Summary: Many people believe that the deciding vote in any election is cast in the privacy of a ballot box... but in reality, the deciding vote in elections is cast somewhere else entirely.
OPEN: (A sermon given just prior to the California recall vote on October 7th 2003).
How many of you have heard about the upcoming recall vote in California? (A resounding number of people raised their hands). Well, I don’t how you could have avoided it. But it has been an excellent example of American politics. There has been vast confusion, an abundance of mudslinging advertisements and personal attacks and there has been the attendant “media circus.”
As I thought about that situation there in California, it occurred to me that everyone who is voting that recall will be doing so in the belief that their candidate is the best… and that the others are either less competent, incompetent, or demonic. And that reminded me of a story I read several years ago:
A candidate for city council was doing some door to door campaigning, and things were going pretty well, he thought, until he came to the house of grouchy old man. After the he gave his little speech, the old man growled, "Vote for you? Why I’d rather vote for the devil!"
At this point, the candidate realized he didn’t stand a chance of swaying the old man, but with a smile he said: "I understand. But in case your friend is not running, may I count on your support?"
APPLY: When we cast our votes (in city, state and national elections), we do so under the belief that we have the power – thru our vote - to change things. And, in America we’ve been often reminded that our votes can be more important than we might suspect.
Back in 1984, the California Secty of State compiled this list:
In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England
In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.
In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.
In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union.
In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
In 1876, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the Presidency of U.S.
In 1933, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
In 1960, one vote change in each precinct in Illinois would have denied John F. Kennedy the Presidency.
Our votes do make a difference. And we who are Christians should honor this sacred privilege and vote at every opportunity.
I. BUT (that said) we need to realize that there are 2 inherent weaknesses in the Democratic process. There are two problems that plague the voting public.
1st Problem: We are voting for mortals.I don’t care how moral and upstanding the politician is that we vote into office… he’s still a sinner. He’s still prone to the same weaknesses and sinful tendencies and the same temptations as the rest of us.
These politicians are not God… they ARE mortal. They do not walk on water. They do not perform miracles… and they will disappoint us.
2nd Problem: When we Christians vote, there are times that - when we cast our vote… we often do so under the mistaken belief that the candidate, or the party for which we vote has the power within themselves to change the course of our city, state, or national destiny
That’s not true. And it has never been true. And some of our best politicians have recognized this
ILLUS: Benjamin Franklin once addressed an assembly struggling with a decision with these words: "In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth and scarcely able to distinguish it when it is presented to us - how has it happened that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?"
ILLUS: Abraham Lincoln "It is the duty of nations (as well as of men) to own their own independence upon the overruling power of God . . . and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures (and proved by all history) that those nations only are blest whose God is the Lord."
ILLUS: In 1984, Ronald Reagan declared: "Without God... there IS a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure...If we ever forget that we are ’One Nation Under God’, we will be one nation gone under."
(pause) If we ever forget…” (pause)
II. Why would we forget that we are a “nation under God?”
Our money, our pledge of allegiance, many of the sayings on the public buildings throughout Washington D.C. proclaim this desire to be a nation under God. How could we forget?
Well, actually, even with that overwhelming set of witnesses, even we who are Christians can literally forget God’s power over our nation… if we put more faith in our politicians than we do IN God