It’s Just What I Wanted for You
Luke 10:25-37/Eph. 2:10
Nov. 19, 2017
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Created by God to do good works. Called by God to do good works. Called by God to serve him where we are. Called by God to a pastor, a parent, a worker. Called by God to be a shoemaker, a baker of cakes. Wherever we are, we are there because God put us there and intends for us to serve him. And God intends to serve others through us. That is vocation.
Vocation: God’s calling. Luther wrote on vocation more than anything else during his ministry except for justification by grace through faith. Why would he spend so much ink on vocation? He had been a monk. People became monks because they thought monks were these spiritual athletes, serving God by studying endless hours, worshiping and praying for hours at a time, by punishing themselves by going without food or water, or blankets. In reality monks thought they were paying for their sin and guilt before God. Luther later rejected monastery life for God’s teaching vocation: God’s calling to the individual.
I suppose it makes sense to want to be a spiritual athlete, like what was assumed for those in monasteries. But look at the patriarch Jacob. There are times God led Jacob to lofty heights. One day he struggled with the Lord in prayer. At that time there was no time for milking of goats or tending sheep. There was time only for struggling against sin and death and conquering through faith and hope. There were other times when Jacob is nowhere near the lofty heights and he’s caring for his family, taking care of his flocks. God’s people aren’t restricted to one work, like those in monasteries. God’s people devote themselves not only to spiritual exercises, but also domestic and political concerns.
Abraham is called to Mount Carmel to sacrifice Isaac: to do the very thing that God would do! Would you have slept on that three day journey? Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead. But for Abraham, there must have been a lot of boring time waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
Vocation: our calling in life. Employer/husband/father. Or employed/husband/father. Wife/mother/employed. Child/student/employed. Whatever station, or stations in life into which God has placed you, God calls you to be faithful. God calls you to do the good works he’s assigned to you.
What makes a Christian shoemaker? Is it because he puts little crosses on the shoes he makes? A Christian shoemaker puts his faith into practice by making good shoes. There is no such thing as Christian shoemaking. There isn’t a technique for making shoes only known by Christians. There are shoes made by baptized kings and queens, who make shoes because their neighbors need them. And when he makes quality shoes at a fair price he does the best job of meeting his neighbors’ needs. And he will make shoes cheerfully and with a commitment to quality and he’ll be convinced that God is delighted with his shoes because God is delighted with him in Christ.
If you are a Christian checkout clerk, you might have the ability to ring up 40 items per minute, but you’ll slow things down to chat with an elderly bachelor. A Christian checkout clerk sees his job as more than a bunch of items to be scanned. He sees a soul loved by Jesus.
Luther said, “He will work all things through you he will milk the cows through you and perform the most servile duties through you, and all the greatest and least duties alike will be pleasing to him.”
Luther said, “God milks the cows through the handmaides.” Then it’s true that God flips the burgers at McDonalds. God pours water at Bob Evans or Bonefish Grill. In food snobbishness you might say, “Eeuuww, I don’t like their burgers.” But God feeds hundreds of thousands that way. God carries the food to you through the waitress. God picks up after your meal at the country club through the busboy.
So, a Christian might be a common laborer, a shoemaker, a sweaty blacksmith. He might be dirty and smelly. But he can say, “My God made me a man. He gave me my wife, my house and my family and he has commanded me to love my family and provide for them. And this is how he allows me to do it. And he may stink outwardly, inwardly he is pure incense.”
We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” A pastor friend of mine put it this way: “Every day is Christmas for God.” A thousand opportunities contront the believer, all of which conform to God’s law. There need be no ringing of hands, God’s mercy being what it is, when the choice is between “good and good.” You choose one option when you know it is not a sin to choose another. It’s like going to a department store, looking at all that in the shelves until you settle on a particular item that catches you eye. You select that item, that good work, just for your Father. You crawl into his lap. He peels off the wrapping and exclaims, “Oh, and what a delight!” This is pure grace. And a mystery too because he you choose for him he chose for you.
