Preachers and Politics – No Subject is Off Limits

Be assured, God is not deaf to the cries of the millions of innocent babies callously killed as if a sacrifice to the god of convenience. Then as if mere killing was not enough, Planned Parenthood and other organizations determined that if they killed the baby is just the right manner, they could butcher the body and sell the parts to highest bidder.

Our nation cannot continue down this path and expect that there will not be consequences from the just and righteous Creator who watched over us and formed this nation of freedom. Do not think for a moment that the great United States of America cannot fall under God’s judgment.

I do care how you vote. You cannot look at the two choices before us in this election and shut your eyes to the Godless, evil, direction of the Democrat platform.

What follows is the manuscript of a sermon that I preached in a Southern Baptist Church on October 16, 2016.  This is longer than most of my posts but I believe that you will find a compelling message and compelling reason to vote for the Republican candidate for President.

Accountability to God
Ezekiel 33:1-7

I invite you to open your Bibles please to the book of Ezekiel, chapter 33. In today’s politically correct society, there is a tendency to avoid some subjects out of fear of offending and the repercussions that may result.

Offending for the sake of offending is misguided; however, believers are accountable to God to proclaim the truth in all matters. No subject is off limits when proclaiming the truth and we are accountable to God to clearly communicate the warning and consequences.

I. The Watchman

Let me give you the context of this passage. The Babylonians had captured Jerusalem. It was something that was unimaginable. They took a group of people from Jerusalem and relocated them to Babylon.

Ezekiel was among the group. God called him as a prophet to the exiles in Babylon. He delivered God’s message to the exiles in Babylon around the same time that the prophet Jeremiah was delivering God’s message to those who were left in Jerusalem. I will begin reading at chapter 33, verse 1.

1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
3 and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,
4 then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
7 “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. (New American Standard Bible)

God uses the example of the watchman. He reminds Ezekiel that the watchman’s job is two-fold, to watch, and to warn. He presents two scenarios to Ezekiel about the watchman.

Verse 3 says the watchman sees the danger approaching and he sounds the trumpet to warn the people. The responsibility then shifts from the watchman to those who hear the warning.

The first scenario is on the one who hears the warning, but ignored the warning. When he falls by the sword, the blood is on his own head. Had he heeded the warning, he would have saved his life.

Verse 6 presents the 2nd scenario. The watchman sees the danger approaching but he does not sound the warning. The people, never hearing any sign of warning, go about their daily business. One falls by the sword. The watchman will be required to pay the penalty because he did not send the warning.

God provides specific application to this illustration by pointedly telling Ezekiel that he was the watchman for the house of Israel. As the watchman was to be a watcher and a warner, Ezekiel was to be a hearer and a herald of God.

How does this apply today? What is the post of the watchman for believers today? The most practical and direct application is in the pulpit. Preachers are to study and listen for the Word of God. Then they are to proclaim the Word of God. They are not to be silenced or swayed by political correctness or fear of offending.

The only one they need to be concerned about is the One who gave them the message to deliver. They hear the message, heed the message, and herald the message with boldness.

The pulpit is one post. Another post is the family. Fathers and mothers are called to be watchmen to their families. They are to study God’s word. They are to hear the message, heed the message, and herald the message to their children and their families.

The pulpit is a post. The family is a post. The workplace is a post. You spend a great deal of your lives at your place of work. As believers you are Ambassadors of Christ. In your work environment you are to be known as a man or woman of truth. You are to be salt and light and by example be the watchman as one who hears the truth, heeds the truth, and heralds the truth.

The pulpit, the family, the workplace, are posts. A fourth post is your community. You are involved in activities with civic groups, school groups, church groups, and other community related organizations. Just as in the workplace you are an Ambassador of Christ, so in your community.

Finally there is one more. This one may surprise you. You are to be a watchman at your post of the voting booth. As Americans we have the unique freedom to set the direction of our nation, our state, and our community. Those who vote will elect the leaders. If you do not vote, you do not affect the results.

