The Bible and Voting – Part 2Proverbs 14:34 • Dr. Andy Woods • July 10, 2016 • The Bible and Voting 2016
The Bible and Voting – Part 2
7-10-16 Proverbs 14:34 Independence Day
Good morning everybody. If we could take our Bibles and open them to the book of Proverbs, chapter 22 and verse 7. The title of our message this morning is The Bible and Voting, not boating, Voting, with a V, Part 2. I don’t know how you could teach a sermon on the Bible and boating other than Jesus out in that boat with the disciples, maybe you could draw some boating examples of something. So we’re talking about the Bible and voting, and as you’re turning there I just want to recognize and say a word that our hearts and prayers go out to the police officers that were killed, four of them or more (as I understand it) through just a random act of gratuitous violence in Dallas this week and it’s a very sad climate we’re living in where the police officers have now become the bad guys.
I remember when the O. J. Simpson trial was taking place, by the end of the trial you didn’t really understand who was guilty; was O. J. Simpson on trial or the LAPD. And it’s this sort of climate that we’re in and I hope you get a chance to, when you see a police officer, even our off duty police officer, to thank them for their service, knowing that they do a very difficult job and knowing that we at Sugar Land Bible Church are not interested in demonizing a whole institution based on maybe one or two bad apples. I just wanted to get that off my chest, if that’s okay with you.
Proverbs 22:7, The Bible and Voting, last week we started a message, I typically preach a patriotic message on the 4th of July and usually I’m in a rush to get back to whatever book we’re studying but we’re between books. So we finished 2 Timothy so I decided to sort of take my message on the 4th of July and expand it over a few weeks on this subject of voting. One of the things that we brought up last time is voting is a stewardship issue. A steward is somebody who is not an owner but a manager and God has given us many, many blessings as Christians. One of those blessings is the freedom we have to select our own rulers, a privilege that people in other parts of the country, or the world for that matter, can only dream of and yet it’s here in our lap.
And the question is, are we being good stewards of that privilege? I used this quote last time, let me reiterate this: “At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberations, a lady asked Dr. Benjamin Franklin: ‘Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?’ Franklin responded, ‘A republic if you can keep it.’” [The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand, vol. 3, appendix A, p. 85 (1911, reprinted 1934).]. It’s a fascinating quote because he is saying we put the structure in place, now if it’s going to be maintained it’s going to be up to you. So that adds, does it not, to our stewardship list as Christian Americans.
A lot of people think that a Christian has no place in civic life, social life; a pastor should never speak out on issues of the day. And I’m reminded of a quote from Adolf Hitler to Martin Niemoller, one of the pastors that spoke out against Hitler in Nazi Germany. And this is found in Charles Colson’s book, Kingdoms in Conflict, said this: “I will protect the German people. You take care of the church. You pastors should worry about getting people to heaven and leave this world to me.” [Adolf Hitler to Martin Niemoller, cited in Charles Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict: An Insider’s Challenging View of the Politics, Power, and the Pulpit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), 140.]
Nature abhors a vacuum. When people remove themselves from a sphere the people that hate our values can’t wait to fill that sphere, particularly if it’s a sphere of influence, like politics or government. And one of the things I tried to communicate is we’re looking here at a biblical issue. The great claim of the Scripture, as we studied 2 Timothy 3, is that it equips us for every good work. It gives us a worldview which gives us discernment in political matters and people that we should support or not support.
So I’d like for you to look at this, really not as a partisan speech but as a Bible study. I am simply going through biblical verses that are directly applicable to issues in our day. Many times, and this happened to me actually at this church when I first started here, I was cornered in my office and one individual, who has since left the church, told me that I was just too political for him, you are commenting on things that are outside your sphere. And my response to that is always the same, I go pick up a book on my shelf and here’s Volume 1, it runs about a thousand pages, in fact it runs exactly a thousand pages, you can see from what I have here on the screen that it’s two volumes. It’s a 2,000 page book and this is the title of it: Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805.
And when you actually take time to look at some of these sermons it’s astonishing how different the sermons were in Colonial America than the type of sermon that is typically preached in a typical church today. Many times the Colonial clergy directly addressed political matters. And as you read through these pages, I might just say to you that my stuff would be considered very light weight compared to some of the things these people were saying back in the day.
