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One President

• Greg Boyd

This weekend Greg taught about the difference between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. In the kingdom of God, Jesus is our King (and president) and followers are marked by their indiscriminate love and refusal to rule over others. During this election cycle believers are called to put their trust in Jesus alone and not be pulled into trusting in the rulers of this world.

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This sermon began with a short video on the biblical nature of being created in the image of God. In the beginning God created humans in His image to help rule over creation and co-create with Him. Unfortunately, because of human sin people have been defining good and evil for themselves. Fortunately, Jesus came and showed us a new way to be human, giving us His divine life and power through the Holy Spirit.

Greg began his sermon by sharing how many Americans are feeling worried by this election cycle. Yet, Christians do not need to be worried about the current state of politics because we are not part of the kingdom of this world. He went on to explain that a kingdom is a domain where a king rules. In the begin humans were made to rule the domain of earth, but not to rule over each other. This is evidenced by God’s work through Israel. Originally God intended to be the king of Israel and put on display His good intentions to the rest of the nations through Israel. However, in 1 Samuel 8 Israel chooses an earthly king over God. In doing so, Israel was rejecting God as their king.

For us today, trusting in human rulers is the same as rejecting God as the ruler of our lives. We can’t serve two masters. In other words, you can’t trust in human rulers and God at the same time. All human rulers and governments, are based in a ruling over others and not on the fundamentals of the Kingdom of God where indiscriminate love reigns.

To be a Christian is to put your trust in God and not in any government, not even the American government. When we step out of the dome where Jesus rules we are stepping into a place where God’s enemy rules. In the Bible, Satan is said to be the ruler of this world, the god of this age, the principality and power of the air, and the destroyer. All governments in some shape or former are part of Satan’s kingdom. This is not to say that every government is equally bad, but rather that all are under an evil influence. Because of this Christians should never put their trust in anyone/anything other than Jesus alone as Lord. Jesus is to be our sole source of hope, joy, security, identity, and love.

As Christians we are called to be aliens in this world and ambassadors or missionaries for Christ. Ambassadors are not to get overly focused on other countries’ affairs and likewise we should be focused on the affairs of the Kingdom of God. As members of the Kingdom of God our president is Jesus Christ, who is King of Kings and LORD of Lords.

Practically speaking, this means that every believer must decided for themselves how they will interact with politics. Sometimes, things associated with our government (e.g. voting, standing for the pledge of allegiance, etc.) can become a type of civic religion. For instance, voting is not necessarily wrong as long as believers’ trust is in Jesus and we are not getting pulled into the world’s kingdom. A great way to test this is to ask ourselves, “do I find myself feeling hostile towards people who don’t agree with my political opinions?” Or “Do I feel anxiety of fearful about this?”

Isaiah 26:3 promises that we will have steadfast peace when we trust in the Lord. So, will you make a choice to let go of trust in the kingdom of this world and instead trust in Jesus?

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Topics: Kingdom of God, Nationalism, Politics

Sermon Series: Without Borders


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Focus Scripture:

  • 1 Samuel 8:5-7

    The Israelites said to Samuel, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”

    1 Samuel 8:19-20

    But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

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13 thoughts on “One President

    Megan Romero says: Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Thank you for this mUchiha needed reminder and message of who I can put all my trust and faith in 100% of the time.

    I’m a podrishoner so I don’t get to participate in your worship. Btw I would totally love if someday podrishonersoon could view worship. However, in the meantime I thought I would share a song that came to my heart while listening to this sermon. Maybe it could bless the worship team? It’seems by Hillsong named “Oceans” it ask God to being used into his deep waters where are trust is without borders. Here is my favorite version on YouTube and the link https://youtu.be/dy9nwe9_xzw

    Be blessed♡

    Reply
    Megan Romero says: Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Eeeks my auto correct totally mangled my last comment, sorry. I’ll remember to proofread next time. On the bright side now you know what God already knows, I’m not perfect, and he loves me anyways. Lol

    Reply
    Megan Romero says: Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Another great on is Lauren Daigle “Trust in You”. Here is the link to my favorite YouTube version
    https://youtu.be/qv-SXz_exKE

    Hope it blesses other podrishoners too. Sometimes I put on you tube and activate auto play while I pray and the songs that connect with the heart of my prayers I write in my prayer journal along with the sermons I’m watching and the truths I’m discovering in that process.

