Kingdom Come PT. 4- Politics and the Kingdom of God

Exploring The Relationship Between Government And Religion.

Tim Lundy
Oct 4, 2020    39m
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Do you feel like our country has been torn apart by politics? By exploring the relationship between government and religion you can get a deeper understanding of how Jesus wants you to act during these times if discontent. When you vote you should pray for guidance, and then examine and apply the Word of God to all of your decisions. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:01 Hey Venture, as Lori said, we're continuing in the series Kingdom Come with a message entitled Politics And The Kingdom of God. Now I know this is a hot topic, it's easy for us to get inflamed or concerned. And so I'm going to ask that we pray, let's pray that God just speaks through this message, let's pray that he guards my words, let's pray that we would be open to what his spirit wants to say to each one of us. Will you pray with me?

Tim Lundy: 00:29 Father, I do just pray for what you're doing in our church and in our community. Lord, I pray for Venture, you know, we long to be open. I pray as we're working with our county commissioners, as we're seeking for safe opening, Lord, would you guide that process? Lord, I pray for our financial need, you know, the need of our church, and you know that we have tightened the belts. We are trying to steward this money well, but we continue to face it. And so I pray that your people would continue to give generously and that we would support what you're doing here. Lord, I pray for this message, would you speak through me? Lord politics is something we don't like to talk about a lot and we want to be careful about it, so I pray that your word. God, would you govern what I say? Would you give us all a spirit of openness and humility to what your spirit wants to do more than anything else? Lord, thank you that you're in control, we come to you because you're King and this is your kingdom. And we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Tim Lundy: 01:38 Well, as we talk about this subject of politics, I want to frame it in the series that we've been in.

Tim Lundy: 01:43 We've been talking about the Kingdom of God, remember it's a big kingdom, and this kingdom is from eternity fast to eternity future. And if we lose sight of that kingdom, I think we can get really head down focused, afraid, arguing, angry, and really divided over this subject. Now last week we looked at some of the principles, principles that we saw in the kingdom of Israel, and things that mattered to God that he commanded his people to do. And I want to remind you though, we have to be careful in that because Israel was a unique kingdom, it was a theocracy. There was a mixture between government and what they believed, the temple system, the priest system, all of it, and God ultimately was their King. The Kingdom of God as displayed to the church today is different, there is no one country, there is no one form of government that is prescribed. That's the beauty of it, the genius of it, I think, is that it transcends all countries, it transcends all systems, and we've seen the Kingdom of God unfold and unleash in all of it.

Tim Lundy: 02:50 And so today I just, I want to walk through some principles, we're going to look at a number of passages. And again, I'll give you some perspective from my perspective, take that part of it. But the part that comes from God's Word, I think all of us have to really take very seriously.

Tim Lundy: 03:05 Look at the first principle, and this again is just to remind you about this series we're in, remember your citizenship and your responsibility as an ambassador. Remember your citizenship, more than your citizenship in any one country is for those of us who are followers of Jesus, our citizenship in heaven, our citizenship in the Kingdom of God. Philippians 3:20 Paul says, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." And I've got to tell you, is I've gone into this political season as I've watched the different parts, I'll track it on social media, I've been reading tons of articles, I watched the debate. I found myself pretty anxious, or other times I get really angry. And the Holy Spirit, almost invariably, in those moments just reminds me again, Tim, you're a citizen of heaven. That doesn't remove my responsibility, doesn't remove my concern or my prayer, but it's amazing the perspective it gives when I just step back and I rest in that, and I realize I'm a citizen of a kingdom that's been unfolding for a couple of thousand years. It's been through a lot of governments, a lot of changes, a lot of rulers, and God's still on the throne.

Tim Lundy: 04:33 And then I remember that second part, Second Corinthians 5:20, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." I remember I'm a citizen, and I have a key role, I'm an ambassador. And I'm to represent the kingdom of heaven here, I'm to make this place more like that place, I'm to pray, thy kingdom come. And so as I've been praying, as I've been thinking about this, any election season or any other cycle, I want to be an ambassador and represent him well, and I want to see this place look more like the Kingdom of God. So as we do that, let's look specifically, how do we approach government then? Number two, recognize the role of government authority in light of God's sovereignty. Then once you get both of those things, because scripture emphasizes, there is a sphere of authority for the government. In fact, if you read the scripture, there's different spheres of authority, all of which fall under God's sovereignty. He's the ultimate authority, and he's given government a sphere of authority, he's given the church a sphere of authority, and he's given the family, the home, a sphere of authority, and you have to be careful that you don't mix all of those things.