The goal here is not partisanship, and people are asking should I vote for this person or that person; that’s not the point. How you vote and how you align yourself with is between you and the Lord. My job as a pastor is not to tell you who to vote for; my job as a pastor is to give you principles from the Word of God that will equip you for the wisest choice possible. And so that’s the spirit in which we offer this miniseries.
We’ve divided these issues, there’s so many of them, into three categories, Number 1, Economic issues; Number 2, Social issues; Number 3, Foreign affairs issues. I was hoping we would finish Economic Issues last week, we finished 8 of the 10. But notice, if you will, number 9. We’ve talked about ownership of private property, these are all biblical concepts, pursuit of economic self-interest, the proper definition of compassion, charity, a proper understanding of the family and wealth, a proper understanding of even nature and its cycles and how the earth, we should be stewards of rather than worshipers of, we talked about all of that last time.
But we find ourselves here in number 9, another section of the Bible that I believe directly relates to a key issue of our time. And I’ve phrased these in terms of questions that you can ask various candidates and I would recommend, not that you listen to their speeches but you research their record. Their record is going to tell you a lot more about what they believe about these key things.
But here is another question, Number 9, will the candidate add to our runaway national deficits and debt. What is the difference, first of all, between a deficit and a debt? A deficit is the amount of debt that you incur in a regular budgetary cycle, typically a year. The debt is everything, all the deficits that you have accumulated throughout your national history. It is a tragic thing to understand that our nation is probably about 20-21 trillion dollars in debt. Some of you may have seen there in Times Square the national debt clock, you’ll notice that this number is not even accurate, this was back in the good old days when we only had 17 trillion dollars in debt, now it’s 20, 21, approaching 21, something in that line of thought. But it simply keeps rolling the numbers, showing us how in debt we are.
I’m talking here about economics; I’m talking here about finances; 20 trillion dollars, how much is that exactly. I think it was Tip O’Neill who said a million here and a million there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money. These are numbers that are so large it’s hard for us to even conceptualize how big a trillion dollars is.
Well, there’s a hundred dollars, I’ve used this before, and you keep stacking up those hundred dollar bills so that they make about ten thousand dollars, and that’s what ten thousand dollars looks like. You keep stacking those hundred dollar bills, that’s what a million dollars looks like. Well let’s keep stacking, shall we? That’s what one hundred million dollars looks like. Now you can compare that to the man on the side there, he’s about the size of a human being in terms of height, and then you can look down at the bottom of the screen and you can still see the million dollars in a bundle and you can still see that hundred bill, in fact, you can barely make it out at this point.
But let’s keep stacking these bills, shall we? That’s what a billion dollars looks like. That man is getting smaller, so are those initial stacks and that initial bill. That’s what a trillion dollars looks like and you can compare that to a truck. Now you see the man, your eyes have to be very good just to see the individual, and then you see the initial stack and of course by this time you can’t even make out the initial ten thousand dollars. And that’s what a trillion dollars looks like next to a football field, a soccer field, a 747 airline jet.
And let’s keep stacking, shall we? There’s what fifteen trillion dollars looks like; you’ll notice it’s about half, a little over half the size of our Statue of Liberty, you can barely see the truck at the bottom, you can hardly see the man at the bottom. Some economists have told us that America, if you calculate all of her unfunded liabilities is probably somewhere in the category of one hundred and fourteen point five trillion dollars in debt. See, this is just kind of on budget debt, there’s all kinds of gimmicks and games people play where you can’t see the true numbers. I’ve read some reports indicating that the number really is not twenty trillion, it’s more like a hundred trillion.
And notice that giant stack of bills, how large that is in comparison to our former twin towers. Notice how large it is compared to the Empire State Building in New York.
When you dig yourself into a hole the first rule to follow is to stop digging. Amen! And yet this has not happened; we are in the midst of a mindset of people that think you have to spend more to prosper. I don’t know of any business that can operate this way; I don’t know of any household that would stay afloat using this kind of philosophy and yet this is what passes as normal today in the United States of America. We act as if the law of gravity doesn’t apply to us. If you’re outflow exceeds your income then your upkeep will be your downfall—a basic rule of life! And we act as if we can just spend and spend and spend as if there’s no tomorrow, and somehow the day of reckoning never will come.
