CHRIST-CENTERED MINISTRIES FOR
Our church is very active in prayer and teaching, especially when it comes to our nation. We teach on what it means to be a Christian in our spiritual environment and the necessity to take that outside of the church into the public square. As soon as we teach on law, national defense, the courts, sin in our modern culture and security issues within our community, even in our homes, some people can start to get negative. It can go from “Let’s be loving and not get political” all the way to, “You must keep your opinions inside the church and not talk about things like mixing religion and politics.” Usually when I find folks with those areas of disagreement, I will begin to talk about several misconceived ideas which have invaded our country. The first is for the unbeliever and the other is for the believer. On this page I will primarily address the believer.
For the non-believer, I refer you to a book I have written, “70 Years of American Captivity.” In it you will review the history of this nation and an understanding of the Bill of Rights, along with the Constitutional understanding of covenant and its non-sectarian application by the Federal government. You will also review how it was and IS NOW the Federal government who was to be limited by the Bill of Rights. It was the Federal government who is to be under the dynamics of a limited government in size, money, and especially in power. As a result, it is government who is limited in the First Amendment, not the American citizen. Said another way, the framing generation wrote what would be considered the outside limit of an institution or the demarcation line of exemplar, standard or even precedent. For example, we have limited government— branches of government which are not allowed to go over a certain line. Because government was the highest human authority, it is the government who is limited in the First Amendment. That means free speech, both religious and political or otherwise is permitted in government, on the job and in the public square. Why? Because government was the boundary line for the First Amendment— government itself and everything under the authority of human government— business, job, public square, etc., is where the people can exercise their First Amendment rights.
So agnostics or non-believers need to know what our governing documents say as well as the attitude the folks who wrote the documents had. Can you imagine trying to take guns out of the hands of the generation who wrote the Constitution? THEY PROBABLY WOULD HAVE SHOT YOU! And they would not have gone to jail for it, for a very good reason. YOU BROKE the law by trying to take their gun for no good reason! (By the way, that’s called stealing.) I am not condoning violence and by the time you finish reading this, you will understand that. Many faith-filled believers have a misconception as well when it comes to sharing Christ in the public square, serving in the military, personal self-defense and even addressing politics and political government in our society today. I also refer them to the same book I referred agnostics or atheists to. (You can get a copy from this website, or at Amazon or any other national bookseller). For believers, or younger believers who may never have been taught these principles as I was from my first pastor and from Jesus, let’s get started. Let’s look at some basic foundational principles.
Our Bibles have two sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament. Very often there is confusion concerning what applies and when. The rule of thumb is what has not been abrogated by the New Testament, the Old Testament applies as well. That means the New Testament did away with all the requirements under the Mosaic Law to have sins cleansed. Jesus cleansed our sin and made us a new creation. We don’t have to kill animals to apply blood or drink offerings or cereal or grain offerings or oil or wine offerings. Christ has been made our sin offering, our fellowship offering, our peace offering and so much more. Our spiritual oil and wine (anointing and gifts) are given us by the precious Holy Spirit, who came to abide with us here on earth when Jesus was received up into heaven. So our covenant is slightly different from the Old Covenant. I will not be going into the differences here, you can read the book.
That’s why the Ten Commandments have not been abolished. Jesus did not do so, nor did the apostles do so within the New Testament. Jesus took the Ten Commandments into overdrive in Matthew 5-7. The Apostle Paul reviews how to self-govern under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, or said another way, how to lead a Spirit-filled life as a believer in Christ. We have other dynamic similarities. Under the Old Covenant you understood that Moses affixed a written law to the spiritual law God gave them. It was both secular and spiritual. Jesus did the same thing in Matthew 5. So we have a personal covenant with our Creator because we are citizens of a spiritual kingdom. Jesus was establishing a spiritual kingdom, which affects us secularly also (John 18:36; Luke 17:20; Mark 3:27). Yet Christian Americans have a triple citizenship. They have a dual citizenship as citizens of the state they live in as well as the country they live in, and then a spiritual citizenship within God Almighty’s kingdom. Within our dual citizenship we see multiple levels of government. The Bible gives us these examples as well.
