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October 21, 2020 2:00 am
Bob Lepine's paraphrase of the words of the Apostle Paul asserts that gospel unity should always be more important, more significant, and more powerful than whatever our disagreements are about, who we're voting for, or our views on governance. Hear the conclusion of Bob's sermon, reminding believers of the importance of Humility, Civility, and Unity in Political Discourse.
Show Notes and Resources
Listen or watch the entire series from Bob Lepine at https://redeemerlr.org/sermon-series/jesus-politics-and-the-gospel/
Join Bob Lepine for a virtual small group on his new book, Love Like You Mean It. https://www.familylife.com/love-like-you-mean-it-study-fb-live/
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Think about a conversation you've had recently with friends or family members about politics or current events.
Here's a question was that conversation filled with the fruit of the spirit. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson and Bob Lapine can find us firstname.lastname@example.org when we talk about politics with friends or family members, coworkers, is there a Christian way to have those conversations and what is that Christian way will talk more about that today. Stay with us and welcome to family life to.
Thanks for joining us.
Is it possible for people who are in the same family or in the same church to look at the upcoming election and say I'm voting for this person. The other person says I'm voting for that person and both of these people love Christ and I just see this differently. Is that possible impossible. It cannot happen if we all in Christ, we should all vote for the same guy they actually went alive. That is a lot of fun being facetious. A lot of people actually think that, and yet the body of Christ should be a unified body where you have different perspectives and still love one another and and that doesn't mean that we set aside biblical instruction.
In fact, that she would inform Howard in make up our minds, but I have people who are no love Jesus, who are going to vote differently that I'm going to vote and I can't say that those people don't love Jesus because they're not voting the way I'm about, but it is hard to have that perspective because you think ointment I can give you five reasons why you shouldn't vote that way and even tie them to a biblical foundation and that's work it's hard it's like how could you in their yard. Well good thing Megan had this message to help teach us on rules of engagement that way. I had an opportunity recently to speak at our church on the subject of Jesus, politics, and the gospel three messages on this. All of them are on our email@example.com both the audio and the video is available and I I spoke in the first message about the goodness of government. It's one of the institutions God has given us in the second message I talked about the need for unity in the body of Christ and how we pursue unity even when we don't agree on secondary things and I think we have to say that political elections are secondary things there. Some people just flinched when I said that but I think that's true, and then the third message which again is up on our website is how do you think biblically about who you should vote for. How do you have make a biblically informed decision. Again, recognizing different people or to come to different conclusions on that. Okay, enough talk about we get to hear the sermon. So this is a let's go. This is part two of the message I shared recently on how we get along with people we don't agree with Jesus, called each one of the 12 who were his disciples right and he knew who he was calling he knew their background.
He knew what they were bringing to the group and two of the men he chose well to say that these two guys would have seen things differently would have been an understatement. One of the guys he chose was Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector, a tax collector was a guy who had a franchise with the Roman government to set up a tax collection zone and he went around and he enforced the tax collection from the Jewish citizens, the franchise was a lucrative franchise you could make a lot of money as a tax gather so you could be a rich, outcast. If you are a tax collector. That's Matthew he'd gotten the franchise he'd been collecting taxes. He made a lot of money and a lot of enemies. He's one of the 12.
One of the others that Jesus chose was a guy named Simon not Simon Peter. But Simon, who is described in the Bible as Simon the zealot, now that doesn't mean that Simon was just a passionate guy sometimes will say you such a zealot, we mean that person just has passionate feelings about something. Simon was a part of a group called the zealot's.
The zealots were committed to the overthrow of the Roman government. They hated the Romans they were extremists they were militant. They were violent they were outlaws. They were convinced that paying taxes to Caesar, a pagan king was an act of treason against God.
Jesus says come be my disciples. Tax gather and zealot come, let's have dinner together.
These are guys who are going to naturally come at this with two different worldviews about how you apply your faith in the political structure of the day and somehow these two men learned to love one another.
I'm sure that Simon's zealousness was corrected. I'm sure that Matthew's greed was corrected sanctified over time, but they found their unity in Jesus. How we function as citizens of the United States. What we believe about Jesus and the gospel.
What we believe about the Bible should inform and shape how we make political choices and decisions. We should be advocates for righteousness and godliness in our culture, we should participate as citizens in a democracy that matters.
We should care about these things. These issues that were dealing with in our culture should matter to us. We should be informed and we should vote we should fully participate in our democracy. It's a privilege and a responsibility to do so, we ought not neglected so we need to be fully engaged as citizens and we need to have our biblical views informed that and when we have people in our church or outside of our church who disagree with our political views in the church. We need to be pursuing gospel unity as we interact over these things and do nothing to threaten our gospel unity as we interact on our disagreements and outside the church as we interact with people who view the world differently than we we need to be extending dignity and value and worth.