This, I believe, is the equivalent of generational theft, what’s happening. We are spending the next generation’s money and they haven’t even been born yet. It would be like going into a restaurant and ordering the most expensive meal on the menu and then they come around and they give you the bill and you just say well, send that bill over to my children or to my grandchildren or to my great-great-grandchildren.
And what we have to understand is debt itself, whether it’s at a government level or even at a personal level is a spiritual issue. It’s interesting that the Bible constantly describes our condition in the first Adam as a financial debt that we cannot pay back. The Bible uses financial terms constantly. And that’s why I had you turn to the book of Proverbs, chapter 22 and verse 7, it says this, “the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”
Debt is something that puts a person into, according to the Scripture, a position or a place of bondage. That’s why here at Sugar Land Bible Church we have what we would call a “no debt policy,” unless the congregation approves. I think that’s a tremendous rule because I believe debt, although it can be used properly, should be used with great discernment; it should be used with great prayer, it should be used very sparingly, and it should be used as a last resort rather than a first resort.
There are many, many Christians that are very quick to condemn Washington D.C. because of its financial responsibilities, until you look at their financial life, and they are leveraged to the hilt. We have no credibility to speak with a prophetic voice to pagan culture about the issue of debt unless our individual financial house is in order.
It is very interesting to me that the nation of Israel was either blessed or cursed, according to the Mosaic Covenant that God had given them, and God says this in Deuteronomy 28:12, when they’re blessed here’s what will follow: “…you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.”
[Deuteronomy 28:12, “The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.”]
When you’re in that place of blessing you will not be a debtor nation, you will be a creditor nation. But the opposite was true. In Deuteronomy 28:44, when Israel was in disobedience and under the disciplinary hand of God the exact opposite would manifest itself. It says in Deuteronomy 28:44, “He,” that’s your neighbor, “shall lend to you but you will not lend to him.” The place of blessing is being the creditor; the place of bondage, the place of discipline, the place of the curse is being a debtor.
Psalm 37:21 says this, “The wicked borrows and does not pay back,” if you have some sort of outstanding debt and you have no ambition at all to repay or even… and it’s interesting how businesses will work with you today, even if you can’t pay they’ll work with you and get you on some sort of schedule that’s reasonable. But if you have no ambition to pay back the money the Bible simply calls that theft.
I believe that this runaway debt that we find ourselves in is violating two of the Ten Commandments of God; I’m thinking about commandment number 8, “Thou shalt not steal” Exodus 20:15, and commandment number 9, “Thou shalt not lie.” How would debt be a lie? Debt itself is the allusion of prosperity because it allows you to gain things and it allows you to acquire things even though you do not necessarily have the money in the bank to acquire these goods and services. And consequently we deceive ourselves and we deceive other people into thinking that we’re prosperous when in reality we are not. I, for one thing, am very, very tired of people calling American the richest country in the world. I don’t know if we are any more. I think we have the allusion of prosperity, the allusion of wealth, but when we fail to analyze exactly the ledger and where we are at financially as a nation I feel many times we are deceiving ourselves and we’re deceiving others.
This, as I’ve tried to show you, is not a political issue, this is a Bible issue. The Bible addresses this issue and so when we decide about a worldview in terms of who to vote for, who not to vote for, what to believe, what not to believe, we need to ask a fundamental question: will the candidate add to or subtract from our runaway debts and deficits? That’s something to think about. I don’t mean to get too conspiracy theory on you but part of me believes that running up a debt of this size either leads to several possibilities; either these people are crazy, and that’s possible, is it not, or it’s intentional. I believe in some cases there is a deliberate attempt to debase the value of the dollar. Why do I say that? Because those that hold to a one-world government mentality do not want the lead currency of the world to rest with one country; they want, rather, a global currency and they want a certain nation and a certain currency debased, devalued, brought down.
A couple of quotes; this is in a telegraph, it says, “The United Nations wants new global currency to replace dollar: The dollar should be replaced with a global currency, the United Nations has said, proposing the biggest overhaul of the world’s monetary system since the Second World War.”
George Soros is always that interesting globalist lurking in the background, and he said this is an interview. “I think the dollar is now under question and I think the system will need to be reformed, so that the United States will be subject to the same discipline as is imposed on other countries….In the long run, having an international accounting unit,” global currency, “rather than the dollar may, in fact, be to our advantage…” [Jennifer Ablan and Daniel Burns, “Soros Says U.S. Faces ‘Lasting Slowdown,” online: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-soros-exclusive-idUSTRE53537D20090406 , April 6 2009, accessed 21 January 2016.]
