‘the whole counsel’ of God, to call those whom He wills into the kingdom of heaven. That is the chief duty of the visible church, but it does not stop there. We know, and it was the case not too many years ago (probably 75-100 years) that the church was held in high esteem by both Christians and sinners. The level of holiness that the church brought about in Christians, tended to affect the communities where they were established to bring their morals up, instead of down. That accounts for the fact that schools never scheduled sports events on Wednesday or Sunday, and why prayer and Bible commentary was evident in the curriculum of many school districts.

That’s the reason that there were Sunday blue laws that meant that most stores and places of business did not open for business on the day of Worship and many other benefits. The Church reflected the glory of God and the holiness of His people; however, as humanism encroached on the church of the living God, instead of resisting it or defeating it, for some reason the church enabled it, by inviting the world into the church. Certainly, the church was open to those who were not Christians to come and hear and benefit from the preaching, but God never meant that the church should end up with a mixed multitude. Those who encumber the visible church of our day were meant to have ministered outside the Church for the most part until they truly had come to the church to do business with God.

That business could be done between sinners and God is only one way, the sinner must come to the end of self, die to self if you will, and cast themselves on Jesus Christ and His work on Calvary as sufficient to the uttermost for their forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Then they became a part of the true church, the invisible church, and the visible church which exists in the churches we see on so many street corners. When Churchmen were willing to set forth to serve God in His way and His power, the communities around them took note and they at least knew that it was not a good idea to sin. That’s when we knew the Word of God and the God of the Word, and we obeyed it without question, reservation, or hesitation. That’s when the church and society had a clear separation from each other.

So, what happened, what caused the church to invite the world into their midst when the Bible teaches differently’ We forgot that the Church was established by Jesus Christ and Christ said of the church, that it would build His Church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Mathew 16:13-19). Notice now in those verses Jesus did not grant the building of the Church to men, what He did do, was to say that it would be built, upon the faith of its members in Him. The rest of the Bible in context makes it abundantly clear that Jesus was speaking of real faith and belief in His Person and His work, and obedience to His commandments. The devil and his minions have been busy since the beginning of the World to off-set and destroy the work of Christ, and we evidenced the genesis of that work in the Garden of Eden when the serpent deceived Eve and she ate of the forbidden fruit and caused Adam to eat of it also. I suppose that we could say that Satan has been around for so long, and people have become so naïve, that he began to look to the church almost as a neighbor, and we are to love our neighbor, so the church began to tolerate him. Now, the Early Church had those who, as Jude write to us about in His epistle, “Crept in unawares, who are there for the specific purpose of turning the grace of God into lewdness and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”(Jude 4). Unawares, unnoticed is a condemnation of those who are the leaders of church groups that allow these kinds of people to join and take a voice in their groups. “The Early Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. The Church began in power, moved in power, and moved just as long as she had power. When she no longer had the power she dug in for safety and sought to conserve her gains. But her blessings were like the manna: when they tried to keep it overnight it bred worms and stank. So we have had monasticism, scholasticism, institutionalism, and they have all been indicative of the same thing: the absence of spiritual power. In Church history, every return to New Testament power has seen the rise of some new mechanisms for conservation and defense. If this analysis is reasonably correct, then we are today in a state of very low spiritual energy.” A.W. Tozer. He wrote that and spoke those words back in early 1930 almost 80 years ago and it has not gotten better, it has gotten worse by far. I realize that some like to hurry to the end and find out what the title of this lesson is all about; however, we must understand the problem thoroughly to do something about it, and so follow this series closely and see if we can arrive at the solution. We will eventually get to the place where we ask and attempt to answer the question should we have anything to do with politics from our pulpits. We know that we should never go to war without sufficient ammunition and so that is why we need to look closely at where we are and how we got here.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions and think about our answers as we go on from this point. Is there anyone out there, who is awake and aware, that believes that what we call the church of our day, is doing the work of Christ’ I don’t know what your answer would be, but if we know our Bible, we have to say that the church has become more a social club than the militant church that Christ said it would be. We have been conditioned by our society because they like to take advantage of our weakness, that the church is not to be in your face, or militant in any way because then nobody would like us; however Christ did say back there in Matthew 16:18, “On this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (Hell) shall not prevail or be victorious over it.” I like to keep my ducks in a row or keep the way clear for the proper understanding of scriptures like the one about. First let me make it clear that Peter, was not given the authority over the church of Christ. Christ is its head, it’s body, and it’s leader and Christ retains all authority over the church, or ecclesia, as it is properly understood. We must understand what the term church in our New Testament means, so we must understand what the Greek word that was translated as church in our Bible means. The word that is translated from the Greek to our English Bibles is Ekklesia, and it means “The called out ones”, those who have been called by God, justified by their faith in Christ, Sanctified by the Spirit and the Word of God, and glorified by the Father (Romans 8:28-30; Romans 5:1-2; 1st Peter 1:1-2). Now, I don’t fight with the idea of building some buildings and calling them churches, as long as those who belong to those are truly saved people, who live like truly saved people ‘.everyday!

