Summary: Written just prior to the last presidential election, this topical sermon encourages Christians to prepare for upcoming elections by praying, thinking biblically about tough issues, and getting involved in a variety of ways. PowerPoint available.
How Should Christians Vote?
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 11/4/2012
With the Presidential election just a couple of days away I’m guessing most of you are pretty tired of all the political ads and campaign coverage flooding your television sets.
I heard a good story this week about a four-year-old girl whose dad who had been watching the presidential campaign coverage. She tugged on his pant leg and begged him to stop and read her a fairy tale. Weary from all the political ads, he agreed and began reading the fairy tale. No sooner had he begun, however, than she interrupted him and asked, “Daddy, do all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time?’” He responded, “No, sweetheart, most fairy tales begin with, ‘And when I’m elected...’”
A lot of people feel like faith and politics don’t mix well. In fact, politics is almost a foul word in our culture. Just about the worst thing you can be today is a politician.
I read a about a busload of politicians that were driving down a country road when the bus suddenly ran off the road and crashed into an old farmer's field. The old farmer heard the crash so he rushed over to investigate. He then began digging a large grave to bury all the politicians.
A few hours later, the police showed up. The local sheriff asked what had happened to all the politicians, so the farmer explained that he'd gone ahead and buried all of them. “Were they ALL dead?” asked the puzzled sheriff.
The old farmer replied, "Well, some of them said they weren't, but you know how them politicians lie."
Like most, pastors I don’t like preaching politics and I don’t believe God has called pastors to tell people who to vote for. But I do believe that God’s Word has a lot to say about our relationship to government and the issues that are prominent in our country today. So this morning, I just want to suggest three things Christians ought to do come Election Day. The first thing that Christians ought to do is pray!
Prayer is the most important thing we can do for our nation.
The Bible says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1–4 NLT).
Paul exhorts us in this passage to pray for our government leaders. Not just to pray about the outcome of the election, to pray that our guy wins—but to pray on their behalf. No leader of our government needs prayer more than the President of the United States. No one in our country needs divine guidance more than the President.
Abraham Lincoln describing his need for divine guidance as President once said, ‘‘I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom… seemed insufficient for the day.’’
George Washington, our first President, was absolutely right when he said, ‘‘It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.’’ Our President, whoever that may be, and our other leaders, need our prayers.
Okay, but what if that President holds different beliefs and convictions then we do? We need to remember that in this passage Paul is calling for prayer for Nero, a pagan king who ruthlessly persecuted the church. Regardless of who comes out ahead in Tuesday’s election, we’re still much better off than they were. So don’t just pray that your party wins, pray that God’s will is done.
Besides, when we pray for our President and our country, we’re acknowledging that God is really the one in charge. Remember, the Bible also says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (1 Chronicles 7:14 NIV). The first and most important thing we can do before and after Election Day is pray.
The second thing we need to do is prepare. We need examine the issues and the stances of all the candidates and test them in light of Scripture. Sadly, most people won’t do that. A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans say their faith has little to do with their voting decisions.
Instead, most people cast their votes based on what they think will be best for them or their families. Which candidate will preserve and protect my social security income? Which candidate promises me the most tax cuts, or the most health-care benefits, or the best chance for a better income? Which candidate will do the best job in helping me get what I want?