Thank you for the honor and privilege of speaking before you. The gravitas of these moments, while perhaps a routine part of the day for you as you do the work of the people of Georgia, I am humbled by God for this opportunity. And if I might be so bold this morning I want to encourage you with truth from God’s Word. Dr. Luke writes in Acts 4:29, “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,”
I am here today as pastor of Isaac’s Keep, a small church in Cherokee county. And as a pastor I can surely relate to the expectations of those we serve. I’m not sure which vocation is more ridiculed and critiqued in our society today, a pastor or a politician? Standing up for truth and a desire to serve others in a pluralistic culture will always bring with it tough and often unfair criticism. But I want to encourage each and every one of you to continue to stand, to serve, and to speak truth with all boldness.
One of my heroes was a man named Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper was a journalist, a founder of a university, a prime minister, a pastor, a theologian; truly a servant and reformer for the common good. His life has inspired me personally as a bi-vocational pastor and CEO of Reformation Brewery in Woodstock, GA.
Foundational to Kuyper’s life and ministry was the belief that Christ is Lord, and not just the Lord over private spirituality or obviously “religious” things, but also Lord over public things like art, science, business, politics, economics, and education. Kuyper believed, as many of you believe, that a robust faith in Christ offers precisely the healing solutions to modernity’s many problems. Jesus Christ is Lord of ALL things. “Jesus is Lord” was the very first confession of the early church and we’ve perhaps heard it our entire lives and seen it plastered on billboards and church signs all over this state. But what does it mean that Jesus is Lord? It means that ultimately, God remains in charge and provides for those who seek God’s will. I can think of no greater charge, no greater encouragement, no greater truth to speak boldly this day, Jesus is Lord.
This confession and truth is the foundation of all freedom. Every great movement of progress and every reformation in Western civilization finds it roots in the confession that Jesus is Lord. The very fact that I am able to speak this confession in this esteemed house is a testament to Jesus as Lord and the freedom this brings to all of us. Because Jesus is Lord, we are freed from the weight of creating glory for ourselves. We are freed from the clamor of a thousand clanging cymbals. We are freed to create laws that makes sense to common people and not just those with power. We are freed to protect our republic which keeps us free from those who desire us harm and ill will. We are freed to fight for justice for all of mankind because Jesus is Lord of All. As the great hymn sings and Martin Luther King, Jr. said so beautifully, because Jesus is Lord we fight and we stand so that all shall be “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” But freedom must be stood for, fought for, protected, and anchored in our wills as servants of God.
So I implore you and encourage you to humble yourselves and search your heart, your desires, your motivations. Are you serving for the higher good? Is your service a spiritual act of worship? Truly only God knows your heart and God does not despise a broken and repentant heart. It is out of this place of humility that we are free to stand and speak truth boldly. From humility we can stand in the storms of threats and continue to speak truth with all boldness. When the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther was facing the full threat of the institutional powers and was given the choice to either recant or face the severe consequences, He looked the threat directly in the face and said “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.” My prayer for this historic house is that it would be a place of standing in truth for the sake of righteousness and justice. May God help you and His grace be with each of you now and forevermore. Let us pray.