Summary: Jesus had his own way, his own politics. We must make a shift away from world influences and be influenced by the ways of Jesus.
When a person in our community found out that this was my eighth year of ministry at this church he told me the following.
The first 3 years a pastor is at a church the congregation loves you.
The second 3 years a pastor is at the church the congregation puts up with you.
The last 3 years a pastor is at the church the congregation tries to get rid of you.
He kind of chuckled about this. I didn’t chuckle as much.
But perhaps you might have some of these thoughts after today as I talk to you about politics.
In fact it may not take 3 years to get rid of me - maybe just 3 sermons, we’ll see.
We are in a series this fall called Shift. The idea, premise, underlying thought in this series is that you and I as people created by God are continually asked by our God to make shifts.
To surrender our lives and will to him.
To make changes.
To be renewed.
Whether we realize it or not you and I and our children are continually being bombarded with images, messages, teachings, slogans by advertisers,
By radio and TV shows
In our schools
By our neighbors
Many of these messages, teachings, and philosophies have nothing to do with promoting the way of Jesus in our lives, in fact the opposite.
They promote greed.
Envy and covetousness
Hate and division
And so as Jesus followers we recognize that we must make a shift away from such influences and to be influenced by the ways of Jesus.
Jesus the one who invites us to follow him.
To be in process
On the journey
Continually being made over by His Spirit.
That common bumper sticker. "Be patient with me, God isn’t through with me yet" summarizes the attitude we are seeking to cultivate this fall.
Rather than seeing ourselves as knowing it all,
Having it all figured.
Knowing what I believe and believing what I know.
We are seeking to be teachable,
Able to be shaped and formed like a piece of clay in the potters hands.
Allowing the Master to form us according to his purposes. And so a group of us, 4 of us to be precise picked the Shift topics that we will make our way through this fall in hopes that God will be transforming our church community so that we can transform our community.
A transformed community transforming a community.
This is what Jesus sought to do.
This is what Jesus sought to form.
This is what Jesus established.
And this is what we are praying God will do in us.
About 5 years ago, I attended a conference taught by Eugene Peterson, "Huge Eug" at this conference described to us the way Jesus sought to transform the world.
When Jesus lived, as Jesus went about his ministry there were 2 significant leaders. Herod and Caiaphas.
Herod was a political King and Caiaphas the High Priest.
These men were leaders over the people.
These men were leaders in nearly every aspect of life. Their reign. Their rule touched and impacted nearly everyone if not all of the people Jesus spoke with including Jesus himself. These men both a secular and a religious leader brought and maintained order in that day. They had and exercised their power.
They were influential.
They built institutions and preserved systems.
They were important.
If they were living today they would be the subject of many books on leadership, politics and governing.
But Jesus paid little attention to them. Yes, he honored their position. Yes, he respected their role. But he didn’t get hung up on them. He didn’t cozy up to them.
Though he came to change and impact the world, he didn’t see Herod’s and Caiaphas’ way as being his way. And so he didn’t dialogue with nor ask for their support. Jesus’ way of living would be different.
Perhaps this isn’t too surprising, but this might be. In Jesus’ day 3 religious groups, the Pharisees, the Essences and Zealots came into formation to fix, remedy and stand for matters, religious matters that they felt Herod and Caiaphas weren’t addressing.
These groups: The Pharisees
And Zealots were a reaction to the way things were going. The members of these groups sought to maintain and protect true religion - a religion being negatively influenced by Herod and Caiaphas.
But interestingly enough, Jesus had really nothing to do with them either. In fact, these religious protecting types often received his strongest rebuke.
Jesus’ way wasn’t their way either.
Instead, Jesus had his own way.
His own politics.
His own idea as to how community could be formed, shaped.
His word for it was Kingdom.