River Church NOLA
Disagree Politically... Love Unconditionally
  • Counting On God
  • Set A Fire
  • Scandal Of Grace
  • People always say, “Dont talk about religion and politics.” These two topics can really stir up some emotions. Well, at church, it’s impossible to not talk about faith or religion… that’s why we are here. But what about politics? Normally NO. But sometimes religion and politics intersect and we have to talk about them. Sometimes Jesus words are perfect for what we are struggling with in our culture, so we have to talk about it.
    Right now we are living in a divided culture. That’s not new news is it? Even the church is divided by the politics of the day and that’s why we need to address what Jesus said about it.
    Think about it. After the 2016 election, people in primarily Republican areas were singing and celebrating in church that Sunday while people in non-republican areas probably did not even have music that Sunday. It could flip flop this year or not. A lady tweeted after the 2016 election that she had gone to church seeking reassurance that everything was going to be ok. If you are a Republican you are going, of course it’s ok… but if the democrats had won you would be saying that’s something to be afraid of. But this lady had a different experience. And that’s where we have got to do within the body of Christ… where we can have differences but still love each other unconditionally.

    Nothing divides like politics… because nothing divides like fear.

    Politicians and TV networks raise a lot of money peddling fear. “Republicans are trying to take away your healthcare… Democrats are trying to take away your guns. If Trump is re-elected it’s the end of the world… If a socialist democrat is elected it will be the end of the world.”
    Let me ask,

    What is it that we fear?

    Think about it, what exactly is it that we are afraid of?

    What is it that we fear? Loss

    We fear loss… loss of something. People fear loss of control.... opportunity… wealth… our culture… our freedom… our progress… our healthcare…
    We are in a time where everyone is peddling fear… everyone.. news channels and politicians and weather people and health experts…
    And if we are not careful, we will become divided and fall for the same lies everyone else is. In the church, there are democrats and republicans and independents… which gives us (the church) the opportunity to show the culture that

    We can Disagree POLITICALLY and LOVE Unconditionally.

    Do you want to do that? Can you do that? Not just be nice and roll your eyes or come across as condescending, but really love each other?

    Are you willing to evaluate your politics through the filter of your faith instead of creating a version of faith that supports your politics?

    Are you willing to put your political filter behind your faith filter? Are we willing to evaluate our politics in light of what Jesus has taught in the WOG.
    Are you willing to follow Jesus, even when doing so creates a gap between you and your party platform or candidate? Are you willing to say the ends does not justify the means? Sadly, Most Christians today don’t seem to be willing to do that.
    Thankfully, Jesus saw this problem coming and in his prayer we will look at in John 17 we will see how he prayed for you and me in this time that we are living in. Think about it… Jesus prayed a prayer request. Here he is at the end of his time on earth. In just a few hours he will be arrested, beaten and killed.
    John 17:1 NIV
    1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
    The hour he is talking about is the crucifixion. Glorify your son means to light him up so that everyone knows who he is and why he is here.
    John 17:11 NIV
    11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
    Jesus has been with the disciples, but now he is leaving and he prays for them. Protect them… protect them from what? These folks were going to be arrested, beaten and killed.
    He wanted them protected…from what? Division! He wanted them to be one … just as Jesus and the Father were. He knew that as long as they were one with each other and the Father, the world would change.
    Then he takes it beyond the disciples to us…
    John 17:20 NIV
    20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
    That’s you and me. He is praying for you and for me. He’s not praying what we normally pray for ourselves.
    We usually pray for ourselves… for stuff… most of us have not asked God for what Jesus is asking - unity...
    Jesus prayed then for Jews, Gentiles, Samaritans, Women, Men, Slaves, freedmen, soldiers, tax collectors, educated, uneducated, wealthy, poor…
    Today, it would be: Brown, black, white, rich, poor, middle class, single, married, privileged, Republican, Democrat, Independent… IOW all of us!

    He prayed that we would be united with each other just like the God head.

