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Should a Christian Vote?

Scripture: Deuteronomy 1:13, John 18:36, Acts 6:3
Date: 08/27/2016 
Should Christians vote in political elections?
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Our message today is one that has the potential to be divisive, but I want it to be uniting. Usually when you talk about religion, that in itself can be divisive. And then if you add something that has a political overtone, you have the potential for fireworks.

The sermon is, very simply, Should a Christian Vote? Want to hear an interesting fact? William Henry Harrison, ninth president of the United States, was elected in 1840 after a very contentious election season and was inaugurated March 4, 1841. You know, they had the election the prior November and then they had the inauguration the beginning of 1841. It was a cold and wet day there in Washington and even though others urged him to wear a coat and a hat, he did not.

He was a general at one time. Harrison said tip a canoe and to come see too or something? Tyler too. There you go, were you there for that election? Good historian over here. So he was a well-known, successful general, but he delivered the longest inaugural speech of any president and he read the whole thing. Two hours. How would you like to have him for your pastor?

It was light rain, some of the time turned to snow. And then he rode to the inauguration on horseback, not in the carriage that was offered. So he was out in the elements and he’s drenched. A two-hour speech, everyone else had to listen to his speech, his head exposed. Then he rode in an augural parade, wanted everyone to see him, so he used the horse instead of the carriage. Then he attended three inaugural balls, last one at a saloon.

He came down with a cold the next day and he couldn’t shake the cold. The cold eventually turned into pneumonia and he died April 4. From March 4 to April 4, very short presidential term. People had such high hopes.

One thing I’ll say is they say he had the most honest administration of any president. Because he was only in office for 30 days. But people’s hopes were dashed. It just goes to show that humans are mortal. The bible says, Psalm 146:3, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man in whom there is no help. His spirit departs and he returns to his earth and that very day his thoughts and,” some versions say his plans, “perish.” We cannot be saved by people. So when we’re thinking about elections and politics, ultimately we need to know that the Lord is the one who saves us.

David’s words in Plasm 146 are not meant to be a blanket statement to never trust in anybody in government. I’ve heard some use it that way or they’ll read the verse in Jeremiah 17:5, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.” They don’t read the rest of it, “Whose heart departs from the Lord.” The curse is on those whose heart departs from the Lord.

It is not a sin to trust somebody because -- well, was Daniel in government? What about Nehemiah and Joseph and Mortdecai? And so God has had people that were trustworthy in civil positions of leadership. So the bible doesn’t make blanket statements you’re not supposed to trust any politicians.

I’ve heard it said that way, but I think we all know -- as a matter of fact, I’m going to ask you as a group since I’ve got you all here, just by show of hands, how many of you would say, and the camera might get a picture of this for our home audience, how many of you would say you believe there is corruption in politics? So that can make you a little cynical, can’t it, when you know that there is significant corruption in politics and yet we pick our leaders through this process that has been chosen by our founding fathers.

I need to make it clear, I don’t believe any candidate is the supreme answer for the woes of the world. There is only one savior and that’s when God became a man. But how do we as Christians relate? We’re right now in the throes of another intense, very inflammatory at times, political season.

I’ve received a lot of questions. Pastor Doug, how should Christians relate to the issue of voting? Since there is no much corruption, should we just run the other direction? After all, we are citizens of another kingdom. Others have thought we ought to be using our influence for good and they would like to see every church become a polling station. And so you would be amazed, even within our specific denomination, people are polls apart, pardon the pun, on this issue.

And so I’ve prayed about this for years. I’ve studied it and looked into our church history a little bit and I would like to share with you these different points. I’m just going to march through them and if you pray for me as I talk, because I want to make sure to be understood. And this is in no way intended to be an endorsement for any party or person. I’m just talking about principles.

What are the Christian principles and attitudes about this? First and foremost, point number one. We need to remember Christians are primarily citizens of another kingdom. Jesus made it clear, John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” You notice he said now my kingdom is not from here. Will Jesus’s kingdom someday reign supreme in this world? But right there’s a contest between two principle leaders. Jesus being one, the devil being the other, and a lot of people sort of in between.

Luke 17:20, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say look here or look there for indeed the Kingdom of God is within you.” So Jesus reigns in our hearts. He is our Lord. He is our king.

