What the Bible Says About Politics | Mark 12:13-17

A Bible-Revering Church

Continuing our current sermon series, A Bible-Revering Church, TA looks at what the Bible says about politics.

Timothy "TA" AteekJun 30, 2024Mark 12:13-17

In This Series (10)
What Does the Bible Say About Contentment?
Luke FriesenJul 21, 2024
What Does the Bible Say About Ambition? | Mark 10:35-45
Kylen PerryJul 14, 2024
What Does the Bible Say About Money? | Ecclesiastes 5:10-6:6
Timothy "TA" AteekJul 7, 2024
What the Bible Says About Politics | Mark 12:13-17
Timothy "TA" AteekJun 30, 2024
What Does the Bible Say About Our Bodies? | 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Timothy "TA" AteekJun 23, 2024
Jesus and Gender | Colossians 1:15-20
Dave BruskasJun 16, 2024
Marriage | Ephesians 5:22-33
Timothy "TA" AteekJun 9, 2024
Jesus and the Word | Matthew 15:1-9
Timothy "TA" AteekJun 2, 2024
The Markers of a Bible-Revering Person | Psalm 119:97-104
Jermaine HarrisonMay 26, 2024
The Word of Revival | Nehemiah 8
Timothy "TA" AteekMay 19, 2024

Key Takeaways

In Mark 12: 13-17, Jesus and His followers talk about politics. In light of Jesus’ teaching, there are three temptations we face as we approach this election cycle:

  • Apathy: Jesus expected Christians to live and submit to ungodly political leaders. Even leaders who made themselves out to be god. And according to Romans 13, God will hold us accountable for how we respond to our governing authorities.
  • Idolatry: Neither political party will be able to fully give us the life and the world we all long for. Our only hope for that life and world is in Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. So, it’s good and right to be concerned about a political party, but let’s not give our hearts and hope to a political party. Rather, let’s give them to loving Christ, His gospel, and His people.
  • Fear: Some are tempted toward fear and anxiety over what the next four years will be like, the wrong person being elected, where our economy is headed, what America will be like for your children, the future of religious liberties, etc. These are real and legitimate concerns. So, we should pray fervently about these concerns. But we must realize that while we don’t know the future of the United States, we do know the future of God’s Kingdom because the crucified and risen King Jesus is on His throne today, reigning over all things until the day when He finally returns to usher in His perfect Kingdom. And He has been King through the rise of fall of every temporary world government. This reality both grounds and encourages the opportunity we have as a church to lay down our lives for the sake of the spread of the gospel to our neighbors and to the nations.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • How do Christians relate to God and government? How do we live as good citizens who submit to our government while giving our ultimate allegiance to Christ and His kingdom? Discuss TA’s points (pay taxes, obey laws of the land, pray for leaders, speak of leaders respectfully, vote).
  • Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4. How much do you pray for our city, state, and national government officials?
  • Have you made an idol out of politics? Does your political party, this election, and/or the future of our country get the best of your passion, affections, time, energy, and thoughts? Does your joy rise or fall based on the news? Discuss how you can grow as a follower of Christ in this area.
  • Discuss Martin Luther’s quote as it applies to politics and discipleship to Jesus: “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God, your functional savior.” Is there a functional savior on the throne of your heart? How can you repent and trust in Christ in this area of your life?
  • What does it look like to vote faithfully? Consider TA’s 5 P’s:
    • Pray: ask God for His wisdom and direction. God loves to give wisdom to those who ask for it. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit, to align your mind and heart with His mind and heart, and to empower you to glorify Him through your vote. We are planning to send out prayer prompts via text the 24 days leading up to the 2024 election.
    • Policies: study the policies of each candidate. Identify which policies are most important to you. And at the same time, give greater weight to policies that either explicitly contradict the Scriptures or align with the Scriptures. Look for nonpartisan resources online that will put each candidates’ stances on certain issues side by side. But this is important; the Bible is clear on the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb, as well as marriage, and gender, and caring for the poor, the sojourner, the widow, and the orphan.
    • Partners: Who is their running mate? Who would they choose for their cabinet? Who would they appoint to the supreme court if they had the opportunity? What people and organizations are endorsing them?
    • The Person: What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their experiences? Their education?
    • Participate: When election day comes, vote. Let your vote be the result of prayerful study and consideration. Allow your prayerful study to help you identify some passion points. If you find yourself getting passionate about certain issues, take action. Find ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus regarding that issue.
  • When it comes to politics and political discussions, do others know that you are a disciple of Jesus by your love (John 13:34-35)? Is there someone with whom you need to be reconciled? How can we as a church grow in this area as we head toward this election cycle?

