Healing Through Our Trust
Heal Our LandPastor Jerry Gillis - October 30, 2016
God can be trusted because He is sovereign, true, and good.
Community Group Study Notes
- How does a person who believes God is sovereign, good, and true approach the circumstances of life: like difficulties, like elections, like blessings, like temptations?
- With what you heard in this message, where do you need to adjust in your own life to demonstrate a confidence that God is in control?
- Why is it important that we, as disciples of Jesus, believe God is good? In what tangible ways can we demonstrate His goodness to the world around us?
In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. (Proverbs 21:1)
You don't have to be a prophet or the son of a prophet to discern that in our nation we've got some trust issues. Trust related to organizations or institutions or whatever. And then there are trust issues that people are trying to work through even regarding the major party political candidates, asking questions of trust. Can I trust this candidate or that candidate with the nuclear codes? Can I trust this candidate or that candidate with directing the economy? Can I trust this candidate or that candidate with social policy? Can I trust this candidate or that candidate to tell the truth? We've got some trust issues. We're even pressing that even further, asking questions of can we trust the people that are telling us this is what's going on in polls? Can we trust the people that are telling this us is what's going on in early voting? We don't know who to trust anymore.
My concern, even though those are real and I won't marginalize any of them, my concern has to do with something a little bit more specific for us. And I guess as I'm starting today, I want to go ahead and show my cards, I've been doing a series, you know and talking about how we're asking God to heal our land and deal with us, particularly in a season, in a national season like we're in right now and so I'm going to go ahead and put my cards on the table today. I'm going to be, I'm just telling you out front, I'm going to be campaigning hard today and you're just going to have to deal with it. Whatever your background or your political party or your gender or your socioeconomic status or whatever, I'm going to be campaigning very hard today, because I'm going to ask every one of us as your pastor, I'm going to ask every one of you to put your full support behind God. That's what I'm going to ask you to do. You're clapping now, we'll see how that goes in a little bit. But I'm telling you this, at 9 o'clock, in our 9:00 worship gathering here at The Chapel, God spoke to us. And I'm asking God to speak to us today.
Now my concern is that even though we applauded and said all those things, my concern continues to grow in the body of Christ as to whether or not we as the people of God actually trust God. If we actually trust God. It's very easy with platitudes to talk about it and to cheer for it and all those kinds of things, but do we actually trust God in the middle of this political hurricane season that we are in, are we actually demonstrating that we really do trust God. You see, the strong winds of culture are going to blow and there's going to be a temptation for us to join in with them. And the waves of popular opinion are going to be crashing all over the shore and they're going to tempt us to join in with them. But what I'm going to call us back to today is I'm going to call us back to the safe harbor of the character of God. Because when we understand the nature of who God is, we will understand that God can actually be trusted.
You see, it's one thing to talk about trusting God, it's another thing to really know God and when we know God we know because of what His nature is that He can actually be trusted. So, I'm going to tell you right out of the gate, what I'm going to be trying to convince you of and asking God to speak to you about today, and it's this: That God can be trusted because God is sovereign, God is true and God is good. I want you to be able to grab onto these things and I want you to be able to hold onto them, because it's one thing to say that we trust God, but it's another thing when we start pressing in to know the character of who God is and why then we can actually trust Him.
And what I'm going to do is I'm going to take two historical pieces of Scripture that actually happened in real history, in real governments and I'm going to actually talk from those two places and we're going to actually inspect how we can know God's character as sovereign, as true and as good in these two places in Scripture. Now when I say this, I'm not just talking to you about stories in the sense that you might think or come away with a misunderstanding of this as a fable of some sort. I'm actually talking to you about two real empires that I'm going to describe and how God actually got in the midst of those empires, real kings, real governments that were really the most powerful ones at their time and some that were the most powerful in history.
The first one that I'm going to talk to you about is going to be in Babylon. And this is where if you were in the book of Daniel is where you would find the description of the time frame I'm going to be talking about. King Nebuchadnezzar is ruling, it's about 605 B.C. His father before him, as I'm sure you know, Nabopolassar and you're probably going, I'm sorry, what lullapalluzer, what did you say? Nabopolassar is really his name, he had already kind of gotten Assyria off of the backs of Babylon, and now Babylon was kind of in all of its glory and was an empire to kind of stunt every empire. It was an incredible thing.
