Sunday, June 30, 2019 - WE BELIEVE: Religious Liberty
Direct us Lord help us to know more about you as we discussed religious liberty and what we believe about it in Jesus name we pray. Amen. So once again, it's not so much about what we believe but what do we believe the Bible says about religious liberty and to be quite honest with you specifically in that phrase the way we phrase that religious liberty. The Bible is not really distinct or doesn't give specifics on that. But again this summation that we have in the Baptist faith and message is where we're going to go and going to talk about today first and foremost our baptist faith and message says God Alone is Lord of the conscience and he has left it free from the doctrine the Commandments of man which are contrary to his word or not contained in it. Let's stop and reread that God Alone is Lord of the conscience. I think we can all get behind that God is the Lord of our conscience and he God has left it (our conscience) free from the doctrines of Commandments of man, which are what contrary to his word and don't are not contained in it 1 Peter 3 13 through 17 says this Who then will harm you if you are devoted to what is good, but even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed do not fear what they fear or be intimidated. But in your hearts regard Christ the lord as holy ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asked you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Before I go any further, I want you to see that in verse 15. At any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, how can we give a defense if we are not prepared?
Not too long ago a Christian Camp provided training to young girls for self-defense because of the crisis that's currently happening in our portion of the world where young girls are being abducted and sent off into the slave trade. All those girls were given some solid training. Let me tell you if those girls don't practice that training and spend time preparing themselves for that when it comes time to actuating and actualizing that defense mechanism. It will not do them much good will it? We have to prepare as Believers in Christ to be ready to give a defense for what? For the hope that is in you so that implies we will walk around and display. Hope in our world won't we were Verse 16 goes on to say yet do this with gentleness and respect keeping a clear conscience so that when you are accused those who disparage your Good Conduct in Christ will will be put to shame for it is better to suffer for doing good. If if that should be God's will then for doing evil. I want to say this. We as Believers in Christ are subject only to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. And the concept of being subject doesn't really hit home anymore at the time when kings and queens were in rule to say you were subject to someone meant you were at their behest you were at their disposal they can do with you whatever they want. Ladies and gentlemen, we as Believers in Christ. We are subject to the Lord Jesus Christ. I talked about how easy it is to call Jesus Savior, but sometimes we fail to consider to call him the Lord of our life. He commands us though and we read last week in Romans 13 He commands us to do what to be subject to the governing authorities, which we go was so looking forward to not having to do that. But Christ as we know operates differently than the rest of the world Amen where we are given Liberty to exercise the tenets of our faith. And what do I mean by that?
You say why you talking about the Baptist denomination know I'm talking about the tenets of our faith as found in the text of scripture. What if I said that you guys number of times? What are we supposed to do test all things hold fast to what is good? And so if we are asking you or imploring you to do something that is contrary to the word of God. What should you do with that instruction toss it out. If it's something that God would require of you than your supposed to hold fast to it. We must be faithful to take advantage of that Liberty. If we are giving religious liberty what we must be ready to take advantage of it and how often do we as a society take advantage of the religious Liberties that we have? We'll take advantage of our Liberty. We take our liberties for granite, don't we? More and more and more religious liberty is eroding in our nation and across the entire Globe. Would you guys agree with that less and less? Is it a table for us to participate in our faith? And so where the Liberty to exercise the tennis of our faith is restricted prevented or Outlaws. We as Believers in Christ must be prepared to exercise our Liberty in spite of the ruling Authority. Are you telling me then Pastor that I'm to be a problem child? I'm to be anti-government. That is not what I said. What I'm saying is when the government wants to restrict your ability to practice your face. We must be prepared to say no. I will do everything I can to protect my freedom to practice my as the Lord sees fit a man. I pray that we understand that was one of the reasons that we went through the whole shebang to get to the July 4th time frame. The reason that we fought to say we must have the right to practice as we see fit not the way the king of England wants us to practice. So it's fitting that we are in the middle of this week. The next thing that I'll be at the church and state should be separate. Let's talk about this concept of separation of church and state. Now we will all recall. I think let me just put myself. I mean put you guys in my shoes this week when I began discussing this and thinking about this situation. And I began to dig. And in the original document the US Constitution not the Amendments know. Where is it mention this concept of separation of church and state for me. That was I opening it was challenging to realize that when they first sat down to pin the Constitution. They did not mention this premise of separation of church and state that was shortly thereafter was it and I want to give you guys a quick history lesson 1776 we have the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1788. Our