“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 KJV). As far back as I can remember Baptists have used this verse as a rallying cry to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to ends of the earth and back. We have started bus routes, nursing home ministries, homeless shelters, and addiction counseling, all in the name of preaching the gospel to every creature. Those ministries are great and I am 100% for them, however, there is another world that has largely been ignored by Baptists especially lately and it is beginning to show in our Nation. I am talking about the world of our civic servants and Government officials. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not an expert on this and I am certainly not uttering a rallying cry for us to start a new political movement or group. I am simply saying that we as Baptists have turned our backs on our country’s leaders and watched as our country began to grow worse and worse. Proverbs 29:12 says, “If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.” I have read this verse over and over again lately as God convicted me over my failure in this area. The truth is it is our fault that our leaders are listening to lies. It is our fault because we have failed to give them the truth. Oh, I am not saying we have not said what is true but we have not said it to them. We have simply sat back and preached sermons about how dark America is and how our politicians refuse to darken the door of our churches. May I ask you, how many times have you darkened the doors of their offices?
I wish I could say I had a divine inspiration from the Lord to get involved, but the truth is , I simply did what my pastor told me to do. He told me to go to a prayer meeting where some politicians were meeting to pray with some baptist pastors, so I did. Do you know what I found? Several very influential politicians desperately wanted prayer and guidance from us! And they were thrilled that we were there. Since then I have been able to pray with and share short Bible studies with them. Many have even approached me afterwards about the prayers. It is not because I am doing anything right. It is simply because my pastor is wise enough to realize we need to go where they are. Let me ask you a question? If you were called to the mission field of Iran, would you stay in a church in America telling everybody how bad Iran is? That is not what Peter did, when Peter received the Macedonian call, he went to Macedonia. How can we ever expect to influence the influential if we refuse to go where they are? How can we expect them to know the difference between right and wrong if they never hear what is right? How on earth can we be so hypocritical? We are abandoning them to the liberals and then complaining about how liberal America has become. Why are we not spending our time with them and helping guide them? I do not agree with Billy Graham on every thing he has said or done, however, he has quietly influenced nine straight presidents. Did you know that Mr. Graham has witnessed to Winston Churchill, and has given the gospel to the Queen Mother nine times! Even our current President has travelled to Mr. Graham’s house to receive counsel and Biblical direction. Now I am not saying that unless we regularly pray with the President that we have failed, but I am saying we all should have somebody who is a decision maker for our local regions that we should attempt to engage in dialogue with.
I have always believed that if I simply voted right and prayed for our leaders then I would be doing my duty as a Christian and an American. However, if you are seeing what I am seeing, then you know that our options as good people to vote for are few and far between and someday soon we may not have a good option to vote for. So what then? Do we simply vote for the lesser of two evils and claim to have done enough? I am certainly glad our Savior did not have this approach. I am glad He did not say, “Well I tried to save them, but they just didn’t want me. I did my part, I think I will just go to Heaven and tell my Dad how bad those humans really are.” Now again, I am not angry at anybody but myself, I am simply saying that God has opened my eyes to my failures as a Christian citizen of America. If I am upset about anything it is that it has taken me 28 years to fully understand the command of Christ. Most of you are probably years ahead of me on this, but I am sure we can all agree that we should be doing more.
