August 23, 2020
Rose of Sharon Baptist Church August 23, 2020
Church Service Notes
Scripture: Psalm 24:1
Last week we introduced our series on voting. We will all give an account to God one day for all our actions including how we vote. We want to be able to stand before the Lord and answer to Him that we voted according to His Word. Now we will look at the issues voters have identified as important and see what God’s Word says about them. Many of us vote by looking at what is most important issue to us personally and voting for that issue. I want to encourage you to understand what the Bible says about all the issues. Do not vote just for what is important for you. Vote in accordance with God’s Word. As we go through these issues, be willing to hear what God’s Word says about these issues. We also have to understand that God may not place the same importance on issues that we do. To God, all things are important because they all belong to Him as Psalm 24:1 tells us. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we hone in on one issue only. We need to look at the fullness of what God teaches and weigh the candidates and parties to see who aligns the most with what Scripture teaches. There is no perfect candidate and no perfect party, will we have to rely on discernment, with God’s Word as our standard, to vote wisely. We have to evaluate what God is deeming most important and what is most important in the fullness of all that.
This morning’s issue will be the economy. Many polls of potential voters identify the economy as the issue with the most importance. The Bible has a great deal to teach us about the workings of an economy. Proverbs 10:4-5, Proverbs 12:24, Proverbs 13:4, and Proverbs 13:11 all speak to the importance for a person to work hard to provide for themselves and their families. These verses also warn against laziness and refusing to do honest work. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 even says if you do not work, you do not eat. As a nation we need to understand people should work and provide for themselves. James 5:1-6 tells us people are to be paid a fair wage for their work. In Nehemiah 5, we see the sinfulness and condemnation of corruption in business affairs as well as instructions for being fair in business transactions. Proverbs 22:7 talks about debt. When we chose to go into debt, we are a slave to the lender. The Bible teaches that we should be people who avoid going into debt, but there are so many families today crippled by debt. We enter into debt many times because we are not content people. We have to learn to be content and to live within the means God has given us. Philippians 2:4 tells us we are supposed to look after our own responsibilities, as well as looking out for others. We see this in the example of Paul. Paul worked as a missionary evangelist and traveled around to share the Gospel while working as a tentmaker to take care of himself. Jesus said, “Lay up not treasures for yourself on this earth, but treasures in heaven”. We need to invest in the Kingdom of God by spreading the Gospel. In 1 Timothy 6:17-19 we are given instructions on how to use the wealth God provides to us: we are to glorify God, to enjoy His blessings, and to bless others. If we are going to get the economy right as a nation, we have to understand what the Bible says about the individual’s role in the economy.
It is not the government’s job to reward laziness. It is not the government’s role to redistribute wealth. In 1 Samuel 2:7-8 we are told the Lord makes the poor and the rich. We must understand the Bible does not teach that all people get to share equal wealth. That may not sound fair, but the Bible never tells us life will be fair. In fact, the Bible tells us the opposite and Jesus even says that the poor will always be with us. It is not our government’s job to reward the things Scripture says we ought not do. It is not the government’s job to lend money or pay off debt for individuals. It is not the government’s job to make sure people have food or wealth. These are individual’s responsibilities and opportunities for the church to be a blessing, not the government. In the New Testament it is the early church the helps one another and the poor not the government. Sometimes the government gets in a position where it tries or is even asked to assume the role of God. In 1 Samuel 8:10-18, we see God’s warning to the people of Israel regarding their desire for a king or earthly government to meet their needs. God warns their government would take from the best of their people and their belongings. Look at how many times the word “take” appears in the passage. When we rely on the government to fill the role of God, it will fail because it is not God. To compensate, the government tries to take more money by taxes to fix its shortcomings. But it will never succeed in providing to the degree God provides. We must stop looking to the government to be God for us.
What is the government supposed to do? Romans 13:1-7 gives a basis for government function and the origin of governments in God. We see in these verses that the government is supposed to protect its citizens from evildoers. We are instructed to respect and pay taxes to support the government God has ordained. In economy, the government should protect citizens from corruption, from theft, and unfair business dealings. The government should support commerce, infrastructure, and foreign policy to allow people to be industrious and to be able to provide for their families. If someone is working hard, like we are instructed in Proverbs, the government should protect them from someone who would prey upon them to prevent them from benefiting from their labor. The role of the government is to protect its people in their economy.
Deuteronomy 8:11-18 gives us another look at the government’s role in an economy. Moses reminds the people of Israel of all God did for them and what they should do as they enter the Promised Land. The verses describe the economic blessing God gives, the economic prosperity in houses, gold, flocks, and herds. The Israelites shouldn’t have been rich. They had been slaves in Egypt. But, God intervened and to free them and gave them the Egyptians’ wealth. The leadership/government of Israel was instructed to remember God. They were not to think of themselves as the cause and source of the nation’s wealth. In America, you see the wealth of our homes and money. I wonder if we have fallen victim to believing our own hype and have forgotten God. Like Israel, we have no business being rich or even existing. Our states started as colonies of the most powerful country in the world at that time. When the War of Independence was fought we should not have won, but God delivered to America the victory. We owe our very existence to God and we must not forget God.
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 gives us more insight on the government and the economy. Here Moses tells the people of Israel if they will be obedient to the laws of God, God would bless their nation. We should adhere to this teaching in America. The laws of our land ought to align with the Word of God. These verses reveal much economic prosperity is possible contingent upon a nation honoring God’s Word. The government’s role in the economy should be to remember that God is the source of the economy and to honor God so that we can receive His blessings. The government should not think it is equal to God and should not forget God. We need to vote for people that will honor and fear the Lord. We need to vote for people that more often than not, pass laws that support God’s Word as opposed to violating it. The economic issue is not only about monetary policy, it is not redistribution of money, it is not solely a matter of taxes, or trade policy. The most important economic issue is honoring God’s Word. Vote for the party and candidates that honor God’s Word. If we want the God who owns all things to bless our economy, that is what we have to do.
Scripture: Job 1:21 and 2:10
Tonight, we are going to look at Job’s words in the immediate aftermath of his suffering. We have previously seen how Job’s character prepared him to keep faith and what his actions were immediately after his suffering. Now we are going to see his mindset through his thoughts and words. In chapter 1, we see Job’s mindset is very basic and sometimes simple is best. We have a way of overcomplicating things in our mind with things that do not matter or that are not even possibilities. The Bible tells us we have to capture every thought and bring it captive to the obedience of God. Job did that, he did not go to dark places in his mind, instead he focused on facts and reality. We would do well to follow that example also. Job starts by focusing on who he is. Job realizes, even in the immediacy of losing all of his children, servants, and wealth, that he came into the world without anything and will leave the world without anything. He knows none of the things he lost were actually his. This is a perspective we need to understand and apply in our own lives. This is an attitude of humbleness. We lose things in our lives be it a job, a house in a fire or flood, or relationships with people. All of those are things that are owned by God and we were only made stewards over. If we feel like we own them, rather than being a steward, it becomes more personal of a loss with a deeper impact on our life. This even includes Job’s children. Our children are near and dear to us but they also belong to the Lord. We live a window of time that God ordains. During that time period, we are to glorify God and share His love with other people as much as we can. The other stuff such as possessions, homes, money, etc., are things that come along with the ride of life, but they do not go with us into eternity. There is a real strength in having the proper perspective of the things of life.
We also see the phrase, “The Lord gave, and the the Lord hath taken away.” This reminds us that all things belong to God and all the things of life are established by God. It speaks to God’s sovereignty. God ordains our steps and distributes the things of life to us. We have to understand that all the things we have in our lives are because God blessed us with those things. If God has the prerogative to take them away, He can do that. In chapter 2, Job says “Should we receive good at the hand of God but not receive evil?” This is talking about the troubles and struggles of life. If we are going to accept the good, we also have to accept the struggles in God’s sovereignty. Job understood this, and we have to accept it. God allows adversity to come in our lives, and He blesses us. Each of us receives different blessings and troubles. Sometimes we can bring adversity onto ourselves by our sins. But the suffering Job experienced was not resulting from his sin. We know the entire story by the Bible but Job did not. We do not always understand or know the workings of the spiritual realm. We just have to be committed to God.
In Isaiah 45:5-12, we are given more instruction on accepting God’s sovereignty. God emphasizes He is the one and true God. God created us and knows all about us. We do not know all about God. In verse 7, God tells us He makes peace and adversity. God is sovereign over all of these things. When things happen, good or bad, God is over it. We do not get to control that. In verse 8, we are told “Woe to the person who strives with God.” We do not get to argue with God. God tells us He is sovereign over all things. We are not in a position to feel God owes us anything or our suffering is somehow unjust. God deals with those things. There are really tragic and horrible things that happen in life because we live in a sinful, fallen world. While we mourn in those sufferings we do not get to control God’s workings in them. Tragedies are part of the sovereignty of God. God is working through all things and the Bible tells that God has a good plan for the believer and will work the plan to the believer’s good. We need to submit to His sovereignty no matter how great the suffering, and we take this position that Job takes. It takes a mature Christian to live this way, but Job shows us that through faith it is possible.
A lot of us in church think because we serve God we should not have to suffer through loss and tragedy. When hardships come, we may be guilty of saying, “God, look at all of these things I do for you. Why are you allowing this to happen?” We feel that God somehow owes us protection from the troubles and trials. We may believe we should have extra blessings due to our service. In Luke 17:7, we see the teaching against this thought that we are owed something for our service to God. Jesus gives the example of a master and servant relationship and asks if it makes sense for the servant to finish His work and come back to the house expecting to eat before his master. He points out the servant is expected to meet his obligations to his master prior to seeing to his own needs. Neither does the master thank the servant for the day’s work because the servant owes that to the master. Doing the day’s work is the minimal expectation for the servant. Jesus is saying that as Christ followers, we owe Him everything. We are quick to accept all the good parts of Christianity – forgiveness of sins and going to Heaven. But we must also be willing to lay our life down for Jesus Christ. Job had done that. He mourns, as anyone would, but he also worships God. He understands the sovereignty of God to give and take away. We have no right to expect or demand more from God than what He gives us. Jesus gave so much more than you and I could ever repay. We were made family members of God and coheirs of Christ. There is nothing else we could get! There are going to be trials because we are part of a fallen world. One day in a new heaven and new earth, we will not experience those things. But God does not owe us the sparing of those troubles now. He does not owe us anything but we owe Him everything including our worship. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it tells us to be thankful in all things, in all circumstances. That is what Job did. He says “Blessed be the Lord” to give thanks in the midst of tragedy and suffering.
To summarize the mindset of Job: he recognized his insignificance in the midst of his suffering. His proper perspective allowed him to handle the trials better. Job recognized the sovereignty of God. This allowed Him to trust God no matter what the circumstances were. Job did not know what was happening in heaven. He had no idea that thousands of years later, his life would be the subject of study. We have to own our role in God’s plan. Our role is to be surrendered to God’s will, to trust Him, and to give thanks to Him in all things. It is not to lash out in sinful ways or to be tempted to sinful things. Job stays grounded in the foundation of the Lord he had set up throughout his whole life. He stays faithful to the will of God, as God’s faithful, obedient servant. Job continues to worship the Lord. If we can continue to worship God through all things, it will change our perspective. There is a peace that comes in accepting God’s sovereignty over your life. There is peace that comes in knowing you can rest and be thankful in God’s hands.