Sunday, October 23, 2016

Simply Jesus Pt. 30: “Whoever Is Ashamed of Me…”

Matt Bevin, the Governor of Kentucky, is unashamed about his Southern Baptist beliefs. Governor Bevin lists Corrie ten Boom and Billy Graham as two of the people that have inspired him the most. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is also unashamed of its love for Governor Bevin. Its most global outpost, The Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization, bears his family’s name.

With such an apparent zeal for the gospel, one would think that Governor Bevin would see himself as first and foremost a missionary for the kingdom of heaven. But is that the case?

Recently, Governor Bevin gave a speech where he challenged the true patriots of America to not let freedoms that the founders of the USA fought for go to waste, should Hillary Clinton become president. Here is an excerpt:

“I would challenge you in each of your respective walks of life, do not be silent sheep being led to the slaughter. You will be led. Don’t allow it to happen. … What it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. … This great privilege we have is the greatness of America. The freedom of America. This was purchased at an extraordinary price. … America is worth fighting for. … The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood of who? The tyrants, to be sure. But who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed?”

Let’s take a moment and think about a few things that Governor Bevin, a missions-minded Christian, just said.

First, he cited Edmund Burke who famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I wonder, Governor Bevin, is loving our enemies ‘doing nothing’? Is fasting and praying for the lost ‘doing nothing’? Is making disciples of Jesus ‘doing nothing’? Is the Holy Spirit bringing new birth and regeneration into a man or woman ‘doing nothing’?

Second, Governor Bevin quoted Thomas Jefferson who once wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” But should Christians really be turning to Thomas Jefferson as their guide for making life and death decisions? Thomas Jefferson rejected Jesus as God. As the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson also viewed the millions of Native Americans in the USA as savages who weren’t worthy of having constitutional rights afforded to them. Should a Christian pro-life Governor really be turning to man with such a sketchy moral compass to influence other Christians?

Third, Governor Bevin pled with us to not be like silent sheep being led to the slaughter. Did you catch what he just quoted? It’s the Bible, and the passage is about Jesus… the One he calls his Lord. Christian American patriot Governor Bevin told us to not follow in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Acts 8, Philip, one of the first deacons of the Church, encountered an Ethiopian on the road to Gaza reading Isaiah 53. The portion he was reading said, “He was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He does not open His mouth. In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who will relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.” Starting with that very passage, Philip preached the gospel of Jesus to him and the man was baptized on the spot.

I would imagine that Governor Bevin heard a similar Gospel message day he chose to give his life to Jesus. Yet, it seems that though Jesus is good enough to be the Savior of our souls, Governor Bevin does not view Him as good enough to be our day-to-day role model.

It doesn’t seem like Governor Bevin views Jesus’ command to love our enemies as pragmatic, does it? It doesn’t seem like Governor Bevin believes that Jesus’ command to do good to those who hate us is a sound strategy, does it?

I understand the feeling inside us that wants to tell Jesus that He’s a good teacher and all, but He doesn’t understand the way the real world works. However, Jesus is God, not simply a good teacher. And as God, He demands that we take Him and His words seriously.

Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. … For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:34, 38

Is Governor Bevin ashamed of Jesus’ words? Are you?

It is written, “You cannot serve two masters.” He has served an earthly master in that … he has been more obedient to a human authority than to God. … Christ says in His precepts, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed.” And does he think that he is a Christian, who is either ashamed or afraid to be a Christian? How can he be one with Christ, who either blushes or fears to belong to Christ?” – Cyprian 250CE Volume 5, p. 778-779 [CD-ROM]

Governor Bevin is challenging people to not be afraid to boldly kill for the protection of America. Jesus challenges His disciples to not be afraid to boldly die so that enemies of the gospel can enter the kingdom of God. As an American Christian, one of those statements is probably going to make you shake your head in embarrassment. The country you identify with the most will determine whose words ring true in your heart and whose words you live by.

Are you living as an unashamed missionary for Jesus?

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