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How to love beyond politics

by Mike Vandermause on February 04, 2019

There is a divide in our country when it comes to politics, and some don’t believe it’s a topic that should be discussed in church. 

But Pastor Troy Murphy said faith should be incorporated in every aspect of our lives, including the political world. 

We don’t need to endorse candidates as a church or put ourselves near the seat of government power. But we do need to talk about what it means to be Christ followers and show the love of Jesus in our divided political climate. 

So Troy delivered a sermon on Sunday, Feb. 3 entitled “Love Beyond Polity,” which addressed how faith and politics can and should mix.

Here are key points from Troy’s message:

*Our identity should not be wrapped up in a political party or even a country. Our identity first and foremost should be in Christ. Sometimes our culture is so stuck in a political party identity that we have forgotten the basics of what it is to be Christian.

As Christians we are subjects to Jesus himself. We won’t get a heart restoration or transformation through politics. We serve as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5.20).

*The New Testament has several references to government. 1 Peter 2.13-17 says we are to submit to every human authority. In other words, we should be great citizens for any government authority over us. Other scripture references: 

2 Corinthians 5.20

1 Peter 2.9-12

Ephesians 6.12

Romans 13.1-7

Titus 3

*When it comes to politics, Christians sometimes take pieces of Jesus to promote a particular agenda, when the whole of Jesus’ message must be embraced. Those pieces can lead to a counterfeit gospel when the focus is only on one aspect of what Jesus said. Troy gave a personal example about narrowly focusing on morality, which led him to conclude that people had to vote a certain way in order to fall in line with his moral view. 

*We should not cozy up to political figures or parties for the sake of power. That’s what happened in Nazi Germany when Protestant and Catholic leaders were friendly to Adolph Hitler. It was a regrettable posture considering the atrocities that followed.

*We don’t need to legislate prayer in schools, because God's kingdom is still in schools if Christians are present there. We don’t have to fight to have Biblical signs posted at City Hall, because Christians work and engage at City Hall. Christian influence is much greater when coming from Christ followers serving as God’s ambassadors rather than a plaque on a wall.

*We must put aside our tendency to want to be on the “right” side of a political issue. We must put on the new self and get rid of  anger, rage and malice (Colossians 3.5-10).

*It’s appropriate for Christians to get involved in elections and vote. One question to ask in that process: How do you sense God calling our country moving toward bringing dignity and humanity toward people? 

*Every interaction we have with people is a chance to love. It shouldn’t be about ‘winning’ in politics or getting the upper hand in a debate or on social media. We must get rid of self-pride in our interactions. 

*We should hold this posture: How can I love people that have different political views? We should embrace each person as a unique creation of God. It starts with sitting down and having a dialog and seeking understanding. In the same way that Jesus loved us while we were in opposition to Him, we too should reach out in love to those who are opposed to our viewpoints. 

*Our love for Christ is not to be silent. We’re called to action. We aren’t to be quiet Christians, but when we speak or act, we must do it out of love.

Discussion questions

*Have you ever believed that as a Christian you must vote for a certain political party or candidate? Why?

*Do you view people with opposing political viewpoints as the enemy? How can you engage with them in a Christlike manner?

*Do you see interactions with people possessing different political viewpoints as a battle to be won or as an opportunity to love?

*What kingdom do you represent?

*How can you be a great citizen, even when you don’t agree with the government or things politicians do?