However, if we are honest, we have to know that the vast majority of what we call churches in our day are more worldly than they are holy. That is the ingredient that is missing in most instances in our world today. We allow people to join the visible church so that they can be happy, healthy, and any number of other reasons, but God joins those to His church who are holy. Holy means set apart for the use of God, and God never uses a dirty instrument in His Church. For the church to impact its community, it must show itself as a vessel of God. Today’s churches, at least those who major on the minors and exist to meet the felt needs of those who attend, have no authority at all as a rule. We see sports events scheduled on Wednesdays and even on Sundays..sometimes even by churches. Sunday has become a day like every other day, a day to shop, work, and carry on business as usual. What has that resulted in’ We are a weak, stumbling, uncaring, disobedient bunch that wants to mix the world with God’s church.

Does that mean that the church should not involve itself in politics from the pulpits’ Yes and No! Yes’ because I believe that the victory that Christ spoke to us about there in Matthew 16:18, is a victory, not simply in the pews but a victory in the parishes of the states, and America. No’.because in its present condition, the church has a great deal to do to even make the make-up of the church, acceptable to God. Now, both of those answers will require much background information for us to understand where we are as a church and a nation. For one thing, the church must come back to the point that they know that God has always saved people for a reason, and that reason is that the creature must be drastically changed to be acceptable to God. That change must be instated and carried to fulfillment by God and no one else. The condition of the Church must be changed before, it will be able to do much at all in practicing any kind or degree of political action. The church in America, and possibly the church everywhere, need to go back to square one and begin to bring themselves and their members back to what every person who has membership in the church is a new creature, obedient to Christ and serving to get the gospel of good news out to all of the world. The church must go back to the point that they preach and teach that Salvation is all of God. Salvation is not something that a person can wake up one day decide to do. It is something that begins and ends with God, in Christ, (Hebrews 12:2). Salvation is a work of God who brings a person who is dead in trespass and sin, back to Spiritual life, and calls them unto salvation (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 8:28-30). Jesus Christ said of Himself, that He came to save only sinners (Those who had come to the knowledge of their condemnation), He did not come to save those who felt they were not sick with sin ( Matthew 1:21; Matthew 9:12-13). The church of our day is guilty of ‘saving’ people who have never seen that they were lost and blind and unheeding. As a result of that kind of thing, we now exist as churches with more unwashed sinners on the roles, than truly born again, obedient Christians. We must also come to the point that we know for sure that the church, pastor, preachers, evangelists, teacher, or anybody on the earth can not save any person’s soul. Salvation is the exclusive purview of Almighty God. We must know that God expects us who are His adopted children, to nurture all those who profess Christ and be prepared to discipline those who waver from their profession. We who are truly saved, born again and obedient to the commandments of Christ (God), must realize that our relationship to the government in which we operate, is to be one that is above all of the wicked, evil, and sinful actions that are manifested by less than qualified people who have been elected to represent them. Any man who gets my vote must manifest humility, he must understand that when I vote for him, he is on the same level as myself, and getting a seat in Washington does not change that. That is the reason that the visible church has to come back to God’s way of changing a person’s life in the salvation which always includes repentance (A godly sorrow for having rebelled against an Almighty Creator).

