Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WE WILL SHOW THEM”

John 13.34-35

 

Our recent election shows the United States to be a deeply divided country. Allow me to set before you some of the things we are divided over before we turn to the Word of God.

A recent news report indicates that one-half of the country is not happy with the election. As I thought about that report, I reflected on the stupidity of the comment, since approximately one-half of the country is unhappy with the turnout of every presidential election. So, what else is new? I also contemplated the mainstream media reports for the last eight years that claim the United States of America, despite twice electing a biracial president, son of an African man and an American white woman, is a racist country. Half of the country concludes that electing a Black man to the office of president on two occasions suggests the country is not racist, while half of the country concludes from the same results that the country is racist. As well, many in the country’s media suggest the nation is the worst place in the world to live, while even immigrants who strongly criticize the USA prefer to live in the USA rather than the country of their birth. Canadians hate the United States while living here instead of Canada. Mexicans hate the United States while choosing to live here instead of Mexico. Arabs hate the United States while choosing to live here rather than the Middle East.

This is very confusing to many Americans, especially Americans who get their news solely from the mainstream media. Julian Assange, whose Wikileaks organization has dumped millions of emails from Russian government officials, from Sony Corporation officials, and from the Clinton campaign computers of Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, John Podesta, and former Congressman Weiner, claims no one has ever shown a single Wikileaks email to be false, while also showing the mainstream media in collusion to influence the election. It is at least unethical if not illegal for news organizations to collude with politicians to affect the outcome of any election, but it suggests to Christians that the sources of information that drive our actions and reactions to events need to be carefully considered. As I mentioned in my message from God’s Word last week, we need to strive to base our beliefs, our decisions, and our actions on the principle that nothing is established as true if not corroborated by two or three witnesses. That principle is found throughout the Bible.[1]

The problem with this election, as well as with past elections, is who to believe? Do you believe the Republican candidate? Do you believe the Democrat candidate? Or do you believe the guy or gal you like on the evening news? My recommendation is for you to believe none of those sources, but rather believe God. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3.4, 

“let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” 

I will admit to you that this week’s preparation for my message from God’s Word has been very difficult. Not that I have had any trouble whatsoever deciding what to preach about because that is the easy part. The difficulty has been prayerfully deciding what to say to you by way of introduction, how to get you from where you are when you walk into the auditorium to where you need to be when I open God’s Word. This is because most of you do not arrive at the Church house prepared to worship God, but are either happy or sad because of considerations other than God. That’s too bad. That’s also wrong.

Like every presidential election, about half the country is happy with the results while half the country is unhappy with the results. That is a reality in a constitutional republic. What I hope does not happen in the immediate future is that we all get united, because what suddenly unites a country as large as ours is a great tragedy. We quickly united on December 7, 1941. We quickly united on September 11, 2001. If that is what it takes to unite our country, then I am satisfied with us being somewhat less than united as a nation. Aren’t you? Our country does not need to be united, in that sense. However, our congregation does need to be united. We do not need to be united in who we voted for. We do not need to be united in our ethnic background or cultural preferences. But we do need to display the unity that is made possible by the blood of Jesus Christ, our common spiritual heritage and convictions, and our commitment to representing and serving God in difficult times. And make no mistake about it, times will only get more difficult.

What, then, is our task in these last days, as we find ourselves in a divided and diminished nation, with half of the population embracing the notion of a larger and more intrusive government and the other half of the population embracing the notion of a smaller and less intrusive government? Half of our citizens want the government to take away your plastic one-time grocery bags, and your personal safety firearms and half of our citizens want the government to leave both our plastic one-time grocery bags and personal safety firearms alone.

As the squabbling continues, as the public demonstrations continue, as the protests occur, as classroom and workplace threats have already been voiced against some of our own Church members by disgruntled voters, what should you decide to do? What should we decide to do? I recommend that we who are Christians do what we have always done, what we have always been directed by our Lord and Master to do, and what Christians can only really and effectively do as a Church congregation. We show them. Hebrews 12.1-2 prescribes our course of action: 

1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

This passage tells us, in essence, to do what we do. Just keep doing what you are supposed to be doing anyway. We should always keep our eyes on the Savior. We should always follow His example. We should always lay aside weights and sins that beset us and run our race with patience. And this is important because there are always witnesses. People are always watching us, be they human beings or be they angels. Eyes are always on us. Because people are witness to your comments, watch your mouth. Because people are witness to your confidence, watch your posture. Because people are witness to your facial expression, watch your countenance. Because people are witness to your conduct, watch your kindness.

I have four recommendations for your consideration this morning, recommendations that will reflect to others your Christ-likeness, recommendations that will testify to others your confidence in God’s sovereignty, recommendations that will show others how blood-bought and blood-washed believers in Jesus Christ conduct ourselves while those who are lost run around like their hair is on fire: 

First, BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING 

Do not give yourself over to worry.

“But pastor, there are things that really bother me.” I know. There are things that really bother me, as well. But each of us who know Christ has to be mindful that when we committed the well-being of our souls to Jesus Christ we owned Him as the Lord of all or as the Lord of not at all.

