23 Sep 9/23/18 “Politics: Expose the Unfruitful Works of Darkness”
“Expose the Unfruitful Works of Darkness” and the word in there that is most confusing for a lot of people is politics. Politics really means just guiding or leading a group of people. That’s all that word means, and I think God’s Word has something to say about guiding or leading people. Call me stupid, but it’s pretty clear on certain areas.
I’m hoping to unpack this. It’s been a real challenge for me. Here’s why. When I came to know the Lord, and I spent time praying and worshiping, and God was just doing amazing things in my own heart, I began to read books like—and I believe it was God-ordained, God-sent—I would read books about the founding of America. One is Of Plymouth Plantation; you can read about the Pilgrims coming over. I thought, boy, that’s interesting. And then I read books like Original Intent. It talks about the original intent of government here in the United States, what the founding fathers really believed, not what the media wants you to believe. I read about all the men and women who fought against slavery, what the media doesn’t want you to believe. I read about our rich heritage. The reason that’s important is because I believe God was honored. I believe God established the gift that we now call America. It’s funny, nobody else wants to live in Iran, South Korea, Russia, China, but we take our freedom for granted.
This is the difficult part for me. I went to a pastors’ conference many, many years ago, over a decade ago, and I was like many people [who thought,] “It’s not that big of a deal. It’s not my arena.” However, the more I prayed, the more I worshiped, the more I looked to God’s Word, a fire began to burn. That’s one way I know that God is working. If I’m living carnally, I’m watching whatever I want to watch, I’m not going to church much, you might be careful what spirit is leading you. That might not be the right spirit. But when you’re spending time with God, and when He’s breaking you, and you look to His Word, and you just start weeping, God begins to put a godly passion [in you]. I mean, right now I feel like turning over some money-changing tables. That’s how difficult this topic is for me.
So anyway, I was at this conference—and I don’t know why I thought about it today; I’m really mad that God would bring this up this morning. But maybe it’s a different direction on this. I might have to get back to it. Long story short, it was motivating pastors to get more involved in this area. So they had somebody come and talk about all the things that are going on and began to explain and show pictures of saline abortions, where they would inject saline solution into the womb and tell the mother, “Oh, it’s just contractions.” Really, it’s a child being burned to death, being killed, [in these] videos of partial-birth abortion.
So I went to—I don’t know why this is so difficult—but anyway, composure here, right. Think about baseball. Think about baseball. I’ll just try to say it without feeling it. I went back in and wept all night, and I wasn’t pastoring yet; it was just a conference I was invited to. I remember I said, “Lord, if You give me a voice, if You give me a voice, I will not shut up. I will proclaim it from the mountaintops. I will speak against this atrocity.” Little did I know. Now there’s, [I’m told by the radio stations,] thirty to forty thousand people listening to these sermons a month, different countries are emailing us, and God brought me back to that.
But see, that passion had to come first through brokenness. I remember the bed, I remember down by the LAX airport, the Hilton I think it was, and just wept, just cried myself to sleep. I woke up with a fire—and I’m sick of the culture and I’m sick of the church telling us to be quiet. That’s why I have to really check myself, like throwing over the tables, because I feel it rising up. I understand others don’t share my passion. Some have been called to different things. But to say we shouldn’t get involved, to should say we should be silent, to say we should not say a word, I cannot find any support for that. Just having voter registrations out there and that word up there is going to tick off a few people, but I’m sick and tired of a few people getting ticked off and controlling the way the rest of us should feel. Again, we are leaving something for our children. I’m not real concerned. They could take me—you get the wrong person in office someday, and I could be going to jail. I realize that. I also went to recent conference, and had the wrong person been elected recently, we’d be facing some very difficult decisions here as a church.
So by the grace of God we’re living year by year, and we’re pursuing what God wants us to do. I also don’t want people to fear. I don’t want people to fear. But I remember John Hancock, one of the signers of the Declaration [of Independence], said, “Men, by everything that you hold dear, yes pray, but by God act.” Act. You can’t just pray. So we have the ability to mark a box and tell our future generations who we want to lead us. Here’s the question. We either think that God doesn’t care about that, or we think that He does. There’s no middle line. You have people now running for the next governor’s platform. This is the governor. He’s running. Many years ago he told the Supreme Court, “I don’t care what your decision is against same-sex marriage, I’m still going to marry them in San Francisco.” He is going to be your governor.