A man was minding his own business, walking down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, about a 17-mile walk. “…he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.” So now, all this man can do is be at the mercy of humanity.
A priest has an opportunity to be a blessing to the man who was beaten and left half dead. But when he saw the man he “passed by on the other side” of the road. He chose to not help.
How does a man of God not know this good work is sitting there for him? He, God’s teacher, would have known that the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18) You bind you own wounds, don’t you? So, you bind the wounds of your neighbor. Give him shelter. This priest was determined to not be a blessing from God.
Then along came a Levite, “…when he came to the place and saw him he passed by on the other side.” A Levite was someone who worked in the temple. How could he not know “Love your neighbor as yourself?”
There was a third man who was walking the same road. Maybe his didn’t even belong on the road. He was a foreigner. People who lived there would have viewed this man as a half-breed. He came across this who had been beaten half to death. But he did not cross over to the other side of the road. No, “he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Two silver coins were two days wages. Two days wages would have paid a this man’s inn’s expenses for two months. Pretty generous for a man who was considered a half breed and looked down upon.
Vocation is our calling in life. God’s calling to serve him wherever we are in life. Sometimes that calling takes us to the proverbial mountaintop; sometimes that takes us to dirt, sweat and tears. Sometimes our vocation moves us to just mind our own business, but sometimes our vocation calls us to not mind our own business, like the Good Samaritan, who could have walked away but was a blessing from God.
I’d hate to see a computer printout of the times I’d didn’t love my neighbor as myself. I’d hate to see the number of times I didn’t do for my neighbor what I would have done for myself. I’d to see the number of times I’ve known others needed help and didn’t lift a finger. There are many times I, we didn’t show mercy.
God has shown mercy. Jesus didn’t walk on the other side of road to avoid helping. He used the roads to get those who needed help. He turned water into wine and saved a wedding reception. He healed an officials son. He drove out evil spirits. He healed Peter’s mother in law. He cleansed a man with leprosy. He healed a man who was paralyzed. He restored a man’s withered hand. He raised two people from the dead.
God has shown mercy. Before Jesus healed the lepers, he didn’t ask if they were Lutheran. When he granted sight to the blind, he didn’t ask if they were card carrying members of the same political party.
And mercy of mercies: he took the punishment of body and soul for our sins, as if he had committed them. He becomes all that is bad and evil and pays with it for his life. So I can become all things that are good and pleasing in his sight.
All so I can go to the rack and pick out a good work and go jump on my heavenly Father’s lap and say, this is for you. I could have picked another good work just the same, but this one I chose just for him. And he says, “Oh, how delightful and it’s just what I chose for you.”
What do you have going on today? Do you have some good things to do for your Father? Some “good works prepared in advance” because you are “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus?” You may be hands that God uses to feed your family. You may be the one God uses to get someone out of a jam. You might be taken to a real spiritual mountaintop experience in His Word, or you may get dirty, smelly, grimy, and either way, it’s what God prepared for you.
I don’t think we can imagine the list of good works that each of us has already offered in service to our Father. Luther said, “Faith is active. Before it can ask what needs to be done faith is already doing it.”
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' (Mat 25:34-40)
Maybe the reason we don’t think about all we do as good works is because as we do our good works we are thinking about our Father. Have a wonderful day enjoying the many opportunities God prepared for you today to serve him. Amen.
A Special People for a Special Purpose
1 Peter 2:9-12
November 12, 2017
My mommy has always thought I was special, even if I didn’t feel that way. My grades weren’t as good as my brothers; I got into more trouble than my brother; I wasn’t as cute as my younger sisters. Even so I have always known that I was special in my mommy’s eyes. Even at age 49, I can tell she is smiling when she is talking to me 1,700 miles. I have thought for a long time that my mommy’s love for me has more to do with her and her qualities than mine. I bet you can relate.
Better than a mommy’s love is the Father’s love. I know that through faith you understand that you are special, and that you are loved. But do you know how special you are to the Father? Do you know how loved you are by the Father? Do you understand how highly the Father thinks of you? It is not a stretch at all to say that I am in the presence of some of the most special people God ever made. Neither is it a stretch to say that I am in the presence of some of the most beloved people of God to ever walk this earth. Put plainly, I am in the presence of royalty.
