Posts Tagged: vote

4 Biblical Voting Filters All Christians Need to Consider

Absolutely. There is no doubt that Christians should vote similarly. There should certainly not be the wide spectrum of voting differences among us, American Christians — for there is one Spirit, one Bible, and one truth. To think that it is acceptable for this variety of voting conclusions is to believe a lie.

Granted politics and voting shouldn’t be central to a believer’s life. Regardless of who is in the White House or in the Capital, we are to remain faithful and carry out our God-sent mission, but if we have been allowed the opportunity to select a godly leader then by all means we must take it that opportunity and take it seriously. It was for such an opportunity that the Apostle Paul made it his goal to witness to governors and political leaders. It was for this that Paul longed to take the Gospel to Rome for if the Emperor could become a follower of Christ then surely the Empire might follow.

So we should vote.

But our vote should not merely be our own preference for we have been “bought by a price and are not our own.” Scripture tells us that we have been made new in Christ, therefore we do not vote as the rest of the world around us. We are also told that we are ambassadors of Christ. An ambassador doesn’t vote his or her own will, but rather represents the desires of the one who sent them. That passage from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 about being bought by a price was in reference to after salvation the Christian’s body does not belong to them, therefore they are to follow the Lord’s design for sexuality. If our body is to belong to Him then so should our vote.

So we should vote as an ambassador of Christ. We are His delegate.

So if our vote is His then how do we know His vote? Voting should not be any different than any other life decision we make as a Christian. We shouldn’t decide by our own fickle hearts, but rather through the teachings of Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Bible alone is sufficient in providing principles that should guide our voting, but we also have been given an indwelling Holy Spirit who guides and counsels. Therefore, ALL Christians should turn to those sources of truth; and therefore, the voting of ALL Christians would in turn be very similar.

There is one particular instruction in Scripture that seems to make it completely clear — Deuteronomy 17:14-15a, “When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. Yes, that was Israel, but obviously that is still God’s heart for His people. He wants His people to seek out His choice.

So in turning to Scripture, I want to list for you a progression of four biblical voting filters all Christians need to consider. Place each candidate through these filters. Only if multiple candidates survive through those filters do I believe that we then have a preference, but even then our decision needs to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Biblical Voting Filter #1 – Is the Candidate a Born Again follower of Christ?

This sounds absolutely foolish to have to say, but the obvious first biblical filter should be that the candidate must be a follower of Christ. Why in the world would a Christian even consider electing someone to lead the nation who is not one of them?

For someone to vote and promote a candidate who is not even a Christian shows that voter does not value what Christ has done in their own lives. I personally only have a remote chance of being a good person and leader because I was transformed through salvation. We have to realize Scripture teaches apart from salvation we are dead to sin (Eph. 2:1); as well as, incapable of seeking righteousness, unable to understand, unwise, not good, liars, and swift to shed blood (Romans 3:9-18). In the Gospel of John, Jesus said apart from salvation that we belong to Satan.

We are given a “report card” for every king of Judah and Israel in Scripture in the books of Kings and Chronicles. There are political, militarily, and social achievements mentioned, but it is abundantly clear that God is mostly concerned with whether the leader did right in God’s eyes. Every king is judged whether they were good or bad on their character and their moral leading of the nation. They are all judged according to God’s instruction in Deuteronomy 17:18-20b, “… may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them… that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left…” Kings that kept God’s law brought blessings on their nations, but immoral kings brought cursings on their people. Actually, Scripture tells that evil kings stored up judgment from God.

So if it is crucial that our nation’s leader be upright and moral, and the only way someone can truly keep the laws of God is by being born again —

I know the objections are that we can’t judge anyone — that there is no way to know if someone is truly saved or not. You are right we can’t know completely, but Scripture says there will be fruit in their lives. Although it may take a while for that fruit to become apparent. It might take time of discipleship and spiritual growth. My question for you is why choose a candidate to whom there is no fruit or conflicting fruit?

Why would you choose an immature Christian? I also ask why not at least select a candidate based on the qualifications for a pastor or deacon? Don’t you believe it is ridiculous for Christian to vote for a candidate for president who couldn’t even be allowed to pastor their church?

 

Biblical Voting Filter #2 – Is the Candidate Actively Living Out Their Faith?

Not only should the candidate have a testimony and fruit of a sincere conversion, but they must be actively living that faith out. Look for spiritual fruit in their lives.

I believe one indicator of if the candidate reveres the Bible or not is their stance on Israel. It is impossible for someone to spend much time in the Bible and not see that God has a special love and relationship with Israel. So if a candidate will not stand with Israel then they are not standing with God’s Word.

 

Biblical Voting Filter #3 – Does the Candidate Stand Against Ungodly Social Injustices?

Much of the work of the Old Testament prophets were to speak against the kings of Judah and Israel. In those addresses to the nation’s leaders there was regular warnings about the morality of the leader, but there were also instructions to stand against social injustices of the day. God greatly cares about the afflicted in America. He wants social injustices peeled back. There is no way I can list them all, but I believe there are four that must be considered.

Abortion – There is no greater evil in the United States than abortion. I really have a hard time how someone could make it through filter #1 and still support abortion, but it is crucial that Christians support a leader who would end abortion. For any question of God’s thoughts on abortion we must realize that scripturally abortion in our nation puts us in the company of the pharaoh of Israel’s captivity and King Herod at the birth of Christ.

Redefining of Marriage – Again Duet. 17 stresses that God considers a leader good if they keep His commandments, a leader who supports a redefining of marriage is tearing apart the very fabric of God’s design from Scripture.

Promotion of Homosexuality and Other Immoralities – As abortion puts us in the company of some of the most evil enemies of God in the Bible, the open support of homosexuality puts us in undesirable company – Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of homosexuality, but rather the open acceptance of homosexuality was a symptom of the sinfulness of that city-state. Romans chapter 1 tells that wide spread acceptance of homosexuality is a fruit of an ungodly nation. Therefore, a candidate that promotes any immorality as acceptable is turning from the commands of God.

Religious Liberty – Christians are to be faithful no matter regardless of how freely they can gather, but why in the world would a Christian support someone who would take away religious liberties. And even if a candidate says that support religious liberty, but they also support gay rights then whether they realize it or not they are on a path that will hurt religious liberty. This has been proven in the nations that legalized same-sex marriage as now it is a hate crime to speak out against it.

 

Biblical Voting Filter #4 – Does the Candidate Govern with Biblical Principles?

Scripture is not merely a moral account. There is a large volume of principles of governing, finances, stewardship, etc. Why would a Christian select a candidate that does not practice biblical wisdom? Scripture has much to say about debt and faithful stewardship all of which is very applicable to the destitute situation American finds itself in.

 

Vote
Can you imagine the impact Bible believing followers of Christ could have on our nation if we sought God for our next president? If we turned to accurate interpretations of Scripture and followed the Holy Spirit our voting would similar — and powerful.

Take all the candidate options and run them through the filters. As you do this process pray for God’s guidance and purity of your own heart.

If miraculously multiple candidates survive these three filters put them before the Lord. Pray. Listen. Consider who trusted Christian leaders are endorsing and why they are endorsing them. I have a handful of nationally known Christian leaders who I value their opinions. Ask your pastor. Ask spiritual leaders in your life. Choose God’s man.

Vote like your ballot is not your own because you were bought with a price.

And the obvious objection arises — what if none of the candidates are born again Christians? There might not be in the general election, but there is now in the primary. This is why it is so important that you carefully filter the candidates in the primary and vote.

You Should Have Swagger in Your Christian Walk

Yes, Swagger…

If you were at Mount Vernon Baptist Church this past Sunday you will recognize much of what is said here, but hopefully that won’t keep you from reading. This past Sunday I preached that Christians need to have swagger. Yes, I saw many smirks like the one you have now. I am convinced though that I am absolutely right on this one — a Christian should have swagger.

Now you know what I mean by “swagger”, right? Swagger means to walk or carry oneself with confidence, usually to the point of cockiness or arrogance. Old Spice uses the term to sell deodorant. Sports commentators use the term as well. Often during a ball game you can hear the commentator say, “that team is playing with a swagger”. Meaning that the team is confident in their abilities, they have realized what they can accomplish. Usually a team or individual who is playing with swagger plays on a higher level because of that confidence and they play much freer.

Now usually in reference to Christianity swagger is a bad thing. Scripture teaches us that a follower of Christ is to be humble. We are to be servants that put others first. Scripture teaches that the first will be last and that we need to live in such a way. We are told to not rely on our own strength, but trust in the Lord. We are told not to boast in ourselves, but only in Christ. So to say a Christian should have swagger flies in the face of Biblical teaching. Teaching that is 100% true. One of the key moments in one’s Christian life is when we realize we are nothing.

It’s true, we are nothing.

Scripture tells us not to boast in ourselves or what we can do.

Although we are nothing, at the same time in Christ we have everything.

 

We Should Have a Swagger to Our Christian Walk…

So we should not have any confidence in ourselves, but we should have all the confidence imaginable because of Christ in us. We can’t boast in ourselves, but we must boast of Him in us.

We are not to walk with swagger because of our strength, but we can walk with swagger because of what Christ can and will do through us.

Not only can we, but we should walk with swagger because of what Christ can and will do through us.

So Christian you should have a swagger about your Christian walk.

You should walk and live with swagger because you are on the right track. You are the one who has figured out what is true in this life and what matters most. You are right, it is the rest of the world that doesn’t have things figured out. You are on the victorious, winning side.

 

We Don’t Have a Swagger to Our Christian Walk…

Christians have a lot of reasons to have a swagger, but the truth is we don’t. Actually we appear to have more of a stagger instead of a swagger. We bow down to the world. We let the world around us win. We cower down. We stay silent. We hide in the corner. We live far, far from our potential in Christ.

