We've been talking about Politics - I didn't want the series to end right before the election, that just feels a little strange. But there's just no way to NOT address what an interesting and trying time this is for the church.
Just want to level with you. If we were friends having coffee.
On on hand, I don't want to discourage political involvement.
On the other hand I'm completely convinced that the kingdom of God doesn't come through the politics of the world.
I just want you to know that the kingdom of God is neither strengthened or weakened by something that does or does not happen on tuesday. I find that to be very important.
It's not my heart to minimize of any of that, but I think we need to find PERSPECTIVE.
So I want to talk for a few minutes about some things that God has continued to kinda show me these past 2 weeks.
Stanley Hauerwas - Time Magazine called him Americas best theologian.
The election season is entertainment for people who are not in any way ready to do the actual work necessary to change the world.
In a lot of ways, I feel like some of the concepts that we've talked about in this series - ideas like rejecting the notion that the primary way we change the world is in the voting booth - I feel like those ideas require, if you are to believe them - require a lot of courage on your part.
We live in a world where people believe that the really bold thing would be to say 'Here's God's position, here's God's candidate, here's how you should vote. I actually don't think that requires any boldness in this day and age. I think that's very easy.
The harder thing is with all the things that are swirling around our heads - to stay centered, to stay loving, to stay kind, - That's the hard thing.
Where we place either unrealistic hope or unbelievable blame.
No reason. When we find our way back to reality - we remember that there's absolutely no reason for that kind of hope or that kind of blame.
Most if not all fear that we experience in this life doesn't end up panning out to all that much.
In a world where everybody is trying so hard to pull you to the right or to the left, I kept thinking about the words Jesus speaks to John the revelator in Revelation 4 - "Come up here."
Not to the right, not come to the left. Come up here.
Not disengage from everything that's happening.
Perspective. But come up to where Jesus is to where we can see his heart, we have a perspective that not other people have.
One thing I've noticed is that in a political season, no one repents.
The whole premise is that everything that is wrong with the world is 'their' fault.
Pill. - It's like a pill we take that makes us immune to repentance. B/C it all about what's wrong with the other guy.
John Wesley - October 6, 1774 - British general election
I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
Not that you can't have positions, but that we we're not sharpened against the opposition.
As people who represent Christ to the world, we just spend all our time just trying to be 'right' but to keep our spirits open and our hearts soft.
Remember the 1st sin don't you? In the garden - eat from the knowledge of good and evil.
You'll be like God. You'll know what God knows.
Remember what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 - We always know in part. We prophesy in part.
When we come into a season like this one convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that we're completely right and the opposition is completely wrong.
Luke 18:9-14 Parable
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: (Luke 18:9)
“Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. (Luke 18:10)
The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! (Luke 18:11)
I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ (Luke 18:12)
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ (Luke 18:13)
I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
Application: Here's my fear - in a season like this, the church can get so wrapped up in the emotion of it that our disposition becomes something like this: "There may be a lot that's wrong with me, but thank God I'm not a democrat / republican."
What's hard: You have to be spiritual to see any of that.
Jesus: come up here. To where you don't only see you speck in your neighbors eye, but you see the plank in your own also.
As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. (Matthew 12:46)
Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” (Matthew 12:47)
Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” (Matthew 12:48)
Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. (Matthew 12:49)
Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:50)
In a way I think that seems really ugly and hard. Jesus, your mom was pretty great. But he looks at his disciples and says "This is my family."
If you're a follower of Jesus, other people who follow Jesus are your family.
Jesus is saying that the bond that holds together fellow Christians, is even thicker than blood.
He's not saying family isn't important.
He's saying there's something deeper.
So concerning when people on the right or the left find this DEEP comradery with each other that's deeper than anything else.
There's actually a word for that: Idolitary.
There being something bigger than the blood of Jesus that unites us.
In the name of protecting 'family values' we abandon the family that we're supposed to be MOST connected to, the people of God.
Hint: It cannot be people.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
The Number 1 lie that has kept people off mission for the last 2000 years of Christianity - Is the belief that another human being is your enemy.
Paul will tell us: The very moment we believe that our enemy is another person - you've already lost the fight.
Our only real enemy is what Paul describes here. We can say it plainly - 'THE DEVIL' and his minions.
So how do we fight THAT battle: Prayer and Love of neighbor.
"Yeah, yeah, we know."
When's the last time you prayed for the person who's running on the other side? When's the last time you prayed for their family?
Have you ever heard such a crazy idea. "We can't. They're the enemy."
Jesus "come up here."
We've talked about 'Us vs. Them' and there is an us vs them. As long as you have the right 'them'
If we believe that the people of God are our family and the enemy is the devil.
How do we relate to all these people who aren't in either of those categories?
For our conversation, let's call those people 'The World'.
It's amazing how often I feel like I need to remind people of John 3:16. "For God so loved the world." We've talked before about the bible phrase 'the world' and how it's used to describe both good and bad things.
In John 3:16 - the 'world' is people.
Are you aware that God is desperately lock-sick for people. He loved people so much that Jesus came and died for them.
Jesus related to the world first and foremost by 'serving' the world.
Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. (Luke 22:24)
Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ (Luke 22:25)
But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. (Luke 22:26)
Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:27)
This is God in flesh.
And he spends his time among the poor. Caring the needy.
ALWAYS serving broken people.
We come back in line with serving the world.
Let's get back to caring for the widow and the orphan.
Not with our vote, with our life.
And is there any meaningful way that you're laying down your life for them?
THEORETICALLY We THEORETICALLY want to love and serve, but that's very different than actually loving and serving.
Apologetics - Logically argue - convince.
That's kind of my thing with apologetics - trying to logically argue with people and convince them that there's is a God. I'm sure there's people who have come to God like that, I've just never met any of them.
I'm convinced the way the kingdom of God comes is by showing people the unconditional love of the Father. And I've seen MANY people come to God through God's kind of Love.
I know you don't like that. - I DON'T EITHER. I talk pretty for a living.
I want to find the scripture that says as long as I say the right things, I don't have to be concerned with actually loving people. That would be great for me.
I want to be held accountable for nothing but my preaching.
But again, like we talked abut last week, if Jesus is to be believed, we're judged not for how rightly we believe, but how we LOVE.
So when it comes to how you spend your time. When it comes to how you spend your mental energy…
God is Love.
As they pass - I just want you to spend a minute with God - realigning.
I want you to picture all the scar tissue and blackness that has formed around you heart, just imagine that melting away to uncover a heart that's soft and gentle, and kind.
(Prayer - St. Francis.)
Remember death / Proclaim resurrection / Await return
Eat - bread // drink - cup.
I want to do something so unimaginable, so unthinkable, but I want to pray for both candidates and their families. - This is a test for you. These are people.
Husband: Bill - Daughter: Chelsea
Wife: Melania - Son : Donald Jr.
Daughter: Ivanka - Son : Eric - Daughter: Tiffany
Son : Barron (10)
Gary Johnson - Jill Stein - Evan McMullan