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by Ev. Paul Mershon

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).

No matter which of the two most unbelievably disqualified, distasteful, dysfunctional, immoral candidates for the office of the President of the United States is elected in November, for the child of God nothing changes. No matter which of these two candidates is selected by the Electoral College, America is in far greater trouble than could ever be imagined. But no matter who occupies the White House we who are saved by the grace of God still have our orders to “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” This is the clear mandate given by the Lord Jesus Christ to all of God’s people.

But someone says, “Don’t you care about what happens to our country?” That’s exactly the point. Caring for our country is to take the saving, changing, transforming Gospel of Christ to our people. Many Christians are wasting precious time and energy focusing on the wrong thing. Those Christians trusting in political solutions to spiritual matters are doing this while wasting so much time while they focus on the earthly plane and the temporal.

Some are now declaring that Donald Trump is America’s only and last best hope, that if he is not elected the nation will slip off into oblivion. One foolish rightwing pundit went so far as to declare Mr. Trump the “savior” of the nation, another George Washington. George Washington he is not! Christians came close to apoplexy when in 2008 Barack Obama was declared by the left to be a “messiah” and “savior” of the nation. They called it blasphemy, I called it blasphemy, and yet here we are in 2016 with some saying Mr. Trump is the “savior” of America and her last and only best hope. It is unbelievable!

Neo-conservative Ann Coulter’s book entitled, “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!,” is a reflection of, and a case in point of just how much Kool Aid (remember Jim Jones and Jonestown?) some folks have consumed. It used to be, “In GOD We Trust.” It is obvious to me that Miss Coulter thinks that Donald Trump is a suitable replacement for the God America used to trust in. Under the presidency of Dwight David Eisenhower, a law was passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the president on July 30, 1956 declaring that “In God We Trust” must appear on currency. This phrase was first used on paper money in 1957 and has served as our national motto to this day. But Miss Coulter has thought it good and wise to change or motto to “In Trump We Trust,” making this man out to be some sort of political “deity.”

I recently read an email that advised God’s people to be sure to vote “for the survival of America.” The thought is that we must vote for Mr. Trump if America is to survive. We have heard this same thing said many times before in various election cycles for the past 100 years or more when less than stellar men were running for the presidency. In doing careful and extensive research on the life and character of Donald Trump, I was deeply troubled by everything I have read. One eye-opener was a book published by the extremely conservative National Review entitled, “Against Trump.” Many thinking conservative writers shared their thoughts, reasons, and concerns as to why this man is not in any way a true conservative and must not be trusted. Mrs. Clinton is a dangerous given in her leftist ideology and philosophies, but I have found that Mr. Trump is far more dangerous in that he is the master of the flim-flam and as unstable as nitro glycerin. But again, no matter who is elected as our next president, or any subsequent president, our orders remain unchanged. We continue on for Jesus just as did Paul under the horrible despotism of his day, as did the saints in every generation when suffering under heavy persecution in their day (Hebrews 11:32-40), as did the saints in every communist country on earth, as do many around the world do today in places where preaching the Gospel and taking a stand for Christ may cost the believer his or her life. We are not always going to get leaders that are friendly to us or the cause of Christ, but carry on we must regardless. Of a truth God’s people often flourish and take a much stronger and sincere stand under persecution. It is often an awakening factor.

We who are born-again, Bible-believing, patriotic Original Intent Constitutionalists pray for, and always desire to have good men in leadership positions who are just, righteous, honest, decent, moral, stable, and trustworthy. But the farther away the nation gets from God and godly principles, the more likely it will be that the He will allow unjust and unrighteous men to come into power as a matter of judgement poured out upon our country. God judged Israel by giving them some pretty wicked kings, and He can do the very same thing in the case of any nation that forgets Him days without number.

As I have been studying Romans chapter 10 this past week, I have found myself spending much time contemplating the primary concern expressed by the Apostle Paul for his people, the Jews. He said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:1-4). Note that his primary concern was spiritual, not temporal, nor political. This in no way diminished Paul’s patriotism or love of country (and remember, though he was a Jew, Paul was a freeborn citizen of Rome). Certainly not. But his heart’s desire was that his people, the Jews, turn to Christ as their Messiah and their Redeemer that they might be saved by the grace of God. In his burden for the people of Israel he saw the eternal, not merely the temporal. Their deepest need was spiritual as he longed to see their hearts turned to Christ. Then I see great Old Testament patriots like Nehemiah. Read Nehemiah chapter one and see the heart of this great man as he prayed, fasted, wept, and mourned over the sins of the people that led to their seventy-year captivity in Babylon. He saw that the answers for his beloved people was not to be found in political solutions but in a spiritual remedy centered around confession of sin and repentance. We need men like-minded in our generation who will demonstrate this kind of Spirit-driven patriotism once again.

