Politics, Politics, Part 4

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In this season of voting and choosing candidates, I want to take a few posts to share some of my biblically political views on the world. You won’t find my personal views here. But you will find the perspective of a preacher and pastor when it comes to Earth’s politics. In each blog post, I will share some of my sermon material and thought process about politics. Enjoy!

This is the final type of sermon I preached from the pulpit concerning human politics and God’s expectations. We must not forget our true home. While we live and work in this world, we await our Savior, Jesus, to return in the clouds and take us to our true home in heaven. This is what the Bible says about how to live here and long for there.

This World is Not My Home

Throughout the New Testament, the writers liken our current situation as Christians in this world to that of the stranger or alien from a far off land. That stranger has no rights here. That stranger is not treated so well here. That stranger doesn’t belong and is not comfortable in a foreign land.

We work here on this rock, but this is not our home. The moment we try to fix the world’s problems with politics or economics or some other worldly bandage, we miss the great message of the Gospel, that only Jesus could redeem this world. It’s not that we shouldn’t care, but that we shouldn’t expect these human institutions to do God’s work.

Peter reminds us that the world will bring fiery trials (1 Pet 4:12-14) and John reminds us we are in the world, but we are not of it (John 17:14-18; 18:36). To be in it is to share it with others who are not part of God’s Kingdom yet. But to be of it is to be influenced by the world and to become worldly, rather than to influence the world with God’s Kingdom values.

Voting does not accomplish that goal nearly as well as living before others and sharing Jesus with them. The gospel prescription for Kingdom change is one person at a time from the inside out, not a person who can decide what a nation believes and practices.

Christianity was born in the midst of a Roman Empire that sought its demise. With the beginning of martyrdom with Steven in Acts 7, the Church was on the ropes. They hoped that by killing the apostles they could destroy the Church and shut everyone up.

They hoped that by killing random Christians they could destroy the growth of the Church. But as Tertullian, a fourth century Christian scholar reminisced, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Because they continued to persecute Christians, the Church grew faster under pressure.

Christianity does not fare as well when it has an earthly kingdom that is for it rather than against it. In the fourth century, a Roman Caesar named Constantine sent mixed signals to Christians in the empire. He supposedly fought with a cross on his shield and when he got done with all the killing with his armies, he came back and caused the Council of Nicea to happen in 325 AD.

This helped all the Christians get on the same page, and as part of his work, Constantine legalized Christianity as a legitimate religion, and even made it the religion of Rome! But in doing so, he weakened the forward focus on the coming kingdom of Christ and Christians have focused on trying to fix this kingdom rather than work for God’s Kingdom ever since.

Follow through history and you’ll find that the Church serves Christ much better through persecution than through governing. Intentions aside, the end product did not go well.

One of the saddest and most deplorable problems of mixing Christianity with politics is that dejected feeling of “God’s will not being done” and the resulting trying to square what Scripture has “promised” if we vote for “God’s man.” Such believers resign themselves to “the Lord wills it” or discuss how this actually hastens the end times. Did God really not see this coming? Was this really God’s defeat?

Christians know well the story of God’s “defeat” at the cross when Jesus, His Chosen Son, died. But wait! That death, which the devil and the world saw as a defeat, was actually God’s victory over sin and death! When has God ever lost or been defeated? Never.

We get so comfortable with this world and its trappings, its economics, its principles, its politics, that we miss the fact that God is moving in much bigger ways than an election. I’m not saying He isn’t in it, but that He is more concerned with one person coming to Him than the host of the Christian Right voting for “God’s man.”

God is interested not in the politicians and leaders, but in each one of us. While they have focused on the masses to win an election by promising whatever will make your finger quiver for their name on that ballot, they’ll say or do it, or at least give lipservice to it. They focus on the masses. God focuses on one. He focuses on you. Give the government its due, but give God His due.

There’s a time in the life of Jesus when the religious leaders of Israel wanted to trap him politically to expedite His death and removal from their land, to get the Romans to do what they weren’t allowed to do (Mark 12:16-17). So they brought Him a coin, and it had Caeser’s image on it.

The question of the day was, “Should we pay taxes or not?”When someone brings Him a coin, Jesus famously asks, “Whose image is on it?” The people answer, “Caesar’s” and Jesus says “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”

What bears God’s image, according to the Bible? Humanity does. Go ahead and give the government what belongs to them. God is more interested in what belongs to Him.

Don’t give yourself away to a politician. Give yourself away to Jesus. You’ll never be ashamed later when you find out what that politician actually stands for or is willing to accomplish. You’ll never be dissatisfied with His rule in your life.

Jesus will never let you down and never leave you hanging. He’ll take care of all your needs. He won’t keep you poor or keep you rich. He’ll keep you in Him. He’ll love you instead of lie to you.

Some may conclude that I am so pessimistic about government and politics that I should just shut up. Well, that’s your opinion, and in America, you’re still entitled to it. I do not expose my views of politicians or issues that I personally hold from the pulpit or in public.

You have to ask me personally what I believe in these matters. Will a day come when I need to espouse my views publicly? Perhaps if this world keeps going the way it is and Jesus tarries. But for now, I feel that I maintain a prophetic openness to all by trusting more in Jesus than in this world.

Am I a pessimist about government and politics? Nope. Just human government and politics. The government of our King Jesus looks quite optimistic! And I’ll discuss that all day long. The wonderful thing about America is that we have the right to hold different views them each other.

As Christians, we can disagree on these matters, even get them totally wrong, and still love one another. Leave a comment and tell me what you think of this series on politics. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

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