Nebuchadnezzar was a builder as you might suspect, and Nebuchadnezzar built such a city that it was unbelievably glorious and was kind of one of the wonders of the world. But Nebuchadnezzar also was a guy who dreamed a lot of dreams, not just because he ate a lot of pizza and wings before he went to bed, but because God was actually speaking to him in this way. And when he would dream these dreams, he would actually reach out to some of his magicians and his sorcerers and his wise men that were there in the palace, and he would say to them, can you help me with this? And none of them were able to provide help.
But one of the things Nebuchadnezzar had done is he had taken over Jerusalem and he had exiled Israel that was now kind of under the reach and under the captivity of Babylon. And one of the young men who was under the captivity of Babylon that came at a reasonably young age and was educated with a Babylonian education but who remained in heart faithful to Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel was named Daniel. And Daniel also had the gift from Yahweh to be able to interpret dreams and to understand what God, the covenant God, Yahweh, was speaking to this pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar.
And so Daniel was a very viable person for Nebuchadnezzar to have around because Nebuchadnezzar told him, he said I had this dream and I had a dream about this big tree. And it was an enormous tree, like the biggest tree ever. And it had all kinds of leaves and vines and it was creating shade for everybody and it was bearing much fruit, it was an incredible tree. But then the tree got chopped down and then there was just the stump and then the stump is like, it turns into an animal and the animal's kind of running around, it seems like for long time, it's all crazy. So, he's like, what's up with that dream? And Daniel basically said, you know, in Daniel chapter 4, Daniel kind of said to him, well, king, here's the interpretation of the dream. The tree, the empire, this is about you. This is about your empire. But you're going to be chopped down, and you're basically going to live like an animal for seven years and like you're going to have talons and a beard and bad hygiene, that's what's going to happen to you for like seven years. So, that's basically what Daniel did, he told him that's the dream, alright? So, that's the first empire that we're going to talk about in just a minute and we're going to inspect that to see how we understand the nature of God in that empire as sovereign, as true and as good.
But there's another empire. This is the Roman Empire. This is many, many years after the time of Nebuchadnezzar and the Roman Empire is led by a Caesar and the Roman Empire is the most powerful empire on the face of the earth. Maybe the most powerful empire that has every ruled in the history of human civilization. And in this empire, the Caesar had some under-Caesars, or governors that were in very different places. And the governor that was in the Jerusalem area that was overseeing that place on behalf of Caesar was named Pilate, or as we would call him Pontius Pilate. And it was with Pontius Pilate that Jesus was actually brought in, the Son of God, and was standing before Pontius Pilate having to face accusations that He was a king. That He was claiming to be a king, which would fly in the face of Rome because there was only one Caesar, there was only one Emperor, there was only one king, and would also fly in the face of Israel, because they considered his claim to be blasphemous. And Jesus was having to deal with that and there you can find that chronicled in John chapter 18 and 19.
So, I'm actually pulling from two places, Daniel chapter 4 and what's talked about with Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, and John chapter 18 and 19 where it talks about the Roman Empire and the under-Caesar Pontius Pilate who is dealing with the Lord Jesus. And in both of those places what I want us to do, real governments, real kings, real history, is what I want you to watch how God intervenes in those places and demonstrates to us that He can be trusted because He is sovereign, He is true, and He is good.
So let's pull that apart and let's take it one by one. Let's talk about His sovereignty first. That God can be trusted because He is sovereign. Now when you're reading in Daniel chapter 4, what happens in the beginning part of chapter 4 is Nebuchadnezzar is really telling the story of what happened to him, and he's describing the dream that he had. And in verse number 17 in describing the dream. Here's what he says in Daniel 4:17, that: "The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict," listen to this, "So that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone He wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people."
