Megachurch Pastor on who Jesus would choose as President

July 6, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

U.S., July 4, 2016: Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of the multi-site Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill., deals with the question how Jesus would choose a president, sharing three ways Jesus handled politics during His time on earth according to the Bible.

The current American political environment is not new, as it could be argued that the political climate was even more divided in Jesus’ day because there were different parties opposing one another, Ferguson says in a video message, shot in different political locations in Washington, D.C.

These groups hated one another, he adds, explaining that Jesus lived in Israel during the time of the Roman Empire. The Jewish people had suffered a lot at the hands of their Roman conquerors, but there were many different views on how they should navigate their political situation.

The pastor then identifies the different groups and their ideologies.

One of the groups was the Herodians, he says. They accepted the situation with Rome for what it was and tried to make the best of it. “You could say that their political slogan was: ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.'”

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, was the second group of the Zealots, Ferguson continues. Their zeal for God expressed itself in what they viewed as “holy warfare” against the Romans, he explains. They turned to violence. Their political slogan was more likely: “Give ’em hell!”

The third group was the Essenes, he adds. They just wanted to get away from all the tension and political conflict, and they retreated to wilderness places where they could isolate themselves from the world around them. Their slogan was, “Get away from ’em.”

The fourth group was the Pharisees. “They were the majority party. They had the most support among the people. The Pharisees thought if they could just be good enough, if they could live pure and obey all of God’s laws, then God would act and overthrow their Roman oppressors,” Pastor Ferguson explains. Their slogan might have been, “God will get ’em!”

All these groups didn’t like each other, the pastor stresses. Yet two of them joined together “in an alliance to challenge Jesus.”

Ferguson quotes Matthew 22:15-17: “Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?'”

He also reads verses 18-22, “But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, ‘You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, ‘Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.”

Jesus’ answer to them shows he handled politics in three ways, Pastor Ferguson shares.

One, “Jesus refuses political simplicity.” He was asked a yes-or-no question, as he was asking which party he was in. But Jesus didn’t give them a simple answer, the pastor says. “Rather than label Himself in any one political position, He acknowledged both sides of arguments and even the gray area of tough topics.”

The pastor then tells the viewers, “We must not do to Jesus what He didn’t do to Himself.” We shouldn’t say Jesus is for one party or platform or candidate, as that would amount to giving Him a label, he warns. “When you do that, you’re mixing God and Caesar.”

Ferguson also suggests people decide to be a learner, and not a critic, and they will learn that “some issues are far more complex than they seem,” and that “some people are more honorable than you originally thought.”

Two, “Jesus refuses political complacency.” Jesus didn’t answer the question, saying, “No comment,” but He chose to engage the political arena, the pastor points out. “He weighed in with real wisdom.” But many Christian groups steer clear of political conversations, which is not right, Ferguson says.

Three, “Jesus refuses political primacy.” What did Jesus mean by the things that bear God’s image? “You,” the pastor answered. “We are made in God’s image… Before you are a Democrat or Republican, or libertarian or Green Party or whatever else you claim to be, you are a follower of Jesus. Your first allegiance is to Him.”

Rather than claim allegiance to any party, Jesus claimed allegiance to God, the pastor points out.

To explain what it means to give ourselves to Jesus, the pastor reads verses 37-40: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

As followers of Jesus, we should always choose love, he tells Christians.

So how would Jesus choose a president? “If Jesus were American… Jesus would choose with love. He would make a choice that is a clear reflection of His love for God but also His love for His neighbors.”

The pastor then shares two thoughts with which to consider the voting decision this season. Love God’s kingdom more than your country, and love others more than yourself, he concludes.

– christian post

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