POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
I enjoy communicating and also reading tweets on Twitter on a daily basis. In the area of government and politics, however, I am astonished and saddened by the hatred, vitriol, rudeness and crudeness in which people "talk" with one another about politics, political parties, political candidates, and governmental issues. Unfortunately and grievously, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between non-Christian and Christian tweets!
Why do some people get so outraged and hatefully indignant over politics? Timothy Keller, in his book "The Reason for GOD," made this statement: "If we get our very identity, our sense of worth, from our political position, then politics is not really about politics, it is about 'us.' Through our cause we are getting a self, our worth. That means we 'must' despise and demonize the opposition."
So, we must ask the question, "How is a follower of JESUS supposed to relate to the issue of politics and government?" After all, JESUS said in John 18:36: "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but my Kingdom is not from here." Hebrews 11:13 states that we are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
On Tuesday, I answered that question with our church staff/leadership team. On Wednesday, I wrote and emailed my comments to our staff. I felt impressed of the LORD to share these comments with you as a way of answering the question, "How is a follower of JESUS supposed to relate to the issue of politics and government?"
Our guide for living life is the Word of GOD (Matthew 4:4). Period!
Our primary purpose in life is to glorify GOD (I Cor. 10:31) through sharing the gospel and leading people to faith in JESUS (John 15:13), and then disciple them in their faith (Matthew 28: 18-20).
As followers of JESUS, we are to be “in” the world but not “of” the world ( I John 2: 15-17)
The Bible says that we are to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5: 13-16). That includes:
Exercising our Christian influence by voting for godly candidates for public office;
Speaking out against abortion, homosexuality, racism, etc. – but speaking that truth in love and not harsh, bitter, angry rhetoric;
Taking the opportunity to use our Christian influence in culture, while, at the same time, keeping JESUS first in our lives.
5. GOD calls some Christians to engage in politics by running for office. Yet, if
elected, GOD has placed them in that position to glorify Him, and a chief way to
glorify GOD is sharing the gospel with other politicians. GOD has used some
Christians in a remarkable way to impact culture through the political arena. Here
are two examples:
William Wilberforce used his platform as a Christian politician to lead the movement to abolish the slave trade in England;
Martin Luther King and others used their platform to bring about equality for African-Americans.
6. As was shared in our conversation yesterday, we have dual citizenships. We are,
first and foremost, citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our allegiance is to JESUS.
Secondarily, in this world, we are citizens of America. Like you, I am “proud” to be
an American. I believe in our democracy. I am thankful for those men and women
who serve in the military to defend our freedom.
7. Unfortunately, it is too easy to get these two citizenships mixed up, and make our
American citizenship the focus of our lives. In other words, politics can become our
passion rather than glorifying GOD through sharing the gospel.
8. Politics can become a false idol, just like money, sex, sports, etc.
9. As Christian Americans, we had better be more concerned about the unhealthy
state of the church in America than in the state of our politics. Over 80% of
churches are plateaued and declining. Baptism rates are the lowest since the
1940’s. If we continue this decline, we will become what England is. Church
buildings in that country are now used for libraries, pubs, and meeting places for
10.The greatest need in America today is the revival of GOD’s people. We must
rediscover our passion for JESUS. JESUS said to the church in Ephesus: “But I have
this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first (for JESUS)”
Let me offer this caution for all of us as followers of JESUS. Remember, we represent JESUS CHRIST in our world (II Corinthians 5:10). Whenever we speak out, let's make sure our comments testify positively of our allegiance to JESUS. As Christians, we should focus on glorifying GOD in our attitudes, our words, and our actions.