You read quotes like this and you almost get the feeling, I can’t prove this, that all of this is designed somehow, as people are trying to move us away from a nationalistic model into more of a global framework.
A well-known strategy by two political scientists, a husband and wife team, Cloward and Piven, wrote a political science article about this back in the 1980’s and they developed this strategy called the Cloward-Piven strategy which is a political strategy to deliberately overload the American public welfare system to the point that it creates a crisis and bankrupts the nation, leaving the country no choice but to adopt a another model, a socialistic or a communistic or a global, or a one-world model. Something to think about, something to have discernment about as we find ourselves in the troubled times we’re in.
Let me take you to a tenth issue, if I can, let’s go to the book of Acts, chapter 5 and verse 29; here is a final economic issue to ask of anybody that you’re thinking of voting for. Does candidate believe that there are limitations on government? Does the candidate believe that there are actual limitations on government. Here is a quote from Peter Stark, this was at a town hall meeting, July 24, 2010, he had a very upset group of constituents at this town hall meeting because they were upset about universal health care passing and it led to an exchange between himself and these constituents that you can find on You Tube and finally they began to ask this Congressman, what is the role of the government? Is there anything that the federal government cannot do? And this was his answer, quote: “The Federal government can do most anything in this country.” Translation: there are no limits whatsoever on the size and the scope of the state. We might call such people statists, the state is in charge, the state is god.
What a different vision our Founding Fathers had when they put forth our government. How they divided power deliberately between three separate branches; you know these, the legislative branch passes laws; the executive branch enforces laws; the judicial branch interprets laws. And they not only divided political power in a horizontal sense amongst three separate branches of government but they also divided it in a vertical sense because what they essentially created is two different layers of government, the national government and then the individual state governments. You find this in our Constitution’s tenth amendment. It says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.”
I challenge you to go home today and read the United States Constitution. You know how long the United States Constitution spans? Eleven pages! That’s in contradiction to bills that are passed today, some of them three thousand pages long. Our Founders gave us a document, including the Ten Amendments, that spans roughly eleven pages and part of that document is the tenth amendment which says look, the true source of power is not to be the national government, it’s to be the state governments.
In fact, when you study the Constitution what you’ll see is the national government can do twenty things. Those are called enumerated powers, they are actually mentioned in the document itself; everything else was to fall into the hands of the states. Here is what James Madison said in The Federalist Papers. Now we’re living in an age of time where American history is no longer taught and many people don’t even know what The Federalist Papers are or were. The Federalist Papers were written by Madison, Hamilton and Jay, to convince the voters of New York to accept the Constitution as it was being ratified. And these Federalist Papers, although people look at them today as scholarly sources, back in that day they were written to the level of the farmer. They were written to the person that was considered the least educated.
And this is what Federalist Paper number 45 says, it says, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” [Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, trans. Clinton Rossiter (New York, NY: Penguin, 1961), 292.]
Notice the division of political power not just horizontally but vertically. And then our Founding Fathers went one step further and they began to talk about something called inalienable or unalienable rights. They began to talk about rights that everybody possesses because they come from who? They come from God. Thomas Jefferson, in The Declaration of Independence mentions God over and over again: “the laws of nature and nature’s God,” “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mean are created equal.” “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” And you ought to wake up every day of your life and thank God that you live in a country that was founded on unalienable Rights because a Right that comes from God cannot be taken away by man.
What can man remove that he himself is not the creator of or the giver of? And when politicians begin to damage our rights according to the language of the Declaration of Independence, they are trampling on something that only God can give or take away. This is the foundation of the United States of America.
Now where in the world did our Founding Fathers get these strange ideas? Two political scientists, Donald Lutz and Charles Heinemann tried to figure this out, around 1980 they began to examine all of the writings of the Founding Fathers that they could get their hands on, a huge sample set. They looked at about 15,000 items and they tried to figure out of all of the places that our Founding Fathers quoted from, what did they quote from most frequently? Well, you see the numbers there,
34% of their quotations come directly out of the Bible, that’s more than four times any other single source. Later on they quoted people like Baron Montesquieu, William Blackstone, John Locke; if I had the time to explain it I could take you into the writings of those three individuals and show you that those writers of political philosophy were steeped in Scriptures as well.
In other words, America is built on the idea of the Scripture, quoting the Scripture, and then also quoting men who had a political philosophy steeped from the Scripture. If it were not for the Bible the Republic that we now live in and enjoy, simply put, would not exist. When I was a political science major this is the version of American history that I got: Well, our Founding Fathers, they got together and they started reading all of these pagan philosophers, Plato, and all of these types of people and they kind of pooled their resources and they created the United States of America. What a distorted interpretation of American history compared to what Calvin Coolidge, I believe was our 30th President, if I’m not mistaken, said.
Calvin Coolidge stated July 5, 1926, this is a 4th of July weekend address, “The principles…which went into the Declaration of Independence…are found” where? “in…the sermons…of the early colonial clergy…” And he goes and he starts articulating these principles. What was happening in early America is pulpits were aflame with the righteousness of God. Pastors were unintimidated from speaking out on public issues and applying the Scripture to daily life. And consequently the pews were filled with the Founding Fathers who heard these things over and over again from their church. And consequently they developed a country from what they heard from the pulpit.
And what does the Bible teach? I’ll tell you one thing the Bible teaches; it teaches the depravity of man. It teaches that man, if left to his own devices, without the guidance of God, without the empowerment of God, is a total disaster. Genesis 8:21 says, “…the intent of man’s heart is wicked from his youth….” Do you believe that? If you believe that it builds your philosophy of a world view, it builds your philosophy of politics because you begin to read statements like this: Well, if man is inherently evil, without the redeeming grace of God, Lord Acton said, “All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts” what? “absolutely.” We’ve got to take power and divide it. We cannot, like at Babel with Nimrod, or with the future antichrist, we cannot concentrate power in one person’s hands because if we do that, given his sin nature, or her sin nature for that matter, they will abuse their position of authority. And this is the whole logic of dividing power up.
You know, you look at these three separate branches of government and you would never set up a business that way; no corporation would run that way where three separate branches of government are almost combating each other. The system only makes sense if you come from the preunderstanding or the presupposition that man is depraved. Because we were blessed to be born into a country where the depravity of man was fully understood we live in a country consequently where power is divided, not just vertically but also horizontally.
Again, the Federalist Papers, Number 51, watch this because if you can understand this you can understand America. “But what is government” Madison says, “but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” This whole enchilada, he is saying, came into existence because of a view of human nature. Notice what he says, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” [Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, trans. Clinton Rossiter (New York, NY: Penguin, 1961), 322.]
What is going through the minds of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, all of the greats of American history, what is their problem, what are they wrestling with? They had studied governments from everywhere that had failed and they wanted to make something unique or different. What they’re wrestling with is sin; we have a problem with sin. We have to make the government strong enough to act as a restraint on the sin natures of the population but at the same time we have to remember that those that run the government are not somehow divine, they are not somehow untainted by the sin nature, they have a sin nature as well. So we’ve got to, at the same time, make the government weak enough to combat sin, not only in the people but in those governing the people. And that is the logic of the separation of powers.
What does your Bible say? Your Bible not only teaches the sin nature and its reality, it teaches there are limits on the state. The state, under the American system, cannot do whatever it wants to do. Is it not interesting that Peter brings this up in Acts 5:29, when the Sanhedrin was dogpiling on the early church for preaching the gospel? What did Peter and the apostles answer? “We must obey God rather than men.”
Is it not interesting that as you go through the Bible, like Daniel 3, Daniel 6, Exodus 1, Joshua 2, and many other examples, you will find people who tell the government no, who tell the state no, we won’t do that, we won’t be forced into that because the state has limits on it and thus you have the case for civil disobedience in the Bible. The Bible never teaches unlimited compliance to the government no matter what it wants to do. That is a reading that people get from Romans 13 but it does not take into account the full counsel of the Word of God. Yes, Romans 13, we should pray for government, we should submit whenever possible. We are not troublemakers or rabble-rousers, but at the same time there reaches a point where the government extends its reach too far and there’s a place to tell the government no.
Maximum status government is not the invention of God. It, rather, is the invention of Nimrod, an antichrist like character who built the tower of Babel, it’s his innovation. It will also be the innovation of the antichrist who will, when he arrives one day, have total government control over everybody. We read about it in passages like Revelation 13:16-18 but those are not ideas that come from the mind of God.