I don’t understand. I don’t understand the apathy. I don’t understand the complacency. I’m not getting political, I’m actually getting biblical. If you can go home, and you can say, “God doesn’t care about this.” It is ironic. I noticed this. People say, “Shane, just preach the gospel.” When have you lead anyone to Christ? “Uh, uh, uh, I don’t know…” The reason is because they’re lazy. It’s a way to get out of things. “I don’t want to get legalistic so I can watch whatever movie I want to watch. I don’t want to get political so I don’t have to say anything. I just want to live a comfortable life and not upset anything or anyone.” That’s not biblical Christianity.
So I believe that we should expose the unfruitful works of darkness—in all areas of life. Isn’t it interesting people say, “We’ve got to make a difference in Hollywood. We’ve got to make a difference here.” But not in Washington? Not in the political arena? We’ll just leave that one? The problem is that actually affects our lives more than anything else.
If you want any of this information, most of it is in the book I wrote, which is out front, and it’s free, One Nation “Above” God. I think we’ll put it in the description of the YouTube and Vimeo and all the different places as well. I believe God put that on my heart, the more I begin to see how God’s providential hand has been in a lot of our history. Just so you know, this isn’t about draping the cross with the flag. This isn’t about getting political all the time. This is saying, “Hey, God blessed us. Let’s give God all the glory and all the credit. What does God want us to do from this point forward?” Daniel Webster, US Secretary of State from in the mid-1800s, said, “There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, could it come at all, will be from another quarter, from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government from their carelessness and negligence.”
Let me read a few headlines.
Mandatory Euthanasia Bill: WASHINGTON, D.C.—What many call genocide, Congress calls necessary to curtail rising healthcare costs. In the hope of reclaiming financial stability, many legislators plan to sign a mandatory Euthanasia Bill. In defense of the Bill, some State Representatives claim that abortion has helped to offset rising health care costs. This new legislation will include those with terminal or chronic illnesses—life will be terminated when rehabilitation is uncertain, and/or when lingering illnesses threaten the economy. Those with criminal records, and the elderly, are also being considered. The bill is expected to take effect late next year.
Congress Lowers Age of Sexual Consent: WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congress will vote later this year to lower the age of sexual consent to 12. Members have agreed to consider new research indicating a growing trend.
Same-sex Marriage Exceeds Traditional Marriage – WASHINGTON, D.C.—Same-sex marriage now exceeds traditional marriage in some states. As a result, words such as “mom” and “dad” are being changed to “partner 1” and “partner 2.” Congress is considering legislation against traditional families and will limit them to one child.
Zero Tolerance for Christians – WASHINGTON, D.C.—Homeland Security reports that Christianity is now under control. A recent poll indicates that fewer than two percent of the population report adhering to Christian beliefs and biblical absolutes. This decrease is attributed to a successful “Zero Tolerance” policy, which includes hate-speech legislation, outlawing use of the Bible, incarceration for Christians, heavy taxation on evangelical churches, and media scrutiny of anyone associated with the Christian faith. Additionally, many biblical terms dealing with marriage, sexual orientation, and family values are now identified as hate speech and cannot be used in public.
Now as most of you know, these are fictitious headlines, but are we not going in that direction? You could be reading this same thing a decade from now. People say, “No, Shane, just give it over to God. Look at Paul in Rome.” Paul was under the tyranny of Caesar. But in our case God says, “Hey, you elect those who you want to lead you. You elect those who will either listen to My Word or discard My Word. You.” We the people. I believe it’s a gift from God. If you look at the original writings of the Founders, look at the Pilgrims and Puritans, they acknowledged God. That was the source of their life and their strength.
The context of Ephesians 5:8–16. I’m going to go through it just a little bit at a time. Paul is writing to the church at Ephesus. He said:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (vv. 8–10)
Now I’m not naïve and trying to use a Scripture to just make it fit this theme, but I believe this Scripture applies to all areas of life, that believers are to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. Expose it. Why? Bring it to the light. But people say, “It’s not our business. It’s the gospel.” Right. The gospel is the frontal attack, but don’t forget the rear attack. God calls us to action.
So see, this is ironic. The prodigal son came home—me— embraced the gospel, God changed my heart, He gives me a heart of righteous indignation for the things that upset Him. I’m on fire for God, and He says, “Now go take action because the gospel has changed your heart.” It’s all about the gospel. But once the gospel changes the heart, it should be changing the heart of a nation. It should be changing. When people are changed they want to make a difference. But people will say, “Shane, that’s a dirty business. Politics is a dirty business.” So is life. Have you walked our streets? Have you visited Hollywood? Did you know the number one pornography area is just thirty minutes away—Santa Clarita Northridge? Are you aware of that? It generates the most pornography in the world. Don’t get me started.
Then Paul says in the next verse, “Have no fellowship.” What does that mean? Association, friendship.
Have no [friendship] with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (v. 11)
This is why I get a little upset with pastors, this “not going to say anything.” They used to tell me, “I’ll lose a lot of members.” I thank God that we built this church with ten people on this, so most that are coming are already on the same page. But if I had to walk into a church where you’re going to upset a lot of people, I guess that’s a different frame of mind for many pastors. I couldn’t pastor that way though. If you can’t speak what God’s put on your heart, you might as well go get a sales job, because you’re not being led of the Spirit.
So we’re supposed to say, “This doesn’t look right,” correct? Something happened to me this morning that never happened to me before. I’ve been seeing on Facebook and different places that there’s a bobcat in our area. I live in housing tract where there are little dogs and little cats. Well, 5:45 this morning I walk out to my truck— “What is that?!” A bobcat. I say, “Oh, I’m exposing you! Where’s my flashlight? Where’s my phone?” But I’m exposing that little stinker. I’m going to track him down. I’m going to follow him, see where he was going, see where he was hiding. “I’m exposing you, you little unfruitful work of darkness. You’re terrorizing our neighborhood.”
That’s what Christians should be doing. The church should be saying, “That’s not right…” For example, people say, “Pornography is freedom of speech”—no, no, read the founding fathers’ words. That would not be considered freedom of speech. No way. Because freedom of speech was written with the framework of social responsibility. How is my freedom of speech going to affect society? For example, I believe it was Judge Kent in a decision 150 years ago, many years ago. A man called Jesus a word I can’t say here (I think I did Wednesday night though, in case you want to hear that; there weren’t any kids there), and his mom, another word. The attorney for the man said, “Don’t worry about it—freedom of speech.” But the judge said, “Nothing could be more injurious to the morality of future generations than to call such profanity lawful.” The man was fined and jailed. Oh, how far we’ve drifted.
Now I’m not advocating that, but I’m showing you freedom of speech has to fit within a framework of social responsibility. You have to take responsibility for your words and for your actions, and if it’s a detriment to society then a person should not be allowed to voice what their concerns are if it’s causing a lot of issues.
For it is shameful even to speak of those things which were done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light. (vv. 12–13)
That just means the light reveals them, all things that are revealed by the light. “For whatever makes manifest”—in other words, whatever reveals evil is light. So as believers we’re supposed to reveal evil—with the right heart of course, because if not, if you don’t have the right heart, if you’re not humble and full of love, you’re going to be very judgmental and you’re going to hurt people. “Shane said to go expose evil. I’m going after those people.” No, let it come from the right heart and expose evil. Jesus would expose evil everywhere He went. We have this idea of Jesus sometimes that He was just mild and meek and passive and Clark Kent. You know we don’t talk about the Superman aspect, that He would upset the entire religious system.
Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” (v. 14)
Now this is interesting because it sounds like he’s talking about salvation, and of course this applies to salvation, but Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus. He says, “You were once in darkness, but now you’ve seen the light.” So he’s telling these same people to “awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” Basically it’s the removal of darkness. That’s what light is. It removes the dark. So if you’re an unbeliever this morning, you still have to remove that darkness. The only way you’re going to do that is through faith and belief in Jesus Christ, and let that darkness just leave and let the light penetrate your heart.
Commentators are divided, but to me it seems clear that somehow this church had to awake, they had to arise from the dead, and they needed to remove the darkness that was creeping in. They had to contend for the things of God.
See then that you walk circumspectly. (v. 15)
We don’t use that word very often, do we? It just means carefully. Walk carefully. We were on a vacation, and a guy slowed down where my son and I were riding our bikes on this kind of quiet road, and he said, “Hey, I just saw a black bear right up there at the corner.” So that’s walking circumspectly, right? “Shane, come here.” Those bears are fast. I said to my son, “We need to start hauling.” Hauling—going fast. “We need to get going,” and we just started riding and looking and riding and looking, getting out of there.
That’s the same thing with us. We should look. We should be cautious. Christians should be cautious, looking, walking circumspectly, being careful with where they walk, how they lead their lives, what is going on in the culture around us. He says:
Not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (v. 15–16)
Back to this topic. I’m going to just list a few points that I think will help.
1. Government is God-ordained.
You need to know this. I think we forget that. God ordains the church (which we have no problem with), God ordains the family (which we have no problem with), but God ordains the government. Now why would He do that? Because it’s the only institution where they are to be a terror to those who do evil. That’s the whole point of government. It is to resist evil, to be a terror to those who do evil, and to protect those who do good. That’s the form of government. That’s their primary role.
