So, I don’t usually post up sermons here on D.M., but after Sunday I had some requests for written copies so I thought it would be easier just to post it up and folks can simply click print. Thus, the following was my foray into preaching on politics on Sunday morning the 29th of May.
How to Vote.
I wonder how you feel when elections come around? Are you the sort that thinks “oh man, here we go again,”? Do you get election fatigue? Sick of the negativity, sick of the talking heads on T.V.? Do you see a sermon title like ‘How to Vote’ and fear the worst? Well, you can relax to a certain degree because I’m not going to tell you who you should vote for, but how to vote.
Why? I’ve been receiving an email series called ‘a year of decision’ (Let me know if you would like me to fwd them on to you.) This series outlines some pretty scary things that our nation has to decide upon this year. I must admit, reading them made me realize that we really are fighting for God’s glory in an atmosphere of God-hatred. I felt like Isaiah; one of unclean lips, who lives among a people of unclean lips.
So thick is this atmosphere sometimes, that I wonder if we realize how much it drains our zeal for God’s holiness and glory. And so I find myself in a dilemma. I personally of course have my views and opinions, but the capital ‘B’ Baptist in me refuses to use this pulpit and platform to do a spot of electioneering.
So what’s the solution? To trust in the sovereignty of God, and know that if his people really devote themselves to seeking his glory and to prayer, they will hear his voice and he will reveal his choice to them. So here’s 3 ways to seek God’s glory this election year.
- Vote Humbly
Revelation 2:1-6“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men….
Have you ever considered what was one of the major things that birthed the Ephesus church? If you rewind to Acts 19, (which we will do a little later) you find out that there was an ‘outbreak’ of the gospel and fear of the Lord in this region after some well-known religious blokes decided to take on a demon and (to put it lightly) got belted.
The report spread and people came to the Lord in great reverence. It’s not surprising then that later on in John’s vision (Revelation), although they are rebuked for leaving their ‘first love’ they are however commended for their hatred of all things evil. They have a passion for the Holiness and Glory of God. This shouldn’t be surprising, few things shape your theology and praxis, personally and corporately like your conversion experience.
The Ephesians got one thing right: It’s not about us. It’s about God’s glory.
I’ve realized that even Voting itself glorifies God, because it is an expression of his gift to us of the freedom to choose so let’s never throw our vote away. Some of you here this morning may be voting for the first time this upcoming election. Don’t donkey vote. My Dad once said to me when I was your age and said that I’d throw my vote away; “but people once died so that you might have the freedom to choose.”
I’d like to take it a step even further, Jesus died that we might have restored to us the freedom to choose wisely.
But it is also an awareness that, frankly, there will be a judgement. We will one day stand before God to give an account for every choice we’ve made. This includes who we voted for, because who we voted for reveals not merely what we chose but also what we were willing to tolerate.
No party has it 100% right. Who has known the mind of the Lord? But the question is: knowing that there will be a judgement; what are we, what are you willing to tolerate? Would you be willing to tolerate the encouragement of a grave evil here in order to get your one (or possible two) hobby horse policy/policies enacted over there?
It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about God’s glory.
- Vote Prayerfully
In the book of Daniel, we see a bunch of guys trying to get rid of Daniel by being politically savvy and convincing the king to make it illegal for Daniel to essentially worship God. We pick up the story: Daniel 6:10-11 10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.
The content of Daniel’s prayers are this: giving thanks, asking for help. The regularity is….lots. Friends, this is how you live in a godless society: Seek God. Praise God. Ask for his help. Repeat steps one two and three multiple times a day and no matter what shenanigans are going on around you.
Let me tell you why Daniel and his mates outshone everyone else in Babylon. Because they were the only ones who refused to let someone else do their thinking for them. We need to stop letting people do our thinking for us. Weigh everything in the presence of God. Pray over policies and parties, pray to filled with a passion for his glory.
This is why I am utterly convinced that if you seriously put every party and every candidate under the microscope of prayer, you’ll know who the right choice is. You’ll then feel that much better about your vote and you’ll be one of the few at the polling booth that day making a truly informed choice. Why? because it’s based on wisdom not of this world….not from inside the fishbowl…but a perspective of infinite time and wisdom.
It’s not just about getting informed horizontally, but getting informed vertically. Just be aware that some people will want to throw you to the lions for it!
- Vote Confidently.
Ok, back to Acts 19: Acts 19:13-20 13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. 17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Alright, what on earth is going on here? This is a vintage example of what pride tends to do. It comes before the fall because it encourages breathtakingly dumb choices. Here’s some blokes making possibly one of the dumbest choices you can make (and I’m sad to say, also one that many people make today) that is to muck around with demonic powers. They’re lucky they escaped with their lives. A dumb choice by man is followed by an explosion of evil rage. That’s worth repeating: A dumb choice by man is followed by an explosion of evil rage.
Now it barely even needs to be said that the evil spirit in question does not have future gospel evangelism in mind when this event occurs.
….And yet that is precisely what happens.
God wins. Again and again not only in spite of but even through the dumb choices of people and the explosions of evil that those choices set off. God wins. And wherever God wins it always results in the eventual salvation of many.
The central example of is pattern is of course is the Easter event. Humanity rejects the Savior of the world. (dumb choice) Explosion of evil follows (the crucifixion) God wins and saves heaps. (Jesus atones for sin through his death, provides hope forever more through his resurrection.)
God will always get the glory in the end, he can glorify himself in spite of us but isn’t it wonderful that he prefers to do it in and through us?
You can vote confidently and with a smile on your face because you can know that no matter what happens, God wins and his kingdom is way, way beyond this one and it’s eternal and there’s no elections in the new heavens and the new earth because why? He rules forevermore in perfect righteousness. You don’t need to vote when you’ve got the perfect leader!
Maybe you are getting a bit of election exhaustion already and pollies have a way of going on and on. So you know what? That’s it I’ll stop there. There’s your Waratah ‘how to vote’ card: