All in With King Jesus
Purpose Filled Life
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Questions We All Ask and Answer
- What are we committed to?
- What causes are important to us?
- What should we take a stand for?
Why We’re Thinking about Our Social and Political Commitments
- It’s Life Sunday
- Our situation asks us to consider our commitments.
- Our commitments matter to God and contribute to a purpose filled life.
[And the Pharisees sent] their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and that you teach the way of God in truth, and you harbor no anxiety toward anyone, for you are not a respected of men’s persons; tell us, then, how does it seem to you? Is it lawful to render the tax to Caesar or not?” But knowing their wickedness Jesus said, “Why do you try me, you charlatans? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought a denarius to him. And he said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Then render the things that are Caesar’s to Caesar and the things that are God’s to God.” (Matthew 22.15-22, DBH)
Big Idea: Our commitments to Caesar must come after our commitments to King Jesus.
- There are commitments to Caesar, but that those commitments are always subservient to God’s commitments.
- “The gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate authority in all arenas of life, including politics. This means the gospel should be the foundation and starting point of our political decisions.” (Compassion and Conviction, 36)
- Those in the Church should be focused on God’s commitments in such a way that commitments to Caesar result.
- Our political and social commitments matter—which is why they need to be formed first by our commitments to God.
Required Commitment of Christianity #1: We should be committed to the truth.
- And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. (Matthew 5.33-37, MSG)
- “We must remember that the enemy is not merely error and our adherence to it, it is also truth held for all the wrong reasons (or for no reason whatsoever) and arrived at all the wrong ways.” –Michael Bauman
Required Commitment of Christianity #2: We should be committed to doing the right thing.
- Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. (Matthew 5.38-42, MSG)
- “When in conflict we should demonstrate that our public witness is more important than winning a political battle. This means that if our side has to do something unloving or corrupt to win, then it’s better for us to lose in that situation.” (Compassion and Conviction, 17)
Required Commitment of Christianity #3: We should be committed to loving our enemies.
- You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. (Matthew 5.43-47, MSG)
- Will you commit yourself to the truth?
- Will you do the right thing?
- Will you love your enemies?
One More Application
- Many of us who call ourselves Christians have sacrificed the commitments of Jesus on the altar of our political commitments. If we’ve done that, we need to repent.
- “If the world rejects us because of Christ and him crucified, so much the worse for the world. [But] If the world rejects us because they think Christ is just a mascot for what we would already be supporting or doing even if Jesus were still dead, then God have mercy on us.” –Russell Moore