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Liberty Alert: The Christian Public Voice- Don't Spread Discouragement, Spread God's Encouragement!
2nd August 2022 • Engaging Truth • Evangelical Life Ministries
00:00:00 00:24:57

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Week in review, talking about cultural engagement with a 2KG mindset to bless the culture amidst the chaos, and undergird the mission of the Church?

-How can believers NOT be discouraged when the culture is openly anti-Christian in ways that it has never been?

-Is “defending” the authority of God’s 10 commandments by definition, “discouraging?”

-How can the differentiation of God’s disciplining, calling to repentance word, and His

gracious saving word better define our ENCOURAGING VOICE?

-Why will it take both humility and courage to be that voice for others?

Transcripts

The following program is sponsored by evangelical life ministries.

Welcome to Liberty alert with great great selves sponsored by our friends at the Lutheran center for religious Liberty here in Washington, DC, a program that cuts through the chaos and confusion in the culture today by talking to kingdom, citizenship, bold biblical principles for a robust public Christian luck. And now your host, Dr. Gregory Sellas

Good day, good day, Washington DC. I'm Gregory. Seltz welcome to our program. The Liberty alert where every week we try to cut through the noise and take on the issues, especially the public issues that matter to people of faith, applying and relying on the wisdom of the word for the sake of the culture and the mission of the church. Or as we like to say at the LCR L we're trying to put our temporal liberties to work for the sake of the eternal liberties of God for all today, the Christian's public voice. We're gonna talk about that. Um, and what I mean by that is that we can be Christian in the public square. We can, you know, um, without threats of violence, without threats to one's livelihood, without threats of being de platformed. You know, we we've been talking on, on some of our programs to, to lawyers who are defending these cases in the public square.

And now in some places, people can't even question, uh, uh, what what's being said in their name and, and that kind of stuff is crazy. And, and so again, um, the Christian public voice, what we're saying is don't spread discouragement, spread God's encouragement. And the title for today's program was inspired by a devotion that I read from one of the leaders in our church. His name is Tim Hener, and he's the president and CEO of Lutheran church charities. I read the article about a year or so ago. Um, Tim, if you're listening great stuff, uh, the message is timeless. And, and it caught my attention and it's appropriate for our discussion, uh, about our Christian public voice today, he was focusing on an old Testament event where the Israelites were supposed to scout the land of Cana, because God had said that they were to enter that promised land, that it was it's God's promised land for them, for their descendants.

And of course it was ultimately gonna be the place where God sent his son. He fulfilled all of his promises to the whole world by sending the one savior Jesus, the savior for all. So, you know, you think God could clear out the place for their settling and that they would be confident that whatever God wanted them to do, uh, it would be done, but there was discouragement among the people and they sent 12 spies to scout the land. And 10 of them came back and, and said, we can't do it. And in, in the book of numbers, they said, this, we can't go against these folks. They're stronger than we are. They, they, they spread this bad report throughout the land. And to be honest with you, God took a dim view of that perspective. He actually punished those 10. Um, you can read the story for yourself in, in numbers 14.

Um, and there was only two guys, Joshua and Caleb who remained, uh, alive after God's punishment. And they actually said, you know, we can, God will be faithful and God will do what he has promised to do for us and through us. And so the whole point of his, his devotion was, what about you, you know, when you're facing negative circumstances, do you express doubt? Uh, especially when it's something that you know, is in, in, in God's will for you, you know, it's the right thing. You've read the scripture, you know, about what God wants for his people, what God wants for, for people's lives. And, you know, and so instead of actually putting your trust in God, um, you, you kind of look at what you think you're capable of. And a lot of times that leads to discouragement and you spread it around.

So what kind of person, uh, are you gonna be and encourager who takes God's promises and takes God's word to heart and puts one's trust in it, even if you don't see with your eyes, what's going on that day, or you're gonna be one who's always a discourage who says it, it can't be done. And so he re finally at the end of his devotion, he said, remind yourself. And even those who are discouraged, that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, and that's Ephesians three 20. And I just thought, yeah, that, that was a word I needed to see. And to hear that day, because, you know, I agreed wholeheartedly with that, especially when, when it's a clear thing, when you can see in the scripture clear things that God wants or his people to have, or clear things he wants for his people to do.

Um, so that, you're not just saying, you know, I want to do this and I just need God's blessing kind of thing. Um, that was an encouraging message for me in the midst of the nonsense, uh, that was swirling around DC at the time. So I loved it. It was a, it was a great encouraging word. And I thought, you know, I, I should talk about this on the radio because when we're dealing with all the things we're dealing with today, and I listen to, to politics and policy positions all the time today, and the, the sad part about that is even politics at its best cannot save us from ourselves. It cannot make the world a better place. The world ha is a better place by people whose hearts are free. And then who serve and do what is right for the sake of others.

