September 14, 2010 3 min to read
In the World But Not of the World: Not Being Sidetracked
Category : Blogs (Faith), Life-Ecstatic (Faith)
(Image sourced from here.)
This is the third part of many in which I will share some of my thoughts as I plan for a sermon I’ll be preaching at my church, Church on the Square (Sandton), this coming Sunday, 19 September.
Once we understand our unique calling and the uniqueness of the Kingdom of God, we are better equipped to not be sidetracked by the Enemy (the Devil) and this world, and get involved in missions that have nothing or very little to do with the Kingdom of God and God’s main objective in this world.
Jesus was born into a hot political climate, yet the Scriptures don’t have one recording of any moment when he made any political declaration or comment of any sort unto the political issues of the day.
The State rules by the sword, and so it should. It is interested in outward conformity not inward change, unlike Christianity which is interested in inward change and transformation of the heart.
In Matt 26:50, one of Jesus’ disciples (Simon Peter, according to the book of John) cut the ear off of one of the men that came to arrest Jesus. Jesus rebukes him and says that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. He then heals the man’s ear. The Kingdom, as we see, is a healing Kingdom not a Kingdom of the sword. The state wields the sword, the church wields reconciliation, self-sacrificial calvary, unconditional love, and such things.
The Church is called to turn the other cheek, the State is not. When we mix Christianity / the Church / the Kingdom with the State, we usually get a Church that wields a sword (now acting as the State), enforcing people to bow to its State Religion. It can either go this way or it can become a state that turns the other cheek on its enemies, which has never happened in world history because no state could possibly do that.
So that’s why State and Church cannot mix. They must never be the same thing. Christians should not let politicians play the “Christian vote” either, in my opinion.
Jesus explains why he didn’t get wangled into the politics of his day in John 19: 33 – 38, where he clearly says His Kingdom is not of this world, and if it were his followers would be fighting. But they weren’t. His is not a political Kingdom but an altogether ‘Other’ Kingdom.
The primary concern of the Christian is the Kingdom, not politics. When guys want to burn Korans they are making political statements, not Jesus statements. When guys want to make who you vote for a sign of whether you’re a Christian, they are not making Jesus statements. When guys want to make how you view Israel a sign of your Christianity, those are political statements, not Jesus statements.
What are Jesus statements? Well, when you walk alongside someone hurting — praying for them, helping them, caring for them, walking alongside with them, being their friend, crying with them, laughing with them, and ultimately leading them to God, THAT’S a Jesus statement. Remember, Jesus said that whenever we feed the poor and visit those in prison it’s as if we were doing that for Him.
I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t or can’t give their political opinions, they’re welcome to do so, but nine times out of ten political opinions are nothing more than opinions, but some do declare that their political opinion is the Christian or Bible opinion. It’s not.
Tomorrow I’ll make a more clear post on how we, as Christians, are not ruled by ideologies but by our King. Ideologies come second, Kingdom comes first. We’ll expound on that then.