So the very first thing that you come in contact with is Nebuchadnezzar describing what's happened in the dream and God through the dream is affirming to Nebuchadnezzar that the Most High is sovereign, He is in control, there is nothing outside of His rule, that He is sovereign over the nations of all the earth, that includes you Nebuchadnezzar, that includes Babylon, the greatest empire on the face of the earth at the time, that He is sovereign over all the nations and He gives them to whoever He pleases, He does with them whatever He wants. This is what is told to Nebuchadnezzar.
And do you know that Daniel actually reaffirms that because he hears from God. And listen to what Daniel says in verse number 32, the first part, he says: "Seven times will pass by for you," kind of referring to seven years, "Nebuchadnezzar, seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes."
And then in verse 34 and 35, listen to what it says. Nebuchadnezzar finally comes around and says, "At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified Him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
You see, this is talking about the sovereignty of God over nations. And this is God speaking to the king of the most powerful empire on the face of the earth at that time, the Babylonian Empire. And God is saying to Nebuchadnezzar, the Most High is sovereign, I'm sovereign over all the nations of the earth and I'll do with them whatever I please, I'll give them whatever I please, I'm in charge here.
You see, that's why the proverb writer told us in Proverbs chapter 21 verse number 1 it says this: "In the Lord's hand the king's heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him." Maybe you've heart a different translation of that. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and He directs it wherever He wants like a water course.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, this is a conversation about sovereignty that God is in control of what is going on in the world. And He can be trusted as a result of that, that we should turn our attention to Him and trust Him whether it's good leaders or whether it's bad leaders like Nebuchadnezzar, good leaders that bring good things, bad leaders that bring bad things, no leaders that bring no things. God is in control. He's sovereign. That's what we learn from the Babylonian empire and Nebuchadnezzar.
But we also learn that from Jesus. When Jesus is standing before Pilate, the under-Caesar of the great Caesar of the most powerful empire on the face of the earth at that time, maybe the most powerful empire that has ever existed. And notice this conversation between Pilate and Jesus in John chapter 18 and John chapter, particularly John chapter 19. It says: "As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw Jesus, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!". But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." The Jewish leaders insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God." When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus didn't say anything, he gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" And Jesus said, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above."
Do you know what Jesus was saying? God is sovereign. Pilate, you think you're in charge. You're not in charge. God's in charge. And you've only got power that God allows you to have because this, what's happening with us, it is in the plan of God.
Now you say, it seemed like this was a losing proposition for Jesus, right? That He's now been swept up under the authorities, under the incredible strength of the Roman empire, and now He's going to be put to death. And this doesn't look like it's going very well in any way for Jesus. That He claimed to be a king, and they said that He was a king, but He doesn't look like a king, because He's going to be put to death. But you know what? He did die, He did rise from the dead, He did ascend to the Father and He is coming back, all a part of the sovereign plan of God.
And when He returns, listen to what it says about Him in Revelation chapter number 19: "On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Why? Because He is the One who is sovereign over everything. God, the Most High is sovereign over the nations and He does with them whatever He pleases and it doesn't matter if it's Babylon, it doesn't matter if it's Rome, and it doesn't matter if it's the United States of America. God is going to do what God is going to do because He's sovereign. You see, ladies and gentlemen, that should for us breed trust because God is sovereign over everything.
Do you know what else breeds trust? That God is true. You see, when we look back at the Babylon empire, look back at Nebuchadnezzar, listen to what after all that happened to Nebuchadnezzar, right? He's got this incredible you know, empire. In fact, he walked out, if you read Daniel chapter 4, he walked out on his balcony and looked over the wholeness of his empire and said, "Have I not done this?" Whew! Better be careful, Nebbie. Better be careful. You can hear the pride that's welling up in his heart. Have I not done all this with my own hands? I'm the guy. I have made this empire.
Well, then what happens through the dream is, happens. What was prophesied actually comes to pass. And that tree is cut down, and he basically functions like a wild animal for seven years. But then he's given the privilege of kind of lifting his eyes for some sanity, and he comes to his senses, and he turns his attention to the Most High God. And listen to what he says, in spite of all the lies that he has told himself about his own power and his own pride, listen to what he says about the character of God. In verse number 37 the beginning part: "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just."
