Respectfully, Mr. President… America is not “God’s People”

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:9-13

Today, our nation completed something that is rare in our world. A peaceful transfer of power from one presidential administration to another. There will surely be disagreements, protests and difficulties over the next four years, ­but as always, for all intents and purposes, Friday was peaceful. Admittedly, it was possibly the first inauguration I’d watched outside of doing so in school while growing up. I’m glad I watched. As a fan of history, I was able to watch the inauguration of arguably one of the most controversial presidents, at least in my lifetime.

“The bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.”
– President Donald J. Trump, Jan 20. 2017

As I watched, and listened intently to President Trump’s inaugural address, I caught a scripture reference (quoted from the speech above) and immediately, my hand went to my forehead, followed quickly by my fingers to the keyboard. President Trump referenced Psalm 133:1, which reads in the ESV, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” The president seemingly quoted from the NIV which replaces “brothers” with “God’s People.” The president used this verse to infer that America is “God’s People” and as such, that God will protect America. I’d like to take the remainder of my article and your time to briefly address the fallacy of this.

First, the word “brother” used in every translation I could cross-reference, except the NIV. The Hebrew term used is “אָח” literally “brother”. It carries definitions of brother (sharing same parents), half-brother (sharing same father), & blood-relative (kinship, same tribe). The term itself does not carry the definition of “God’s People,” but it possibly could be inferred from the context of the poem. Verse 2 refers to anointing oil. Some scholars believe David penned this Psalm in response to the unity of the tribes who came together to make him their king. And you may think… “Oh, well that sort of ties into a new president.” Not so fast… The key is that if the term “brother” means “God’s People” then it is referring to the tribes of Israel, who were God’s People when the Psalm was written. That term cannot be used today as a blanket statement for another nation, especially now that we live in the latter days, the days of the Messiah’s Kingdom. Jesus opened the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven and gave the opportunity to become a “Child of God (Jn 1:12)” to all who would receive him and follow His commands. “God’s People” and “Child of God” are interchangeable. The church is considered “God’s People” because it is made up of His children. America as a whole, however, is not, nor has it ever been.

John 1:9-13 (at the start of the article) shows us that only those who have received Christ and have been born of God (through the commanded “rebirth” or baptism laid out by Christ in John 3:1-21) have the right to become “Children of God.” Romans 6:1-14 outlines the necessity of baptism and how it unites us with Christ, becoming co-heirs to the inheritance of Heaven (Rom 8:16-17). We are co-heirs with Christ because through our baptism and uniting ourselves to Jesus, we are now God’s children, just as Jesus is. Romans 6 also teaches us that the protection which God provides is not from persecution, ill-doing, political scuffles, foreign invasion, etc., rather that God protects His children from sin and ultimately death. And I’m not talking about death of the flesh. Rather this protection is spiritual (cf. Mt. 10:28).

We are saved, because of Christ and our obedience to His commands (Mark 16:16). This salvation is not a salvation from pain and suffering in this world. The Son of God, His apostles and disciples were not freed from pain, suffering, persecution and even the killing of their body, so how could we ever assume that we would be spared these things? Revelation paints a clear picture to the contrary. God’s protection for His children is from eternal damnation. That protection was made possible through His son Jesus Christ. How? Because through Christ, and the following steps, sin is wiped away. Sin is what separates man from God (Is 59:2). Only those who believe in Christ, repent of their sinful ways, and are baptized for the remission of their sins, uniting themselves to Christ in the waters of baptism, becoming co-heirs and a Child of God… Only they receive this protection from death. Instead of death, they receive life eternal. So long as they continue in humble obedience to His will.

Therefore, with respect, Mr. President, America is not God’s People. America hasn’t been “chosen by God” according to what scripture tells us. Those who are “God’s People,” those that are the “brothers” even within Psalm 133, are those who belong to God, and as such we should live in unity with one another. If the term “brother” is used to mean those of the same nation, then again… Yes! All American’s should live in unity with one another; how good and pleasant that would be. However, unification will not come from Washington, elected officials, pundits or the voting booth. The unity of a nation will not come from man, but from a uniting of the hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It is only through Christ that true peace and unity can be accomplished.