Good morning, Watermark. How are we doing today? Good to see you. I hope all is well. I'm so glad you made it. If this is your first time ever with us, thanks for trusting us with your Sunday. I hope this place feels like home very quickly. If you've been with us for a while, then you know we are in series called A Bible-Revering Church. We believe God has gone to great lengths to speak to us, to give us his Word, and we believe every time we open it, it's like we're opening God's mouth.

Good news! Today we're answering the question…What does the Bible say about politics? Some of y'all are like, "Finally!" This is what you've been waiting for. Others of you are like, "I think we can still make it to brunch. If we leave now before he really gets going, we can do that." If you want to know how much tolerance you have for this subject, just look at how long you watched the debate on Thursday before turning it off.

Some of you guys didn't even know a debate was happening. Others of you gave it a good go, and you just didn't make it. I mean, I saw a friend… The next morning, he was like, "We made it three minutes before we turned it off." Others of you watched the whole thing, and then you watched the debrief afterward, and you were texting back and forth with your friends, and you were getting on social media to look at your favorite influencers to see what they were saying. You were all in. There are people all across the spectrum.

The reason we're going to talk about politics today is because Jesus talked about politics. Now, I'm just going to be honest with you. It would be so much easier for me to not give this message. I'm just letting you into my life. I literally had the thought last night, "You don't have to give this talk. No one knows you're planning to give this. You could just pull a talk from the past that these people haven't heard before. You don't have to do this."

Yet genuinely, as one of your pastors, I feel a deep responsibility for two things. First, to show you what Jesus has to say about politics. That's my responsibility to you as one of your pastors: to always open up the Word of God and show you what Christ has to say. The second responsibility I feel is to simply warn you of some temptations we will experience over the next several months in this election cycle. There are three different responses I'm going to identify today that we will be tempted to have in the midst of this election cycle.

So, genuinely, as I processed and prayed and studied, I sensed that God wanted me to lean in and just warn you guys, kind of as a shepherd warns or protects the sheep. That's a feeling I felt today, to just warn you of three temptations we will experience and to call you to faithful, Christ-exalting living in the midst of this election cycle. So, if you have a Bible, I want to invite you to turn with me to Mark, chapter 12.

The way this message is going to flow… I'm going to tell you from now, because it might not feel like a normal message. For the first half, I'm just going to walk you through this passage and show you an interaction Jesus has around politics. There are no points I'm going to be making. I'm simply walking you through the interaction. Then, in the latter half of the message, I'm going to identify three temptations, three different responses we could have, and I want to call you away from them.

I'll go ahead and tell you what those three responses are. The first one is apathy, the second one is idolatry, and the third one is fear. Before we jump in, here's what I want to do. I just want to give you an opportunity to pray. If there's ever a message where we all need the Spirit of God to move and work in our lives and illuminate our hearts and minds to the truth, it's right here.

So, I want to ask you right now to take a second to pray and invite the Spirit of God to have his way in your life today, to speak straight to your heart. Ask him to do that really quickly. Then would you pray for the people around you and the rest of the people in the room? Would you just pray, "God, speak clearly to them today as well"? Then would you pray for me? Would you pray God's grace upon me today as I share? Pray that God would speak clearly through me to you.

Lord, thank you that you love us so much you would give us your Word so we could hear from you. I pray that our ears would be open, that our hearts would be receptive to all you want to say to us today. We need you. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.

Mark, chapter 12. Let me read you verses 13-17. I'm going to read you the whole story all at once. It says this.

"And they sent to him_ [Jesus] _some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, 'Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?'

But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, 'Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.' And they brought one. And he said to them, 'Whose likeness and inscription is this?' They said to him, 'Caesar's.' Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they marveled at him."

So, you need to understand what's happening here. There are two different parties that absolutely hate each other, yet they find the opportunity to be unified on one thing. It is in their hatred toward Jesus. Their hatred toward Jesus supersedes their hatred toward one another. We're introduced here to the Pharisees and to the Herodians.

You have to remember the Jews right now are under Roman occupation. The Pharisees resisted Rome's rule, and the Herodians leaned into it. They accommodated it. So, here's what we have. We have two parties. One is more of the conservative, small-government right-wingers. That's the Pharisees. Then you have the Herodians who are kind of the big-government, progressive left-wingers.

