Matthew R. Perry

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Podcast #14 Is Now Up: Reflections on the Presidential Election 2008

In 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Politics on November 7, 2008 at 11:03 am

Our Treasure The Word Podcast is now up. You can download the mp3 as well or sign-up on iTunes.

How Should You Vote? Here Are Some Answers

In Politics on November 3, 2008 at 11:39 pm

Every four years, we hear the same thing: “This is the most important election of our lifetime.” And it may very well be – until the next one in 2012. Tens of millions of dollars are poured into this election by candidates seeking the White House. Debate after debate, commercial after commercial, mailout after mailout, talking point after talking point bombards the American voter and international spectator about who would work best in the White House.

But the group of supporters (grassroots supporters) are the ones who really get stirred up! Bumper stickers, yard signs, door-to-door campaigns, e-mails, trying to convince you that their guy is the guy and that the other guy will send this country down the shoot if elected.

But the inevitable day comes. For us this election cycle, it’s November 4. The majority of the country has taken sides. Will it be Barack Obama, Democrat Senator from Illinois? Or will it be John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona? Or will you say, “Can’t stand either one of their positions, so I’m voting third party?” If that’s your choice, you can vote for Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, and Ralph Nader who is running as an Independent. One person said this morning that she’s voting for the one that troubles her the least!

For Christians, we have to know how to vote.

First, remember your ultimate citizenship.

Look with me at Philippians 3:17-21:

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. [18] For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. [19] Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. [20] But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Paul here reminds us of where our citizenship belongs: in heaven. This is not our home! So we should not live our lives as if this is all there is. The obsession and oppression that often comes with these elections must not overwhelm us. Look at an interesting passage in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31:

This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, [30] and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, [31] and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

What is Paul saying here? He is saying to live in light of Christ’s return. In my study Bible, they put it like this. “The purpose of 1 Corinthians … is to encourage Christians to attend to the kinds of daily affairs that would be unimportant if Christ were returning within weeks or months.” These affairs such as marriage, giving, and yes voting are temporary affairs that, yes, need to be tended to but, no, do not need to be obsessed over.

The Bible tells us that ultimately you are ambassadors for Him from another city. In light of this, I want to encourage you to do the following:

2. Remember your main motivation.

First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Is voting included in this? Yes! Is really everything we do included in this? Yes. Drive to the glory of God. Clean your house to the glory of God. Do your job to the glory of God. And vote to the glory of God.

In other words, this understanding of separating politics or our “real life” as some say from our faith is absurd. When politicians on both sides of the aisle say, “According to my faith, this is what I personally believe, but politically I hold to this position,” what is that saying? Whatever it’s saying, it’s not good.

So what is our main motivation? Look with me at 2 Cor. 5:14-21:

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;  [15] and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

[16] From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.  [17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  [18] All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  [19] that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  [20] Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  [21] For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So what we are doing is having everything we do being informed by the gospel! Our main motivation and compulsion is this “ministry of reconciliation.” We tell everyone, “Be reconciled to God.” So everything we do as ambassadors of Jesus Christ must jibe with his Word.

So we live motivated by the Gospel! We live so others may have life in Christ. So we do not live or die by elections of men. We live or die by the exaltation of the risen Christ! Our life is not ruined if our man doesn’t get in the White House.

Our motivation is not to equate America with the Kingdom of God.  Our motivation must not to have our “guy” in the White House.  Now, some of you may have gotten to that point, but not for spiritual reasons. You may be there because you’ve given up on the whole process. Don’t! God uses the inhabitants of his land as vehicles of His will.

3. Remember who installs the world’s leaders.

Look with me Daniel 4:28-33:

All this came upon King Neb uchadnezzar.  [29] At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,  [30] and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”  [31] While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,  [32] and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”  [33] Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.

Do Americans decided the presidency ultimately?  No, they do not.  While God does use the inhabitants of the earth to accomplish His purposes, He is ultimately the one who installs every leader as an instrument of grace or judgment.  We see this all through Israel’s history — God would give the people a king often reflective of their obedience or disobedience.