That's what makes a better world and government programs don't make that kind of stuff happen. Uh it's you know, human beings, it, it, the problem with human beings is not the structures in, in which we live. The problems with human beings is our own hearts, our own sinfulness, our own brokenness, but we can bring those to God. And there's a freedom that comes with his forgiveness, with his salvation, uh, with his promises. And that's the whole point free people doing what is right for the sake of others, that's the solution. And so, you know, to me, I, you know, when I read this word about, do not spread discouragement, that was a, that was a gentle reminder that even though I'm in DC doing the work I'm doing, um, they're not gonna be the encouragement when it's all said and done. Even if DC functions the way it's supposed to function, the encouraging word has to come from someplace else.

You know, we talk about this in my lectures, and I've been traveling around a lot of you have invited me to come to your churches lately. It's been a real blessing. I'm actually kind of tired, uh, right now, because I've been literally all over the country and talking about the freedoms we have in this country and talking about how our founding fathers set up the polity of this country. And one of the ways they did that was that they actually bound the government because they didn't see the government as the place where the solutions, uh, to our problems and the solutions, uh, to our culture resided. So they bound the government and they set the religiously motivated, self disciplined and self disciplining, uh, citizen, uh, self-governing citizen free to do what was right for the sake of others. And so I thought, wow, you know, this is a, a great reminder that we've been given a blessing in the culture in which we live.

And if you're a Christian as a Christian citizen in this country, you have a real role to play because you bring an encouraging word. But as soon as I read that, I thought, you know, I bet you, a lot of people are gonna hear what I'm saying and say, but how can we not be discouraged when the culture now is so rapidly in so many ways, anti-Christian in ways that it has never been before? You know, whether it's the media, whether it's our entertainment, whether it's our educational system or our political system, the Juda Christian view is under attack. There's no doubt about that. Anybody who says that's not true, it's just silly. I mean, the evidence is overwhelming. Um, that the structures now of our country have, have turned. If you will, they're, they're, they're much more, uh, they're even calling the church, uh, in some circles, they're calling it kind of the enemy of the state.

Um, I I've read you that Robert Rice quote about, you know, the, the, the battle between the modernists and the pre-modern, and he thinks of us as the pre-modern. He thinks that terrorism's a bad thing, but really the church, the pre-modern are really the real problem, because he's a secular progressive, he's a secular pist. And that's where the future, at least from his point of view lies, not from what I see happening in our country today, when, when I see people who really just believe that they're the authority in their own lives. So how can you not, but be discouraged because this Judeo Christian worldview, the, uh, the, the, the view of male, female from the scripture, the view of marriage from the scripture, the view of the proper expression of sex and intimacy from the scripture, it's not just out of date, it's out of, and out of style.

It's now being considered hate speech, because it offends some people and people are politicizing. These conscience differences, you know, when did our culture, for instance, decide that the commandments or hate speech. And so, you know, even the golden rule is being demonized in some quarters and, and, you know, Christians, uh, are you just gonna sit back and let God's moral voice be legislated out of existence? And then the question is, would that be a good thing? Absolutely not. I mean, you know, you, you go back even into the scriptures and you see the book of judges. And it said in that time, people did what they, what was right in their own eyes. And it was a terrible time in the history of Israel, but it, those kind of things are terrible times in whatever, uh, history or whatever country they're practiced. You know? So the times that we live in, I mean, think of some of the things that have been cheered on lately, legislatures, cheering, legislation, allowing, um, people to willfully kill children in the womb up till, and, uh, the ninth month and even beyond if the baby's born alive and was supposed to be boarded, uh, aborted, I mean, uh, Caesar's gone rogue, man.

I mean, the culture's gone insane if that's, if that's what you think officials have were demoting the church, amidst the, you know, the, the COVID 19, uh, crisis, you know, most crises in American history. People went back to church to pray because their spiritual demeanor and their spiritual health was the key to overcoming whatever was against us. We were willfully being told, uh, that's not even as important as keeping the bars open, or that's not even as important as keeping, um, the liquor stores open and casinos open it's crazy government agencies are even standing against clear moral teachings of the Bible. And what I mean by that is they're saying that you cannot disagree with them. They're saying that men are not men and women are not women. And people are only what they say they are irrespective of God's moral ordering of the world.

People have always said that down through time. I get that. But when you, when you actually weaponize the state to, uh, crush any disagreement with that, no, the church at its best has always been the moral voice O of the culture for all people. And that's a role that we have to play, even for the sake of those who do not join us on Sundays. It's crazy today when one of the platforms of the political of one political party today, I in, in the freest country, still in the world, literally targets the church because of its moral teachings, you know, seeking to legislate it into submission. And then the other party, um, when faced with the opportunity to defend or protect the church properly against such a attacks, it shrinks back too. So, you know, again, when people say, well, it don't be a discourage, how can you not be, well, what I'm saying today is, and again, going back to this devotional thought, yeah.