What do I mean when I say do more? There seems to be two major approaches to doing more in politics. The first belief is that Christians should directly get involved in politics. Let me say, I am 100 percent for this. Looking back at the history of the American Revolution we see great men like Peter Muhlenberg (1746-1807) who was the prime example of a “fighting parson” during the Revolutionary War. The eldest son of the Lutheran patriarch Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, young Muhlenberg at the conclusion of a sermon in January 1776 to his congregation in Woodstock, Virginia, threw off his clerical robes to reveal the uniform of a Virginia militia officer. Having served with distinction throughout the war, Muhlenberg commanded a brigade that successfully stormed the British lines at Yorktown. He retired from the army in 1783 as a brevetted major general. Muhlenberg was elected to the 1st Congress (1789–1791) as one of the at-large representatives from Pennsylvania. His brother Frederick (also a preacher) was the Speaker of the House for that same Congress. He was the first founder of the Democratic-Republican Societies in 1793. Muhlenberg served in Congress as a Republican during the 3rd Congress 1793-1795 and 5th Congress 1799-1801 for the 1st district. Or perhaps like John Witherspoon (1723-1794) who was the most important “political parson” of the Revolutionary period. He represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1782, in which capacity he signed the Declaration of Independence and served on more than one hundred committees. Witherspoon served in Congress from June 1776 until November 1782 and became one of its most influential members and a workhorse of prodigious energy. He served on over 100 committees, most notably the powerful standing committees, the board of war, and the committee on secret correspondence or foreign affairs. He spoke often in debate; helped draft the Articles of Confederation; helped organize the executive departments; played a major role in shaping foreign policy; and drew up the instructions for the peace commissioners. He also served twice in the New Jersey Legislature, and strongly supported the adoption of the United States Constitution during the New Jersey ratification debates. These men are great examples of what we can accomplish today. They did not waver in their beliefs and yet they changed their world. Another more famous example would be the prophet Daniel. Daniel probably never would have imagined that someday he would be captured and thrust into the political system of his enemies, but God had a place and a plan for him and he eventually rose to become one of the most powerful men of his time in all the world. Here is a man who changed the world around him and never changed his beliefs. My friends, if God can do this through Daniel, then He can do it through you! Today more than ever we need Godly men and women who will stand up as a voice for righteousness. Imagine what God can do if we directly had a person from every church involved in some form of our government. I’m not saying you have to run for President, but we could sure use more Christians on our local school boards. The time of watching to see what will happen to America is past, we have a responsibility to our country, to stand up and be counted as light in a dark world.
The second belief that most Christians have when it comes to doing more politically is that of calling, or mobilizing Christians to act for certain good men or certain good bills. I am 100 percent for this as well. There are some great and Godly men who currently serve in our political systems. Imagine the good we can do if we will get behind our Godly leaders and mobilize to help them. Again, I am not saying we should sacrifice any of our beliefs to do this. When it comes to clear issues there is a duty that I believe we as Christians have, and that is to get out the word of these good men and their good and Biblical plans.
I would like to tell you about another way to do more. This area is also vastly important. It is simply being like Jesus. Jesus was described as a friend to sinners. Now, I just happen to believe that everybody is a sinner, not just bus kids, not just drug addicts, and not just politicians but everyone sins and everyone needs somebody to be there for them to guide them to right and lift them up when they fall. The more I meet with and have Bible studies or prayer sessions with political figures, the more I begin to understand what a huge amount of pressure they are under. The everyday decisions they make have huge resounding impacts on society. Unfortunately, they are bombarded daily, almost hourly, by temptation and bad advice. Proverbs 29:14 says, “The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.” I have heard a lot of people say that we just do not have faithful judges over us any more. But imagine if we did, and why don’t we have faithful public servants? I believe it goes back to you and I. The simple truth is that we just do not take seriously the command of Christ to go into all the world. The whole world means everybody. It does not mean only the conservative middle class. Nor does it mean just the poor. It means everybody, whether republican, democrat, or tea party, everyone needs Jesus. And it is high time we began to follow our divine example who called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him. What if our leaders are not faithful simply because they do not have faithful servants of God to follow? I understand that in the end they may turn their backs on what is right and choose not to vote or serve Biblically, but isn’t that what we all did to Jesus? He never gave up on us. Maybe Jesus told us to forgive until 70 x 7 because He was thinking of some of you who have poured your heart and soul into a political figure only to be crushed when that person turned on you. I cannot guarantee that they will do exactly what God commands, but at least they will have heard both sides. Maybe this is what Solomon was talking about when he said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). Perhaps he was telling us that the people perish because the rulers have no vision and the reason they have no vision is because they are not receiving it from God’s people. They don’t have any good servants to show them what God says and they become unfaithful in their ruling. Again, I am not an expert and I am certainly not doing the job of being a friend that I should be doing. However, it has amazed me how many of our good local area civic servants want prayer and want advice on how to develop a closer walk with God. All because I have a very wise Pastor who believes that we should go into ALL the world.