And many say we don’t need to get involved; God will take care of everything. Have you ever said that? I’ve said that. Well, why does nobody say that when it comes to finances? You don’t have a spouse sitting at home with his foot up on the couch watching Netflix saying, “Don’t worry, honey, we’ll pay the bills. God’s got this.” Check the mail. Nothing. Check the mail. Nothing. “God’s got this—don’t worry about it.” You’ve got to get off the couch. The Bible says if you don’t work you don’t eat. You pray as if it’s all up to God and work as if it’s all up to you.
Now let me throw a disclaimer in there. I think it’s good to trust God and say, “Lord, it’s all up to You. We can’t pay the bills this month. We’re financially strapped. Lord, I give You everything. I give You this. You can open these doors.” And you’re trusting in God, and you’re waiting. But I often have noticed that He blesses a diligent heart. Many people who are in the financial pickles they’re in are there because they are not hard-working, they don’t budget, and they don’t use biblical principles in their life. Again, it’s directly related to how we act, how we conduct ourselves.
God will use ungodly people for His sovereignty, but His heart’s desire is always godly men or women in positions of influence. You will not find a place where He said, “I put this ungodly king in there because He will better represent My will for the children of Israel.” The Bible actually says, “This king came to power, and he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord,” or “did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” And God says that because of the sins of Manasseh, this wicked leader, He brought judgment upon Israel, or because of the sins of Ahab, because of the sins of the people, of the leader. The leadership affects the direction often, so it’s a very important topic.
Do you believe this: “When the godly are in authority the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power they grown” (Prov. 29:2).
2. Apathy is not biblical because we are called to steward any gift that God gives us.
Any gift that God gives us He says, “Steward it.” Steward it. Expose the unfruitful works of darkness. So I believe a believer should run for office, they need to vote, and they need to monitor those in office to ensure that they perform their duty. If it’s on your heart, run. Make a difference.
Now before anybody is thinking I’m saying something I’m not, I’m not talking about everybody doing what I’m doing. I’m not talking about every pastor doing what I’m doing. I’m just saying we’ve got to do something. When God gives us a gift and says, “Here, go check a ballot to put somebody in office who’s going to mock Me or someone who’s going to at least pray,” we have a biblical obligation to do that. Apathy is not biblical. A believer should be involved in running for office, voting, and/or monitoring those in office to ensure that they perform their duties.
Let me encourage you. If you want to run for school board, run. Do it. Be the salt and the light in those areas. This is not an area we should avoid. Again, God has ordained the institution of government. You don’t think He wants godly leaders in the institution He ordained? When else has He said, “Ungodly leaders, you govern My people”? When? Where? He does when He judges. He just does when He judges a nation. But He has this institution. He says, “You go and make a difference. This is how you awake from your spiritual slumber.” That’s how I awoke that time at that conference. I was hit with a sledgehammer, and my passivity came to light, because I didn’t want to do anything. I’d say, “It doesn’t really matter.” Oh, Lord. “Who am I? I can’t say anything. I can’t do anything. What’s one person going to do?”
What I’ve learned about God is He’ll take that one person. We think of numbers and revenue: “Oh, I have to have money. I can’t run for office; I have to have money.” Or “I don’t have any influence right now. God, I can’t do that.” He says, “Oh, I just want you. I just want you. I created the whole universe, so I don’t have a problem with raising money. I just want you. I want you to be available, and I want your heart to be full of My Spirit, and I will guide you. I will lead you. I will direct you.”
And from that prayer, and I don’t say this just to toot our own horn, but from that prayer over a decade ago, and now when I talked to the radio people about a year ago, they said there’s close to thirty or forty thousand people who hear this message every month—just on radio. God reminded me, “I just want you. I just want you, and I’ll work through you to make that difference and to be that voice.” Don’t worry about numbers, don’t worry about “God can’t use me now, I’ve made mistakes.” You should hear my past.
Now the enemy will use anything he can to stop you and stop godly legislation. There are school districts allowing transgender people—who I love and have compassion for yet thoroughly disagree with— to read story time to kindergartners. There are books about how Nicole changed and became Steven—for kindergartners. Where I get upset and have to just pray is why aren’t the parents saying anything? Why aren’t the parents saying anything? Why? Because they’re being lulled to sleep. It’s all about keeping up with the Joneses. “Got to work, got to work, got to work. Got to get home, sip my champagne, and watch Netflix for three hours, and let somebody else raise my children.”
But make a difference in where God has called you. Again, if anybody doesn’t think that we should be involved I’d love to hear some scriptural application, some Scriptures. The Old Testament was written by political leaders. God has something to say.
