Summary: This sermon addresses the misuse and twisting of Scripture to fit an agenda. When Scripture is blatantly taken out of context to further an agenda whether it is politically based or religiously based is wrong and Christians have to stand up and say that i
Rightly Dividing The Word Of God
Today I want to talk to all of you here today about something that has been on my mind and heart for some time and I have been waiting for the Holy Spirit to turn me loose on this topic and I feel that now He has.
And the main Scripture text that I want to use today is found in 2nd Timothy chapter 2 verses 14 and 15:
14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Last week President Obama made headlines at a National Day of Prayer meeting that he attended by quoting Scripture out of context and misusing Scripture to rationalize his political beliefs. I promise you that this will not be a “political sermon” but it will include why it is wrong to twist the words of the Bible to suit your own ends.
This would be true whether it was President Obama or myself doing it and it is not the person doing it that matters it is the fact that Scripture is misused to try to get people to wrongly believe that the Bible, the Word of God can and should be manipulated to conform to some kind of political message.
President Obama said this about taxation and “shared sacrifice” in his speech at a National Day of Prayer meeting that he attended: “…And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.
But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others…”
The verse that Mr. Obama tried to quote and wrongly use to bolster a higher taxation plan really said this: Luke 12:47-48 47 "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, 48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
While we don’t have time during this message to go into a deep Bible study on this parable, and this verse in particular it is important to understand its biblical context and what biblical context is in general.
Context is looking at the whole story here and not simply and wrongly, taking a snapshot of the story and trying to pass it off as the whole story or the most important part of the story like Mr. Obama is trying to do with his gross misuse of this verse of Scripture.
Mr. Obama was quoting this Scripture to try to get people to believe that Jesus was trying to tell people that they needed to have a tax increase and that it was our moral obligation to give the government more of our money because it was what Jesus would have us to do according to this verse of Scripture from Luke.
Is this REALLY what Jesus was trying to teach His disciples, those people who were not Christians who were listening, and us today? Absolutely not, that inference could not be farther from the truth!
But like most portions of the Bible, and like Paul Harvey used to say you need to read the rest of the story to gain proper context and perspective. And I have been amazed that most of the critics as well as supporters who have come out both for or against Mr. Obama’s twisted statement have no clue what this passage actually means.
Now I want to say here that Mr. Obama is not by any stretch of the imagination the only one who has ever misused Scripture to make a case for something that is wrong. But since he is the one who makes the claim that he is a Christian and I am not going to judge his heart but I will say this that his fruits don’t exactly give me a lot of confidence about his Christianity.