Thursday, August 06, 2009

Not a Christian Nation

Originally posted on Thursday, 15 July 2004

“America has been known as a Christian nation due to the tremendous impact that the Christian faith has had on our society. At the same time, the Christian faith has become delusional, over-identifying itself with the society as a whole. A Christian revolution must live in tension with human societies and cultures. The ultimate goal of American Christianity should not be to make us good citizens but to make us revolutionaries in the cause of Jesus Christ.” ~ Erwin McManus; An Unstoppable Force

Is there any more dividing issue in our society than politics? In this war of values and ideologies it is hard to discuss things logically without our emotions getting involved. While harsh things are side by both sides about the other, each has the same goal, what is best for this country. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, though some of us would hate to admit it, both want what is best for the citizens of this great nation. Each group approaches it for different angles, with different backgrounds, and different values, there is still the common goal.

What I want to remind you of today is that as first and foremost citizens of God’s great and awesome kingdom we have to rise above all of this. Our methods should not be the methods of the world. The way we seek to make the United States better shouldn’t be through the same means as the Republicans or the Democrats seek to make a difference. The Apostle Paul tells us; For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; NASB). Our weapons are Truth, hope, and service all wrapped in love. These weapons are powerful enough to knock down the dividing walls that politics raises up.

I say this because I believe a great many of us have been distracted. We see the evil going on around us and the moral decay destroying the foundations of our country. We want to do something about it, so we turn to the government. We clamor for laws and for a correct reading of the Constitution.

The truth is that the United States is in moral upheaval, not because of laws and court decisions, but because of sin. There is no longer a common morality held by the people of this country. John Adams, the second president of the United States pointed out, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

For people apart from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ sexual sin, greed, murder, and discrimination are par for the course. As Christians we shouldn’t expect the people of this world to live any differently than that. No laws, no logical argument, or more education will make people good. It is only through surrendering our lives to Jesus that happens.

So the most important thing American Christian can do is to live lives of hope and love. Remember what Peter wrote?
Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world (1 Peter 2:12; NLT).

This is my plea to you. Concentrate on these two actions.

Pray. I know that is the standard Sunday School answer, but the truth is that we haven’t been being praying the right prayer. We have being asking God to change the sinners in the world. Instead we need to be asking God to make us holy. When we face the sin in our lives and pursue the holiness of God, He will make us highways over which change will come.

The second action is serve. In the Church we have written mission statements and talked about programs to bring people to us. The Bible is clear on how to make a church grow. It is not by sitting up shop on a street corner and inviting everyone who comes by to stop and listen. The Church grows when Christians get out of the pews and into the communities, serving and loving those in need.

I know this sounds too simple and like it won’t make a difference. But isn’t that when God displays His power the most?
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:27-29; NRSV).

Let me leave you with this quote by Dr. Michael Brown from his book Revolution.
All true revolution begins with a belief, with a dream, before it turns into action. The Lord has a plan of action for you! But it must flow out of your loyalty to Him, out of your dedication to His cause. He came to set captives free, but they will remain in bondage unless we tell them the good news.

It is more important that we help set captives free than get the right political agenda passed. That is the work we have been called to do.

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