Recently a group of Kentucky Baptist Pastors and church leaders gathered on the steps of the Capitol in Frankfort to thank God for, and pray for, religious liberty. The group traveled from various parts of the state because they believed their prayers could make a difference.
Pastor Steve Hussung from Rich Pond Baptist in Bowling Green led in a prayer of repentance for the times we have not taken advantage of the liberty God has given us.
Pastor Steve Weaver from Farmdale Baptist in Frankfort prayed for our state legislators and their staff and the important work they do for the common good of the commonwealth.
Pastor Tommy Reed from First Baptist Fitzpatrick prayed for the poor and needy in our state and for helpful laws to be made for their good.
Pastor Wes Fowler from First Baptist Mayfield prayed for children and families and Brian Hinton, Louisville regional campus minister, prayed for the next generation.
Pastor Harold Best from Burlington Baptist prayed for our Governor and his family.
Pastor Hershael York from Buck Run Baptist prayed for Sunrise Children’s Services.
It was good to be together and it was even better that we spent our time praying. James 5:16 reminds us, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” These prayers can make a difference in our cooperative work in Kentucky.
But why do we have this liberty? Why has God seen fit to protect the work of churches for so many decades in Kentucky and in America? I believe the answer has to do with the mission assigned to us.
In 1 Timothy 1:1-4, Paul the Apostle urges Timothy, and us, to pray for those in authority. The text reads as follows. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Paul connects the call to prayer with the mission of the church. In the context of the church praying for those in authority there is a clear and concise statement revealing the heart of God, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Our liberty is for our labor. Our freedom is connected to our proclamation of true freedom to all who will repent and believe the gospel.
What threatens our religious liberties today?
1. Elected Leaders: Unfortunately, there are some in elected office that do not prioritize the protection of religious liberties.
2. Legislation: The so-called Equality Act, if enacted into law, would threaten the religious liberties of most Christian organizations and ministries.
3. Secular Worldviews: As our nation becomes more and more secular, many will question why the church and the message we proclaim should have any protections afforded it.
4. Demonic Strategy: If we use our liberty for spreading the Gospel, we will be met with Satanic opposition.
5. Apathetic Believers: One of the greatest threats to our liberty comes from our own ranks. It is easy to take for granted the freedoms we enjoy.
What must we do to preserve our liberties?
- We must pray asking God to protect our churches and the work we do together.
- We must ask our elected leaders to defend our freedoms.
- We must use our liberty to make Jesus known until he returns or calls us home.
Our religious liberties protect us as we take the gospel to every home. Those same liberties support us as we assemble freely for public worship. Our forefathers protected our liberties so we can live out our faith in our workplaces and communities without fear of reprisal from our government.
Praise God for these freedoms!
May we continue to thank God for these freedoms, celebrate them, and put them to good use as we work together to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.