In Jeremiah chapter 16, Judah asked, “What sin have we committed against the Lord our God? The Lord said to Jeremiah, tell them, “It is because your fathers forsook me. . .and followed other gods (idols) and served and worshiped them” (Jer. 16:10-11). The sin of the church is that it has exchanged the One true God for idols (Jer. 2:13). If the church cannot rightfully discern what is righteous and what is not, then it cannot affect the world around it as the salt and light it has been called to be.
What are we to do?
· Ask God to help us identify the idols (gods) in our hearts and renounce them.
· Repent and give ourselves fully to the Lord.
· Surrender to the Lord and let Him fill us with His Spirit.
· Dedicate ourselves to knowing God through prayer, studying His Word and obeying it.
· Make disciples of Jesus Christ (which also includes government officials, Acts 9:15).
· Live holy and separate ourselves from what contaminates body and spirit, purifying ourselves, out of the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1).
· Pray for our leaders.
Scripture says clearly that we are to pray for our leaders giving thanks (1 Tim. 2:1), showing respect and honoring them (Rom. 13:7, 1 Pet. 2:17) and ultimately to be subject to them (Romans 13: 1, 5).
As the Church we are to pray for our leaders, and we are also to take the gospel to every facet of society because we have been made to be light and salt (Matt. 5). As the Church we understand that changing legislation and seeing righteousness rule in our society will not be accomplished primarily through politics or by any other means but by preaching the gospel to a lost world.
As William McDonald has said, "Politics has proved singularly ineffective in solving the problems of society. Political remedies are nothing but a band-aid on a festering sore: they do not get at the source of the infection. We know that sin is the basic trouble in our sick society. Anything that fails to deal with sin cannot be taken seriously as a cure."
We pray for our leaders and will pray for President Obama.
In the three passages of Scripture that address how we should respond and deal with our leaders, I see three emphases.
1. PRAYER: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:1-4).
The reason for praying, intercession and giving thanks, for leaders was so the saints could live peaceful, quiet lives (without persecution) in their pursuit of godliness and holiness. The goal was so that the saints could effectively win the lost, which would please God "who wants all men to be saved."
Hence, this prayer is not intended to wish the president well and success in his presidency (since we should stand opposed to policies and ideologies that oppose God’s Word), but to pray that in his leading the nation it might be done in a righteous manner which would allow the saints the opportunity to preach the gospel and further a Kingdom agenda. If "righteousness exalts a nation," then that should be the target of our prayer.
This is my prayer for President Obama and what I have instructed our church is to pray for President Obama:
a. That his eyes will open to be able to see the gospel and believe so that he might be saved. 2 Cor. 4:4
b. That God would direct his heart to do what is righteous (whether he would want to or not) for the Word of God says in Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is like streams of water. Both are under the LORD's control. He turns them in any direction he chooses."
c. That President Obama would protect those he has sworn to serve. Romans 13:4
2. HONOR & RESPECT: As Christians we are to honor (to value) those who watch out for our good and protection. (Romans 13 & 1 Peter 2:17). We value them not because of their policies or their ideology but because it is commanded of us to "Honor all men. . .Honor the King" (1 Pet. 2:17).
3. SUBMISSION: As Christians we should be obedient to the laws of the land and be the best citizens. We should uphold the law (as long as it does not violate God's Word) and be in submission to those in authority. We should always show respect and yet always speak the truth, even if that goes against what the president stands for.
As Christians we should always seek to pray according to the will of God, because that is the prayer that will be answered and the prayer that pleases God (1 John 5:14-15).
I believe the Lord is sickened by the level of compromise He continues to see within the church.
Today it is all about tolerance and fitting in and a "let's just all get along attitude" which is mixing the leaven of the world with the church. I am trusting God to keep us from deception and to always love the truth. (2 Thess. 2:11-12).
Keep your heads up and do the work of the Kingdom, for our redemption draws near!
Mike Gonzalez is the senior pastor at Columbia World Outreach Church in South Carolina. He is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.