Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (immoderate desire for wealth, greedy longing for more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs. Luke 12:14-16 AMP Classic
In his election sermon on Exodus 18:21, Rev. Simeon Howard explained to Massachusetts elected leaders the firm qualifications God has given us to use in choosing leaders “whether… legislative, executive or judicial… The want of any one of them,” Howard warned, would “be prejudicial and dangerous to the community.” Here is Part #4:
“Hating covetousness.” Covetousness is an inordinate desire for riches; such a desire as will even make a man pursue them by unlawful means, and prevent his using them in a right manner. Hating covetousness is a strong expression to denote a freedom from this vicious temper, and a sense of its unreasonableness and turpitude (depravity). That it is of great importance that civil rulers have this qualification will be evident upon a little reflection.
COVETEOUSNESS is a fruitful source of corruption… “They that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition: For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Almost all the oppression, fraud and violence that has been done under the sun, has owed its rise and progress to covetousness. The indulgence of this vice debases the mind, and renders it incapable of anything generous and noble… [It] destroys the principles of benevolence, friendship and patriotism, and gives a tincture of selfishness to all its sentiments: It hardens the heart and makes it deaf to the cries of distress and the dictates of charity; it blinds and perverts judgment and disposes it to confound truth and falsehood, right and wrong.
A CIVIL ruler under the direction of this principle will oppress and defraud his subjects, when he has it in his power… he will enact laws to serve himself, not the community, and he will enact none that he thinks would be prejudicial to his private interest, however beneficial they might be to the public or to the support of justice and equity between men. He will pervert justice and rob the innocent for bribes… yea religion itself, the greatest honor and blessing of society, he will see languish and die, rather than impart anything to support its cause… having long looked upon riches in the same light that good men do upon religion, as his chief good, and feeling the same attachment to them which they do to [religion]… mistaking his love of money for the love of God, and his covetousness for his conscience; supposing, with those corrupters of religion mentioned by the apostle, “that gain is Godliness.” If he has a voice in the appointment of subordinate officers, he will… appoint such as will be most subservient to his private interest, however unqualified for the office: In a word, all his conduct, all his reasoning and votes will be tinctured by his selfish spirit; and in a critical time when great expense is necessary for the public safety, he may by his parsimony be a means of the ruin of his country.
BUT a ruler who hates covetousness will conduct in a very different manner.—He will never oppress or wrong the community; the public interest will be always safe in his hands; he will freely expend his time and his estate, in discharging the duties of his office for the good of his country; he will be ever ready to promote good laws, though they deprive him of opportunities… he will devise liberal things… that promise advantage to his country; he will do all in his power to promote the liberal arts and sciences, manufactures and all useful inventions, to encourage men of learning and genius, and to aid the cause of religion and virtue: In promoting men to places of trust, he will be influenced by no selfish, private views, but by a regard to the public good; no bribe will purchase his vote for an unfit man, and hating covetousness himself, no consideration will induce him to give it for a sordid, avaricious wretch; he will neglect no measures necessary for the public safety and happiness… All his conduct will bear the marks of his nobleness and liberality of sentiment, of his selflessness and public spirit (Rev. Simeon Howard, Election Sermon, University of Michigan Digital Library, May 31, 1780).
The Evangelical Vote – A Barna Group study released March 24th, found that among all Christian groups, evangelicals are the least likely to be paying attention to the 2016 election race. About 38% of Americans are self-declared evangelicals, but Barna used the term only to identify persons who are evangelical in their fundamental biblical beliefs. By his criteria, only 8% of Americans are truly evangelical. Not surprisingly, self-declared evangelicals are all over the map politically, some Democrats, some Republicans, but how many are voting biblically? Despite the media circus revolving around evangelical voters, the sad news is that just 8 percent, the most capable of influencing America for righteousness, are paying the least attention to the elections as compared to other professing Christians (see Newest Barna Report; Who Qualifies as an Evangelical?)
- May pastors preach, teach and effectively disciple God’s people to study His Word and apply it to every area of life, including the realm of influencing public policy and government. May we obey Him in all things, especially in how we choose candidates for public office in 2016! (Ex 18:21; Mt 20:27; 28:19-20 NIV; Jn 8:31; 2 Cor 10:5 ; 2 Tim 2:15, 4:1-4)
Standing with the Persecuted Sunday, April 17– “Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place” Heb 13:3 (CEB). FRC President Tony Perkins is asking churches across America to observe April 17, 2016 as Stand with the Persecuted Sunday. Urge your pastor to take time during your weekend services to view a brief, 2-minute video, distribute a special bulletin insert, and spend time in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters at home and abroad. While believers face growing hostility in America, we have experienced nothing like the mistreatment, displacement, violence, rape, crucifixion, and beheadings experienced by followers of Jesus in Iraq, Syria, Libya, other parts of the Middle East and beyond. We are honored to stand with ministries like Open Doors USA, Institute on Religion and Democracy, Voice of the Martyrs, and others to highlight the plight of and pray for the persecuted. Please urge your pastor and church to join us on Sunday, April 17 to Stand with the Persecuted (see www.FRC.org/stand).
- May God’s people in America arise on April 17th and every day to support our suffering brothers and sisters in the Middle East and beyond with prayer and financial aid. (Ex 36:5-7; Jdg 5: all; Psalm 110:3; Is 58:6-12; Is 61:1-3; Acts 11:27-30; 1 Cor 12:20-27)
Sexual v. Religious Liberty – There is no explicit or implicit right in the U.S. Constitution to unnatural sexual expression or identity while the guaranteed right of religious liberty is explicitly stated in the First Amendment. Yet dogged by an all-out political assault from sexual libertarians, CEOs, governors, mayors and public officials at all levels are being forced to make a choice: impose the homosexual and transsexual agenda upon their people, or protect the religious and conscience rights guaranteed all Americans. Some are surrendering to or even championing the LGBT agenda. Others are standing courageously amid threats and harassment.
In Georgia, the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly for legislationthat mirrors the federal RFRA, but is much narrower, protecting only churches and church ministries and not individuals or businesses. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) caved in and vetoed that religious liberty bill on Monday. However, in North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) courageously signed a bill into law passed in the legislature’s called special session that prohibits local “bathroom bills” from being enacted, nullifying Charlotte’s recently enacted SOGI ordinance (see Deal vetoes RFRA; Governors: Big Business and Religious Liberty; McCrory signs “Bathroom Bill” Prohibition; Charlotte’s March Madness; Devil to Georgia; View related lecture: Rosaria Butterfield on Sexual Idolatry).
- May our churches be given light from heaven to understand the huge threat to religious liberty that the Supreme Court decision has caused by redefining marriage and opening the floodgates to sexual insanity! May God’s people arise to engage in this battle to preserve the privacy and innocence of our children and grandchildren in our schools and communities! (Dt 6:4-7; Mt 19:4-6, 20:32-34; Eph 5:8-14; 6:4; Rom 1:18-19, 32; Gal 5:1)
Finally, pray over and let your friends in the Hispanic Church community know about FRC’s upcoming National Hispanic Briefing Tuesday, April 19th at Colorado Christian University.Remember, the best way this sexual v. religious liberty battle can be stopped legislatively is by the U.S. House and Senate passing the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). We must elect a Congress and President who will work together to enact FADA. Please continue to pray for Franklin Graham’s ongoing 50-state Decision America Tour, the National Day of Prayer, May 5th, UnitedCry DC16, April 9th, the Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing May 25-27; and Call2Fall on July 3rd. Don’t miss FRC’s free online lecture: Religious Liberty around the World as of March 2016 – Noon, Wednesday, April, 6th. As always, thank you for praying!