See also Paul’s words from Romans 13:1-7:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  [2] Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  [3] For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  [4] for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.  [5] Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  [6] For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  [7] Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

4. Remember to honor, respect, and pray for those who win.

I’ll leave you with 1 Peter 2:13-17:

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, [14] or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. [15] For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. [16] Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. [17] Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Are you willing to pray for, honor, and respect whomever is elected — even if he’s not “your guy?”

Consider Piper’s words:

Rick Warren Asks John McCain About Abortion

In 2008 Presidential Election, Abortion, John McCain, Politics on August 17, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Again, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange Valley, California, asks John McCain about abortion. What do you think?

Rick Warren Asks Obama About Views on Abortion

In Abortion, Barack Obama, Politics, Rick Warren/PDL on August 17, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Rick Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. Over the weekend, he interviewed Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee John McCain. In this clip, he asked Obama two questions. How do you think Obama did in addressing these questions? Was he clear and lucid? What are your thoughts on the matter?

(HT: Denny Burk)

Should Sexual Immorality Amongst Our Leaders Matter?

In Politics on August 13, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Albert Mohler addresses some of the issues and answers them clearly.

God Wants Me to Love … Them? (Part I: No Partiality To Our Love and Prayers)

In Church Life, Culture, Politics, Sermons on July 30, 2008 at 4:29 pm

(This sermon was preached at the Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY, on July 27, 2008. To listen to this sermon in its entirety, click here.)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [47] And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? [48] You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48, ESV).

For over thirty years, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood graced the PBS landscape with a small question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Honestly, I made fun of that show when I was middle school and high school. Mr. (Fred) Rogers was just nice, but as I grew older, I realized how important his message was. Rogers was a Christian and his Christian worldview permeated every skit he did. Everyone had value. Everyone had a purpose for being on earth. Everyone (and many would groan when he said this) was special.

Do we find this corny and cheesy, or do we find some kernel of truth in it? I pray we do, because this echoes much of what Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:43-48. In this passage, Jesus sets up this teaching by saying, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” We recognize the biblical understanding of “love your neighbor.” The question arose, “Well, who is my neighbor?”

According to the Jews, they would look around and say, “Well, the surrounding nations couldn’t be my neighbor! They worship false gods, and we worship the one true God. They offer abominable sacrifices. They aren’t my neighbor.” Then they would look to the Samaritans. “ They aren’t my neighbor. They are half-breeds, with Jewish blood mixed in with Assyrian blood. I won’t even walk on Samaritan soil.” They would even look at many of their Jewish brothers and tell themselves, “Well, we are the religious leaders, the intelligentsia of Israel. Everyone looks up to us. We are special. We cannot consider the common riff-raff our neighbor.”

Do you see what happened? Only those who were just like them were considered their neighbor. Those who looked and thought exactly like they did. They began to view everything through their own narrowly man-made glasses.

This most certainly penetrates where we live, does it not? How do you view people differently from you? Those who may be in a different tax bracket, have a different educational background, live in different types of neighborhoods. Some have “spiritual” differences: different denominations, use different versions of the Scriptures, praise and worship in different ways. How do you view them? Do you feel your station, your views, your ways are superior for whatever reason — even if those people are made in the image of God and, in the spiritual sense, are redeemed by the blood of Jesus?

Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He had to set the entire Jewish community (and us) straight concerning their relationships to one another. In fact, the entirety of Matthew 5 in dealing wit the relationship of Kingdom people to one another in dealing with anger, lust, divorce, words and retaliation all come to consummation here. We are to love and pray for all, not just our friends or those who are like us, but also for those who are “enemies” to us personally or who are contrary to our lifestyles. We are to emulate Jesus — for this is not a super-spiritual status meant for the select few. Jesus not only sets the principle, but as we will see, lived it out to the fullest degree.

1. Our love and prayers should show no partiality.

Again, Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. They go together. Our flesh says, “Hate your enemies and get revenge on those who persecute you.” What is Jesus driving at here?

The Scriptures use a number of words for ‘love.’ ‘Philia’ is a friendship type of love—a brotherly love. ‘Eros’ is a sexual type of love reserved for marriage (or at least should be) and is where we get the word erotic. ‘Storge’ is a type of love between members of a family. Yet, Jesus uses another word to describe this love: ‘agape.’ What is this? This type of love is a sacrificial love which puts self aside for the sake of the Kingdom and for others.

This is the type of love Jesus describes. This is the type of love we extend to our enemies. Yet, the Pharisees didn’t get this. They saw the command from Leviticus 19:18 which said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” dropped the ‘as yourself part’ and just assumed the corollary, “and hate your enemy.” As studied as they were in the Old Testament, they missed the fact that in no place in the Old Testament does it say to ‘hate your enemy.’

For example: in Deuteronomy 16:19, Moses commanded the judges to “not pervert justice. You shall show no partiality.” In Proverbs 25:21-22, the Proverbist writes:

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.

Where did they go wrong? They allowed their own cultural prejudices cloud the Spirit’s work in their hearts. They called themselves people of God, yet some prejudice took root in their hearts and they began to divide themselves from others.

Aren’t we guilty of that? I’ve seen Baptists have a hatred for other denominations, Republicans and Democrats have a hatred for one another, the rich and a hatred for the poor and the poor for the rich. Even Christians who have a hatred for those who are abortion practitioners, homosexuals, pornographers, etc.

Does God have a ‘hatred’ for them? The Scriptures do say that God is angry with the wicked every day that that his wrath is being poured out against ungodliness and wickedness as a consequence of those who rebel against him. But consider Romans 5:6-8: :

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— [8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You see, outside of Christ, we are enemies. When Christ saves us from our sin, we are no longer enemies but friends. If Christ lives in us, then he will lead us in exemplifying this type of love.

Calling Cards, iPods, and the Worth of our Words, Part I

In Culture, Politics, Preaching, Sermons on July 17, 2008 at 1:20 pm

(This sermon was preached on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. To listen to the sermon in its entirety, click here.)

Truth is a rare commodity in our culture. We find ourselves searching high and low in our culture for truth. Not only do we not find it, we have grown cynical as to whether anyone can really tell us the truth at all. If the great Roman orator Cicero was right that “Nothing is sweeter than the light of truth,” then we are living in dark and bitter times. Daniel Webster noted once, “There is nothing so powerful as truth—and often nothing so strange.” Would we know what to do if we had a politician who told the truth? Would we know what to do with a car salesman who told us not only the good but also the bad of a car we are considering purchasing?

Even among our preachers, we hear of preachers and evangelists embellishing stories and statistics in order to (in theory) make their point more valid. Some have taken such liberties with the truth that some even joke about it while preaching that they are really telling them the truth with this.

This morning, we look at Matthew 5:33-37 and see that our words matter and our words count. What does our speech tell us about our hearts?

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”

At first, this simply looks like Jesus is speaking of the making and taking of oaths, but he really goes deeper. Many in the Old and New Testament have made oaths to others. Hebrews 6:16 says, “For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation” (Hebrews 6:16, ESV). All through the Sermon on the Mount, in fact, Jesus made an oath when he said, “Truly I say to you… .” In other words, he is giving an oath to help seal the truthfulness of an issue. To Jesus, words mattered to establish truth.

Yet some use words to manipulate. Does saying something, then swearing on a stack of Bibles or swearing on your Momma’s graves or, even more serious, swearing to God to help people believe what you are saying?

1. Our words are the calling card of our character.

I have on me a business card. This business card contains my picture, my name and title, the name of the church, my phone numbers, e-mail, and a short Bible verse. This is my business card that I give whenever I call of folks for a visit. That card, though it contains some great information, is only as good as the man behind it. So too is any oath and really any propositional statement you make is only as good as the character.

Look with me at verse 33 once again: “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’” Up until this point, Jesus brings up two of the Ten Commandments (anger and murder), but here Jesus goes a little further into the particular traditions set up by the rabbis. What Jesus sets up here is a combination of verses found in the Old Testament. For instance, Leviticus 19:12 says: “You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.” Numbers 30:2 says, “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Deut. 23:21 says, “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin.”

These are the verses Jesus has in mind. He puts before them the commands not to swear falsely, or to perjure oneself. But even with religiously minded people, they would find loopholes. Jesus gave the teaching correctly, but there is one clause that we must see: “You shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.” In other words, they taught, “If make a vow or taken an oath swearing by God’s name, then it is permissible and you have to honor it. But if you swear by any other name or by anything else, it could be broken.”

Jesus comes along and says in verse 34-35, “But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.” Again, Jesus here is not forbidding the taking of oaths. He is forbidding taking oaths in such a careless manner that they are rendered meaningless. Jesus takes umbrage in other areas in which we use words carelessly.

In October, we shall spend four weeks looking at the Lord’s Prayer and our prayer before the Lord. In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus says, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. [8] Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” The New American Standard version puts it nicely, “Do not use meaningless repetition.” Our words have to have weight!

Same principle here. Some made vows to heaven thinking that conveyed a seriousness, but still gave them an out to be at odds with the truth. But Heaven is God’s throne. Earth is God’s footstool. Jerusalem is his city. But it went even further. In Matthew 23:16-22, Jesus said:

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ [17] You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? [18] And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ [19] You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? [20] So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. [21] And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. [22] And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

What’s the point? It is all part of God’s created order. Every lie brings shame upon the name of God ultimately. Just because we say certain things about stacks of Bibles and momma’s graves does not mean that God gives us a free pass to play fast and loose with our words.

Ron Paul Gives Christians Good Advice Concerning Laws on Abortion

In Abortion, Politics, Religious Liberties, Ron Paul on May 9, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Ron Paul has long been the object of much admiration and much scorn. Yet, I am one of the folks who support Dr. Paul due to his strict constitutionalist leanings and his Jeffersonian worldview of small government. I bought his most recent book, The Revolution: A Manifesto. It is the #1 book on Amazon.com and will be the #1 book on the New York Times Bestseller list that will come out on May 18.

In his Chapter Three dealing with “The Constitution,” he addresses a number of different areas. One of which is abortion. He is against abortion because he feels the Supreme Court overstepped its authority in Roe v. Wade in that horrendous decision in 1973. Instead, Congress should come along and strip the court of their power over this decision and bring this issue exclusively to the states.

But let us listen to what he says on p. 61:

Let us remember, though, that the law can do only so much. The law isn’t what allowed abortion; abortions were already being done in the 1960s against the law. The courts came along and conformed to the social and moral changes that were taking place in society. Law reflects the morality of the people. Ultimately, law or now law, it is going to be up to us as parents, as clergy, and as citizens — in the way we raise our children, how we interact and talk with our friends and neighbors, and the good example we give — to bring about changes to our culture toward greater respect for life.

We cannot trust in the government to fix everything — and some politicians run on just that platform. For us to fix the ills of our society, we must turn our people back to the Word of God. Only Christ can change and transform. Yes, we must still stand up and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Let’s just not rely on the government to do only what the Spirit of God can do (Ezekiel 36:25-26).

What Does Salt and Light Mean?

In Church Life, Culture, Devotional, Politics, Sermons on May 4, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Many of us here have been in church for all our lives, and with that we have our own expressions. This should not surprise us. Every field has their own terminology and if you desire to work in that particular field, you need to learn what it’s all about! For instance, if you are working on computers and say, “I’m going to boot up my computer and download Windows on my PC, then use Mozilla Firefox for my web browser so I can surf the ‘Net,” you may understand everything I just said — or you may think I’m speaking in tongues.

Christians have their own terms as well. One phrase we tend to use often is the phrase “salt and light.” All of us fall into three categories:

• We may understand perfectly.
• We may be fairly new to Christianity and have no clue as to what this means.
• Or, we could be ones who use the term frequently and may even find some inspiration in it, but not have a good grip on it.

All of us need to see two things. First, what does ‘salt and light’ mean? Secondly, what does it mean to be ‘salt and light?’ The answer to this question will not simply satisfy a theological question, but will give all Christians the reason why God put us here.

1. What does ‘salt and light’ mean?

Salt. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” What does this mean? Salt in our culture has various uses. Many have salt on the kitchen table which is used to season food. Having this in mind, some say that God has placed Christians here to season the earth with the salt of Christianity. This is partly true!

The Roman Empire was overturned not by warfare but by ordinary Christians living Kingdom lives in the midst of tyranny and opposition. They saw the reality of Matthew 5:10-12 which says:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

When the Roman citizens saw the peace and joy that Christians possessed even in stiff opposition and persecution, this made an impression.

