Our world is uber stressed right now, moms, kids, we're all pretty fatigued by COVID and everything 2020. So much is happening in this country and the election, and the coverage seems designed to trigger fear and outrage.
And think of those who do not trust in a loving, sovereign God! I can see this election being even more important, like their biggest hope. Without real hope in Christ, everything would depend on this election going their way.
To the degree we are online or watch political shows, even the most heavenly minded of us can get caught up in the same fear, anxiety, outrage.
But we've been fostering a faith that is passionate for Jesus, faith that reveals Jesus to others, faith that gives us hope, and faith that is passionate for grace.
This week as much as any we need to center our faith and hope in Jesus, and be passionate for His grace. For all three go together.
Ephesians 2 For we were dead in our trespasses and sins… and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love… even when we were dead in our transgressions, [He] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him… that He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
We are people of hope because we serve a God who rose from the dead. We are a people of hope because we have been given life from the dead.
We are people of hope because God points to the future saying He'll pour out the surpassing riches of His grace to us through Jesus Christ forevermore. God's grace, that's the reason for our hope!
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Faith in God's grace gives us hope yet makes us aliens here.
We live in a world without Jesus, without such hope. Sometimes we listen to them so much we lose our hope. Particularly as we face the election of our lifetime, I encourage you to put your hope in Jesus and be ready to express His grace.
For however long it takes to count the votes, there will be a lot of fearmongering, a lot of mistrust, divisive words, and hate. And a lot of noise…
While there may be a lot of noise Tuesday on, Church, let's not add to the noise. The world is already fatigued, let's not add to the stress. People are already afraid, let's not add to their fear.
Instead, how can we love really well this week? Where can we extend God's grace and peace? How might our faith and hope in Jesus be shown to others?
We are those who hope in a sovereign God whom we call Father, Savior, Jesus, and Friend. He is truly good and He is fully in control over it all, over Satan, COVID, spiritual authorities, human governments, even this election,
Daniel 4:34 … for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, "What have You done?"
Whatever happens in this election, our Father is in charge. There are big issues. We vote for policies we think are best, and He works through that, but we can trust that He sets people in office. And none have ever been perfect,
Daniel 4:17 … The Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it [authority] on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men.
We don't know why God puts certain people in office. Sometimes He gives us what we deserve, sometimes (like with Pharaoh) He has His own reasons,
Romans 9:17 [Because he was stubborn enough to resist God and Moses] … "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you [the ten plagues, the parting of the red sea, rescuing over a million slaves from Egypt], that My Name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth."
It may not be the most comforting news that God's big-picture purpose is not to insure American greatness. Yet it really is good news.
The Father cares! And He's carrying out His plan, and we know that the grand finale is glorious; we can trust Him for that.
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
While everyone else puts their hope in politics and presidential candidates, I encourage you to participate, vote your conscience but guard your heart,
Vote your conscience, but guard your heart!
Psalm 118:9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. [or presidents.]
Guard your hearts against fear and anxiety. Guard your hearts with how much hope you put in either candidate. Donald Trump never died for the sins of the world. Joe Biden never rose from the dead.
While everyone has Trump or Biden on the brain, vote but cling to Jesus,
1 Timothy 6:15 He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion!
While the internet blows up and people on either side of the issue say hard things, choose humility, choose to love well. Our world needs this from us.
If you don't know how to do this? Look to Jesus.
For if you're fretting, frightened, or filled with hate, it's hard to love.
If you see only good in one candidate and you see only evil in the other, it will be hard to love your neighbor, or believers who support the other candidate.
Here's why we need to humble in Christ, and passionate for God's grace, this week for this is pride.
Yet it's become far too easy in this political climate to judge a brother or sister. "How can a true Christian support him, or vote for him knowing this?" God help us to not assume the worst in other believers, to doubt their intelligence, or question their faith, or judge their hearts.
I can honestly say, people in this church who vote for either candidate have compassionate hearts. We can trust that about each other. Each wants what's best for your family, neighbors, the less fortunate.
Whether it's inner city poverty, racial equality, religious freedom, or other true injustices in our world, believers in this church on both sides of the political aisle have compassion and hopes for those less fortunate than us.
And whether you wish for President Trump or Joe Biden, each of you share the same holy desire for this nation and the future.
Whether you're aware of it or not, every good thing that you truly hope for will be fulfilled in the return of Christ and in His kingdom to come.
Jesus is the One who paid for our sins but…
1) He's also the One who holds out a future kingdom, a government presided over by Him, in which He guarantees true justice that properly punishes and restricts evil, and true justice for the poor and the oppressed.
2) Whoever you vote for, our new hearts share the same hope in God's kingdom when Jesus comes to establish true righteousness which brings moral goodness—not virtue signaling, but true virtue and moral goodness.
3) This holy desire that you have for a preferred America, a preferred future, is really a holy longing for Jesus to bring about real racial reconciliation and eternal prosperity, safety, health. Your real hope is in "Thy Kingdom come!"
So because of our Lord's goodness and promises, we can choose humility. We have our preferences. We have our hopes and fears. But in humility, we don't know everything about each candidate; we don't really know what they'll do. They are men and they've no idea what God has in store for 2021.
With that understanding, vote, but do not trust in presidents in whom there is no salvation.
Psalm 146:3 Do not trust in princes [or presidents], in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 His spirit departs, he returns to the earth… 5 [Ah] How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 who made heaven and earth… who is faithful forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free.
May God grant you humility if your candidate wins. It's not the salvation of the world. It's not the kingdom to come. Or the first day of a new utopian future.
May God grant you humility if your candidate loses for seriously, it's not the end of the world.
Humility trusts Jesus when the world scares us. Humility looks to Jesus for hope. He's the Risen One, the One in charge, unruffled, unthreatened.
While police prepare for Tuesday, Walmart pulls their guns and ammo off the shelves, and even Rodeo Drive borders up on Tuesday. May the Spirit grant us real peace in Christ and love for our neighbor. They need it. And church, let us be sure to love one another too, even online; we need it.