And even though you are so loved and blessed you are not bratty. You are not entitled or spoiled. You are not holier than thou. What a special group of people you are and what a privilege it is for me to be with you today. It is also necessary for me to say that what you are, or what God has made you to be, is the result of His character and not our own.
Knowing the love of a loving mommy, didn’t you want to love her back? Knowing the love of this heavenly Father, don’t you just want to love her back?
“But you are a chosen people…” It would be enough to know that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son: if a mother can love each child in her family our Father can love each of us. We have four children, my mother would have loved five. God so loved the world… But he didn’t just love the world; he loved you in particular in that he sought you out and brought you to faith. He wanted you.
Before the world was created…before a star appeared in the sky…before God put fish in the sea and birds in the air…before God hand‐crafted Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden…God chose you to be a member of his believing family.
You are a chosen people and a “royal priesthood.” Royalty. I’m guessing you don’t feel much like royalty. I’m guessing people likely don’t treat you like royalty either. This sinful world doesn’t recognize you as such. The world might even get a good laugh at us because of our faith in Jesus, but your home is heaven and God is your true Father. You are not just a commoner or an underling in this family. You are part of the priesthood.
“A royal priesthood.” These words might bring to mind pictures of the Old Testament priests with their hands bloodied from sacrificing animals or lifting their hands toward heaven in prayer. Old Testament priests were the mediators, the “go-between” people between God and mankind. But Jesus’ death on the cross and payment for mankind’s sin erased the barrier between God and mankind. No longer does someone need a mediator to access God, because in Jesus all believers can access God directly. All believers are priests, royal priests, because they belong to the King and Creator of all things.
You don’t sacrifice animals. But here’s what you do offer to God: repentant hearts, prayers for ourselves and others, prayers for the spread of the gospel. In a very real way our God has equipped us with real skills to be used to serve him and others and each one of us serves him and others. And you yourself know what a joy it is to serve, to just serve. You, a royal priesthood, are a special people.
You are a “holy nation.” You’ll hear this pastor say that holy is to be without sin and that is true. But at it’s core, to be holy refers to something that is set apart for God’s purpose. God’s people in this original letter written by Peter were scattered around the world, and some them were fleeing for their safety. And yet, they were still set apart from the world in God’s eyes.
You are “God’s special possession.” You are God’s person possession. Kings in Peter’s day would have a special treasury set aside for themselves in the case of attack, theft, revolt or robbery. Through Jesus, you are God’s special, personal possession protected by him from the attacks of sin, Satan, and death. You belong to the King of kings, who gave everything to make you his own forever. All of that opposes you cannot defeat you or take you away from this King.
“A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” Do you understand how loved and blessed you are? You might object, “I was always the last one chosen when we chose sides for kickball in grade school.” You are the first pick in the first round of God’s draft. You might think, “I was never very good at sports, or scholastics, or gym. . So, it might be true you could have failed study hall in high school.” Holy is your status. Without sin is holy. Set apart by God for God is holy. You may say, “I don’t feel special” for whatever reason.
Whoever gave us permission to doubt God’s work? Whoever gave us permission to question the effectiveness of his work? I still don’t feel special. I’m still a sinner. I’m not worth choosing. That’s why this is born of God’s grace. In Jesus, God chooses you and says, “That’s my guy, or that’s my girl.” He is not embarrassed in the least to call you his own. And so dedicated is he to you that he does everything in his power to look after you and care for you. You are the apple of his eye and he will not let you out of his sight. He will even send his angels to watch over you and keep you from harm. You are his most treasured possession. You and the person next to you.
It was at great expense to himself that God chose us and bought us. His Son’s punishment on the cross saved us from the punishment and damnation we deserve. You are royalty--a royal priest, with your own access to the throne of God in prayer. You are holy--declared holy: without sin, set apart by God for service to God. You are his special possession, the apple of his eye. You are the cream of the crop, the first round draft choice, a special possession, holy.
