What does it look like for Christians to be involved in government despite increasing corruption? In this episode, Pastor Lutzer draws from the book of Acts to consider the point at which we lay aside our expectation of deliverance from corrupt leaders and choose rather to pray for boldness “to preach the word of God without fear.”
Here are all of the ways that you can follow along with 5 Minutes With Pastor Lutzer:
Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us today as we continue our discussion of “God and the Nations.” By the way, did you know that the word “nations” occurs more than 500 times in the Bible? You ask, “Did you count them?” No, I didn’t but someone else did. Nations play a very important role in God’s eternal purposes. A number of years ago, I was in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and I was giving a series of lectures in a seminary (speaking through an interpreter, of course) and we were talking about government and I said that Christians should be involved in the government and immediately I noticed that there were people who were talking to one another. Obviously it became clear that I said something wrong and later on my interpreter explained to me, “you must realize that here in Russia, Christians perceive the government to be so evil and so corrupt that they generally are not involved at all. They think to themselves it’s not even possible to be a Christian and to be actively involved because of the necessary compromises.” You know, could we just pause today and thank God for the United States of America? There’s so much that is wrong with this country, but there’s also so much that is right with this country. We still have freedom of assembly. We have a number of different freedoms that God has given to us that we’ve been able to use. God has really blessed this country. And no matter where you are on the political spectrum, I urge you today, give thanks to God. The United States is a great country. Now I was born and raised in Canada, but I am now a naturalized citizen of the United States of America and I’m proud of it.
But the question is, how do we relate when the state begins to turn against us? What do we do then? Well, it’s not exactly speaking about the nations, but the passage that I want us to focus on for the next couple of moments is in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts. Remember how Peter and John were preaching the Gospel, and of course, later on they were beaten and all? You know that whole story. And they were brought forth and they were told, “do not preach anymore in the name of Jesus.” That’s very expressly told them. Talk about hate speech, talk about a lack of freedom of religion and of freedom of speech, but they made the statement and they said, “whether or not it is right to harken onto you or to God you be the judge.” I love this, “but we cannot help but speak about the things that we have seen and heard.” And then they meet together. And I encourage you to read this entire prayer and this story. You may be familiar with it, but read it again. Acts 4—they meet together and they pray and they say, “Oh, Sovereign Lord” And they talk about the sovereignty of God. They quote Psalm two. You know—“why do the gentiles rage and the people applaud in vain? (etc. etc.).” So they go back to the scripture, but here’s what I find most interesting. They did not pray that God would deliver them from the oppression that they were experiencing from these leaders. What they prayed for, a number of times, is for boldness that they might preach the word of God without fear.
My friend, today, that’s what we need as a Church. And, of course, when I speak about boldness, I’m not talking about insensitivity or hardness of heart but being willing to stand for God and take the consequences. Let me give you an example from the Old Testament. Darius makes a law that everybody is supposed to pray to him alone. You remember, he was set up to do that by some of his advisers. Daniel knows that that’s the law. If he’s to pray, he’ll be thrown into the den of lions. He prays in the very same way, the Bible says, “three times a day as before.” And you’re right, he gets the lions. Now, God delivered him, but I can tell you that throughout history, there have been thousands of Christians who were thrown to the lions and there was no deliverance, but they were faithful. I want to leave a question with you, and by the way, next time we’re going to discuss the question of how God judges nation. But I want to leave you with this question: What does faithfulness and boldness look like in your life today? Thanks so much for joining us. See you next time. But as for today you just go with God.