Houston has a problem, and no doubt it is a problem that will eventually make its way eastward to Alabama. It seems that Houston Mayor Annise Parker instructed her administration to issue subpoenas to a group of pastors, demanding they submit sermons related to a host of issues including homosexuality, gender identity issues, and even the Houston Mayor. These subpoenas were related to a lawsuit against the city regarding recent legislation which would, among other things, allow men who identify themselves as women to use women’s bathrooms (and vice versa). Weird, I know.
Weird or not, the Mayor’s office started (or maybe continued) an uproar when they demanded the sermons. It was an uproar that, at least for the moment, has been squelched as this latest example of government overreach into the church has been stopped. It seems that Mayor Parker has thought better of infringing on the work of the church.
My point in writing, however, is two-fold. First, Mayor Parker and those like her are a problem to be aware of, but not to be afraid of. Far too often, Christians over react to stories like this and forget that God is sovereign, and that God is on the throne. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, so let us guard our hearts against the emotional swings of the news cycle.
Second, Christians must be careful not to argue so well that we lose Christ in the midst of our argument. This week, I will preach from Job as Job’s 3 “friends” come to comfort him. Their words of comfort quickly turned into words of condemnation, as they tried to speak words of wisdom without a knowledge of the Redeemer. Their’s was a half truth, which turned out to be a whole lie. You see, where the Spirit of God brings conviction of sin, he also points to the hope for sinners…Jesus Christ. On Sunday, as we remember Job’s friends, we’ll be pointed to the whole truth of the gospel. Let us not forget that whole truth when we enter into the public square.
I confess that I do not know all of the details of what has taken place in Houston. Therefore, I tread lightly. What I do know is that regardless of the details, Mayor Parker has the same need for a Savior that I do. God’s Word, from beginning to end, points to this Savior of sinners. His Word speaks to who He is, where our hope lies, and how He is working all of history for His glory and our good. So with all of that said, Psalm 2 stands in particular clarity for me this day. Houston, and Trussville, won’t you read along with me…
1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.