John Carter – March 24, 2016 – Writings
Peace for the Sake of the Gospel- Not Safety
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Musica Theologica Bible Translation
Peace for the Sake of the Gospel – Not Safety
In light of our current presidential election year this text should take an extra moment of consideration. We are often encouraged to offer ‘political-prayers’ for America. But the usual desired answer to these political-prayers are found somewhere in the category of improved personal comfort. But this is a highly limited motivation for political-prayer. Jesus instructed us to stop worrying about our comforts and allow God to worry about these things. It is shallow to motivate our political-prayers with a desire for political stability so that we can enjoy a summer vacation, pay increases, and a pleasant retirement. The biblical motivation for political-prayer is that with political peace comes a greater freedom to proclaim and expand the gospel message. The biblical motivation for political-prayer is the Gospel – NOT safety.
Requests, prayers, and petitions made to God on behalf of our Christian and non-Christian leaders are not optional. Neither are thanksgivings. Yet how often do we, myself included, neglect to pray for those whom have a position of authority. Mind you, Paul probably wrote this letter while Nero was in charge, and in Acts Paul apologized for speaking harshly to a leader of the Jews. The biblical model is to pray for those who persecute us just as much as we pray for those whom we love. The desired effect that these prayers have on the life of the Christian is that he or she is able to live in tranquility and quietness. The same kinds of quietness that is expected on women within the Church. But we should not use this quietness to go watch a movie or to relish in the nothingness of activity. Rather, we should use this opportunity of tranquility and quietness to excel in godliness and purity.
When God sees us praying for those in authority and taking advantage of his answered prayers by pursuing godliness and purity, he is pleased. Why? Because he knows that this will result in the expansion of the Gospel message. And when the Gospel message goes out men and women will be saved because they hear and learn the correct teachings about the truth. It is this very thing that God desires- that all men and women are saved and correctly know the truth. God the Father sent his own Son as the mediator between us and him. The man Christ Jesus was also the payment for the debt that our sins incurred. Our sins against God the Father were beyond our ability to pay for them. That is why God had to become man so that he could satisfy his own demands of payment.
This very message is the message that Paul was telling every person he meet just like the heralds did in the days of kings and peasants. Paul was set aside to go and tell people a message that he was sent with, just like we send delegates with specific messages to foreign nations. Paul was a teacher of the gentile nations. Nations foreign to the Jewish nations and until the cross, outsiders with little hope of salvation. If you are not a Jew you are a recipient of Paul’s message.
- Are you political-prayers motivated by the Gospel then what motivates your prayers? Are those motivations worthy of replacing the centrality of the Gospel?
- Compared to more hostile countries, how are you using the current peace that America offers its residents for the expansion of the Gospel?
- If a delegate or herald failed at his or her job they would be removed from their post. Should you be fired from you role to communicate the truth of the Gospel to others?
God wants all men and women to come to a correct knowledge of the truth.
 In light of this passage, I think, the American church should strongly consider the implications their IRS 501(c)3 tax exemption status. I believe extensive study and revision of budgetary practices will need to be done to prepare the American church for the future which will result in how the Christians give and financially support their leaders. If churches become taxed for collecting monies which are being passed on to the teaching elders, then it might be best to pay the elders directly. I don’t officer these suggestions, ideas, and concerns lightly or without an awareness of the certain difficulties. Rather, my concern is that at some point political pressures will become so great that a new (or old) path will have to be blazed and that trail will not be easy or convenient. Gut Check: Are your reasons for sacrificially supporting your teaching elders (pastors) motivated by an obedience to the gospel or because of the tax benefits?
 Matthew 6:31-34
 Acts 23:5
 Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14
 1 Timothy 2:11