In Daniel 9, after Israel is sent into captivity, the prophet tells us that the Lord gave him an understanding of how long this captivity was going to take. As he is repenting and confessing the sins of his people, he mentions three groups of governmental authority who are guilty of these sins. Daniel 9:5, 6: “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgements: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.” In order for the people to have broken a precept or judgment, they would have had to be knowledgeable about their laws and how it governed them. The result of breaking God’s covenant is also seen upon these three groups of ruling forces within the nation. Daniel 9:8: “O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.” The phrase, confusion of face(s) literally means shame or disappointment of feelings, ideas, stature and refers to the part of the head which turns (thus the reference to face because it turns with the head). The idea of, “which way do I go?”— and then you see someone turn their head one way and then the other way. Who has this problem? Government. The phrase, men of Judah refers to the ruling kingly line. Kings rule over nations. Princes rule over smaller geographic areas. The word fathers would refer to the local leaders and leaders within local families. Prophets are spiritual leadership, or for many in our time, church leadership. The people would refer to them personally, or on a personal level.
These covenantal agencies are like gravity. Once spoken into existence by God, they govern outcomes. It becomes a spiritual law. Everyone thinks all we need are all democrats (socialists) or all republicans to solve what’s wrong. As long as we continue to ignore the spiritual atmosphere of covenant we will continue to experience difficulty. So no matter what manner a government takes, you will always see three levels of government in any nation. You would have the national level; the level of communities and/or regions, like states or something that is more local; and then you have family leadership and authority, something as simple as mom and dad or in some countries, tribal leadership. These tribal leaders then become regional leaders. Each area of government has a different spiritual dynamic or command and mission in order to govern what it is in charge of. What governs you spiritually on a personal level may not always govern or be a commanding factor for a national government. Besides being common sense because of the nature and need within each area or level of government, the New Testament and the Old Testament reflects this reality. Without laying a firm foundation in these areas, many questions concerning the Bible can arise among believers. Reading Scriptures that tell you to turn the other cheek can have folks believing they cannot self-defend (Matthew 5:38-46). So let’s answer some questions many believers have, based upon the foundation God laid down for us in the Old and New Testaments.
Question #1: If I’m supposed to turn the other cheek and not resist evil, and give someone my coat if they steal something, then why should we have self-defense or be able to own a gun? Shouldn’t we live passively?
Answer One:First and foremost, if you are a Christian, you are under Godly covenant seen within the New Testament and further explained by the Old Testament when the New Testament is silent on an issue. Secondly, if you are an American specifically, you are under a governmental covenant with the Federal government and the state in which you live. Your Godly covenant supersedes either Federal or state, and under the Bill of Rights both Federal and state agree to this supersession, as long as you break no civil law in harming someone by physical damage or theft. So this answer will incorporate the Christians’ Godly covenant first and, when necessary, make mention of the American’s example of governing documentation. If you are from another country, then your own country’s laws would apply.
If we go back to some of the Scriptures which are used to support quiet non-resistance to self defense, we can see in what circumstances this inaction is appropriate. Many folks use Matthew 5:38-46 as an example of us being passive and non-resistant when it comes to living in this world. From Matthew 5 to Matthew 7, Jesus is reinforcing the Ten Commandments and then going even further with a Christian understanding. It is very similar in understanding to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians. We have here two areas of a personal self-rule application. This does not apply to national government, but rather applies to how the Christian should behave when sharing the gospel and they are persecuted (because the prophets are persecuted in the same way, see Matthew 5:12). When we are sharing the gospel and they revile us and persecute us for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5:10), we are to let it go. Even as we see the connection with governmental understanding, we are to rather be wounded when it comes to a personal situation. In Matthew 5:40, this is on a personal level. In other words, if you are personally sued, and you have done nothing wrong, and it affects you personally only, you can choose to lose your goods in order for righteousness’ sake as a personal matter. Likewise, in Matthew 5:41 when Jesus says to go the extra mile, His reference is to conscription. Roman soldiers had the right to press civilians into service to go no more than a mile in order to help. Jesus says, on a personal level to be a good witness and go two miles. This does not apply to broad scale injustice, like, say, when you are a representative of unjust action against a group of people and you are singled out. In that case, you must stand your ground. If you do not, others will face the same injustice.