You special people have a special purpose: that you “may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” You who have gone from the darkness of unbelief to the light of faith declare now his praises. God has transformed you from curse-provoking enemies to his praise-proclaiming people.
So, what does that look like in everyday life? Peter explains, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world....” You are not a child of the darkness anymore. You know the difference between darkness and light and you want to live in His light. “Dear friends, I urge you… to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” We are tempted to think a little greed or a little lust is no big deal, but sinful thoughts are darkness. Peter warns us to keep away from such sinful desires, because they “war against your soul.” You’ve been called into Christ’s wonderful light to declare his praises. Sinful desires will only drag you back to the darkness. Peter urges us to let our lives declare God’s praises. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” Jesus had instilled in his disciples an awareness that he could return at any moment. The early Christians had that belief too. We are closer to the last day than they are. Christ is coming soon, and a time will come when you and I will have to stand before the holy God. And what will he see? What will he declare about us: sinners living in the dark, or holy, chosen, royal priests? He will see what Jesus did for us. And that will be reflected in our lives. Through faith in Christ, we let our lives “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
What a sweet sound it must be to God’s ears when he hears us join our voices and sing his praises. What a pleasant thing it must be when believers send God prayers filled with adorations and thanksgivings. Praises to God are good and pleasing to him. But so are praises about God to others. It is one of our greatest privileges in life to tell others of the Lord’s wonderful deeds, how he swallowed up death, how he devoured hell, how he overcame the devil, how he opened the gates to paradise.
But our decisions declare his praises. Our priorities declare his praises. The use of our time and talents and money declare his praises. We declare his praises at home, at work and in society in all we do.
People might ask you, “Why do you read your Bible?” The Bible keeps me in the light, or it brighten my life with His light, you may answer. Or, “Why do you tell others about Jesus when you may be persecuted?” Jesus wants other to live in that light. And so you speak about Jesus who changed your life, who lived obediently for you, who died innocently for you, who forgives your sin and has opened heaven for you. Then you can watch as maybe the Lord uses even your weak and stumbling praise to change the hearts of an unbeliever, or the religiously careless.
Your life has purpose. Your life has meaning and can make a difference in the life of another. Your life proclaims praise to God!
Someone has said, “You may be the only Bible people ever read.” Someone else said, “The best sermons are preached when people walk about the door and live their lives.” Our lives may not teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, so we must take the time to teach and preach and explain the good news of Jesus to others. But your life as a reflection of Christ’s love does open the door to share the gospel with many others who need the light of God’s love in their souls. You are special people: you live in the light of God’s love. You have a special purpose: you live to declare his praises. Amen.
Daniel 6:1-23, November 5, 2017
Most of my good friends are sports fans, fanatics. Football especially. I have friends that are Michigan fans. Michigan fans are not fans of Michigan State. Someone dressed in blue and maze colors of Michigan is not going to say, “Go Spartans.” I know Ohio State Buckeye fans too. Fans of Ohio State are not fans of Michigan and fans of Michigan are not fans of Ohio State. You cannot be a fan of both.
The solution? Be a Badger fan of the Wisconsin Badgers. Go Big Red. Good program, good coaches. Come over to the good side. Forget Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes. That’s how fans think, right? You can’t be a fan of two teams which oppose each other.
But imagine pledging your loyalty to two kingdoms. Right here there are two kingdoms. And we pledge loyalty to both. Christians pledge their loyalty to two different areas of authority. We are Faithful Subjects of Two Kingdoms. We are faithful to His earthly kingdom and we are faithful to His Heavenly Kingdom. Daniel provides us with a great example of such a faithful subject.
I’d like to paraphrase a little from Chapter 6. King Darius appointed 120 satraps, or administrators, to rule throughout his kingdom, which was the world power and he placed three administrators over the administrators, one of whom was Daniel. And he planned to make Daniel ruler over the entire kingdom. Daniel is 80 years old at this time?
