Intro - Politics / Elections
UK elections are coming up so this has been updated. We also have a politics assembly...
In this session, we'll be looking at 1 Timothy, especially 2.1-7, Daniel, with a hint of Romans 13 too. We'll look at prayer, what to look for in a leader / political leader and more..
A list of characteristics you'd expect to find in a politician in the UK. Then write a list of what you'd ideally like to see in a politician. Compare the two and see how they match up. You may find the two lists are quite different.
The scene in a President's office from The Day After Tomorrow
Chapter 17 on DVD, 1:00:25 - 1:03:38).
This scene has discussion about a storm that has happened. The scientist (Jack) is explaining the consequences and then offers suggestions as to what to do. There is discussion about what to do and the President has to make a call about what to do.
It could be a good discussion starter about politics, making decisions, listening to opinions, the consequences of decisions and more.
Warning - There is one swear word, 'bulls**t' which occurs at 1:02:54 if you want to edit or remove / fade down.
Read 1 Timothy 2.1-7
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (NIV)
FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth. (AMP)
We have our part to play in politics. First of all if we can vote, we should do. A survey from MTV said that 29% of people aged 16-24 believed that their vote would be a waste. But here is a quote for you to think about:
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any". (Alice Walker). We must also act on our faith, make our faith count. If we deny the opportunity to vote, is this a positive expression of God's life and freedom he has given us? If we do not vote, we vote for the 'can't be bothered' party. But the life of Jesus was a life choosing to be involved, choosing to make a difference, standing up for the rights of the widows, poor, orphans, oppressed, the unhealthy and undefended. God gives us freedom of choice not to vote. But make your vote count for good, for God.
Romans 13 and Citizenship
Read Romans 13.1-7.
There are some important points here. Write down on a piece of paper (in groups) or shout out and put onto OHP / whiteboard / powerpoint etc. what those points are. basically, we're looking at why we should be interested in politics and the election anyway, in light of what the Bible says..
Hint - here's some of what I think:
- We should submit to the authorities so let's make sure we're praying for them! God has appointed / allowed these people into authority anyway. (Or maybe the lack of prayer has allowed these people in!!)
- rebelling against authority is rebelling against God. So the opposite is also true. Submitting and following authority means submitting to and obeying God. (There are times where we must make a stand however - if your government says God doesn't exist and can't follow him, then I would rebel against this!)
- Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.
All this isn't directly politics related but it is an encouragement for citizenship, getting involved, being Godly and encouraging Godliness. It encourages citizenship, being involved in politics and the political process.
Resources - 2010
- Westminster Declaration - click and register here for Christian voice and get others to do same.
- Find out how your MP has voted (www.christian.org.uk). For example, my local MP has not voted well on moral issues according to www.christian.org.uk
1 Timothy makes it clear that we have a massive responsibility to pray.
Paul urges (and admonishes which means passionately advises) that prayers should be made. This isn't a suggestion, it's not a hint either. Paul commands us to do this first of all - which means that he gives it the highest possible priority.
These prayers aren't just basic prayers, they are complex, multi-angled presentation prayers, they are complete and cover different kinds of prayers: petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings - that just about covers it.
Who are we to pray for? For all men and women and also focusing on kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility. So this means the Queen, her family, the Prime Minister, the government, the opposition parties, your local MP, your local council and councillors. All those who make decisions.
Do you want the decisions of this nation to be made on a moral, Christian, Godly basis? If not why not? But most likely your answer is yes, it needs to be a passionate 'yes'. Well, if this election makes you feel dis-empowered or helpless, don't worry! If you're under 18 and can't vote, don't worry! You have a voice, you have the chance to make a difference. How? Prayer.
Why are we praying? Well, we want people to come to know Jesus. But even if they don't, as some won't, we want to cover them in prayer so that they are guided by Biblical principles, by what is right in the eyes of God..
The Bible also gives 3 main reasons here:
"that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth."
So, first of all, we pray for peace and for a nation (and world) where following and worshipping God is allowed. Second, we pray to God because it is right and pleasing to God. Thirdly, this is because God wishes that all men should be saved and know him and our prayers have an impact in this. The fourth thing I would add that we can draw from this is that we need to pray for those in authority so they would be guided according to God's / Biblical standards, that they wouldn't fall or be corrupt and would have wisdom to make Godly decisions.
Pray right now for those in authority. Make a list of people in power nationally, locally and internationally. Make a list of other people you know of, even heads of companies, the World Bank, UN etc. Get into groups and start praying passionately.
A good politician
We'll just look at one example here and that is Daniel.
Imagine a politician who was reliable, did their job to the highest standards, had complete integrity even in the face of danger, refused to compromise his moral standards, was respected by the King and who lived completely for God. We'd like a few politicians like that huh?
Well, let's have a look at Daniel and the strengths God put in him..
1. He was taken from Jerusalem in captivity to Babylon, to the King's palace. To have been taken here meant he was gifted, wise, bright, able to serve and good looking!
2. The King gave Daniel and the others food and drink. Daniel didn't want the wine as it would make him unclean before God. So he asked the King's chief officer if he and the others could eat only what God said was OK to eat. After a time of testing, it was proved that Daniel and the other Israelites were more healthy and better fed than the others! They also showed more wisdom and understanding than the others!
3. Daniel became the King's servant. He also correctly interpreted the king's dreams - a word for modern day prophets!
4. The King then built an idol and ordered everyone to bow down to it. Daniel and his 3 buddies refused and made the King mad. So he had them thrown into a scorching hot fire. The King questioned God's power to save. Big mistake! Daniel spoke words of faith and God honoured his faith - 'God will save us, but even if he didn't, we won't bow down to your statue'. I like his attitude. Of course, Daniel and the 3 others walked out unharmed. As a result of this, the King bowed down before God, the one true God and protected the rights of those who followed God!
5. One of the next times Daniel interpreted a dream, he was promoted - to third highest rank in the whole kingdom!! Then we find that Daniel's honesty, integrity and ability was so great the King appointed him as one of the supervisors over the kingdom's 120 governors, to stop them cheating the king. He did this so well he was promoted again, to top spot. Nothing could be found against him. Nothing! Wow!
6. We find that Daniel prayed to the Lord God 3 times a day - in public - a lesson to those modern day pharisees who insist all prayer should only be in private (huh?!)
7. So the jealous other officials made up a scenario so they knew Daniel would get into trouble, getting the king to order that for 30 days no-one should worship any god except the king. Of course, Daniel carried on worshipping and praying God so he had to be taken into the lion's den. The king didn't want to lose this top man but had to go through with it. However, he was so concerned, he didn't eat, didn't sleep and rushed to the lion's den at dawn to check on Daniel. Of course, Daniel was still there, hanging out with the lions..
8. The result? The men who'd dissed Daniel (and therefore God) were eaten by the lions, Daniel retained his position and the King Darius ordered that everyone must fear and respect God, the one true God, the living eternal God whose kingdom will never be destroyed and whose rule will never end.
9. Daniel then went on to receive some more visions and prophetic words, but that's another story..
Wouldn't you like to have some politicians like that?!? Maybe God's calling you to be that person. It could be in your school or college, with your mates, in your church, a future career. Whatever you do, get involved and make a difference.
Imagine if Daniel hadn't taken a stand for God, what would the consequences have been? Inefficiency, dishonesty, rebellion, corruption. Imagine the difference you could make in your city or nation.