We need to be interacting with humility and with civility be engaged citizens, but don't make the outcome of the election or your support for a candidate into more than it ought to be and don't make political allegiance. A more important or more significant matter than our shared allegiance to Jesus in the church. If a brother or sister in Christ, has a different political view than you. You want to feel free to engage in discussion and debate to go back and forth to seek to persuade one another that's healthy and good. It can even be lively and vigorous conversation as long as you know, and they know and everybody around you knows that even if you disagree even if you don't get on the same side. Your love for one another. Your bond for one another in gospel unity is not threatened by these political conversations.
Your love for one another is not contingent upon your political alignment. If your political alignment and agreement begins to threaten love and unity within the body of Christ political alignment and agreement have become too significant for you unity and love for one another is a serious matter. We need to take it seriously. We also need to take seriously our responsibility as representatives of Jesus as ambassadors for Christ, to make sure that our engagement in political conversations with friends or coworkers or family members anyone whether there are Christian or non-Christian. Those conversations reflect both truth and grace will take you through about 1/2 dozen versus that are passages of Scripture that I think apply to how we interact with one another on political issues on issues of controversy that have to be political issues.
It just seems those are the issues today. I'll call these are rules for engagement on these issues. Ephesians 4 verses one through three, Paul says in a political dialogue or engagement. According to Ephesians we should walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patients bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The last part is about unity in the body of Christ. But even outside of that that tells us first of all, when you're engaging in any kind of interaction particularly in this case political dialogue. Make sure your walking in a manner worthy you're representing Jesus the way we ought to be representing him.
So what is that look like humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain peace and when it's brothers and sisters in Christ to maintain unity if you're having a political dialogue and you're not able to have that dialogue with a spirit of humility, gentleness, patients, forbearance, love and peace. It's time to tap out and go take a timeout day because Jesus wants you to walk in a manner worthy and worthiness means humility, gentleness, patients, forbearance, but here's the problem we face when you watch political discourse happening on Fox News or MSNBC or CNN or twitter. We don't see humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance piece that does not get you ratings or clicks. Don't get sucked into the culture's way of engaging in political issues doing Jesus way with humility, gentleness and patience, forbearance, love pursuing peace along those lines.
Here's the next passage for us. This is from second Timothy chapter 2. Our next rule for engagement the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach patiently enduring evil correcting his opponents with gentleness God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will that this is not a suggestion. It's not an idea that you know try not to get into a quarrel. The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome. Instead, the Lord's servant must be kind kind of what to say kind to everyone, and then it says you must patiently endure what evil really patiently endure evil that's what it says. Here's what it means patiently enduring evil means that when people are rude or unkind toward you, you endure when they're foolish and hotheaded you don't join them down in the mud. How do you perceive well, it says you correct with gentleness and meekness.
If you are engaged in a political dialogue and you find yourself becoming quarrelsome or unkind or inpatient or harsh.
You have fallen into the trap timeout go back your corner get centered. You're not doing it the Jesus Way that here's the next rule of engagement for this one. James one. Know this, my beloved brothers, let everyone everyone. Every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. That is a supply and political discourse. Yes, quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger when you start to feel the anger churning. You need to quiet your own soul. Now the question comes up here but what if it's holy indignation of the reason you're stirred up is because the glory of God is being attacked well. God gets angry. That's true in the Bible tells us to be angry but do not sin. The reality is that most of us, even if the glory of God being attacked is a factor most of us have a little bit of remaining sin that's mixed in with that and were really mad in part because our our way is being inconvenienced because our desires are not being fulfilled so it's possible to have a little bit of righteous anger in you, but it's probably co-mingled with your indwelling sin. You just need to be careful what you're saying.
Well I have righteous anger here, just judge that rightly that here's another one, one that you know Paul says I say to you walk by the Spirit, and then later he explains what walking by the spirit is gonna produce when you walk by the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law. The fruit of the spirit is not something we can set aside when we come to talk politics.
Political discussion is not a fruit of the spirit free zone like some people like to think well or not about politics. I don't have to be patient here to be kind to your kind I don't have to be the fruit of the spirit is what will emerge in your life when you are walking in the spirit so if it's not coming out of you. Guess what, you're not walking in the spirit and this is true whether you have a political conversation or doing laundry or in the line at the grocery store.
If your life is not manifesting love, joy, peace, patient kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, something other than the Holy Spirit is in control of you.
And when that happens it's time to call a timeout time to pray trying to confess to God that you are out of his will in time to surrender again to his control over you.
Ephesians 6 tells us there's a bigger battle going on the one between the Republicans and the Democrats. We recognize that the political instability in our day has a spiritual route to it.
Paul says put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, putting on the breastplate of righteousness goes on with that this passage is a reminder that when you're trying to survive emotionally in this season of politics when you're trying to engage with others on politics or policy you need to make sure that you are spiritually armored up every day you don't go into these conversations unless you are walking by the spirit and you put your spiritual armor on.
If you do your heading in the battle unprotected and there is an enemy who wants to use this political season to disrupt and destroy your walk with Jesus. If you're not praying regularly, often without ceasing, as the Bible says if you're not spending time in God's word reading it, memorizing and meditating on if you're not connecting regularly with other believers for fellowship and encouragement and support.
If you're not.
