THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME

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In this time of angry, partisan politics, it is vitally important that we Christians remember that this world is not our home. Our primary citizenship is in heaven, and our first allegiance is not to any earthly country, but to Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of those who belong to him. This fact should change the way we view and practice politics. Those among the capitol mob who thought they were doing God’s will are horrifically wrong.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button: To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download “This World is Not Our Home”

THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Colossians 3:1; Matthew 5:38-42; Romans 8:18-25; John 18:36; Matthew 26:52-53; Matthew 10:28-31; 1 Peter 2:13-17; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

During my twenty-five years as an ordained pastor, I have almost never used my preaching to deliberately speak to current political events. The Bible addresses subjects that are important in politics, and I have always done my best to try to explain what the bible teaches on such issues when they arise in the text, along with some suggestions for ways we might apply the bible to how we think politically. But I have never (as far as I remember) used a sermon as a platform to say something about what was going on politically at the time.

Until now.

I believe that what I want to say should be said soon. I believe it is an important thing for me, as a Christian leader, to say. And, if you are reading this, it means that I believe that the Lord wants me to say it, that, in fact, the Lord wants to speak to you and me about something very important. If nothing else, this is a good reminder about setting our hearts on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1).

Let’s start with some background. When the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred, there was video from many places throughout the Muslim world showing people out in the streets, celebrating that heinous act of murder and destruction.

I really wanted to hear a lot of Muslim leaders condemning the terrorists specifically for being bad Muslims. I did not hear that. You can speculate however you want about why that condemnation was not widely heard. That’s not my main point.

Fast forward to the events of 6th January, 2021. I have read with dismay that many of those involved in the attack on the United States Capitol on the 6th of January, 2021 think that they are good Christians. Some of them carried signs and flags with Christian messages. Christian music was blaring throughout the area. Christians have been among some of the most vehement supporters of Donald Trump. As far as I have a part, I don’t want to fail to say this:

 Those who were involved in the capitol attack are bad Christians. Their actions have no connection to following Jesus Christ. The words of Jesus, and of the scriptures, condemn their actions. They are not beyond forgiveness. But what they did is not Christian, not justified, not justifiable. They have put a terrible blot of shame upon the name of the man who died for his enemies. I do not mean to sound as if I think I am better than them; I’m a sinner too. But I think Christian leaders need to say this very clearly: These were not Christian actions, and they can’t be justified, or considered OK in the light of the Christian faith. Anyone who thinks they did this for Jesus, or because of Christianity, is horrifically mistaken.

How can I say for sure that those who attacked the capitol are bad Christians (to the extent that they claim to be Christians)? Let’s hear from Jesus Christ himself:

“You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-42, ESV)

Was the election truly stolen? I have no idea. Does my ignorance shock you? My short response is this: in the Kingdom of God it doesn’t really matter. In the kingdom of God American politics are really not that significant. Christianity thrived for almost eighteen centuries without the USA. Certainly, America has been a force for a lot of good and freedom in the world. But let’s not get confused. Christianity and Americanness are two entirely separate things. The majority of the Christians in the world are not American. You can be a very good Christian without being American. Being a Christian is not synonymous with being an American patriot, nor vice versa. And most importantly, America might need God, but God doesn’t need America. What I’m trying to say, is that even if America becomes the most evil nation ever to exist, God’s plans will not be thwarted.

And so, what if the election really was stolen? What then? The words of Jesus are clear:  Then do not resist the one who is evil. Turn the other cheek. Go the extra mile. Jesus’ words, not mine. We can’t claim to be his good followers while we disobey his teachings.

When I was in seminary there was a movement in theology that I felt was both wrong and dangerous. It was called liberation theology. The main idea behind it was that Jesus had come to bring political liberation to the oppressed. Therefore, the main point of Christianity, (according to liberation theology) was to work for the liberation of the poor, and the righting of injustice.

Liberation Theology was wrong, not because it fought injustice, but because it thought that was the point of being a Christian. Throughout its 2,000 year history, Christianity has indeed been the greatest force in the world to help the oppressed and to work for justice. If you aren’t Christian, that statement may surprise you, but it is true. Even many people today who are not Christians, and who work against injustice, may not realize that they are motivated by values that come from the teachings of Jesus.

