Summary: Sermon 23 in our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
The Christian and the Social Order (BFM #23)
A pig, by any other name, still smells just as bad
Text: Matthew 5:13-16
By: Ken McKinley
How many of you have ever listened to Dr. James Dobson? Or watched Dr. D. James Kennedy on TV? Or maybe you’ve read some of Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. The president of THE Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s blogs? If you do, or if you have done any of these things, then you’ve heard Christian leaders engage in a criticism of the government in the public square.
Now today we are on Article 15 of the BFM, and basically Article 15 was written in the response to this question, and here’s the question, “What role should we as Christians play in society, and do we have a responsibility to stand for what we believe, even if it’s at odds with others in society.”
So let’s look at Article of 15 and see the SBC’s answer to this question (Read Article 15).
Now our Scripture text comes from the Sermon on the Mount, and if you’ve been attending the evening services you’ve heard me say that the Sermon on the Mount is basically Jesus preaching on what it means to be a Christian. And last Sunday you heard me say that the Kingdom of God is inside you… its spiritual, rather than special, so to speak. And when Jesus preached this, it was radical. Everyone thought that the Kingdom was going to be physical, that the Messiah was going to come and deliver them from Rome and set on the literal, physical throne of David, and rule from Jerusalem. Several times we read of the crowds trying to make Jesus a king. Over and over again the Disciples asked if Jesus was going to “restore the kingdom at this time?” And people missed the point. Christianity isn’t about the external things; it’s about the internal things. Take care of the inside, and the outside will take care of itself.
Let’s look at what Jesus says here in Matthew 5:13 (Read). When Jesus says, “YOU” He’s talking about us. “You” there is plural, so He’s talking about those who would follow Him. Here in Oklahoma we would say it like this, “You all are the salt of the earth…” The word translated as “are” is the Greek “este” and it’s a verb that indicates “being” rather than “doing.” In other words, what we are determines what we do; and before we can “do” what we’ve been created to do, we have to “be” what Christ intends for us to be. That’s why Article 15 says, “Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ.”
Now this is important, because it’s touching on a fundamental aspect that I think Christians have missed in the last 20 or 30 years (or maybe longer). And that is, we cannot change the culture unless we change human nature. And human nature can only be changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We don’t change our culture and make it more moral by electing Christian politicians. We change it by doing the Great Commission. Programs cannot change individuals, unless the Gospel is presented. Religion cannot change an individual, at least not permanently, unless that religion includes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Psychology can’t do it, Sociology can’t do it, education cant do it. Only the Gospel can do it.