Our society is moving in a dangerous direction. You can hear the warning signs all around us. You heed the warning signs when you determine the policies that will move us in the proper direction. You herald the truth when you go vote in accordance with those policies.

II. Christian Citizenship

Look with me to the book of Matthew, chapter 22, verses 15 – 22. Jealous rulers came to Jesus and tried to trap him with a question about paying taxes to Caesar. They represented the religious establishment (Pharisees) and the government (Herodians).

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said.
16 And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.
17 Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”
18 But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?
19 Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius.
20 And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
22 And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away. (New American Standard Bible)

His answer reveals that believers have a responsibility to God and to the government where God has placed them. Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.

In applying this passage to us today, we have to examine two questions. The first question to ask ourselves is “What is due to Caesar?”

In Romans 13:1-8, Paul tells the believers to subject themselves to the governing authority, pay taxes, and show honor to those to whom honor is due.

In Titus 3:1, Paul tells the believers to submit to governing authority, do good, and to obey.

In these first two, Paul wrote to people who were not being harassed or persecuted by the Romans at that time. Peter, on the other hand wrote to a group of people who were facing some degree of difficulty because of their faith.

In I Peter 2:11-17, Peter wrote to the believers to set an example. He told them to submit to kings and governors.

That tells us what is due to Caesar. There is a second question that we need to answer for today. That is “Who is Caesar?”

In the days of Jesus, Paul, and Peter that question was easy to answer. Caesar was a single individual who basically held the power of life and death in his hand. One could see him and identify him.

What about today for us as citizens of the United States of America? Your first thought might be the President of the United States. He is not Caesar. Every four years the American people in each state go to the polls. We cast votes for President. Each State cast its electoral votes and we have our President.

In the United States of America, there is no one single individual who is Caesar. The opening words of our Constitution clearly identify Caesar for us today. “We the People of the United States.”

Who is Caesar? We are Caesar. What does that mean to us in applying the words of Jesus to “Render to Caesar” and to “Render to God?”

Let us walk through this together.

  • As a Christian, I am accountable to God.
  • As a Christian citizen, I am accountable to Caesar.
  • As an American citizen, I am Caesar.
  • Therefore, as an American Christian citizen, I am accountable to God not only for my obedience to my country, but also for the policies and laws that are established by my country which I am called to obey.

I can’t just sit back and blame some bureaucrat, politician, or judge for the mess things are in because I am responsible before God and before my country for putting the people in the positions to make the laws in the first place.

III. America’s Heritage

A. Mayflower Compact

In the book Rebirth of America, in describing the Mayflower Compact signed in 1620, the author explained:

“At the heart of the compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and that law without a moral base is really no law at all…. All law, they insisted would rest, not upon a monarchy or a dictatorship, but upon the consent of the governed. It was a revolutionary concept for its time.”

B. Declaration of Independence and Washington’s Inaugural Address

Our Declaration of Independence declared certain truths to be self-evident, that all men were endowed with certain rights by our Creator. These rights were not granted by human institution but by God Himself. Our nation was founded on a basic principle that individuals are accountable to God and our government had to also acknowledge.

George Washington’s inaugural address:

“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… We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.”

I want to read again that last sentence and emphasize it. “We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.”

C. Bill of Rights and 1st Amendment – Politically Active Baptists – John Leland and an election in Orange County, VA March 1788

You may not be aware that the 1st Amendment to our Constitution was demanded and politically advocated by Baptists. Let me share with you a few significant events regarding the fight in the State of Virginia and later in the United States Constitution.

At the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1776, Thomas Jefferson opposed general assessment taxes to support religion and proposed that dissenters be exempted from such taxes. Jefferson’s proposal was blocked.

Jefferson submitted another bill to the Virginia Assembly in 1779, an Act Establishing Religious Freedom. Baptists were alone is supporting the bill. It failed.