[Revelation 13:16-18, “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,  and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”]
Ideas that come from the mind of God are limited government. Notice, if you will, do back to Deuteronomy, chapter 17 and verses 14-17, Moses begins to articulate a time period when the nation of Israel would call out to God for a king. And notice the limitations that were placed on the king when he comes.
Deuteronomy 17:14-17, it says this: “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’  you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.  Moreover, he” notice the limitations on the king, “shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’” Verse 17, “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.”
We read this in the Bible, many times we read right over it but let me tell you something about that verse: that is a legal principle far ahead of its time because without the light of the Word of God and the tainted sin nature of our rulers we function, largely according to what happened in the Dark Ages in Europe, the divine right of kings, where the king is looked at as a representative of God; the king is somehow some sort of evolved individual much higher than us, more intelligent than we are, not beset by the sin nature that we are beset by, and therefore we submit to the king no matter what he wants to do.
That’s not what the Bible teaches at all. That is a distorted view of biblical anthropology and it’s a distorted view on the limitations that the Bible placed on Israel’s kings. And you can track it right through the Word of God. Every king that got himself into trouble before God in the Old Testament violated this principle. He stepped outside of the law and put himself above and over the law. David did it, did he not, by committing adultery and murder.
Solomon did it, did he not? You know, it’s almost like Solomon at the end of his life woke up one day, read Deuteronomy 17:14-17 and said I’m going to do the opposite. The king is not supposed to multiply wives, what did Solomon do? Multiplied wives; 700 wives and 300 concubines. The king is not to multiply wealth for himself. What did Solomon do? He did all of that and more. And how Solomon went into discipline and how the nation of Israel was divided between the northern and southern kingdoms from that time on because of Solomon’s abrogation of the principle of limited government.
You take, for example, a king like Ahab, one of the kings over the northern kingdom, who one day looked at a plot of real estate that he wanted, it was a vineyard owned by Naboth. And he went to Naboth and he said I want to purchase your vineyard. Naboth said I’m sorry, it’s not for sale. Ahab went home and sulked. Why was he sulking? Because he knew what the Mosaic Law said about private property remaining within the family and he knew that unless that property was volitionally sold Ahab could not acquire it and so he kind of went home and sulked and stormed about his palace or castle, wherever he was, until his wife spoke up. What was his wife’s name? His wife’s name was Jezebel; Jezebel was different than Ahab. Jezebel was not Jewish by descent, she was Phoenician. Ahab was in a mixed marriage that he should not have been in and his wife began to mock him. 1 Kings 21, around verse 7, she begins to make fun of him. She says are you not the ruler over all of Israel, the northern kingdom? [1 Kings 21:7, “Jezebel his wife said to him, ‘Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’”]
Her point is look, where I come from kings do what they want; kings take what they want. If a king wants somebody’s property you just go and take it, you’ve got the force and the power on your side. And she shifted Ahab’s thinking away from a limited government perspective towards a maximum government perspective. You know the story, 1 Kings 21, they lied and committed murder to get this property and the prophet, Elijah, spoke up and said in the very place where Naboth’s blood that you have just murdered is being licked up by dogs is the very same place where your blood will be licked up, because you will die as a result of violating God’s principles.
And how Ahab and Jezebel brought this horrific wave of paganism into the northern kingdom, contaminating every northern king; you have 19 kings in the northern kingdom, you don’t have one good king in the northern kingdom. I mean, if you’re going 0 and 19 that’s not a very good season, is it. At least in the southern kingdom, with 20 kings, there were 8 that were marginally good at some points in their life but not one in the northern kingdom. And how God dealt with that northern kingdom at the hands of the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and that kingdom was scattered.
You see, I’m not making this limited government stuff up. When you study the Scripture you will see it very, very clearly. In fact, there are those that have seen it clearly. One of them, his name was Samuel Rutherford, in 1644 he wrote a book called Lex Rex, which means simply put the law and the prince. And he rebelled against, in Europe, the divine right of kings, that the king can do whatever he wants and Samuel Rutherford said that’s not true, the king is underneath the law just like everyone else is underneath the Law. And he wrote this book and he died virtually in obscurity, having limited effect in his own time period. But let me tell you something; his ideas captured subsequent generations.