But that said, is there anything wrong with a Christian feeling some feelings or having some emotions or some ideals of patriotism? I think not. Loving the country you’re from?

And it’s fun, as I travel with Mrs. Batchelor, we go to all these different countries in different parts of the world and people are always very happy to tell us about their heritage and their food and we’ve got the best food in our country. If you’re in their country and you say something about how much you enjoy their country or you say something to them in their language, and everybody, we kind of feel a little bit defensive about our nation and that’s not necessarily wrong. How did Jesus feel? Did he pray, oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often?

And King David, Psalm 137, actually this is a Psalm of those who were carried away into Babylon, they said, “How will we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, oh, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth. If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” Of course Jerusalem was associated with their god, but there is some patriotism there.

And even Jacob when he was carried off or when he and the family were in Egypt. Jacob died in Egypt. What did he say about where he wanted to be buried? He said I don’t want to be buried in Egypt. Why not? You can get resurrected, get a new body. He said no, take my bones back home. Joseph told the children of Israel on his deathbed, don’t bury me here. Bury me back where I was born. He hadn’t been there in a hundred years. Well, 97 years. But he wanted to be buried back home.

My dad left Oklahoma at 15 and for some reason, of all the places he lived, even though he was in Miami 30 years, he had his body flown back to Oklahoma, buried next to his folks. Karen and Nathan just stopped at his grave a couple weeks ago. We’re all kind of wired for a little bit of patriotism. It doesn’t mean that the country does everything right, but that’s not necessarily wrong. It’s almost to some extent natural.

So point number three, the concept of voting or choosing leaders is actually biblical. Let me just look up the definition for vote for a moment here. A vote is a formal indication of a choice between two or more candidates or courses of action expressed typically through a ballot or a show of hands or by a voice.

Now, we vote all the time, even in churches. Just a moment ago, we voted members in. And when we have our nominating committee, which is always a little bit of a challenging time, we nominate people, we sift it down, we elect people and you see this principle in the bible.

Look for example, Deuteronomy 113, Moses said, “Choose wise understanding and knowledgeable men from among your tribes and I will make them heads over you.” Acts 1:23, New Testament, “And they propose two.” They’re trying to find a replacement for Judas. “One called Joseph, called Barsabbas, who is surnamed Justus and Matthias. And the lot fell to Matthias. But they chose the two to cast lots for.”

Acts 6:2, “Therefore brethren seek out from among you seven men of good reputation full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom whom we my might appoint over this business.” And I don’t know if they asked for nominations and one said, how about Philip and someone else said, how about Steven and they nominated different people and the elders came together. I’m not sure how they did it, but they finally came up with seven names. Was that a good thing, to pick those seven deacons?

But are you aware that one of the seven, whose name was Nicholas of Antioch, a convert, he went bad? You read in Revelation about the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Nicholas started out good, full of the Holy Spirit, but he went bad. So from then on the, the disciples said we we’re not voting for anyone ever again, because they could go bad. That’s not really clear thinking. They went bad.

Who made Lucifer? Was he a good angel? His going bad was his responsibility. Who picked King Saul to be king? Now, it is true the people said give us a king, but the people didn’t pick King Saul. God picked Saul. They had no idea who God was going to pick. God picked Saul. Fill them with the spirit and for a while, he was a good king. But then Saul, pride went to him, he went bad. So did God make a mistake?

So the point I’m making is you can’t say I’m never going to pick anybody for anything, because who knows what they might do. Are we really going to go through life that way? That’s like saying, you know, you don’t want any risk or don’t give anybody a chance. Sometimes you have to make decisions based on what you know at the time you make the decision and then you pray for the best. People are going to be responsible if they keep their promises, right?

Sometimes I’ll meet people that are asking for a little financial help and I’ll say you can use this for food or are you going to the liquor store? I’m starving. I give it to them in good faith. I don’t always follow them around to find out what happened. If they go to the liquor store instead of the grocery store, am I responsible or are they responsible? So you’re trusting a promise. That’s another principle in life.

Acts 14:23, back to the concept of voting, “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they believe.” They used their judgment, they chose people, they then appointed them and they prayed over them. Point number four. Should Christians allow political parties to divide them? In our particular church history, I’m a Seventh Day Adventist and I know some people watching are not, we’re going to be taking a look at not only some of the history of our country, but some of the history of our particular church to give us context.

