Everyone wants their voice to be heard.
Ever since Peter stood up in Jerusalem and declared, “thus sayeth the Lord” men and women of faith have spoken words of hope and transformation to a hurting world. In Acts 2 we read of Peter’s boldness to declare the truth of Christ. The Spirit moved in mighty ways and the scriptures say 3,000 were added to the Kingdom of God that day.
From that day forward the Kingdom of God was on the move in a new way. Men and women of faith shared their encounters with God and invited others to join them as they pursued a deepening relationship with God.
What made the invitation of those “evangelists” inviting was the way in which their words revealed the deeper transformation taking place in their lives. A life transformed is the greatest witness to the power and transformation of the gospel.
When the words of the church match our actions the Kingdom of God is unleashed in positive ways. When our words speak one message and our actions another we are in danger of losing our witness and doing damage to the Kingdom of God.
Our High Calling
The voice of the church is most effective and most powerful when it remains focused on issues related to the Kingdom of God. Jesus was clear. As he began his ministry he outlined his agenda…
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” [Luke 4:18-19]
Jesus was clear about his purpose. If we are to truly be followers of Christ we must adopt and pursue the same purposes as we seek to build the Kingdom of God here on this earth.
Towards the end of his ministry Jesus was just as clear as to what he wanted His followers and His church to be about. He was very clear as he shared the Great Commission and Great Commandment.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28]
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22]
When Christ followers and the church focus on what they are called to be about God type things happen. Captives are set free. People are healed from all types of illness and struggles. The Poor are cared for and find hope and a future within a community that cares for the whole person. The message of Jesus is shared. People make decisions to pursue a deeper and growing spiritual journey. The fellowship that is church is healthy and the Kingdom of God is unleashed.
Power is Seductive
Over the past few decades the church has been enticed and seduced into focusing on areas that have little to do with the cause of Christ. Power is seductive. The battle between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world are never to be taken lightly. Pastors and other Spiritual leaders are human beings like all others. When the power brokers come calling the temptation is to tell them what they want to hear or to give the support they are looking for.
I have watched as pastors, evangelists, school presidents and others have taken their focus off their Kingdom calling and answered the call of this worlds power brokers time and time again. Now, hear me clearly…I think as men and women of faith we need to be active and involved in the affairs of this world…we just need to always remember where our primary allegiances truly lie.
I am concerned as I sit and watch what is going on during this election cycle. I am afraid the church in America is in danger of losing what voice we have left to speak grace, peace, love and transformation into a hurting world.
Losing the right to be heard
I believe both candidates are flawed. Truth be told the candidates we put forward are always flawed. Some do a better job of masking, or hiding the flaws to appear more appealing. If we wanted to be totally honest, there is not one of us without flaws. We all have areas of weakness and brokenness that often remain hidden from the average eye.
I also believe our country will survive either candidate serving as our next president. While some bemoan the destruction of our country should one of these two be elected I celebrate the reality that the Kingdom of God will survive no matter what happens in this world. Jesus was confident when He spoke to Peter in Matthew 16.
“I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew 16:18]
So what am I concerned about? I am concerned that the church, people of faith, are losing the right to be heard in our day and age.
Why? Well, as I watch television, listen to conversations, follow my Facebook it is clear many of my fellow men and women of faith have strong opinions about this coming election.
Passions run deep and rhetoric runs hot. It is easy to get caught up in a moment of “discussion” and debate. We share things which we may choose not to in a calmer more relaxed setting.
Whether we choose to speak on behalf of the right or left what and HOW we speak matters.
How we speak matters
We must be careful to never sacrifice our Kingdom voice to advocate for someone seeking public office.
I fear people will look back upon our advocacy for either one of these candidates and say, “If you stood with them…how can you now pretend to speak ‘Thus sayeth the Lord’”. We have been seduced by the dreams of political power and influence and are in danger of handing over the keys to the Kingdom!
As we boldly declare our allegiance for either candidate we in essence give support for behavior that Jesus so clearly stood against. The world looks at that and screams. It makes no sense, how can it be?
It seems we are resigned to arguing over which flawed candidate we should support.
Standing for the one Flawless “candidate” capable of true change and transformation
I am praying for someone, for anyone, to stand and declare with the same boldness and energy they speak for either candidate a commitment to the only flawless person with the power to truly set captives free.
Maybe, just maybe, the church should: Recognize it has been seduced by the power brokers of this world. Confess our addiction to the power and influence of this world. Recommit ourselves to focusing on the things Jesus named as a priority. Praying that the Spirit would move in powerful ways.
Maybe then we would see the transformation we so desperately long for.
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good