Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven

     As I write this, we are in another whirlwind of political activity with a major election just months away.  Tempers flare, promises are made that cannot or will not be kept, rumors fly and occasionally violence erupts as the process goes forward.  Unfortunately, stress levels start to soar and many turn their T.V.'s off to avoid the endless commercials.  For Christians, choosing the right person to vote for is often a difficult task in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It would be wonderful to think that a candidate is a devoted believer in Christ with high moral values.  However, even if we have such a person, they would never be perfect because the Bible tells us plainly that "there is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10).  Our righteousness comes from Christ alone, but as long as we walk on this earth, we will struggle with the sin nature.  There was only one who was perfectly righteous, just and holy and that is our Lord Jesus Christ.  With this in mind, what can we do to calm our concerns, lower the stress level and keep our perspective?
   First, we must remember that we are citizens of heaven.  We are merely passing through this world with its trials.  Jesus, in His high priestly prayer (John 17) said that we are in the world but not of the world.  God has set us apart and our affections need to be aimed towards our heavenly home.  This world is passing away and God will bring a new heaven and a new earth one day.
     Presently, our Sunday School Class is doing a study of Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones series on the Book of Ephesians.  The 8 volume set is drawn from the sermons he preached in London at his church.  In Volume 1 "God's Ultimate Purpose", Dr. Jones writes this:  "For this reason the attitude of the Christian towards the things of this world, towards the discussions and the striving that go on between men and women is always one of detachment.  I have heard two statements recently that illustrate my point.  I heard one man say that he did not understand how any Christian could possibly be a Conservative.  But I heard another say that he really did not understand how any Christian could possibly be a Socialist.  The fact of the matter is that both are wrong; any attempt to equate the teaching of the New Testament with any one of the political parties, or any other party, is to do violence to the teaching of Christ.  The Christian, by definition, does not get excited about these things; he rides very loosely to them because heaven is his home.  He is a citizen of heaven, and his blessings are there, not on earth" (pg. 65).  I think this is why so many of us get upset over politics among other things.  We cannot control the outcome in this fallen world because we are not in charge.    Our home is in heaven under the governance of our heavenly Father who is perfect, holy, just, loving, kind, and freely gives to us all we need for life and godliness.  Keeping our focus on our heavenly home, remaining calmly detached as much as possible while at the same time praying for our world, our leaders and others will help us maintain our balance.
     While we look at things and wonder how they could ever work out, God is not surprised.  He is sovereign over all the affairs of men and sets rulers in place according to His plan.  Romans 13:1 says:  "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."  Daniel, in the Old Testament, tells us:  "It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding" (Daniel 2:21).  Knowing that God is sovereign should give us great comfort.  He is Lord over all things; therefore we need not worry.
     Finally, and most importantly, we must remember that while we may think the world is falling apart at the seams, God is working His purpose and plan.  Today, I listened to a podcast by Dr. John MacArthur concerning the times we find ourselves in.  He said we need to remember that it all started in the garden of Eden.  After the fall, all kinds of sin, evil and perversion broke out upon the earth.  Polygamy came into practice, homosexuality, idolatry and other sins are clearly found in the book of Genesis.  There is nothing new in this world!  Yet, God did bring judgment upon those sins and sinners through the flood.  There will come another day of reckoning to our world when Jesus Christ comes to rule and reign.  Then, and only then, will all things be put right.
     Dear friends, we are called to walk in this world but be not of this world.  We are the ambassadors for Christ.  What people are looking for today (though they may not even realize it if they are dead in their sins) is a Savior.  They want a perfect man/woman to rule the nation.  Over and over again with each political cycle, people pin their hopes on their candidate who will solve all their problems.  Our job is to let them know that there is a perfect leader who has already come into this world, died for our sins, risen from the dead and is coming again to set all things right.  He will never disappoint.
     Our calm in the midst of political firestorms will make people wonder how we can do it.  This gives us a chance to tell them about whom we serve and how He will never leave nor forsake us.  Selah!

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