Why this series?
We believe these are the questions you are asking, even more importantly, these are questions those around you are asking. To engage the world around us, we have to be willing to think through the tough questions.
Background for this question:
-The Bible does give us guidance on what it means to be good citizens
-As believers, we do have some responsibility to be present and engaged in the world in which we live (see Romans 13 in the notes below)
-The Bible is also clear that our citizenship is first and foremost in the Kingdom of God
-Our job is to navigate through the Scriptures prayerfully in order to seek truth for us as believers in the midst of a political culture that has become so polarizing
““My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
John 17:20-21 NIV
-Unity in the church is so important that Jesus died for it
-We don’t seek unity for the sake of unity. We seek the Lord, we make Christ the center, and He unifies us
-We won’t spread the gospel in this world if we don’t display the kind of unity that Jesus prayed for.
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
-The Jewish leaders are trying to trap Jesus and pull him into a struggle that was quite political
-The Jews resented taxes for religious reasons. To a Jew there was only one true king and to pay a tax to an earthly king was to admit the validity of that kingship. -Think of what Jesus could have said here:
“Don’t give them a cent. Your loyalty is to God alone!”
“Keep your money until there’s an emperor whose views you support!”
“Only give to Christian politicians.”
-Jesus wasn’t avoiding the duty of government, what he was avoiding was the trap of politics, confusing the kingdom of men with the Kingdom of God.
-As hard as it is to grasp, Jesus won’t be roped into a political argument. Our God has a monopoly on the Truth and will not fit neatly into the confines of political viewpoints or parties.
CAN the church preach about politics? Sure it can.It CAN because we aren’t called to be disconnected and disengaged, uninvolved
SHOULD the church preach about politics is perhaps the better question
because what it is that we as believers must avoid is the trap of political divisions.
Give back to the government what belongs to the government in the first place. But, far more importantly, give back to God what belongs to Him in the first place.
How much of you belongs to God?
9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, (nomikos – arguments lawyers make) because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
-The problem of politics for Christians in America is DISUNITY, DISCORD & DIVIDE.
Politics preached divides.
Christ preached unifies.
Three challenges for us in response:
- Let’s remember who is the enemy is
-“Our battle is not against flesh and blood” Ephesians 6:12
- Let’s remember whose kingdom we belong to
-We can’t allow a passion for politics to become idolatry.
-We must commit to not allow anything else in our lives to take Lordship over Christ
- Let’s remember what are we for
-We are for the love of Jesus, for healing, for reconciliation, we are for peace and we are for grace.
-Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”
Other Texts for Study/Reflection:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV
“Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”
Acts 5:29 NIV
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
VIDEO: Politics in the Church
Hear Pastor Adrian share more on Romans 13 here: