Summary: Answer to the question, "Can a Christian be a politician?"
Part 5-Split Loyalties?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
A “lame duck” President met with his successor in the Oval Office. Near the end of the orientation, he presented the incoming leader three numbered envelopes, with specific instructions to open them, in order, when great difficulties arose. After the new President completed his “honeymoon” period with the media and the public, the nation experienced an economic downturn. He opened the first envelope. Inside was a card that read: “Blame me.” So he did, criticizing the former administration. After a while, social upheaval brought about a critical domestic crisis. The President opened the second envelope. Inside was a card that read: “Blame my party.” He did so, in an overt display of partisan politics. About a year later, foreign policy resulted in serious problems and the President opened the third envelope. Inside, the card read: “Prepare three envelopes.”
Tonight’s question: Is it possible for a Christian to be a politician?
Short answer is unequivocally “yes”!
The question cites a reference from 2 Timothy 2:4 where Paul is giving illustration to Timothy on the kind of service must be rendered to God. I think a study of this passage will clarify the issues raised by the question and be a good challenge for us to gauge our service in God’s kingdom.
Read 2 Tim. 2:1-7
Paul has pointed out a couple of very important things in chapter one:
• Timothy is a timid guy and needs encouragement
• The things that Jesus entrusted to Paul, Paul is passing on to Timothy and it will take steadfastness to stand against a world opposed to the truth of the Gospel.
In 2:1 Paul tells Timothy to stand strong in the grace of Christ Jesus. He does this because:
• We tend to try to do things in our own strength, wisdom, past experience and not in daily reliance upon the Holy Spirit of God.
• Paul knew what would come Timothy’s way. In chapter 1 Paul tells how many deserted him. He was grateful for the ministry of Onesiphorus who stood by him.
o When we do right we will often stand alone
o Whether young or old, living by Christ’s principles and precepts will bring opposition and trouble. “In this world you will have trouble” Jesus said.
o Leaders who follow God will often be opposed and for those who stand behind God’s leaders there will be a great reward in heaven I believe.
Paul then tells Timothy to be careful who teaches and passes on the Gospel.
• God’s Word will always stand but don’t we know the tarnish and disrepute that can befall the church because of a wayward witness?
• Timothy is to find those who are reliable and qualified to teach? What would those qualities be? (might be a good place to get people to respond)
o Holy lives
o Faithfulness to message regardless of opposition
Paul then turns to 3 metaphors to demonstrate how Timothy should conduct himself:
1. Good soldier
a. First they endure the expected difficulties
i. A German soldier was wounded. He was ordered to go to the military hospital for treatment. When he arrived at the large and imposing building, he saw two doors, one marked, "For the slightly wounded," and the other, "For the seriously wounded." He entered through the first door and found himself going down a long hall. At the end of it were two more doors, one marked, "For officer" and the other, "For non-officers." He entered through the latter and found himself going down another long hall. At the end of it were two more doors, one marked, "For party members" and the other, "For non-party members." He took the second door, and when he opened it he found himself out on the street. Many times we’ll be put out by everyone and have to endure alone.
b. Secondly they stay focused on the objective
i. The bride was very nervous. It was right before the wedding and she wasn’t sure she could even walk down aisle. So her father gave her some words of wisdom. He said to her. “There’s only three things you need to focus on. If you focus on these three things, you’ll be fine. The first is walking down the aisle. Just focus on walking down the aisle of the church. I know it’s rather long, but just concentrate on that. Don’t get caught up with those on either side of the aisle. Just focus on getting to the end of the aisle. Next, focus on the altar. It is your destination today. Make your way down the aisle to the altar. There you will stand before God with the man you love and will make vows to God and him. Focus on the altar –for the altar represents the love God has for you in Jesus Christ. Lastly, focus on the hymn just before signing of the Register. In poetry and song, the hymn embodies God’s love for you in Christ, your love for your husband and his love for you. So, to help you not be so nervous, focus on those three things. Walking down the AISLE, Standing before the ALTAR and Listening to the HYMN. The bride was very thankful to her Dad for his words of advice. The family and friends gathered watched as she walked down the aisle. They saw the look of calm on her face. But as she passed them, they began to chuckle quietly. For along with the look of calm, she was mumbling three words over and over again to help calm her nerves. “Aisle, Altar, Hymn… Aisle, Altar, Hymn… Aisle, Altar, Hymn.”