Summary: A message given on Faith and Freedom Sunday, urging active involvment in a society in bad need of Jesus.

Citizens of Heaven, Impacting Earth

Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 3:20

October 6, 2002


Today is Faith and Freedom Sunday, a special day of prayer and instruction started by the Alliance Defense Fund, founded by such people as Dr. James Dobson, Bill Bright, and Larry Burkett.

The purpose of this time together today is to give us an opportunity to examine the ways that Christians can be involved in our society.

You see, folks, we are to impact our society with the gospel of Christ, and we cannot do that by just telling people about Jesus.

We do it also by modeling Christ-like behavior, and encouraging Christ-like behavior in our society, including our government.

But some questions come up that need to be addressed when we look at this hot issue.

How do we answer the charge that religion and government should never mix?

How do we answer the charge that you cannot legislate morality?

How do we answer the charge that Christians are just a bunch of right-wing religious zealots?

How do we show ourselves as informed, reasoned, and reasonable citizens who care for the well-being of our wonderful country?

My hope is to answer those questions today as I seek to encourage you to get involved in ways that show the love of Christ and the moral requirements of a holy God.

I operate under the assumption that Christians have a holy obligation to be involved, and I will spend the rest of the message telling you why and how.

So let’s just jump on in, shall we?

The first thing I want to discuss today is…

I. Why Get Involved.

“Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”

(Edmund Burke)

A. Our rights to freedom of religion are endangered.

It is a common misconception in our country that the first amendment of our Constitution separates church and state.

That is not the case, however. Allow me to read the first amendment to you.

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Did you hear anything in there that said government and religion should not mix? Did you hear anything about the separation of church and state?

If you did, you didn’t listen correctly.

The Constitution forbids the government from setting up a national religion, and from prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

Let me say this another way: the Constitution is not meant to protect government from religion, but rather to protect religion from the government.

Let me ask you another question: what is the purpose of government?

The answers run the gamut, from defending its citizens, to providing jobs and welfare for able-bodied people who refuse to work.

But according the 1 Peter, the government has just two purposes: to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

I would think that all of us here would agree that our government does WAY more than that.

Folks, as citizens of this nation, we have a sacred duty and obligation to speak out against injustice and insist that our constitutional right of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right of dissent, and the right to petition the government for the correction of injustices be honored and preserved.

These rights are protected by law and cannot arbitrarily denied by those who oppose the gospel and seek to intimidate and silence Christ’s witnesses.

Back to the question of whether or not religion and government should mix. Why can’t we just let the government be the government and we just stay out of it?

Two things: first, the government has involved itself already by including in the first amendment the freedom of religion, and pledging its protection.

Second, the government has involved itself on federal, state, and local levels by abusing and re-interpreting that amendment and intruding into the lives of religious people (and especially Christians).

Let me just give you a few examples:

In Wisconsin, an eight-year-old girl was denied her right to share Valentines in her class because they had the message, “Jesus Loves You.” After an ugly court battle, she was told she could distribute them, but it was well after the fact.

In Colorado, a swim coach was denied access to city recreation facilities because he mentioned Christ to some of his students.

And regarding abortion, the government, in the form of the Supreme Court, decided that the government could allow parents to snuff out the lives of their children in the womb.

Doctor Laura calls abortion “capital punishment for the only innocent party involved.”

Christianity and the government are already inseparably linked. The issue is how to influence our government to govern by godly principles.

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