You might say, “Now, wait a minute preacher, you sound like a lawyer, picking and choosing what you want to follow.” I would say, “no, that is not the case.” The reason I would say that is because of the need to reconcile other verses of Scripture if you translate these as all-encompassing, non-resistant passivity to evil. If you do that then how do we reconcile Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:15-22 and Mark 12:12-17 when the Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus by using His own words against Him? They actually make the same mistake as some have by using the above verses as total non-resistance to evil. “Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to trap him with his own words. When they came they said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are truthful and do not court anyone’s favor, because you show no partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we or shouldn’t we?’ But he saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, ‘Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.’ So they brought one, and he said to them, ‘Whose image is this, and whose inscription?’ They replied, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were utterly amazed at him” (Mark 12:13-17, Net Bible®️).
What we are seeing here is Jesus acknowledging exactly what the Old Testament acknowledges, and that is there are different levels and aspects of government. We know for a fact the Old Testament prophets prophesied to the highest levels of government, and evil within the highest levels of government. Remember Elijah with Ahab and Jezebel? Remember Gad with David? James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil. Well, the devil is evil and evil is everywhere and anywhere we find it. When we do, we are to resist it. When we are witnessing or sharing Jesus personally, we are not to resist when the evil reviles us; or said another way, we are not to render evil with evil. Paul says the same thing in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 when it comes to taking other people to court.
Furthermore, we have another level or delineation in government. There is church government and civil government. It’s the apostles who give us even more insight into this area. In 1 Timothy 1:20, we are given instruction in God’s house among His people. The Greek text relates the instruction to that which leads to personal salvation, on a personal level. “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:18-20, KJV). Here the context is personal, and within the house of God the leadership is to hand someone over who refuses to listen to the gospel. They are to be handed over to satan so that a remedial teaching lesson may be learned “the hard way,” since the believer refuses to learn the lesson any other way. As a final outcome, they should be kicked out of fellowship and shunned because of their sin. Many cults use this practice among themselves to torment people. That is not the example in the New Testament. The example is not to be sweet and nice, but to keep the church of God from harm. It would seem from these passages that the leadership should go and speak to the believers who commit really horrible acts (sleeping with family members and cheating other Christians, see 1 Corinthians 5 & 6, or in our passage here, heretical blaspheme). This is to be done to bring them back into fellowship and to warn them. There seems to be no limit to this “reaching out” by leadership— and leadership ONLY. Obviously, this is to protect the sheep and the church of God from harm.
Likewise, in the next verse Paul says: “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, KJV). So we see a clear difference between governments.
In 1 Corinthians 5:5, Paul writes at length about the authority of the church in matters both secular and spiritual. He says, to rather be wronged than to go to court, if a matter of civil wrong takes place among brethren. This is personally, and on a personal level as exampled by our covenant, believer to believer. I say this especially in light of the Greek word used for brother, although it could also mean familial brother, but it is still personal, within the body of Christ or within a person’s family.
We see another understanding among the apostles, and Paul in particular. In Ephesians 5:23 we see government within a family’s hierarchy. We see Paul go to great lengths again in discussing how Christians should live personally— even exposing evil or “deeds of darkness” when they are made evident. (The Greek may not be as clear here whether that is to be exposed to the civil authorities or the authority within the church.) Without going into an exposition on the proper attitude in submission within families, what we see here is an understanding of protection. In other words, I cannot ask my children to ‘turn the other cheek’ and be persecuted because I am called to preach the gospel. A husband is to be the protector in the family and in like fashion, he cannot expect a wife to submit to death or passive non-resistance when the family is being attacked because the husband is called to preach the gospel. Common sense, along with how humans are built, shows our reactions to self-defense. All humans have a fight or flight mechanism for basic survival. If you do not survive, you will not be able to preach the gospel. Why did God give you a fight or flight response if He expected you to never defend yourself?
In Luke 17:20 and John 18:36, Jesus tells us that His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. So He tells us how to live in the light of our spiritual citizenship under that covenant and also in a fallen world with various forms of fallen government. If not, then why would Jesus tell us about the well armed man protecting his house (Mark 3:27), if no one was supposed to defend his house? He uses the example to show us about binding and loosing forms of warfare against our enemy, satan (the strong man). He surely would have taken the opportunity to let us know this man was wrong in defending his family if that is what He meant. He also says that His kingdom is not of this world, or else His servants would fight. Not only does that mean there are appropriate times to fight but this world operates differently when it comes to fighting than God’s spiritual kingdom. (For teachings on spiritual warfare, click on the Ministry Material tab.)
