What About, American Christianity?

October 31, 0202

Series: What About

Our, ‘What About?’ series, aims to answer the most common questions we get asked as a Christian Church in Texas.

Watch the sermon or read the manuscript to find out where we stand on American Christianity.


What About, American Christianity?: Sermon Manuscript


This morning we are continuing our series called, “What About?”  You can look through the devotional to see where we are going over the next 3 weeks.

The first week we talked about the role of women, then we talked about abortion, then we talked about those who have never heard about Jesus, sex before marriage, and last time we talked about racism, all of which you can find on our YouTube Channel, and this morning we are talking about American Christianity.

Research shows that most Democratic and Republican voters live in partisan bubbles, with little exposure to those who belong to the other party, so that a study done March 16, 2021, found that most Democrats and Republicans live in levels of segregation that exceed racial segregation in our past.

I am sure there are many local churches in Austin and around the world where that stat would prove to be true, but the Lord has blessed our church family in Austin with political diversity, and you might not know it, but you are likely sitting next to someone who votes completely different, and that’s why this conversation is really important for our church family.

In our time together we are going to focus on three sub-points; 1.  Define the Conversation.  2.  How Does God’s Word Respond?  3.  How Do We Respond Practically?  Let’s look at our first sub-point; 1.  Define the Conversation.

  1. Define the Conversation.

We’re talking about American Christianity because this conversation isn’t just academic.  We are seeing our faith in Jesus weave into politics, which makes politics very personal, and makes this conversation very complicated.

Now, from my experience I have found that when I am talking to a democratic voter in our church family, first you assume I am a democratic voter, and many times you are quick to point out the flaws of the Republican Party.

And, when I am talking to a Republican voter in our church family, again, you assume I am a Republican voter, and many times you are quick to point out the flaws of the Democratic Party, so that both people, Republican and Democrats tend to find it really easy to overlook their political flaws and only seem to focus on the flaws of the other political party.

Probably the most common critique on both sides that I hear from people in our church family is, “These “people” need to stop tarnishing the good name of Jesus!”  Do you hear this?  Those Republicans, those Democrats are giving Jesus a bad name!

So that if you lean democratic (Have you noticed everyone “leans?”  Everyone likes to think of themselves as a centrist, well balanced, individual.)

If you lean Democrat, you are confident that the Republican Party is taking bible verses, name of Jesus, “God’s chosen nation” type of language, and weaving it into their political agendas, and giving Jesus a bad name.  Some of us are saying, “That’s right!”  Those dang republicans are hypocrites!

But need to know the Democratic Party does the same thing.  If you “lean Democratic”, you might not see it, but the Democratic Party is also using bible verses, name of Jesus, “hands and feet of Jesus” type of language, weaving it into their political agendas, and giving Jesus a bad name.  So that some of us are saying, “That’s right!”  Those dang democrats are hypocrites!

Listen to me, it’s possible that some of us have the “log in our own eye” that we can only see the flaws in the other party, but you need to know that both political parties are layering their agendas with biblical themes because both the Democratic and Republican Party have values that come out of the Scriptures.  You with me?

Generally speaking, Democrats are going to lean toward mercy, grace, and compassion, which is biblical.  And Republicans are going to lean toward truth, law, right and wrong, which, spoiler alert, are also biblical, therefore, when we enter into this conversation we want to be careful that we aren’t pitting biblical values against biblical values.  You with me?

Think about it this way.  This a broad description, but, if you should “lean democratic” then you tend to believe the ailments of society are not because of individual choices, but based on the structures of society, therefore, generally speaking, the democratic party looks to tweak those structures of society to help those who are in need.  But, then what does that person do with Proverbs 10:4:

Proverbs 10:4, “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

What do you do with that verse?  This verse looks like individual character and personal choices make a big difference.  The person who “leans republican” probably loves this verse.  Posts that verse on their social media, drops the mic.

Because, generally speaking, if you “lean republican” then you tend to believe the ailments of society are not based on social structures, but more so upon individual choices, personal character, personal drive and work ethic but then you come to Proverbs 13:23:

Proverbs 13:23, “An unplowed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away.”

What do you do with that verse?  The word “injustice” isn’t individual injustice, but a reference to the non-religious legal systems of the land, and the person who “leans democratic” is probably jumping up and down, posting on social media, because when sinners make systems, you are going to see systemic problems.

What are we going to do?  We should probably just focus on the verses of Scripture we like and keep telling ourselves that the other party is just a bunch of idiots.

Listen to me, for me, the hope of the local church isn’t getting everyone to be Republican or Democrat (that’s what a lot of followers of Jesus are doing right now), but the hope of the local church is the body of Christ coming under the Lordship of Jesus in such a way that we stop trashing it’s members, we stop digging in our heals, but instead we soften our hearts, we humble ourselves, we learn from one another, sharpen one another, bring out the best in one another, and maybe we get to taste heaven on earth, because you need both!

Now, it’s possible you are thinking, “Yeah, but Pastor Michael, I know some Democrats, I know some Republicans who have taken those biblical values, and absolutely applied those biblical values in an unbiblical way.”  Right?

We can take “mercy” too far.  Sometimes the Democratic Party is so bent on mercy that they will justify violence to enforce mercy!  See the riots of 2020.  That’s not good.

And we can take “truth and law” too far.  Sometimes the Republican Party will justify excessive force because rules weren’t followed.  See how people are being treated at the border.

That’s why, now more than ever, we need one another. We don’t need to villainies one another, cut one another off, dismiss one another, but we need the Spirit of God to help us to see how we are better together, and together we might see the beauty of Jesus lived out in His people….it can happen!

I get it, we’re all thinking of how someone else needs to hear this message, someone else who’s gone too far, but it’s starts with each of us in this room taking account of the logs that are in our eyes.  Let’s look at how God’s Word responds.

  1. How Does God’s Word Respond?

We could look at Mark 12, “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar,” we could look at Romans 13 “be subject to governing authorities,” or, we could look at Philippians 3 as the Apostle Paul refers to followers of Jesus as “heavenly citizens”, but I wanted us to see how Jesus engages the political tensions of the day when Jesus is tempted by Satan.

Matthew 4:1, “1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Perhaps you know this passage, perhaps you are hearing it for the first time, but in the context of the passage we see Jesus is God in the flesh, Matthew 3, and in that same chapter we see Jesus is the promised servant of Isaiah 53.  You with me?

Jesus is the “Son of God”, and Jesus is the “Suffering Servant” and like Adam and Eve of old we see the devil trying to distract Jesus from His ultimate purpose.  Let’s look at those temptations.

 Matthew 4:2-4, “2 And after He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”

In verses 2-4 we see Jesus has been fasting for 40 days, Jesus is hungry, and in a moment of hunger the enemy comes with an offering of something as simple as food.

Listen to me, you need to know we have an enemy who is going to prey upon us when we are tired, hungry, and beat down, and His purpose is to distract us from our ultimate calling and purpose in life.

You might be saying, “Pastor Michael, are you talking about demonic influences?”  Yes.  There are forces of darkness that are absolutely working against any progress of His Kingdom, any acts of kindness, and any relationships of unity.

Please don’t think the evils of humanity are just because of social media influences and political agendas.  Please don’t think abortion and racism is just about women’s rights and equality and overlook the dark forces at work.

Please don’t think the negative thoughts we have about one another is just because of political differences.  We have an enemy that wants to kill, steal, and destroy.  Look at verses 5-7:

Matthew 4:5-7, “5 Then the devil took Him along into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and he said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written: ‘He will give His angels orders concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will lift You up, so that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.’ 7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written: ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

In verses 5-7 Satan is tempting Jesus to trust in Himself.  Satan is tempting Jesus to doubt the Father’s provision and protection, “If you are the Son of God.”

Satan is tempting Jesus to get swept up in fear of what might happen if Jesus doesn’t take His life into His own hands.  Any of this sound familiar right now?

How many times are we thinking to ourselves in this season of being tired, hungry, and beat down, “God doesn’t care about me?”  How many times are we thinking to ourselves, “I don’t care what Scripture says I have to do what I have to do?”  Look at verses 8-11:

Matthew 4:8-11, ” 8 Again, the devil took Him along to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” 11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to serve Him.

Listen, there are a number of things we could pull out of the Matthew 4, but for the sake of time I want us to see Jesus is tempted with the glories of this world (Verse 8), and yet Jesus’ eyes were always on the Father and His Kingdom.  This is what is most important in our lives as followers of Jesus.

I love our country.  My favorite holiday is 4th of July.  My minor in college was politics.  At one point I had an internship set up to serve as a White House Intern until the Lord moved my heart toward ministry.

I’ve voted in every presidential election I was eligible, and every president I have voted for has won, so I love politics, I love to talk about politics, but my ultimate allegiance is to my new heavenly citizenship in Christ.

There are areas where our allegiance to Him coincides with leaders and earthly governments, and that’s great but at any divergence we always need to side with Jesus.

I know we know that, and at the same time I know we know that is an area where we are going to constantly need to grow, and I know that is complicated, so let’s talk about what that looks like practically.

3. How Do We Respond Practically

  1. We create a welcoming environment for all political views. We didn’t look at this passage this morning, but did you know Jesus calls two really different types of political perspectives to be His disciples.

Matthew the Tax Collector and Simon the Zealot both come from different political perspectives, and both are called to follow Jesus.

As a tax collector, Matthew would have collaborated with the Roman occupiers, extorting the people of Israel, and Simon the Zealot would have hated the Roman occupation.

A Zealot is basically connected to a terrorist organization that made raids and revolts against Roman occupation, and yet Jesus calls them into the same group of disciples.  Isn’t that interesting?

Surely when Simon the Zealot responds to Jesus he leaves behind his anger, temper, and rage for the Roman Empire, and surely when Matthew the Tax Collector responds to Jesus he leaves behind his business, networks, and relationships with the Roman Empire, but don’t you think they didn’t leave those things behind 100%?

Surely, they still had their bents for or against the Roman Empire on some level.  Surely, they still had their personalities, their leanings, their interests, and yet we see in God’s good wisdom He brings both of these types of people together as disciples.

It would have been easier to just bring one or none, but Jesus brings both, therefore, might we create a welcoming environment for political interests, as we all submit our lives to Jesus as Lord.

Might we extend grace toward one another?  Might we be gentle with our words toward one another?  Might we convey a posture of humility as we learn from one another, because in the life of Jesus we see Matthew and Simon finding a welcome home with Him?

  1. Is America New Israel or New Babylon? This might be confusing, but there are two broad eras in Israel’s history, and the first is their history as a nation, and the second is Israel’s history in captivity.

Therefore, as followers of Jesus today it is common to see some who are trying to build a Christian nation, like Israel of old, and there are some who believe we are to live as exiles in a strange land.  Does that make sense?  Are we to establish our faith in this new land, or are we to run parallel?

Augustine tells us the answer is both.  Government is ordained by God, therefore, as followers of Jesus we are called to be involved.  We are called to seek justice. We are called to be a blessing.  We are called to influence.  We are called to be the best citizens we can be, and at the same time government is not the only calling we have in Christ.

We can’t give ourselves fully to our nation’s citizenship, because we are also called to our heavenly citizenship as brothers and sisters in Christ, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers in the body of Christ.

  1. Might we hold tight to the gospel. Let us close with a reminder of why Jesus is so important.  It’s possible the world around us will look at our faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and says, “Who could possible believe in something so fantastic?”  Something so outdated?  Surely, we need to evolve as a people.

But listen to me, every human being is putting their trust in something.  In every one of these conversations in this series we are holding a position, and that position begins with an authority, and at the end of the day we are all trusting that authority is reliable.  Does that make sense?

It might be another faith system in the world, or it might be ourselves, or it might be a hodge-podge of beliefs, but as a human being we are all putting our trust in something.

As followers of Jesus, we are trusting the man in Matthew 4 is God in the flesh, the suffering servant who defeats the temptations of this world, who takes the brokenness of our world upon Himself at the cross, who conquers our brokenness in the resurrection, so that the Kingdom of Heaven is now!

We don’t just believe this because of warm fuzzy’s, or because we grew up in a home that believe in Jesus, but we believe Jesus is true because of concrete, historical evidence in the lives of men and women who saw Jesus, heard Jesus, touched Jesus, and gave their lives to Jesus.

This is the credible authority we put our trust in, and every person in humanity has to look at the authority figures in life and ask themselves, “Have those authorities lived under the scrutiny of time like Jesus?  Have those authorities given their life for them?  Are those authorities transforming lives?”

Will those authorities gather a people from all over the globe, every walk of life, to be a people who voluntarily lay aside their preferences to become a new people? There’s nobody or nothing like Jesus!

If you’ve never believed in Jesus, you need to do that this morning.  We will have people at the front to pray for you.  Trust in Jesus.  There’s nobody like Jesus.  Will you pray with me?


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.

Check out our North Village Church calendar highlights such as our Christmas Eve Service and Easter Sunday Service.

You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


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