In 64 A.D. the city of Rome suffered a terrible fire that burned for six days and seven nights and consumed 75 percent of the city. Many of the critics of the Roman emperor, Nero, said he set the fire on purpose for his own amusement. Nero deflected blame by accusing Christians of starting the fire and arresting many of them. The Christians he arrested were tortured until they would implicate others for the fire so the entire Christian population in Rome was implicated in the fire.
I shared the story about Nero to bring some perspective to everything that is going on with the political system in America right now. It seems many Christians think the world is coming to an end every time we elect an ungodly person as president. Let me be clear, I believe in voting for godly policies and principles, but our ability to thrive as believers doesn’t hinge on who is elected president.
The church thrived in the 1st century under political leaders like Herod, Nero, and Caligula. These leaders were far more evil than either of the two candidates we had to choose from for president in 2020. In many ways the 1st century church did better than it has ever done because it wasn’t politically expedient to be a Christian so those who gave their life to Christ were very committed. If we keep the right perspective, I believe the church can thrive no matter who ends up being our next president in January. Look at 1 Timothy 2:1-2:
1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Do you know the king that Paul was telling Timothy to pray for? It was Nero. God wants us to pray for our leaders whether they are godly or not. He wants us to pray for them because our prayers will help them rule well and protect our nation and freedom. Freedom allows the gospel to go forward and people to be saved, which is what 2 Timothy 2:3-4 tell us. When we pray, we bring godly influence to ungodly people. To earn more, check out this message.
A great example of a person who brought godly influence to an ungodly leader is Daniel. Daniel honored and prayed for one of the most ungodly kings in the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel’s honor and prayers for an ungodly king led to Daniel’s promotion and being able to bring godly influence in a kingdom of wickedness. It also led to Nebuchadnezzar’s repentance. Look at Daniel 4:37:
37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
At this point I don’t know who will be our president come January. I personally hope President Trump is reelected because he is pro-church, pro-life, and pro-Israel. I voted for him because his platform was far more godly than Joe Biden’s, although his character and demeanor leave a lot to be desired. No matter who wins, however, I’m going to pray for them so heaven can influence their hearts, direct them to lead our nation well, and so the gospel can go forward.
Let’s keep the election of 2020 in perspective; the church of Jesus Christ can thrive no matter who is elected as president because we serve a superior king. Our king wants us to honor our leaders and pray for them whether we agree with their politics or not. When we do this, we empower our king to bring His agenda to the earth.
And if worst comes to worst, remember, the church thrived under Nero! We can thrive under any president our nation elects! If you would like to learn more about how the church can thrive in persecution, check out this message.