Tim Lundy: 05:53 We're looking at the government right now, and that authority derives from God's authority. Look how Peter puts it, we're going to look at Peter, Paul, and Jesus, because all three of them speak to it. Look how Peter puts it in First Peter 2, he says, "Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. " These are pretty strong words, Peter says, your honor the emperor, because it's an authority, he's an authority under God. And you're going to see a key theme in all of these passages, especially as Peter and Paul, that there's a specific role that the government has when it comes to those who do evil and those who do good. And Peter says, those who do evil should fear because the government, even the emperor, has a role of authority from God in order to Institute the good for all people.

Tim Lundy: 07:18 Now, as you look at that, I love the way just puts that at the end. He says, "Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor." And you might look at that and go, well, Peter, that's easy for you to say you don't live in this country, you don't know what we're going through. Let me just pause you for a second, because Peter's living under Nero, he's living under the Roman authority. And I'll remind you, it's the same Roman government that in a few years after he wrote this will crucify him, so he doesn't write this lightly. He's not commanding something that we should just look at and go, well, that's easy for him to say. No, it was hard to say. But he looks at it and he says, as I'm honoring God, I've got to recognize the authority that's been placed over me in that.

Tim Lundy: 08:02 Look how Paul puts it, he does it the same way. Look at Romans 13, we're going to walk through this passage. He says, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." Now notice again, he's appealing to the fact that God is sovereign, he's placed different authorities, different governments in place. And ultimately when you're rebelling against those governments, you're rebelling against God. Now, obviously, and let me make this clear, Paul is not saying that you would obey the government anytime that they go against what God has said, Paul himself models this. But he's talking about where and you have God's authority in place, you've got government laws in place, where they're not calling you to disobey God you're placed under their authority. Now notice he continues on, "For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good." And notice this though, he says, "If you do wrong, be afraid." And look at this slide, "For he does not bear the sword in vain." The word sword here, was the sword of execution, there's a specific term for sword he's using here. And so he's saying God has given the government lethal force to be able to incur judgment where needed, to be able to carry that out, "He is a servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer."

Tim Lundy: 09:43 Now let's stop there in this passage, because I think it's again, a key principle here. Notice he's picking up on the same theme as Peter, one of the core reasons that God's put government in place is so that those who do wrong, those who break the law, those who terrorize around the world, those who are doing acts of injustice, they should be afraid. That's one of the things that God's looking to a government, as his minister, to carry out justice in that way. Now here's the flip side of it, those who do good, those who are obeying the law, those who've not disrupted, should not live in fear. And so part of that governmental authority, there's two sides of it. One there to be executing justice in a way that those who do wrong should be afraid, they're to be executing justice in a way that those who live good and upright lives don't need to live in fear. And as I look at this, you look at it, everything from how we approach, whether we're going to engage another country, whether we're going to engage terrorism, any of the things with that, you have to go back to a passage like this, and what is the authority God's given?

Tim Lundy: 10:50 You look at it currently with the situation around police officers and what we should do in it, and there's an outcry around that. And frankly, this passage should inform us. Now let's take one side of it, let's say I told you within a city, that the police officers were not arresting criminals. Let's say they had been paid off, the mafia had moved in or drug dealers were paying off the police officer, and so those who were doing wrong, didn't live in fear because it was corrupt police officers. We would have an outcry, we would say, hey, that needs to be cleaned up. And frankly, well, this is one of the things I like about our police system, they have internal affairs, they investigate those things, they care about that. Because police officers out there, they want to work with honest cops, they want to be involved in an honest system. Now the flip of that is true, if I went out there and said, okay, someone is afraid. And Paul is saying, you don't need to be afraid if you're living right, you don't have to be afraid because of your race, you don't have to be afraid because your socioeconomic status, you have to be afraid for any other reason, we need a system that people who are doing right, don't have to live in fear. And so in the same way, I would say, we look at it and we go, let's make sure we've set up an honest justice system, let’s make sure that all people across the socioeconomic spectrum are receiving the same laws.

