Monday, August 24, 2020

Jesus and the Politics That Divides the Body of Christ Today

 

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  - 2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV) 

What does an ambassador of Christ look like today?


For sometime I’ve been taking meals to people in need, shut-ins, disabled, elderly, sick. It’s been an amazing blessing. During theses times I’ve come to get to know these people and they have gotten to get to know me. As a result they know I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and this has given me opportunities to share the good news of the kingdom of God and to pray for them. 


There is this one elderly gentleman that always wants to chit-chat. The other day when he came to the front door to receive his meals one of the first things he said to me was “I’m voting for Trump.” He then gave a few reasons why. Then he asked me who I was voting for. I’m sure in your minds eye you can hear the piano bass keys “Da-Dun” and the question what do you say or do? I told him it was a private matter with me. He didn’t like that answer. But I explained to him why and he was ok with that.


Here’s how I approach situations like this. 


First and foremost I set-apart Jesus as Lord over my reaction and my response. Paul an apostle said this to us who call on Jesus as Lord and Savior, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” -Colossians 3:17 (ESV). 


Second is this person reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. His eternal destiny takes precedents. One thing I cannot do is allow for obstacles to be put in place where this person will not receive the good news of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ thereby possibly shutting the door for this person to receive the gift of grace which leads to eternal life. This person’s eternal destiny is way more important then any worldly political ideology. One thing is for sure secular political opinions will shut down communication and even create anger and hatred. 


Romans 12:18 “if it is possible, as far it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” 


I could have indicated to him that I was going to vote for Trump thereby making sure the door was open for me to be able to share Jesus with him. However, in my experience the conversation usually leads down the road of invective towards other people I don’t even know personally. In other words gossip. I have found that people usually get their information from second or third hand sources that align with their particular political ideology. In others words it’s just gossip pretending to be facts.


I once went to a Bible study the year before the 2016 election. I got there a little early and was sitting on the couch reading a book. A brother in the Lord came and sat next to me. He was an acquaintance not someone I had intimate fellowship with. The first thing he said was “Isn’t Hillary just an empty headed person?” I told him I wouldn’t know because I don’t know her. He got up and walked away. Whatever fellowship we could have had that evening, whatever time of prayer that could have been between us, whatever words of exhortation or encouragement in the Lord we could have share were now gone because of a particular political secular ideology. Whatever fellowship that me and this brother could’ve was now broken. It was broken because of his particular political ideology got in the way of our communion in Christ together. And if this is not a tool of the devil I don’t know what is.


Now on the other hand what if I indicated to him that I was going to vote for Biden? Well, from the list of things that he gave me as to why he was voting for Trump any door that would’ve been open for me to continue sharing Jesus with him would have been closed. Like most people and even some Christians that have strong political opinions usually express the idea “How can you call yourself a Christian and vote for so-and-so?” I know that there are some who profess to be believers in Jesus Christ who are so politically party minded that they have become no gospel good and would’ve blasted this guy back into his house. Here’s an example of what I mean. There was this person who profess to be a follower of Jesus wrote this on a social media account about Trump and people that would vote for him: “If you support a criminal, liar, manipulator, blackmailer, bully then I believe that you will do the same things as this man. So I trust you less than I did before.“ Wow! Talk about trying to silence people or a self righteous prejudging people through the filter of a particular political ideology. I ask myself this question, is this done in the name of Jesus to the glory of God the Father? 


On another occasion I was told by a Christian brother they thought Trump supporters were cultish and Trump was evil. I said I don’t know if Trump is evil I never met him. He told me I can’t deny it. Then this person told me about a news report that said xy and z about Trump to justify his political opinion. Now if we’ve been around long enough media sources are managed by people that have a particular political bias and they will report a story that will lean towards that bias, especially political stories. And on top of that people that have a certain political bias will gravitate to the media source that supports their bias and denigrate media sources that don’t agree with their bias. Someone else could reference a media source that says xy and z about Trump that make him out to be the best thing since sliced bread. 


One thing I’ve learned from being in ministry is that stories about people that come from second hand sources is gossip. When I told this person that his conclusion that Trump was evil was based on second hand sources that, he didn’t know personally, and not based on his first hand knowledge of him, it was gossip. The first thing they said was, “Then the Bible is gossip.” Wow! Here’s where the real truth comes out. It’s in intense situation that bring out what is really inside. Kind of like that fight or flight response we all have. Here is where when I say “we can be so politically party minded we become no gospel good” manifests it’s self. He was willing to through the Word of God under the bus in order to hold on to his political opinion. He wanted to make a false equivalence equivalent. God’s Word was equal to a man made bias news report. Let’s be clear, God’s word is God breath inspiration from the Holy Spirt; a news report is uninspired words of men. So this person has hatred in their heart about a person they don’t know from sources they don’t know. I’m sure Satan loved that.


Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, 4:22 “All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household.” Now imagine the person that is so politically party minded what they would think of Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, an author of much of the New Testament if we changed Caesar with Trump. Remember the Caesar here was Nero. The guy that lit Christians on fire to light up his palace garden and used Christians as sport by feeding them to ravenous lions in a coliseum. These Christians in Caesar’s household served Caesar in such a way, whether preparing his meals to nourish him or washing his clothes so that he had something to wear or bringing him his parchments and ink for him to draft his orders. How could Paul acknowledge Christians in Caesar’s (Trumps) household or administration that did the same things. How could they even be called saints for supporting such an evil vile person? This is where the person that is so politically minded ends up. As the person above, in what they said about Trump supporters or Trump himself, if we applied their same reasoning standard, Paul and the saints he addressed in his letter to the Philippians would be considered as murders or supporters of murder.  


You see it’s really no longer about Jesus’ kingdom but about a particular secular political ideology in Jesus name. Where there is no reconciliation unless you adopt their secular political ideology. Where false accusation can be thrown around with no true justification except through the lens of a particular political ideology. Where there is no true intimate fellowship with believers because of the walls of a secular political ideology. Where we’re no longer ambassadors of Christ and His kingdom first and foremost but ambassadors of Satans kingdom where he rules over the secular political ideologies of the world. 


Luke 4:6-7 (NIV)

[6] And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. [7] So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”


1 John 5:19 (NIV)

[19] We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 


The goal of Christians and the body of Christ is to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ. Our mission is about God’s kingdom. He didn’t send the disciples out into the nations of the world to make them Christian nations. He sent them out to be ambassadors of His nation, His kingdom. He sent them out into the nations of the world to tell all who would listen the message of the gospel of the kingdom of God. A message that invites all to become citizens of a new Kingdom. 


Luke 8:1 (NIV)

[1] After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 


Luke 9:2 (NIV)

[2] and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 

 

A kingdom that is not of this world. A nation of people that is “other than” the people of the nations of this world. A nation of people that has Jesus’ mission on the mind more than the mission of some secular political ideology. A nation of people that loves their neighbor and their enemy not as a command but because they want to be imitators of God. Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children”  


John 18:36 (NIV)

[36] Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”


We must stay focused. When we enter the new covenant with the Creator where Jesus Christ is Lord and King we have become citizens of a new Kingdom. We have taken an oath to a new nation. We have left behind the city of the dead and are living for the city of life. Hebrews 11:15-16 “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” If we then return to the city of the dead and take up the causes of the nations of the world, who do not want to bow their knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, our loyalties will be divided. We will be serving two master. This will result in unnecessary division between believers, leading to anger and hatred for one another which is what we see today within the body of Christ. 

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