You see, what we find out very quickly from Nebuchadnezzar is that he realizes that God is true. You see, this is incredibly important for us, because when you think about Babylon and you think about Nebuchadnezzar, you've got to take this idea of Babylon all the way back to the book of Genesis. Because in the book of Genesis in chapter 11 the plain of Shinar which is also Babylonia, Babble as it's called in Genesis 11, was an indication or kind of a picture of a people who were filled with pride. Because what did they want to do? Well, Genesis 11 verse number 4 tells us. It says this, here's what they said: "Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves;" They wanted to build a tower to the heavens so they can make a name for themselves. This was pride kind of unfettered. We want to be our own rulers, our own gods, our own lords.
You see that all the way back in the book of Genesis related to Babble or Babylonia or Babylon. And now you see in Daniel chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon and you see the same root of pride that leads to the lies of idolatry. You see the same thing in Nebuchadnezzar's life. Have I not built all of this? Is not all of this my doing?
And then you look in the New Testament, and you see guys like Peter who are living under the Roman empire and he understands that people think that this empire is their savior, that this empire is the only thing that can bring peace, that this government is the only thing that can do it for them. And do you know what he calls in code, the Roman empire in 1 Peter chapter 5? Babylon. That's how he refers to the Roman Empire - calls them Babylon.
Do you know when John the revelator has a vision about what's going to happen to the people of God and to the consummation of history and he talks about the idea of empire rising up and telling lies to people. Do you know how he pictures it? Babylon. Listen to Revelation 18 and 19. It says this: Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants."
You see, we've got to remember, ladies and gentlemen, that human empires that are led by human beings - we can't put all of our faith and all of our trust in those empires because they're temporary and many times, far to oftentimes, those empires in the course of history have used the lies that have led to idolatry to lead people down a different path. But God says, I've got a different idea what this looks like. And we see that when Jesus is having a conversation with Pilate - because God is saying I'm true - in contradistinction to the lies that you're hearing - I'm true and my Government, my Kingdom is true.
Listen to what Jesus said to Pilate in John chapter 18. Pilate went back inside the palace and he summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others tell you about me?" "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place." "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
You see, what Jesus was doing was helping someone who was basically confounded by the lies of empire that domination or violence or idolatry can get you where you're going. And Jesus sits there in front of this under Caesar Pontius Pilate and says to him, no, you see here's why I came. I came to testify to the truth. Here's the truth. Caesar isn't Lord. That's the truth. And the empire is not the Kingdom. Jesus testifies to the trueness of who God is and helps us to be freed from the lies of Babylon that trust the lies of empires that try and change our hearts and minds to saying this is what can free us, this is what can save us. And Jesus says, everyone on the side of truth listens to me and learns what a new Kingdom looks like.
You see, God can be trusted because He's sovereign. God can be trusted because He's true. And God can be trusted because He's good. Now at the very end, like I told you when Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon came to his senses, listen to the whole verse 37 that we just read a moment ago - listen to it: Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And listen to this - and those who walk in pride He is able to humble.
You say, well Jerry, why does that tell us about the goodness of God? Listen. Because here's what God will do. Here's what God will do with nations, here's what God will do with leaders, here's what God will do with everyone. He will not let pride and sin win the day. He's too good. His goodness won't let everything that rages against God and good win the day. And what Nebuchadnezzar realizes is this: those who walk in pride - God in His goodness will humble, because He doesn't want us to make the mistake of thinking we're our own gods. He wants us to know the nature of who He is. He's that good. That is something we pick up from Nebuchadnezzar.
But you know, we never see God's any more clearly than when we look into the face of Jesus. And when we see what Jesus did. Because you know how the story in front of Pilate works out, right? Works out in His crucifixion. Listen to what it says in John 18 and 19. Pilate says, it's your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'? They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising. It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So, the soldiers took charge of Jesus.