    Thank you WHC for being part of my life long journey to know, love and serve God with all my heart, mind and soul.

    Sending prayers from TX for your ministry to be annoited and reach all hearts in need of your wisdom♡

    Reply
    Dave PRITCHARD says: Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Now this guy really gets some people riled up but I think if one is going to look at ‘American History’ and its iniquitous formation you can’t ignore Howard Zinn’s –

    “A People’s History of the United States”.

    Also, I really liked Greg’s ‘dome’ explanation of the word “Kingdom”. But some other theologians have taken a different tact such as Scot McKnight who has pointed out that there has been a lot of misuse and abuse of this term in recent decades that has led to a more neo-Calvinist ‘Kuyperian’ application of the term. He states –

    “Here’s what matters: hordes of American Christians are far less committed to their local church because they are committed to doing “kingdom work.” Kingdom for many means the bigger things God is doing in this world. A proper kingdom theology leads people to the middle of the church, not away from it. So it makes a difference when church is on the decline and people are saying they are committed to the kingdom but not so much to the church. You can’t have kingdom without church. What you are doing for the common good should first be done for those in your local church fellowship. Let’s start there, and we’ll have a fellowship revival worth talking about.”

    But I can’t say I totally agree with this logic; it seems more ‘pleated pants’ than ‘skinny jeans’ – Ha! You’ve got to carry the torch forward, not just light up your own camp. Andy Crouch of ‘Christianity Today’ who seminal book “Culture Making” which has had a huge impact on ‘framing outreach’ verse ‘political entanglement’ recently withdrew his support for a certain individual running for that lovely ‘Oval Office’ by stating –

    “Enthusiasm for a candidate like [ ! ] gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us.”

    I’m not voting for various complex reasons but as one of my favorite preachers who’s currently hiking the ‘Camino de Santiago’ likes to say – “I’m not interested in Elephants or Donkeys; I belong to the Party of the Lamb!”

    Reply
    Xavier says: Wednesday October 19, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Well said. As a post verse, this verse goes hand on hand.

    James 3:16
    “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

    Reply
    kevin sandidge says: Wednesday October 19, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Megan Romero………..thank you for the ‘Oceans’ link; i love it!!!!

    Reply
    Peter says: Thursday October 20, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Having regard to Greg’s message, some readers may recall the book by Jacques Ellul (French Protestant, lay preacher and Prof. of the History of Law and Social History at the University of Bordeaux) ‘The Political Illusion’(TPI). This was published back in 1967 and found its way into my library probably 20 or 25 years ago when I probably read it, or parts of it superficially. However, after reading a recent blog/review on this book, one can understand with far greater clarity that politics or politicization of society is a system of the other kingdom that can ensnare the unbeliever or the unwise.

    While I will give the link to the blog later, I will highlight some of the main points that help to understand Ellul’s argument.

    From the blogger,

    “The illusion begins with politicization, that is, the act of suffusing everything with politics and dragging it into the political arena, thus reducing everything to politics. This creates an environment where all problems are perceived as political problems in need of political solutions.”

    While this is an all encompassing statement, it nonetheless holds the threads of a ‘modern democratic society’ and rather than associate politics with an individual it becomes a ‘faceless’ system that controls the ‘state’ (or united states?)…where some may go so far to probably describe it as a state ‘religion’.

    Returning to the blog,

    “In this politicized society, the terms justice, freedom, and truth have new connotations: “justice now means happiness produced by equal distribution of material goods; freedom has come to mean high living standards and long vacations; and truth, more or less, has come to mean exactness with regard to facts” (TPI pp30-31).
    Because these values have been politicized, it is the state’s job to secure these values. Regardless of whether we are personally just, truthful, or liberated, we demand that the state “assure social justice, guarantee truth in information, [and] protect freedom” (TPI p186). It is Ellul’s contention that when we view “the state as creator and protector of values” we have completely given in to politicization: “The state as creator and protector of values—that is the business of politics” (TPI p186).”

    During Greg’s message, he indicated that some may take offense to his message of not wishing to become embroiled in political debate; for which I totally agree with Greg. It is interesting how Ellul deals with this in the following quote,

    “This judgment, only mildly exaggerated, has its corollary: the severe condemnation of “apolitical people.” In our society anyone who keeps himself in reserve, fails to participate in elections, regards political debates and constitutional changes as superficial and without real impact on the true problems of man… will be judged very severely by everybody. He is the true heretic of our day. (TPI p18).” So those ‘apolitical people’ who reject the political system and what underlies this system are in fact viewed as heretics.

    And lastly for this post,

    “The more an individual has become politicized, the more he will see and think about all problems as political problems, the more importance will he attach to political action… At the same time, the more politicized he is, the more will he be focused on and oriented toward that basic political force and form: the state. The more he takes recourse to the state, the more power he gives it. For him the only problem is: who will control the state? Will it be his party? All will then be perfect. Will it be another party? Then things will be bad. But he never thinks of reducing the state itself—on the contrary. All he thinks of is to replace the incumbents. No minority wants to reduce the state’s power. (TPI p197).”

    While this issue is a far broader topic that has a number of implications, politics is a system used by ‘principalities and powers’ in an attempt to lead astray God’s elect and to destroy His Kingdom by establishing it’s own. But as indicated in Revelation 18, Babylon will ultimately be brought down within an hour.

    For those wishing to read the full blog it can be found here,

    http://www.theocentric.com/?p=1783

    Reply
    David E. Schellenberg says: Friday October 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    If Satan has been given all authority on earth, how should we understand Romans 13:1-5?
    Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    Reply
    Dave PRITCHARD says: Saturday October 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    David,

    This kind of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario/dilemma often comes up in Bible studies and or coffee house chats. And it’s a whopper – there’s no painless or unproblematic answer. Nevertheless, here’s my take on it for what its worth.

    In condensing down traditional commentary it has often been said, “Tribute is to be paid to whom tribute is due”. But this still leaves the question open, as to whether in any particular case, tribute is ‘rightfully’ due or not. Circumstantially it’s often a ‘Prima Facie’ – ‘on the face of it’ decision. If Roman 13:1- 5 is taken in isolation, it would appear that then one’s ‘Kingdom’ loyalties would inherently be split; you’ll have a conflict of obligation.

    Clever sophistry in these matters seems a way of avoiding the problem but here’s the thing – When what Paul is saying here is measured alongside Mark 12:17 for instance –

    “Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”

    He’s not specifically qualifying what that ‘is’ but rather demonstrating that it is an “onus probandi” of ones conscience – a ‘burden of proof’ to the individual. This same ambiguity is intentionally displayed further when he is asked to resolve the issue of disputed inheritance in Luke 12:13-14 –

    “Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me’. But Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me judge or executor between you?”

    It may appear here that he’s that opting out of making a fair a judicial decision but rather, it may be yet another appeal for those in such circumstances, to use their own deep sense of fairness within their own conscience. Much like what Paul is eluding to Romans 13:5 – “…. but also as a matter of conscience.”

