The Election Is Over - Now Rise and Shine
As we all know, Joe Biden became the President of the United States of America yesterday. Many Christians are not happy about this. But regardless of who is in the oval office today, I want to encourage you for the rest of 2021 and beyond. The directions and promises of the Bible are not dependent on the governing system in your particular country of residence. In fact, the greatest commandments and truths of the Bible are totally independent from the worldly government where you live.
2020 was a tough year. We had the shutdowns, the economic hardships, the riots, the disease (by now we probably all know many people who contracted COVID-19), and more. And if all of that wasn’t enough, we had a presidential election that was basically contested for 3 months, all the way from Election Day to the inauguration. I don’t know about you, but all of those things definitely took my focus off of the Kingdom of God a number of times.
However, now we can take a deep breath. Maybe there won’t be a sigh of relief for you. Maybe you will remain very concerned, as I do, about the future of our country. But at least there is some finality. Let us now turn our focus back to the Kingdom of God, God’s directions and God’s promises. Please understand, I’m not implying that we lost our faith or even improperly put President Trump on a pedestal. But I am saying that let’s use this moment as a reset button, a moment to refocus on God’s directions for our lives.
All Christians should want Christians to hold positions of leadership in our country. All Christians should want our government to govern in the light of God’s Word. If you don’t, you need to read your Bible some more. But a significant portion of the Bible was written by Christians while they were under very ungodly governments. We can accomplish all of God’s will for our lives regardless of the current governmental situation. We can especially do this if we focus on God’s plan for humanity and Jesus’ directions to the Church.
Let’s start with remembering the first words God ever spoke about humans.
(Genesis 1:26 KJV) “And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.””
God created us to have dominion over the whole world. That promise was true all those thousands of years ago, and it is still true today. I do understand that when Adam fell this dominion was lost. But that’s ok, Jesus got it back for us. He explained this to us after His resurrection.
(Matthew 28:18-20 NLT) “Jesus came and told His disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."”
Let’s not get too deep here, and we will come back to the disciples part, but Jesus took this authority over the earth back. The devil had the authority when he took it from Adam, but Jesus got it back. And now this authority belongs to us, as members of the Body of Christ. The dominion mandate for God’s people is still completely intact. And we don’t just have dominion over the physical earth, through our relationship with Jesus we are able to take part in all of His authority, especially His authority over the devil and the Dominion of Darkness. Let’s now look at one of the major directions Jesus gave His followers.
(Matthew 6:31-33 NLT) "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
Jesus understands that our minds will naturally focus on our daily lives. He understands that our minds will focus on our needs and the world around us. So Jesus, throughout the Bible really, teaches us how to focus our minds. We must focus our minds on the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness. We are going to put all of these ideas together at the end, but let’s just start with the first two. All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, and Jesus wants us to focus on God’s Kingdom and righteous living.
(Acts 1:6-8 NLT) “So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking Him, "Lord, has the time come for You to free Israel and restore our kingdom?" He replied, "The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."”
Let us now look at this next direction from Jesus. You see, there are enduring, eternal truths from the Bible, and we must focus on them. We must focus on them when we have Godly leadership. We must focus on them when we have ungodly leadership. We must focus on them at all times. And if we will keep our focus here, we will be correctly pursuing God’s plan for our lives.
Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses to all nations. Jesus tells us that we are to make disciples of all nations. We are supposed to witness, we are supposed to make disciples. Don’t worry about the other nations if you are just getting started. Focus on your nation. If you are an American, you can literally make disciples of all nations right here. If the American government somehow outlaws our ability to witness and make disciples, then we will have a problem. Until then, in good times and bad, with Christian leaders and without, we are to witness for Jesus and make disciples. Let’s start right here, right now. As one man of God said, “you want God to send you to the nations but He can’t send you to the grocery store.”
There are different ways we seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, but let’s not make life too complicated. The greatest way we seek the Kingdom of God is by seeking to expand it, and God wants His Kingdom expanded into the hearts of people. As I have said before, there are two kinds of people: those who are currently a part of the Kingdom of God, and those God wants to be a part of His Kingdom. As far as we are concerned, there is no one out there who is permanently lost. There is no one out there that God doesn’t want. God wanted all of us even when we were at our worst, and that is true for every other human being.