Washington cannot save America from destruction of body and soul. Only the church bringing the Gospel message to America can accomplish that. Be the light in this dark world, dear church. Be the salt that brings flavor and preservation to a dying world.

As always, if you have any questions about this, or if you’d like to learn more about how to become a Christian (a child of God), feel free to email me at derek@duckdisciple.com.

— DD —

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Burned Out? Find Comfort in the Growth to Come!

The news continues to roll out of Gatlinburg. Stories of families searching for missing members only to find out they’re a part of the growing number of fatalities. Over 1,000 structures were damaged in the fire, one of which was the Gatlinburg church of Christ. Several members lost their homes as well. Thankfully, we haven’t heard of any lives lost among the brethren in Tennessee, but there are many in the area who cannot say the same.

For those who have visited the Smoky Mountains — particularly the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area — the beauty and majesty of the surrounding landscape is something that one rarely forgets. Seeing the images of fire ravaging the hillsides, entire cliffs glowing orange in the night, and the ashy aftermath is beyond words. “How could God allow this to happen to such a beautiful area,” a woman asked on one of the news reports I watched. The irony in her question is that God designed the forest ecosystem to benefit from fire. In fact, forests are made stronger and flourish in the aftermath of a fire. Through prayer and support from their community, businesses and families will heal as well. The emotional healing will likely take the longest.

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A small gallery of images from around the Gatlinburg area as fires swept through the area. At the time of this writing, the fires lead to the deaths of 13 people, injuring more than 100, destroying more than 1,000 structures and several acres of forest.

A small gallery of images from around the Gatlinburg area as fires raged, killing 13, injuring more than 100 and destroying more than 1,000 structures (at the time of this writing) and several acres of forest.

A person with experience in forestry and forest firefighting said that in 2-5 years, it will be hard for the untrained eye to tell the Gatlinburg area experienced such a blaze. It’s how the ecology works, apparently. According to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, fires are essential to the survival of such a large forest. “In the 1970s scientists started to notice that keeping the Great Smoky Mountains National Park completely fire free was having some unintended consequences. There are at least 12 native species of plants and animals in the Smokies that benefit from routine fires. For instance, the Table Mountain pine depends on the powerful heat of ground fires to open its sealed cones, which is how the tree spreads its seeds. Without periodic fires, the Table Mountain pine and other species would disappear from the park.”

Hearing that, I’m reminded of James 1:2-4 which reads, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Just like the forest fires, the trials and temptations we meet in life may be devastating at the time. They may cause our faith to be stretched. The true test comes in whether one allows the trial or temptation to stretch their faith to make it stronger, or allow it to break their faith.

Nature has God ruling over it, allowing and orchestrating the regrowth and build up after a fire. Man requires assistance to not allow their faith to be completely broken. That’s where the church comes in. As we’ll cover in our final lesson of the “Scripture Salad” sermon series this morning, our assembling together serves to encourage and stir up one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24). God’s perfect design for nature allows for regrowth and a thriving ecosystem after the “trial/temptation” of a fire. Christ’s perfect design for His church allows for the body to support and edify one another so the body can continue working together in perfect harmony (Eph. 4:16).

A Christian needs that encouragement and edification in order to mature spiritually. It cannot be done alone. Just like the Table Mountain pine relies on fires to flourish, the Christian needs to rely on the church and proper, biblical teaching to be the light they’re called to be in this dark world.

As always, if you have any questions about this, or if you’d like to learn more about how to become a Christian, feel free to email me at derek@duckdisciple.com.

