Dual Citizen by Dr. Abidan Shah

DUAL CITIZEN by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Introduction:  Our election is literally a month away. As you know, the atmosphere has been tense. Here are a couple of trivia to lighten the mood:

  • In ancient times, citizens of Athens could vote every year to banish any citizen from the city-state for 10 years. Can you imagine that?
  • In 1927, during the Presidential elections in Liberia, Charles D. B. King, the President won with 234,000 votes. Only problem—there were only 15,000 registered voters.
  • In the 2002 elections in Iraq, Saddam Hussein used Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” as his campaign song.
  • Back in 1967, Ecuador was holding its elections when a foot powder company ran an ad saying “Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for Pulvapies.” To make their ad more appealing, the company passed out flyers listing all the things Pulvapies would do if elected as Mayor. By the way, the flyer looked very much like the official ballot. Guess what happened on election day in the small town of Picoazà, Ecuador?

It’s easy to be disheartened or disillusioned by the political arena of our nation today, but, in today’s message, we’re going to learn how every Christian has a dual citizenship: heavenly and earthly. Turn to 1 Timothy 2. Main point: Government and political institutions are not necessarily divine or evil. Christians should be involved in government and politics, not just for the gospel, freedom, or values sake, but, because it is a service unto God. The ultimate goal is not to control government or to impose Christianity but to positively influence government for the good of all in Christ’s world.

1 Timothy 2     1 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, andgiving of thanks be made for all men,”

Context: Paul was laying out the order of worship for Timothy, the young pastor in Ephesus. He began by telling him to pray for all people. We fail here because we are typically only praying for our own. But, he doesn’t stop there—2 “for kings and all who are in authority…” The word “kings” could refer to the Roman Emperor or to some small-time local ruler. For us, it implies national leaders, state leaders, and local leaders. The word “authority” means “persons of consequence.” For us, it implies political leaders, judges, military, law enforcement, and various institution heads that impact our lives. Why should we pray for them? 2 “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”“Quiet and peaceable life” refers to social, political, and financial stability. “Godliness” refers to belief in God and the impact it makes in everyday living. “Reverence” implies a special kind of life. 3 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” “Kalos” and “Agathos” mean that this pleases God, and not just any god, but our Savior God, Jesus Christ. After all, this is his world. Paul talked about this earlier in 1 Timothy 1:17 “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” And, he talked about it again towards the end in 1 Timothy 6     13 “I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was Dutch pastor, theologian, journalist, educator, and Prime Minister of the Netherlands. He said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign Lord of all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” I don’t agree with everything he said, but that is powerful. What is the desire of this King eternal, immortal, invisible God? What does the blessed and only “dynastes,” the King of Kings and Lord of lords desires? 4“who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

Application: Do you understand that this world is Christ’s world? Do you understand that God wants all to be saved? Do you understand that Christ Jesus is the only way to God?

I want to switch gears here. How does all this apply to our upcoming election? Does the Bible have anything to say about politics? Sometimes, people get nervous when we talk about politics in church. Can we do that? In 1954, the IRS put a regulation that prevents pastors from supporting or opposing any candidate by name. Having said that, churches are allowed to deal with issues that are part of an election campaign.

How should we view the relationship between Christians and Government/political institutions? There are some views that I don’t find very convincing (From Wayne Grudem, “Politics According to the Bible” and Gundry and Black, “5 Views on Church and Politics”):

  • Christians or the Church cannot engage in any kind of politics.
  • Government came because of the Fall. We reluctantly need government but we need to focus on just the human heart.
  • The Church needs to be active in Government to fight for the rights of the poor and oppressed.
  • Church and Government can work hand-in-hand and make a difference for good.

There is one more view that I find most convincing with some exceptions:

  1. Government and Church are to be limited to their spheres.
  • When you look at history, it was never a good thing when the church used government to dictate the faith of a person. This is where medieval Christendom messed up. It caused terrible conflicts throughout its history and ended up in the battles between Catholics and Protestants and between the Reformed and the Anabaptists. Thousands were persecuted, 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.” Meaning:Church and Government are two separate entities. You cannot force someone to have faith in Jesus. It is a choice. Church, family, and government are separate institutions and they are not to infringe on each other.
  • We are to be “engaged but not over expecting” (James K. A. Smith).
  1. Government is part of the good order of creation.
  • Some people claim that politicians are corrupt and they have never done any good. They believe that 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?
  • Government and politics are part of the fallen world but not evil. They are legitimate and necessary vocations created in God’s image and recreated in Christ to keep order and prosperity in the world. Think about Joseph, Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah.
  • There are people who use Jesus’ statement to turn the other cheek to argue that Christians should never retaliate and hence never be part of the government. When Jesus gave that command, 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. 4 For he is God’s minister (deacon) 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. Christians and Church should influence Government.
  • Yes, reaching the gospel is the primary responsibility of the church. Having said that, the whole world is Christ’s world. As Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign Lord of all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” We involve ourselves in government not just because of gospel, freedom, and values sake, but because we desire to see creation become how Christ wants it to be. God has a plan for everything from arts, sciences, education, economy, technology, and recreation.
  • We don’t do this just so we can go back to the lost garden or the heavenly city coming one day. We do this to glorify Christ by making his creation as pleasing as possible to him. This is our cultural mandate. It’s part of our Statement of Faith – “All Christians have a responsibility to try to make the will of Christ first in our own lives and in the world. The ways and methods used to improve society and to create righteousness among men can be very helpful. These changes are helpful only if they come because of the rebirth of the person by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ.” We put that in years ago. We are the salt and the light of the world.
  • Sometimes, it calls for fighting for the justice of those who are oppressed and for the betterment of those who are less fortunate. Christians went beyond just evangelizing people and got involved in politics so they could 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.) If this is Christ’s world, then we are to do whatever we can to make it pleasing to him. That is the motivation behind our Kindle Ministry at Clearview.
  • This involvement is more than just finding the lowest common denominator with the good citizens. Christians should speak out on moral convictions from the Bible—the sanctity of human life, sanctity of marriage, gender identity issues, medical professional assisted suicide, recreational drugs, etc.

How should you vote this election? According to what party you belong to? A better question would be “Can I still influence my party to make this world more pleasing to Christ?” According to what is at stake for us? A better question would be “Can the party I am voting for make this world more pleasing to Christ?” By the way, it is Christ’s world and he is perfectly in charge. Why are we so worried? Why are we panicking? Maybe, our theology is showing. Colossians 1     15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Invitation: Where do you stand? With Christ in his world? How will you vote? With those who will stand with Christ in his world? Is Christ your Savior and King?

Dads Wanted

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DADS WANTED – Part 1 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

dadswanted

Introduction: This weekend being Father’s Day we’re going to take a break from our ongoing series on the Sermon on the Mount and talk about something that is very dear to my heart – something more important to me than being a pastor, more important than being a scholar, and it comes next only to my relationship with my wife. It’s my calling to be a dad. Those who know me know that I take it very seriously. Today is part one of the message – “DADS WANTED.”

Prov. 1:8-19 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”— 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;

Overall Background: 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father…” Who is the son and who is the father? To get their identity, you have to go back to the first verse of this chapter – The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: So the father is Solomon the son of King David and he is writing this letter to his son Rehoboam. Do you see the 3 generations – Granddaddy David, daddy Solomon, and son Rehoboam. Before we go further, what kind of a man was granddaddy David? He was the shepherd boy who killed Goliath, the sweet psalmist of Israel who wrote songs like Psalm 23, the great King and leader, and the man after God’s own heart. But what kind of a dad was David? Besides being an adulterer and a murderer, he was a failure as a father.

Application: Many of you grew up with a David as a father. Instead of wasting your time regretting the past or blaming all your problems on him, let God bring healing for your past and you do things differently. If you are that David, do whatever you can to make things right. Listen to 1 Kings 2 1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. (Maybe he was saying – “I wasn’t the man I was supposed to be but you make it right.”) 3 And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…” Now Solomon is a father and he is doing things differently. He is writing letters to his son Rehoboam teaching him about God, life, wisdom, relationships, decisions, and the difference between right and wrong.

Men in Factories 1800sWhy do these letters matter to us? America is in a crisis today – the Civil War Childrencrisis of fatherhood. It began as early as the 1830s when the Industrial Revolution started and fathers had to go to a factory or an assembly line away from home. Even back in 1830 people saw the dangerous trend and they warned against it. During Civil War, soldiers often wrote home and what they wrote is a good indicator of how the home was run. One soldier wrote to his wife: “I think of you…and I wish I could be there to send Ed to bed on time…should I ever reach home again I feel thankful to think I am spared on Edwin’s account as I know he will grow up a bad boy unless some father guides him.” Sadly, such accounts became rare as we approached the 1900s. Now the mother became the “natural” caretaker of the child and the father became a provider, a supervisor and disciplinarian. He earns, fixes things, mows the lawn, and that’s Civil War Children 2about it. In fact in 1900, someone said that “the suburban husband and father” was just a “Sunday institution.” That was a hundred years ago. We have moved way past that point.

