Theo Groeneveld

Theo Groeneveld

2015-11-15pm So what do we do for our Country? CLICK HERE to download

Date: 2015-11-15PM
Context: Emmanuel – PM
Title: So what do we do for our Country?
Readings: Jer29:4-14; 1Ti2:1-7; 2Ch6:26-27; Mic6:8
Cited: 1Pe4:17


Liturgy

This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”


Intro to Readings

Exiles in Babylon…


Sermon

Intro

The relationship between church and state is not a small topic and certainly not one I can tackle in one evening service.
It’s complex and there are all sorts of hot potatoes:

  • Should Christians do military service?
  • When is civil disobedience permissable?
  • When is nationalism an idol?
  • Can we refuse to pay taxes or tolls?
  • Can we criticise our leaders?
  • When there’s drought do we see this as God’s judgement on our country?

Tonight I want to explore 4 brief issues:
1. Understand being God’s people in a secular state.
2. Start exploring the idea of divine judgement and countries and nations.
3. Understand our responsibilities.
4. Making it practical and personal.

1. Understand being God’s people in a secular state.

Israel spent only a short time as a Theocracy – a country where God was king.
Abraham was a believer in a Cananite and Egyptian world.
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt
Then they were delivered
For a while God was their king
Then they established a monarchy and the first few kings were good.
Then bad kings and then exile
Then always under the heel of a superpower (Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and so on)
You may argue that Constantine brought back the idea of a Christian state, but bureaucractic power corrupts…
Even South Africa – a Christian Country – came up with apartheid.

So Jeremiah helps us.
Don’t long for a Christian state!

  1. Build houses and settle, plant and marry, increase in number.
  2. Seek the prosperity of the city
  3. Pray for it to prosper.
  4. Remember that God has a plan – so seek it.

2. Start exploring the idea of divine judgement and countries and nations.

Throughout the Scriptures we see God judging the nations.

  • The Amelikites are judged for preying on the stragglers of the Israelites in the wilderness.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah are judged for rampant godlessness and immorality
  • The Northern Kingdom is judged for it’s idolatry and godlessness
  • The Babylonians are defeated by the Persians because of their pride and harshness towards Israel – God even calls Cyrus “My anointed”

So what about the drought?
Solomon’s temple prayer:
2CH 6:26 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

There are similar passages throughout Scripture: Kings, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and the story of Elijah.

Drought and Natural Disasters can simply be the result of a broken world.
We could argue that this drought is the result of global warming.
But there are times that God does intervene – and when He does, it is to get our attention.
But before we are too quick to blame our leaders – for their corruption, immorality and anti-christian views – let’s be sure to take the plank out of our own eyes.

1Pet4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

So at a time of drought like this – let’s pray and ask God to hold up His mirror to our lives and show us if He is calling us to pay attention.

3. Understand our responsibilities.

1TI 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

  1. Prayers and intercession
  2. Focus: Peaceful and quiet lives – in Godliness and holiness
  3. Remember that reaching others is our primary purpose

4. Making it practical and personal.

MIC 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

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