Jimmy Buehler: Welcome to the members portion of the podcast. Today, we are talking about vocation. Before we get to that, I just want to say thank you to our members for your support, for your daily vocations that you do that enable you to give to this ministry. I just want you to know that it is so valid.
Just to give a small story. I’ve been interacting with a couple of listeners on a weekly basis now, and I would not be able to do that if it were not for your support so thank you. As you give, it helps us to bring rest to weary sinners.
Just a couple of things I want to remind you of, we’re going to do membership a little bit different here in the future. Keep your eye out for that. We’re really looking forward to how that’s going to function. We also have another primer out called Safe in Christ: A Primer on Assurance – be sure to check that out, as well as our Faith vs. Faithfulness: A Primer on Rest. You’re going to start to see a theme there, as these primers come out, that someday we might have ourselves a little box set and perhaps even a book. So keep your eyes open for those.
So Jon, you had the question about politics and vocation that you wanted to bring in. It’s certainly a hot topic these days.
Jon Moffitt: Part of being a Christian are those who are very vocal and involved in shaping the future of our country. The current climate within Christianity is good Christians are good Americans and good Americans are good Christians, and that it’s the responsibility of the church to keep America morally straight and morally sound.
There are a lot of opinions here so I’m going to try and keep this as biblical as I possibly can and keep my own opinions out of it because in the end, it doesn’t really matter what I think. I always chuckle when we get the opinions of celebrities. Why does it matter what they think? On what grounds? Just because they’re famous movie stars therefore they should determine what America should look like?
Jimmy Buehler: It’s actually a logical fallacy. It’s called like appeal to authority.
Jon Moffitt: We have people who actually have degrees and have studied and understand history and economics, yet we don’t listen to what they have to say.
In understanding vocation and the responsibility of our job, when you think about the book of Romans, it’s written dated conservatively AD 56-57. When Paul wrote that, if you know anything about the Roman history, for the next 10 years Christians have some of the most horrendous persecution that’s really ever been experienced in the world. You have them being put on pikes. They’re literally being skewered like meat, burned alive, and used as illustration. So as you walk into the city, Nero is putting these out there saying if you want to defy our religion, if you want to go against us, this is what’s going to happen to you.
The hostility didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t like all of a sudden, there was this explosion that didn’t exist before – the hostility was already there. What we are told by Paul, and you even hear it in Peter, is to pray for those who are over you trying to live at peace with them. You don’t ever have Jesus or the New Testament writers attempting to create a new Israel, or a new people of God. That is over with. You also don’t hear Paul talking about creating a militia to where they’re going to protect their freedoms as believers so that no one can come in and abolish them.
Now in the Book of Acts, they do say, “We’re going to obey God rather than men, and we’re going to continue to preach the Gospel.” But they weren’t trying to push back in such a way where they’re going to create this Christian culture to where everyone must agree with them. I just wanted to throw that out there that it seems like there’s this push that if Christians aren’t fighting back against the government and standing up for the rights, then you’re not really a Christian and you’re not obeying the Bible.
Jimmy Buehler: I agree with you. I think you spoke about this last week at your church: it’s the whole idea of the theology of the cross versus the theology of glory. I think a theology of glory honestly believes that if we just live in this morally right way, and if we can get everybody else who live in this morally right way, that certainly people are going to begin to find Jesus. Whereas the theology of the cross, it views the world through the cross.
Let’s just be frank here: when has the church had its most explosive and true growth? It’s during times of suffering and persecution. As we think about our involvement in politics, let me say that the Reformed confessions do speak that when the opportunity is available, good faithful Christian men and women can serve in the magistrate. I think that they can. Do I think that right now in our political climate, it’s very difficult to be a Christian full of integrity and live in our political sphere? I think it’s difficult. Do I think it’s impossible? No.
Jon Moffitt: I think it’s hard to get nominated.
Jimmy Buehler: Right. I think that’s the bigger idea. If Christians can inspire policy change, if they can work towards some of these social changes, can and should they? Certainly. I think that we should definitely have a voice into the dark corners of our government, but at the same time, I also think that we have to be very realistic. When we think about societal change, ultimately that’s going to come through people trusting and believing in the Gospel. We have to be very realistic that that is going to come through everyday ordinary means that as we set up churches in dark places, as we plant more churches and we, as Christians, live out our daily vocations faithfully to the glory of God and the good of our neighbor, that’s most likely how it’s going to come. It’s not going to come through the means that you post on Facebook. In terms of sanctification, I’m nailing it these days in my self-control, particularly on Facebook with all of the memes being posted. If we think that we can change people’s minds with a meme, it’s just not going to
Jon Moffitt: happen.
I think that throughout history, God has used unique people. Bonhoeffer is an example of that. William Wilberforce…
Jimmy Buehler: Martin Luther King.
Jon Moffitt: William Wilberforce was acting on his own as a Christian.
I vote against any kind of sex trafficking. I try and vote against abortion. There are also women’s rights and any kind of racial issues. Our country has come to a really bad place, and yet we’ve seen an improvement in those areas. I think that Christians should be involved in suppressing evil wherever we can.
I will say though that God’s mission is not the transformation of culture. If that is His mission, God’s a failure – He’s been failing for thousands of years. If it’s the mission of the church to transform culture, God has been failing for 2000 years. But God does not fail. Period. He never has and He never will. So either we have misunderstood the purpose of the church or God’s a failure. I’m going to go with us misunderstanding the purpose of the church.