You see, what does this tell us about the goodness of God? Listen to this: that God is so good that He will deal justly with sin. It tells us that God is so good that He will initiate dealing with that sin Himself. That God is so good that He came in the person of Jesus, leaving the halls of greatest power, to be born among the lowly and become like us so that He could be the one to initiate dealing with our sin problem. God is so good that in the person of Jesus, He was willing to die in the place of sinful people - the sinless for the sinful - so that we who have rejected the true King and maybe have no king but Caesar could be reunite to the true King. He is so good that through His death and His resurrection that He has created a way for us to be reconciled to the true King.
He's so good that His death destroyed death on our behalf so that we, when we die will not be defeated by that which is bad, but instead He's so good that He himself in His goodness defeated badness in death so that we could live forever with Him. He's so good that not only in His death did He conquer sin and give us a way of reconciliation to the Father through His resurrection but in His ascension and in His promise to come again, there is a promise that He's so good that He's going to make all of creation new - that there's going to be new creation, new government under a new and beautifully good King.
That's what Isaiah actually prophesied to us when we think about it, that's exactly what Isaiah said to us in Isaiah chapter 9. Didn't he say it? Listen to what he said. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. Don't you look forward to that day? "The government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." He is good.
You see, ladies and gentlemen I'm trying to tell you that God can be trusted. God is sovereign. God is true. God is good. And we can look at real history, real empires, real governments, real kings and we can watch God get involved in the midst of those and we can just rest assured in this: He can be trusted even in our nation's history right now.
Now, given that's the case - you think I'm letting you off the hook now - given that's the case, if we really trusted God because He's sovereign and because He's true and because He's good, then there's some things that would happen in our lives. If we really trusted God, we would stop believing the lie of Babylon that tells us that trusting in governments or trusting in presidents is going to save us. We just have to leave the lies of Babylon because we know God is true and we know His kingdom endures.
If we really trusted God, we would stop freaking out our children and our grandchildren with all of our sky is falling rants. As the people of God, we need to leave a better legacy. We need to leave a legacy that says we trust God. But your children and your grandchildren and those around you, they're influenced and they hear. They hear you when you say, oh God, if so-and-so gets in office, it's going to be the end. You're kids are listening to you! And what they're hearing is that fear is the foundation of your life, not faith in God. Fear is not the foundation for a believer. We have not been given a spirit of fear according to the Word of God. We've been given a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. That's what God has given to us.
And why do we want to leave a legacy - why do we want to leave a legacy that is based in fear for our kids and our grandkids because they hear all of our sky is falling rants, or they see every social media post about everything that's going nuts and we're freaking out. Why can't they hear us trust God in the midst of whatever in the world is going on in our world? Why can't they hear that? You see as the people of God, if we really trusted God and believed that God is sovereign and that God is true and that God is good, then we could actually vote and then rest, because we understand God is the one who's in control. The Most High is sovereign over the nations and He will do with them what He wills.
We'd also, if we really trusted God, we would stop arrogantly talking about what is in the best interest of the Church. Well if so-and-so gets in office, it's going to be horrible for the Church. Well if so-and-so gets in office, it's going to be horrible for the Church. How do you know? God has used bad kings, good kings, and no kings to further His prospects for the sake of the gospel in His people. You have no idea what God wants to do. Let's be careful as the people of God not to be so arrogant.
People ask me that all the time. Jerry, what about the future of the Church, man? If so-and-so gets in or so-and-so gets in then, you know, they're saying they might do this or they might do that. They're going to take your freedoms away and all that stuff. What do you think? I don't know. You're not worried about it? No. You think I can control that? Do you think if I worried about it, it would change anything? I'll tell you what I'm concerned about - just trusting God. If my candidate gets in... I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen. Sometimes God may choose to do something unique. Maybe it's through greater amounts of freedom for the Church. Maybe it's through lesser freedoms for the Church. Maybe God wants to winnow some things so we could find out who actually wants to follow him instead of who wants to come to a crowd and listen to some dude talk good.
I'm not done. You're probably saying, please, Jesus. Help us.