Tim Lundy: 12:21 I think one of the things that's burdensome to me and we've almost accepted in America today. And you'll hear this said, you can get away with anything if you have enough money, that's a broken part of the system. And again, I'm not saying it's a perfect system and has to be a perfect system, but we should look at that and go money should not allow you to live without fear, if you're doing wrong. Guys, there's not simplicity in all this and here's what I would believe, I believe that our police officers and our police forces, if you talk and you interact with most of them, they want these things too. They want there to be honesty and root out any corruption, that they want there to be honesty and root out any racism, but we are fallen people and we live in a fallen world. And so I think as Christians, as we come to this, we look at it and we go, okay, how can we be a part of the solution? How can we come alongside and support our police officers where we need it? How can we look at the systems around it? Maybe they need other support systems with them. How can we ask honest questions?

Tim Lundy: 13:30 And as you look at it, look how Paul answers it. He says, in light of this, look what you do. Look at the final part of this passage, he says, "Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." Notice what Paul is specifically saying, it's not my right to decide what I'm going to defund, I don't just declare that. He says, you have a responsibility that we have officials that carry this out well, and one of the ways that we do this is we have to pay taxes to support those officials. To make sure our police departments, our justice system, have the right funding, to make sure they have the right oversight, to make sure that we're looking at the system as a whole, and we come alongside in it. So that, and hear me clearly, so that you have the kind of system that if someone's committing a crime, no matter who they are, no matter what their race, Paul says, they should be afraid, the system is there for it. And likewise, hear me, if someone's not committing a crime, if someone's not done something wrong, they shouldn't live afraid no matter what their race, no matter what their status.

Tim Lundy: 15:02 And I think if we step away from the inflamed part of it, all of us want this. We may disagree how to get it, we may look at it in different ways, but we should want this principle that Paul's teaching in it. Notice he ends the same way Peter did. He says, you need to honor, look specifically, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. And I think this principle is lost in our system right now, and this is both parties. We've lost the ability to respect people because of their office. And again, I'll just remind you when Paul wrote this, Nero's in office, and so he's not looking at this emperor that was so respectable that he deserved it. But he said because of the system, and because of ultimately I'm answering to God and I'm trusting him in it. This would be the same Roman government that beheaded Paul, but he calls us to live this out.

Tim Lundy: 16:04 Look at the passage around Jesus, and this is the third one on this principle, and I'll finish this section with it. But again, I think it's really important how Jesus handled it. One day, the Pharisees and the leaders they came and they asked Jesus, they said, what do you think about the tax? Look at the passage, verse 17 of Matthew 22, Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?" Jesus knew this was a test guys, because just like today, you know, we are debating so much over these political issues, and the same way, this was one of the biggest political issues of their time. Because the specific tax he is talking about was the [inaudible], the poll tax. It was the tax that was required of all people in the empire and specifically of the Jews, and it was the denarius. A denarius was one day's pay, and you had to pay it once a year, and the Romans used the money from this tax in order to fund their oppression of Judea. So they would take this money and oppress the Jews over it, and the Jews hated it. In fact, there had been a revolt about this tax before Jesus's time, Judas Maccabeus had led a revolt over this specific tax.

Tim Lundy: 17:25 And so the Pharisees are coming, because they want to capture Jesus. If Jesus says he's against the tax, then the Romans are going to haul him off. If Jesus says he's for the tax, they're going to look at it and they go, oh, you don't care about the oppression of the Jews. You don't care about systemic injustice here, you don't care about what's going on. So they're trying to capture Jesus in this aha moment, and so look what Jesus says to them. I love the way he approaches this, He says, "Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Now specifically this description on the denarius would say, Tiberius Augustus Caesar, and it would have his picture on it, son of the divine Augustus Caesar. That was part of the reason the Jews hated paying this tax, because it was considered a sign of worship to Cesar as well. And so he says, show me who's likeness this is, and they look at it and he says, okay, it Caesar's likeness isn't it, on the coin. And then he continues, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”. So we know what the things that are Caesar's are that he's referring to. What's he referring to? He's referring to the coin, because Caesar's likeness was engraved on it. But what are the things of God? See for this Jewish audience, they would know specifically what he's talking about. Who was created in the likeness of God? Who bears the imprint of God upon them? Human beings. Here's what Jesus is saying, give Caesar the money because it bears his image, let him have his. Do you know what God wants? Do you know what God deserves. Everything that bears his image, you, all of who you are, that's what you give to God.