Can you imagine if we realized our potential in Christ and lived it out?

Can you imagine what could be accomplished through Christ in our individual lives, our families, our church, our nation, and the entire kingdom of God – if we just realized and lived out our potential?

We have a potential that is swagger worthy.

 

Israel During the Exodus Did Not Have Swagger…

Now today’s Christianity is not the only time the People of God have not realized their potential and lived up to it. We see it often in Israel in the Old Testament. One of the greatest places this is evident is in the Exodus event. An event which stretches from Exodus through Joshua in the Bible. Israel who had been promised many things by God – were promised to become a large and mighty nation. They were promised the land in Canaan. They were promised God would take care of them.

The book of Exodus finds Israel enslaved in Egypt. Even in this bad time, it is evident God has kept his promise in that the nation has grown huge. They have grown large as God promised, and the Egyptians are afraid. They are possible at 2 million people. The people of Israel cry out to God to rescue them and He does. He sends Moses and performs the 10 miraculous plagues to soften Pharaoh’s heart. Then as they leave Egypt, God supplies their journey and future by the Egyptians giving them their own fortunes.

Even after such miraculous works of God Israel finds themselves trapped in between the sea and the Egyptian army. It is then that God parts the Red Sea, Israel marches across on dry land. Then the Egyptian army purses them. Once the Egyptian are in the sea bed, God sends the waters crashing down and the Egyptian army, who were possibly the most powerful at that time, are destroyed. So God gives Israel victory over one of the world’s top armies without them even raising a sword.

For the next year, God keeps them fed and alive in one of the harshest environments in the world. He provided water from bitter lakes and rocks. He provided manna each day for them to eat. He sent quail for all 2 million to have their fill. God kept His promises. He took care of His people. They were on a mission to take the Promised Land. You would think that they would just walk up to the Promised Land and without batting an eye march forward to take what was their’s because God was fighting for them.

If God had already done the great things He had done, why would they even hesitate or worry? They should have had an unbelievable swagger because the true God was fighting for them. They were unbeatable because of Him, but they didn’t. Again they had a stagger instead of a swagger. God had performed these amazing things through them, but they did not see their own potential in God.

If you read through these passages on the Exodus, it is easy to find yourself screaming at the text – screaming you idiots!

What is crazy is that the other nations around Israel saw Israel’s potential.

They saw a nation that had all right to have a swagger.

Listen to what these other nations thought:

What the Egyptians thought                               – Exodus 12:33-36

  •  33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
  •  Here was possible the most powerful nation of the time, and the people of that nation were telling Israel, “Your God is real, get out of here , or He will destroy us. We are so fearful of your God and what He could do through you here take whatever you want from us.”

What the Moabites thought                                – Numbers 22:2-3

  • 2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.
  • Here is another large nation, but they were in dread at what God could do through Israel.

What the people of Jericho thought                 – Joshua 2:8-13

  • 8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.”
  • Here was the strongest most fortified city in Canaan. A city that brought fear in the 12 spies 40 years earlier. The whole time the people were in fear, the people of Jericho were in fear of what God could do through Israel.

What the Canaanite nations thought               – Joshua 9:1-2

  •  1 Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—those in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Great Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)— 2 they came together to make war against Joshua and Israel.
  •   All of these nations who had been fighting each other for control over the area joined forces because they saw the potential of Israel and what God could do through them.

What the Gibeonites thought                            – Joshua 9:9-11

  •   9 They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.” ’
  • The Gibeonites tricked Joshua, but they did so because they were fearful of what God could do through Israel.

All of these other nations saw the potential in the people of God. They saw what God could do through them, but God’s people didn’t see it. What was God’s people doing while these nations shook in fear of them? Israel was not trusting God. They were grumbling and complaining. They were tucking their tails in fear. They were afraid, they would not take the steps of obedience. They did not see their potential. They had no swagger.

 

Unleash Your Potential…

They should have had swagger.

They should have realized their potential.

They did realize it briefly as recorded in Joshua, and when they did they dominated their enemies.

The next generation forgot their potential in God. Their swagger turned back to a stagger.

So what about us?

Do we see our potential in Christ?

Just as God’s people then had every reason to have swagger, we do too.

But instead – we let the world win. We remain a silent majority. Nationally and in our states, laws that would follow Biblical principles and Godly morality are failing because it is not the Christians who are calling senators and representatives — it is the other side.

We are retreating and let other groups have their way. We let local businesses like Bailey’s Pizza in Searcy get attacked because they stood up for their faith. We hide our Bibles at work, but let others boldly thump their Korans. We stagger.

Why do we stagger, we should be the ones with swagger?

We don’t speak up and share the truth. We remain silent. We are afraid of what someone might say or how we might offend them, listen, we are in the right. We have the truth.

Let’s unleash our potential, and carry out our Christian walk with swagger.