Lastly, in Luke 22:35-38, Jesus certainly implies that once He is gone, things are going to change and those who believe in Him will have to be prepared for whatever is coming next. He tells them to get a sword. Swords are not used to be cute and cuddly. The disciples mistake the timing and the immediate implication when Jesus is arrested. Peter strikes the guard’s head and chops off his ear. Jesus heals the man’s injury, making it clear that was not the timing or situation to fight. So we can see from this example when to fight and when not to fight. We see a similar example in Romans 13. Paul says that good government is there for our protection and it is there to administer judgment to the evil doer. Paul gives examples of giving respect to those who deserve respect and taxes to those whom you must pay taxes to and honor to those deserving honor. Yet we know Paul confronted ungodly rulers. Look at Acts 23:1-5. Paul not only defended himself when brought to the ruling authorities, he had some choice words for them. When he was rebuked for his harsh tone, he realized he was speaking to the high priest. Once he understood who the man was, he apologizes for his attitude, not necessarily the truth he spoke. We also see Paul very clearly use the Roman law to fight for his freedom when he is beaten in Acts 16:22-40. It was illegal for them to beat a Roman citizen publicly without charges and Paul brings this breach of law to their attention as a civil defense. He is successful and they go free.
Question #2: Why should we be in the military or defend our borders and our nation? It’s all going to be burned up one day and a new heaven and a new earth are going to show up. So why should I stick my neck out? Shouldn’t I be more spiritual and ignore all this fighting and policing and going-to-war stuff in the natural?
Answer Two:We are actually told to get involved in government by praying for them (1 Timothy 2:1-4), since God wants peace to reign so it is easier to preach the gospel. Ungodly government makes it harder to preach. This is so the gospel goes forward in a region. Usually we mistranslate killing for murder in Exodus 20:13: “Thou shalt not kill.” This is how it should be translated: “Thou shalt not murder.” Premeditated murder is what our commandment is talking about, not the necessary killing of some who murder. The Old Testament allowed for self-defense and capital punishment when murder was involved. In the case of accidental killing, the offender could flee to a city of refuge to escape the judgment of the victim’s family members. In fact, we know Jesus believed those who are in charge of a kingdom should fight for their kingdom (John 18:36).
We know God instituted the various tribal lands and gave them to various ethnic groups in Genesis. When He gave Israel her land it was so those passing by would learn about the God of Israel and want to covenant with that same God on their own land. It is the same for America. What we have now are those seeing our land and wanting it for themselves, to steal from Americans. If we will not defend our governing documents and what they stand for, we will lose our land. In Numbers 32:20-33, Moses has a discussion with the tribes of Gad and Reuben. They want to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan and the rest of Israel want to go forward crossing the Jordan to the western side to take possession of the land there. Moses chides Gad and Reuben for not wanting to go and fight for their brethren. These two and a half tribes promise to go to war to set up boundaries and take land for the rest of the nation on the western side, if Moses will give them the land they ask for on the eastern side of the Jordan. Moses agrees. If we were not to protect our land, then why would God give it to us? In fact, ancestral land was so important to Israelites, when King Ahab wants the vineyard of Naboth to make a garden out of it, Naboth says no. Ahab is willing to pay silver for it or give Naboth a better piece of land, but Naboth tells him no, that it is his ancestral property (1 Kings 21).
Paul, in the New Testament reiterates the principle of God giving people groups land and boundaries for a reason: “From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27 NET Bible®️). God is all about self-rule and self-government. He gives each ethnic group their geographic location to follow the rule of law and self-government necessary to “find” him. Under the New Testament He makes it even easier by sending missionaries to spread the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ, which is what Paul was doing here when he uttered these words.
Boundaries are a good thing and keeping order and rule of law is also a Godly thing. We are not commanded to start wars and pick fights with other nations. We are to defend our borders and ourselves, only when necessary. But Jesus tells us clearly in Matthew 24:6 that until the time of the end, there will be wars and rumors of wars, until He returns again. In fact, it is by people harming one another in lawlessness that sin will increase. Good law defends the preaching of the gospel and maintains order so the gospel may be preached and people may live in safety.