Tim Lundy: 19:31 See, what Jesus did in that moment, how he transcends this argument, that is not much different from how we argue today. And he looks at it and he says, hey, pay your tax, give to Caesar what is Caesar's? Because Jesus is following the same principles that Paul and Peter will teach in it, but then he calls us to something higher. He says, there's something higher than the tax, there's something higher than Caesar, there's something higher than the Roman system, it's what God calls you to. And because you were created in the image and likeness of God, all of you, it's given to him.

Tim Lundy: 20:12 So as we look at all three of these, look at them together. And again, I'll remind you, Jesus is talking about the same Roman system that crucified him, so he doesn't say these words lightly. If Peter can live this out, if Paul can live this out, if Jesus lived this out, surely we can learn from it as well. Now there's a nuance I want to add, you're probably sitting there saying, but Tim, our government's a little bit different than that. Look at number three, steward your rights and fulfill your responsibilities according to what God has given you. We have to steward our rights. So unlike Paul, unlike Peter, unlike Jesus, we live in a representative government. We live in a government that was set up from the beginning, it's by the people for the people. That means I actually have rights within this government. I have the right to vote. I have the right to speak free speech with it. I have the right to call my representatives, to call my leaders out, that's a right that was given. And anytime you have a right, anytime you have a benefit in scripture, scripture calls us that you have to steward that, that's something that I'll have to answer to God about.

Tim Lundy: 21:26 So that's what Jesus said, in Luke 12, "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." Jesus is talking about the principle of the talents here, but it applies to any of life. If you've received anything, one day, you're going to stand before God and you have to give an account, what did I do with that? What did I do with my resources? What did I do with my money? What did I do with my home? What'd I do with my time? What did I do with my rights? What did I do with my boat? How did that steward that in a way that would bring honor to God? Guys, God actually cares about these things, that we use our rights for the sake of the kingdom.

Tim Lundy: 22:13 An interesting case of this, you see Paul doing this, and you remember Paul was a Roman citizen and that carried with it great rights. Most of the empire did not have citizenship, but if you were a Roman citizen, there were certain laws that only applied to you. I don't know if you remember the story in Acts 16, when he was in Philippi, and he cast a demon out of this one girl. And because he does, it causes this riot in the city, he's brought before the officials, Paul and Silas, they are beaten, they're beaten without trial, they're thrown into prison. It says that night they're in prison. After they're beaten, they're singing, they're singing because they praise God. They know God's in control, even though their rights had been abused, even though this great injustice, man, they're about the gospel. So they're singing in there, and as they're singing, there's an earthquake and they can leave the jail if they want, but they choose to stay. And the jailer comes out and he's despondent, because if they're gone, his life would be at risk. And they said, don't worry, we're all here. And through that, there is an opportunity to lead the jailer to Christ and his family.

Tim Lundy: 23:22 Now the next morning, the word gets back to the city leaders, the magistrates, oh, you know those two guys that you beat, they're Roman citizens. You're not allowed to do that to a citizen, you didn't have a trial. And so they come to him and they go, Hey, Paul, um, a little embarrassing, you're free to go. Look at his response though, But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” Then you go, whoa, man, Paul's demanding his rights here. "The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens." Now, why is Paul doing this? Because he's lost his temper? He's demanding his rights? No, he has a purpose behind it. Remember, he's just coming to Philippi and he's trying to establish a church. He has new converts, and these new converts have just seen their leader beaten, and now he's going to be escorted out of the city privately. And Paul realizes, man, if I do that, if I don't stand up for the rights I have, man, that is going to put this church in a bad place.

Tim Lundy: 24:47 So look what he does in the next passage, "So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city." Paul doesn't leave yet though, "So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia." She's one of those converts, "And then they went and saw the brothers, they encouraged them, and then they departed." Now here's the principle I want you to learn, Paul doesn't just demand his rights for the sake of his rights, he demands it for the sake of the kingdom. But here's what he's doing, he recognizes, I have rights as a Roman citizen, how can I use those rights for the sake of the kingdom? How can I use those rights for the sake of others? How do I steward those well?