–DD–

How to avoid disappointment

Election Day could hold some disappointment for millions of Americans as their chosen candidate may lose (or win). Last week was a week of highs and lows for me. As a long-time fan of the Cleveland Indians, seeing them back in the World Series for the first time since 1997 was exciting enough. Then to see them with a 3-1 lead and the chance to win the title with just one more win… Just one more! Well… The Chicago Cubs won 3 in a row in a thrilling World Series comeback for the history books. Cleveland, once again, lost. For the third time in my life I watched my favorite baseball team fall short on the biggest stage in baseball. Disappointment quickly gripped me.

So, I did what any other “logical person” would do in that situation… I went to work doing the dishes. I had to occupy my brain with something other than the overwhelming feelings filling my brain space and chest. Tom Hanks once said, “There’s no crying in baseball!” I fought hard to keep the tears back, but a single one squeaked out of the left eye. Then, as I wiped the tear from the corner of my eye, I realized how silly it was to be feeling this way.

Disappointment comes from putting hope in the uncertain. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines disappointment as, “unhappiness from the failure of something hoped for or expected to happen.” See… I hoped the Indians would win after getting a 3-1 lead. I hoped they would win, bringing it back to Cleveland with a 3-2 lead. But I put my hope in the uncertain. An Indians win wasn’t guaranteed. There was too much left to chance. When I realized this, I also quickly came to my senses and realized the only certainty we have is the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” – 1 John 3:1-3

Hope is one of three elements to a Christian’s character: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13).” The greatest of these is love, which helps us understand why “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mt. 22:37)” and “Love one another as I have loved you (Jn 15:12),” are so high on the “commandment list.” But hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential that, much like faith and love, it can be what people see to let them know you’re a Christian.

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” – 1 Peter 3:15

How can anyone know what hope we have in us, if they can’t see it in your life? The hope we have in eternal life should eclipse any hope we have in uncertain things of this world. 1 John 3:3 says that our hope is based on God. In 1 Timothy 1:1, Paul says Jesus Christ is our hope. In Titus 2:13 Paul goes further and says, “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” God made hope possible by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, who provided for us hope through His atoning sacrifice. It’s through His death, burial and resurrection in which we are baptized into and thus receive the promise of eternal life. The hope that kindles the fire within. A hope connected to faith and love! A hope based on Christ.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope (1 Th 4:13).” Those who are not children of God according to the means authorized in scripture do not have this hope, but we do. Therefore, disappointment should not have a hold on us because of the hope we have in the certainty of eternity with our Creator, Lord and Savior. Amen.

How do you avoid disappointment? Put your hope in things of Heaven and not of this world! Obey the commands of Christ and start with “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38).” As always, I welcome your questions and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at derek@duckdisciple.com.

– DD –

Always study & reflect on the commands of Christ!

A few weeks ago I ended a several month-long sermon series on the commands of Christ. The study was encouraging and challenging for me and I hope it provided similar feelings for the church. My approach to preaching the Gospel may be different from others. Each week as I study and prepare my sermon I simply studied a command of Christ and how I can apply it in my life. Then my sermons are simply me preaching to myself and those listening are basically hearing the crazy preacher-man talk to himself. It’s what I love about preaching and teaching. I learn so much more by preparing sermons and classes than listening to them.

It is one of the reasons why, week in and week out, I encourage personal Bible study in my sermons and classes. The things preached from the pulpit, no matter who is preaching, are to encourage personal study. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “but test everything; hold fast what is good.” Paul is encouraging the church there to study over the things they had been taught. It is not a good practice to hear something said, taught or preached and just believe it 100%. Look at our upcoming election next week. Things that are said by any candidate, media outlet or pundit should be looked at and tested. That’s why there are “fact checkers.” The beauty of God’s Word is that it is its own best fact checker! I strive to present the Word of God in a manner that is understandable and applicable, while maintaining a basis in scripture and not opinions. And when we take the time to study on the words presented in class or from the pulpit we may find errors in teaching. That’s when Christ’s command in Matthew 18:15-20 to go to your brother and address it with gentleness and humility.