Get this. You have two parties that both believe they know the best way forward for the Jews, and they couldn't be in more disagreement. Does that sound familiar at all? If you don't think the Bible gets us, just read the Bible. Okay? Look at what they're aiming to do. The word is trap. In the Greek, it implies a violent pursuit. So, these two groups are coming together to hunt Jesus. Their goal is to trap him and crucify him.

They come to him, and they say (verse 14), "Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God." Their words are dripping with insincerity. Hopefully you can hear it. This becomes instructive for us, because what you have is two parties coming to Jesus insincerely to figure out how they're supposed to navigate politics.

The reason it's instructive for us is that no matter whether you consider yourself a Republican or a Democrat, we should all come to Jesus sincerely, as followers of Christ, to learn from him how to navigate politics, because even though their words are dripping with insincerity, what they say about Jesus is right. He is true, he doesn't care about anyone's opinions, he's not swayed by appearances, and he does teach the way of God.

So, no matter what party you consider yourself a part of, we should all be coming to Jesus to know the way of God, because we are followers of Christ first. Before we're Republicans or Democrats, we are first followers of Jesus Christ; therefore, as followers of Jesus Christ, we all come to Christ openhanded, saying, "You're the truth, you show the way, and whatever path you lead us on, that's where we're going."

Now they ask him a question. Just think. I mean, they're just sitting there like, "We got it. We have the question that is going to put him in the trap." They say, "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?" The tax they're referring to is the imperial poll tax. One commentator described it as a tax Jews had to pay simply for the privilege of existing. The amount of the tax was one denarius, which was equivalent to one day's wages.

Now, you need to understand what the denarius was. It was a silver Roman coin that bore the image of Tiberius Caesar, and on the coin it had this inscription: "Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the divine Augustus." Then, on the other side of the coin, there was an image of Tiberius' mother and the inscription "High priest."

The reason I'm telling you this is, if you don't realize it, what that coin does is it deifies Caesar. So, paying this tax was highly offensive to the Jews. The fact they had to have this coin and give it to Rome… It was, in some way, affirming Caesar's deity to pay this tax. It was a form of idolatry the Jews were being dragged into. This tax was so divisive it actually caused revolts by the Jews.

So, it becomes a perfect trap, because if Jesus says, "Pay the tax," then it makes him a traitor with his people. It makes him promote idolatry. If Jesus says, "Don't pay the tax," then it makes him a rebel against Rome and potentially mounting an insurrection, and now the Roman government is going to come after him. So it's the perfect trap.

Now watch Jesus' response. Verse 15: "But, knowing their hypocrisy…" That makes sense, because he knows all things. He's God in the flesh. "…he said to them, 'Why put me to the test?'" That word test in the Greek is the same word used of Satan tempting Jesus back at the beginning of Mark. So, he's basically saying, "Guys, y'all are up to something demonically bad here." "'Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.' And they brought one."

It's kind of ironic that these guys have a coin and Jesus doesn't. Isn't that interesting? The coin they considered to be idolatrous… They actually have one, but Jesus doesn't. "And they brought one. And he said to them, 'Whose likeness and inscription is this?' They said to him, 'Caesar's.' Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they marveled at him."

Now, you have to understand what's happening here. Ancient coins were considered the property of the person whose picture and inscription were on them. This is why Jesus used the word render, because in the Greek it means to give back. It implies you're supposed to give back the thing that already belongs to the person.

Jesus is simply saying with his words, "Look. Look at the picture. Look at the inscription. It belongs to Caesar, so give it to Caesar." Then Jesus says, "And give to God what is God's." It begs the question…What belongs to God? What has God's image on it? (This is the climax of the passage, so don't miss this. If you're tuned out, welcome back.)

When Jesus asks the question, "Whose likeness is on it?" he uses the same word that is used back in Genesis 1:26 when it says, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'" So, whose image is on the coin? Caesar's. Therefore, it belongs to Caesar. What is God's image on? You. Me. So, what's Jesus' point? "Give to God what is God's." What belongs to God? You do.

So, you are to give all of your being, all of your life, all of your mind, all of your body, all of your heart, and all of your soul to God. It's all his. That led one commentator to refer to this one statement as the most influential political statement ever made in the history of the world. Why? What makes it so important? It's because Jesus is showing you and me, Christians, exactly how to relate to God and government.

This is why we're talking about politics, because Jesus talked about it. Now, in light of Jesus' teaching, I want to identify three responses we will be tempted to have this election cycle that actually contradict Jesus' teaching right here in Mark 12. I've already told you what the three responses are: apathy, idolatry, and fear.

I want to start with apathy. Some of y'all, the minute I said that, were like, "Yep, that's me." You're at a point where you're like, "I just don't care." You see the two candidates we have, and you're like, "Look. Out of 335 million people in the country… I'll wait for two others." I'm not saying that's where you should be. I'm just saying that might be where some of you are. So you're like, "You know what? I'm going to do nothing. I'm not watching the news. I'm not voting. I am just going to wait for King Jesus to come back and set everything straight."

That might be where some of you are. I get it. I understand. But here's what we have to see. When Jesus tells his listeners to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus is actually affirming the Roman government's authority, and he's telling his listeners their responsibility is to submit to the government's authority. The implication is that you are expected to submit even to ungodly leaders, even to leaders who will make themselves out to be God. You should still submit to them.

Think about it. The Roman government… They are the ones who crucified Jesus. They are the ones who persecuted Christians. They're the ones who destroyed the temple, yet Jesus, knowing all of that, said, "Yeah, give to Caesar what is Caesar's." He is saying, "The government is legitimate, and you are supposed to submit to it."

Jesus' followers agreed with him. The apostle Paul says this in Romans 13: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities." Watch this. This is so important. Don't miss this. Don't take it lightly. "For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." Isn't that fascinating? "Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." Isn't that powerful?

This is Paul's way of saying the leaders and authorities in our government, according to the Scripture, have been put in their position by God, and part of us giving all of ourselves to God means being good citizens and living in submission to the governing authorities in our land, as long as we are not required by law to disobey God and to sin against him.

So, the question we need to answer is…What does it look like, then, for us to glorify God by submitting to the authorities in our land? Well, there are several options, and you're not going to like most of them. The first one is to pay your taxes and to not cheat or withhold in a dishonest way. Pay your taxes.

One pastor referred to April 15, Tax Day, as a day of worship. He wasn't meaning a day of worship for the IRS. He was meaning it as a day of worship for us, because when we choose to faithfully pay our taxes, not out of obligation to the government but out of a response to God's calling upon us to pay our taxes, that's worship. That's reverence for God.

Secondly, obey the laws of the land. If it's against the law, don't do it. Even if you think it's a dumb law, what you think of the law is irrelevant. If it's the law of the land and God has called us to submit to the authorities of the land, as long as that law isn't requiring us to sin against God, we should obey it. Thirdly, pray for our leaders. We are called by Scripture to pray for our leaders. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:1-4.

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Here's a diagnostic question for you to evaluate in your own life. How much have you prayed for our city, state, and national government officials over the past year? God, through Paul, calls us to pray for kings and all who are in high positions. How much have you prayed for President Biden over the past four years? How much did you pray for President Trump when he was president? We are called… This isn't just a suggestion.

As followers of Jesus Christ, one of the ways we honor, respect, and submit to our governing authorities is we are to pray for them. And I want you to see Paul is actually calling us to pray for the salvation of our elected officials. Do you ever pray for the salvation of our elected officials? This week, I was reminded of Revelation, chapter 6. This is a very sobering text. It's this picture of the end of the world. Listen to what it says in verse 15.

"Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?'"

What a sobering picture. What John gets is this vision of the end of the world, and what do we see on that day? We see elected officials, we see kings, we see those in power, we see generals…this moment in time where any power they had during their time on earth is stripped away from them, and they experience the judgment of God if they don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ. That should be sobering for us as we think about our elected officials, and it should lead us to pray for their salvation.

Let me just say this. I don't know if you noticed Paul's wording in 1 Timothy, but he said God desires all to be saved. I tell you that just to say if you're here this morning and are just visiting, checking church out, this might feel like a weird Sunday to come, but God might have had you come for this specific moment, for you to hear that God desires for you to be saved, that he desires for you to come to a knowledge of the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, the one who laid down his life.

He was punished so you wouldn't have to be. He took all of your sin, all of your shame upon himself, and he conquered it through his death, burial, and resurrection, making a way when there was no way for you to be completely forgiven and brought into a right relationship with God through faith and repentance. I tell you that just to say that he wants you to be saved. Would you come to him today?

Another way we can live in submission to our authorities is to speak in a respectful way of them. To be clear, we must always stand up for and speak out against policies that grieve God's heart. We must always stand on the truth, and it is absolutely okay to wholeheartedly disagree with policies of our leaders, but you can do it in a way that is respectful and not inflammatory, insulting, and demeaning.

Fifth, you can vote. I would go so far as to say we have a biblical responsibility to vote. Where do I get that from? The reason I say that is because Jesus, Paul, and Peter all call us to be subject or submitted to our government, and the way things work in our country is our leaders are elected by the vote of the people. To vote is to fulfill the responsibility of citizens who live under our form of government.

Now, you might say, "Yeah, but that's a problem, because this is why I'm apathetic in the first place. I don't know how to vote. It feels like a no-win situation." Let me encourage you. Let me share five Ps with you that were given to me by a friend that I'd encourage you to put into practice, and then you trust God with your vote.

The first P is to pray. I would start praying now. You don't wait until November 5. Start now. Start praying every week, and ask God to fill you with his Spirit and to lead and guide you into truth. Ask God to align your heart with his heart, to align your mind with his mind, and ask God to empower you to glorify him with your vote. Here at Watermark, we want to help you pray. As we get closer to the election, we're going to send out prayer prompts via text for the 24 days leading up to the 2024 election.

The second P is policies. What I mean there is it is important for you to study the policies of each candidate. I would encourage you to identify which policies are most important to you, and at the same time, what you need to do is to give greater weight to policies that either explicitly contradict the Scriptures or align with the Scriptures. I would encourage you to look for nonpartisan resources online that will put each candidate's stances on certain issues side by side.

It's important to realize the Bible is very clear on certain issues. The Bible speaks explicitly to the sanctity of life from womb to tomb as well as marriage and gender and caring for the poor, the sojourner, the widow, and the orphan. If you weren't here the last few weeks, I'd encourage you to go back and listen to the messages. The reason we did those is to help you think biblically about some of the most pressing issues in our world today. Please don't downplay their importance.

The third P is partners. Who's their running mate? Who would they choose for their cabinet? Who would they appoint to the Supreme Court if they had the opportunity? What people and organizations are endorsing them, and do you agree with them? The fourth P is the person. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their experiences? What's their education? Then the fifth P is to participate. When election day comes, you go and vote, and you let your vote be the result of prayerful study and thoughtful consideration.

Let me say this. You allow your prayerful study to help you identify some passion points, because as you journey through this, there are going to be some passions that rise up in you about certain issues in our world today. If that happens, then no matter who gets elected, in the end God might be calling you to take action. Some of y'all might run for office. Others of you might join a board or start volunteering. I don't know what it will look like for you, but I assure you that ranting on social media and consistently complaining will not be the answer. Participate.

So, that's the first temptation. It's the temptation toward apathy. The second temptation is to respond with idolatry. This is the point that has the greatest room for confusion and frustration, so I'm going to ask you to lean in right now and to hear every word I say. If you're tuning out and tuning in and just grab one sound bite and get frustrated about it, that's going to be on you. So lean in with me and listen.

This isn't meant to be a shot at anyone; it's meant to be a warning. Hear me on this. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about your political party, and there's nothing wrong with being patriotic and caring deeply about the outcome of the election, but this is where I want to warn us. (I'm reading from my notes, because I want to be exact right here.) This is where I want to warn us.

We have to watch out that in the midst of our passion and concern we don't end up giving to our government and nation what ultimately only belongs to God. Remember what Jesus said. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's. Give to God what is God's." What belongs to God? You do. What is God's image on? You. You have been made in his image. That means only God deserves, specifically, your heart. All of your heart is to go solely to God.

Now listen to what Martin Luther says. Don't miss it. This is very important. He says, "Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God, your functional savior." So, I'm just going to ask you right now. Whether you lean Republican or Democrat, this is just me, as one of your pastors, wanting to care for your heart right now. I'm going to ask you to assess the health of your heart when it comes to politics.

Evaluate. Does your political party, does this election, and does the future of our country get the best of your passion, your affections, your time, your energy, and your thoughts? Does your joy rise and fall based on the news? Do you miss some days in God's Word but never miss a day taking in CNN or Fox News? Are you more courageous in sharing your political views than in sharing the gospel? Have you believed the lie that the preservation of Christianity and the success of the gospel in our country is dependent upon one party winning?

If this is the case, it is possible you are giving to a certain political party what only belongs to God; specifically, your heart. I say this in love, but I want to remind you that neither political party is fully or perfectly aligned with God's heart. God's heart is not ultimately for the preservation of our nation; his heart is ultimately for his kingdom.

What I mean by his kingdom is Christ's rule, Christ's reign, not just in this nation but among all nations. We are called to seek first his kingdom. We are called to live, first and foremost, as citizens of heaven. I want to read you a quote. It's a long quote by Scott Sauls. I'm telling you right now there's a lot of potential for you to miss the main point of this quote, so I need you to understand what the point of this quote is. Listen to it.

He says, "We must recognize that the Bible does not endorse one particular platform over another. Some may argue that their party supports 'Christian values' and the other party does not. Both the 'Christian left' and the 'Christian right' make this claim in every election cycle. But this raises the question, whose Christian values? Which Christian values are we talking about?

Are we talking about justice and protection for the unborn? Or are we talking about justice and protection for the poor? The right to hold private property? Or our obligation to care for foreigners and aliens in our midst? Are we promoting the value of an environment in which every able-bodied person has the opportunity and obligation to earn his/her own keep? Or an environment in which just wages, equal pay for equal work, and basic human rights are guaranteed for all people everywhere?"

Don't miss what this is saying now. "According to the Bible, these are all 'Christian' values derived not only from common sense, but from the sacred Scriptures themselves. It is indisputable that both parties—yes, both—will emphasize some of these biblical ideals but not all of them. It is also indisputable that both parties—yes, both—fail to honor the full range of truth, justice, and freedom that the Scriptures call for in a Kingdom that is truly 'from heaven.'"

Now don't miss the point of what this is saying. The point of this quote is not that the Republican and Democrat parties equally fall short or that both parties are equally unbiblical. That's not the point the quote is making. That's not the point I am making. The point of the quote is that neither party fully emphasizes or aligns with God's heart, which means neither party will be able to fully give you and me the life in the world we truly long for. Our only hope for that life and that world is in Jesus Christ and in his kingdom. So, the point I'm trying to make is it is okay to be passionate about a political party, but don't give your heart and your hope to a political party.

The first temptation is apathy, the second one is idolatry, and the third one is fear. Let's just talk about this for a minute. Some of you will be tempted toward fear and anxiety during this election cycle, and I understand. You might fear what the next four years will be like. You might fear the wrong person being elected. You might fear where our economy is headed or what America will be like for your children. You might fear the future of religious liberties.

Let me just affirm that these are real and legitimate concerns, and we should fervently pray and seek the Lord about all of the concerns that arise from what's going on in our nation today. At the same time, I want to make sure you understand what Jesus is saying when he declares, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

We've already talked about this, but it begs the question…What belongs to God? And what's the answer? Everything. Everything belongs to God. So, even though the denarius had an image of Caesar and was making Caesar out to be divine, Jesus is making the point, "You know what? What belongs to God is so much more significant than what belongs to Caesar. Even though a coin might make Caesar out to be a god, there is only one true God."

There is only one true God, and according to Psalm 24:1, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…" It all belongs to God, and this God, according to Daniel 2:21, "…changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings…" He's that in control that he raises kings up and brings them down.

I love the picture in Revelation, chapter 19. It's this glorious picture of Jesus Christ coming back, riding on this white horse. And what is tattooed on his thigh? "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." As Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, comes back on a white horse… The text is really interesting. You should go and read it.

It says the kings gather together to go to battle against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but then there's no description of a battle. It just skips to Jesus conquering all of them. It's as if to imply that there was no struggle. This wasn't like Rocky IV where he's just getting beaten up, beaten up, beaten up. "No, here he comes. He's coming back. No, it's not going to go well. Sorry, dude. No, wait. This might happen." There's no back-and-forth struggle. The King of Kings comes, and it's done. That's who he is.

Jesus effortlessly wins in the end. Christ came and conquered sin and death through his death, burial, and resurrection, and a day is coming when the King will return and his kingdom will prevail. I remind you of this simply to say… Look. I don't know the future of the United States of America, but I certainly know the future of the kingdom of heaven, and the King of that kingdom is seated on the throne today. He is ruling and reigning today.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because, friends, we have to push back on some of the fears that might be rising up in our hearts over the next few months. One of the things I want to encourage you to push back on is this idea that if the wrong person is elected then it will impact our ability to fulfill the Great Commission, as if to say that if our religious liberties aren't protected by the government then the gospel won't advance.

Friends, please don't give another thought to this. Go open up the book of Acts and be so encouraged. How did the gospel end up going to the Gentiles? Through persecution. Where is the gospel exploding in our world today much more ferociously than it is right now in the United States? It's in the countries where it is illegal to be a Christian.

Let me say this. I don't want my three boys to grow up being persecuted for their faith. I don't want that. At the same time, have you ever talked to a Christian who lives in a closed country? I'm talking about a place where it's illegal to be a Christian. Have you ever talked to someone who lives in a country where they live under the real threat of being beaten, imprisoned, or killed for their faith? If you ever have the opportunity to meet someone in that situation or to watch a video of them sharing stories, you're going to behold a beautiful, genuine, and captivating faith, a faith that hasn't gotten stunted by comfortable, half-hearted, cultural Christianity.

Look. I don't want my boys to grow up being persecuted for their faith, yet if it's God's will for our kids to grow up in an America with less religious liberties and more persecution for Christians, it might just be what God will use to raise up a generation of Christians who have counted the cost and are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the spread of the gospel, and that might be what God uses to bring revival to our land, to our nation. So, friends, do not think lightly of the fact that the King is on the throne.

Let me just say this. We all have work to do. We need to faithfully pray and take action, we need to stand for what is true, we need to vote, and we need to be the church. We need to rise up as the people of God. We need to come together. We need to go out into our city, our nation, and our world being the hands and feet of Jesus, taking the gospel, pushing back the darkness, insisting on flourishing, shalom, where we see the fabric of society tearing.

We all have work to do, but we must walk in peace, knowing that on November 6, the day after the election, Jesus will still be on his throne, and he will be faithful to accomplish all of his purposes for this nation and all nations. No matter what happens, may we faithfully live as citizens of America and, ultimately, as citizens of heaven where our ultimate peace and hope are found in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The way I want us to close today is by joining together and praying as a church family, as brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone, please don't miss what I'm about to tell you. There is massive opportunity for our Enemy to sow seeds of division. We could find ourselves dividing, as God's people, over this election. May we be marked with love toward one another over the next several months.

How will we allow love to mark us? The best way for that to occur is for all of us, collectively, to continually look to Jesus, for us to look to the cross where Christ, in his love for us, demonstrated his love for us, yet while we were still sinners, he died for us, because the more we fix our eyes on Christ, the more we experience his love, and the more we experience his love, it becomes more natural for us to express his love toward one another.

A first step of us walking together in love is to pray together. We don't do this often, but I just want to ask you to get in a posture you want to pray in. You can pray by yourself. You can also form a huddle with your family or your friends or even complete strangers. This is a sweet moment for us to lift our voices out loud to pray. I'm going to give you 10 seconds to find that posture. If you want to get on your knees, you can get on your knees. Whatever you want to do, let's get to where we are going to pray either by ourselves or with one another.

First, what I want to encourage you to do right now in your own heart or in your group is to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Celebrate that he is seated on his throne and is ruling and reigning today and is committed to accomplishing all of his purposes in this nation and every nation. So, pray to that end right now.

Now I want to encourage you guys to take some time and pray against the responses of apathy, idolatry, and fear. You can pray that for yourself, for the other people in your group, and then for everyone who calls Watermark home. Would you pray for that?

Lastly, I want to invite you to pray for the salvation of our leaders. Pray for the salvation of Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Pray that they would fully surrender to Jesus Christ. Then pray for the salvation of the leaders in our city and in our state as well.

King Jesus, we acknowledge that you are seated on your throne. You are ruling and reigning. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to you. So, we submit ourselves, first and foremost, to you. We acknowledge that you are good and you will accomplish all of your purposes. Lord, would you guard us this election cycle from apathy, idolatry, and fear? Lord, I pray we would take action and would stand for what is true and, Lord, that you would lead and guide us as we make decisions to vote.

I pray that you would allow us to be passionate about political parties, yet guard us from ever giving our hearts and hope to them. Lord, I pray that you would be our peace, that a peace that surpasses all understanding would guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus over the next several months, and when November 6 comes, Lord, we're going to rest in peace, knowing that you, Jesus, are in control. You are sovereign, and we trust you. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.


About 'A Bible-Revering Church'

God’s word is our authority, conscience, and guide.