If we really trusted God, if we really believe that God is sovereign and He's true, and He's good - if we really trusted Him, we would realize it is way more important that we live our lives on mission than it is if we cast a vote. Some of you are going what? Oh man. By the way - our brothers and sisters in Christ that were living under the tyranny of the Roman Empire and who've lived in so many different places across the world for the better part of two millennia - most of them haven't had an opportunity to vote. Ever. And do you know what our brothers and sisters in Christ, the first Church, that didn't have an opportunity to vote at all - they couldn't vote for anybody? They were under the reign of a Caesar who considered himself a divine being, and was leading the most powerful empire in the history of the world - you know what happened with them? They walked filled with the Spirit and turned the world upside down and they didn't cast a vote for anybody! That's what happened with them.
Now you're going, Jerry, are you advocating for no vote? No! I'm telling you it's more important for you to live lives on mission than it is to vote. It's way more important. Our brothers and sisters through history haven't even had the opportunity to do what we're talking about. It's a privilege certainly. It's a wonderful thing that we get to vote, but you can vote and then you can rest. God's in charge. Your job is to live life on mission for the glory of God. Because way more important than your vote is whether or not people are going to say yes to Jesus! That is singularly more important.
We could find out how true that is too, by the way because some of us have turned into better evangelists for our candidate of choice than we have for the true King of the universe. We're busier trying to get people to accept our opinion of a particular candidate than we are about trying to get people to Jesus Christ. I know I'm making tons of friends today, but I don't care. This is what we should be hearing. This is the truth of God. What I'm asking you to do is receive what God said. I'm asking you to receive whatever the Spirit of God wants to say to you and to me.
I love how C.S. Lewis actually phrased this when he was talking about politics and all of these kinds of things. He said this: "He who converts his neighbor has performed the most Christian-political act of all." I couldn't agree with him more. Some of us are better evangelists for a candidate than we are for the true King.
You're saying please be done, Jerry. Please be done. Almost.
If we really trusted God, we would stop compromising the testimony of Jesus by trying to justify the actions of the candidate we support - whether it's bad behavior, or vile talk, or lies, or corruption. What we end up doing in the body of Christ, we end up doing what everybody else in the world does. They tell you how your candidate's doing something bad. Oh yeah? You think that's bad, what about this? What about yours is doing that? Oh yeah? Well what about this? Aren't you glad that that's not what the Gospel's like? Aren't you glad Jesus didn't do that to us? We're compromising the testimony of Jesus when we find ourselves trying to justify the things that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt are inconsistent with His heart. But we'll do it for the sake of what? Power? Being right? Come on. We're the people of Jesus. Let's not compromise His testimony.
And let's not compromise His testimony by acting as if Jesus has a party. Or that Jesus has a candidate. Now there's one that He's going to use, whoever that is. People have asked me, who's God's person? Whoever wins. Because the sovereign God knows what's going on and He's going to do what He wants to do, whether they're good or bad or indifferent, whatever. He's going to do what He's going to do. You see we can trust Him.
I wish I could summarize what I'm saying to you in a better way. And I was going to use Tony Evans, a pastor in Dallas. I was going to use his words to summarize, but I can't do it justice. So I'm just going to let him do it himself. Listen to what he says.
There's a famous nursery rhyme that simply goes, Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. And Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Mr. Dumpty's world had become shattered, and he needed it fixed. But he didn't go to this friends or his family or even his church. He went to the White House. Now we know he went to the White House because the king got involved. The king was sympathetic to Mr. Dumpty's dilemma, so he called a meeting of Congress. We know Congress got involved because all of the king's men got involved. The tragedy of the nursery rhyme is when it was all said and done, all the king's horses and all the king's men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It is unfortunate today that far too many believers are expecting the solutions to our problems to land on Air Force One.
I'm taking to Joshua chapter 5. Joshua is doing reconnaissance around the walls of Jericho. He looks over and he sees the captain of another large army dressed in battle array. Now Joshua's mommy didn't raise a dummy. He wanted to know, whose side are you on? Because if you're on our side, then we got help against Jericho, but if you're on their side, then we got double trouble. So, before I go out here and make a fool of myself, whose side are you on? That's when the captain says to him, I think you are confused. I'm neither on your side, nor am I on their side. I'm captain of the Lord's army. I did not come to take sides, I came to take over.