    A salient and somewhat contemporary example of this comes from the testimony of well-known theologian Jurgen Moltmann. Moltmann was born and raised in Hamburg Germany and came of age towards the end of the Second World War and was drafted compulsorily into the Air Force Auxiliary of the German army in 1944. He apparently hated every second of it but went along with it “subjugating himself to the authorities” (as Paul would say). He was a fledgling Christian at the time but knew in his heart this was absolutely wrong on every level. So the very first instant that they stuck him out on the front line to fight, he immediately threw down his weapon and walked up to and surrendered to the very first British soldier that he could find. He then spent the next few years in prisoner of war camps in both Belgium and Scotland where he was confronted head on with the horrors of what ‘Germany’s satanic genocidal fascism’ had done to the world. Wanting to take his own life or wishing he had died instead of facing the horrendous truth, Moltmann was on the existential edge of death. It was at that moment he was befriended by an American Chaplain, who gave him a copy of the New Testament and Psalms – it changed his universe forever! He returned to a devastated Germany at 22 and thereafter threw himself into spreading the Gospel full force. He went on to become one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. In an ironic even predestined twist of fate, he had in fact submitted and rendered obedience unto “Cesar” but by marvelously obeying the drawing influences of the Spirit within his own conscience – and he put his life on the line to do it; threw down his weapon and gave back his life unto God.

    This is a hugely debatably topic but often ‘Satan’ is as much a power on the earth (potentially medaling with political systems and the ‘created’ order), as he is in within our own minds. The “Ha-Satan” the accuser is the combatant and instigator of what has been called the ‘Yetzer hara’ or the “human propensity or inclination to do evil’ or the discontinuity between the Soma, Sarx and Pneuma found in the NT. ‘This Life’ and ‘This World’ to some extent is still saturated in its own spiritual and even cosmological dysfunctions, so in a sense, Satan still has a tenuous but only impermanent grip on our corporal reality. But God’s self-revelation on Calvary has forever destroyed our internal and or external adversaries ability to ultimately control our destiny. With the beautiful triumph of ‘The Resurrection’, a ‘New Order’ has broken forth into the world and is making all things fresh and in spite of our nihilistic tendencies, “God’s Spirit will be poured out on all people” – Joel 2:28 & Acts 2:17 culminating in a New Heavens and New Earth – Isaiah 65:17 & Rev 21:1

    So having that thought in mind, linking the potential pre-resurrection half truths of Satan found in Luke 4:6 and Matthew 4:9 with Paul’s admonishment of ‘civil obedience’ is somewhat tenuous. There are those who believe that Romans 13:1-7 is actually an ‘Interpolation’ such as James Kallas and give a detailed rational for believing as such but the parallels with I Peter 2:13-17 are hard to ignore but there are differences. This article fine tooth combs them (albeit in a selective fashion) –

    Paul and Civil Obedience in Romans 13:1-7 | Bible.org
    https://bible.org/article/paul-and-civil-obedience-romans-131-7

    Cheers

    Reply
    Vanessa Blum says: Wednesday November 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    So blessed by you Greg! Your sermons have been so encouraging and really opening up our hearts and adding knowledge. This sermon “One President” is packed with excellent advise during this election year and has really opened us even more to Jesus Crist as our Godly Kind that we worship and ever need to trust, pray and be with him…as He sure is with us.
    Thank you again for all you do!

    Reply
    Vanessa Blum says: Wednesday November 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Oh…and thank you for teaching us and reminding us about the enemy and how we trust Jesus to protect us!!

    Reply
    kathy d says: Saturday December 3, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Beautiful prayer at the end of the sermon. I thought I had posted this before? Wondering if perhaps the prayer that Greg spoke is or if not could be written down and shared? – so good! Thank you.

    Reply
    Amanda Churchill says: Tuesday December 6, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Here is that prayer, Kathy.

    Lord Jesus, we chose to surrender all of our life to you and to you alone. We profess that you are our Lord, you are our God, you are our King, you are our President. You alone are our source of life. You alone are the source of our confidence, and our security, and our peace, and our love, and our joy, and our very identity. We commit to living under the dome in which you are King, and we commit, by the power of the Spirit, to living a life that’s patterned after Jesus. We ask you Lord to protect us, to keep us from being distracted, to keep us from being polluted by the toxic atmosphere that envelopes us. Purge our hearts, make our vision singular. Make our passion only towards you, that we may be a people that put on display to the world around us the beauty of your character and of the kingdom that we are ambassadors of.

    Reply

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