Should a Christian Vote?
Text: Matthew 5:13-16
I. David Lipscomb was a famous preacher from the late 1800's and early 1900's
A. He wasn’t an apostle. He wasn’t inspired. But he was a knowledgeable man, and his words carried a lot of weight.
B. He taught that it was a sin for a Christian to vote in political elections.
1. His theory was that since God is in control of the nations, He alone will determine the outcome of political changes.
a. If God wants a particular ruler in place, He will raise him up. Or, He might take a ruler down. All for God’s own reasons.
b. He might raise an ungodly man to high office, such as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, or Herod. Such ungodly men outnumber the godly leaders God has raised.
2. When a Christian votes for one whom he thinks is the right man, he may select a man different from the one whom God wants
a. After all, God may want an evil man in power for some reason.
b. Not knowing God’s will in advance, the Christian is then voting against God’s will.
3. Hence, to avoid that possibility, he declared it wrong to vote at all
II. The difficultly in answering this question
A. The kingdoms during biblical times did not use a democratic system or a representative democratic system of government.
B. Only one existed in all the years that the Bible covers, and that was Greece which came to power and fell during the years of silence.
C. The typical government was a monarchy. People didn’t get to vote on their rulers or their laws.
III. Interaction with government
A. Christians are to be supportive of government
1. I Timothy 2:1-2 - Pray for rulers
2. Romans 13:1-2 - Subject to governing authorities
3. Romans 13:5-7 - Paying taxes and giving respect
B. God’s people did express their thoughts regarding their leaders
1. John the Baptist told Herod that his marriage was not legitimate - Matthew 14:3-4
2. Nathan, the prophet, confronted King David with his sins - II Samuel 12:7-10
3. When Jeroboam set up a false religion, he too was condemned by a prophet - I Kings 13:1-6
4. While giving testimony to defend himself, Paul’s words caused Felix, the governor, to fear - Acts 24:24-25
C. God’s people did use the rights granted to them by their government
1. Esther made an appeal for a law change - Esther 7:1-6
2. Paul demanded, as a Roman citizen, an apology from the local leaders - Acts 16:35-39
3. He stopped a scourging - Acts 22:24-29
4. He appealed to Caesar for a fair trial - Acts 25:10-12
D. Our government requests the input of its citizens in the selection of its rulers and in the formation of laws
1. Titus 3:1-2 - By voting, we are obeying the request of our government for our opinions
2. I Peter 2:13-17 - By voting we are submitting to the ordinances of men and it is to be used as an opportunity to do good.
3. Think about it, one vote is small, but even when a measure fails, leaders pay attention to the margin of failure.
a. What happens when a senator barely hangs on his seat and polls show that people were upset over his votes on homosexual marriages or abortion?
b. Does casting votes based on moral or ethical principles help the nation as a whole or not? - Proverbs 14:34
IV. What about voting against God’s will?
A. Foremost, we must acknowledge that God’s will is always done. We cannot thwart the will of God in any way, except in how we stand individually before God.
B. Mordecai understood this - Esther 4:13-16
1. No matter which way Esther chose, the Jews would be rescued as a whole.
2. The only ones affected by Esther’s choice would be her own family.
C. Was Paul wrong to pray for his thorn to be removed three times because God told him “no?” - II Corinthians 12:7-10
D. Was Jesus wrong to pray that he might avoid the cross, even though he knew it was his destiny? - Matthew 26:39
E. These people knew God’s will, expressed a desire for a different outcome, and submitted to God’s choice even though it was not their favored choice.
F. Now what about when I don’t know God’s will on a matter?
1. III John 2 - I might pray for health and prosperity, but that doesn’t mean I will receive it. God might have other plans for me.
a. But whatever the result, I accept the result.
b. Yet, it doesn’t mean I avoid doctors or financial counselors.
c. We do the best with what we know and let God handle the result.
2. Matthew 6:11 - We are to pray for our food
a. But I still have to go out and work - II Thessalonians 3:10
3. What is different to pray for our rulers and then vote the best we know how and accept the result as God’s will?
V. Separation of church and state
A. Such is often batted around, but the idea is not in our constitution. It comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson; a statement taken out of context.
1. Jefferson was responding to a question from a Baptist church regarding the possibility of the state interfering in the matters of the church at some future time.
2. Jefferson responded that there is a separation of church and state, keeping the state out of the church’s business.
3. The statement has been reversed to say that the church cannot be involved in the state
B. The truth is that what was feared is coming about. Daily we see the state moving into the business of the church
1. Example: Canada’s courts have classified speaking against homosexuality “hate speech.”
2. There are activists who desire that in the United States.
C. When we pray for the good of our country, should we not express which way is good to our neighbors?
1. Homosexuality remains a sin, no matter what is current opinion.
2. Abortion remains a sin. An innocent life is taken.
3. Spanking is still allowed as part of the raising of children.
4. The government is making laws that interferes with our expression of truth.
a. Truth will ultimately win, even if our nation collapses, as so many have done in the past, under the weight of sin.
b. Meanwhile, we ought to stand for truth, even if no one else wants to listen.
D. When our country was first founded, Alexis de Tocqueville came from France to see why this experiment in democracy was working. He said, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there. I sought in the fertile fields and boundless forest – in her rich mines and vast world commerce – and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good – and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
E. Matthew 5:13-16