You may be a Trump enthusiast, a reluctant Trump voter, or a NeverTrump hold out like me, but I would guess that we have two things in common:
1. We can hardly wait for the election season to be over. You get no sympathy from me on this. I’m an Iowan and we are blessed to hold the “first-in-the-nation” caucuses, so we start seeing candidates and campaigns before the rest of the country. It’s a long campaign. This election has been course and divisive and unseemly. I remember the Reagan campaigns – he inspired a sense of the nobility of the American experiment in all of us. This election has been a slog through the mud. Even most of you that are voting Trump are doing so on the basis that he’s not as bad as her, right? There’s no nobility, no honor, no patriotic optimism in any of this. There are a smattering of few true believers out there, but they are rare. And that leads to my second point.
2. We have a tremendous sense of apprehension about the future of this once great nation. If Hillary gets elected we will head down a road none of us wants to consider. But mot of those who intend to vote for Trump will admit they do so without great enthusiasm and still have a fair degree of apprehension over what will happen if their guy gets in. Am I right?
I’d like to get real today about the state of America. I don’t think the real problems in America are political. Hillary is not the root of the problem nor is Donald. There is a deeper problem in the church of Jesus Christ which we must confront.
- Let’s get real. We all talk about the need for revival, but the Super Bowl party will be bursting at the seams while prayer meeting is the smallest meeting of the week – if the church even has it. Really? We aren’t serious about revival.
- Let’s get real. We say we love God’s word, but the average person in the church today has a degree of biblical illiteracy that is shocking and disturbing. Really? How much do we love God’s word if we rarely read it, study it, or preach it?
- Let’s get real. We proclaim Jesus as Lord, but our lives don’t look much different than those of the world around us. We have ignored Paul’s pleas in Romans 6 and turned grace into an excuse for sin. Really? The Lordship of Christ cannot be verbal alone.
- Let’s get real. We, pastors, talk more about servant leadership than we either lead or serve. Our churches are often fractured and floundering in fleshly pursuits instead of walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Really? A disease Body of Christ cannot throw stones at a dysfunctional nation for its moral decline.
- Let’s get real. In both our own lives and in our churches we see way too much of the works of the flesh from Galatians 5 and far too little of the fruit of the Spirit. Really? If we are not walking in the Spirit why do expect the works of the Spirit?
I could go on, but warnings of Revelation 2 and 3 have come true. We have left our first love, tolerated false doctrine and immoral practices, become more concerned with appearance than reality, and devolved into lukewarmness. Jesus made it clear that he would not sit idly by while his church embraced sin and worldly compromise. It is time that we get real.
One thing we can do is get our eyes off the mirage and on to what is real. We must consider today what is real. Yes, it matters who gets elected – we ought not to be hermits or spin some kind of spiritual cocoon around the church. But we must also remember that there are biblical realities, spiritual realities, heavenly realities – things that are true regardless of what happens on Tuesday.
Our sense that America has been a Christian nation has caused us to believe that the future of the church is somehow bound with the future of the nation. We are desperate to take back America because somehow we believe we must do so if the church is to prosper and the gospel to go forward. Oh, we may know better in our theological heads, but in our hearts and in our pews that feeling often prevails. If America is not “saved” the church will be destroyed and the work of the gospel will be hindered.
But we need to get real. There is absolutely no tie between the future of the church and the future of the nation. I hope America prospers. I hope good things come, good people are elected, the economy expands and grows, prosperity comes to all, and there is peace in our land. But whether America’s foundations are rebuilt or whether they are washed away, the church’s one foundation stands strong. We are built on something other than the Constitution and Bill of Rights, so while we hope for great things for our land, we do not need those great things for the church to prosper.
We need to remember reality – the reality of faith not simply the reality of sight. We need to remember the reality of the work of God and the work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. Get real, Christian. Get real, church. Get real!
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, there are truths on which we can build our lives that do not change. If Hillary wins, they will still be true. If Trump wins, they will still be true. The real reality of realness is that the church of Jesus Christ is not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await the savior who is coming from there. (Maranatha, anyone?) We are part of something much greater than the United States. I was born a citizen of the United States. Thank God. But I was born again into the family of God and made a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! And nothing that is real in the heavenly kingdom is touched by the vicissitudes of life here on earth.
So, if Trump wins, get real. If Hillary wins, get real. If something else happens that shocks the world, get real. Get real!
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning the gospel will still be the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, Jew or Greek. The blood that Jesus shed for me, way back on Calvary, it will never lose its power!
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning the Great Commission will still constitute our marching orders to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in Christ and teaching them to follow him.
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning the Body of Christ will still be the most powerful force on this earth – the temple of the Living God, indwelled by the Holy Spirit and empowered to do the work of God in this world.
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning the word of God will still be living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. Regardless of what the latest celebrity compromiser tells the world to its applause, it will still be inerrant, infallible and the only sure rule of our faith and practice. It will continue to be the breath of God and will be useful for teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness, to thoroughly equip the man of God for every good work. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning Jesus Christ will still be seated at the right hand of God (not striving for supremacy, but SEATED!) having had the highest name conferred on him. He is Lord! Every knee is still destined to bow and every tongue is still destined to confess that truth. He has risen from the dead and he is Lord.
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning there is still no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. He is still the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through him regardless of what happens Tuesday.
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning sin is still sin, and Jesus is still coming one day to judge the world, the living and the dead. The election will not change the fact that one day in heaven there will be a scroll that no one can open, with the judgments of the world written on it, and Jesus will step forward, looking as one who has been slain, and he will be recognized as the Lamb who was slain and is the only one worthy to open the seals and pronounce the judgments of God.
Let’s get real. Whatever happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning Jesus is still the one who will ride from heaven one day to come again, trailing the armies of heaven, to defeat his enemies by the powerful word of his mouth and return to show the world that he is what he has always declared himself to be, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
No, I’m not saying the election doesn’t matter. It does. But I’m saying that compared to the realities of the Scriptures, it doesn’t matter that much. What is real, what really matters – those are the eternal things and they don’t change whether the president is sympathetic or hostile, good or bad, Democrat, Republican, or Whig.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t care. We should. But I am saying that perhaps we shouldn’t care as much as we do. Maybe our panic and dismay concerning the election is an indication that we have our hearts and minds too much on the temporal and too little on the eternal.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t vote. We should. Americans have a unique privilege to be involved in the selection of our leaders and to influence the course of our government. But our passion must be our loyalty to our heavenly citizenship and our priority must always be the work of the gospel and the kingdom.
What an opportunity we have in the next week to show the world who we really are, what we really care about and why we are really here. May the church be the church and be all God has called us to be.