Concerned for sure. Aware. Absolutely. But discouraged. No, the only problem is right now, it feels like more like good Friday all over again. But remember the cross, remember the tomb, it couldn't contain the crucified Lord Jesus and Friday gave way to Easter Sunday. And all that we're struggling with today will finally give way to Christ return. So again, that's why I'm saying, um, concerned. Yes. Aware. Yes. Uh, do we have to engage these things? Yes. Can we push back on some of these things? Yes. Cuz we don't want things to get worse. Remember we've always said this, uh, good politics cannot save us, but bad politics can destroy us. And so we're really trying to work very hard, uh, to make sure that we don't participate in terrible politics, which can make life pretty miserable, this side of heaven. So that's why, um, our words, if we're gonna be a Christian public voice, they have to reflect and proclaim his word.

And God's word by definition is an encouraging word. So when God says, no, that's an encouraging word, cuz he says no out of love when God says yes, his gracious word, that too is out of love, but God's no God's yes. On God's terms. We as Christians that's by definition what we mean by not being people of discouragement, but all but being people of God's encouragement in the world in which we live. So what do we do? Um, we can speak the truth and love. And, and again, that flies in the face of kind of what's going on in our culture today, human beings were created to do what was right for others. I don't want to get into the whole idea of, well, where did sin come from? What's this rebellion? Why is it a broken world? But we weren't created to just do whatever we want.

We were created to be a reflection of God's moral, uh, voice in the world that everyone's born with a conscience. And so this idea of just doing whatever I want, this, that that's by definition, what sin is. you know, that's, what's so funny. People think that the church focuses, you know, on all these sins, we really don't. We think of sins as just a manifestation of a bigger problem, sin capital S. So it's kinda like, we're not gonna focus on whether you got a cough, whether you got a fever, whether you got no, we wanna focus on the virus. We wanna focus on that, which is the deeper issue in you and the Bible calls, the deepest issue sin. Um, our own rebellion are, are being turned in on ourselves and not, not looking to God and not looking to neighbor. So if the church is gonna be a voice, that's the encouraging voice.

It needs to be. First thing we've gotta do is defend that God's 10 commandments. We've gotta defend that. That's an even encouraging word. I know those are God's no, you know, they were, were God limits or directs or disciplines even calls to repentance through that word. But that is an encouraging word in the fact that it draws you, it, it refocuses at you, um, towards God. And so defending those, I is actually seeking to, to bring an encouraging word to people. You know, when you think about God's 10 commandments, it it's a preserving word. It directs the conscience and it even calls one to repentance when those words are violated and you know, there's, there are some things we should not be doing. The only question is who is the one that sets those standards. I hate to say it, but more and more politicians think they're the ones that set these standards.

And that is a misuse of their office. They're not the moral voice, uh, of the culture. Uh, they're the ones they're kind of the referees. They set the, the bare minimum standards and they make sure that they apply to all that's, that's their main role, but when they start taking over and playing the game and, and making up the rules and, and, and, and choosing who wins and who loses and all these kind of things, uh, they're way out of bounds. And then of course the port, the, of course the postmodern world says each one does what's right in their own eyes. And again, the Bible says that doesn't make it right. Um, so, you know, that's one of the reasons I think the superhero movies, you know, they've just kinda lost their mojo because it's almost like there's no point to them anymore. You know?

So we proclaim the God who created, ordered and owns the world. And that's an encouraging word too. So we're gonna talk about the dignity of the family. It's more than a relationship. It's an institution where civilizing and hum humanizing things happen. Society is founded on healthy families, the sanctity of life, that every life has a dignity that we need to honor. Um, the purpose of fidelity this whole, I notion that sex is just like a, it's like something to do on the weekend. It's missing the whole point of the fact that people were meant to have intimacy with one another and, and to be able to have courage and, and to care for one another in an age of vulgarness, um, the purpose of property, you were, you were meant to be a steward of things and, and, and work and, and earning things and having things so that you could also give it away.

There's a greater purpose to all this, the honoring of one's name. I mean, that's one of the things our culture's just completely given that up. We can't wait to disparage people's names. Um, and then of course, then the proper understanding that all gifts come from God and he gives things freely and differently to people. So coveting somebody else's stuff is never a, a winning proposition. So, you know, the battle today is not about politics E economics or culture. The battle really is for the soul of folks and, and for what it means to be truly human. And the Bible's actually very clear the, the problem in our world, the problem in the human heart, it's worse than you could have ever imagined, but because of God's work in the world by grace, through faith in Christ, uh, his solutions even better than you could have envisioned either.