There were times in the 1800s where political parties were just extremely divided, something like today, right? And people were going to church wearing buttons for the republic party or the wig party or the democratic party, whatever the party was and they were campaigning in the aisles and churches were breaking out into fights over politics. And they didn’t even know who the candidate was yet. It was the party that they were fighting over.

And so with that a background, some statements were made. First of all, we should be careful not to be divided on that. Let me give you a quote from the book Selected Messages, page 336. This is Adventist history, Allen White wrote in 1898, “We are not as a people to become mixed up with political questions. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers in political strife or bind together with them in your attachments. Keep your voting to yourself.

Right there is a statement when she says don’t get involved. Is she saying don’t vote? No, because the next statement she says keep your voting to yourself. Do not feel it your duty to urge everyone as you do. They counseled against getting involved in political parties regardless of who they were voting for, for the party’s sake, because as Christians, we shouldn’t be doing that.

Within our denomination and virtually every denomination, there are people that are on both sides or they’re for several parties I guess right now and we’ve got to be careful. When we come together as Christians, we’re not divided by political barriers. Amen.

1 Corinthians 3:3,4, Paul said, “For you are still carnal for where there is envy, strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal in behaving like mere men? For where one says I’m of Paul and the other one says I’m of Apollo.” It’s like they were lining up behind different apostles and turned it into a political campaign. He says are you not carnal?

Romans 14:34, this is a place where I would apply Romans 1 through 4 and even through 7, he says, “Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him that eats for God has received him.” Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master, he stands or falls.”

There was a big issue in the early church whether or not they could eat food that had been sacrificed to an idol in a public market. They’re talking about meats that had been butchered and sometimes when they butchered it, they did it in front of an idol of the local gods and the Jews said you can’t eat that because it’s been offered to an idol and someone else said I didn’t offer it to the idol, I’m just buying a chicken. Someone said, no, you can’t eat that goat.

So there was a big strife in the church and you’ll find that even John the Apostle and Paul disagreed on this. Paul said idol isn’t anything. There’s no god to one god, but if it’s going to make my brothers stumble, Paul said I won’t eat of it. John said my little children, keep yourself from idols. And so one of the things the early church says abstain from things sacrificed to idols. Paul said if you know it came from an idol, don’t eat it. If it’s going to bother someone, but don’t ask otherwise. You know, whether it’s a goat or sheep or chicken, he says you didn’t offer it. And so there’s a big division. Paul says look, don’t condemn your brother if he or she believes something different about this. They will answer to God for that. When you come together you need to love each other.

And so this is a place where I think that’s a good scripture. When someone says I’m convinced about this political view or someone says I’m voting this way, say praise God we’re in America and we’re free to make those choices. Don’t feel like you’ve got to twist everybody’s arm to think like you. To their master they will stand or fall. Amen.

Number five. I think when it comes to issues that have some moral relevance, it is important for Christians to vote. So you’re going to hear me say several things that sound like they’re in favor of voting and what I’m talking about is voting for principles and issues that Christians should support. I’ll give you some examples of that in a moment.

Voting demonstrates that we respect the authority of the political system in our nation established by God. How do we get leaders? Good or bad, they’re picked by the people. Seventy percent of America is still Christian, in spite of all that you hear in the press about how values are changing and they are changing.

I think I saw a new Pew Research Study that was done this week, came out Wednesday, that said 50 percent of those who stop going to church don’t even believe in God anymore. And the way they gave the study, it almost sounded like 50 percent of Americans don’t believe in God. But that’s the way the press was reporting it, but it’s not true. Of those who leave church, 50 percent that have left church don’t believe in God.

But 70 percent in North America claim Christianity, not to count all the other religions. We’re still a very religious country. And so if people don’t represent their values in the government, then you’re going to kind of deserve what you get, because this is the government that God has established in our country.

Let me read what Paul says. Romans 13:1,2, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities for there is no authority except for from God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

Romans 13:7, “Pay to all what is owed them, taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed. Respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” In other words, be faithful to fulfil whatever your civic duties are, whether it’s taxes or whether it’s sharing your voice in your neighborhood association about what should be used on the roof of the house. There’s all kinds of ways that we’re involved in civil responsibilities.

