“Citizenship as Christians”

“Citizenship as Christians”


When it’s time to elect
government officials, should Christians
get involved? Hello, I’m
Phil Sanders. And this is a Bible study,
“In Search of the Lord’s Way.” Does the Bible have anything to say to the Christian citizen? Well let’s
find out! In all the hurry and hustle and confusion of modern living, the Lord
has the way. We believe that the Bible is the revelation of His way. We invite you to
join us In Search of the Lord’s Way
with Phil Sanders. Welcome to In Search
of the Lord’s Way. We’re here to search God’s
Word for the Lord’s Way. God reveals Himself and
His will for our lives through this written Word. The Bible tells us of
God’s love and His plan for
redeeming man. It reveals what’s
good and what’s evil. God’s Word reveals what
will bless us and what will
hurt us. The Bible teaches
us the truth, and that truth gives
us hope and purpose. The Bible is more
than an ancient book; it lives and it speaks to
every aspect of our lives. We need the Bible, because
we need God’s wisdom and
His guidance. That’s why
we study. We’re delighted that
you’ve joined us today. And we want to be a part
of your life each week. The founding fathers
of the United States recognized God’s role
in establishing and the prosperity of this
country, America. George Washington, said,
“That no people can be bound to acknowledge and
adore the invisible Hand which conducts the affairs
of men more than the people of the
United States. Every step by which they
have advanced to the character of an
independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of Providential agency.” Now can we suppose this
nation with all its struggles has outgrown
the need for God’s help? Can we have peace
and security, while we reject the
morals of the Lord? Do we imagine that
we can prosper, while we ignore the
Source of all blessings? Can we assume that we have
justice while we reject the teaching of the God
of all righteousness? When nations forget the
Lord and live by human standards, they deprive
themselves of the blessing and the righteousness that
the Lord’s way provides. Pushing God out of our
lives is a disastrous decision. William Penn
wrote in 1681, “If you are not
governed by God, you will be ruled
by tyrants.” Now if you’d like to study
more about this topic, we offer the information
on this program free. If you’d like a printed
copy or a CD of our study, then mail your request to
In Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371,
Edmond, OK 73083 or send an e-mail to [email protected] Or you can call our
toll-free telephone number. That number is
1-800-321-8633. Now we also stream our program on the web at www.searchtv.org. The Edmond church will
now worship in song, we’ll read from 1
Peter 2:13 to 17, and we’ll explore
citizenship as Christians. Our reading today
comes from 1 Peter, chapter 2,
verses 13 to 17. “Submit yourselves for
the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether
to a king as one in authority, or to governors
as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers
and the praise of those who
do right. For such is the will of
God that by doing right you may silence the
ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do
not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use
it as bond-slaves of God. Honor all people, love
the brotherhood, fear God, honor
the king.” That’s a reading
from God’s Holy Word. Let’s pray
together. Oh Father, help us as we
live in a world that has certain freedoms
and privileges, to act like free men and
to do what is right so that we may
honor You. And Father may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus
name, Amen! Proverbs 29 and
verse 2 says, “When the
righteous increase, the people rejoice, but
when the wicked rule, the people
groan.” We shouldn’t imagine that
all people are alike. There’s an important
difference between one who sets his heart to live
right but sometimes does evil and one who sets
his heart on evil but sometimes does
what is right. Wicked rulers destroy
cities and nations, while righteous
rulers bless them. Wicked people are not
content simply to be wicked; they want everyone else to join them in their wickedness. Psalm 125 and
verse 3 says, “For the wicked shall
not rule the godly, lest the godly be
forced to do wrong.” When wicked people rule, they open the door for all kinds
of evil. Corrupt rulers abuse their
power by making laws that oppress the righteous and
use public funds to do things that no righteous
person could approve. How can anyone who loves
what is good support rulers who make
laws promoting evil? If I believe a practice
