Nation Under God – Part 3

 

Message: Part 3: Should Christians Worry About the Outcome of the Election?

Scripture Text: Ephesians 2:19

1. We’ll be spending the next few weeks leading up to Election Day (and one week after) talking about how faith and politics intersect.

a. Next week: pleased to welcome someone who had been both a theologian and a politician – our own George Sayler. Attended seminary and served in the Idaho

House of Representatives.

2. Question for today is whether Christians should be concerned and anxious about the outcome of this Presidential election? I’ve talked to some folks from both parties, including some from this church, who feel we should all be very concerned…if the other person gets elected.

a. The first Presidential election I was somewhat aware of was in 1972, when I was 5 years old, between Democrat George McGovern and Republican incumbent Richard Nixon.

i. I remember sitting in the back seat of our Chevy Impala hearing

my parents debating who to vote for.

ii. I also remember hearing them speak the word “Watergate.”

b. Bad things came from that election.

i. Since that time every scandal has the word “gate” attached to the end of it. It tarnished the way we look at our leaders. It put the news media into a more adversarial role with the government.

ii. Watergate led to more scrutiny and removed some buffers which had previously given our elected leaders more room to govern.

c. But some good things came from the 1972 election. We hold our leaders to a higher moral standard.

i. Two of the people implicated in the Watergate scandal went on to be prominent Christian leaders: one a Presbyterian Minister and the other the founder of Prison Fellowship, caring for 200,000 inmates and families in all 50 states.

 

ii. It was a terrible scandal but God has been working.

d. Maybe 44 years from now we’ll remember the 2016 election in a similar way – good things and bad things.

i. Frankly, neither major party candidate makes me feel very confident. Both have added to

a new low in terms of divisiveness. Both seem more interested in telling us how disastrous it would be if the other was elected than how much better it would be if they were elected.

ii. But maybe this election will inspire a move toward unity, or motivate young future leaders to raise the bar.

3. I get some helpful, and hopeful, wisdom from Ephesians 2:19

a. Read verse

b. In the first decades of the Christian movement, two groups were openly hostile with one another: Christians from a Jewish background and new Christian converts who weren’t

Jewish.

i. Jesus’ sacrifice of his life on the cross reconciled people to God and to one another through their common faith in His salvation.

ii. In the surrounding verses, Paul wrote, “he himself is our peace;” he “broke down the dividing wall of hostility;” so each group would be “built together into a dwelling place for God.”

iii. For Christians, shunning divisiveness isn’t because it’s a nice thing to do but simply because Jesus Christ is Lord.

c. Some Christians are talking publicly about how disastrous and horrible it would be if one of the candidates gets elected, and that needs to be prevented at all costs.

1. They say if that person gets elected it will threaten our country and even our ability to practice our faith.

ii. My sense is that these people need to shut themselves up because Jesus Christ is still Lord.

 

1. Things more horrible than what they predict have happened and are happening to Christians in the world and yet Jesus still is bringing about reconciliation and salvation through the church.

d. On the other hand, some Christians are talking publicly about how this election proves that it’s out of their hands, it’s beyond fixing, religion doesn’t make any impact anymore and voting doesn’t matter.

i. My sense is that these people need to step up because Jesus Christ is still Lord.

1. He is working in billions of ways through billions of people to bring hope into hopelessness and to block evil’s claim to victory.

e. If we truly believe that Jesus Christ is Lord then no outcome of any election can ever rob us of our hope – and I think Christians in America today need that reality check.

4. Paul says that, in Christ, we who were once far of are made “fellow citizens.”

a. It’s is the Greek word “sumpolites.” It comes from the root word for a city or country and means an inhabitant.

i. We get the word politics..and

also the word polite.

ii. It means to belong to each other because we all belong to something which surrounds us.

b. Followers of Jesus Christ have a citizenship to God’s Kingdom in Jesus Christ. Despite all our differences, Jesus surrounds us and binds us one another.

c. As Americans we have another citizenship based on belonging to this nation.

i. So, we are dual-citizens with rights and privileges of both nations.

5. One citizenship is great in and of itself, the other one can be great if we let the first citizenship show us the way, with each and every election.

a. Scripture tells citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus to “not be anxious about anything but in

everything…to pray.”

i. So if Jesus is our Lord then we need to be more of a non-anxious, hopeful and steady presence in the world of politics.

b. Scripture tells citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus that He is “reconciling the world to himself,” and that we are “ambassadors for reconciliation.”

 

i. So if Jesus is our Lord then we need to be more of a unifying, peacemaking, forgiving and encouraging presence in the world of politics.

c. Scripture tells citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus that we are “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

i. So if Jesus is our Lord, when all around us seems to be demolition and a tearing down, we pick up a hammer and nails.

6. Prayer.

 

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