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Have You Prayed for the President

James Rafferty
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The Bible isn't called the "Good Book" for nothing. It is good enough to remind humans of how evil, wicked, sinful-how selfish- our fallen natures are. Therefore, we need a Savior. I need a Savior. You need a Savior. The political election in the United States reminds us that we all need a Savior. Every political leader in this world, no matter how good or bad, needs a Savior. And understanding the coroporate-ness of our fallen humanity leads Christians to pray for all mankind. Which then begs the question- Have you prayed for the president?

Presenter

James Rafferty

Co-director and gospel worker for Light Bearers Ministry

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Conference

Recorded

  • August 3, 2017
    9:00 AM

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Just one question this morning that I'd like to ask you. And that question is, Have you prayed for the president? Have you prayed for the president? Some of course might respond and say, “Well, yes. I have.” Others might say, “Well, I probably should.” And maybe others might say, “No way. I'm not praying for the president. Not this president. Because this president is not my president.”

This last political election was extremely disappointing, to me personally and individually, and I think to many of us. But the reason it was disappointing to me is because, I realized through the process of this political election that my heart and my spirit was prone to be drawn away from my God-given commission and embroiled in the political influences of this world, to become critical and negative. That was the disappointment personally, individually. 

It was disappointing for me in other ways because I saw that same spirit that was cropping up in me. Especially in the Republican runoffs, I saw that same spirit in my brothers and sisters all around me. I don't know if you experienced that but I certainly did. It was disappointing to see how I was affected by this political election.

I think this political election was a test of our hearts and characters. I think it was a test as to whether or not we really believe and practice this gospel, if we really are Christians in more than just name, if we are really Christ-like. 

The whole process has really helped me, actually, to consider prayerfully the question facing us this morning. That question, of course, is, if we just had one hour to live, what would we say about the gospel? If we just had one hour to live, what would we say about the gospel? 

And I thought and pondered this. And I thought to myself, “Wouldn't it be a blessing if we could actually answer that question from the Bible? What I mean by that is, if we could actually go to people--individuals in the Word of God, in the Bible--and find people who were living in their last hour. And see demonstrated in their actions or in their words what they had to say about the gospel. What do you think about that?

So I found three, three that really hit home with me. The first one was Stephen.

Stephen, we all know, had this incredible last hour moment. His experience is recorded in Acts chapter seven and verse sixty. It says that as Stephen, who had been rehearsing the history of Israel to the religious leaders of his day--the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees--as he had come to the close of this discourse, that anger and the animosity and the hatred of these religious leaders were stirred against him. They began to gnash their teeth, and they grabbed him and they took him out to a place where they were where they could stone him to death. 

And as they began to stone him, throwing stones at him—and of course Saul was there consenting to his death--as they began to stone Stephen, it says that he kneeled down and he cried with a loud voice and he said, “Lord lay not this sin to their charge.”

Hm. That was quite a revelation for me. See, the thing I love about the Bible is, no matter what the media tells us, no matter what politics tells us, no matter what the world tells us, the Bible has a power to draw us away from the influences of the world. It's powerful. 

And as I looked at this man, Stephen, in his last hour of life and I thought about what he had to say about the Gospel, it occurred to me that, well, Stephen was giving a powerful testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

There was another man that I thought about and that was Paul. Now, you remember, Paul was actually Saul, who consented to Stephen's death. He was standing there next to Stephen when Stephen was being stoned. And yet Paul eventually was converted, called out of time as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the Lord himself, and Paul became a powerful preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The Bible tells us that when Paul came at the end of his life, he was imprisoned. Probably because of the Jews and the accusations they made against him, he was imprisoned under the Romans. And Nero, being the Emperor at that time, wasn't about to let him go, though he was he was released the first time he was in prison. 

And Paul in second Timothy talks about his experience as he went before Nero, as he was tried before Nero. And he says there in second Timothy, he says, “At my first answer, no man stood with me.” Paul was deserted, like Christ on the cross. He was forsaken of friends and companions. He stood by himself. “All men forsook me.” 

And then he says this. He says, “I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

The Bible is powerful. Here's a man standing alone. When he should have all of the encouragement and the prayers and the support of his brothers and sisters, he's standing alone and yet he's praying, “Don't lay to their charge the way they've treated me.”