Paul says the power of God to change men’s hearts, so the issue of most of the sinful things in the world is a heart issue. Men’s hearts are evil and the only thing that can change men’s hearts is the Gospel. It says it is the power of God to bring us from death to life. When you go to your work and you sell that coffee, or as a mom, you are changing the sheets on the bed for the umpteenth time, even the stay-at-home dad, they feel like they’re of less value because they’re the stay-at-home dads.
Now I will tell you that as you love your church, your family, and your community, God is transforming hearts and minds and lives through His means and ways – and it’s not flashy. It’s not this big boisterous event. It is through the ordinary everyday life of you loving and caring, trusting in Christ, and administering the Gospel. Even if you’re a congregate where you’re thinking about how to build up people into love – that is just as important in transformation. I know it feels like it’s not. We want to be on the front lines and we want to be battling, but I’m telling you God has called you to love and care. That’s what he’s called you to.
I applaud Martin Luther King and I applaud these guys who God used to suppress evil. I think it’s great. I don’t want to shoot it down by saying it wasn’t within the church. God uses individuals all the time to accomplish His will, but I would say that’s abnormal. That’s not normal.
Martin Luther and the Reformation was an abnormal situation.
Jimmy Buehler: He uses exceptional people at exceptional times to accomplish extraordinary things, but God also uses ordinary people during ordinary times to accomplish everyday things. We can’t emphasize enough that the job that you have, the vocation that you carry, it certainly matters. If you grow food, if you sell food, if you cook food, we all need to eat so it matters.
I’ll just speak to the chef right now because I like food. We all like food. How do you glorify God in your job? Make me a mean steak so that when I enjoy it, I can get this picture of how this is going to be what the new heavens and new earth is like. Chef Bill here made me a mean steak and praise be to God’s name that He has given him an eye and a heart and hands for these things because I can’t make it that way. Or I can’t grow the food – I have no idea what I’m doing. But God has given us these unique callings and vocations.
I think of when the disciples come up to Jesus and fight over who is the greatest and Jesus just shuns them. He’s like, “What in the world are you doing? Often we can think, “I’m just a young mom. I’m just a farmer. I’m just an artist. I’m just the janitor. All I do is pick up trash.” Somebody has to do it.
Jon Moffitt: And it’s not only that, you have to understand that you’re a part of a bigger picture. You’re a part of something that’s bigger than you being a custodian. I was a custodian at one point. I remember where I was cleaning toilets and picking up trash and mopping floors. I wish I had this theology where I understood that my value is not based upon my income or what I’m doing, but this is where God has me and God has me here for a reason, and so I will do my best. I will love, I will care, and I will be a part of God’s mission, which is through the church, as a church member, my involvement is actually accomplishing the will of God. When I get to heaven, my life will not be wasted. God will not look at me and say, “How is it that you wasted your entire life washing toilets? What a waste.” You just won’t hear that when you get to heaven. That is not how God functions.
Jimmy Buehler: Yeah. Going back to transformational society. I think this is Law and Gospel carried over into everyday life, and I’m just speaking to the three of us even though Justin is not with us, but we would never in our churches throw the Law of God at people and tell them that is how they change – you just need to do more and be better. Yet often this is what we do as society. We just throw the Law at people and say, “Hey, you just need to do more and be better. It’s going to work.” No, actually the Law and Gospel applies everywhere that what’s going to change people is the Law confronting them and helping them see that they are condemned on all sides and then the Gospel coming to the rescue to save them. That is where true and lasting transformation and change is going to come from. This isn’t to say that policies are bad. We need policies that are common sense policies to protect life and so on and so forth, but at the same time, when it comes to the individual level, Law and Gospel still apply. The Law will not change people’s hearts, only the Gospel will. The law will just confront the heart with what it already knows – that it’s condemned on all corners.
Jon Moffitt: I hope this is encouraging. It feels weird to tell people to not live this radical life. You see everything that’s going on in this world and you feel like you need to stand up for something. We see it on social media where people feel like they need to stand up for the truth. They put their opinion out there and it really didn’t change anything – they just caused strife. I’ve actually never seen anybody change their mind using social media about something that’s big.
But at Theocast, what we’re trying to do, even if you just pay attention to the way our social media is, we’re trying to help people think through things and point them towards something. We don’t think that the world has changed through social media, but if we can help provide resources that point you to directions where podcasts and videos are and even using God’s word, then we’re going to do. We believe that God uses His word and His ordinary means by which He transforms the world. That’s our mission.
For those of you that are supporting us week in and week out, you are a part of advancing. There are multiple churches that we work with that we’re advancing. We’re starting more churches. This podcast is not just a podcast so we can talk about whatever we’re talking about, but we honestly believe that it’s a part of the greater mission of advancing the message that has been lost. Your donation that you think is little and nothing is big, and it is advancing the message which is resting in Christ and also that changing diapers is an important job.
Jimmy Buehler: Thank you for listening to this members portion of the podcast. If you find this helpful, we would ask that you would tell other people and let them know that a resource like this exists. We cannot do what we do without your love and your support. Thank you for listening.
Again, keep your eye out for a new way we’re going to be doing membership. That’s going to be released soon. We invite you to check out those primers, Faith vs. Faithfulness, as well as Safe in Christ and share those as well. We love you. We’re grateful for you.
Rest in Christ as you remember that your everyday job matters and it’s good. We love you. Thanks for listening. We’ll catch you next time.