Hope in the Government, Part II

Worship Service for July 5, 2020

WELCOME

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will rejuvenate and reinvigorate your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus to more confidently and hopefully face the difficult days in which we are presently living.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

We will be worshipping at the church pavilion once again today. I will remain after until 1:00pm for those of you who wish to drop off your offering. You may place it in the box marked “God’s Offering” that is located in the lobby.

If you wish to send your offering in the mail, the address is:

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led. I hope you also noticed that most of this service is also available in video format on the same page where you accessed this.

Yesterday Americans celebrated the signing on the Declaration of Independence declaring the 13 original colonies free from Britain’s rule.

By the way, does England have a 4th of July?
Of course, it comes right after the 3rd.

How many years ago was the Declaration of Independence signed?
244 years ago.

Does anyone know where the Declaration was signed?
At the bottom? No, Philadelphia

Declaration of Independence - National Archives - Washington, DC
Photo by hyku / CC BY-SA 2.0

Nine of the colonies voted in favor; two against?
South Carolina and oddly enough, Pennsylvania
Delaware was undecided and New York abstained.

In what year did the 4th of July become a national holiday?
1941.

What special bond did Thomas Jefferson and John Adams share?
They both died on the 4th of July, 1826; 50 years to the day after it was signed.

Who signed the declaration on July 4th?
John Hancock.
Most signed August 2nd.

Why did John Hancock sign his name in such big letters?
He said, “So the King could read it without spectacles.”

Perhaps he took a cue from the Apostle Paul who, as he closed his letter to the Galatians, wrote “Notice what large letters I use as I write these closing words in my own handwriting” (Galatians 6:11)

Paul dictated his letters to his amanuensis (emanuwensis) not because he couldn’t write, but because his eyesight was not good enough. Since letters were written on papyri, it behooved anyone writing and sending a letter to write rather small.

Long segue, but it points us to worship as we consider Paul’s words to his friends in the church at Galatia.

CALL TO WORSHIP

When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of His grace He made us right in His sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7

HYMNS OF PRAISE

All Hail the Power of Jesus Name

Perronet, Edward/Holden, Oliver/Rippon, John (adapt)

All hail the power of Jesus name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all;

Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race,
Ye ransomed from the fall.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
And crown Him Lord of all;
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
And crown Him Lord of all;

Let every kindred, every tribe,
On this terrestrial ball.
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all;
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all;

O that with yonder sacred throng,
We at His feet may fall!
We’ll join the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all;
We’ll join the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all;

Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

He is Lord

Fettke, Tom

He is Lord. He is Lord.
He is risen from the dead
And He is Lord.
Every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord

©Arr. 1986 by Word Music (a div of Word Music).
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

As we gather to worship you today, whether we be at home as one or two, or gathered with those who are able, we take great joy and comfort in remembering that we are also surrounded in Spirit by that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. And whether we think of them joining us or us joining them, every knee is bowed as every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord; He is Lord, He is Lord, He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. And so in this time of worship, enable us, our Father to join the everlasting song and crown Him Lord of all. Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Malachi 3:10

PRAYER SONG

He Is Our Peace

Groves, Kandela

He is our peace
Who has broken down ev’ry wall.
He is our peace, He is our peace.
He is our peace
Who has broken down ev’ry wall.
He is our peace, He is our peace.

Cast all your cares on Him,
For He cares for you,
He is our peace, He is our peace.
Cast all your cares on Him,
For He cares for you,
He is our peace, He is our peace.

He is our peace
Who has broken down ev’ry wall.
He is our peace, He is our peace.

He is our peace
Who has broken down ev’ry wall.
He is our peace, He is our peace.

©1975 Maranatha! Music (admin. by The Copyright Co.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

THE MORNING PRAYER

Kevin Sparks

God, we give thanks and praise to you for our freedom from the bondage of our sins through your Son, Jesus Christ. By your grace and through faith, we can stand tall and walk with confidence today knowing you are our Father and guard us from the fear and confusion that plagues the lost.

Help us, God, to show grace and love to those that have yet to experience what has been so freely given to us. May we be ever ready to give testimony about your love when asked where our hope comes from.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

SCRIPTURE

Before I read the scripture, let me remind you that last week, we discussed the government’s role in our lives Biblically in terms of ‘protect’ and ‘punish.’ It is the responsibility of governments to create the conditions for a modern society by creating protective limits (passing laws) and upholding those laws by punishing those who choose to break them.

Today, I want to flip the coin and see what the Biblical authors had to say about our role or responsibility toward human systems of government.

All this timely talk about the government has come up as a result of a decision I made back in the early part of May to preach a series of messages from I Peter. I choose First Peter because it’s overall theme is ‘hope;’ as indicated by the topic sentence found in chapter 1, verse 3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for He has caused us to be born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

What does hope have to do with the government? Peter wanted his readers to hold out hope that the government could and should be their friend. And in cases when or where it may fail, they can hope and pray that it will prevail.

For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.