Even so, Jesus also taught that his kingdom is not of this world, and the most important things are not to be found in this life. Jesus makes life worthwhile for his people even when we suffer unjustly, even if we never, in this mortal life, receive justice. The good that we can experience in the life to come is so overwhelmingly wonderful that Paul writes:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (ESV, Romans 8:18-25)

Clearly, our main hope is not in this life. Real Christians wait patiently for what we do not see – in other words, for our eternal hope. The sufferings we have in this life are not worth mentioning. If you can even legitimately call an allegedly stolen election “suffering,” it is not worth mentioning, let alone worth marching on the capitol, or taking it over. Our hope is not in Donald Trump, nor in any political leader that might arise in the future. Our hope is not even in an objective, fair election process.

I say again – anyone who claims that they did this because of their Christian faith does not understand what it means to be a Christian. As a Christian leader, a solemnly called and ordained teacher of the Bible, I call any Christians who were involved with the shameful events of January 6, 2021, to repent of your reckless, unchristian behavior, which gives a bad name to Jesus Christ. I beg other Christian leaders to make the same call.

When the locals brought Jesus to Pilate, the Roman ruler of Judea, Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Listen to what Jesus said:

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world (ESV, John 18:36)

Jesus said if his kingdom was about this world, then yes, his followers would be fighting. But his kingdom is not primarily about this world, and therefore he stopped his followers from fighting. When Peter used his sword as they came to arrest Jesus, Jesus rebuked him for it:

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? (ESV, Matthew 26:52-53)

 Yes the values of God’s eternal kingdom lead us to peacefully seek justice for all, particularly the oppressed. Yes the kingdom values lead us to make this world a better place. But this world is not the point. This life is not “about” this life. Our real kingdom is waiting for us in eternity. Therefore, the followers of Jesus do not use violence to establish the kingdom. It would be pointless to do so, because that kingdom is already established in eternity. It is not a kingdom on this version of the earth.

What about our rights? Shouldn’t we fight if they come to take away our rights? Once again, let’s hear from Jesus himself:

28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Arenʼt two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Fatherʼs will. 30 Even all the hairs on your head are numbered. 31 So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (ESV, Matthew 10:28-31)

I want to make sure we understand something. It is not wrong to defend our bodies or homes or loved ones from attack. But violence does not advance the kingdom of God. It is not the way that God achieves his agenda on this earth. In some extreme cases it may be unavoidable. But we are horribly wrong if we think violence is an acceptable way for us to bring about God’s purposes.

It is important to understand something about how Jesus was put to death. His enemies made him out (falsely) to be a revolutionary, someone who was leading people to rebel against the government at that time. Do you hear me? It was his enemies who tried to portray him that way. Those enemies tried to get Jesus to say something seditious when they brought up the matter of taxes.

17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matt 27:17)

Actually, the people paid taxes not only to Caesar, but also to Herod. Herod was a terrible despot, a dictator who crushed the people with taxes, and built lavish palaces for himself. Caesar, of course, was Tiberius, the Roman emperor at the time. He wasn’t the worst of the Caesars during the first century (for instance, not as bad as Nero, Caligula or Domitian) but he was neither fair, nor just, nor concerned for the welfare of the common people in his empire. He was a dictator who held absolute power. What do you think? Should we pay taxes to a pair of dictators who crushed the people without concern for life or freedom? Let’s see what Jesus says:

 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (ESV Matthew 22:18-21)

When he says “unto God the things that are  God’s” he is referring to the fact that human beings are made in the image of God. So he is saying, “yes, pay your taxes. Don’t worry about the government. Worry about your relationship with God.”

The apostle Peter wrote two letters. In Christian theology, the entire New Testament is considered to be the teaching of Jesus. It isn’t just the words in red (words spoken by Jesus, specifically) – we believe that all of the New Testament was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The apostles did not invent things – they passed on the teachings of Jesus. So, what is the teaching of Jesus about government, passed on through Peter?

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (ESV, 1 Peter 2:13-17)

Who was this wonderful emperor that Peter wrote about, the one who was in charge at that time? It was almost certainly Nero, the man who was later responsible for Peter’s own death. There is evidence that Nero also had a party in which he lit up the grounds of his palace by setting Christians on fire.

By the way, there are some people who believe that this riot was actually started by far-left activists who were pretending to be Trump supporters, in order to give them a bad name. What if that is true? Go back to Peter’s instructions, and remember that when Rome was ravaged by fire, Nero and his officials falsely blamed Christians for it (this was his justification for burning Christians as human torches). Yet, Peter tells Christians to honor Nero and his government as far as possible, and the Holy Spirit preserved those instructions for us, even after Nero had done those unspeakable things.

Now, Peter did say, earlier in his life “We must obey God, rather than men (Acts 5:29).” That statement was made when the authorities ordered he and John to stop telling people about Jesus. Peter understood godly disobedience. When the authorities try to prevent us from obeying Jesus, we must obey Jesus, and not the authorities. When they try to compel us to do what is sinful, or wrong then we must disobey.

Can anyone make a case that the capitol mob was somehow being prevented from obeying Jesus? I can’t. Can anyone make a case that somehow, the authorities were compelling them to sin, or disobey Jesus? Again, I think you would find that extremely tough sledding.

Godly disobedience is for when the government says we can’t worship Jesus, or tell others about him. It is for when people tell us we can’t have or read Bibles, or pray to Jesus. Also, godly disobedience is non-violent. We don’t attack. We don’t even defend. We merely refuse to do what is wrong, and continue to do what is right. What happened on January 6th, 2021 in Washington DC has nothing to do with godly disobedience. It is not Christian, and all true Christians ought to be broken and repentant that there were people present who thought they were true believers.

By the way, I am not concerned about any of the people in our churches and network. But I want us to be clear about this when we speak to others. I would like us to be a part of a chorus of strong Christian voices that rise up to condemn these actions as not-Christian. I want us to be part of a movement to stop the confusion between American patriotism and Christianity, particularly the kind of radical “patriotism” that resulted in the storming of the capitol.

I want us to call the church at large to remember that our greatest treasure is Jesus, and we can never lose Him, no matter what the government does or doesn’t do. I want us to remind our brothers and sisters that we live not for this life, but the one to come. The same restraint that teaches us to say “no” to sin for the joy that awaits us should teach us to be patient and at peace with whatever the political situation is at present. If Jesus and Peter could ignore the despotism under which they lived, surely we can handle a few years of control by a political party we don’t like.

By the way, just in case someone might dismiss my words with “He’s just another one of those Christian progressives,” let me set you straight. As far as Christianity goes, I believe in the authority and inerrancy of the Bible in the original documents, and there is a wealth of evidence that those original documents have been reliably preserved. That’s a solid, mainstream conservative position, and I hold it because I have studied the Bible for so long. Everything else I believe proceeds from my belief in the significance of the Bible. As far as politics go, I believe in limited central government, and am a passionate supporter of the first and second amendments in particular, and of the constitution in general. You might accurately call me an independent libertarian, though with some differences. A progressive I am not. But before, during and after any sort of politics, I am a Christian first, second, and always. My allegiance – and that of all who call themselves Christians – should be first to Jesus, and Jesus alone. No country, no political party or philosophy or system should ever be able to make us compromise what it means to follow Him.

I know many people are angry and upset about this election, and they feel like this is the beginning of the end. But truthfully, we should not be so shaken by something like earthly politics. In fact, Hebrews says:

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. (CSB, Hebrews 12:28)

I’m afraid many Christians have forgotten that our kingdom is not of this world, and nothing can shake it. Listen to the words of Paul:

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, CSB)

We Christians are first, and foremost, citizens of heaven. Earthly citizenship cannot change that, and all earthly citizenship should be modified by the fact that we belong to Jesus first. Yes, our heavenly future motivates us to work for peace and justice here and now, but the way we go about that should reflect the fact that we are already secure in the kingdom of God.

Let the Holy Spirit apply these scriptures to your heart today.

Jesus Supports Big Government!

caesar denarius

Please do not comment on the title. Read the whole blog first!

Christianity is not a political revolutionary movement, or a political movement of any sort. We do not achieve our goals through government, and we are not stopped from achieving them by government. We should pray for, and be at peace with, governing authorities, as much as we can be without disobeying Jesus. But generally, government just doesn’t matter. What does matter is this: human beings are made in the image of God. We owe our ultimate allegiance to Him. 

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer:
Download Matthew Part

Matthew #78. Matthew 22:15-22

I want to humbly ask you to remember us in your prayers. We are sustained physically and spiritually as you pray for us, and for this ministry. Continue to ask the Lord to fulfill every purpose he has for each of these messages, and to use them to make and build-up disciples of Jesus Christ. Please continue to remember our financial needs in your prayers as well. If you feel led to give as well as praying, use the “donate” tab at the top of the blog, and the page there will tell you how. We would love it if you would pick a day of the week to remember us in prayer!