You and I have to understand is God does not ride the backs of donkeys or elephants. That if you're a democrat, the best you can do is vote Democrat Lite. L-I-T-E. Or Republican Lite. L-I-T-E. Because your job is to bring the either one the L-I-G-H-T. Your job is to represent another King in another Kingdom. You and I belong to another Kingdom. Let's represent the King.
So ladies and gentlemen, God can be trusted, because He's sovereign over all the nations including this one. He's true. We don't have to believe the lies of Babylon anymore. And He's good. And He's demonstrated His goodness in the person of Jesus to reconcile us to the Father, enter us into the Kingdom of Light as we've been escorted out of the kingdom of darkness. A Kingdom that will never end. A Kingdom that is going to be forever, that's going to be ruled by a good King and the government's going to be on His shoulders. You see, that's the truth of what the Scripture teaches us. And maybe we have drifted away. Maybe we are a little bit lost at sea because the political hurricane has come and it's swept our hearts away. But I'm here to remind you and to recenter you in the safe harbor of the nature of God. That God can be trusted even in the midst of the craziness. Because He's sovereign. Because He's true. And because He's good.
So, if you're here and maybe you've never come to a place where you have received Jesus and come into a relationship with God. Maybe you've gotten tripped up because you've seen too many people like me, people who are already Christians who've gone a little bit off the deep end and we haven't really shown you what real trust in God looks like. And we've been more concerned with the things of earth than we have the things of eternity. And for that, I'll just tell you we're sorry, and please forgive us because that happens sometimes. We're not perfect. But I'm here to commend to you the King over every king and the Lord over every lord. That means that this is the King that every king that's ever lived is going to bow down to and recognize. It's the Lord - the one who's going to control everything, the sovereign One. I'm here to commend Him to you - that He loves you so much that even when you were a King rejecter, and maybe you chose to be your own king or queen - that while we were yet sinners, He still came and died for us, because He's so good and He loves you so much.
If you want to find out what it means to enter into a relationship with that King, to really be transformed, to be new, to enter a new Kingdom in your world, then when we're done in just a minute, when I pray and say good-bye, I'd love for you to come by the fireside room. If you're in this room or the East Worship Center, there's some pastors in there, some other friends that would just love to talk to you for a few minutes about what it means because I can assure you of this: you will cast no greater vote than when you put your heart's trust in Jesus. There will be no more important thing that you do in your life than that. So, I would encourage you not to leave if that's your need without entering the voting booth and putting your trust in Jesus.
But for the remainder of us, maybe God spoke to you about how you've let yourself drift and get away from actually trusting the God that can be trusted. Father, I pray that whatever it is you've wanted to say that you've said and that by the power of your Spirit you would speak into every one of our lives and help us to be reminded that our job is to be light in the midst of darkness. That it is far more eternally important that we live our lives consistent with the heart of Jesus and with the compassion and the grace of Jesus than it is about how we vote in temporary elections for temporary and passing leaders. God, may people see beyond that into our lives and know the reality and authenticity of our trust in You as our great King - no matter what's going on in the world. May they see that in our words. May they see that in our lives and may they see that in what radiates from us. The love the grace, the truth that You are trustworthy, God. That You're sovereign, that You're true, that You're good.
Help us to be light in the midst of darkness, to cooperate with You in Your great plan because Your desire is for Your Kingdom to come and Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. And You're using us as Your people to facilitate revealing the Kingdom all around us as Your Spirit lives in us and we have an opportunity to influence the people that are around us for the sake of the glory of God and the Kingdom of God. Help us to be concerned with eternal things more than we are temporary things. And help us God to put our attention on You and to do good where we can do good and to stand for justice where we need to stand for justice. But God, to be reminded that this centers back on You, and for people to be able to read that and see that in our hearts. We trust You to do this because we know You're trustworthy. You've proven it in every government in history. You've proven it through the millennia and You've proven it in our lives day by day. You're trustworthy and so we put our trust in You. And all God's people said amen.
God bless you. Have a great day.