Two passages for you to be mindful of when you experience night terrors or concerns of other kinds: First, there is Philippians 4.4-9: 

4  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

5  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 

Then, there is First Peter 5.6-7: 

6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

Next, BE PRAYERFUL FOR EVERYTHING 

Pray about everything.

Be mindful of the fact that a child who wakes up early and is hungry does not have a problem. The child’s mother has a problem, and once the child tells his mother, “Mommy, I’m hungry,” that mother will address her child’s hunger and will solve her problem. Though I have oversimplified the situation, the same basic principle applies to God, does it not?

Therefore, commit your concerns and your needs to God. To the Church in Thessalonica, comprised of weeks-old believers in Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul urged, 

“Pray without ceasing.” 

Paul directed them to pray about everything, handing over every problem and every concern to God, Who is most capable of solving His problems. To the Ephesian congregation, Paul wrote these words from Roman imprisonment: 

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints,” 

Ephesians 6.18. If this does not refer to praying about everything and on behalf of every Christian all the time then I do not know what words mean. 

Third, BE THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING 

Expressions of gratitude are profoundly important to God, and to everyone else as well. Listen to the Apostle Paul’s opening indictment of the human race for sinning against God, particularly Romans 1.21: 

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” 

Oh, how God prizes gratitude that is expressed as appreciation of His wisdom, His goodness, His provision, His protection, and so forth. And when you express thanks it changes you as much as it shows appreciation to God.

If Paul urged the Thessalonian Church members to pray without ceasing, what do you think he wrote to them in the next two verses, in First Thessalonians 5.18-19? 

18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19  Quench not the Spirit. 

If you pray you should also thank God for the privilege of prayer, for God’s willingness to hear your prayers, and for His determination to answer your prayers. Besides, it is God’s will for you to give thanks to Him, and it seems by the context in which his remark is made to be related to quenching the Spirit of God if you do not give thanks. The Spirit of God wants you to thank God for everything!

There is, of course, a connection that exists between thanking God and praising God. You simply cannot do the one without the other. With this in mind, consider Psalm 50.23: 

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” 

When you thank God, you will praise God. When you praise God, you will glorify God. And when you conduct yourself in this way, God will show you His salvation, His deliverance. Is that good, or what? 

Finally, LOVE YOUR BROTHER IN CHRIST NO MATTER WHAT 

Being careful for nothing, not worrying about things, is between you and God. It affects others, but it is really between you and God. The same is true of praying for everything and expressing gratitude to God for everything. Others will see and hear you doing these things, but these are vertical expressions of your confidence in God. While they are wonderful, there is something else that is also profoundly important for people to see.

Turn in your Bible to John 13.34-35. The apostles are in the Upper Room. The betrayer has left the room. In a few minutes, they will depart for the Garden of Gethsemane where their Master will be arrested. Then will begin three days of unimaginable and soul-wrenching fear, confusion, heartache, and doubt.

Of course, following His crucifixion and burial the Lord Jesus Christ will rise from the dead and their joy will return. They will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and then baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. But the rest of their lives will be fraught with difficulties, persecutions, challenges, and martyrdoms for all but one of them. What is the one thing the Savior said to them to prepare them for what they would experience? What words to them are best remembered and put into practice by us? 

34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

If worry is a matter that is settled between you and God, and prayer is a matter that is conducted between you and God, and expressions of thanks are primarily between you and God, this is the issue that is most important to you and me, between you and the other Christians you know. I love you and you love me. We need to express that love by kindness, by affection, by consideration, by self-sacrifice, and by preferring one another. 

Do you think Christians always agree on politics? Do you think Christians always agree on economics? Do you think Christians always agree on climate change or other aspects of environmentalism? Do you think Christians always agree on the best temperature of the auditorium or the things that are most conducive to worship? Just like everyone else in the world we live in, the answer to those questions is in each case no. However, differently than the world around us, we have in common something profoundly more important than anything that divides us. That which is the basis for our unity is the eternal Son of the living God, Who shed His blood for our sins, the Spirit of the living God Who indwells each of us, and God the Father Who has adopted each of us into His family.

Christians do not always conduct themselves as though eternal truths are more important than everything else, but we should. We do not have in common our appearance. We do not have in common our education and training. We do not have in common our talents or abilities. We do not always have in common our heart language. But we can have in common the condition of our soul, forgiveness of our sins, the promise of our future home in heaven, and the stake we each have in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

So, when all around you threatens to disturb you, challenges your resolve, presents you with outcomes you do not like, or sets next to you a believer in Christ who is different from you in the respects that do not really matter so much, be careful for nothing, be prayerful for everything, be thankful for everything, and love one another for Christ’s sake. It will turn out okay. Our God reigns and a man sits on the throne of the universe. That man’s name is Jesus Christ, and He is Lord of all. What do we do in the meantime? We show them. We show all of them. When people who are different from each other are fussing and fighting with each other, we who are also different except for our oneness in Christ will show them. We show them as we have always shown the witnesses around us. We show them by not so much worrying, by praying, by our thankfulness, but mostly by loving each other.

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[1] http://www.calvaryroadbaptist.church/sermon.php?sermonDate=20161106a

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org