Even now Christians make a difference. Think of all art over the last 500 years devoted to Christ. Think of all the music given over to the glory of God. Our educational system was founded largely by Christians to help children read the Scriptures. Harvard and Yale were founded as colleges for pastors. Our hospitals have named like St. Joseph’s, Good Samaritan, Jewish and others because God placed a compassion in Christians to treat and help those made in his image.

In Jesus’ time, salt was not just used for seasoning but as a preservative to cure the meats and also brings out the flavor. With no refrigeration system, the only way to keep the meats from spoiling would be to cure the meat, wrap it tightly, and bury it in the ground. The meat would stay put — that is, unless some dirt came in and mixed with the salt. If this happens, the meat spoils and the salt loses its preserving nature.

Sodium is an extremely active element found naturally only in combined form; it always links itself to another element. Chlorine, on the other hand, is the poisonous gas that gives bleach its offensive odor. When sodium and chlorine are combined, the result is sodium chloride–common table salt–the substance we use to preserve meat and bring out its flavor. Love and truth can be like sodium and chlorine. Love without truth is flighty, sometimes blind, willing to combine with various doctrines. On the other hand, truth by itself can be offensive, sometimes even poisonous. Spoken without love, it can turn people away from the gospel. When truth and love are combined in an individual or a church, however, then we have what Jesus called “the salt of the earth,” and we’re able to preserve and bring out the beauty of our faith.

Salt works inwardly which means that when salt works, it’s where no one sees it. But the effects of it are on the outside. With the salt, the preserving nature works inwardly so that

Light. In Matthew 5:14-15, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” Here, the skeptic may say, “Wait a minute. In John 8:12 (this skeptic knows his Bible) says that Jesus is the light of the world.” Correct. John 8:12 says, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” Is Jesus or are we the light of the world?

We are the light of the world because we are the body of Christ in the world. He lives in us and shines through us as we live out the Kingdom He’s transferred to us. And light has a distinct function: to uncover the darkness and put on display all that’s around us.

Yet Jesus says that people don’t light this lamp in order to hide it. Yet not everyone who has light shines it. Why? Two reasons come to mind: some hid their light because of an enemy approaching. Some snuffed out their light when they were sleeping.

But Christ called us to be his light in his world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Christians are to rise high above the fray of the world so all the world can see the light of Jesus. This verse may be difficult for us to grasp since we are so surrounded by light. But in the 1st century as well as in most of the world today, no light can be found for hundreds of miles. So when the lights of the big city shine in dark rural areas afar, those areas can see that light clearly.

By Jesus saying that we are the light of the world, and connecting this with the fact that Jesus is the light of the world, we shine and shine brightly. But we must be discerning enough not to allow the enemy to douse the light. This is not easy, for Satan masquerades as an angel of light. He makes himself and his way look quite good, but that’s because without Christ we are remarkably like him: Satan wanted to be like God, and so do we. We want to rule our lives with impunity.

We also must make sure that we do not put out that light by falling asleep. Ephes. 5:15 says that we should, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” We need to be alert, be focused, be discipled — we need to look to Christ and follow his will and way.

Obama Believes the Sermon on the Mount Justifies Homosexual Unions? O-K!

In 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Culture, Politics, Theology on March 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm

An excerpt:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told a crowd at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sunday that he believes the Sermon on the Mount justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions. He also told the crowd that his position in favor of legalized abortion does not make him “less Christian.”

To read the entire article, click here.

For the record, this is a horrible example of biblical exegesis. Bringing one’s worldview into the interpretive process of reading Scripture is dangerous and foolhardy. Beside, if he wants to talk about homosexuality, why did he neglect to address this passage:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ [28] But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. [29] If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. [30] And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matthew 5:27-30, ESV).

What’s the issue? Lust. Plus, Jesus addressed male-female unions (also known as marriage) in Matthew 19

[3] And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” [4] He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, [5] and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? [6] So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:3-6, ESV).

While I realize I am not voting for a theologian-in-chief, I just have to say, “Come on! Be consistent! Read all of what Jesus says and put together the pieces.” It honestly makes me wonder how he will read his own worldview into the Constitution.

Wow!

(HT: Derick Dickens)