I want to stop right here to prove my point about what is going on in so much of the visible church. I have been preaching and attempting to teach others over the years, that at least in many of our seminaries and schools for pastors, there is a serious lack, of real truth. Tonight I heard about a problem in the church that was to be broadcast on ABC and I tuned in to see what it was all about. It turns out that they had found a couple of Pastors who had realized that they never had faith, or as they said, they lost their faith. One of them said that he lost his faith after he began to read the Bible. Isn’t that kind of strange ‘wouldn’t you think that before a denomination allows a person to take over a pulpit, they would have made real sure that the man already knew the Bible. In many cases, pastors and congregations have completely forgotten that the Old Testament exists, at least they don’t preach the God of that Testament. If you listen to many today, you would believe that God was Sovereign in the Old Testament and that He was a God of love and wrath, but since the cross, He has decided to change to make himself more acceptable to sinners. God did not get saved at the cross that was God that went to the cross. God gave of Himself in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ at the cross. God has not and will not ever change. He is and will always be perfect and loving, it is just that we want to have God’s love without doing what He has laid down as the prerequisites, for His love. We have come to the point that people have no idea about God, or about themselves, or anybody else. We are a confused people, who are so selfish and demanding that we even think that we can march down some church aisle and profess to know a Jesus that we do not know and then get into heaven. That is not the way the Bible teaches, and before we begin to try to teach politics from the pulpit, we must get the visible church back to the point that they can get a hearing from God when they pray.

That said, let’s talk a little bit about what we as laymen in the church need to be doing. The visible church is no better or no worse than its reputation. In other words, if when people look at any of the visible churches of our day, and they see what they would see out in the community every day, then something is wrong. The problem is that we have been taught for several decades, that we are alright, just the way we are. God loves us just the way we are and that Jesus died for everyone. That is not what the Bible teaches (John 14:21-24; Hebrews 5:18). The visible church in America has undertaken to do with the Bible, the same as politicians and judges had done with the American Constitution and that is to proclaim it as something that adapts itself to the culture in which it is interpreted. That violates the intent of the constitution because it was based upon the laws laid out by the Bible, which are absolute and unchanging. The church has seen it necessary to adapt the teaching of the Bible to those who make up its congregations. That’s the reason that we have a mixed multitude, it’s because we began to seek increased members, increased budgets, increased unbiblical outreach, to appear successful in the eyes of the community they operate in. Churches became competitive, and even avant-garde, concerned about everything except the purity of its church and its worship. I want you to think about something and that is why is it that we all use the same Bible, so why can’t we get along with each other. You know that one denomination does not interact with other denominations and so forth. Why is that’ I will leave you with a question, and with the thought that if the church can’t agree how can we have a government with people of different ideologies to come together and seek the good of the people. We must not forget that the Church is effected and affected by what the government sets down as law or decisions. The civil government gave the church the tax exemption and now rules the church by that exemption and the threat to take it away. I believe that the church should not take the exemption and then it could stand up and be the church.

Before the church dares to take a stand on politics we must first get our theology right and our hands and hearts pure and clean. That’s what the Bible teaches when Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount said to us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”, and then “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your eye’ Or how can you say to your brother, ‘let me remove the speck from your eye’: and look, a plank is in you own eye’ Hypocrite! First, remove the plank from your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:1-5). God is speaking to you and me in those verses and says, in effect, first things first’.get right with God and then He says, here is the way you do that, sweep around your own back door before you attempt to judge those whose doorsteps are soiled. The moral of this lesson is that the Church has some responsibility in the government that it supports with its taxes; however, we cannot attend to that until we are what God created us to be, a church that walks so close to God that sinners will glorify our God.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob