Sept. 15 - This is the Good News
Updated: Sep 20, 2019
In our current series, we are acknowledging that the Good News of Jesus permeates every aspect of our lives. As a family member, as a friend, as an employee, even as a citizen, each of us should allow the Good News of what Christ did on the cross to guide our steps and define who we are. This past Sunday, Greg explored the Good News from a civil viewpoint.
It’s hard to turn on the radio, get online, or have a conversation these days without hearing someone’s opinion on gun control, immigration, global warming, income redistribution, or any other hot-button issue. There are many people who want to make sure everyone knows how they feel and which side of the argument is “the right one.” Encountering someone with an opposing viewpoint can derail a conversation and often put a strain on the relationship.
So here are two questions to ask yourself as a Christian:
Do people know more about your political beliefs and opinions than they know about your faith and the God you serve?
How does the Good News of Jesus impact your life as a citizen interacting with other citizens?
When Jesus was arrested and questioned by Pilate, Jesus answered:
John 18: 36 “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Jesus acknowledged that he is a King, but his rule doesn’t come in normal ways. It doesn’t happen through the power structures we are familiar with. His reign comes subversively. His Kingdom comes not through the power structures, not through the political process, not through votes, but through His people. His church. It happens from life-to-life in the Good News-shaped community of disciples making disciples.
It is certainly okay to have an opinion and feel passionately about these issues; however, the Gospel must be in the driver’s seat of our convictions. Our primary commitment to Christ should prevent us from aligning with any political party. For followers of Jesus, our number one commitment is to Jesus and the announcement of the Gospel. Jesus defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us.
So how do we respond to other citizens in this culture completely infused with political conversations?
Maintain a proper distance. Don’t allow political machinations to hijack the gospel and draw us away from our central concern (Chuck Fuller). Believers must be vigilant to maintain an arm’s length from partisan alignments.
Stay on course. Be informed about what is good, and act to promote it for the common good. Don’t place your hope in political power, but seek the good of your city. This is the Christian’s civic responsibility.
Practice hospitality. Take a look at the Greek word for hospitality: “philozenia.” Philo means “affection" and –zenos means “stranger." Having affection toward strangers should perfectly describe our interaction with other citizens we don’t know.
At times, this is easier said than done. Fortunately, Greg provided instruction on how to practice hospitality with those whom we may disagree.
Embrace the Good News by living in the biblical metaphors of “Redemption” (slavery and sacrificial metaphors) and “New Creation” (life and death metaphors). Jesus set us free from slavery to sin by absorbing our sin and death sentence. And though we are “dead in our trespasses” God makes us “alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5)
Recognize that everyone you disagree with bears the image of God. Through prayer and training we can come to see everyone as bearers of God's image and therefore worthy of our respect and our hospitality.
Understand that everyone you disagree with is a relational creature. We were created for relationship, social interaction and community.
If this is an area where you struggle, spend time in Scripture and in prayer. Devote your studies to the Good News and explore how it touches every part of your life. Thank God for what He has done for us and pray to see others as He sees them. To love them as He loves them. Allow the world to see that Jesus is the primary commitment in your life.