He never sinned,
nor ever deceived anyone.
He did not retaliate when He was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when He suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
He personally carried our sins
in His body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By His wounds
you are healed.
Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.

I Peter 2:13-25

Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch Him in His words. They came to Him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” He asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and He asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at Him.

Mark 12:13-17

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Hope in the Government, Part II

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House. One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Minnesota. All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.

The Minnesotan does some measuring and says, “I figure the job will run $900; $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

The Tennessean does some figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700; $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “It’ll be $2,700.”

The incredulous official asks, “How did you come up with such a high figure?”

The Chicagoan whispers back, “We hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence and then $1000 for me and a cool $1000 for you.”

“Done!” replies the government official.

And that, my friends, is how government works. 1

So what is our responsibility as Christians to our government?

We are to submit to governmental authorities because they are ordained by God.

Here in I Peter, “For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority; whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed” (2:13-14).

Paul to the Romans: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities” (3:1).

Lest we think that Paul was temporarily insane when he wrote Romans, several years later he writes his friend Titus and repeats the same thing: “Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers” (3:1)

I. Howard Marshall writes, “Submitting literally means ‘placing oneself below another’ out of a respect that is expressed in obedience.” 2

Last week we saw very clearly that one of the government’s responsibilities to us is to preserve and protect through passing and enforcing laws and to punish lawbreakers. It follows then that one of our primary obligations to governing authorities is to be obey those laws.

Now I know I’m preaching to the choir here right? No law-breakers here, right?! So what is there here that might help us?

Wayne Grudem writes,

The phrase to all human authority gives the phrase broader application than just to civil government. In fact, Peter goes on to explain this general statement by applying it not only to civil government, but also to encourage servants to be subject to their masters and wives to their husbands. … The inclusiveness of the word every makes it appropriate to apply this statement therefore, to other legitimate human authorities (parents/children, church leaders/members). … God has established such patterns of authority for the orderly functioning of human life, and it both pleases and honors Him when we subject ourselves to them.” 3

In general, submitting to various kinds of authority is the calling of every Christian.

We don’t like the word submit. We, who yesterday celebrated our declaration of freedom from British rule, sometimes find it difficult to submit to anybody.

Peter reminds his readers and us that we are free, “yet you are God’s slaves” (I Peter 2:16). And part of being God’s slaves is submitting to various kinds of authority; whether it be governmental, parental, or even, believe it or not, in the church.

Next, part of being subject to or obeying the law involves, of course, the paying of taxes to human government.

Paul again in Romans:

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Romans 13:6-7

Interesting that Jesus weighed in on the question of paying taxes in today’s reading from Mark, which is also included in both Matthew and Luke. Where Jesus utters those infamous words, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things are God’s.”

By the way, most Bible commentators point out that Jesus’ statement is not only limited to paying taxes. One can also easily infer that He is implying we be good citizens. Good citizens not only pay taxes, they respect and submit to governmental authority as both Peter and Paul instruct us.

And then, to be sure, we are to pray for our leaders in human government.

Paul in his letter to his personal assistant, Timothy:

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior”

I Timothy 2:1-3

I beg you not to dismiss this as a pious platitude; it isn’t.

Even if we don’t like our current political leaders. Think about it, Paul was telling his people to pray for Nero, the same Emperor persecuting Christians without mercy. If even the dictatorial Roman government deserved to be prayed for, how much more so for our much more fair government in which citizens elect our government officials?

And yet a poll conducted by LifeWay Research found that Americans pray for:

Family and friends 82% of the time
Our own problems and difficulties 74 % of the time
Our enemies 37 % of the time
Our financial prosperity 36% of the time
To win the lottery 21%
Our favorite sports team to win 13%
Coming in dead last in this survey: our government leaders 12 % of the time. 4

If in our society there is more violence than peace, more indecency than modesty, more oppression than justice, more secularism than godliness, could it be that the church is not praying for these things?

When was the last time you prayed for President Trump? Is there anybody who needs it more?

If we refuse to pray for our President and other governmental leaders then we are not willing to submit to scriptural authority.

I love the story of Emma Gray who died on June 8, 2009, at the age of 95. For 24 years she cleaned the office of the President of the United States. She served six presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to Jimmy Carter, till she retired in 1979. More than simply clean, she would stand and pray over the President’s chair each time she dusted it—her cleaning supplies in one hand, the other on the chair. She’d pray for blessings, wisdom, and safety. 5

May her tribe increase!

What the Bible teaches is that we are to participate in government.

Participating in government can and should extend beyond submitting and paying and praying.

William Barclay writes,

The duty of the citizen is not only to submit to be ruled but to take a necessary share in the ruling. Hence, if the Christian is to fulfill his duty to the state, he must take part in its government. He must also take his part in the local government. It is tragic that so few Christians really fulfill their obligation to the state and the society in which they live.” 6

In our country, this would include availing ourselves of the wonderful privilege we have to freely vote for those who we think will do the best job in governing.