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As a growing number of our people continue to pursue human answers to spiritual problems, and look to men instead of God for the direction of our nation, the more vulnerable we have become to the anti-Christian, anti-American agendas of evil men and seducers. “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

I will contend to my dying day that the only hope for America is revival, and it must begin with us. Until it comes to God’s people first, I do not believe that there is any hope for America. I am convinced that we will see God’s judgment increase in many and various ways, not the least of which will be in the kind of leaders that He allows to rule over us. There is no question in my mind that the salt is losing its savor and the influence of Christianity upon society and culture is diminishing. I have actually had some dear folks get angry with me because I have said this, but I have been saying it for many years now, and have not seen anything take place that will change the message. Yes, we, God’s people, need to repent and see the desperate need for revival amongst those professing to be blood-washed, blood-bought believers.

There is no doubt that there is a growing anti-Christian movement in America, and I believe that anti-Christian sentiment will gain much more momentum in the days ahead. Indeed, I look for the real possibility of persecution directed towards those who will stand firm upon the Word of God, and uphold all that is just and righteous in the sight of God.

It would do us well to remember that the pulpits were aflame in colonial America as preacher-patriots stood for freedom and religious liberty in our land. It was a unique time in our history when men of God sought to throw off the chains of despotism and persecutory bondage. The American War of Independence was the result of righteous indignation towards a cruel autocracy. Men sought God on their faces with tears and humble pleadings for freedom. Many paid for that freedom with their lives. Many more have died in defense of that freedom since, and we must take great care to never squander what was so hard-won on many a battlefield throughout our great history. But one thing that we must always remember, and that is that many of these men who cried out from the pulpits of America in those colonial years understood one outstanding truth of any nation. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). God is not in the business of exalting any nation that is deeply stained with sin as is our nation today and that is our real problem.

One dear brother, with great emotion, said to me that he felt that we have now lost our country. Beloved, we began to lose our country to the heathen long ago. We have been in a one-hundred year descent into the morass of humanism and sinful indulgence, most pronounced following the end of World War II. Within one generation of the Great Awakening of 1859, America sank once again into sin and corruption, and God was not pleased to send a national revival to our nation in the Twentieth Century. God help us to see this. There was a time in America when God’s people clearly saw the need for revival and cried out to God to send it. Revivalists flooded the land. In a recent discussion with Evangelist Dwight Smith, he said that he consciously attempted to identify the number of independent, fundamental Baptist evangelist-revivalists traveling the land today, and he was only able to come up with around 160. Several years ago Evangelist Phil Shuler told me that he believed there were less than 400. This is amazing considering that at the turn of the twentieth century there were two or three thousand, and maybe more, traversing the land. When did the emphasis on the need for personal, corporate, and national revival begin to wane? My personal belief is when God’s people began to seek for answers in the political realm rather than the spiritual. Agree or disagree, this is my own personal observation.

Returning to this thing of persecution directed towards God’s people, I am convinced that we will see it ratchet up over the next few years as the enemies of the Cross take aim at us afresh. Reading this morning the account of the persecution that came against the church at Jerusalem in Acts chapter 8, it may not be a bad thing for us in our day. Not that any of us want to experience persecution, but one must acknowledge that it was a good thing for the believers in Jerusalem. I have found that persecution does several things, not the least of which is to purge the local church of those phonies who will not abide any measure of hardness or personal discomfort. How different from the Old Testament martyrs as recorded in Hebrews 11.

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32-40).

Secondly, persecution gets the true saints moving, and causes a resurgence of faithfulness that may have been lacking before the persecution came. In the case of the persecution that came upon the church at Jerusalem, they were scattered abroad and were found preaching the Gospel everywhere. Persecution, though not pleasant, will try us as by fire, and move us out of our spiritual complacency and apathetic lethargy. We have been in our comfort zones far too long, and it’s time that we get serious about who and what we are. For the saints of old, it did not matter who the despot was under whose rule they found themselves, they just went on serving the Lord anyhow. They would not allow themselves to be distracted by the cruel yoke of bondage nor the political climate in which they lived. I am reminded of the admonition of II Timothy 2:3-4. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4). The Apostle Paul was not sidetracked by the political environment of his day, but pressed on despite the persecution he faced at every turn. My brother and sister in Christ, it behooves us to get ready, for I do believe that persecution is coming. We had better keep our eyes upon the Master as we see that day approaching.

Listen, dear Christian, as much as we love our country, and should always love our country, we do well to look to a better country that is a part of our blessed heritage as children of the King. I truly love to read these precious words recorded in the Book of Hebrews testifying of the faith and hope of the Old Testament saints.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:8-16).

Finally, let me share with you something that God continually reminds me of day after day. While walking alone on the beach one day, God reminded me of a precious promise that comforts my soul no matter the storms that rage about me.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).

Yes, He is coming again, and He is coming soon! Do you believe this? I hope so. What a comfort these words; “Let not your heart be troubled.” Beloved friends, please do keep that upward look of expectation.

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:11-12).

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