In verses 22:15-45, Matthew records three incidents in which the religious leaders tried to embarrass Jesus with a trick question, and one instance where Jesus, in a way, gets them back with his own question.

The first question comes from the representatives of the Pharisees, accompanied by the Herodians. A little cultural/historical background is helpful here. The Herodians were those people who openly supported the ruler-ship of the family of King Herod the Great. I think it is no mistake that the Pharisees sent their representatives with the Herodians, rather than coming themselves. Herod’s family, and the Herodians who supported them, were generally hated. Imagine your country has been invaded and conquered by a foreign power. The conquerors have installed a new government that will do what they want, and they will try to control you through this new government. The people who support the new government are the Herodians.

The reason the Pharisees are doing anything with them at all is to try and trap Jesus with a trick question. If he endorses taxation, it will be unpopular with the people, and it may even be seen as an endorsement of the oppression of the Romans and Herodians. But if he openly says there should be no taxation, the Herodians will be right there to witness it, and it could very likely lead to his imprisonment by either them, or the Romans. Remember, this was not a free society, where anyone had the right to say what he pleased. If the Romans or Herodians didn’t like what Jesus was saying, they would have no reservations about putting him in prison, and there were no laws stopping them from doing so.

It seems like the perfect trap. Either he gets put in prison, or he publicly supports a hugely unpopular government, and loses a large number of his own followers.

In those days there were a number of different sorts of coins (there was no paper money). Some of the coins were used only in local regions or provinces; these were stamped with the image of the governor or ruler of the province. There were other coins that were used throughout the Roman empire. These coins were stamped with the image of the Emperor. Obviously, when paying taxes to the Roman Empire, one used the Roman coins which were stamped with the Emperor’s image.

Jesus points this out, and then says his famous line, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” But it is his second line that contains the real zinger. Most of the Jews who were listening probably knew the Old Testament pretty well; certainly the representatives of the Pharisees did. Genesis 1:27 says this:

27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

It is a foundational fact of both Jewish and Christian theology that human beings are created “in the image of God.” Therefore, when Jesus adds: “and give to God what is God’s,” everyone listening would have understood that Jesus was referring to Genesis 1:27, and the fact that human beings bear God’s image. So coins have the Emperor’s image; Jesus says, “Fine, give them to the Emperor.” But people bear God’s image, therefore, human beings belong not to the government, but to God. We may owe taxes to Caesar, but we owe our very lives to God.

As I write these words, I am thoroughly disgusted with the political and governmental climate in the country where I live – and yet, it is probably better here than most other places in the world. I think, in this day and age, it is important to remember how Jesus viewed government. I believe I can sum up Jesus’ attitude toward human government in one word: irrelevant.

The government at the time of Jesus was incredibly corrupt and oppressive. There was no free speech. Freedom of religion was limited. Taxation was crushing. Laws were arbitrary and brutally enforced. The rich and powerful were firmly in control, and they arranged things for their own benefit, and were, to a large extent, above the law. In the midst of this situation, enters the Son of God, with the power of God, on the mission of God, and he did not do anything to change the government. In fact, he rejected the times when people attempted to get him involved in government:

14When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, “This really is the Prophet who was to come into the world! ” 15Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself. (John 6:14-15, HCSB)

Jesus had opportunities to make political changes. He deliberately rejected these opportunities. Time and time again Jesus spoke about a government, a “kingdom,” but it was not an earthly kingdom. He was concerned with the kingdom of Heaven. He never suggested that earthly government should be used to create or support, or accomplish the purposes of His kingdom. When questioned by governmental authorities about his political position, this is what Jesus said:

36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36, ESV2011)

When questioned about taxes, as here in this passage today, Jesus says, basically: “Pay your taxes. But give your life to God.”

I think Christians, particularly in the Western world, would do well to pay close attention to this. Christian Conservatives need to hear this: The government in Jesus’ time was large, inefficient and imposed unjust taxation. It limited freedom of speech and religion. Yet, Jesus did not try to reform the government. His goal was not (is not!) to create a wonderful, free, political system. He came for human beings, made in the image of God.