I’m going to read something to you from the Seventh Day Adventist Church manual. It’s kind of got some basic principles and this is page 137. “We should be recognized as outstanding citizens in working for the common good, for social order and betterment, maintaining an uncompromising stand for justice and right in civic affairs.”

Point number six. Voting for right principles is one way we can obey God’s command to seek the good of those around us and our nation as a whole. Do you realized that there was once a time when we, as a people, had to decide to vote for one party and candidate that was against slavery and one that was for it? Should Christians be involved? That’s a resounding yes to me because there’s a principle there. Sometimes you’ve got to vote for a person that represents the principle.

I’ll give you a little history on this. You know that in our church -- let me see if I can find where James White commented on this. James White wrote in the review, “The political excitement of 1860 will probably run as high as that that has for many years.” The war started in 1870. “And we would want our brethren not to be drawn into it. We’re not prepared to prove from the bible that it would be wrong for a believer in the third angel’s message to go in a manner becoming his profession and cast his vote. We do not recommend this.”

In other words, we don’t recommend that we teach people it’s wrong to vote, neither do we oppose it. If a brother choses to vote, we cannot condemn him and we want the same liberty if we do not. Later James White wrote, “Those of our people who voted at all at last in the last presidential election to a man voted for Abraham Lincoln. We don’t know of one Seventh Day Adventist who had the least sympathy for succession in slavery.” And so those who voted said, we’re voting for the candidate who promises that he’s going to end this.

There is a historic third session of the general conference, bear with me as I read this, in Battle Creek and this was May 17, 1865. Notice that year? It was destined to be historic regarding the question of voting. Delegates there, just so you know, included prominent leaders, such Jan Andrews, Uriah Smith, Emmy Cornell, Jan Loughborough, Jan Wagner, Joseph Bates, Ivy Van Horn, James and Ellen White were also there. And they spoke to the assemble delegates.

The report of this session states that Jane Andrews spoke at one meeting to a crowd of about 600, about what we have here, and he said that this is probably the largest body of Sabbath keepers that has assembled for 1500 years. Some significant resolutions were adopted. One expressed sorrow for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Another reaffirmed noncombatancy in war with an acknowledgement of responsibility to the government, tribute and custom, honor and reverence to the civil power as in joined in the new Testament. A third resolution involved the subject of voting.

Listen carefully. Remembering that James and Ellen White were present and actively participated in this work or this conference. This was a resolution, a resolve, that in our judgment, the act of voting, while it is exercised in behalf of justice, humanity and right, is in itself blameless and may be at sometimes highly proper, but that the casting of any vote that shall strengthen the cause of crimes of intemperance, insurrection and slavery, we regard as highly criminal in the sight of heaven. So casting a vote in favor of those things would be very wrong.

But we would depreciate any participation in the spirit of party strife. Getting all involved, turning the church into political campaign parties. This basic resolution, along with supporting counsel from the pen of Allen White has continued to be a guide for the church for about a hundred years.” Notice the clear distinction made between the exercising of a voting right and participation in party strife.

One month before the death of James White, Seventh Day Adventists gathered for a camp meeting in Des Moines, Iowa and a resolution was placed before the delegates. Here’s what it said. “That we express our deep entrance in the temperance movement, now going forward in this state.” The temperance movement was they were moving for a constitutional amendment, prohibition against alcohol, which eventually did pass in 1920. It lasted about nine years until it was revoked. The only constitutional amendment that was passed and totally revoked.

So this is what the discussion was, even as early as 1881. And here’s what was resolved. It said that every member be encouraged to put forth every consistent effort by personal labor at the ballot box in favor of the prohibitory amendment of the constitution, which the friends of temperance are seeking to secure. Some disagree with this clause about the ballot box and they urge that it be taken out.

Finally, Ellen White was called. She was at the meeting, but she missed the last session. She had retired for the night, but she was called to give her counsel. Here’s her own words, this is in the book Temperance, 255, “I dressed. I found I was to speak to them on the point of whether our people should vote for prohibition. I told them yes and spoke 20 minutes.”

Now catch this and this is in the book Women of Vision, page 203. “When Ellen White was asked should we vote on prohibition, she answered yes, to a man, everywhere and perhaps I will shock some of you if I say if necessary vote on the Sabbath day for prohibition if you cannot at any other time.”