In 1785 the Baptist General Convention of Virginia approved a resolution opposing government supported churches. In 1786, James Madison circulated a petition opposing taxes supporting Teachers of the Christian Religion. Madison’s petition garnered 1,552 signatures. The Baptist petition garnered 4,899 signatures.

When it came time for the US Constitutional Convention, James Madison, did not want to have a bill of rights for religious freedom. He felt that Article VI which assured that no religious test would be required for any office was adequate.

Virginia Baptists, who had worked with Madison for religious freedom in Virginia felt betrayed by Madison. They opposed the constitution without a clear statement on religious freedom. Madison, the author of the Constitution, was concerned that some of the New England states that had state supported churches would not ratify the Constitution.

The election for delegates to the Constitution Convention was approaching. James Madison was a candidate from Orange County Virginia to be a delegate.

On March 7, 1788, the Baptist General Committee of Virginia adopted a unanimous resolution that the Constitution, did not make sufficient provision for freedom of religion. The Baptists organized and prepared to support the candidacy of a Baptist preacher named John Leland against James Madison.

They had the votes to win and Madison knew it. Imagine, the author of the Constitution not being elected to represent his home state at the Constitutional Convention.

On the eve of the election, James Madison asked for a meeting with John Leland at Leland’s farm. He promised that if Leland would support him, then he would join Leland in a crusade to add the first amendment in what was to become the bill of rights.

Leland agreed to the compromise. Madison was elected with a 10 vote margin over all the other candidates.

Madison kept his word and today we have the 1st Amendment which insures freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition the government.

The point for us to see is that Christian churches were very involved, preaching on matters of public policy and advocating the election of a specific candidate to carry out those policies.

As believers we serve Jesus Christ. God has put you in a nation with freedom to establish our own government. Therefore, we have a clear stewardship and accountability to be an influence in our government.

IV. The Presidential Election of 2016

In a little more than 3 weeks from today, our citizens will go to the polls to elect a President, members of the House of Representatives, some US Senators, and a host of State and local officials.

These leaders will set a clear direction for our nation. On the national level, the political parties have presented their platforms, their direction to take the nation. Be assured that God is taking notice of the direction that we will go.

There are some planks in the platform that God specifically addresses in His Word. This morning we will look at four of those key planks of the Democrat and Republican Platforms.

Comparison of Party Platforms

A. Protection of the Unborn

Democrats seek to repeal the 1976 Hyde Amendment so that federal funds can be used to pay for abortions.

Republicans assert the sanctity of human life and affirms, “The unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.”

B. Funding Planned Parenthood and Sale of Fetal Tissue

Democrats say “We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers.”

The Republicans call for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and “to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research..”

Ezekiel 16:21 says, “You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire.”

Be assured, God is not deaf to the cries of the millions of innocent babies callously killed as if a sacrifice to the god of convenience. Then as if mere killing was not enough, Planned Parenthood and other organizations determined that if they killed the baby is just the right manner, they could butcher the body and sell the parts to highest bidder.

Our nation cannot continue down this path and expect that there will not be consequences from the just and righteous creator who watched over us and formed this nation of freedom.

Remember the words of George Washington in his first inaugural address:

“We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.”

C. Redefinition of Marriage

Democrats support “that recognized LGBT people…have the right to marry the person they love.”

Republicans condemn the Supreme Court’s rulings that removed the ability of Congress and the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

D. Religious Freedom

Democrats “support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.”

Republicans “strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives “

Look carefully at wording of the Democrat platform on religious freedom. What is this, “progressive vision of religious freedom?” They “reject the misuse of religion to discriminate.” What does that mean?

In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” My friend, that is pretty discriminating.

On these four planks alone, there is a striking contrast between the Democrat direction and the Republican direction in their party platforms.

As Ezekiel 33 says, I stand this morning before you as the watchman. This is not about a personality or the tradition of aligning with one party or the other.

Some people have voted a party line out of tradition like they drive a certain brand of automobile out of tradition. Some only own Chevrolet, some Ford. Some have always voted Democrat or Republican. This is not about tradition.

You cannot ignore the striking differences between the two party platforms. God is not ignoring the striking differences. You ignore it at your peril.

Lamentations 4:12 is a sobering word about fall Jerusalem:

“The kings of the earth did not believe, Nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.” (New American Standard Bible)

Do not think for a moment that the great United States of America cannot fall under God’s judgment.

Perhaps you have heard someone say before, “Go Vote, it doesn’t matter how you vote but just go vote.”

My friend that is a lie and any preacher who stands before the people to which God assigned him and says that kind of wishy washy spineless thing has violated the command of Ezekiel 33 to be the watchman and warn the people.

I do care how you vote. You cannot look at the two choices before us and shut your eyes to the Godless, evil, direction of the Democrat platform.

Some may be so sick of the negativity and personal attacks that you want to just throw your hands up and say, “I’m not going to do anything.” My friend, that is not an option. If you do nothing, it leaves a void and evil will fill that void.

Early voting begins tomorrow. I will call on you to go vote tomorrow. If not tomorrow, go this week. Don’t wait. None of us are promised another day. The opportunity to render to God what is God’s is now.

I will not mince any words. Donald Trump is the candidate standing on the Republican platform. Hillary Clinton is the candidate standing on the Democrat platform.

We have looked at four planks in those platforms. We see the striking contrast.

I stand as the watchman and can only conclude as I look into the Scripture and stand before God that the Republican Platform and their nominee Donald Trump is the only option.

I want to close with this. Let me make it clear that you never raise Old Glory above the Old Rugged Cross. God is sovereign over all. He is not worried about who will be the next President and you should not worry or be anxious about it either. Just examine the truth of His Word, trust Him, and obey.

We are just passing through this world. We are commanded to be salt and light.

The reality is that one day your heart will beat its last beat and you will take your last breath. When that moment comes, you step into eternity. The question before you then will not be how did you vote, but have your placed your faith and trust and Jesus Christ for eternal life.

It is as simple as ABC. First, Admit before God. I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. Second, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to enter into a personal relationship with God. Third, Confess. Confess is to agree with Him.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all have a need that we cannot meet. But God, in His great mercy, loves you so much that He sent his Son Jesus Christ to pay the price and make a way for you to have eternal life.

It is a free gift. You cannot buy it. You cannot pay Him back for it. You cannot earn it. The only thing you can do is to simply accept His free offer of amazing grace.

It is so simple. As simple as ABC. Don’t make it complicated. It is no accident that you are here this morning. If you are reading this message, it is no accident that you are reading.

A – Admit. This should not be a big deal. It should not be hard at all. Acknowledge and admit that you have a problem that you cannot fix. Only God can fix your eternal problem.

B – Believe. By the simple act of making a choice. As best you understand, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. He makes that promise and you can count on Him to keep His promise. You cannot work your way up to God. You cannot pay Him back. He is standing before you with the gift of eternal life and He says, “here it is, please accept it.” Just believe on Him as the only solution to your eternal need.

C – Confess. Confess is simply to agree with God. This is not about creating a catalog of your sins and making confession. Confess is to agree that you are, by nature a sinner and cannot save yourself. You confess, agree with God, that you have a need that you can never meet and only He can meet it.

A – Admit. B – Believe. C – Confess. Will you do that right now? If you have never done that, then it is no accident that you are hearing this message. It is no accident that you are reading this message. The Bible says, “Today is the day of your salvation. Now is the time.”

Pray this simple prayer to God, humbling yourself before Him as best you understand as He is speaking to you.

Lord Jesus, I Admit that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I Believe that you sent your Son to die on Calvary’s cross for my sin. I Confess my sin before you and accept you as my Savior.

Signature-Donald E. Cole

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