RESHIFT by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: Every few months, I take my truck in for servicing and getting the tires rotated or realigned. So also, every so often, I like to emphasize the importance of biblical values to the present and future of our nation. Daily we are bombarded by secular voices that contradict the truth of God’s Word, especially as it applies to our nation. Regularly, we need a “Reshift,” and that’s the title of our message. Main point: God has blessed us with a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values. As long as we remain “One Nation Under God” and “In God We Trust,” we guarantee the future happiness of our children and our grandchildren. Along with having a significant influence on the government, we should relentlessly share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wickedman rules, the people groan.”
Context: In the Book of Proverbs, “righteous” are those who put God first and seek to walk in his way. The “wicked” are those who reject God and walk without integrity. This verse is very applicable today in America. People are groaning and have been for quite some time. The only hope is to return to biblical values. There are 6 wrong views regarding the relationship between Government and Christianity (based on Grudem’s “Politics According to the Bible”):
1. Government should mandate Christianity.
- When you look at history, it was never a good thing when the government tried to dictate the faith of a person. The history of Europe shows how terrible the conflict used to be between Catholics and Protestants and between the Reformed and the Anabaptists. Thousands were persecuted and killed and burned at the stake.
- Jesus set the boundary for us when he said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Also, he refused to destroy the Samaritan village, as suggested by James and John, because they rejected him.
- You cannot force someone to have faith in Jesus. It is a choice.
- The goal is for religious freedom.
2. Government should control religion.
- This is especially true in countries where Islam or a specific type of Islam is the government sponsored/endorsed faith. So also, countries like China where there are government sanctioned churches. Unfortunately, this is where India is headed.
- This is not good at all when it comes to Christianity because core doctrines are altered to fit the agenda of the state.
- Obviously, this is not a good view at all.
3. Government and Christianity should not mix at all.
- This is a view that is used by people who hate Christianity. They try to attack anything that resembles Christianity. They argue that there is no place for prayers before a city council meeting; no place for the cross at veteran’s memorials; no 10 commandments in the courtroom.
- This is just a tactic to pass values that are not accepted by most Americans. Since Christian values also include marriage, they claim that we must keep the Bible out. Here’s the answer: Marriage is not a religion. It is a universal institution. By the way, the Bible also believes that stealing is wrong and murder is wrong. Should we then make it legal to steal and murder since they are Christian rules?
- When the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” it does not mean that Christianity has no say in politics. It simply means there can be no state church. Jefferson’s statement to the Danbury Baptists about the “wall of separation between church and state” was to protect the Baptists from persecution at the hands of the Anglican state church.
- Recent remarks by Eric Adams, the NY City Mayor since January 2022, at the prayer breakfast are powerful, to say the least: “Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.” He went on to say that “When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools.” Amanda Tyler, executive director of Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, responded, “These comments from Mayor Adams are extremely troubling. We should expect our elected officials to govern without regard to religion and respect the institutional separation of church and state, which ensures religious freedom for everyone.” What a misunderstanding and tragic.
4. Government is evil, and Christians should have no part in it.
- They say that politicians are corrupt and they have never done any good.
- Behind every government is Satan who is busy causing wars and destruction. For e.g. behind Hitler was Satan who caused him to exterminate Jewish people and capture Europe.
- Here’s the question: Who was behind the Allied Forces who went to fight the Nazi army? Who was behind the troops who landed at Omaha beach?
- There are people who use Jesus’ statement to turn the other cheek to argue that Christians should never retaliate. When Jesus said turn the other cheek, he was talking about how we deal with individual insults. This is much different from what God expects from politicians and government.
- Romans 13 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
- 1 Peter 2 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—
- Both those passages have resistance language. We need to comply but resist.
5. Christians should only focus on reaching the lost.
- It all sounds very spiritual but it is escapist.
- In the Old Testament, we meet Daniel who greatly impacted Babylon and later the Medo-Persian Empire.
- Also, Esther, who spoke up and saved the lives of all her people.
- In the New Testament, John the Baptist spoke against the Moral, Spiritual, and Political Issues of his day. He was not afraid to take on Herod Antipas.
- Personal experience of having grown up in a country that is becoming increasingly hostile towards Christian. If we lose sight of influencing the government, then we won’t have the freedom to reach the lost.
6. Christianity should only focus on Government.
- This is like the social gospel of the late nineteenth and twentieth century that wanted to solve the problems of the world by politics. It failed. The World Wars were proof of that.
- Unfortunately, this view is coming back with a view towards changing morality and ethics, especially with regards to sex and addictions.
- There are so many important benefits to being involved: think about your kids, Denver is a prime example; pain pills, mixing medicines, and micro dosing; abortion issues are primary.
Here is the balanced view – Christians should have a significant influence on the Government.
- Old and New Testament has plenty of examples of this – Joseph, Esther, Paul.
- It’s because Christians went beyond just evangelizing people and got involved in politics that they were able to pass laws against infanticide, child abandonment, and abortion in the Roman Empire (in AD 374); they were able to outlaw the brutal battles-to-the-death in which thousands of gladiators had died (in 404); they were able to outlaw the cruel punishment of branding the faces of criminals (in 315); they were able to bring about prison reforms such as the segregating of male and female prisoners (by 361); they were able to stop the practice of human sacrifice among the Irish, the Prussians, and the Lithuanians as well as among other nations; they were able to outlaw pedophilia; they were able to grant property rights and other protections to women; they were able to ban polygamy in the Western world; prohibit the burning alive of women in India (in 1829); outlaw the painful and crippling practice of binding young women’s feet in China (in 1912); persuade government officials to begin a system of public schools in Germany (in the sixteenth century); and advance the idea of compulsory education for all children in a number of European countries; and outlaw slave trade and slavery. (Wayne Grudem in his book “Politics according to the Bible” writes about the work of historian Alvin Schmidt.)
- What did Jesus say? Listen to Matthew 5 13 “You are the salt of the earth… 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 28 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Invitation: Are you praying for our nation? Are you making a significant influence on government with biblical values? Are you saved? Are you sharing the gospel with the lost?