Text: I Peter 2:13-17
I. Should Christians be involved in the issues surrounding elections and the operation of our government?
A. I’m not talking about a congregation endorsing a particular candidate or financing someone’s campaign.
B. But should stands be made regarding issues which government officials debate?
1. For example: abortion, contraception for unmarried teenagers, the death penalty, divorce, gambling, homosexuality, homosexual marriages, legalized recreational drug usage, etc.
2. Should Christians and churches speak out on these issues?
II. Christians are to speak out against evil - Ephesians 5:11
A. So what do we do when a government official is involved in sin? Speak out!
B. David was rebuked by the prophet Nathan because of his sins - II Samuel 12:1-15
C. Jeroboam was rebuked by a prophet for creating idols - I Kings 13:1-9
D. John told Herod that his marriage was sinful - Matthew 14:1-4
E. Paul taught Felix about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment he would face - Acts 24:25
F. Do you realize that by voting on referendums you are speaking out on issues that sometimes touch on moral issues?
1. For example, referendums on gambling have been on the ballots numerous times. Here is a chance to give voice to what is right or wrong in regards to this issue.
G. Candidates sometimes make it clear what they plan to do on certain issues that touch on God’s laws, whether you vote for or against that candidate is a chance to lend your voice in regards to their stance.
III. Use of the government to accomplish God’s will is seen in the Scriptures
A. Esther got a law passed to protect the Jewish people - Esther 8:1-14
B. Paul used his citizenship to force an apology for wrongful imprisonment - Acts 16:25-40
C. Paul used his citizenship to avoid a scourging - Acts 22:24-29
D. Paul used contacts in the government to avoid an assassination plot - Acts 23:12-33
E. Paul used a law to force settlement of a case made against him - Acts 25:10-12
IV. Government is a fellow servant of God - Romans 13:1-7
A. We are to prayer for rulers - I Timothy 2:1-3
B. Some hesitate to vote in fear of working against God
1. We are to pray for our food - Matthew 6:11
a. But we must also work for our food - II Thessalonians 3:10
b. The fact that we work doesn’t mean we are preventing God from answering our prayers.
(1) We are matching our actions to our prayers.
(2) We know that ultimately it isn’t our hard work, but God’s blessings which puts food on our table.
2. We are to pray for health - III John 2
a. But we go to doctors when our health is bad
b. We are matching our actions to our prayers. We know that ultimately it isn’t the doctor who heals, but God who gives the blessing.
C. We realize that actions by our government affects our lives and our ability to spread the Gospel.
1. We pray to God that good can prevail and that our lives may be blessed.
2. We can then match action to our prayers by acting within the government to see that those things can be accomplished, knowing that ultimately it is God who brings about the needed changes.
D. Sometimes we pray for what we desire, but it doesn’t match what God wants done.
1. Paul had a problem - II Corinthians 12:7-10
a. Paul didn’t like it, but he recognized that it served a greater purpose
b. He accepted God’s will
2. Jesus didn’t want the cross - Matthew 26:36-39
a. Jesus definitely didn’t like it, but he recognized that it served a greater purpose.
b. He accepted God’s will
3. There are going to be times when the best government will not be in place to govern us.
a. We won’t like it, but we must realize that it serves a greater purpose which we might not see.
b. We too must accept God’s will - Hebrews 12:1-4
V. Is there a separation of church and state?
A. There never has been. It is God who controls the governments of the world.
B. When government moves against what is right and just, it is Christians who stand and say this isn’t right.
1. We are the world’s priests and the world’s watchmen
2. Ezekiel 3:17-21
C. Sometimes government listens as Nineveh did in Jonah’s day - Jonah 3:4-10
D. Sometimes government turns on the messengers as they did in the first century - Matthew 23:34-36
E. Regardless, our duty is to make God’s will known through the means we have available.