Feb 2, '08 4:48 AM
OK, Folks! Before you start reading this Coffee Break and think I'm going to tell you to vote for some individual in the upcoming primaries and the general election this fall, forget it! That's not what this is about.
My objective today -- and I'm taking a break from our series on Kingdom Economics -- is to share some fundamental principles of the Kingdom that concern each and every born-again believer in Jesus Christ. We -- everyone of us -- need a reality check from the Holy Spirit before we ever enter a voting booth. The purpose, therefore, of this Coffee Break is to share with you some considerations and spiritual truths that transcend individuals, political parties, and interest groups.
Pour yourself a good cup of dark brew and pull up a chair for a few minutes.
Many years ago, the Lord made me aware of the fact that the governments of every nation on earth are the sole responsibility of committed believers in Jesus Christ and His anointing.
When Isaiah first began his prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus he said, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
Sixty-eight times throughout the New Testament, we have specific references to the "Kingdom of God." Thirty-one more times -- all of these in Matthew's gospel -- that Kingdom is referred to as the "Kingdom of Heaven."
The two terms are synonymous. They both refer to the realm of God's rulership.
In Psalm 24:1, we read, "The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
But in Psalm 115:16, David writes, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men."
Almost seems like a contradiction, doesn't it? However, when you read these two statements in context, it becomes very clear. Let's go back to Psalm 24:1-2 and re-read this from the Hebrew in order to get the proper picture.
"The earth is the Lord's handiwork, along with everything that pertains: the habitable lands and all they that live and dwell therein. For He has taken counsel and established it upon the roaring waters, setting it up and causing it to prosper."
A bit different than the traditional KJV, wouldn't you say? Yet this is an accurate rendition of the Hebrew phraseology; and it draws a more complete picture of what David has written.
Put that in context, therefore, with Psalm 115:16 and you can see that following Creation, God clearly gave rulership and responsibility for the earth over to mankind. In Genesis 3, we have the picture of Adam and Eve abdicating their responsibility through disobedience and turning the earth over to Satan.
That meant that Satan was now "the prince of this world." (See John 14:30) You'll notice that Jesus NEVER refers to Satan as "owning" or "being in possession" of the world; and Satan is NEVER referred to as a "king." The term, "prince," means that he exercises legal authority, but that authority is still subject to the King.
The authority that Satan held over the earth was canceled at the Cross when Jesus reversed the curse. Think about it! The curse came upon the human race when Adam ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The curse brought death and hard, painful toil upon the human race. Jesus died on that same tree, ending its hold over the human race.
John the Baptist prophesied of Jesus, "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the tree..." (Matthew 3:10) [The KJV renders this word plural, but in the Greek text it is singular.] It is quite obvious that John was prophesying of Jesus laying the axe to the root of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and that's exactly what He did. We won't take this part of the discussion any further in this Coffee Break since it would take us astray from our subject today, but there's a lot more to talk about concerning what Jesus did to the Tree of Knowledge.
Following Jesus' ministry, his death on the Cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead, He was able to say to all believers, "All power (exousia:authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18)
Because all authority, all power and all dominion had been returned to Him, He could -- and did -- say to us, "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations." (NASB) The "Go ye" command was our empowerment to operate and function in "all power and all authority" in His behalf, as His representatives and agents.
The apostle Paul took it the next step in describing what Jesus had empowered us to do.
"[My prayers are] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead, and made Him to sit at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:16-23 NASB)
Let me pause for just a minute. Jesus' calling is us! WE are the "hope of His calling." HIS inheritance is in us!
Next the apostle Paul writes, "God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-6 NASB)
Get it? Our position as believers is that we are seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. That is a legal and functional position that we have as part of our covenant with the Lord. Because it is both legal and functional, that means that we have an accompanying responsibility.
Let's not forget. Adam abdicated his place of dominion and rulership over the earth with his actions. We, by the same token, can abdicate our authority and dominion in the earth by simply neglecting the responsibility God has given us. When we relinquish that place of rulership, we give it back over to Satan.
There is no such thing as passive rulership. There is no such thing as passive authority. There is no such thing as "letting George do it" when it comes to fulfilling our responsibilities. Either we exercise the authority we've been given in Christ Jesus, or we get ruled -- and that rulership comes in the form of ungodly and wicked leaders who neither know the Lord, nor His purposes, nor His plan for the earth, nor His plan for the nation or kingdom they govern.
As citizens of the United States, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, etc., etc., etc., we live in theoretically democratic societies. That means that our leaders are chosen by some kind of electoral process where every citizen eligible to vote has both the opportunity, the privilege, and the responsibility to cast a ballot in favor of a candidate who has put his or her name forward as a potential leader or representative for the people.
But this is where the responsibility gets interesting. Most of us have formed alliances with various political parties or groups, and we tend to support a candidate who mouths his/her support of the issues most dear to us. There's a problem with that philosophy. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one. Not everyone who claims to be "conservative" is. Not everyone who espouses a so-called liberal philosophy really does.
What happens is that we become enamored of party labels. Lots of politicians join up with various political parties while not especially espousing the fundamental tenets of the party.
This coming week includes what the news media refers to in the U.S. as "Super Tuesday" in which a large number of primary voters will go to the polls to cast their support for one of the now six candidates running for President of the United States.
