189. “What Sort Of People Should We Elect To Government?” (Adapted from a sermon preached on Sunday 26th June 2016

Advice is often given on how to vote.  It ranges from the simple “Vote sensibly and once” to very lengthy explanations on how to preference parties and individual candidates so that the party or person you want to see elected has more chance of being elected. However not all of us have the advanced mathematical training to be able to work out all the permutations and combinations behind the different ways of allocating preferences.

For Christian believers we might say that we need to vote in such a way that God is glorified through our voting and that maximum benefit is obtained for the people of God throughout the world. But how can that happen? The following are some of the hints we obtain as we look at God’s revelation of His will to us in His word, the Bible.

 I).   GOD IS INTERESTED IN PEOPLE AND IN THEIR BEST WELFARE 

God knows what is best for His people. He knows that is in their best interests to come to know him to love Him and to obey Him. We see that expressed in Paul’s letter to the Romans. In the opening chapter we have these words,  “Jesus was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (5)  through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.”  Rom 1:4-5.

We also see that expressed in the last chapter of Romans,   “(God’s mystery) …  has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith.”  Rom 16:25-26.

 It means that God wants every nation and every individual within every nation to come to trust and obey Him for their own benefit. God has a plan and purpose for nations and for individuals in the nations of the world. He promises blessings to the nations that take Him seriously. (Otherwise they miss out on His blessings.)

That is how He has acted in history especially in relation to the nation of Israel. He once faced His people with a choice. He had taken them out of bondage in Egypt and was about to bring them into the Promised Land.  The choice was to live in God’s way or not to live in God’s way.  God was honest with them and set out the consequences for each choice.  “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:  27  the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, 28  and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” Deut 11:26-28. If they lived His way they would experience His blessing and His protection.

He later repeated the necessity for them to make the right choice in Deut 30:19-20.  “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20  loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” We have choices as individuals and as nations to walk in God’s way which brings His blessings of life and good, or to reject Him and lose His protection and blessing.

We could ask ourselves these questions,

  • “Which parties or individuals would be antagonistic to what God wanted to do in and through our nation?” For example those who wanted to restrict religious freedom and freedom of speech.
  • “Which parties or individuals will promote those values that God sees as important and which will bring His blessing on our nation?”

We look then to see who are the people who are blessed by God and can bring blessing to others for whom they have responsibility. .

II).   WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHOM GOD BLESSES? Jesus Describes Them In The Beatitudes In Matthew 5.  Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, speaks of the “Beatitudes”, or as some people have called them, the “Beautiful Attitudes” that should characterise all peoples especially the people of God.

A).       CHARACTERISTICS COMING FROM OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Mat 5:1-2, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. (2) And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the …. “

1).   “POOR” IN SPIRIT. Verse 3.  “Blessed Are The Poor In spirit, For Theirs Is The Kingdom Of Heaven.  God has a special concern for the poor (especially for those who are the victims of injustice.) That’s not the meaning here. “Poor in spirit” means that they are not full of themselves. They have room for God in their lives. It’s so easy to become arrogant and proud, to have a proud spirit.  Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:5,6, “Clothe yourselves all of you with humility towards one another, for God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you.”

The candidates for whom we would wish to vote would be people who are characterised as being “poor in spirit” not being full of themselves nor relying on human wisdom. Rather they would be those who are open to God and to His wisdom and guidance.

 2).  THOSE WHO MOURN. Having A Sensitive Heart. Verse 4.  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  We could take this as meaning to be able to mourn with others in their sadnesses. Paul expresses that in Rom 12:15  “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” That’s what Jesus did in His ministry on earth as He brought comfort to the sorrowing.  We must too.

But it’s much more than that. It means, “Blessed are those who are sensitive towards God, and who mourn for their sins, and for the sins of others. Blessed are those who are grieved when people ignore God, and don’t love or obey Him.”

This was the sort of mourning we saw in Jesus as He came to Jerusalem, and looked upon the city that had hardened its heart against Him and against God’s purposes. As He looked upon the city He mourned over it and wept. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who were sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you would not! Behold your house is forsaken.”   (That is, “Your sin has brought this upon you. You didn’t mourn because of your sins.  You didn’t turn to Me for the help I could have given. You have forfeited My protection and My blessing!”)

Mourning for our sins and for the sins of others allows God to intervene in our lives to bring His healing and blessing. Mourning for the sin of the nation may be a vital step in bringing healing to the nation. Again we would wish to vote for candidates who feel about the world as the Lord feels about it, seeing it in all its need and wanting to see the beneficial changes that only He can bring. And hopefully allowing themselves to be used by Him as humble agents of those changes.

3).  BLESSED ARE THE MEEK. Meekness. Verse 5.  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”   Meekness is not weakness.  Jesus said of Himself in Mat 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle (meek) and  humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Soon after this same “meek” Jesus drove money changers out of the temple. Meekness is power under control. The word for “meek” is (praǘs) which was used for the breaking-in of a wild horse. It loses none of its strength. Rather its strength is now harnessed and controllable for good purposes. Meekness means looking to God for wisdom. True wisdom is to be found in Him and in Him alone.

Meekness means honouring Christ in our own hearts and being willing to humbly share Him with others, 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”.

