Summary: My purpose is to challenge us to do all that we are able to do to restore America to its rightful place as a nation with great possibilities, great opportunities, & great responsibilities before God. (Powerpoint available - #350.)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(The Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #350.)
A. As some of you know, in thousands of churches throughout our land, people are taking part in a 40-day period of prayer leading up to Election Day.
We have been urged to pray for our nation, & for all those seeking office - that they may be men & women of integrity & principle, who, should they be elected or re-elected, will faithfully perform the duties entrusted to them.
It is important that we pray about the integrity of our leaders for the Bible says, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
Christians are joining together in this time of prayer because we recognize that God has given this solemn promise: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves & pray & seek my face & turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
B. Now, in the light of this special period of prayer, I want to mention some concerns that are upon my heart. I do believe that it is important for us, as Christians, to express our convictions through our vote.
This is an especially crucial time for Christians. The values we treasure are under heavy assault. Babies are legally killed during the final moments of delivery . . . gay marriage has gained legal sanction . . . religious freedoms are being stripped away.
And the decisions we make in the voting booths, for good or for ill, will have repercussions for years to come. Not only will the way our nation votes in this election decide who will be our president, it can also decide what kind of a nation we are, & what kind of values we want our children to learn & embrace.
No matter what our political persuasion, we have an opportunity to have a voice in determining the direction in which our nation will go. And that is a precious privilege that citizens in many other nations do not enjoy.
C. Thanks to the faith, wisdom & courage of our Founding Fathers, we have the opportunity to study the issues, examine the candidates, & make our own decisions concerning those we feel are best to lead us. And we need to exercise that opportunity!
Christians should also vote as a demonstration of our love & concern for others. Many of the decisions made by those who are elected to office will affect our loved ones & those around us in very real ways.
Christians are not to be simply another special interest group, pushing only for those issues that directly impact us. Rather, just as God "causes His sun to rise on the evil & the good, & sends rain on the righteous & the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45), so should our concern be for ensuring liberty & justice for all.
D. Now those who know me well are probably aware of my political leanings. But for the most part, a majority of you in this congregation do not know if I’m a Democrat, a Republican, or whatever. I’ve never publicly told you.
You may guess, but I have carefully avoided proclaiming my personal political affiliation as a minister of this congregation. I’m convinced that my foremost responsibility is to be the best witness of my Savior & Lord that I can be.
In other words, I’ve tried to bend over backward to ensure that, even as I exercise my responsibilities of citizenship, that I in no way compromise my duties & witness for Christ among you.
E. That’s why a letter I received a while back as part of a mass mailing to thousands of churches really bothers me. I won’t go into detail about the letter, but it was basically an attempt to frighten ministers & churches who may be concerned about the direction in which our nation is going.
Among other things, it pointed out that the IRS Tax Code prohibits churches with non-profit tax status from engaging in partisan politics or from endorsing or opposing candidates for any public office.
And if any of us would dare to do so, the letter stated that the full weight of the IRS would fall upon the congregation & the preacher, too.
ILL. And that has happened! A few years ago, the minister of a small congregation in the northeast sent out his church newsletter which contained a list of the issues being discussed during that election. He mentioned the name of a particular candidate & the issues that this candidate was advocating.
Then, beside each issue, he printed Bible verses that dealt with it - showing the contrast between what that candidate stood for & what God’s Word has to say about it. Then he added these words, "I don’t understand how any Christian can vote for someone who advocates what the Bible so clearly condemns."