3. We engage the culture, or we lose.
Does the Bible say to succumb to the culture or to resist, to fight, to expose the unfruitful works of darkness? Somebody said, “Be a light on a hill.” Who said that? I mean, I know. I’m just throwing it out there. “Ok, be a light on the hill but not in this area.” See everywhere you go, everywhere is to be that light, that shining example. Remember there is always a fight. The tides of evil will always wash against the shores of hope and peace. We can no longer hide behind the excuse, “I don’t want to get involved.” Let me just remind all of you in this room you’re already involved. You can say that maybe in China or North Korea. There’s nothing you can do, literally, nothing you can do, unless you get shot. All you can do is just pray and fast like the underground church believers.
We actually have someone from the underground church in China coming to speak on a Wednesday, the first Wednesday of October. It’s coming up, so be here for that, Sister Sarah. Ask her if she thinks this is an important topic. “Would you rather be bound or free?” I’ve seen videos and I’ve talked with persecuted Christians from a persecuted church, and they’ll say the persecution has purified the church and that God has been moving and bringing revival, but I don’t know of anybody who would say, “No, we don’t want freedoms to worship. We don’t want freedoms to proclaim God’s truth. No, take away all our freedoms. We love this persecution. We love being tortured.”
I’m just going to vent on this one, as if I haven’t already. “I don’t want to get involved” is just an excuse. It’s just an excuse. Here’s the sad thing. When we don’t get involved—let’s just take voting, for example. When you don’t vote, you actually do. The non-vote is the loudest vote. It’s the loudest because it is speaking volumes. It’s no different than me driving by, seeing somebody get beat up at a gas station, and saying, “Too bad. I’m not going to do anything. I’m not to get involved.”
Any idea how many Christians didn’t vote in California? A hundred thousand? Five hundred thousand? How about seven million? How many Christians throughout the whole United States? Forty million. Many of those aren’t registered, I think around sixteen million aren’t registered, and twenty-nine million don’t even go. Does that sink in? If anybody says, “Well, God doesn’t care,” I have nothing more to say. That just doesn’t make any sense. See, our silence is deafening. Our silence is speaking volumes.
Now before you feel too bad, I’m not known as a voter. My history the last couple decades has not been stellar. But if we can say, “You know what, I’m just going to get off my tush. I can stand in line for Cinemark,” just go and put in people that you feel represent biblical values to the best of their ability. I’m going to get to some points I already know are coming up in your head. But we have to. We have to at least do what we can do and turn the tides of these issues, unless you’re okay with children being aborted and slaughtered and the definition of marriage ran into the ground and all these important issues, which I know you’re not. I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but we’ve got to get the point across.
This might be a good reminder. People say, “My vote really doesn’t count.” What they’re saying is when it comes to a presidential race, California is already usually, throughout the different districts with what they call the electoral college (I don’t have time to explain that), California predominantly goes to what would be called the Democrat platform. There’s a Republican platform, and that’s why I don’t mention either. I just go “what does the Bible say,” and I’ll show you what different candidates believe on it, and we’ll go from there. So California, yes, it’s hard to vote. But if seven million people would vote, and you don’t want that mind-set being passed to your next generation and into the next. We want to make sure that people get out and vote. It’s called a civic responsibility, that God has given us this gift to steward. It’s up to us to steward it correctly.
Now in California though, it’s vote-to-vote. For example, in the governor race, every single vote is going to matter. So you have people that openly reject God and His Word, and they’re going to put ungodly legislation on your children and your grandchildren. To me, I cannot see how anybody would not want to at least check a box and say something. William Carey began schools in Asia. He started educating women, he started educating all castes of citizens, he started the first college, and he also got to work on human rights issues—because he was a Christian and got involved. Anybody heard of William Wilberforce? He spent decades ending the slave trade. I have a whole list here of people who took action.
“We shouldn’t be political”—I never read that till recently. It’s funny how they want Christians to not get political. Isn’t that interesting? It’s Christians that shouldn’t get political. Separation of church and state—“Quiet, don’t say anything about this stuff”—but everybody else can voice their concerns and voice their beliefs.
4. All laws impose morality onto others.
All laws impose morality onto others. I’m trying to give you some ammunition here. Do people ever tell you, like they tell me, “Don’t push your morality on me”? I just heard that recently. “You’re pushing your morality on me.” Well, you’re pushing yours on me. So somebody’s morality is going to succeed. All laws impose morality onto others. All laws. Every single law will impose somebody’s morality onto others. But people say, “But, Shane, you can’t legislate morality,” meaning “You can’t have a whole bunch of laws and change a person’s heart.” No, you can’t. But you can deter evil. You can deter it, put it at bay. This is one of my beefs about where our legal system goes. The greater the punishment, the more you’ll subdue the evil. When you lessen punishment—slap on the wrist—you increase evil. You can actually restrain evil by implementing certain legislation. So it poses morality on people.
