Summary: Jesus models for us a Kingdom Focus when confronted with political issues.
A KINGDOM FOCUS OR ‘POLITICS AS USUAL’?
•This is the question every believer must ask during election time. Will I maintain a Kingdom focus, or will I revert to ‘politics as usual’? Will I allow myself to be salt and light through the political processes, or will I focus on personalities or selfish ambition?
•A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans say their faith has little to do with their voting decisions.
•This is a sin before the very God who commanded us to be ‘salt and light’. (Read Matt. 5:13-16).
Jesus models for us a Kingdom Focus when confronted with political issues:
I. Avoid the Snare (vs. 15)
A. The Plot
1. The political parties of the day (Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians) tried to lay a trap for Jesus (vs. 15).
2. The word is ‘ensnare’, used only here in the NT. Indicates a deliberate attempt to mislead and/or destroy.
B. The Parties
1. Political parties use tactics today to ‘ensnare’ the uninformed to their line of thinking.
b. Point-the-finger ads
c. Criticizing actions of others
d. Catering to everyone’s ‘special interest’
2. Political rhetoric is selective truth-telling and outright lies
Action Point: Don’t be fooled by the campaign ads and flamboyant personalities.
II. Advocate the Issues (vs. 16)
A. Political Parties
1. Never be tied solely to a political party
2. Don’t you think that where a candidate stands on the issues is far more important than the party he or she belongs to? A Christian that is concerned with pleasing his Lord does!
B. Kingdom Concerns
1. The Pharisees spoke a true statement about Jesus in their attempt at flattery.
2. They said He, “Does not regard the person of men.”
3. This literally is translated “Don’t look on the face of men.”
4. Jesus was not unduly influenced my men; he knew the sinfulness of their hearts.
5. Instead, He was ‘focused on the truth’ (vs. 16)
6. Jesus’ focus was on Kingdom concerns, not selfish gain or popularity contests.
7. He did not let Himself become tied up in one particular issue (taxes)
Action Point: Learn to distinguish between worldly and Kingdom concerns.
Biblical Morality Economy
Biblical truth Education
Holiness Personal hobby-horses
III. Affect the Culture (vs. 21)
A. Valid Authorities
1. Both God and civil governments are valid authorities
2. “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do good and you will have its approval. For government is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Therefore, you must submit not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.” Romans 13:1-7 (HCSB)
B. Christian Influence
1. Jesus’ words do not draw a distinction between the two, but rather links them together.
2. In rendering to the government what we owe, we are accomplishing ‘God’s will’ in obedience to ‘God’s ministers’ appointed over us.
3. In rendering to God what we owe we practice righteousness and exert a ‘salt and light’ influence in all aspects of life, including government.
During election season avoid ‘politics as usual’. Determine to have a Kingdom Focus:
•Avoid the Snare of dirty politics and campaign rhetoric
•Advocate the Issues instead of political parties
•Affect the Culture by demonstrating and advocating righteousness, even at the polls.