So when it came, and you’ve got to keep in mind, they had saloons in every town. There were families where the women were being beaten and they didn’t have the protection services they have today and the kids were destitute and they saw alcohol as the great evil of society. It was the drug of choice back then. And they thought if we can have a law that will get this evil out of our towns, have any of you heard any of the sermons by Billy Sunday? He was all about temperance and alcohol and evil of drugs and so forth. And so they felt very passionately about that.

And you were shocked and she said you would be that she said even if the only day you can vote for temperance -- so there were issues like antislavery and temperance and other things that they said as a Christian, we should be mobilized by these things.

You remember when the children of Israel were sent off to Babylon because of their bad behavior, they didn’t like the idea of staying there, but God said you’re going to be here 70 years. Jeremiah 29:5,6, “While you’re there, build houses, dwell in them, plant gardens, eat the food of them, take wives and beget sons and daughters take wives for your sons, give your daughters to their husbands so they may bear sons and daughters that you may be increased and not diminished.” And then he went on to say in verse 7, “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive.”

They were sort of in a foreign land, but he said you’re going to be citizens of that country, be good citizens, even though you were really children of Israel, be good citizens in the country that you’re in, pray for the peace of that country. In other words, do all you can do because in its peace, you will have peace. What happens to that country is going to affect you, so we should be interested in what happens to our country while we’re still here. While they were in Babylon, he said you ought to care about Babylon, pray for Babylon because what happens to Babylon is going to happen to you.

So as Americans, as Christians, we sort of have like dual citizenship. We are principally Kingdom of God, children of Christ, but we’ve got to occupy it until He comes back.

This has been a struggle for the church through the ages. You realize that you read the New Testament and the apostles believed that when Jesus said I will come again, how did you think they thought that would be? They thought at least by the destruction of Jerusalem. That was it. They equated the destruction of the temple by the end of the world and the New Testament closes, John says, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” Do you think John knew it was going to be another 1900 years? As a matter of fact, Paul had to calm him down. He had a little more insight. He said, don’t get all worked up thinking that the day of the Lord is at hand. Some things have to happen first. Jesus said occupy until I come.

In the Adventist Church, the very word Adventist means we believe in the return. The Advent, the imminent coming in Jesus in the crucible of this church being born, they were looking for the imminent coming of the Lord. When someone said who are you going to vote for, say I don’t care, Jesus was coming. And that was the attitude. Oh, we don’t want to get involved, don’t worry about voting. We’ll be in heaven.

I think I’ve told you probably ad nauseum that years ago up in Covelo, 40 years ago, I built my first house. I was 19 years old and I had the choice between using wooden blocks or concrete for the foundation. And I said, I’ll use oak blocks. Jesus will come before they rot. Well, you all know they rotten long ago and the house began to list. We finally burnt it down. How many of you thought Jesus would come before now?

Don’t use oak blocks in your planning. Now, that’s a principle. We’re getting ready to build a church up on the hill. Do we want it to last 100 years or should we build it to last as long as it can? Should be build it to last ten years?

As a Christian, you want to plan for 1000 years and live like you might die tomorrow. When it comes to being a citizen, don’t just think what’s going to happen to me. I don’t know if you remember the story in the bible where Hezekiah, he was sick and God worked a miracle, he healed him. And to prove the miracle, the sun went backward ten degrees. How many of you remember that? Isaiah 39, it’s also in the Book of Kings and Chronicles.

Then the ambassadors came from Babylon to find out about their God that had done this, the Jewish god. And instead of Hezekiah showing them, the god of Israel, he showed him all his stuff. He showed his treasures and his armory and his jewels and Isaiah came to him later and said what did they see in your house? He said I showed him all my stuff. He said you didn’t show him God? No. Thus save the Lord. The day is coming when the Babylonians will come and they are going to take your son and make them eunuchs in the Palace of Babylon. That’s like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They can take all your treasures. Everything you show them is going to get carried off. They’re going to take your treasure. Do you know what Hezekiah said? Good is the word of the Lord. At least there will be peace in my day. Now, is that the right attitude?

And so when you’re thinking about, well, you know, I don’t care about what the government does with the environment as long as I still have resources in my day. Now don’t take a political view in that. I guess it’s hard not to, huh?

But the idea of who you’re electing, you need to also be thinking what if I have kids and grandkids. What kind of world will they have? Should you care as a Christian? Think about the reason you’re free now is because people died before your freedoms in World War I and World War II, right? As so people did invest. And people did vote and so there were principles that have kept us free and I think we ought to be concerned about those things.