A prime example… A few weeks ago I misspoke concerning the relationship of Satan and hell. I wrongly said that Satan was the “governor” or overseer of hell, but that’s not true at all. Apparently, I allowed my years of cartoon-watching overshadow my Bible knowledge. To clear it up, Revelation 20:9b-10 says:

“And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

It’s clear from scripture that Satan does not oversee hell, but he’s actually punished there along with those who do not believe and obey the Gospel. A brother in the body came to me and brought this to my attention in a humble and gentle manner, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. Without his personal study after the lesson, this error would have gone unnoticed. And our understanding of hell and its purpose would have continued to be tainted by Elmer Fudd or Daffy Duck.

So too with the lessons presented in the sermon series on the commands of Christ, I pray that it can be an encouragement to further your Biblical knowledge through personal study. All teaching we hear in church should encourage us to do this, but the commands of Christ are especially important. In Jesus’ “Great Commission” he plainly states that keeping His commands is an essential part of being a disciple (Mt. 28:19-20). How can we make disciples, teaching them to observe all that Christ commanded, if we’re not setting that example for them to follow?

These sermons will all be available online in the near future. You can email them to people, download them to listen on the go or simply use them to encourage your studies. Please don’t let the 1-2 hours you may or may not spend in church each week be the only time you study your Bible. For how will you ever be able to be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15)?

As always, I welcome your questions and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at minister@loveland.church.

Are you a pumpkin or a Christ-o-lantern?

A few years ago I heard the comparison made between making a jack-o-lantern and becoming a child of God. My wife reminded me a few weeks ago as I was tossing around topics for bulletin articles, so I thought this would be a good week to share my take on the comparison.

The journey to take a pumpkin and change it into a jack-o-lantern begins at the pumpkin patch. A whole field of pumpkins waiting to be chosen, waiting to serve a purpose. Then someone comes along and takes the time to inspect the fruit and pick it. Most freshly picked pumpkins will be a little dirty on the outside from the mud they’d been surrounded by in the field. Separating the pumpkin from the field, one must clean the dirt from the outside, truly separating the last remnants of the field from the pumpkin. When we repent of our sins, we separate ourselves from our life of sin and turn toward a clean walk of life in Christ. We’re “picked from the field” when we hear and believe the Gospel.

People and pumpkins have a lot in common. We both have an inside and an outside. The outside is what everyone sees – how we act, what we say and do, etc. The inside of a pumpkin is like our heart and soul. If a pumpkin is left in the field, it will slowly rot and die. The same thing goes for us. If we remain in the world, we eventually will die, with the hope of eternal life gone.

As you cut eyes into a pumpkin, you can see into the “heart and soul” of the pumpkin and it’s a mess. Just like our hearts and souls. “…the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead (Ecc. 9:3b).” So how do we get rid of the mess in our hearts?

God is the only one who can clean out our hearts, and the only way that can happen is if we humble ourselves with a child-like obedience to open ourselves up to His will. When we have heard the Gospel and believe, we confess that Jesus is the Son of the living God and open ourselves to His will. We then go down into the waters of baptism, and as Colossians 2:11-12, Paul details that in the waters of baptism God completes an operation separating the sinful man from the world and joining him with Christ. In this act God, through Christ’s sacrifice, reaches in and scoops out all the yucky stuff. This is my least favorite part of pumpkin carving, because I get messy as well. Jesus got messy for us. He took on our sins on the cross, and was beaten and humiliated, so that we could be reconciled to the Father. He got messy, so we could be clean.

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” – Ezekiel 36:25-27

If we did nothing after cleaning out the pumpkin, it would be hollow and empty. But as detailed in the verse above, the old is removed and the Spirit is placed inside. The carved pumpkin needs light to bring it to life. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).” When we allow the light of Christ to dwell in us, it shines through into our life. Lighting a dark world, guiding them to the narrow path.

