Oh boy (as in “Oh boy” stated by Fred Flintstone too often in the cartoon), I’m sure I’ll hear about differing opinions on this one. I’m okay with that as long as the way people state those differences remains civil. But since sarcasm tends to reign supreme in our society today, most of us (including me) get caught up in it at times. We do well to avoid it, but I do understand that it is difficult. Let’s try though, shall we?
Not too long ago, I was a Christian who honestly believed that it was part of my job description as a Christian to fight for America’s values. Like many, I believed that I actually had an obligation to be on the front lines so to speak doing whatever I could – warning people and even attempting to involve myself in the political arena by running for local office – to turn America “back.” But the question is, back to what?
The pat answer is that we need to go back to what our founding fathers set up and they used the Bible and drew inspiration for our founding documents from that Holy Book. Unfortunately, most of our founding fathers were Deists, people who believe in an impersonal Great Architect, a god who started things going, then moved back from it to see what would happen. This Great Architect is not personally or directly involved in our earthly affairs, but will “help” when called upon…sometimes. For the most part, the family of man is essentially left to our own devices. It is my research that has drawn that conclusion and many others before me have arrived to the same conclusion.
However, there are many who today, would simply be happy if those elected officials in local, city, state or federal arms of our government would simply obey the United States Constitution. Instead, they circumvent it, ignore it, criticize it, and vow to change it. If they cannot do this officially by an act of Congress (either repealing or creating amendments), they’ll simply pretend the Constitution does not exist at all. That has been the way of life in America since Woodrow Wilson, in actual fact. Ignore a bit of the Constitution here, ignore some more there, eventually ignore larger sections. Then create executive orders (EO) to essentially override aspects of the Constitution while ostensibly leaving the Constitution “intact.” It’s a pretend game of make-believe.
Because of it, many good people, including well-meaning Christians, have risen to the seeming call that some say is found in Scripture that we are to do whatever it takes to “take America back,” allegedly to those days when it is said Christ was on America’s throne and the president answered to Him. Unfortunately, it really was never like that, but history has a way of looking different when people look back at it. The truly tragic part of this is that even if we could somehow turn back the hands of time to an America that allegedly honored the God of the Bible, what would it look like and what then?
My belief is that while America might have outward appearances of goodness, spirituality, and worship of the One, true God, Christians would be very tempted to sit on their laurels and think, “We’ve done it with God’s help! America is saved and is not in line for judgment!” What then?
America has had its days or revival, where the likes of Charles Finney, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, and numerous others brought people to their knees with their preaching (and sometimes because of their antics on stage). The results came in and there appeared to be, for all intents and purposes, revival in the land we call America.
Interestingly though, that revival never lasted and at best, they were localized events spattered throughout America at various times. In spite of these revivals, the global elite marched onward to achieve their hidden agenda, not only for America, but for the world. Over the decades, we’ve seen progressive politics move us from the right to the far left. The results of that are clear today.
Yet, Christians are wringing their hands and in fear because of what they see happening to their country. As I said, I was, at one time, part of that group. My attempt to become elected to the local city council failed, but it taught me that maybe I was doing something wrong. I look back now and realize I was doing something wrong. For me, it is impossible to be involved in politics and not see those who disagree with my position as the “enemy.” Because they were the enemy, I treated them as enemies, not as people who needed Jesus and the only salvation that is offered anywhere under heaven.
There are probably some Christians who can be involved in politics and still see a need to spread the gospel to the lost, but I truly think they are few and far between. In fact, I see the average Christian on social networks constantly complaining about the federal government, referring to President Obama and other elected officials in atrociously non-Christian terms. It seems clear to me that Christians and politics makes for strange bedfellows.
Before Jesus died, rose again, and was taken up to heaven by physically ascending into the clouds, He offered His disciples some very sage advice. He gave them instructions and also provided important information.
One of the most important things that Jesus said during days just prior to His death and resurrection had to do with the Christian’s job here on earth. Let’s look at it for a moment.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’,” Matthew 28:18-20.
Jesus is getting ready for the final phase of His earthly life. He gathers His disciples and gives them very simple instructions from the above verses. He says,
- He has been granted all authority in heaven and on earth
- Because of that authority, He commissions His disciples for a task
- That task involves three things:
- make disciples of all nations
- baptize those disciples in the Name of the Triune God
- teach those disciples to obey everything Jesus commanded them
- Note also that Jesus promises to be with His disciples until when? The very end of the age. Which age? The one we are currently living in as there are really only two ages; this one and the one that starts with Jesus’ physical second coming at the end of the Tribulation.
Do you notice that not once in this Great Commission did Jesus talk about saving nations? He said “make disciples of all nations,” which tells us that our job is to preach the gospel all over the earth, to everyone, everywhere. The rest of His instructions confirm to us He is speaking about individuals not nations. We are to make disciples from every nation, we are to baptize each individual person, and we are to teach those individuals what Jesus taught His own disciples.
Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever indicate that He was concerned about the fate of Rome. His mission was to the lost sheep of Israel, to call them back from their wanderings. Israel is the only nation that God ever directly created. Though He certainly allowed other nations to rise and fall (including America), there is no evidence that He created those nations. He often used them and some of their leaders for His purposes though.
Yet, in America today, it seems that too many Christians are making the mistake of focusing not on the Great Commission has Jesus outlined it, but on another “commission” as others have outlined it. Today, just as we heard from the Moral Majority that came to the fore in 1979, founded by Jerry Falwell, we’re hearing the same type of thing today. The push was on then to oust those from government who did not cotton to the ways of conservative-minded Christians. It was an abject failure.
There is another movement afoot today that is far more loosely knit but made up of the same type of individual who believes God wants to change America back and if we fail, He will judge and destroy America. This is the clear message that we hear today.
Where is that in the Great Commission? I fully believe that we are headed towards judgment and persecution of Christians will be part of that. I have no idea how bad things will get prior to the actual start of the coming Tribulation (or the Rapture that precedes it). But looking around the globe now, we see that Christians are being slaughtered, tortured, jailed, maligned and more and we aren’t even in the Tribulation yet! The Tribulation will not officially begin until the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27, with the coming Antichrist brokering a peace deal between “the many” (Israel’s leaders) and Arab nations surrounding her.
I also believe that as persecution grows, Christians will have the opportunity to act like chickens or like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (the latter three facing death in the fiery furnace, and Daniel facing death in the lion’s den) and many other saints who stood for God when no one else would. Their concern was not for their own country (Israel) or even their own lives so much as it was ensuring that they obeyed God at every turn. Their refusal to disobey God is one of the things I believe eventually turned Nebuchadnezzar around and I believe we will see him in heaven because of it. I’d also like to point out that Daniel was never rude or obnoxious to Nebuchadnezzar! He treated him with utmost respect as someone whom God allowed to be in that position of authority. We would do well to remember that when referring to our own political leaders.
The truth is that God accomplishes much during times of persecution. Yet, Christians are “in fear” for America because of the federal government. Why? Perfect love casts out all fear. Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. When we make plans, we should always defer to God as Someone who has the right to overrule our plans since we don’t know all things. He’s in charge always.
The Bible tells us that during the coming Tribulation, multitudes will be saved. Multitudes! Read Revelation 7 where John says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands,” (Revelation 7:9). That was the direct result of massive persecution that caused people to make decisions for Jesus, for which they gained salvation.
But Christians today seem to want things to be “peaceful,” because persecution can be painful. Yes, but note the results of persecution that is either sent directly by God or allowed to occur! Multitudes become saved.
The Great Commission is our job and it has nothing to do with saving any “nation” and everything to do with preaching to all people in every nation. God will call many and open their eyes to the truth. In exchange for their own country’s citizenship, which is fleeting and will pass, He will grant them permanent, eternal citizenship in His Kingdom!
But in order for that to happen, Christians must fulfill the Great Commission. If God has to send/allow persecution to occur in order to get Christians off their rear ends, He will do just that. Not only will the harvest be fruitful, but we will see the blessings in our own lives.
Is your preference to get involved in the Great Commission willingly without having to be prodded, or will God need to send persecution your way to provoke you to obey the Great Commission that you may have been ignoring because you’ve been too wrapped up in doing everything you can to “save” America?
Let America fall. Let God deal with it. Instead, focus solely on preaching the gospel in season and out of season, to all people of every nation and watch God work. Yep, you still might experience persecution, but you will be far more blessed because of it than wringing your hands and spending your time and energy being disturbed about what’s happening to America. That will only make you want to change a nation and ultimately, it’s not going to happen anyway.
Your efforts will end up changing people because you will be introducing people to Jesus. They will have decisions to make and while we want to see every person saved, the first step is in presenting the gospel to them. How can they hear if no one tells them? How can they know the truth if we’re too busy trying to change America?
Folks, let’s leave America to God and be about fulfilling the one job He did give us, the Great Commission, where we tell individuals about Jesus and their need for salvation. America is simply a temporary backdrop that will pass away. My citizenship is in heaven, folks. I’m hoping yours is too, but from the looks of things, too many believe their citizenship is in America, where it starts and stops.
Please, please get your eyes off America and start seeing the lost around you. You don’t need to change America to preach the gospel of grace to them. I believe Satan is trying to hamstring Christians by causing us to focus on something that might appear worthwhile, but in the end, means nothing. God wants us to focus on individuals and their need to find Him.
Trying to change America is certainly an option to pursue. But in doing so, are we leaving souls hanging in the balance? I think it’s extremely possible and what Satan wants. We need to be actively involved in people’s lives so they can see our good works and hear the gospel message and want what we have. The other option is to be concerned about America so much that we tend to exclude those who need Christ because our focus is on how things look on the outside and the “enemy” that is keeping that from happening. God is concerned about each person’s heart, even those on the left.
It’s your choice of course. Please choose wisely because we will all answer to God for the decision we make. May the Lord open your eyes to show you how blessed you are in Him. May the reality of that blessing cause you to immerse yourself in the Great Commission. Amen? Amen.