1 Peter 2:17, “Fear God out of the cane.” You know, in the law of Moses, there are more civil laws -- well, I shouldn’t say there are more. There are almost as many civil laws as there are spiritual laws, so does God care about civil law? Many of the civil laws in the world are based on the laws of Moses.

Mark 12:16, it says, “And they brought it and he said to them, whose image in superscription is this?” This is our scripture reading. “And they Caesar’s. He said render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God.” As a Christian, you need to know how to understand the balance between those two things. How do I follow through being a citizen of Caesar and also the things that are God?

Now, the good thing is we don’t have a Caesar. We have elected officials that have limited terms and there are restrictions. We do not have a king. We have a representative government. And so because we have a representative government, I think as Christians, as citizens, we should care on our freedoms.

For me, and again, I don’t speak as an official capacity, but I think as Christians we ought to be very passionate about voting for principles and policies and if it means people that represent those things and that’s what you do, that will help us to maintain the freedom to practice and to proclaim our faith. If there are going to be people coming into office that will restrict the freedom to proclaim the gospel or to practice our religion, that should concern us.

And yet, you know, I meet people -- they put it on my Facebook last night. I get people that say, our world’s going away and everyone’s going to die and let’s just get it over with. They figure the quicker it ends the better. Have you met people like that? We know what prophecy says, so who cares? Shouldn’t we try to prolong as far as possible the freedom to proclaim so as many as can hear as possible? Because the Lord is not willing that any should perish. Otherwise, by that other argument, you should probably all go out and lobby for Sunday laws and get it over with, right? That wouldn’t make sense. Someone’s going to take that little snippet on You Tube and put it up all by itself without the context.

Number seven, voting for the right principles demonstrates we care about who our leaders are. 1 Timothy 2:1,2, “Therefore I exhort you first of all that supplications and prayers, intercession and giving of thanks be made for all men for kings and all who have authority that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in goodness and reverence.” We should care that we might have a quiet and peaceable life.

Let me read something to you from Two Bio (phonetic), page 115, “Christians should always submit to government authority as long as the laws do not violate the commandments of God or a biblical principle. The act of voting, when exercised on behalf of justice, humanity and right, is in itself blameless and may be at times highly proper.” That was good.

Point number eight. Jesus calls us to make a difference in our society and to use our influence for good in our nation. Matthew 5:13, you know this, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its flavor, how will it be seasoned? It’s then good for nothing, but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot of men. You are the light of the world, a city that is on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” The idea of this is that we are to have an influence, a positive influence in our culture, in our families, in our society, for good.

Here’s another quote. This is from Review and Herald. You want to write this one down. Review and Herald, October 15, 1914, “Many deplore the wrongs which they know exists, but consider themselves free from all responsibility in the matter. This cannot be. Every individual exerts an influence in society. In our favored land, every voter has some voice in determining what walls will control the nation. Should not that influence and that vote be cast on the side of temperance and virtue.” Is that plain? Every voter has some influence. The influence ought to be for laws, she specifically says, those are principles, for good.

Now, one thing that has me a little bit edgy is in this new election, just looking at the math of what the ages of our Supreme Court are, you know that they make the principle decisions and they’re in for life. The president gets four up to eight years. Whoever is president next is going to be picking two to four, maybe more, Supreme Court judges that will affect the nation for 30 years to a generation.

I think we all saw what happened this last year to marriage because of one vote of one judge, the whole definition of marriage changed. There are other issues that are on the ballot that should be of concern to Christians.

For example, there are some in government that are saying because we want to maintain the separation of church and state and they often totally misrepresent what Jefferson meant by that. Separation of church and state was never meant to say we should delete any reference or recognition of God from government. It was meant no church should operate the state as they have in England. And they just have totally taken it to the other extreme.

But because of that, they say Christians, since the public airwaves, FCC, controls radio and TV stations, Christians should not be permitted to own radio and TV stations. That’s right. That’s being pushed by some. Well, that ought to be a concern. Why? Because it effects the proclamation of the Gospel. These are the things that concern me.

And so if Christians all stand by and we act like we don’t care, during a time like that, you’ll get the government you deserve at that point. Many deplore the things they know exist, but they consider themselves free from responsibility.