Which candidates conform most closely to this quality of meekness? Would they be willing to humble themselves to ask God for His wisdom and guidance? Or would they ignore God and even mock Him and those who seek to obey Him?

4). THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. V6.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”. 

There are many ways of describing the word “righteousness” but a very simple one is this, “What God wants”. (A modern version of this verse puts it, “God blesses those who want to obey Him, more than to eat or drink.”) The writer of Proverbs 14:3 wrote these words, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” When people do what God wants, the nation is blessed. By Him. When they ignore Him they suffer the loss of what might have been theirs.

Righteousness includes the sort of personal lives we should live, as well as the qualities needed in the corporate life of a nation. It is the passionate desire to see God’s will done in every life and in every situation.

Which candidate has that hunger and thirst for righteousness for themselves? For God to bring His blessing on their own nation?

We look at the other four Beatitudes which direct us to the sorts of attitudes we should have to our fellow humans. They represent not only Christian values but also the characteristics and values which the God of this universe desires of all His creatures. They are found in Matthew 5:7-12

B).  OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR FELLOW HUMANS

1).    “BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL. Verse 7. “Blessed are the  merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”   Mercy can be described as being the concerned, kind attitude adopted to those in need. Jesus showed it when He offered Himself to die on the cross for our sins.  Mercy is the inevitable expression of a heart that is in a close relationship to God.  As Romans 12 puts it, “I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice to God which is your spiritual worship.”  It’s from that experience of God’s grace and mercy that Paul can say a few verses later, “He who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”  As we receive the mercy of God, we are motivated and empowered to show mercy to others.

The candidates for whom we vote in the coming elections should be characterised by genuine mercy and not by dangerous unrealistic unthinking so-called “sympathy” which ignores the dangers..

2).  PURITY. Verse 8. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  (“Pure” is from katharós which has many shades of meaning. It can mean being clean and undefiled. It can mean utter sincerity so that one is inwardly what one is outwardly. In modern day computer terms believers should be WYSIWYG people where the letters in the acrostic stand for “What You See IWhat You Get.” What you see on the screen should be the same as what you typed on the keyboard. We need to vote for someone who is genuine, the real article, a real WYSIWYG type of person.

MARRIAGE. In these days there is another major area where purity is needed. It is purity in marriage. Not only would we want our candidates not to be guilty of adultery, but we would also want them to be not guilty of adulterating the concept of marriage itself. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews gave a stark warning in Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” We need to realise afresh that this is God’s world and that marriage between a man and a woman has always been His idea.

We would want our candidates for election to take a stand on marriage as being between a man and a woman and not see God’s concept of marriage be adulterated in any other way.

 3). PEACE-MAKERS. Verse 9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”   We need to note in these violent days that Jesus is not saying, “Blessed are the pacifists!” No, it is the “peace-makers” who are blessed. They are to actively seek to establish and maintain peace.

We need to vote for candidates who hate war but who recognise that sometimes it may be necessary to use force where innocent people are being threatened with violence and death.

They should be motivated to seek for ways of making peace for individuals and for peoples in our and other nations.

“Outsiders” coming to our nation. On a very practical note about our desire for peace. It seems to me that the majority of people in countries like Australian have a wonderful sense of fair-play and that they would welcome genuine refugees from any part of the world. However to seek to bring into our country those who have already stated before they arrive that they hate us, they hate our culture and they hate our God revealed in Jesus Christ, would be a dangerous thing to do.

What is needed in our candidates and in our elected members to government is Sensitivity to the needs of people AND Sensibility in choosing whom we welcome into our country.

4).    “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED.’ v. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”    Jesus taught that it is par for the course as a Christian to be mocked and persecuted. As He went on to say in verse {11} “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

If we want to live a life pleasing to God we will be persecuted. He might be pleased with our desire and efforts to serve Him but some of our fellow humans may not be so pleased with our devotion to Him.

Which candidate would be willing to be persecuted for honouring God and for seeking to maintain the Judeo-Christian ethos of our nation?

SUMMING UP

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a country where all the people were characterised by the qualities expressed in the Beatitudes?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our leaders who governed our nation had those qualities? We could safely elect such people to Parliament because they would be open to God’s wisdom as to how best govern our nation. They would have our best interests at heart. Blessings would flow if they remained faithful to the Lord.

But what happens when hardly any of those standing for election seem to have those qualities?

We need to preference the candidates who seem to want to live by God’s Kingdom principles personally and who want to see them observed by the nation.  We give a lesser place to those who appear to be antagonistic to God and to God’s people and who ridicule Him or His word or His disciples.

We need to pray before the election and after the election, “Lord, May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Mat 6:10.  Then we are praying that God would work in Kingdom power in over-ruling the election results, knowing that He will honour those who honour Him. And after the election we need to continue praying so that He over-rules any Parliamentary decisions that don’t honour Him or that are against the best interests of the people.

Most importantly we need to pray for those elected  and for ourselves, “Lord, may Your kingdom come in all of us and may Your will be done in and through all of us to Your glory and to the benefit of Your people throughout the world.”

Blog No.189. Jim Holbeck. Posted Monday 27th June 2016. 

 

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Evangelism, Forgiveness, Healing, Politics, Prayer, Salvation, Sexuality, TOPICS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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