Tim Lundy: 25:25 So let me ask you about your rights, and here's a real simple one. Have you registered to vote? You have the right to speak into our governmental process. Have you registered to vote? See if you haven't, that is really poor stewardship, I'll just call it for what it is. And I think God will look at us one day and go, I gave you this, right, you got to live in a country like this. How did you use this for the sake of others? Now some of you go, oh Tim, what is one vote matter? Oh, it's a lot of trouble. Well, let me ask you this scenario, if God gave you $10,000. Let's say, God said, I'm putting $10,000 in the bank account, and I want you to go take that money and it will benefit you, but I want you to use it for others. I want you to help the poor. I want you to find some way that you could really use it for the kingdom. And then if God came later and he said to you, so how did you use that money? And you looked at him and said, you know, I actually, I didn't go do it. I realized I was going to have to go down to the bank, and you have to fill out these papers. And I mean, here's the reality, there are so many needs in the world. What difference would $10,000 really make, honestly, is it really going to make that much of a difference? Do you think God would look at you at that point and go, you've been a really poor steward of what I gave you.

Tim Lundy: 26:51 And I'd say in the same way, I think for those of us who have a responsibility, who have a right, we need to register, we need to get informed. And when I say that, hear me, because we make everything about the presidential election. Do you realize there's so much more going on than just a presidential election, as important as that is? Do you realize how other officials impact us? Do you realize how many are local, are county commissioners? So much of what we're dealing with in opening the church and wanting to move forward, we're dealing with at a county level, more than we are at any other level with that. Do you know who your commissioners are? Do you know who your state senators are? Do we know the propositions that are on the ballot that impact people's livelihoods, that impact our community? See guys, I think we have a responsibility as followers of Christ to register, it's not too late. Do you know in California, you can register, if you go in person, you can register all the way up to the election. I'm just asking you, would you steward that well?

Tim Lundy: 28:01 As you do that, a few final things. Number four, pray for your rulers and for God's guidance in your vote. Pray for your rulers, guys, we need to be praying about this. And specifically, here's what God convicted me of, I need to pray, God, will you lead me in who to vote for? I don't want to just assume, I believe you actually have the Holy Spirit in me. Paul tells Timothy in First Timothy 2, "Pray for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." Man, guys, let's pray for that. Wouldn't you want to pray that we would see a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified? "This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Notice Paul always keeps the main thing, the main thing. He says, man, when you're praying for rulers, when you're praying for authority, he says, you're not just praying that so that you have better taxes, you're not just praying that so that they'll do what you like. He says, the purpose we do this is because we're ambassadors and we want to see people come to Christ. Are you praying about how you vote?

Tim Lundy: 29:15 And then with this, and I'll just say this on a practical level, evaluate a candidate based on their character and the platform they represent. So as you pray and when it comes to the presidential election as well, we have to evaluate, first of all, based on character. And as Christians, we used to talk a lot about character in our candidates, we talked a lot about character in our leaders, and I don't think we should lose that. I don't think we should allow ourselves in our disappointment of the choices that we have, that we suddenly remove that from the equation. And so one of the things I pray for is God reveal character because people make decisions based on their character. You know, them by their fruit, you know, their fruit is the result of what's going on in their heart. So we evaluate character. And then with that, you evaluate the platform. And here's all, I mean with that, what are the things they stand for? What are the things that are declaring they would do? And what I try to do is I just go down the line and go, what are the issues that I really believe that are important so that this place looks more like the Kingdom of God? What are the issues when it comes to racial issues? And I pray about it when I'm looking at a candidate and I go, I want my country to look like the Kingdom of God, and so how are people treated fairly, no matter what their race. I look at social and economic issues, how does our justice system apply to that?

Tim Lundy: 30:46 And again, as I bring up these issues, I'm not prescribing where you should land in it. I just think these are things that we should care about. I think we should care about those who are without, we should care about immigration and what's going on with it. I think we should care about abortion, it's a critical issue for me. I brought it up last week because I believe so much in it. I don't think it's the only issue, but it is a critical issue. I want to clarify one thing because I made a statement last week and someone wrote me and corrected me, and I appreciated that. You know, I really spoke out against planned Parenthood because I do believe it, I'll say this on record, I think it's insidious as an organization. And in it, I said that 80% of all abortions at planned Parenthood are in the black community. And someone wrote me, it's actually 80% are in the black and Hispanic community, and so I want to be absolutely clear on that part and always be correct. But again, it doesn't erase the point, an organization founded on eugenics, it's no surprise that would be people of color. But as we talk about abortion, we've got to be clear, why is it that a poor community would be more susceptible? And what are the other policies that are in play, not just the laws about abortion. I want to see the law stricken, but I also want to see the kind of environment that no one would ever want to. And guys, no matter what race, because here's the latest numbers. In the white community since 1965, almost 29 million abortions. In the black community since 1965, almost 19 million abortions. In the Spanish community since 1965, over 9 million abortions. And I'll look at that and I don't care what you're standing, I don't care where you are. Here's what I firmly believe, this country would be so much better if all those babies were born, this country would be so much better if our population actually represented all that would have been born. So I absolutely want to see the law stricken, but I also want to look and go, how do we come alongside and change the socioeconomic policies that would make something like this feel like the only option for some people.