Mark Twain, who was not a Christian, he waffled between being Agnostic, Atheist and Christian. If you read his writings, he freely admits that. Here’s what he said. “A Christian’s first duty is to God and it follows as a matter of course that his duty to carry out his Christian code to the polls and to vote them. If Christians should vote their duty to God at the polls, they would carry every election and do it with ease. It would be bring about a moral revolution that would be incalculably beneficent. It would save the country.” That’s what Mark Twain said.

Point number nine. It’s a privilege if not exercised, it can be lost. Voting is a privilege that has been hard won. You know, a lot of countries don’t have the freedom that we have. Since America, more and more countries have had democratic representation and there have been many wars that have been fought, a lot of blood that has been shed to give the right of the vote to the people.

You’ve heard the expression, if you don’t use it, you may lose it. I don’t know if you’re aware that during the deliberations concerning the Constitutional Convention in 1787, they were held in strict secrecy, so consequentially, while that was happening, all the citizens had their ears to the window and the door to find out what the founding fathers were going to come up with. I know the Declaration was 1776, but the Constitutional Convention was 1787.

One lady in Philadelphia named Powell, when they opened the doors and they came out, she said right away to Franklin, “Dr. Franklin, what kind of government are you giving us, a monarchy or a republic?” And without even hesitation he said, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” If you can keep it. Because he recognized that the tendency of corruption in government, they’ll want to monopolize the power and if we don’t use the vote, you lose it. What happened to the mana that God reigned from heaven every day to the children of Israel? If they didn’t gather it, it evaporated.

Some of you remember the story of Sampson’s first marriage, his only marriage, actually. But he had a disagreement with his wife during the marriage ceremony and he stormed away. He came back a little while later to take his wife because they had had the marriage, and his father said, oh, I thought you didn’t want her and so I gave her away. You didn’t embrace her. I gave her to someone else. And what you don’t embrace you may lose. And it’s just a very simple principle. Use it or lose it.

Where would Christians be today if our founding fathers almost to a one at least believed the bible? Jefferson didn’t believe all the miracles in the bible, but he did believe the morals of the bible. And if they had not believed in voting, you think where would we be today?

Point number ten, not voting is actually a form of voting as it will influence the outcome. We need to take responsibility for our actions and our inactions. I’ve heard people say, well, I’m afraid to vote because then I might be linked to anything these people do wrong in office. Well, you also might be linked by not voting.

And so, you know, that idea of just admitting responsibility makes me think about that parable in Luke 10. It says, now by chance a man fell among thieves and a priest walked by and he saw that a crime had just been committed and he thought, well, I don’t want to get involved, and he passed by on the other side. And I don’t believe that Christians should always be crossing the road and passing by when policies and leadership is being chosen. I think as far as possible, we’ve got to pray for wisdom and make intelligent choices and do what will be the best for the proclamation of the gospel.

Jesus said occupy until I come. Sometimes Jesus said, “He who is not with me,” this is Luke 11:23, “is against me. He who does not gather with me scatters.” You might say I don’t want to get involved. He says no, you can’t. Sometimes you have to be involved. And as a citizen in a country where things are happening, I think sometimes -- I’m not talking about campaigning and getting involved in policies, but at least use that one vote that you’ve got for policies and principles of good.

You’ve probably read about the great judgment day where everyone is separated into the sheep and the goats and then the Lord says to the sheep, “Well done good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of the Lord because I was hungry you fed me, I was thirsty, you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was a stranger, you came to me, I was sick, you administered to me, and they’re going to say, Lord, when did we see you in any of these conditions and minister to you? They’ll say inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.” And then he turns to the lost, the goats, “You cursed into everlasting fire, prepare for the devil and his angels,” and I’m not trying to suggest this side of the auditorium is the goats.

I had to go from my right hand to my left hand and you just happened to be here. But I’m on your left, right? Anyway. And he says the part being I was hungry, you didn’t feed me, you didn’t clothe me, you didn’t give me a drink, you didn’t come to me, didn’t go to prison, didn’t go to the hospital. No one is being judge for sins they committed.