constitution was ratified the US Constitution in 90, the first ten amendments to the Constitution was ratified. That's known as the Bill of Rights. So trying to get you guys to understand where this concept of separation of church came from church and state. It's the first 10 amendments. And where does it say the number one. Number one says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances focus on Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof of that religion is this where drilling down into the moment in time when this concept was really solidified our minds as people are in Citizens United States. Let's go one step further in 1802 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Baptist Association. I want you guys to think That for a second and Association of church is known as the Danbury Baptists Association Thomas Jefferson and everybody knows who that is wrote a letter to this Association. And then that letter this is what it says believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between the man and his God that he owes account to none other for his face or worship Dental legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions icon to fight with Soarin reverence the actor the whole American people with declared that their legislature their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the exercise free exercise thereof. He's quoting that first amendment and then it goes on in his letter to say this building a wall of separation between church and state he goes on to say adhering to the expression of the Supreme Wheel Of The Nation to be half of the rights of the conscience. I shall see was sincere satisfaction to Prague. Of those sentiments which 10 to restore to men all his natural rights convinced. He has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. What is this all about? Pastor why are you quoting from the US Constitution on Sunday morning? Why are you talking about the Bill of Rights? Why are you talking about this letter to the Danbury Baptists here is what I'm trying to hit home about regarding separation of church and state. The point of separation of church and state is that the government is required according to our founding documents to keep their noses out of the church.
Do you hear me? The government has no responsibility. No authority to speak into any church any religious organization within our society and say you can or cannot do something. That is what we were founded on that's the precepts that we were started with. Now ask yourself this question when I mention the separation of church and state is that the thought that came to your mind? answers no The idea we have today is O the church should have nothing to do with the steaks. Let's get the church completely out of the state. Let's not have anything to do with God anything to do with government and talk to us.
I'll tell you what if you have children, if you have grandchildren, if you have great grandchildren, that's what's being talked to them in the schools today. Now am I anti school? No, I'm not my kids go to public school. But I'm telling you right now. There is a real desire on the part of every single person involved and teaching most Civics classes. If they even teach Civics anymore is not trying to teach your kids at the church or that the government has nothing to do with the church instead. They will say very defiantly no keep that church out of the government. Don't they? Say how many displays of Ten Commandments? Have we seen taken down in our lifetime?
And yet you go to Washington DC today you go tour Washington and pay close attention to the buildings. And see what scriptures are inscribed all over that place. So what what's this all about? I want us to see it that this concept of separation of church and state that we ask Baptist with and here too and profess is a one-way Street.
That one way street is government stay out of our religious lives.
But we as responsible people of God should be involved in government you saying we should all run for office? No, not of us not all of us are here for that not all of us can tell that many lies.
I know there's some responsible people trying very hard and government. I don't mean to belittle everyone who's involved in our government, but the reality is this If you think but sitting out on voting day is your way of exercising your freedom as a believer in Christ. I want to tell you I want you to get involved pay attention to who it is that you're voting for and recognize that when you don't vote you are an Essence casting a vote for someone are we not? A no vote can be just as much of a vote for the wrong person as a vote for the right person as it as a no vote can be right. We understand that enough of that. Let's go on hose to every Church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual is don't more and more the opposite of this is happening. Just yesterday. I was watching a video and the report that was on that video was there is a California law currently on the books to be voted on and it probably will pass that will make it illegal for a pastor or a person in a position of a counselor in the state of California to offer counseling to anyone who is struggling with homosexuality or the idea about transgender. It is going to make it illegal for them to say that's a sin. And you can be delivered from that sent.
Never in America. guys true God is in control. Amen. We believe that and he is allowing for some reason for this law to come and be voted on in the state of California. Let me tell you the state of California votes in the law. What's going to come around our way really quick.
What a travesty. That as a believer in the Bible a reader of God's word. A person who recognizes that it says that God created us in His image male and female he created us and understanding the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman as a professor of that face and that believe in God Almighty what he says about that Institution. I'm not going to be able to say legally. It's wrong. And counsel someone to say you can be delivered from that.