All of this took place in Scotland and there was somebody in Scotland, you might know this name, John Witherspoon, who absorbed this philosophy and came to eventually the United States of America and began to espouse this philosophy in what is called The College of New Jersey, which later became, around 1897 or so, Princeton College; have you heard of that? This is where Witherspoon was and he taught and taught and taught. And who listened to Witherspoon? James Madison. James Madison is largely considered the father of America and our Constitution. And where in the world did Rutherford, all the way back in Scotland get this idea that the king is somehow beneath the law rather than over it? Let me give you a hint—he was a Presbyterian minister. I believe that Rutherford got the whole concept of Lex Rex, which literally has built the United States of America from the Bible.
In fact, one of the things I haven’t told you is simply this: I put up this information about the sources that our Founding Fathers drew from, this political scientist looked at it further and they wanted to figure out what Bible book they quoted from. What was the frequently most quoted Bible book by America’s Founding Fathers. Were they quoting Romans? Were they quoting the book of Revelation? Were they quoting the Gospel of John? Not so, they were quoting Deuteronomy where we have Deuteronomy 17, the clearest articulation that the king is beneath the law rather than over the law.
We have been bequeathed and given such a wealth of history and it is so sad that most of us don’t even know it exists. And yet how this principle that the king is beneath the law is being violated over and over again. I’m not trying to pick on one side of the aisle, I could put all kinds of people, but the current President says it this way: ““I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” If they won’t do it, I’ll do it. Beloved, this is not America; this is not the voice of Witherspoon, or Rutherford, or Madison; this is the voice of a dictatorship. If Congress won’t do what they’re supposed to do according to its function of creating law then I will sit here and I’ll do it myself. My, how we have fallen. The President goes on and he says that one of the things I will be emphasizing in this meeting “is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone. I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions” he goes on and he says, “I’ve got a phone that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life—” [http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/state-of-the-union-2013-the-presidents-remarks-on-energy] if they won’t do it I’ll do, even though the Constitution itself is very clear that the President does not create law but only enforces existing law.
You read statements like this and going right through your mind you should see David, you should see Solomon, you should see Ahab, you should see the host of kings that are littered throughout the pages of the Old Testament that simply saw themselves as higher and above the law. Let me tell you something; when I go to vote for someone I want to know something—are you going to respect limited government or not? Because if you don’t you are outside the domain and the bounds of Scripture and you are outside the domain and the bounds of America herself.
How big should government be? How many laws does a nation need? Well, you might want to bone up on the law; after all, as David Barton put it, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” So I’m going to go down to the law library and I’m going to read the law. How long would that take you?
David Barton says we all know that “ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you violate a law, you suffer the penalty for it…” you’re responsible. So go read the law. So let’s go do that, shall we? “If you take the U.S. code as it exists right now, today, if you read 700 pages a week of the U.S. code,” that’s a lot of fast reading, “national calculations are that you can finish the U.S. code in only 25,000 years.” [Erica Ricz, “David Barton Explains How You Could Be Committing Three Felonies a Day,” online: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/11/04/david-barton-explains-how-you-could-be-committing-three-felonies-a-day/, November 4, 2014, accessed 15 December 2014.
Law after law after law after law.]
Let me tell you something; this is what Stalin said in Russia, “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” I can get anybody on any crime I want to put away because there are so many laws he’s done something wrong somewhere. It’s a fascinating book to read. The title of it, I hope I’ve got it right, it’s called Three Felonies A Day. [Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent Paperback – June 7, 2011 by Harvey Silverglate (Author), Alan M. Dershowitz (Foreword)]
Your average American, without even knowing it, is committing, because of the voluminous nature of the size and the scope of our government is probably violating, without even being aware of it, at least three felonies per day. Beloved, this is not how it should be. Back to James Madison in The Federalist Papers, look what he says, this is almost an omniscient quote here. He said: “It will be of little avail” Federalist number 62, “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is from day-to-day, can guess what it will be tomorrow.” [Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, trans. Clinton Rossiter (New York, NY: Penguin, 1961), 381.]
We were warned of this by our Founding Fathers of the massive scope and size of government. You look at all of the things that the national government finds its fingers in today and you look at the Constitution and you only see twenty items that the government is to involve itself in. It will only take me eleven pages to read our Founding document.
As the government grows the citizen contracts. As the government grows the citizen shrinks. And every day in America our influence as individuals is shrinking because of the size and the scope of runaway government.