That entire parable is only dealing with what you call sins of omission. They are being judged because they didn’t do something. See what I’m saying? God doesn’t say the part because you lied, you stole, you killed, whatever. He’s saying you did not do anything good. And he didn’t say anything bad. The sins of omission. And so we need to pray and say, Lord, am I just trying to stay out of it because I am a member of your Kingdom and I don’t want to be involved or am I being a lazy citizen and using Christianity as an excuse? We need to really pray and say, no matter what anybody decides, we need to respect the decision of everybody. Amen.

And like I read out of Romans, let everyone decide. This is a council of our church and I believe it’s a council of Christianity.

But I’ve often heard the argument go too far to the other extreme. Edmond Burke said, “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

Point 11, voting is part of our stewardship to use the gifts, the resources, that we’ve been given in ways that honor God. It could be wasting a vote, is squandering a gift. We all have at least that gift, some value of a voice. If that voice can be cast for good.

Now let me say and I want to be very clear. There are some inconsequential elections for a Christian. The outcome is going to be neutral either way. And you just may choose to abstain and do it justly. And then there are times when there are values and issues that will affect the Kingdom of God on earth, the expansion of the Kingdom of God on earth, and those things I think are different. We need to pray for wisdom to know what those issues are and to use our gifts accordingly.

I want to read something to you. The decision to vote for a candidate is a personal decision. If you vote, and this is from Selected Messages, Book Two, page 337, “Keep your voting to yourself. Do not feel it your duty to urge everyone to do as you do.”

And in private conversations with some of you, we’re friends, it can sometimes be mentally invigorating to talk a little bit about politics, but you don’t want to bring that into the church because we all know that could be divisive and when you come into this place, we are all brothers and sisters. We are one. Amen. So don’t let the devil and what’s happening out there in the political arena affect us as a family.

One of the things about voting we shouldn’t pass by quickly is that voting, point number 12, supports the equality of all people and their right to speak. That’s something that’s very valuable for Christians.

Deuteronomy 10:17, “For the Lord your God is God of Gods, the Lord of Lords, great and awesome, who shows no partiality or takes bribes. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow. He loves the stranger giving them food and clothing. Rich and poor.” It doesn’t matter to God.

Acts 17, “And he is made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth and it is determined that times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation.” Acts 10:34, “Peter opened his mouth and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, he that fears Him and words righteousness is accepted with Him.”

One of the things amazing about America and the vote is that every person, assuming you’re old enough to vote because it is an important decision and you need to be informed, everyone gets to vote. It doesn’t matter what your race is. It doesn’t matter what your gender is. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. A millionaire doesn’t get two votes. Gets one vote. Poor person, one vote. That says something about the equality of every human that I think is precious.

I’ll close with an Amazing Fact. You know I like history. When the Lewis and Clark Expedition went, they were sent by Thomas Jefferson across the United States in like 1803 to 1805, they were looking at land they had never seen before. And after incredible struggles, they finally made it. They thought they were going to take a boat all the way to the Pacific. They had to carry the boat over the mountains and finally abandon the boat and nearly starve to death getting over the Rockies and the Sierras and came down into the valley up there in southern Washington and they had to decide, we’re going to have to spend the winter here.

They said do we spend -- there were 33 of them, including Captains Clark, Merriweather Lewis and William Clark, and they said do we stay on the coast where we might see a ship, probably a little warmer climate, but it’s going to rain more and we’re going to be wet all the time. We don’t know if there’ll be more food here or more food inland. They said if we’re inland, we’re not going to see if a ship comes to get supplies. There are very ships that came through back in the 1800s because, I mean, they hadn’t even settled California.

And they said, well, what do we do. They said let’s vote. And so there were 33 of them. There was an Indian girl named Sacagawea, there was a slave named York, Captain Clark, Captain Lewis, and they said everybody gets one vote. And it was the first time in American history basically that they had equality for everybody. Because slaves did not get to vote right away and women did not get to vote right away. That was the first time and they all voted and said let’s stay on the coast. All but one said let’s stay on the coast. But they all went with the popular.

And the neat thing is because they stayed together as one unit, they all survived the trip there and the trip back. Someone said once if you want to go fast, you go alone. But if you want to go far, you go together. And so I don’t know about you, but I like to go far and so we need to go together, remembering principally that we are citizens of a better kingdom than any is in the world today. Amen. And that Jesus is our King.

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Determining the Will of God (PB) by Doug Batchelor

Determining the Will of God (PB) by Doug Batchelor
God's Promises




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