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Summary: Even though the Pharisees were trying to get Jesus in trouble, Jesus wisely gives us guidance for being good citizens and good Christians.

Patriotic Christians #5

For God and Country

Theme: Even though the Pharisees were trying to get Jesus in trouble, Jesus wisely gives us guidance for being good citizens and good Christians.

Introduction

For God and Country.

From the Latin phrase “pro Deo et Patria”, “for God and Country” has been the rallying cry of soldiers going into war, the motto of many colleges and universities, and even motto of the American Legion.

At its root, this phrase speaks of loyalty and allegiance to not only our national origins, but our allegiance to God above.

Dual citizenship.

This morning, as we look back over the past few weeks, we have talked about praying for our country.

We have talked about praying for our leaders.

We have talked about having a love for our country.

And last week, we talked about respecting the leaders that are extensions of God’s own authority in our world.

It is often said that politics and the church do not mix.

And many times that is true. Politics in the church can be a very touchy and delicate subject.

Jesus understood this. It was a touchy subject back in His times too.

In Matthew 22, we read about an exchange that the religious leaders of the day and Jesus had.

15 Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 16 They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. 17 Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, 20 he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

22 His reply amazed them, and they went away. (Matthew 22, NLT)

The Pharisees were looking for a good fight. The Pharisees were trying to set a trap.

If Jesus answered their question one way, the Pharisees would report Jesus to the Roman officials. Jesus would be arrested for not being loyal to the Roman government who was in power at the time.

If Jesus answered their question the other way, He would lose His authority that God was in charge. He would disrespect God’s authority.

Answer the wrong way, and someone was going to be mad. And it appeared that either choice was the bad one.

But Jesus, in His Heavenly wisdom, answered the posed question well.

So well, that the people there were amazed at His wisdom.

The same, though, is true today. Politics in the church is a touch subject. It’s a fine line to walk.

<Many churchgoers in U.S. don’t know the political leanings of their clergy

BY CLAIRE GECEWICZ

Pew Research

JANUARY 13, 2020

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/01/13/many-churchgoers-in-u-s-dont-know-the-political-leanings-of-their-clergy/>

In a survey conducted in March and April 2019 by Pew Research, respondents who attend church regularly indicated that they are typically satisfied with the amount of political discussion in the sermons of their ministers — 72%. What wasn’t asked was how often politics are discussed in the sermons. The question was only if respondents were satisfied with the amount they hear.

In the same survey, 76% of respondents, regardless of denominational background said that ministers and pastors should not endorse candidates.

Further 63% of respondents indicated that the church should remain silent on political and day-to-day social issues.

Over the years, the interpretation and hardline for separation of church and state became more pronounced. The ceasing of school-sponsored prayer. The sanctioning of sinful behaviors as legal. The church should not be involved in matters of state, according to many activists. And that has lead to where we are today — siloing our life.

In our culture today, everything in our lives is siloed and put into nice compartments in our lives. Church and religion is in this corner of my life — I do this on Sundays.

Politics is this other area of my life — I do that on election years, and around election days.

Then there’s the other stuff in our lives — social issues, work, family, recreation. All in their own separate rooms in a house, if you want to think of it that way. Nothing in one room flows over or affects the other rooms.

But maybe, just maybe that’s not the right approach, especially when it comes to our faith.

Jesus didn’t silo his answers, but what Jesus did say gives us a pretty good way to look at our lives today.

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