In John 2:14-17, we see Jesus defend His father’s house. In fact, He does it twice. Once at the beginning of His ministry, here in John, and again at the end of His ministry, recorded in the gospels of Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17 and Luke 19:45-46. In fact, only in Mark does Jesus make mention of them using the Temple as a sort of short-cut by carrying things through it, in disrespect. So it was more than about using the Temple to thieve people of their money, though that is certainly the case. Jesus was quite intense. In John we see him making a whip of cords and driving them out of His Father’s House!
It is impossible to translate this in any other way except as many generations of Bible believers have, as I was taught, and as I have related self-defense and national defense, police work and exercising proper law and order here. Jesus was not talking about constant and total passivity and non-resistance to evil doers.
Question #3: Why should I bother talking about all these divisive issues like abortion and genderless marriage? People don’t want to hear about sin anymore. They can get very ugly when you talk about this stuff. Shouldn’t Christians not be so controversial and stick with just sharing the love of Jesus?
Answer Three:First and foremost, each believer should share the gospel according to the word of God and according to the leading of the Holy Spirit to them personally. Not everyone is a Billy Graham. Secondly, people have choices. God gives humans free will and choice. So we are not to arm-twist or remove anyone’s choice in deciding to follow Jesus, and His word evidenced in the Bible. But we should make two concepts plain here: If you don’t love people you don’t tell them the truth. You cannot use some misguided translation of obedience as an excuse for refusing to speak about “difficult” issues. Secondly, Matthew 28:19, 20 is an imperative command in the Greek. It is not some easy-going, when-you-feel-like-it desire. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20 NET Bible®️). Go, baptize, make disciples, teach, are all direct orders. Furthermore, you can’t just say what you want. You are teaching and discipling according to Jesus’ words and what He commanded the apostles to teach. So controversy is going to arise. It is the nature of the gospel: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner” (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11, KJV). Jesus said in Matthew that He was this cornerstone and Stephen told them in Acts that they rejected Jesus (the cornerstone described in Psalm 118). So controversy and refusal to hear the gospel is going to happen. We are told to “turn the other cheek” when we are preaching the gospel and we are attacked or refused.
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV). God loves people. That’s why He sends us to share Jesus with them. Political correctness is actually cowardice. It is also used to shut us up. Now, who would want us to keep quiet about Jesus? To neglect to tell someone the truth for fear of offending them is wrong. Now if someone is wearing the most horrible outfit on the planet and they think it is great, you might want to spare their feelings by keeping your opinions to yourself. But if what they are doing will lead to death, and you just don’t tell them that because you fear offending them, then that is wrong. Quite often we quote Leviticus 19:18 as “love your neighbor as yourself.” But two verses before it translates from the Hebrew like this: “You must not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the Lord. You must not hate your brother in your heart. You must surely reprove your fellow citizen so that you do not incur sin on account of him” (Leviticus 19:16, 17, NET Bible®️). In other words, if you don’t tell your fellow citizen when their life is at stake, you actually hate your brother.
Ezekiel is even more emphatic: “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezekiel 3:18, KJV). “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:6, KJV). Watchmen are considered as leaders of the church. But in Ezekiel 3, the prophet is speaking to people, not leaders. So no one escapes this one. The New Testament only reinforces this concept. In fact, Ezekiel 33 could also be translated to mean soldiers or those tasked with the job of protecting a nation or region. If you see danger coming at your nation or fellow citizens, and you keep quiet and they lose their lives, their blood is required at your hand. The New Testament requires each individual to pay for their own sin. This is why we ask Jesus to be our Savior because we have nothing to pay for our sin. Without Jesus we would all surely go to hell. My purpose in using these Scriptures is not to negate the New Testament. But the principle is still reinforced by the New Testament. If you refuse to warn others when they or their practices will cause harm and danger, you are disobeying God’s directive.
We also have another problem by playing loose with the truth. Sin is regularly defined in the New Testament. No one can claim ignorance. Colossians 1:13 tells us we were all in darkness before Jesus saved us, so we all know what darkness is. 2 Timothy 2:22 tells us to flee youthful passions. We all know what they are, or were. None of us can claim ignorance there either. Paul tells Timothy to hang out with those who are faithful. We are to practice the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We are to abhor what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). In Proverbs 6, we have a list of what the Lord hates: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who spreads discord among family members (Proverbs 6:16-19, NETBible®️). So we all know what sin is.