So, Daniel didn’t live in the Holy Land for most of his life, like most of the Bible’s characters we study. He lived on a land on the other side of the Fertile Crescent called Babylon. Why did he live there? Because in Daniel chapter one we learn that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon laid siege to the Jerusalem and God delivered the city and its inhabitants to the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar needed officials in his growing empire, so he brought in Israelites from the royal family and nobility. He wanted young men who would be qualified to serve in his kingdom, so young men who had no physical defect, handsome, aptitude for every kind of learning and handsome. And then after three years of training, learning their language and literature, Daniel then entered the king’s service. One of these young men was Daniel.
So, Daniel is ripped away from his homeland while a young boy when the King of Babylon served as God’s tool to bring repentance to the Israelites. But he served faithfully. If you remember it was Daniel who interpreted two dreams for King Nebuchadnezzar. Then there was King Belshazzar, who was throwing a party to his gods, and the Lord caused a hand to write mysterious words on a wall. From this account, we get the familiar saying about “seeing the handwriting on the wall.” Daniel interpreted the words for King Belshazzar. And now he serves King Darius, the conqueror of the Babylonian. Darius is pleased with Daniel, 80 years old, who serves as administrator of administrators, and is being considered to run the entire empire.
Daniel is a Jew. He’s not a Babylonian. He’s not Medo-Persian. How would you like if some Middle East country took over the United States and asked you to serve in some authoritative way? But Daniel was faithful. This caused jealousy among the other administrators. Perhaps his Jewish-ness was appreciated by everyone. So these men conducted a secret investigation into Daniel’s governing of the past. Surely there were some skeletons in his closet somewhere! But remarkably, we see there were none. Daniel’s record of faithfulness was flawless. Imagine if this could be true of our politicians today!
Are we faithful and loyal to our earthly kingdom? I ran across a letter someone wrote to the IRS a few years ago about their quarterly tax payment.
Dear gentlemen of the IRS, A few comments about my quarterly payment are probably in order. My quarterly payment is $1875. I recently read that the president paid $575 for a toilet seat used on his personal jet, so I am enclosing two toilet seats in this package. That leaves my balance at $725. I also read that the US army on the base in our town was purchasing common work hammers for $105 apiece. I have also enclosed 7 hammers, worth $735 to you, in this package, bringing my total to -$10. You can send me a check or money order for the $10 that you owe me to the address on my voucher. Happy to do my part, John C. Doe
Obviously, this person had some humor in mind writing that. The Bible says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” (Romans 13:1) God commands our submission to our government. The Bible says “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7) Our country prospers when it has the proper support of its citizens. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Support of our government is a witness of faith
The man who wrote to the IRS obviously wrote with some humor, humor we can all understand. However, your opinion on immigration does not give you the right to disobey traffic laws or withhold your taxes. Your president’s stance on an issue you take issue with does not give you the right to speak poorly of him. Your president’s use of Twitter doesn’t give you the right to disrespect him. He may not be up to your standards, but we are not up to God’s standards.
There may be issues in the future that involve government that turn us off as Christians. There may be support for abortion, promotion of unchristian world religions in the public school system. But that doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility to be faithful in this kingdom.
Think Daniel. Think King David. Before he as King of Israel, King Saul hunted him and wanted him dead. David had already been anointed as the next king of Israel. David had Saul inches away from him on more than one occasion; he could have taken his life; once as Sasul lie sleeping on the ground, once as Saul was relieving himself in a cave. But he would not raise a finger against the Lord’s anointed. A complete jerk, yes! A man who had rejected God? Yes! A man who was David’s personal enemy? Yes! But Saul was the Lords anointed and David respected him.
Read the life of David and imagine David saying, “Men, we are being hunting by Saul. I have great respect for the office of the king, but I have no respect for this king.” You’d have to imagine this because this would not have happened. David respected the man who held the office because you cannot separate the two. David suffered because of the administration of his king, but he was faithful.