And I think about Jesus of course, our Savior, the one who is the gospel incarnate, and His experience as He came to the last hour of his life, like Paul and Stephen who followed him. He was hanging on the cross. And there, as the Romans, the political leaders of his time, and the Jews, the religious leaders of his time, and all the people, railed against him, accusing and condemning him—there, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I think about these experiences--Christ praying for the combined religious and civil authorities who are torturing him to death, Stephen praying for the religious leaders and authorities who are stoning him to death, Paul praying for those people who are responsible for abandoning him and forsaking him, praying to God that that sin would not be laid to their charge--I thought about all of that. And then I thought about this political election, and my attitude, and my spirit, and the spirit and attitude of those around me. I thought about it long and hard. And I began to realize that this was a test. Truly, this was a test.

Now, Paul's death is not described as specifically as Stephen and Christ's death are in the Scriptures, but as he was nearing the end of his life, he recorded for us something that I think is really powerful. In First Timothy chapter two, beginning with verse one, he says, “I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for” --how many men? “All men. For kings.” That would be presidents today of course, or include presidents today. And “for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.” 

But it goes beyond that. In verses three through five he says, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have” --how many men to be saved? “All men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” The reason why we should pray for kings and presidents, for prime ministers and all those who are in authority, is because God wants everyone to be saved!

“For there is one God and one mediator between man and God, God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” It's time to testify. If there was ever a time in earth's history when there is an atmosphere, a climate in which we can testify of the Savior of all men, this is the time. If there was ever a time when we would get distracted from it, this is the time. 

I guess when Paul wrote these words he didn't get the memo about Nero. He forgot what a wicked, debased person Nero was. He forgot that Nero was capable of more atrocious cruelty than any ruler that had proceeded him. That he killed his step-brother, the rightful heir to the throne. And he killed his mother. And eventually killed his wife. Pray for Nero? Are you sure about that, Paul? Are you sure about that? Because he's the one that's going to have you beheaded. He's the one who's going to take off your head. I guess Paul didn't get the memo. Or did he? And so, I have to ask myself the question, Am I going to be siding with the thousands, perhaps the hundreds of thousands, perhaps the millions, who are boldly declaring, Not my president! Am I going to be influenced by the media, or by the Word of God? I have to ask this question because it's a question that relates to us personally and individually, not just now but as we near the end. The end of this earth’s history. The question that relates to our destiny and the destiny of others: Have you prayed for the president?

Now, this election was startling, I think, both from a political perspective and from a religious perspective. People are under the impression that this president is a disgrace. And many find it justifiable to engage in unlawful demonstrations and destroy property and block traffic and generally violate the rights and liberties of whoever happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We think it's justifiable.

But I think a lot of this has to do with the way the media influences us, rather than the way the Bible influences us. I think that myself personally, and we as Bible- believing Christians, need to step back and take a second look at all of this. Because to the large degree the media has not, is no longer reporting and investigating but it's actually telling us how to think and what to do. Have you noticed that? The very thing that the Bible is supposed to do for us, the media is trying to step in and take over. For believers in God's holy word, the media is spiritually poisonous. It's killing our spiritual experience. 

The media stands in direct opposition, I believe, to our heavenly orders, to the position that we are to occupy as ambassadors for God. When I read my Bible, I'm reminded that the kings of Sodom had their Abraham. Pharaoh had his Joseph. Nebuchadnezzar had his Daniel. Even the King of Assyria had his reluctant Jonah. I'm reminded that the Sanhedrin had their Stephen. That the Romans had their Paul. And that the world has a Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

The entire world is living in the last hour of time. And in this last hour, some of us may end up in prison. Some of us may end up being persecuted and mistreated. We’ll be tested much more than by an election that didn't go our way. What will we be doing then? Will we, like Paul, be praying for all men? 

You know, the Bible isn't called The Good Book for nothing. It reminds us of how wicked and sinful and evil and selfish all of us are. Therefore, we need a Savior. You need a Savior. I need a Savior. We need a Savior. The political action in the United States of America has reminded us that we need a Savior. Every political leader and every person on planet Earth needs a Savior, and we have one. We have Jesus Christ who is the Savior of all men. 

So, understanding our corporateness, the corporateness of our fallen humanity should lead us to pray for all mankind. Which begs the question, Have you prayed for the president?

This media was produced by Audioverse for ASI: Adventist Layman's Services and Industries. If you would like to learn more about ASI, please visit www.asiministries.org. Or if you would like to listen to more free online sermons, please visit www.audioverse.org.

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