Tim Lundy: 33:16 You know, as I say the word option, I just think of the partner organization we have, Real Options. And I love that organization, because I believe they are going into those communities, they are going into places, they are providing medical care and they're providing an option for those who want to keep their children, who don't want to make this choice. And so in all of these things, how do we weigh that together? I wish it was real simple, I wish you could just go, oh man, vote exactly like this. But the reality is it's hard today, when you start weighing all these things together. I just believe it's our responsibility as Christians to steward this well.

Tim Lundy: 34:01 And as we do this, the final point, I just ask you, will you guard your witness to the world and the unity of the church? Guard your witness. Paul says in Ephesians 4, "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Paul says, no matter what, you walk worthy, no matter what season you keep the unity of the peace. Because hear me, and some of you're not going to like to hear this, but I've talked to enough of you. I get the privilege as pastor of just hearing from people from all across the spectrum, in our church and across with it. And hear me, on election day there are Christians who are praying about this, who are walking through this, who are thinking through all the issues, who are applying God's Word to the best of their ability, and they're going to vote Republican. And there are Christians who are thinking about this, and praying about this, and applying God's Word, and working through this to the best of their ability, trying to apply it, and they vote Democrat. And there are Christians who will do that as well, and they don't feel like they can vote for either in the presidential race, and they'll be voting third party in that. Now, as I say that you may vehemently disagree with a couple of those choices, you probably do. We can disagree, but let's not divide because Jesus calls us to something higher.

Tim Lundy: 35:37 You know, it's interesting to me that Jesus's disciples around his group of 12, he had 2 people who were as far apart politically as any group could be, I would say further than Republican and Democrat today. He had Simon, the zealot, and Matthew, the tax collector, and guys, it was just as heated then, people were just as hateful, even more so. Simon, the zealot, the zealots believed that it was okay to assassinate a Roman official if you could. That's how zealot they were, that's how strongly they believed. Because they said Rome was so oppressive, Rome was so wrong, that you could take the power into your own hands and overthrow it. Then on the other side, you have Matthew, who's so embedded with Rome, he's at the front line working for them. You don't think those 2 guys hated each other when they walked through the door with each other, but what changed? See Jesus had called them to something greater, and higher, and bigger. And it's interesting as I read through all the gospels, I never see political squabbles. Doesn't mean they didn't have them, we don't know all the conversations they had around the fire at night. But if you look at it, they committed themselves to the mission of the kingdom. I don't say that to diminish our politics, I certainly don't say that to diminish your vote, I think you have to steward it well.

Tim Lundy: 37:11 But guys, more than anything, we have an opportunity going into this election and coming out of it to model to the world what we really believe. And King Jesus said to us in John 13, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jesus said, this is the identifying mark of my disciples, you love each other, more than anything else, you love each other. And so I want to challenge you, and I want to call you, you can't have a kingdom without a King. And if he gets to be King, guess what, his word goes. More than what we feel, more than what we like. More than what might come naturally to us. Listen to me, our King has looked us in the eye and he said, this is how the world's going to know your mine, love each other. Guys, we've got a great opportunity, we've got a great challenge. Let's live like citizens, let's be ambassadors, let's rally together united as the church no matter what we face.

Tim Lundy: 38:24 Will you pray with me? Father, I do thank you for your kingdom, I thank you that you're in control. Lord, I pray that you would guide us as your church. I hear the divided voices, I know that we disagree in deep ways. Lord, I pray that these disagreements would not keep us from the mission, would not divide us as your people. Lord, I pray for this country, we are going into hard election and frankly, we need your grace. Lord, I pray that we would rest in the fact that you were the one who raises up Kings and you're also the one that removes them. And so we trust you with that, but Lord, we want to steward well what you've given us. I pray that we get informed, I pray that we'd know the issues. Lord, we may disagree over size of government or different types of programs, but we want to rally around the truth that you've called us to. So Father, we lay this at your feet, we thank you that you're a King, and we worship you. In fact, we run to you, because we need you as our King, as our Father, and as our Savior. We pray this in Christ' name. Amen.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600