    That probably sounded impossible then and it certainly sounds impossible now. But for the sake of the mission Jesus has given us, it’s imperative. This wasn’t an add on. Jesus saw and see unity in his believers mission critical… vital in reaching the world.
    So, we need to be intentional about making unity in church a reality. It doesn’t come naturally or else Jesus would not have had to pray for it.
    John 17:21 NLT
    21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
    Do you know why he prayed that we would be one? Not for us, but for the world. he prayed for unity because of what he wanted to do through us. So the people who do not believe in our faith… who don’t like Christians would believe or be convinced that God sent Jesus. So we could be a good witness.
    He wants us to be one even though we vote different… look different… speak different languages… root for different teams … etc. We unify around Him and loving each other with our diversity. We can disagree … agreeably. Diane Feinstein and Lindsey Graham hugged at the end of the hearings… she was criticized by some leftist group for doing that… folks, that was leadership. That’s what we must do.
    When you show unity in the middle of diversity of thought and opinion, it will get attention. And for us in the church it gives us the opportunity to share about Jesus.
    He had commanded us to do this very thing earlier that night. Jesus is basically saying he was getting ready to leave…
    John 13:34–35 NIV
    34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
    This wasn’t a suggestion… it’s a command from Jesus himself. This is our marching orders. We are to love others the way Jesus loved us.
    Again, it’s not about us, but about our mission… our assignment. It’s about what Jesus wants to do through us. He said that
    John 13:35 NIV
    35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
    Back to Jesus’ prayer.
    John 17:22–23 NLT
    22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
    Perfect Unity… Not political unity, but unity of purpose… unity of a world view that we would see each other as Jesus sees us. Not for us, but so that the world will know Jesus was and is who he said he was. That people would see that God loves them and that Jesus died for them and that kind of love owuld re-define everything.
    Jesus knew what was coming. He knew the world was diverse and changing so he prayed for unity.
    Jesus went to the cross after this and after the resurrection, but church launched with one purpose

    The church launched with one purpose

    To make disciples of all the nations…

    The church launched with one message

    Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth to pay the price for our sins and to restore us to right relationship with God.

    The church launched with one command

    They hit the streets with the command to love each other as Jesus loved them.
    Your candidate or my candidate will win or lose on Mov 3rd. The church will win or lose based on our behavior every day between now and then.
    I want everyone to go vote. You political candidate will win or lose based on how citizens of the USA vote on a single day. But the church wins or loses… our community wins or loses… our nation wins or loses based on the way we treat each other and love each other… and love our world every single day between now and the election.
    This is why Jesus was so clear…

    We must not let anyone or anything dived us

    Listen to me. It was Christianity that has shaped Western civilization not a political figure or party. It was the teaching of Jesus, not our politicians, that laid the groundwork for our modern sense Justice… fairness … dignity.

    The teaching of Jesus laid the groundwork for our modern sense of Justice

    The teaching of Jesus laid the groundwork for our modern sense of fairness

    The teaching of Jesus laid the groundwork for our modern sense of dignity

    It was the church that introduced the values we hold dearly to. It was the church that build orphanages, hospitals. etc. all over the world. As great as our nation is, it has been the Church that has shaped western civilization.
    Listen to me. Throughout our our history, both of our current parties have gotten it wrong. Men and women from both political parties have missed the mark morally and fallen short in their leadership.
    During the history of this nation, several political parties have had to shut down. Whigs? Federalist?
    So why, as followers of an eternal King (Jesus)… why would we allow ourselves to be divided by temporary political platforms and temporary political leaders? Why would we allow a political party to separate us?
    Why would we allow something temporary that we may outgrow or abandon divide us?
    Why would we allow fear to separate us? Jesus said fear not a lot. He told the that when they had the Temple wanting to kill them and the Romans (the most powerful empire) wanting to kill them.

    Why would we allow a political view to separate us from a living, breathing God?

    Why would we allow any political view, a view you might out grow in several years (remember tough on crime in the 90’s) a view you might abandon… Listen every 10-15 years things change and our views adapt on some things… So why would we allow any political view to divide us? Why would we do that when Jesus command to us is … Look believe what you will believe… vote for who you will vote for, but don’t you dare mistreat someone I created and then died for!
    Here’s what I want us to do. I want us to pray for what Jesus prayed for. Would you do that?

    Pray for unity in the Church

    Heavenly Father, make us one so we can influence many.
    If we can do what Jesus is commanding us to do… to be one with each other, even when we disagree politically, the world will notice that… they won’t have any choice because it will stand out. And because of that we will influence people toward a relationship with Jesus.
    Second thing…

    Look for Opportunities to Love Unconditionally someone with whom you disagree politically.

    Look for opportunities to love unconditionally someone with whom you do not agree with politically. That might be harder than it normally would be… but we need to do it so that our light will shine brighter than it normally does.
    You may think that’s naive or something. Let me tell you what is naive.
    It was naive for a 1st century rabbi to stand in the Syrian sun with 12 young guys and make this big promise.
    Matthew 16:18 NLT
    18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
    That’s naive, but He did it. He built his church and the devil and all of the worlds evil forces have not over come it.
    Our oneness… our unity is key for building His church in our generation.
    So disagree politically. Love unconditionally. Pray for Unity.
      • John 17:1NIV

      • John 17:11NIV

      • John 17:20NIV

      • John 17:21NIV

      • John 13:34–35NIV

      • John 13:35NIV

      • John 17:22–23NIV

      • Matthew 16:18NIV

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