So we are to make disciples, we are to witness for Jesus, we are to seek the Kingdom, and we are to live righteously. And, amazingly, as we go pursue these, we must remember that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. All of Heaven is backing us up. All of the Kingdom of God is with us as we pursue God’s directions for our lives.
(Matthew 16:13-19 NLT) “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" "Well," they replied, "some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets." Then He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven."
We must remember that the words for “Peter” and “rock” are different in the Greek. Yes, Peter means rock. But it means a little rock. The word “rock” means a very large rock. Jesus wasn’t saying that He would build His church on Peter. He was saying that He would build His church (His ecclesia, His group of people called out to rule the earth on behalf of God’s Kingdom) on the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
You and I are still members of Jesus’ church. We are called into His authority over all of heaven and earth. We are brought back, in Christ, to our position of dominion over all the earth. Now, we are to take this authority from the Kingdom of God and fight against the Kingdom of Darkness. All of these amazing realities persists regardless of who is President. I don’t know about you, but I find this encouraging!
All of hell can’t conquer you. I don’t care how much evil is in the world, it can’t conquer you. It can’t conquer the church of Jesus Christ. This is where we must focus. If you are extremely upset about the new administration, then so be it, seek the Kingdom of God and fight against the devil’s Kingdom of Darkness. If you are thrilled that Biden won and are happy to call him President, then great, now seek the Kingdom of God and fight against the devil’s Kingdom of Darkness. God’s directions don’t change. God’s plan for your life hasn’t changed. All of the gifts God has given you haven’t changed. Now go after it.
(Isaiah 60:1-3 KJV) “Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
That is a wonderful verse, but we need to understand it. People use the phrase “arise and shine” or “rise and shine” a lot these days. But what is the Bible talking about here? In short, the Prophet Isaiah was looking ahead to our salvation in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. He is the light that shines in us and on us. Now it is our job to shine with the light of Jesus for all the world to see. And what about the glory?
(John 17:22-23 NLT) "I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.”
The very Light of God is shining upon us now in Christ Jesus. The very glory of God has been given to us. With the Light of God, and the glory of God, shining upon us, it is time for us to rise and shine. But it’s not automatic. We must make the decision to rise and shine. We have to “let it shine” as the song says. God’s glory shall be seen upon us. The gentiles and the kings will come over to us, they will come over to us because we are the very Kingdom of God.
How do we arise? How do we shine? I know it can be hard to truly rise and shine each day for Jesus. I know it can be especially hard if you feel that you are in an ungodly nation or an ungodly community. But the light has the greatest impact in the darkness. And if you feel that you are already in a bright place, then go find somewhere dark so you can shine. Even in the best of places there is darkness. Arise and shine.
We must dedicate ourselves to the Kingdom of God. I know that many of us say we have done that, but are we truly dedicated in thought, word and deed. I want to be totally dedicated, an offering to God. I want to be spiritual, as I discussed last time, so that I can be totally in line with the Holy Spirit. Remember, it is the Holy Spirit that gives us power to be witnesses. It is the he Holy Spirit that empowers us to make disciples. The more we do this, the more we can change the world for Jesus. The more we can expand the Kingdom of God.
I know many of you are sad about the election. I know many of you are concerned about the future of our country. But God’s Word hasn’t changed. Nothing of that which is most important in the universe has changed.
You, I mean you specifically and individually, were created to have dominion over the earth together with God’s other people. There is an enemy out there who has a kingdom and he rules over this period of time. However, through your relationship with Jesus Christ, you have complete authority over the entire Dominion of Darkness and everything in this earth. You have also been given a persistent mandate to make disciples of all nations. If you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, you are specifically empowered to witness for Jesus. You are a witness that He is alive and on the throne. You are a witness because you know He is alive in your life. You know Him and you can testify that He is alive.
God’s promises and directions are true regardless of who is working in the Oval Office. Regardless of how we feel, let’s use this moment to reinvigorate ourselves for the timeless commandments of the Kingdom of God. As we seek God’s Kingdom, everything we need will be provided. Maybe the Dominion of Darkness is winning in some areas, but if that’s true it’s only because we haven’t taken our dominion like we should.
Rise and Shine. Show God’s glory to the world. Seek the Kingdom. Witness. Make Disciples. Freely you have received, freely given. It’s time.