God doesn’t need a super majority, but He is looking for a humble minority. Remember, God’s call is not to Washington or Hollywood but to us: “If My people.” Think about that. Whose morality will you allow?
5. The pulpits are not called to be passive.
The pulpit is not called to be passive. This is not a job for cowards. We are not called to be passive. Think about this—how many pulpits were passive in the 1850s? You know what was happening then? Something called slavery. We’d say, “Oh no, of course we couldn’t be passive then.” Well, why not now? What is the difference? Pastors who know the Word of God should be the ones leading the charge.
Here’s my question: Are silent men truly filled with the Spirit of God? If so, where is the boldness? Where is the righteous indignation that the Spirit provokes in us? Where is the weeping that I talked about earlier? Where’s that travail of soul? How anybody can look at how far we’ve drifted and see what it’s leaving for our children and not be touched is beyond me. Now we don’t focus on that. We don’t live in a pity party, always negative, saying, “Oh, look what’s happening.” We expose it, and we try to make a difference, but understanding we don’t have a spirit of fear. We have a spirit of boldness and of love and of gentleness.
6. God’s Word is very clear on controversial issues.
From “thou shalt not steal from future generations” to “thou shall not murder innocent children,” God is clear, so why are many Christians vague or indifferent?
7. I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils.
I like this one because this is what’s coming up now. Anybody ever said that? Heard that? “I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils.” Actually what we’re doing is we’re voting for principles, not people. Always remember this. Every single candidate is flawed. Every single candidate is a sinner. So we just need to stop this nonsense, “Well, you’re endorsing that person.” No, I’m just endorsing what they’re going to leave our children. Wake up, Christian! What are they going to leave the future generations? God doesn’t have anything to say about that? Of course He does. On to the promised land so future generations will be blessed. Honor your father and mother so you will be blessed with long life. It’s always about leaving a heritage, leaving a godly heritage, leaving something, and not being lazy and slothful and selfish and leaving our kids trillions of dollars in debt and bills nobody is able to pay. The healthcare system is falling apart. Social security—is that what you’re trusting in?
We have to trust in God and God alone, but you’re not voting for the lesser of two evils, you’re voting for principles. What are they going to leave us? How are they going to affect future generations? And I’m always leery of mentioning Trump’s name, but I will because there’s so much hatred in our nation. I don’t care what you think of him. I’m not going to go into my opinion, but I will say this. From many, many, many good sources, he’s doing more for Christians than any other president before him. That’s just the facts. An affair twelve years ago. Bad idea. Take it up with God. Terrible tweets. Would you turn that thing off? Just stop talking. I’m frustrated because he can bring so much. He could quench the fires if he just said, “Hey, guys thank you. I appreciate that,” and just stay humble and gracious in everything. He would take away all the fuel of that fire.
But we have to remember God uses leaders, such as Cyrus. God raises up kings. I’m not supporting him, I’m just saying he’s done more to protect Christianity and future generations and working towards that than any other president in history, at least recent history. You might not like him, but that’s just the plain fact—and I’m a fact guy. I’m a fact guy, not a “get it from the media” stuff.
So here’s what we need to do. We need to pray, we need to register, we need to vote. I could just stay here for a minute. I got into it with a couple pastors, and I said, “But he’s surrounding himself with godly counsel.” They said, “No, he’s not.” “Yeah, he is,” and I named them. Jack Graham from PowerPoint, Dr. David Jeremiah, Jim Garlow from Skyline Church, a friend of mine. I know some of these guys who are around the administration. But they didn’t want to hear it. Nobody wants to hear it. Here’s what the culture is saying—people don’t want to hear this: “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind. I already have my agenda. Don’t you dare try to question that.” That’s called unteachable and arrogant and prideful. That’s just the bottom line. You have to listen. Because your guy didn’t get elected, you’re going to put him down? Why not look and say, “Lord, what are the good things? What are You doing behind the scenes, God? What are You doing?”
Now he might not be listening to their advice—I don’t know—but you’re either surrounding yourself with godly influence or you’re surrounding yourself with Muslim terrorist sympathizers or people who hate America. You have to know that. You have to know this, that there are people hell-bent on hate. They hate America. They think it was built on slavery. They forget all the founding fathers who fought against slavery. They’ll just know that right out of the textbook, and they’ll use this issue to divide our nation. They say, “America’s evil. It’s bad. We’ve got to take back what was stolen.” White, black, gray, Asian, Hispanic, it doesn’t matter. They think America’s evil.