For e.g. Back in 1995 (20 years ago), a book came out called “Fatherless America: Confronting our most urgent social problem.” Listen to what the author, David Blankenhorn, said in his introduction: “Tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live. Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than half of our nation’s children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhoods living apart from their fathers. Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their Men in factories 1900sfathers. (Its one thing if the father has died.) Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a father. . . Consider this prediction. After the year 2000, as people born after 1970 emerge as a large proportion of our working-age adult population, the United States will be a nation divided into two groups, separate and unequal. . . The primary fault line dividing the two groups will not be race, religion, class, education, or gender. It will be patrimony. One group will consist of those adults who grew up with the daily presence and provision of fathers. The other group will consist of those who did not. By the early years of the next century, these two groups will be roughly the same size.” Further down in chapter 12, he writes: “The most urgent domestic challenge facing the United States at the close of the twentieth century is the re-creation of the fatherhood as a vital social role for men. At stake is nothing less than the success of the American experiment.”

Bottom Line: America desperately needs some Solomons – men who will REFUSE to let their past define them, men who will REJECT the negative labels that society has placed on them, and men who will REFLECT God as a standard of fatherhood. Altogether Solomon wrote 10 letters but this morning we will only look at the first five and then next week the remaining five. Again, we’re not looking at every detail in these letters, that would take days, just the highlights. 5 Reasons Dads are wanted:

I. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN TO REJECT BAD COMPANY.

Proverbs 1 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—

Young people – parents (especially dads) have a built-in troublemaker detector. That’s why they say things like – “If all your friends were to jump off a bridge, would you do it too?” That’s not the time to ask – “What if the bridge is on fire?”

15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives.

Illustration: My dad told me to stay away from wine, women, and gambling.

Application: Dads – Do you take the time to teach your children the difference between good and bad company? Here’s a better question – what kind of company do you keep?

II. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO FIND WISDOM.

Proverbs 2 1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,

Would you agree that our young people desperately needs wisdom? They need wisdom in their relationships, finances, future, and daily decisions.

Where does wisdom come from? 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

Application: Dads – do you take the time to teach your children how to find wisdom? Again, do you seek for wisdom? Do you read the word of God on a daily basis?

III. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; 2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.

Mercy = “Hesed” It could be translated “kindness” or “help to the needy.”

For e.g. Do you teach your children not to make fun of people regarding their color, clothes, and looks?

Truth = “Emet” It can refer to “faithfulness” or “being trustworthy” or “living by truth.”

For e.g. Do you teach your children to tell the truth or do you teach them to cheat?

When these two things are in your life, God will look at you with favor and so will people.

Application: dads – do you teach your children the value of mercy and truth? Here’s a better question is there mercy and truth in your life? That’s the secret of success.

IV. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN DISCIPLINE.

Proverbs 3 11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

People swing from Dr. Spock on one end to Dr. Watson on the other. The former advocated permissiveness and the latter strict discipline. The grandson of Spock committed suicide by jumping off the building where his father worked. The son of Watson also committed suicide. The answer is neither. It is the bible that has the truth.

We’re not called to punish but discipline. We’re called to correct and redirect. We have to understand age appropriate discipline. In our society – dads have given up their God-given right to correct their children. Why? Because they are full of problems themselves.

Application: Dads – do you discipline your children? Are there things in your life that need God’s discipline?

V. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN A GODLY HERITAGE.

Proverbs 4 1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding…3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 He also taught me…”

This is very interesting because Solomon remembers David teaching him when he was a child. Now he is passing it down to Rehoboam. Not all tradition is bad.

Application: dads – are you passing down any godly heritage to your children? Do you have any to pass along?

We cannot understand how to be a dad until we understand how God is our heavenly father. He teaches us to turn away from those who walked towards sin. He calls us to find wisdom. Through his Holy Spirit he teaches us the wisdom that is in Christ. He gives us mercy and he gives us truth so we can find favor with God and with people. He disciplines us when we lose our way. That reminds us that we belong to him. He daily reminds us but we belong to the family of God.

Do you know your heavenly father? You cannot come to the father unless you go through the son. Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

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