I’ll tell you something I want to know when I vote for somebody for office; I want to know, are you going to respect the limitations that our Constitution outlines. Notice what Thomas Jefferson said in 1789: “…in questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man,” when he made that statement that is a direct rebellion against the divine right of kings, “… in questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man” watch this, “but bind him down from mischief” with what? “by the chains of the constitution…” [Papers of Thomas Jefferson 30:529-556]
Mr. King, Mrs. King, you’re not an Emperor, you’re bound by the same laws that govern everybody else. Your boundaries and limitations, as given to us from the Bible to America are in the United States Constitution. Having gone through a legal education it is shocking to discover how many people in positions of authority have no respect for the Constitution. This is a quote from Richard A. Posner, he wrote an op-ed piece very recently; he is a judge, he’s also a Reagan appointee. I loved Reagan, I considered Reagan one of my heroes, I most line up with the conservative values espoused by Ronald Reagan and I just use this to show that this mentality infects both sides of the aisle.
Posner writes, “…about academia and practical law, I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries…. Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century. Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today…The Supreme Court treats the Constitution like it is authorizing the court to create a common law of constitutional law, based on current concerns, not what those 18th-century guys were worrying about. In short, let’s not let the dead bury the living.”
[Judge Richard A. Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, has published an op-ed at Slate declaring that the U.S. Constitution is a waste of time. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/]
The sitting judge; if I had my way the gentleman would be impeached, he’d be removed from office. How can you swear on the Bible your oath or your allegiance to the Constitution and then write something like this? I don’t think this is a political issue only; I think this is a spiritual issue. It’s a violation of the Lex Rex principle that we find in Deuteronomy 17.
You see why I needed to divide this up into several sermons. We just finished economic issues, I was going to cover social issues today, which obviously I won’t be doing. But things to think about as you’re voting: Ownership of private property, Pursuit of economic self interest? Proper definition of compassion? Who provides charity? Family is the building block of society? Wealth retained within the family? The earth experiences cyclical patterns? Earth stewardship rather than earth worship? The two we covered today, opposition to runaway debt and do you believe in the limitations upon the state?
Next week, assuming anybody comes back to church we’ll take a look at social issues, I’ll try to move faster, starting with some of the biggies that you read about in the newspaper quite frequently, abortion, euthanasia, and same sex marriage.
If you’re here today saying what in the world kind of church is this, what have I walked into, typically we don’t operate this way, we go verse by verse through the Word of God but the Spirit of God apparently has had us pause to see some deeper things about the culture to equip us for our role in the darkness in which we find ourselves. Perhaps you’re here today and you don’t know Christ personally; the best way I can describe your condition before God is you are just like those trillions and trillions of dollar bills piled up, you have a debt that is high you could not possibly repay it because of sin. And Jesus has come into the world to eradicate that debt.
Think of being trillions of dollars in debt and then all of a sudden that debt is erased. And then God says you know, I kind of feel bad for you so I’ll just take the fifteen trillion dollars I raised and add it to your account. You go in an instant from being a debtor to the greatest creditor on planet earth. Ephesians 1:3 says we have been blessed with blessing in the spiritual heavenly places. That is the best analogy I can think of to describe our wealth in Christ. And it’s yours for the taking by simply responding, by faith, to what Jesus has done.
Becoming a Christians is not a twelve step process, it’s a one-step event whereby we stop trusting in ourselves and our own energy and our own works to save us but we trust exclusive in what Jesus Christ did through His death on the cross and His validation of who He was through His resurrection from the dead. The Spirit of God has come into the world to convict the world of its need to trust and respond to Jesus Christ. If the Spirit of God even as I am speaking is convicting, tugging, agitating, our exhortation to you here at Sugar Land Bible Church is to respond to the message of Jesus Christ. Trust Him and Him alone for your eternity and for the safekeeping of your soul. It’s something you can do in the privacy of your own heart and the quietness of your own thoughts, even as I speak. It’s what the Bible is all about, it’s what our church is all about, it’s promoting this glorious concept derived from the pages of God’s Word, called the Gospel.
If it’s something that you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk. Shall we pray. Father, our hearts are broken and we grieve and we somewhat feel overwhelmed at the things happening in our culture. We pray, Father, You will continue to use this series to equip us on things that we should say and think and do in these last days. Make us instruments of Your hand as we allow ourselves to be equipped through Your Word which wants to speak to every area of life We will be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said…..