Gathering for worship regularly both with others in corporate worship like this, but also having time to private worship where you are singing hymns to God in the shower or in your quiet time.
Wherever you do it if you're not doing these things, you will not survive the spiritual attacks that are headed our way to, here's the last verse will look at. Although there are many more. We could look at this 1 Brings Us Back Full Cir. to the audience into key remember them after Paul calls them out in the letter to the Philippians and tells them they need to agree in the Lord. Here's what he says to them. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Another way to say this is let everyone see your spirit in power, gentleness and patience in every situation.
Pastor Ray Ortman says in a world of outrage reasonableness will stand out. I think he's right. Showing unity and love for one another in Christ is gonna stand up. By this all men will know you're my disciples. So let's keep these rules of engagement in front of us, not just in the season, but for every season of life. A close with this was in the middle working on this message. This week on Friday when I got the news about the death of Supreme Court Justice recredited in the middle of all of the attributes to her life and her career in all of the speculation about how the president and Senate are going to handle this how they should handle it how this might affect the election.
I was reminded of the fact that Justice Ginsburg had a best friend who served with her on the Supreme Court, a fellow Justice who four years ago died in the middle of another presidential election. That's Antonin Scalia and when she eulogized him at his memorial service.
She referred to him as her best buddy court watchers know that Scalia and Ginsburg were polar opposites on the court's glia was among the most ideologically conservative members of the court. Ginsburg was a reliable liberal if there was a 54 split on a boat you could pretty much be sure that Ginsburg was on one side and Scalia was on the other. They did not see things the same way. And yet, when Justice glia died. The family asked Justice Ginsburg to speak at his memorial service and she called him her best buddy ideological opposites and best buddies hours after Justice Ginsburg's death.
Scalia's son Christopher tweeted a story that explained how his dad saw Justice Ginsburg.
This story had been converted by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, who had clerked for Scalia about and then countered that Sutton that had light in his dad's life with the adjuster so he said he walked into Judge Scalia's office. He says during one of my last visits with Justice glia I saw striking evidence of the Scalia Ginsburg relationship. I got up to leave his chambers and he pointed to two dozen roses on the table and noted we needed to take them down to Ruth for her birthday. Wow, I said, I doubt I'd given a total of 24 roses to my wife and almost 30 years of marriage. He said you try it sometime. Unwilling to give him the last word he said. I pushed back so what good have always roses done for you name 154 case of any significance where you got Justice Ginsburg's boat.
Some things Scalia answered, are more important than boats.
I let him have the last word. Listen folks, if a lifelong Roman Catholic and a secular Jew who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum can be best buddies.
Can we have unity in the body of Christ are on the gospel. Can we be civil and respectful and kind toward those with whom we disagree or somebody you need to give a few roses to this week. As you dialogue even in your differences. If Scalia and Ginsburg can be civil Followers of Jesus. Excel still Bob, you nailed it was so good anyway. You only need to respond to our right now I'm so inspired and gives you hope when I I just feel such a burden where we are as a nation for where we are as a church for our discourse as as I said, I think how we disagree with one another, may be as significant, or even more significant than the substance of our disagreement. If we can't demonstrate civility and humility and the dignity of other people, then we ought to just keep her mouth shut and the world is watching us right if we can't model unity in the body of Christ. They're not interested in our gospel used a phrase that I don't think will be in the shorter version that the phrase was we had blood bought unity explained well in the body of Christ we are united not by our political views. We are united by the fact that Jesus shed his blood to bring us into his family and you go back to the beginning of what we heard today. Think of Matthew and Simon the zealot from two different backgrounds with two different perspectives and yet Jesus knit them together through the blood that he shed on the cross in making them sons of the kingdom, and I just think we need to remember. That's a bigger priority in our lives than who gets elected in the next couple weeks to take it seriously, send to family and friends before the election. Well, all three of these messages from this series are available on our firstname.lastname@example.org and you can download the audio and view the video you can share the links with others. If you'd like to recommend it to them again, go to our website. Family life to date.com and look for the series that is titled Jesus politics and the gospel. Again, go to family life to date.com and the information you need is available there so you can access these messages while you're on our website look for information about the upcoming Facebook live small group that were doing. It starts next Thursday night October 29. The ghost three Thursday nights in a row.
7 o'clock central time is our start time.
Couples are invited to join Dave and M and me as we talk about what real love looks like in marriage. This is our love, like you mean it. Marriage small group we got a brand-new video series that's about to come out on this in order to give you a sneak preview of that video series let you in on the inside. When you sign up for the small group so I get more information about how you can be part of the love like you mean it.
Marriage small group on Facebook live with Dave and Ann Wilson and me. It starts next Thursday night at 7 o'clock central time and the information is available online in family life to date.com not tomorrow were to hear from Alex Kendrick, the guy who you know for movies like overcome her courageous facing the Giants, other movies Alex has great message for us about how we can more effectively be praying for our kids will hear that message tomorrow. I hope you can join us for that think our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson and Bob Lapine will see you back tomorrow for another edition of family life today. Family life to day is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow