Summary: In light of the cultural changes that could take place in our nation as a result of the November 4, 2008 elections, what should the church be doing?
This past week, course of our nation took a turn. After a long and often bitter campaign, we went to the polls and, after over 100 million votes were counted, a new President was selected. The vote reflected a lot of interest, a lost of discussion and the realization that we are a nation of people with greatly differing values. One political party now will have power in the White House and both houses of Congress. The ability to make policy and drive the direction of the nation will be as one-sided as we have seen in many years, perhaps ever in our nation. People voted with their values and they voted with the wallets. They voted out of anger, frustration and a desire for a new direction. Both candidates parties and supporters believed that their candidate was the one who could bring the change people said they want. One won and one lost – The consensus is that a more liberal, what is called “left-leaning” agenda will be the direction of the country.
Some are concerned that this could so far as to threaten the liberties we have as Christians. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Counsel, said "We are going to see, I think, unprecedented attacks against our faith through measures like the hate crimes [legislation] to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act," he says. "We’re going to see attacks on innocent human life through the Freedom of Choice Act, trying to erase all the gains that have been made in the pro-life movement. And I think even our freedoms are going to come under attack."
Others believe that this is a challenge to Christians to quit looking to politicians and Washington for life solutions and start to look to God. People claiming the name Christian were on both sides of the political line. One thing that unites many on both sides of the spectrum is the relief that the campaign is finally over – no more flyers on doors, no more infomercials, no more debates, no more automated telephone calls from either side. The fighting is over in one arena – with new fights being prepared for another one.
In this time of change, when what we have known could be different, when the values that have been foundational are challenged, when holding a biblical value as truth can be called hateful, when a cultural tsunami is possible, what do we do as the church – how do we have an impact – how do we try to persuade people about the eternal importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ?
First, we need to STAY ON MESSAGE.
One of the mistakes we make as the church too often is trying to make the gospel too complicated. How we do it changes from person to person, but the message stays the same. How it is received changes from person to person, but the message stays the same. When that moment of crossing the line of faith into the Kingdom changes from person to person, but the message stays the same, as Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NLT) The Apostle Paul knew the message was not complicated. In 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, he said, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (NIV)
No matter what happens, no matter who is in charge of the government, no matter who passes what laws, God is still in charge of the universe and His will is going to be accomplished, through government leaders or in spite of them. Our job is continually share the gospel of Christ with the people we meet, letting them know that there is a Father who loves them and a Savior who died for them. No matter what happens in government, Sawmill Baptist Church will still be at work “Connecting with people to connect them with Jesus.” Our worship will be focused on God, our outreach will be focused on people, our fellowship will be focused on relationship-building, our discipleship will be focused on growing strong Christians, our ministry will be helping people serve.
As the church, we do need to speak with a strong voice about the moral issues of our day – the sanctity of human life, God-ordained standards of marriage, the need to help the poor and needy and other issues that touch the heart of who we are. But, unless our first priority is bringing people to Christ, then we are only sharing half a gospel. We might be improving people’s lives, but we aren’t helping save their souls. The Great Commission tells us to “Go in the world and preach the gospel . . .” Preaching the gospel is first on the list. The first priority is making sure that people know about God’s love through Jesus. Everything else we do needs to be because we know that this is true. Then it is a message of power and change the really makes a difference, because it doesn’t start with the wallet, it starts with the heart.