But think of Jesus. On trial before the High Priest, who probably bought his position. It would be tough to respect that. It’s an illegal trial at that. Tough to respect this too. Jesus is asked a question about his disciples and he responded by telling them they should ask his disciples. He was slapped in the face with an open hand. Also illegal. Jesus suffered under the administration of the Jewish court. But he spoke the truth; he answered their questions. He was faithful.
Sometimes people talk about Jesus like he was a man who bucked the system and fought against things institutional. This is not true. Jesus submitted to the Jewish government. He submitted to the Roman government. He paid his taxes. He said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
And what did Jesus offer to God? Faithfulness in the face of unfaithfulness. Righteousness in the midst of unrighteousness. Perfect love, perfect respect, perfect obedience for a world full of sinners. In suffering unfairness, being on the opposite end of those who ruled with self-centeredness, Jesus didn’t just endure agony on the cross. He endured God’s wrath. It was God’s will for Jesus to suffer: unjustly, innocently, sacrificially. For a world of sinners. So, you see unfaithfulness, disrespect, faithlessness=sin. Think Jesus who paid for all of it.
When faithfulness is required and desired by God, think Jesus. When suffering at the hands of a government that is non-Christian, think Jesus, who paid for all injustice, all sin. When tempted to disrespect government, think David, who wouldn’t. Think Jesus who didn’t, who paid for all unrighteousness.
But we are faithful subjects in two kingdoms. Daniel also gives us a wonderful example of how to be faithful in God’s heavenly kingdom, which isn’t a reference to heaven, but God’s rule in our hearts and the authority over us right now also.
“The administrators and the satraps went in a group to the king and said: ‘O King Darius, live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.’ So King Darius put the decree in writing.”
This placed Daniel in quite a dilemma. So what would he do now? Daniel also knew that this was a type of law known as the “law of the Medes and Persians.” That meant that it could not be changed under any circumstances. You probably have heard the phrase, “It’s not written in stone,” meaning there’s some flexibility. But there was no flexibility when it came to this law. It could not be repealed; it was written in stone. So what would he do now?
Daniel’s conscience would not allow him to pray to the king. Daniel’s conscience would not allow him to stop praying to the Lord out loud. Daniel’s conscience was going to allow him to be secretive in his prayers to the Lord. In Daniel’s mind, he’d then be denying his Lord to the world around him.
So we hear, “When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Earthly decrees against his Lord made no difference to Daniel. He was faithful to his heavenly kingdom. He prayed as he always had, regularly and openly.
And we see how the Lord in his mercy defended Daniel who had done the right thing. Even though the king gave in to this hateful plot and had Daniel put in the lions’ den, as Daniel said the next morning, “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.”
The principle has not changed for us today. We support our earthly and heavenly kingdoms, but if the two ever clash, it’s clear to us which one wins out. Ever play cards? In certain card games there are trump and fail. Every trump card takes every fail card. The Lord’s commands trump any commands that men or human governments may put in place. have to make a choice in future days in our country on what they preach about. There is a current movement in our land to make any speaking out against homosexuality a “hate crime,” punishable by law. This is already a law in Canada. Preachers could be watched for allegiance to this. What will preachers do? If this is required, or not allowed, by the general public, what will you do?
It’s easy to say, “I’ll do what Daniel did” when there are no lions, or when there are no government officials listening to your every word. The lions were real. And earlier in Daniel there were three men who were thrown into the fiery furnace because they would not bow down and worship a golden statue. Three dissenters. What would you do if you are the only dissenter? What will you do if you are the only one?
But there’s really only just one. Think Jesus, your Savior. You pray to him, read about him, worship him, act like him, and love him day and night. Think Jesus who gave his life for you. You are his disciple no matter where you live, no matter where you go--off to college, out of town, on the town, to school, to military service.
May we be faithful to two kingdoms! May we love and support our land and pray that God would bless it. May we be faithful to our heavenly kingdom, for God has blessed us so much. May God give us wisdom and guidance when life circumstances make it difficult between the two kingdoms. And finally, we pray that God would guide this world’s circumstances so that his gospel can be preached freely and that all those around us might be faithful citizens of both kingdoms! Amen.