I hope I hope it shakes your core and you say what can I do? Let me tell you what you can do. You can begin praying first and foremost, but more than prayers we can make small contributions to our own Society can't we we can get involved in some of the decisions being made. We can pay attention to our local board of directors school board and what they're voting for The Curriculum to be inside of our schools. We can be involved in what the mayoral elections are all about. We can get involved in Statewide elections. We can get involved in national elections. We can do that. You say why I don't really like to muddy the waters with politics faster. Okay. You can stay clean. And that muddy water will continue to rise. To the point will it overtake you? God has given each one of us a responsibility and a citizens of the United States. One of our biggest rights is to vote. Not going to harp on that anymore. I want to continue on but the reality is it's coming the state protection and full freedom and the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such Freedom no, ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. We and one thing I'm very grateful for as a southern baptist is we don't say hey, you guys need to support us. We say no no specific denomination or ecclesiastical group should be lifted up above another. We should be even protecting the rights of those that we artist Lee disagree with. Did you hear me? We should be stepping up and defending the right of those that would choose to believe opposite of us to believe and say what they want to say. We can't just be hey, you gotta believe like me. Now in the world of spiritual things and in my conversation with those people and witnessing to those people, I will necessarily point to John to John 14:6 and I will say Jesus Christ said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the father, but by me, you better believe it. I'm going to stand up for what God's word says. But I need to be ready to publicly and passionately defend the right of someone to believe something different than me. Do we understand that? Because if we want to make the whole world monogamous homogeneous rather all one thing guess what's not going to be in that one thing the word of God? We need to be grateful for the diversity of beliefs in our in our country and fight and vote for those two have that right to believe even if it's different from us. civil government being ordained of God. It is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience there too and all things not contrary in the revealed will of God. What does that mean? Civil government is ordained by God we're going to talk about this II Romans chapter 13. It is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience to what the government's it all things what that are not contrary to the reveal will of God. Do I have a loyalty as a southern baptist? I'm going to be loyal to the government. I'm going to do what I can to support the government encourage the authorities around me amen. But where they differ from the word of God. Are you prepared to say no enough is enough? We can't do that. I won't do that. And that's why some people not in the United States as of yet, but soon perhaps but around the around the whole world literally go to jail for simply possessing a Bible. It's not that way here in the United States is it? Seems as though we're getting there, isn't it? Not too long ago the gentleman who Sharon from the pulpit last week to get in The Gideons were required by the Canadian legislature to pull their Bibles out of all the hotels in all of Canada. how to get rid of them all
let us pray that God would not let that be the case your turn with me again, the Romans chapter 13 in case we're wondering where does all this stuff come from? Romans 13 beginning of verse 1
let everyone submit to the governing Authority since there is no Authority except from God in the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then the one who resist Authority as opposing God's command and those who opposed it will bring judgment on themselves for rulers are not a tear to Good Conduct but too bad. Do you want to be a fun afraid of the authority do what is good and you will have its approval for it for it is God's servant for your good but if you do wrong be afraid because it does not carry the sore for no reason for it is God's servant and Avenger that brings wrath on though on the one who does wrong. Therefore you must admit. I don't know because of rad but also because of your conscience and for this reason you pay taxes since the authorities are God's servants continue listening to these tasks pay your obligations to everyone taxes. Those you owe taxes to 200 200 tolls respect to those who owe respect and honor to those Yu-Gi-Oh honor. Now that is an ideal like world, isn't it that the government would be saying we're going to support what's good. We're going to defend what's good in our world. And you know what in the secular World want you to think about this for a second in the world outside of these walls outside of the church the world without the guidance of the Holy Spirit without the guidance of the scripture believes they are doing just that.
When they say we want to support the rights of the lgbtq community they are saying we want to give them fairness. We want to give them the right to be heard and not to be abused and hurt and so in their minds they are uplifting. What is good. But here's what I want you to know. God does not approve of those behaviors.
But he does not approve also of our hatred of those people you hear me. We are to love the people that are engaged in those things and it's best we can encourage them to follow the word of God to speak truth in their life. And again, we should be prepared to encourage our government and if our government is indeed following these rules as mentioned in Romans 13 and doing what is right for the community according to scripture. We should be supporters of our government. But in places where I government clearly defies the word of God are we prepared to defend against that? I hope that we are the church should not resort to the Civil power to carry on its work. What does that mean? We must actively work to take back our proper biblical role from the government. Does that mean? Well, I'm going to Define what our Biblical role is it just a minute, but I want you to hear me say this we are not to be militant in nature. There are those of other faiths that say we must necessarily do this in a military way with Force. We must make this happen and it's Christians. That's not God's will for us. We understand that. But we are to be diligent overtime and to be purposeful or I mean by that. Folks do you understand God is able to do anything he wants whenever he wants to know problems with believe in that but there are times that he will give us opportunity to place things into you put things into play not that at the moment it will fix everything but in the long-term, we might see a betterment of our society because guess what we haven't done. That's what we've been quietly while allowing to happen in our lifetime or some of these important Liberties to be to be pulled away from us. It's time for us to stand up and say no more James 1:26 through 27 says this if anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue his religion is useless and he deceives himself pure and undefiled religion before God the father is this To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world if you've ever asked yourself. What according to God is undefiled pure religion it cannot be more clearly defined in James chapter 1 what is it to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. It's interesting just this morning our Sunday School curriculum took us here today. And I love the way that they Define what a widow is. Forever in my lifetime when I thought about the church helping out the widows. I immediately thought of hello Widow you lost your husband. Here's some money for your bills. That's been my definition of how the church can help widows my entire life. And I love the way that the writer of the Sunday school class wrote it. Widows aren't necessarily those who just lost their husband. What are those that have husbands that are incarcerated?
Widows are those whose husbands have abandoned them? Not just died. Oh, wow that just open up a whole larger group of segments of population that we should be caring for.
And how do we love them? What is our responsibility as a church? Well, it's easy to think about monetary. Right? Well, let's just write a check. Certainly. That'll fix it. I want you to think of yourself Ladies If you yourself have lost your husband's I'm very sorry, but if you haven't lost your other Warehouse is still with you think of that moment when that might happen, what would you need most from the church? Here is a check or would you rather have ladies come alongside you and Surround you with love? And I say to you. We're here for you. Will pray with you? Will support you emotionally spiritually. Here's what God's word says about what you're going through. It's always so quickly say, oh we're supposed to support widows. Let's write him a check. It's the women who lost their husbands. No. It's a much broader category and it's so much more than finances. We have an obligation as a church to come alongside those widows and those orphans. How do we take care of Orphans? We've talked about that before but there may be ways that we are the church can engage different support groups for those that are either in foster care or those are in the adopted process. We know there's people around us, don't we? How many foster homes? Are in Glasgow.
What can we do for those foster home? What can we do for the mothers and fathers that are going through that process? How can we encourage them? Even if they don't go to church?
I believe God would be richly blessed if we did. So the gospel of Christ contemplate spiritual means alone for the pursuit of it ends. We should be loyal to the government and the most zealous for the rights of others. We as Christians should be defined that way we are zealous for the rights of others to practice their faith and I love the way this is where did I want a well-ordered government should function so that every church and every religion enjoys protection and full freedom and the pursuit of its spiritual ends. That should be our definition. and the commitment to Freedom Arise is not from doubts concerning the clarity of divine revelation. But from the happy conviction that the gospel and it only is the power of God unto salvation or ultimate focus should be this Romans 1:16 through 17 for I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes first of the Jew then the Gentile for it in the gospel. The righteousness of God is revealed a righteousness. That is by Faith from the first to last just at as is written the righteous will live by faith. What is the gospel? What what is the gospel represent the power of God that brings salvation to everyone do we believe that it's the gospel? Do we believe that those around us who don't know him need Salvation. Let's start there.
Do you know people in your life who need salvation?
How are they going to be safe? How are they going to be reached? With the gospel. We must not be ashamed of that gospel.
1st Corinthians 15 1 through 5 says this
I want to make it clear for you brothers and sisters the gospel. I preached to you which you received. Don't let you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved. If you hold to the message, I preached to you unless you believe in vain verse 3 4 I passed on to you as most important what I also received that Christ died for our sins. That's the gospel. according to the scriptures that he was buried And that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures and that he appeared to cephas then to the twelve. So what is the gospel simple? Christ died for our sins He was buried and he rose again.
Why do we, why do we contemplate or why do we complicate the message? Don't we it's simple? And I tried to share this the other day when I was talking with a friend of mine. It's really simple. Do you acknowledge that you're a sinner?