Christian liberals also need to hear something. During the time of Jesus, the people in power were the rich fat-cats who controlled everything for their own benefit. The government did nothing for the poor. The government was fundamentally unfair, and it allowed rampant unfairness to flourish. Yet, Jesus did not try to reform the government. His words about loving and caring for others were not spoken to representatives of government, but rather, to his followers. He never advocated for government as a solution for poverty, or in fact, anything.

Not only did Jesus not advocate the government as a solution for anything, but also he did not speak out against it as a problem. He treats government almost like the weather: it is what it is. Jesus spoke truth to power. But in his teachings, government is more or less irrelevant as a means to helping human beings.

Unless you are reading this from someplace where you could go to prison for speaking the thoughts I am expressing here, you are in a better political system than Jesus. But in that situation, Jesus didn’t try to make things politically fair. His concern is much bigger than politics.

I want us to remember that the church that Jesus established has always survived, and even thrived, in places where the government was powerful and unjust. For the first three hundred years after Jesus, it was illegal to be Christian in the Roman Empire, and often, Christians were brutally persecuted. After Islam took over most of the Middle East in the seventh century, the government was generally oppressive toward followers of Jesus. Christians have not enjoyed much freedom in communist countries. There has never been a time when Christians enjoyed political freedom all over the entire world. There is always someplace where culture, or government, or both, is unfavorable to Jesus followers, and to our ministry of hope in Jesus Christ. And that government opposition has always been completely ineffective in silencing the message of the gospel.

The Bible teaches that we should be good citizens, as far as it is possible without disobeying God.

13Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority 14or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. 15For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 16As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor. (1Pet 2:13-17, HCSB)

Scripture also tells us to pray for those who have political power:

1First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1Tim 2:1-4, HCSB)

 

It also teaches us to speak truth to those in power, and stand up against the government when it tries to make us disobey God, or silence the message of Jesus Christ.

27“For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 28to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. 29And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness. (Acts 4:27-29, HCSB)

 26Then the commander went with the temple police and brought them in without force, because they were afraid the people might stone them. 27After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, 28“Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to bring this man’s blood on us! ” 29But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:26-29, HCSB)

I don’t believe it is a bad thing to be politically active, if you feel the Lord calling you to it. These days, in many places in the world, we have wonderful governmental systems that allow ordinary citizens to work for change. It is entirely appropriate, at times, to make use of those opportunities. It is good and right to speak truth to those in power. But as we do that, we need to remember several things.

  1. Our hope is not in government, nor in political change.
  2. Neither government nor politics can stop the ongoing work of Jesus in this world.
  3. Our mission as Jesus followers is not to create a better government, but to make disciples of all peoples. Jesus did not suggest government as a means for doing this.

Christianity is not a political revolutionary movement, or a political movement of any sort. We do not achieve our goals through government, and we are not stopped from achieving them by government. We should pray for, and be at peace with, governing authorities, as much as we can do so without disobeying Jesus. But generally, government just doesn’t matter.

What does matter is this: human beings are made in the image of God. We owe our ultimate allegiance to Him. As I write this, we are in an election year in the United States. A lot of American Christians are pretty upset about what has happened both this year, and in recent years, with politics.

Let me suggest a few questions to help us gain the perspective of Jesus about government.

Maybe you are upset that the system seems to reward big corporations, and make the rich richer. But are you as concerned about selfishness and greed in your own life as you are about those things in politics?

Perhaps you feel that the political elites in this country seem to be able to do as they please. But are you as interested in holding yourself accountable as you are in holding them accountable?

Are you upset about taxation, and having your money go to things that you don’t support, like abortion? What about this: where else does your money go right now? Are you using it to support missions? Are you using it to help impoverished families around the world? Are you using it to support the teaching and preaching of the gospel?

Some folks are concerned about the possibility that freedom of speech and religion is diminishing in the Western world. But let me ask this: are you even using it? Are you sharing your faith with your co-workers and friends and neighbors? Are you offering to pray for them? If you aren’t doing it now, why does it matter if someone makes a law against it?

You see, the things we get upset about in government are sometimes the things that Jesus wants to address in our lives.

We belong to God, not the government. I’ve shared some of the correction that Jesus’ words here bring to us. But his words also bring hope. We belong to God. Human beings do not have any ultimate power over us. We can be at peace, regardless of what happens politically. As Jesus said, earlier in Matthew:

28Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. 30But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. 31So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matt 10:28-31, HCSB)

No matter what happens, we are in His hands, and he cares for us more than any government ever could.