It seems to me in our country everyone has an opinion, or should I say a criticism, of our government. But I say if you had the chance to vote and didn’t, then you should keep your opinions to yourself.

By the way, in the last two presidential elections, 60% of Christians voted. 7
That’s good, but not good enough if we want God back in government.

Besides voting, running for office would be a noble cause for any Christian. Our country so desperately needs Christian men and women to help lead it. The church’s influence in our government has diminished greatly over the last 100 years partly because fewer and fewer Christians have entered politics.

God’s design for His rule in the nation of Israel in Old Testament was what theologians call a ‘theocracy.’ A theocracy recognizes that men and women govern, but they are in turn governed by God. Oh that we would have a theocracy in America, where those in government submit to being governed by God.

That is exactly what the framers had in mind. After decades of service to his country in both war and peace, George Washington completed his second term as president. In his Farewell Address to the nation he wrote:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, (religion and morality) these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.” 8

Sometimes we need another perspective to realize the importance of what Washington wrote about.

How about a perspective from communist China?

In his 2011 book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, Niall Ferguson interviewed a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. This unnamed Chinese official praised the role of Christianity in the West.

One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. …. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this. 9

The preeminent British scholar, pastor, and author, John Stott, in a sermon titled, Salt and Light, prods individual Christians and the Church to realize that we can make a difference in our society.

There is a great deal of pessimism around today that grips and even paralyzes people. They wring their hands in a holy kind of dismay. Society is rotten to the core, they say. So if we are pessimists and we think that we are capable of doing nothing in human society today, I venture to say that we are theologically extremely unbalanced, if not actually heretical and harmful. It’s ludicrous to say Christians can have no influence in society. It’s biblically and historically mistaken. Christian churches had an enormous influence on society down its long history. In both these metaphors of the salt and the light, Jesus is talking about the responsibility of Christians in a Christian society. The world, he says, is like rotting meat. But you are to be the world’s salt. The world is like a dark night, but you are to be the world’s light. The salt is to be rubbed into the meat in order to stop the rot. The light is to shine into the darkness. 10

Just a few dedicated Christians can have a tremendous impact on society! Jesus started with a handful and within a few years Roman officials were complaining they were “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). In reality, they were turning it right-side up!

How about you? Is God calling you to get involved in local government? But is there someone you could encourage to? Perhaps it’s too late for some of us. But how about your children, or grandchildren? And though it might be too late for some of us to run for office; it’s never too late to pray.

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage all of you to pray as you feel led).

THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

I Corinthians 11:23-26

“For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ ”

(Please partake of your bread)

“In the same way, He took the cup of wine after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with My blood. Do this in remembrance of Me as often as you drink it.’ ”

(Please partake of your juice)

“For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until He comes again.”

Communion Prayer

Lord Jesus, we thank You for the privilege of participating in this act that means so much to us. Until You come to us or we go to You, help us to live our lives in such a way the light of Your love will shine through us so that people will see it and give praise to You. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

CLOSING SONG

Shine, Jesus, Shine

Kendrick, Graham

Lord, the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness shining;
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us;
Set us free by the truth You now bring us.
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine.
Fill this land with the Father’s glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow.
Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth Your Word, Lord,
And let there be light.

Lord, I come to Your awesome presence.
From the shadows into your radiance;
By the blood I may enter Your brightness,
Search me, try me,
Consume all my darkness.
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine.
Fill this land with the Father’s glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow.
Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth Your Word, Lord,
And let there be light.

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness,
So our faces display Your likeness;
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirror’d here, may our lives tell Your story.
Shine on me, Shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine.
Fill this land with the Father’s glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow.
Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth Your Word, Lord,
And let there be light.

Shine, Jesus, shine.
Fill this land with the Father’s glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow.
Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth Your Word, Lord,
And let there be light.

©1987 Make Way Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

1 Tim. 6:15b-16

1 https://viralgfdiy.com/three-contractors-bidding-fix-broken-fence-white-house/

2 I. Howard Marshall, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series; I Peter, [Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, ©1991] page 84.

3 Wayne Grudem, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; I Peter, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, © 1988118

4 Barna Research National Christians: The Big Election Story in 2016
Research Releases in Culture & Media • December 1, 2016
https://www.barna.com/research/notional-christians-big-election-story-2016/

5 Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois; source: Patricia Sullivan, Christian Lady Cleaned for 6 Presidents, The Washington Post (6-21-09)
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2009/september/5090709.html

6 Williams Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series; the Letters of James and Peter,
[Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Westminster Press, © 1976], page 206.

7 Reported in Christianity Today, What Americans Pray for and Against LifeWay Survey (10-1-14)
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2014/october/4102014.html

8 https://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/a-godly-government

9 Niall Ferguson, Civilization: The West and the Rest,
[London: Penguin Books, © 2011)] Page 287.
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2012/december/3121012.html

10 John R. W. Stott is rector emeritus of All Souls Church in London,
Sermon, Salt and Light https://www.preachingtoday.com/sermons/sermons/2005/august/001.html

Randy K'Meyer

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