We live in an entitlement society: “I’m entitled to get paid by the government. I’m entitled.” We’re creating an entitlement society. That’s why there’s a big debate among millennials, like about socialism. You know what that is, right? No matter how hard you work, you throw it into the same kitty, and I’m not talking about a kitty cat. You throw it in. Do you know the Pilgrims tried that in 1622? Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Plantation said, “Pilgrims, put all your corn into one area, and we’ll all eat from it equally.” They almost died, because you’re rewarding the lazy and the slothful, while the diligent and hard workers should be blessed. That’s God’s word. If you get mad, you just get mad at God’s word, because God says if you don’t work, you don’t eat. The more you work, the harder you work, God says, “I honor hard work.”
And those maybe who are impoverished, even though they’re hard workers—I just found out about a woman who’s going to start coming here, a single mom, just moved here, with one child. I said, “How can we reach out and help her?” We want to come alongside. There are legitimate, genuine needs. That’s where the church needs to get involved, not the government, because they don’t know what’s going on. The church is supposed to be the conscience of the nation.
So that’s where the big divide is. America is evil and oppressive, or America was blessed by God and has gotten off track. These are the two worldviews you will see colliding. Pray for millennials, pray for the next generation, because they’re listening to all the wrong voices. They say things that are so ridiculous. Ask them about Auschwitz, the concentration camp. “What’s that? I don’t know what that is.” They think America was founded by a bunch of slaveowners and deists and people who hated people. They say, “They’re so oppressive, they just go take over country by country by country.”
Has it occurred to anyone that it in many cases (I won’t get on a bandwagon here) God has allowed us to have the most powerful nation and the military on the planet for His purposes, not ours? He uses us as a regulator. One of the speakers, many years ago, said that the Middle East, when it sees our big oil tankers there in the Gulf, the only reason nations, such as Syria, from the Middle East don’t go and take out that oil and try to get everything is because they know they’re going to have the hell and wrath and fire of the United States Navy on them within a few hours, and they will be decimated. See, that’s God-given. I look at that as God wanting to protect, wanting to administer justice. Have we done everything right? Absolutely not. There are sinners. Have you done everything right? I sure haven’t. Why don’t we give our nation the same grace and mercy we give ourselves? Because we all live together. We’re all in this together.
That’s my encouragement. At least register and vote. These are judges who are going to make decisions in courts. This is the next governor. You know who that is, right? Did I explain in this service? This is the governor who was the mayor of San Francisco a couple years ago. Remember when the Supreme Court said that gay marriage is unconstitutional? He said, “I don’t care,” and he begin marrying gay couples in San Francisco. He’s for abortion, for healthcare coverage for everyone (which, the concept is wonderful, the numbers don’t work).
We’ll close with this. He says, “Awake.” Some of you need to awake this morning. You need to wake up from your sleep. You need to turn off Facebook, turn off the media, for the love of God, and get back on your face before almighty God and see what He wants you to do. You might have this same passion for the mission field. Go for it. But you’ve got to do something. We’re being lulled to sleep.
Let’s talk about real Christians. If you go to their home, what they’re allowing into their home through the media would appall past generations. Why are we allowing this? We’re being lulled to sleep in all these areas. Just like a knife that can no longer cut, we’ve lost our blade, we’ve lost our sharpness, to make a difference.
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.
What does “redeeming the time” mean? Redemption. Redeem the times. Fight against that evil. Why would you expose evil if you’re not supposed to do anything about it? “I see you. Ok, I’m going this way.” But we don’t want to expose it.
Again, this isn’t Shane Idleman up here talking. This is a man who’s been broken by the Spirit of God, filled with the Spirit of God, and I have to, like Jeremiah, His word is in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones. I’m weary of holding it back. Many of you see the article that they’re handing out. That appeared in the paper yesterday and today. I’m not looking forward to the backlash on that one, but somebody has to say something—in love and gentleness.
So let’s just unpack that for one minute, and I’ll get you out of here.
“Awake, you who sleep
Arise from the dead.”
If you are not saved, this is the priority. The gospel is the priority. Do you know Jesus Christ? Are you a believer? Have you been changed by the power of God? This is a big deal, because I know so many people who say they are Christians, but nothing changes in their life. They listen to the same garbage, they act the same way, they have intellectual knowledge. “I know about Jesus, but I don’t know Him personally.” Because when you know Him personally that light comes out, and it penetrates all areas of life. You don’t walk perfectly. I’ve said this before, follow me for a week. Or don’t actually. It’s not the perfect walk, but it’s the dying-to-self walk.
