Reflections on a tough week for our city and our nation

We have gone through some pretty tough circumstances this week in our city of Baton Rouge and in the rest of our country, especially in Dallas. These circumstances have been going on for the last several years and have been getting progressively worse.

I do not believe this platform from which I speak (church) should ever be used politically, however there is an overwhelming amount of biblical evidence that throughout history the prophets of God spoke truth into the circumstances of their society. So with them as my mentors, I would like to take a few minutes to do likewise.

We have encountered tragedy this week. Anytime there is a loss of life in our communities, any life, that loss is a tragedy. The ENEMY, who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy has once again accomplished his evil end. Now there is a lot being said in response to these circumstances, and let’s be honest. A lot of what is being said has the potential to frustrate and anger us because so much of it is nothing more than the thoughts and wisdom of man, who really knows very little concerning how to fix the dilemma that he finds himself in.

I want to address one particular gentleman that I observed on television, who offered a very heartfelt appeal. He said, “THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!” Of course, all of us would agree with that statement. He went on to say though, that we are all God’s children. That is where the Bible would say otherwise. Sadly, no, we are not all God’s children, and that is where the problem lies

Please understand that the United States of America is not a Christian nation. It never has been, and it never will be. There is no such thing biblically as a Christian nation. There are nations and there is the church, the individual Christians who live in those various nations, among and with those who are not the children of God

This is however, a unique nation. Our founding fathers sought to bring God into the governing of this nation in a way that no nation had ever done so in the history of man. This was tremendous. It is such a great privilege for us to be able to live in a nation that put God in such a high place for its culture. This God centered culture of our nation, provided at the very least, an opportunity for there to be a large number of people to become the children of God because there was such a consciousness of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ within the framework of this nation. Further this recognition of God provided a framework for our society that offered a moral restraint, through the establishing of a national ethic of doing what is right versus not doing what is wrong, because it was proclaimed that we all lived in the sight of an Almighty, and Holy God.

This great nation however, has gone awry. 50 years ago, the powers that be, removed God, prayer, and the instruction of a Christian moral ethic out of our school systems, minimizing the previously stated moral ethic our culture had previously enjoyed. 

Having removed God from our culture, man is now being taught in our school systems, that he, man, is the supreme animal in a world of animals. This has had its natural consequence of encouraging man to live in a spirit of self-orientation, self-exaltation, and self-satisfaction. This has fostered a spirit in man that neglects others in the pursuit and conquest of his own agenda. What is worse is that he will pursue his selfish agenda even to the extent that he will abuse others in his selfish pursuit. This is turn, has the potential to usher in a spirit of rebelliousness, for after all, “Who are you to tell me what to do?” This type of rebellious man who is the center of his own existence will live in total disregard for authority and the rule of law that normally governs a society.

Biblically, this is where the rule of government is supposed to provide a semblance of safety for man. It is very clear in Father’s Word, that the government exists to wield the sword, yes, a sword, an instrument of death to punish evil doers in order to protect the innocent. When a government abdicates this responsibility, as ours has, then the spirit of rebelliousness, disregard for authority, and selfish agenda of man will be pursued in ever greater fashion because for man living in such a culture, there will be no fear of consequence for his behavior, as God Himself has mandated there should be such consequence in a moral society. The result, put simply, will be that bad men will abuse other men. This in turn, will inspire fear within the culture, and create a ripe environment for chaos and anarchy.

When this fear occurs, there will ultimately be a response against this evil, to if possible suppress that evil, so that society can continue to exist in peace. Very often, again because of fear, that response may very likely escalate into a reaction instead of a response, which in turn brings its own damage to society. And so we have our recent events, to which there has been so much discussion, and all such discussion is in fact premature.

Investigations must occur, facts must be gathered, before anyone seeks to speak with any authority concerning what has happened in our culture. This includes our government officials who pine for votes and popularity, playing to public emotion and appeal in an effort to maintain their job security. This especially includes our “story hungry media” that fails to report all the facts in an effort to sensationalize these events in order to boost their ratings.

Though the specifics of these events await this judgement that can only come from detailed examination, the culture which prompted these events can and should be addressed NOW, and know for certain that it is occurring as we speak. On television stations, and in government halls, church buildings, barber shops and street corners people are offering their opinions on these matters.

Almost immediately we have had civic and community leaders call for more unification and cooperation to build a community of peace. . Government officials have already begun to demand more laws, even though the laws currently on the books are not being enforced. There are those who will proclaim racism, countered by those who claim statistical evidence independent of racism, and there are those who will call for revenge on both sides of the equation. This is in fact, already occurring on the social media sites and it is ugly. Still others will call for unification and ecumenicalism… love, forgiveness, and tolerance so that hopefully we will be able to live in peace.

That pathway to peace however, will sadly remain just a hope with no potential for reality until the nation decides to return to the roots upon which it was founded… a nation under God! The very minimum we should seek for our country is to return to a God consciousness that would bring all men under a God established morality that would be enforced by a government that functions the way that it was intended to function, punishing the evil and protecting the good.

Of course, as a pastor, my heart would long for more than the just the restoration of a moral consciousness. My heart longs for a loud and sincere proclamation of Jesus and the hearts of men surrendering to Jesus because that is the only way we will truly have peace among men.

I share with you the words of Jesus from Luke 19; 

“If you, even you, had only known on this day 

what would bring you peace, but now it is hidden

from your eyes”

The truth is that men can seek peace with all their hearts, but there can and will be no peace apart from Jesus. The Bible is very clear that there is no righteousness in the heart of man without Jesus, and only Jesus can change a heart. Man needs to get a life… “THE LIFE” that is available only from God and that is what Jesus is all about. The Bible says that it is the one who has the Son, who alone will have “THE LIFE”. This is indeed what Jesus came to offer to all who would place their faith in Him. He said in John 10, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

The truth is that only Jesus can heal the races. He does that by offering to all men a new and true identity as a child of God. It is this identity that will establish a common ground of oneness among men that will overrule any of our differences. This same identity as a new creation provides us the wonder of having God Himself take up residency within us, and gives man a new heart that will transform a man from the inside out as man experiences the very life of God living in and through Him by faith.

Our culture desperately needs to change. The truth is, however, that is not our job as the church to try and change our culture. In fact, for us to do that would be nothing short of spinning our wheels and wasting our time. Only God can change a heart, and that is why our job as the church is to proclaim the message of Jesus. Our hope is that one by one, men will receive Him, have their hearts changed, and then in turn reach other men who will have their hearts changed, until ultimately there will be so many changed hearts that those changed hearts will change their culture.

It is time for the church to stop being involved in social agendas, cultural reform, and positive thinking. It is time for the church to do what it was commissioned to do so long ago, and that is herald the truth of Jesus so that He can set men free from the bondage of lies and sin that enslaves them. We are not cultural reformers, no we have a much greater responsibility. In cooperation with the Holy Spirit and the truth of the Gospel we are transformers. That is what our country needs more than anything else. Not legislation from without (though the establishment and enforcement of such would help restrain evil), but transformation from within.

There is an old hymn that said it well:

"Rise up oh men of God,

have done with lesser things..."