Of those six candidates, one is a Libertarian who figured out he couldn't get anywhere running as a Libertarian, so he stuck a "Republican" label on himself. Two people remain in the Democratic Party primaries. Of the three remaining who are running on the Republican ticket, one has made himself virtually anathema to conservatives because of his support for amnesty for the bazillion illegal aliens in the country, along with getting a bill passed by Congress which seriously infringes upon Americans' First Amendment rights, one who ran for governor several years ago and won told the homosexual lobby they had no better friend than he (thus making himself seriously questionable among conservatives); and the third of the remaining three has a track record as governor which causes folks to look at his economic policies with eyebrows raised.
Of the two candidates running on the Democratic ticket, one is so young, and has so little leadership track record as to raise the question, "how in the world can this man think the nation would consider him as having enough wisdom to lead America in such troubling times?" The remaining candidate has flip-flopped on so many issues throughout the years you really don't know if she stands for anything or has any real personal convictions that would stand the test of real leadership.
So, how to vote? Who do you vote for? What about all these concerns? Obviously, using political party labels as the measurement of a person's integrity before God is a horrible mistake.
All of the issues I've just raised are only relevant if you leave the Holy Spirit out of the equation.
In fact, from a Scriptural standpoint, we have some basic criteria that MUST govern our casting of votes. Christians -- born-again believers in Jesus Christ -- must make the Word of God the standard by which they cast their vote. Using any other criteria for voting puts the "believer" at odds with the Lord. If a person enters the voting booth to cast their ballot for a person without knowing what the Lord is saying concerning the available candidates, they invite disaster. If a person decides they don't like any of the candidates and stays home instead of going out and voting, they've just voted to support Satan and his agenda against the Lord Jesus Christ and His plans and purposes. They vote whether they enter the voting booth or not.
There are some Biblical yardsticks we can use when making our decision.
First of all, where does the candidate stand on moral issues? What the candidate says is often of little help at all, so here's means by which Christians can make a legitimate judgment.
Take a look at the various organizations who publicly and/or financially support the candidate. Who is coalescing behind the candidate? Are you seeing organizations like GLAAD, or the various homosexual lobbies line up to support one or more of the candidates in particular? Who are they supporting? Who is NAMBLA supporting?
Secondly, who is the ACLU behind? Founded by a member of the Communist Party in America, the ACLU has labored overtime to deprive Christians of their rights under the American Constitution and invested itself in the complete breakdown of moral and spiritual values that have undergirded this nation for more than two centuries.
Third, does the candidate (or candidates) mouth the revealing catch-phrase, "reproductive rights?" Or, does he/she talk about the "right to life?" Who are the abortion mills and abortion-rights organizations putting their mouths and finances behind?
Jesus made the statement -- and this is the important yardstick here -- "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) Jesus, therefore describes these abortion providers as "thieves."
Fourth, who are the major unions backing? Where are they throwing their money and why? Do they believe that the candidate(s) they support will be less favorable to the free market and more supportive of (their) sponsored controls on businesses in general?
Fifth, what and where is the candidate's stance concerning the Constitution? Does he/she talk about the Constitution as "a living document" (doublespeak for "changeable according to the mores of the day"), or does the candidate talk about the Constitution as the fixed will of our founding fathers? Does the candidate know and understand that our nation's Constitution was written and prepared by a body of founders (most of whom revered God and considered themselves committed believers) as the basis for establishing a nation whose primary purpose was to provide complete religious liberty, and secondly to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Finally (and certainly not the least of considerations), where does the candidate stand as regards our nation's security? Does the candidate believe that we have no business defending ourselves -- worldwide, if necessary -- against the enemies of America?
You're getting the picture, I'm sure. These are just a few of the yardsticks.
Consider. If a candidate speaks openly about the "rights of homosexuals" and supports homosexual "marriages," that candidate is standing in direct rebellion and opposition to God's Word. (Witness Leviticus 20:12-21, Romans 1:21-32) If we vote for that candidate, we've just taken the same position of the seven nations that once inhabited the land of Canaan whom God commanded Israel to exterminate because of their abominations. Do we want that kind of curse upon America?
If a candidate promotes (and has the support of the "abortion rights" crowd) killing unborn children, that candidate is committing murder in the face of Psalm 139:14-16, or Jeremiah 1:5 -- both of which make clear that God considers and chooses the unborn child even before that child is formed in the womb. If we vote for a person like this, we become accessories to that same murder.
America's Liberty Bell contains the inscription from Leviticus 25:10, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
The apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," making abundantly clear the fact that where the Spirit of the Lord is allowed free course, genuine liberty is the result. The corollary to this is that "where the Spirit of the Lord is NOT, there is bondage."
A portion of the Declaration of Independence reads, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
It is important, therefore, that we cast our votes for leaders for whom these values are paramount above everything else. When you have a leader whose heart is open towards God, it matters not that he/she may have some personal history that includes failures or poor decisions concerning taxes, the economy, or immigration issues. If you have a prospective leader who is sensitive to hear the voice of God, that person can be led and corrected by the Lord in all matters.
And that's the way you need to vote: for someone who is sensitive to hear what the Spirit of God is saying. The rest of the issues will take care of themselves. When you vote according to the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit, you cannot go wrong.
Citizens of the Kingdom of God are designed, trained and prepared to live a glorious, supernatural life in a natural world so that the world can see what Satan has cheated them out of. We are supposed to be the manifestation of the Glory of God -- not leftover has-beens, used up and discarded by Satan.
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and adds no painful toil and sorrow! Be blessed!
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