We can hate what sin does to people, but we can still love the sinner and reach out to them. Speaking about Jesus and quoting from Psalm 45:6-7, the writer says: “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.” So we can hate sin. We can even be angry over unrighteousness (Ephesians 4:26, 27). But we are commanded to help people out of the trap of sin.
Question #4: You know, I don’t see anything wrong with passive religions that won’t step on a bug. Why are we allowed to do so, when we’re supposed to be harmless as doves? For that matter why should we get involved in politics at all, since our kingdom is a spiritual kingdom?
Answer Four:First, the Old Testament was very clear in dealing with various plagues. (Usually called plagues of leprosy; see Leviticus 13; Leviticus 14.) For ancient people, they were commanded to remain clean when it came to the possibility of defilement (see Numbers 8; Numbers 19). We love to quote the “harmless as doves” part of this verse, but fail to quote the whole verse. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, KJV). The chapter starts off with Jesus sending his disciples out as missionaries to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” and giving them power against unclean spirits, all manner of sicknesses and diseases. Many vermin (bugs included) cause disease. Of course, it is important for us to know the “good” bugs from the “bad” bugs. But in any event, this is as we reviewed previously. Jesus is sending them out to preach the gospel message of deliverance. So even when they are ‘scourged in the synagogues’ or brought before “governors and kings for my sake,” they are not to worry what they should reply, for the Lord will give them what to say in the same hour. This is witnessing personally. In that sense, they must be harmless as doves. BUT, we ignore the wise as serpents part of the verse. Obviously, these disciples are getting involved in the public square by ministering Jesus or else they would not have been brought forth before “governors and kings.” In fact, Jesus says in the chapter that when they get persecuted in one city, flee to another (self-defense, see verse 23). Furthermore, Jesus says that what He tells them in secret, speak publicly and preach it on the “housetops.” In those days, you didn’t get more “public” than that.
There is another reason Christians should be involved in politics and the public square. Said another way, we should be involved in our communities and speaking truth to lies, and involved in the very leadership of our communities and country. Exodus 18:21 is quite clear about this. Moses is going to be worn out by being the totality of government. His father-in-law gives him Godly counsel. “And thou shalt teach them (the people) ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace” (Exodus 18:20-23, KJV, ). Moses follows suit and does as his father-in-law suggested. So obviously God was in it.
The people do not get a pass here. The people are required to learn the law. By learning the law, it teaches them how to walk and behave. Look at the caliber or quality for leadership. They should fear God, hate lying and hate greed. If people do not get involved in politics or government and the public square, you will have only people that hate God or people full of greed. That is exactly what the tipping point is all about right now in America and other places around the world. Ungodly and unprincipled people are controlling government. Proverbs 29 explains this phenomena clearly. If people are never told the truth, they easily harden against hearing it when someone finally does talk to them. Therefore, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2, KJV). There are worse things for a nation than going to war: having ungodly, unprincipled people exercising judgment. This kills a nation. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34, KJV).
The New Testament only upholds this concept. The kingdom of heaven rules in our whole lives (1 Corinthians 3:16). Jesus touched people on every level of their lives (Matthew 4:23). Government that does not uphold Godly rule, upholds socialism, communism, anarchy and rebellion. This makes life in a country a living hell. The only thing that attacks this Godly rule is the enemy, since he attacks the word of God constantly. We are told to resist him and his evil. As mentioned before, even Paul brought up his own Roman citizenship to free himself from an ungodly imprisonment (Acts 16:37-39). The disciples ministered in the public square and were constantly threatened for it (Acts 4:1-21; 16:9-26). If we were not supposed to get involved, then why are we told in Matthew 5:19, that whoever teaches the principles of the kingdom of God shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven? In other words, why should we stop teaching the principles of the kingdom of God just because we are speaking to those outside of that kingdom? We ourselves are outside of that kingdom, physically speaking, right now. Let me ask you, can you walk through walls or “body jump” from one location to the other? If your answer is no, then you do not have a body yet ready for God’s spiritual kingdom. You are still in a body that you need for work on this earth. As such, you need to work as God directs on this earth. That means you will have to get involved in the public square (Mark 4:3-20).
This was their testimony, that they were ambassadors of another kingdom, gone out into this world, to bring reconciliation. That means you will have to get involved! “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21, KJV).
All Scripture taken from the King James Version (KJV, public domain), unless otherwise specified.