And we should all say yes. And once you were made aware of your sin, excuse me. Then do you also acknowledge? There's nothing you can do. to save yourself
Do we think that we can do it and we think I can go to church enough time. Do we think I can read the Bible enough. Do you think I can be a good enough person or do we say in no way shape or form? Can I save myself? It must be something outside of myself. We call that an alien righteousness. I know it sounds like a weird term, but it's just something apart from us a righteousness that we don't have and where do we get that righteousness from? The death the burial and the resurrection of Jesus, right? Jesus Christ paintings of any kind. Amen. Hopefully we will continue to adhere to that. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. And then last but not least hear a free Church in a free state is the Christian ideal and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the Civil power. So this last question I want to take us to and you can terms me the 1st Peter chapter 2. We're going to answer that question. Are we supposed in to honor the emperor? Does that mean I know that truck just went and walked across the DMZ with the gentleman from North Korea not talking about that in for what I'm saying Peter chapter 2 in just a second is are we supposed to honor the government that's been put over charge of us? Let's look at 1st Peter.
1st Peter chapter 2 beginning and verse 11
difference I urge you as strangers and Exiles to abstain from simple desires that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles so that day when they slander you as evil doers they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day. He visits I pray that can be said about us or 13 submit to every human authority because of the Lord weather to the Emperor as the supreme authority or to the governors of those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil into phrase to praise those who do what is good. For it is God's will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good?
I'm not going to ask you to name a list people. I think we can all come up with some in our minds. What do we mean by foolish people? What's truly the definition of a fool? definition of a fool as someone who would reject Jesus Christ
Is it well that seems awfully harsh pastor? What's the most important thing in your life you will ever decide upon? What's the most important decision you'll ever make? Is it what you going to wear today? Is it where you going to go for lunch?
Is it who you're going to marry? But how many children you're going to have? Who asked you a pretty important? Nothing is more important. Nothing is of most importance than the people that you know, and love making a decision to follow Christ because they've been clearly presented the gospel in the Holy Spirit has convicted them of their sin.
A lot of other things in our world keep us busy. But that is the single most important question your friends your neighbors. Your family members are ever going to answer. First 15 for it is God's will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good? Submit as free people not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil but as a god slaves. I love it when somebody says you're free in Christ. You're right. But you are a slave to the Lord a man. Do we feel that way? Whatever God wants we're going to do what he says. We're 17 honor everyone love the brothers and sisters fear God and honor the emperor. Are we supposed to honor the emperor? Are we supposed to do what our government tells us to do as long as our government is giving us freedom to practice and exercise our faith the way that God has instructed us to you better believe.
but when our Religious or shoot me when our government leaders tell us to do something opposite of God's word. Guess what has precedence in your life. What are you going to listen to First? The government what year were the word of God? I pray that his Believers we say it's the word of God. So what are you going to do with your religious liberty for some of you praise God you willing to come in here today and Worship the Lord on the Lord today, and I thank you for being here. but more importantly are you in need of Salvation has the Lord made you aware of your need for him. Today is the day you can exercise your religious liberty to become a child of God, perhaps you're already say but you're not currently living your life in accordance to God's will. Today is your opportunity to exercise your religious liberty to repair it and returned from that and then return back to the Lord perhaps you are in need of a public profession to the community of Believers around us that you are affiliated with Christ and that public profession. We know as Believers baptism, perhaps you have yet to make a commitment to do that. Today is the day you can affirm that you want to do that and we can get you baptized. Perhaps you just simply need forgiveness. Perhaps you need to repent perhaps you need to believe perhaps you need to follow him. Today is the day for you to exercise your religious liberty to do so, and I am grateful today as a pastor in the United States of America to be able to openly profess the word of God and not live in fear that I will be jail tomorrow.
But my question has been all week.
Will I continue to profess?
If it's possible that I'll be jail. or worse pray The Lord will give me courage. To stand up for his work. And I pray the Lord will give you the same courage to stand up for his word, wherever you are, whatever you're doing this week. Don't let people trampled on your religious liberty. What's Brackin? father God
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. Thank you for these wonderful people who have chosen the common hear your word. I pray they would be encouraged today as they walk out these doors to be emboldened by the spirit of God to speak to the truth.
that everyone in spite of their affiliation
as far as what country they're from or whether or not they agree with the right or the left of the political Spectrum every one of us needs a relationship with Jesus Christ. So God, would you challenge us today as we go out into the community either to eat lunch or dinner or whatever we plan to do today. Go fishing go out to the lake. Whatever our plans would you help us Lord to take with us the truth of your word and this year it boldly in our community. I pray this in your precious. Holy name. Amen. This Valerie would you come and eat us in our Hymn of response?