The things that fuel the things of the world, the things that it worships, should be repulsive to you. That’s why when I see Christians, I say, “How can you watch that? How can you listen to that? How can this not alarm you? Where’s the repulsion?” Jesus said, “I will vomit you out of My mouth. Be hot or cold, but if you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Why do I say these things? Because I love those who don’t know the Lord, and I want to challenge them. I still today thank God I did not die when I was my rebellion years. I could’ve been the prodigal son; I think I was. But when I didn’t want anything to do with God—where’s your heart at? But I went to a Christian church—when I felt like it. I would check “Christian” on a survey. I went to a Christian school. I had a Bible. My mom was a Christian. We’re in America, that’s good. No, it’s not. Yet none of that matters. You have to say, “I know Christ. He saved me.”
Then the last point, apathy, for believers. “Buy back the time” is what “redeems the time” means. Buy back those times. Restore what has been broken down. If you don’t think God’s Word says this, are you spending time in God’s Word? It says, “Restore what was been broken down. Rebuild what has been shattered.” God is still saying—He told Ezekiel, and He’s still saying it today— “I sought for a man from among them who would build a wall and stand in the gap before Me, that I might not destroy the land.”
Listen, Billy Graham said it, and I totally agree. If God didn’t judge America, He’d have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. There is not much difference. There is not much difference. It is just by the grace of God and sheer mercy that He hears the crying out of His Christians, the remnant here still praying, still contending. God says, “I still see the fifty righteous. I will not withdraw yet, but I cannot stay My hand much longer.” Christians, you’ve got to redeem the times. I’m not talking about being political activists. I want you to be biblical activists and be on your face before almighty God. Protest won’t change anything, but prayer will. Prayer will. Prayer moves the hand of God. Why can’t we get people coming praying?
What is on the line? Those imaginary headlines are on the line. Read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book on what Germany looked like before the Nazis came in. I’m not trying to make too many parallels here but not much different. Hitler comes in and tells the churches, “I’m on your side. Peace, peace.” Then Bonhoeffer speaks out, they hang him naked, it is said, with a piano wire. You have to be careful. Evil is always coming in like a tide. This should not alarm us, but it should awake us. Maybe it should alarm us. That’s okay. Alarm clocks are good “What is that?” “It’s the alarm clock. Time to get up. Time to get up. Time to wake up. Awake, awake, awake from your sleep!” He’s telling Christians to “wake up, wake from your sleep. Expose the unfruitful works of darkness. If it’s happening in your home, if it’s happening in your school districts, if it’s happening, just go to God first and say, “How do I expose this, because I want to do it with the right heart?”
With that said we’re going to have the worship team come up, and we’re just going to go into a time of prayer and worship. I hope that’s okay. This is where God moves, during prayer and during worship. Just so you know, I’m actually really encouraged because last week I went to a pastors’ conference. There were close to five hundred pastors in California in Irvine, and the week before they had five hundred pastors in California in San Diego. People like Greg Laurie were there, and we were talking to different people about where our state is. I don’t know how much I should say, how much I shouldn’t, so I’m always careful in this area, but let me just say this. The way the direction of society is going, they’re coming after us. They’re coming after us.
Whether you like him or not, the current president is the only thing in their way. The legislation that’s going on, the things going on behind the scenes, that’s why they want to get any type of godly influence out of office. There is legislation, if Hillary were to have won, for silencing the churches, imposing gay marriage. It’s coming. It’s coming. This is your wake-up call. “Well, that’s just for you.” Oh no, it affects the pew. It will affect your job, where you can’t speak out. It’ll affect your children.
I think that’s where I just get the angriest. I don’t care right now about me too much. This type of message will not keep pastors like me around too long. I know that. But the direction we’re going, what are we leaving for our children or our grandchildren? Are we just checking out and leaving them the Titanic? I got on a lifeboat. That should motivate us to pray and fast and remove things that are pulling us down, because God says to care for those that you’re in charge of, and leave what’s God-honoring to them.
Interesting story. Quick one though. They were working on the Constitution. Did you know that the Constitution, everything they came up with, had to be referenced and supported in the Bible? It was not going anywhere. Benjamin Franklin wasn’t even a believer. He said, “Men, we need to just pray. We need to pray.” He said, “If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” They had public days of prayer and fasting for the whole Congress. They would seek God, and they said, “Here is what we want to leave.” Everything they wrote is about future generations. The hell they had to go through, what they get for the future generations. That was the whole point. That’s where our focus needs to be. What are we leaving, what are we sowing to the future? And get off the selfishness. What are we leaving for our kids? My God, maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. Maybe I had a bad dream last night, but the bad dream has become a reality when we look at what we are allowing.