*On November 9, the country woke up to a new president elect, surprising a great deal of people including people in this church. This nation has been through some harrowing times in our history, we have dealt with cultural anxiety and anger as a country before. September 11, 2001 was one of those times.
But this is different because the inciting incident hasn’t brought us together, it has divided us against each other even further. Pew research center, “more than 4 in 10 voters believe that the other side’s policies are so misguided that they pose a threat to the nation.” 55% of democrats say the republican party makes them afraid. 49% of republicans say the same thing about democrats. That means that basically half of the country is terrified of the other half and convinced that they are destroying what makes America strong.
I believe the anxiety, fear, hurt and anger are only going to increase in the coming days and while it is a very painful time, regardless of how you cast your vote, I believe the church has an obligation to show this culture that there is a vision for another way in God’s kingdom.
Never in modern history has there been a more important time for the American church to embody the Kingdom. In God’s kingdom, powerful people always move toward powerless people. Jesus was the very model of finding marginalized people, humans that society had deemed unclean or unwelcome and welcomed them into community. So if you are a woman, or if your skin is a color other than white, or if you are a man, or if your skin color is white, if you are an immigrant or have a disability of some kind, or a police officer, if you are not a follower of Christ but follow another religion or no religion at all. If you are attracted to people of your same gender, the gospel of Jesus is for you and this church is a place where you can encounter Jesus, be scandalized by Jesus and transformed by his Spirit. None of us who encounter Christ stay the same. Behold the old has gone and the new has come. In Christ, you are a new creation. The church exists as an outpost of God’s Kingdom welcoming all humans and honoring their inherent dignity and value.
Russell Moore said, “We’re not getting anywhere as long as we gather in church with people we’d gather with if Jesus were still dead.”
But there sure is a lot of fear and anger now days. But fear and anger never casts out fear and anger, it only ever breeds more. If you’d like evidence of that, just open your favorite social media feed. People who disagree talking past each other until the “other” becomes reduced to 2 dimensions in your head. And there you stand full of self righteousness as you thank God that you are not like that person, a sinner.
But scripture reminds us that perfect love casts out all fear and Jesus is perfect love.
Jesus doesn’t fit into one political party. He is too big for the white house, for example. That’s because Jesus isn’t president, he is something else altogether. Jesus is King, so he transcends any one party and one president, and he transcends any single nation.
If you are a Christian, you are commanded by scripture to pray for your nation’s leaders, whether you agree on issues or not.
You pray FOR a president, but you pray TO a king.
You vote FOR a president, but you WORSHIP a King.
And Discovery church exists, not for presidential politics, but for a Kingdom that is setting up the rule and reign of Jesus in this world. The values of heaven lived out in the life of the church.
There has been a lot of gazing at maps over the last week – maps with blue and red in different places. Sometimes these maps don’t look at the whole country, they look at one swing state and then break it down by every county in that state. And you see smatterings of blue and red across a single state. I’d like to show you a regional political map
This isn’t an electoral map of course, this is where Jesus’ reign got started. It was not much larger than a state county and it was situated far, far away from national power. Of course his reign didn’t end there. Here is the scope of Jesus’ Kingdom:
Abraham Kuyper says, ““There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
I understand that recent days have caused a great deal of harm and damage, but we as a church are part of a global Kingdom. Many are concerned that the values of the Kingdom are being lost in our country today and quite honestly, you have every reason to be concerned. You are not wrong in your analysis. Nations rise and nations fall and no one knows if we are rising or falling right now. Historically, nations have risen for a number of reasons including domination and slavery of certain groups. Historically in nations that are falling, the privileged are the most surprised. But the church does not need external cultural judo christian scaffolding to prop it up and keep it animated from the outside. What I’m saying is, the church does not need a culture to share its values in order to be the church.
The church is 100% fueled and animated by worship of the King.
If you are a follower of Christ you are a resident alien of this place. Your citizenship is God’s Kingdom. As you pledge allegiance to a country you love, and you have every reason to love it, it is an amazing country. But never forget that your first allegiance is to your King. I love the way Rich Mullins put it in one of his songs Land of my Sojounrn, “Nobody tells you when you get born here how much you come to love it and how you’ll never belong here. I’ll call you my country, but I’ll be longing for my home.”
And a Christian is most at home when we’re worshipping our King. Scripture says this is what we are made for, this is what we are most at home doing. This is how we flourish as humans and how we are most free: by worshipping our King.
And how do you worship a King? One way is by living out the King’s wishes.
I would like to cede the rest of my time to another preacher. I’m actually not going to read any more of my sermon, I’m going to read for you another person’s sermon. It will take about 15 – 20 minutes to listen to. and before I begin, let me warn you that this 15 – 20 minutes that you are about to hear changed the entire world. It is changing it still. It can change you.
*Transcript of Sermon Introduction, November 17/20 2016. For those reading this in blog form, I encourage you to click on the link and read the Sermon on the Mount.