So you see, becoming a child of God is like becoming a jack-o-lantern. One who hears and believes the gospel that has been shared with them in some way has been picked from the field. Through repentance we change from a sinful life to a life for God’s purpose. We confess our belief and open ourselves to God’s will, allowing Him – through the waters of baptism – to clean out the mess of our hearts, filling us with the Spirit and the light of Christ, the light that we shine into all the world. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Mt. 5:16).”

If you have any questions, or desire to learn more about becoming a child of God according to the scriptures, please feel free to reach out to me here: derek@duckdisciple.com

Why Evangelism Matters

The “Great Commission” is a command for all disciples, then and now, to be evangelists – going into the world making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that Christ commands. But why is this so important to Jesus?

The importance of these commands cannot be emphasized enough. In the book of Daniel we learn of the coming Kingdom that would be established by a rock cut from a mountain, not by human hands. 

“And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” – Daniel 2:44-45 

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream a few verses prior, Daniel details that when the King saw this rock in his dream it became a great mountain and it filled the whole earth (v. 35). The Great Commission, the call for all disciples to spread the Gospel to all nations, is important to fulfill this prophecy. The Kingdom Christ established on this earth, His church, needs to reach all nations. The world needs to hear the Gospel message as much now as they did back when the commission was first uttered. In order for the Kingdom to grow into a mountain covering the entire earth, the church must follow Christ’s command to GO (first and foremost), make new disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded. New disciples means more members of God’s household (Eph. 2:19), members added to His church (Acts 2:41).

In 2015, the Pew Research Center did an extensive look into the religious atmosphere of America. In their search, they found church attendance was down across the board, no matter the denomination. More people were dying or falling away from faith than were being added. In fact, when you look at the statistics, the younger generations are less likely to be in attendance on a weekly basis. Thirty-four percent of Generation X (1965-1980), 27% of older Millennials (1981-1989) and 28% of younger Millennials (1990-1996) to be exact. 

Why are churches shrinking faster than they’re growing? Very simply, I feel churches have turned away from evangelistic outreach, and shifted their focus to creating programs that draw people in. They call these things “ministries,” but are they truly fulfilling the great & final commission of Christ? In the vast majority of the cases, I would posit, “No.” I think “programs” and break-off ministries can be beneficial, if done with the focus of evangelism and not socialization. If those ministries are teaching all to observe Christ’s commands, rebuking sin, and submitting to the authority of scripture, then they’ll find success. The problem is – outside of false doctrines being propagated – these programs are drawing from other churches, not from the lost (for the most part). The lost may be drawn in by the programs, but are they being taught to observe all of Christ’s commands, including His command for water baptism for the remission of sins? Drawing people in, waiting for them to walk in the doors to do all that Christ commands on their own accord is not equal to Christ’s command to “Go.” It’s a  bad plan for growth, to say the least.

It seems like today, the only way a church grows is if someone who is already a Christian moves into the area, or switches churches because of negative things happening at their former congregation, etc. This isn’t true at all places, but very bluntly, I see it more times than not here in the north. For some reason, churches in the south are better at getting out and evangelizing in their communities (side note: I hope to some day dig deeper into the great differences between churches in the north and south). It’s not true growth because it hasn’t expanded the mountain at all. A piece of the mountain simply changed position. In order to make that mountain grow, we need to be growing in the way Christ commands us… Going, teaching, and baptizing new disciples. Growing the church through evangelism.

Evangelism is a responsibility of every Christian united with Christ in baptism, not just the minister, elders and deacons. All disciples. It starts first in the church pews. Making disciples of those who are already in your church building, but aren’t getting the personal study they need. It starts at home with bringing family members to Christ. If you’re keeping all the commands of Christ, your friends likely know you’re a Christian, and they see something special in you. There’s an opportunity to make disciples in your circle of friends. If you’re reading this and you can list 1 or 2 (or more) people that you think you could evangelize to, I hope this encourages you to act on your impulse. Pray hard about the opportunity, that the truth will be shared, and the Gospel ultimately heard and obeyed.

If I can assist you in any way with this effort, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can always email me at derek@duckdisciple.com.
Why are millennials flocking away from churches? That’s a topic for another article. But it all ties into evangelism. Do you have a topic you’d like to read about, or hear my take on? Submit your suggestions in the comments below or email me at the address listed above.

– DD –

Are you standing for Christian principles or politics?

Every four years debate becomes the most prolific thing going on in our country. I’m not even talking about the nationally-televised school-yard brawls we’ve seen this month. Today, with the ever-growing popularity of social media, debates and disagreements have taken on a whole new life.

Everybody today is a keyboard jockey, it seems. Setting up on their high-and-mighty digital soapbox ready to change the world one hashtag at a time. Social media gives too many the ability and opportunity to write things with the false sense of no consequences. I’m seeing too many of these types of things from those who are not Christians as well as with brethren around the country. It’s painting a very negative picture of the church and the Gospel message when we act and react in the ways I’ve seen.

Elephant in the ‘locker room’

In the last few days an audio clip was released of one presidential candidate making disparaging remarks about women. The comments were disgusting and vile, to say the least. To be completely fair and honest, the other candidate is not without faults either. Not by a long-shot. However, with the comments that were made — both in the leaked footage and before — I find it incredibly disheartening and confusing to see a number of brethren supporting said candidate, willing to readily excuse these things, while standing on their digital soapbox speaking out against the faults of the other candidate (or that candidate’s spouse). Forget Pride & Prejudice. This is Pride & Politics and it’s blinding too many. Politics are trumping our responsibility to achieve and maintain a righteousness greater than the Pharisees and scribes, which Jesus calls us to pursue.

Our Christian principles, our love of God and the love for our neighbor should come well before any political affiliation, vote, or pointless Facebook debate. If you feel compelled to excuse the comments that were made, without the one who made the comments truly seeking forgiveness and repenting, then are you putting your politics before your Christian principles? What does it do to the message of the Gospel you’re supposed to be sharing by abandoning your principles for an earthly election? Consider this from Jesus as documented in Mark’s Gospel account:

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:36-38 (ESV)

Ask yourself this… By sticking up for, supporting or excusing the sinful actions of any candidate in order to justify your vote for them, are you shaming the Son of Man? By excusing these things and standing by an unapologetic person are you not “becoming a partner” with them in their darkness? I’ve read these words from Paul to the church in Ephesus many times over the past few days, and I believe many need to do the same:

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; or at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” – Ephesians 5:3-12 (ESV)

When we publicly stand in support of someone who matches the description Paul lays out in Ephesians 5, we announce our allegiance to them; our partnership with them, if you will.

How we represent ourselves

Brother Wes McAdams (RadicallyChristian.com) wrote an article concerning these things as well, and his point was too good to not include. He points to this verse from the book of James:

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” – James 3:17-18 (ESV)

When we take to social media (or in any other way) to voice support or displeasure politically, are we doing so with purity, peace and gentleness? Are we sincere? Are we open to reason? Meaning when someone offers a reasonable counter defense, are we willing to change our mind? Or are we being the opposite: hard-headed and stubborn?

Whether you want to believe this or not, both candidates are humans, made in God’s image, just like you and me. Both have the ability to be reconciled to God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I’ll leave you with this verse from Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free [democrat, republican, libertarian, conscientious objector, etc.]; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:8-11 (ESV) [contents added for my point]

Just because someone is running for office, is a politician, has a different opinion than you, etc. doesn’t give you the right to attack, speak with malice or malign someone. That’s not the light or the salt Jesus calls us to be. If you’re guilty of these things, then are you any better than the candidate who made disparaging remarks against women? Are you any better than the other candidate who made disparaging comments against those who support the competition?

Ultimately… Be a light in the world, standing for Christian principles, not a hypocrite lost in political polarity.

— DD —