So we just want freedom. You know, one of the things we want freedom to be a different voice in the world. We want to be, God's, uh, unique voice in the work for the sake of others. And so, you know, we humbly and courageously, we need to learn how to, to speak God's truth and love. We need to learn how to differentiate his saving work from his preserving work, but to actually be useful to both of those works, as we develop our public voice for others, we gotta speak boldly of his creating an ordering world. Um, we've gotta differentiate the work of the state from the work of the church, so that each one can do what God intended them. And folks, I hate to tell you this, but the state is not the most important one. Um, the, the most important one is the church and its work, or at least if you're not a church member, at least the work of free people serving and caring for others, you know, we, we need to remind ourselves again and again, that in a healthy society, we don't put our trust in princes politicians and magistrates, even though we honor their work of curbing, our worst outward behavior, we put our faith, you know, especially in the God who frees us to serve one another, uh, in love.

And that's, that's got to be the solution as we deal with the things that we face. And then finally we can strive, you know, to fulfill our vocations and service to others as God himself serves us. I love what Cal Thomas, I love reading Cal Thomas. Um, he said in an ear of political correctness, virtue signaling and wokeness wisdom is in such short supply that when discovered it stands out like a beacon in a storm. And, and to that end, I'm saying to you, if you're a disciple of Christ, if you're a follower of Christ, that's what you can be in this craziness today. If you speak God's word, if you speak God's no, and God's yes. On God's terms, you are gonna stand out now in the world in which we live. We see that standing out. Isn't always a good thing. I mean, you can get run over by the state.

You see what's happening with some of our friends who are standing up for their conscience rights in this country today they're being punished, but you do stand up, uh, like a beacon in a storm. And people eventually begin to see through the haze. They begin to see through the storm and they're looking for, for that light. And so that's why we, while we might be, uh, aware of what's going on, we might be concerned about what's going on. We are not gonna be discouraged because we know that God is already in the middle of this preserving and saving. And we can be a voice, uh, a beacon of light as it were, uh, in the middle of all this. And so he talked about wisdom. He said, we should become people of wisdom. And he said, don't equate wisdom with information. I think that's the biggest problem I have with Google and technology and all these things, you know, as long as we just have lots of information, that's not true because if your heart is corrupt, you just are gonna manipulate that information towards your own ends.

And that's the definition of sin. That's the definition of brokenness. So just having access to lots and lots of information doesn't necessarily mean that there's gonna be solutions. And then he talks about how scriptures full of wisdom, but as church attendance, declines, and denominations across, uh, the theological, uh, spectrum lose members, uh, the, the font of ancient wisdom is, is not a primary source now for many Americans. And he's right. So especially if you're a Christian, get back to church, create the habit of getting back to church. You can't replace church with online being there in person, studying the word of God with other people, uh, not just hearing sermons. I mean, Dick going to Bible study, going to worship and Bible study and really, you know, making the Bible, make it your own. You're gonna become a wise person. Now he says, so what is wisdom?

He said, wisdom is the knowledge of what is true or right. So it's not just information it's knowing what is right. And having a moral framework for that information. A coupled with just judgment in action. And so wisdom is something, uh, that we learn and we put to, to work. Now, he points out that he thinks kind of the secular pietism, uh, with all of its, uh, blasty laws coming and its woke culture and its cancel culture. He thinks that's a dying thing. I hope he's right, because right now almost all of our institutions are overrun with it. But he's saying a, a people of wisdom, not only will they be able to make it through this, um, but they can also be, uh, a very positive voice for the sake of culture. If they're willing to stand up for what is right. I think it's gonna take humility because this is not our voice.

This is the Bible's voice. This is God's voice through the scripture. And it's gonna take courage to actually be that voice in our culture because if it does stand out, we're finding out today, uh, that it can oftentimes stand out. And it's not always a positive thing at the moment for the one who speaks it, but it's a positive thing ultimately for the sake of others. So again, um, this is our role to be voices of encouragement in times of real despair. So just putting it simply where to be people of God's no people of God's yes, people of God's law and his gospel on God's loving terms because that's what all of us need. And so I hope you take up the challenge to be that voice of encouragement today. Thanks for tuning in today to get to know our LCR L DC work better. Check out our website@lclfreedom.org contain. There are resources to empower your public square dynamic discipleship or check out our weekly word from the center opinion piece every Friday at facebook.com/l C R L freedom till next time, God bless you. Always I'm Gregory rece have a great week.

You've been listening to Liberty alert with Dr. Gregory sells executive director of the Lutheran center for religious Liberty in Washington, DC. This program has been brought to you by the Lutheran center for religious Liberty.