Summary: Christianity has been around for a long time, and Christians have lived in every country and under all kinds of governments. God requires that Christians put their trust in God and to obey the leaders and laws of the country in which they live.
A. One day during the presidential transition, the “lame duck” President met with his successor in the Oval Office.
1. Near the end of the orientation, the outgoing President presented the incoming President three numbered envelopes, with specific instructions to open them, in order, when great difficulties arose.
2. After the new President completed his “honeymoon” period with the media and the public, the nation experienced an economic downturn.
3. The new President opened the first envelope and inside was a card that read: “Blame me.”
4. So he did. He criticized the former administration and things settled down.
5. After a while, social upheaval brought about a critical domestic crisis.
6. The President opened the second envelope and inside was a card that read: “Blame my party.”
7. He did so, in an overt display of partisan politics and again things settled down.
8. About a year later, his foreign policy resulted in serious problems and the President opened the third envelope.
9. Inside, the card read: “Prepare three envelopes.”
B. Thankfully, the 2016 presidential election and inauguration are now over, and, in what very few could ever have imagined, Donald Trump has become the President of the United States.
1. No matter what our differences politically or otherwise, surely we can all agree that this campaign has been demoralizing and even traumatizing for most of the country.
2. But unfortunately, the great divide in our country and the hostile feelings and reactions that swirled around this election are not easing up.
3. Since the inauguration and some of the new administrations first moves to put a cabinet in place and begin policy changes, there have been protests and violence.
4. It feels a little bit like the world has gone crazy!
C. For several weeks now, I have felt compelled to try to bring a message of wisdom and peace for our congregation in the midst of the chaos and unrest around us.
1. As you know, I don’t like to talk about politics, and actually this sermon is not about politics.
2. This sermon is about how we, as Christians, should conduct ourselves in the midst of a fractured nation.
3. So, initially, I thought of this sermon as a break in my Transforming Truths series, but then I realized that I didn’t have to break into the series I had planned, because today’s lesson is another important truth that needs to be added to the series.
4. Today’s transforming truth is the fact that we can be good citizens, and that ultimately, God requires that we strive to be good citizens.
5. What I hope to do in today’s sermon is to give us some perspective on God’s principles for citizenship and to help us apply them to our present situation and always.
D. The first thing I want to emphasize is a truth that I point to anytime I discuss politics and elections, and it is the truth that God is in control.
1. When Jesus’ life was in the hands of Pilate, He made this important point to Pilate.
a. The conversation went like this, “Pilate said, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.’ ” (John 19:10-11)