The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:10 ESV

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Your Worldview and Your Vote Part 3 - Forming a Biblical Worldview


(This is the third and final part of a message entitled "Your Worldview and Your Vote" that I preached at Pines Baptist Church in Pembroke Pines Florida on November 4, 2012.)

Lastly, this morning, a word about how we form a biblical worldview. Pastor Guy McGraw has said,

"Nothing that is morally wrong should be politically right."

Our worldview will determine how consistently we are able to carry that out as we cast our ballot. The Bible gives us a truth base from which to shape a biblical worldview that speaks to every issue we face in our personal lives and as a nation.

As you know, the letters of the Apostle Paul all followed the same pattern. He began with what is teaching or instruction, followed by practical application. The book of Romans follows that pattern. The first eleven chapters are doctrinal in nature. That is, Paul teaches biblical truth or instruction about the Christian faith. Then the concluding four chapters focus on applying doctrine to everyday living.

In other words Christian living is to be based on Christian doctrine. How we live as Christians should be consistent with what we believe. That is what a biblical worldview is all about.

Remember Pastor Warren? "...every time you make a decision you access the worldview database in your mind and you decide, "Because I believe this, I’m going to do this."
When you come to Romans 12:1 and following Paul transitions from doctrine to practical application. The word "therefore" in verse one identifies the transition. You've probably heard this before. When you come to a "therefore" in Scripture you need to stop and see what it is there for!

May I suggest to you this morning, that Romans 12:1,2 is foundational to establishing a biblical worldview. What is Paul referring to when he says "Therefore"? He is looking back to his teaching about the gospel in the previous 11 chapters, probably the greatest treatise on justification by faith in the entire Bible. Here is a sampling of that doctrine,

Romans 1:16-17, (ESV)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written,
“The righteous shall live by faith."

Romans 3:23-24 (ESV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:1, (ESV)         
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Romans 10:9-11, (ESV)      
...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."

This gospel is the foundation of a biblical or Christian worldview. You will find it very difficult to embrace a biblical worldview without first being reconciled to God by faith in His Son Jesus Christ. I think we are seeing the truth of that in our society today.

Based on the truth of the first 11 chapters, Paul makes this appeal, Romans 12:1 (ESV)             

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

This was nothing less than a call for consecration, because of what God had done for them through the gospel. You see reconciliation with God precedes consecration to God. He saved you to possess you.

Consecrating yourself to God means to surrender yourself to God and His will. That is implicit in the metaphor of presenting yourself as a living sacrifice. And Paul says this is "your spiritual worship," literally your "reasonable service."

The word translated "worship" involves the mind, reason and intellect. In other words this is a conscious, deliberate, voluntary, and rational decision to set ourselves apart to God for his purposes.

Friends, this is the foundation for living your life based on a Christian worldview. Remember Barna's claim that only 9% of "born again" Christians have a biblical world view. Could this be at the heart of the problem?

Have we decided in one way or another to follow Christ but have failed to embrace Jesus' definition of discipleship? Matthew 16:24  (ESV) Jesus said,

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

Self denial always precedes submission. You cannot submit to Christ without first dethroning yourself. The cross has always been an instrument of death. In this case a metaphor of the self-denial Christ demands of us if we are to follow Him.

Paul then calls the Romans to take another decisive step that flows logically from the first. 
Romans 12:2  (NIV)  
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Doesn't that sound like a biblical formula or definition of a Christian worldview? You see, a worldview is a lens or filter through which you look at life, through which you interpret life and then determine what to do.

He begins with a negative command, "Do not be conformed to this world." Phillips paraphrases it this way, "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mold."

Friends, we do not live in a vacuum. Every day we are bombarded by competing worldviews. Every time you turn on the TV or listen to your I-Pod; or read a newspaper or book; talk to your neighbor, work associate or classmate; read the newspaper or something online; you are exposed to someone's worldview. Everyone has a worldview.

In other words, every day we are vulnerable to worldviews that are often in conflict with our Christian faith. The question is what worldview are you allowing to shape yours?

Paul says, don't be conformed to the world. Perhaps you remember in the message I brought back in February (The Destructive Power of the World) that we defined the world as "The system that is opposed to God, satisfies self and serves Satan."

Recognize that what Paul identifies as "the world" breeds many kinds of worldviews that compete with the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.

How then, do we live in such an environment? How do we remain faithful to the will of God?

Paul goes on to admonish us to, (vs.2b)  "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." This is both a deliberate choice and a continual process. We get our word "metamorphosis" from the Greek word translated transformed."

It means to be made into something new. It's like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. What emerges from the chrysalis is something that looks distinctly different from the original caterpillar.

The mind is the center of our thinking, where we reason; where we make ethical judgments; where we make moral decisions. Paul says it is our mind that is to be continually transformed. To what end, so "... you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is --is good, pleasing and perfect will." (NIV)

I believe that one reason, perhaps the most significant reason, that only 9% of "born again" Christians have a biblical world view is because a high percentage of Christians have failed to familiarize themselves with the Word of God.

Back in 2001, George Barna warned us, quote  'The Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy.'"  

In Paul's second letter to Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) he wrote,
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

Paul identifies four reasons the Word of God is profitable: It teaches us - that's doctrine, what to believe. Then it corrects us when we fall into false doctrine. Thirdly, it trains us. In other words, instructs us in proper behavior. Then lastly, it reproves us or rebukes us, when we get involved in wrong behavior.

Remember the "worldview database" Pastor Warren spoke of?  Here it is! The Word of God gives us the right doctrine to believe; it corrects our false doctrine; it  defines how we are to behave and it corrects us when we misbehave. All of that, so that we might be in a position to recognize what God's will is, and do it.

So there you have God's provision for us to answer the question "How shall we vote?" Base your vote upon your biblical worldview. And then vote for candidates that share your worldview.

Your pastor told me that several weeks ago he gave out a quick summary of the two major views on 23 issues prepared by Dr. Wayne Grudem, everything from abortion to solutions to poverty, economic justice, religious freedom, same-sex marriage, government debt and more. It included biblical references on all 23 issues. Study them before voting.

On you message outline I have included excellent online resources that will help you identify the worldview and positions of candidates on many of these issues including their voting records.

In closing, listen to the words of Samuel Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence over 200 years ago, who also served as the Governor of Massachusetts. (1793 1797)

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws...[Therefore,] when you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty. If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted...If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”

Historian, David Barton issues a similar challenge:

"Voting, that is being salt and light in the civil arena, is not only your right as an American citizen, but it's your duty as a citizen in God's kingdom."

As we prepare to participate  in this year's elections as Christian citizens, remember Pastor Guy McGraw's advice,
"Nothing that is morally wrong should be politically right."

All Rights Reserved James P. McGarvey























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