Friday, November 11, 2016

Our Hope Is Not In Elections or This World

We sort of know this is not our true home, but we kind of act as though it is at times.  To my brothers and sisters at Branches Church OC, my hope is to come to you and encourage your heart and lift it up to God in the midst of some interesting times and an even more interesting election season in our country.  I simply want you to know that this world is not our home.  We are aliens in a strange place where the sin and curse of death and its sting is very present, but shall soon be gone when Christ returns. Until then, we trust in God. 

So, I have 4 reflections in the midst of the current transitions in our country.  And we pray and hope for a peaceful transfer of power, which is our good tradition. 

1. Trust God Because He Turns the Kings Heart however He pleases

Prov. 21:1 “The King’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord: he turns it wherever he will.” (ESV)

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords has good and perfect purposes. His will shall be accomplished in History as He has decreed before the foundations of the world.  This is not to be fatalistic but to say that the true sovereign is God and He will accomplish His Will. 

This means that all things are in the hands of God.  This takes much out of my hands and puts me in a place of awe, humility, trust, and prayer.

2. My Christian Duty Is To Pray For Leaders

We must be a people who pray for each other and also our leaders.  If you reflect for a moment and cannot remember uttering a single prayer for president Obama, then it’s time to get to work and make it your practice of praying for your leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, For kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (ESV)

God saves leaders and can turn and save the hardest heart.  In the book of Daniel, God uses a wicked King, Nebuchadnezzar, not only for his purposes but He also humbles him and transforms his life.

So pray!

3. Christians Have Better Business Than Time To Divide Over Politics

We have a better work and calling by God.  And there are many things in this world that can take us off track of what really matters.  Christians must not divide over politics.  Remember that politics and leaders are not your god, like it is for some.  If it is your functional god, you will get enraged when things don’t go your way.

Quite frankly, my biggest concern is not this election or any election.  A far greater concern of mine is that we have many Christians with splinters in their butts from sitting in a pew for years and no scar tissue in their knees from prayer.   We have more calluses in our hearts towards lost people than callused feet that walk with the good news of Christ to our friends, family, and neighbors in the city that God has ordained we live in.

Consider this! Heaven doesn’t rejoice over elections and governments.  Heaven rejoices when one single lost person is found and comes home to the Father.

Luke 15:1-7 “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.  And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’  So he told them this parable: What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents and then over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “ (ESV)

If you are on mission with God and rejoicing in what heaven rejoices in, then you will find joy in what makes the Father happy.  And when did it become strange for others to judgmentally say of you, “That guy hangs out with sinners.” Remember, it’s also what they said of Jesus.

4. This Is Not My Home

This place is simply not our home. While it would be better to be with the Lord, we walk with God while we are here. Our home is to come and it is so much better. 

2 Corinthians 5:6-10 “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (ESV)

Do not act as though this is our home, brothers and sisters.  There is much kingdom work to do and we just don’t have the time to be divided over matters of this dying world.  It will pass away like a breath of air on a cold morning. 10,000 years from now, we who hope in Christ will look back on any given historical event like a dew drop on a windshield in the morning that blows away with the start of an engine and a short drive.  Many events will be insignificant. What will matter is our labor for Christ and His kingdom.

You may passionately participate and even lovingly debate over what our county has granted us to partake in, but we must do so without bitterness or malice, because there is no place for such things among those whose hope is in the eternal Christ.  Be like Christ, who could be angry at the right things and remain without sin!

Lastly, a word to cause deep reflection: Brothers, if you are too comfortable or hope too much in this place, then maybe this place has become your home.  Turn to Christ while there is time!

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