Guest post by Bob Ouzts
To the Body of Christ,
Our country is awash in division and contrast. Just a few weeks ago two million people were celebrating in the streets of Chicago for the Cubbies and last night thousands were in those same streets not to celebrate a victory but to protest one. Yes, a victory for some and for others a great loss. For some a sense of freedom and for others real fear.
Our country was founded on the heels of division and today our country is still divided. We have red states, blue states, plastic bags and no plastic bags, no guns, and more guns. We seem to be at war with our own pledge to be indivisible.
God's word says he sets up kings and he takes them down. Yet, half of our country is in fear of the one president leaving and the other of the president coming in. Our United States is easily diagnosed as severely divided.
As Christ followers, we must remember that we are only one nation when we are under one God and never will we be one nation under one man. (I am speaking here of the Church.)
The Church is not a country; it is an invisible kingdom with an invisible King who made himself visible. We are exiles and aliens in a foreign land, the poor who are made rich, and the weak who have been made strong. We are the "called out ones;" adopted sons and daughters of God. We are not our own; we are his. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! And not just say so, but act so!
Let us strive to resist the temptation to be in the middle of a mud-slinging contest. Rather let us work hard to wash the mud away. Remember love covers a multitude of sins.
Yes, there are strong divisions and strong opinions (and we all have them), but they are like a clanging cymbal without love.
Laws were written for broken men, but love was written when Jesus was broken for us. The U.S. Constitution was written in ink, but God did not give the Church a constitution; he gave us a covenant that was ratified in his own blood.
Jesus was not brought forth from a polling booth, nor was he put in place by the popular vote or an electoral college. Jesus wasn't inaugurated at the White House and he did not fly in on an Air Force one. He came in on a donkey to set up his kingdom. He does not sit in an Oval Office, but rather at the right hand of the Father. More importantly, we did not elect him, he elected us. He did not win an office or force his agenda, he was in perfect submission to authority and was crucified in order to bring all men to himself.
His law is love and his commandment is to love. The highest law is not enacted by the Supreme Court, the highest law came from Jesus (when he summarized all the Law and the Prophets): to love God and love one another as he has loved us. A royal law for his royal priesthood.
Those who are in real fear need real love. Remember we preach and we believe that "a perfect love casts out fear." We may be free as Americans to protest, and but we are bound as Christians to love one another.
Many are looking for change but few are willing to be changed. Jesus isn't interested in changing America by way of an election or government edict. He is, however, interested in changing his Church into his likeness by his grace.
Our enemy is not wearing flesh and blood, but our King became flesh and blood to put to death the world, the flesh, and the devil (all of our true enemies). American democracy is the way our country is ruled. It is ruled ultimately by its people and, therefore, its best ruler is broken. There are broken people in the streets rioting, there are broken people peacefully protesting and there are broken people here this morning complaining about those broken people.
God asks us to pray for those who rule over us. I think now is a perfect time to ascribe rulership to our Father and pray for the men who he alone has permitted to rule over us.
Jesus did not ask us to go and make Republicans or Democrats. He asked us to repent and believe and go and make disciples. It must break His heart when we say "I'm with her" or "I'm with him." We must worship our Creator, not his created people or its institutions. Honor his people, yes. Respect institutions, yes. But never are we to worship them.
He did not say "when they go low, we go high." He said when I go low my Father is lifted high. So what are we to do if Jesus has saved us from the world? He said to be in it but not of it. He said to wash feet, give a drink not only to your own people but bless those who come against you. He said to share the Gospel. Yes, there is good news for sinners of which we are the foremost! Let's not get distracted by or caught up in the buzz on social media or in arguments or even "Making America Great Again." Let's stay focused on Jesus Christ instead and Make His Commission Great Again!
To close, let's meditate on the words of Daniel found in chapter 7:
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14)
Pastor Bob Ouzts
The Bride Church
Yuba City, CA