is morally wrong, I will not support
legalizing that practice. If I believe a practice
is morally wrong, I won’t vote for or use
my influence to support a candidate that will do
what God says is evil. If I support an
ungodly candidate, I’m giving my consent
to his ungodly ways. How can I love God and
support what is sinful? How can I hunger for righteousness and then support
wickedness? Now true Christians
belong to the Lord. They belong to Him in
every aspect of their lives. It’s inconceivable that
a Christian citizen could vote for someone who
supports a platform that contradicts the moral
values that they hold. If we elect people who
have no regard for God, we’ll have to live with their ungodly decisions and ways. Tertullian, encouraged the
Christian minority in the pagan Roman Empire of the
second century to be the “soul” of
their culture. God needs Christians
today to be the soul and conscience of
our culture. We can bring about moral
change if we’re willing to speak out
against evil. The best way to defeat the devil is to expose his wickedness. Christians have too often
retreated into silence and let evil go
unchallenged. Edmund Burke, the 18th
century politician said, “That all that is
necessary for the triumph of evil is for good
men to do nothing.” Many Christians have so
silenced their voices that all one can hear is the
ungodly calling for more
ungodliness. We are fast destroying
ourselves by letting the ungodly go
unchallenged. We don’t speak this way
out of hate for anyone but out of love for God,
love for our children, and love for
our neighbors. It’s not bigoted to
hunger for righteousness, it’s not bigoted
to love the truth. It’s patriotic to want
what is right and good. Have we forgotten God is
the Judge of all nations? Every nation is
accountable to Him. The Lord said in Jeremiah
18 verses 6 to 10, “‘Can I (now God is
speaking, can I) not, O house of Israel, deal
with you as this potter does?’ declares the
LORD. ‘Behold, like the clay
in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand,
O house of Israel. At one moment I might
speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom
to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that
nation against which I have spoken turns
from its evil, I will relent concerning
the calamity I planned to bring
on it. Or at another moment I
might speak concerning a nation or concerning a
kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil
in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will
think better of the good with which I had promised
to bless it.'” The Lord has witnessed our
country’s ungodly, ungodly disrespect for
the sanctity of life, for the sanctity
of marriage, and the sanctity
of moral purity. Our language has
become profane, and our nation is filled with the children of unmarried parents. The more we push
God’s, and His way out, the more empty,
and hopeless, and depraved
we become. Now God’s Word still says
in Proverbs 14 and verse 34, “That righteousness
exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace
to any people.” Our national sins are disgraceful, and we have
no shame. We’ve forgotten
how to blush; and our consciences
have become hardened. Now God’s grace should
motivate us to live godly and righteous lives, not
remove all standards of Christian
morality. Titus 2 verses
11 to 12 says, “For the grace of
God has appeared, bringing salvation
to all men, instructing us to deny
ungodliness and worldly desires and to
live sensibly, righteously and godly
in the present age.” Should we not be so
thankful for what Jesus did on the cross for us
that we would turn from sin? Today our laws allow some evil practices to fill this land. We no longer value the
sanctity of life or the sanctity of marriage,
as defined in God’s Holy Word. We’ve replaced these
with human values, that are destined to corrupt the morality of our homes. We’ve made being
tolerant of everything, whether it’s good or evil,
into some form of virtue. Well, in tolerating evil,
our society has simply become more evil, and it’s
become more intolerant of God and what
He teaches. Many have become
intolerant of God’s values found in the
word of God. They won’t tolerate
God’s regard for the unborn
as viable persons. And God speaks of the
unborn as people in Psalm 139; Jeremiah 1;
and Galatians 1. Nor will they tolerate 1
Corinthians 7 and verse 2 that says every man should
have his own female wife, and every woman should
have her own male husband. Many live today as they
did in the days of the Judges
of Israel. Judges 21 and
verse 25 says, “In those days there
was no king in Israel. That everyone did what was
right in his own eyes.” Today people have pushed
God out of their thinking and live by their
own standards. Believing we can live by
our own rules is popular yes, but it’s also destructive morally and spiritually. If what people think
determines right and wrong, then truth, peace, and morality are lost in confusion. You see human reason, left
to follow its own path, leads society to do
unspeakably horrible things. Wicked men will find ways
to excuse and justify themselves with every
evil desire and every sin. Jeremiah 17 verse 9 says,
“That the heart is more deceitful than all else
and is desperately sick; Who can
understand it?” Some people demand the
freedom to do as they please, and they don’t
care who they hurt. When evil men with no
conscience or fear of God rule in society, they will
lead people away from hope and from righteousness. Proverbs 14 and
verse 12 says, “That there is a way that
seems right to a man, but its end is
the way to death.” God’s prophet Jeremiah
wrote in Jeremiah 10 and verse 23, “I know, O LORD,
that the way of man is not in himself, that it’s not in man who walks to direct his steps.” We need God’s
wisdom and guidance. People may think they’re
wise enough to choose their own way; but any
path without God will inevitably end
in ruin. People who refuse God’s
wisdom hurt themselves and they hurt their
children. God said through the prophet Hosea in Hosea 4 and verse 6, “That my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have
rejected knowledge, I also will reject you
from being My priest. And since you have
forgotten the law of your God, I also will
forget your children.” When we turn against God,
we rob our children of the opportunity to know God,
to know His holiness, and His
righteousness. And we leave them in
spiritual darkness. The books of Kings and
Chronicles in the Old Testament provides
a commentary on the spiritual lives of the
kings of Israel and Judah for hundreds
of years. God tied the prosperity
of that nation directly to the devotion of the
king and the people. When the king and the
people followed God, God prospered
them. When the king and the
people defied God, they brought hardships and
captivity upon themselves. If we today push God
out of our lives, how can we think
God will bless us? How can we imagine that
God will prosper us? Character and devotion to
God matter in our leaders. Jethro, that’s
Moses’ father-in-law, and priest of Midian,
gave Moses some valuable advice. Moses was wearing himself
out with his duties and needed help to
govern the people. Well Jethro instructed him
to “look for able men from all the people,
men who fear God, who are trustworthy
and hate a bribe, and place such men over
the people as chiefs of thousands, of
hundreds, of fifties, and of tens” (Exodus
18 and verse 21). You see, Jethro knew that
Moses would need men of good character to
govern the people. These men had to be people that others would respect and follow. They must
“fear God.” Now fearing God meant that they took God and His laws seriously. They drew their sense of
right and wrong from God not from
opinion polls. These men of integrity
refuse to be bought with bribes. Moses needed such men to
help him govern the people justly and
honestly. And you know what,
we still need capable officials today who fear
God and have integrity. Proverbs 25 and
verse 19 says, “Like a bad tooth and
an unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless
man in time of trouble.” We’ve all been disappointed by corrupt officials who’ve brought shame to our cities, states, and nation. You can’t count on a
man of low character. A man who shows low
character in private will have low character
in public. The Lord Jesus said in
Luke 16 and verse 10, “That he who is faithful
in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and
he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is
unrighteous also in much.” Some say a godly man or
a Christian should never serve in
the government. But Joseph served as
second to Pharaoh, and David served
as King of Israel. God used Moses to lead His
people out of bondage and to build a
new nation. The Ten Commandments are
both religious and social laws, on which the nation
Israel was founded. Ezra was a Jew in the
Persian government that Nehemiah served as an
authority for the king to rebuild the wall
of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar appointed
Daniel as a ruler over the whole province of Babylon
and a chief prefect over all the wise
men of Babylon. Daniel also served as
a commissioner to King Darius of
all Persia. Both Nebuchadnezzar and
Darius were pagan kings, but Daniel lived a
righteous life and was respected for
his faith. Queen Esther laid her life
on the line to influence King Ahasuerus of Persia, who reigned from India to Ethiopia. Paul mentions Erastus, the
city treasurer of Corinth, in Romans 16
verse 23. So, godly people through
the years have served as public
officials. The Old Testament prophets
called nations and cities to repent of
their wickedness. And when people refused
God and abused their fellow-citizens, God noticed and He punished the wicked. God said through Amos,
“But let justice roll down like waters and
righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”
(Amos 5 and verse 24). Oh we need to turn away from evil and turn to righteousness. Now why does
all this matter? Here’s why. When people vote and
support the wicked, they’re actually taking
a stand against God. Second Chronicles 18
tells how a good king, Jehoshaphat, made an
alliance with a wicked king, Ahab, in
fighting an enemy. Well God sent a prophet
who said in 2 Chronicles 19 verse 2, “Should you
help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD
and so bring wrath on yourself from
the LORD?” If I vote and support
an evil person who won’t stand against sin, haven’t
I also said by my actions that I won’t
stand against sin? If I don’t cast my vote
for god-fearing people, wicked ones will
take office. My failure to vote for
what is right may allow a wicked person
to rule. “All that is necessary for
the triumph of evil is for good men to do
nothing.” Let’s pray
together. Oh Father, we pray that righteousness may rule in
this world. And we pray that Your love
and grace may come down upon us, and that we may
turn from our wicked ways. May Your will be done on
earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus
name, Amen! Some Christians don’t vote
because they believe their vote won’t make
any difference. But in 1839 one vote
elected Marcus Morton governor of
Massachusetts. In 1868 one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment. In 1876 one vote
gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency
of the United States. In 1923 one vote gave
Adolph Hitler the leadership of
the Nazi party. I tell you, one vote
can matter greatly. We must exercise our
privileges wisely to support what is
right and good. We must let our lights shine through wise and godly choices. We have the privilege
to choose godly leaders. Let’s use
that privilege. Christians are first and foremost citizens of heaven. We owe our allegiance
to the Lord Jesus. Philippians
3:20 to 21 says, “But our citizenship
is in heaven, and from it we
await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who
will transform our lowly body to be like
his glorious body, by the power that enables
him even to subject all things to
himself.” Now citizenship in heaven
is a privilege and a blessing; we must
not take it lightly. The best decision that
you’ll ever make is to follow
Jesus Christ. Do it today! To become a
citizen of heaven, believe in Jesus Christ
with all your heart. Repent of your sins; you
can’t walk with God and the devil at
the same time. Confess Jesus
as the Christ, the Son of the
living God. Confession is a public
declaration of your decision to
follow Jesus. And be baptized in water for the forgiveness of your sins. Baptism into Christ is
an immersion in water. It’s the time that we have
our sins washed away and become a
Christian. And when we’re baptized,
the Lord adds us to His church, He makes
us His child. And everyone needs to
be a citizen of heaven. Don’t wait
another day! Come to
the Lord. We hope that today’s
study of citizenship as Christians has
challenged you. If you want a copy or
a CD of this message, mail your request to In
Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371,
Edmond, OK 73083 or send an e-mail to [email protected] You can also find
us on YouTube. Subscribe to it and
tell others about it. Or you can call the
Search office toll-free at
1-800-321-8633. Now our programs appear on our website at www.searchtv.org. If you get a hold of us we
won’t ask you for money or put you
on a list. We also offer free Bible
Correspondence courses and a free study sheet to go
along with our programs. Now if you call
us, don’t worry, we won’t hound
you for money. We’re not here to exploit you but to help you get to heaven. We do ask that you
please get involved with a
church of Christ. If you’re looking
for a healthy, Biblical church home, we’ll be happy to help you find one. We’ll be back next
week, Lord willing. So keep searching God’s
Word with us and tell a friend about
this program. God bless you and we love
you from all of us at In Search of
the Lord’s Way.

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