In God We Trust ?


The following are excerpts from a sermon delivered by the blog writer at Ashland Brethren in Christ Church on October 10, 2021. If you are interested in hearing the sermon or reading the full sermon manuscript, click here.

 

I’ve titled this message “In God We Trust ?” Question mark. Sometimes I think it’s hard to tell – do we trust in God or do we trust in our nation, our government, our politics, ourselves? The bigger question is who do we believe will “save” or “deliver” us – God or government or even the Church (capital C) in America?


I have been hearing a lot of things lately that make me cringe. Things like:


We need to win America back for Christ

God has blessed America because it is (or was) a Christian nation

How can you call yourself a Christian if you voted for __________ (fill in the blank)

America is the greatest country in the world because we have religious freedom (I wonder how believers around the world feel when they hear this?)


What really makes me cringe is that these are things that I have thought, I have said, I have typed, I have liked on Facebook...


While there is nothing wrong with having an appropriate level of patriotism and pride in one’s country, I would like to remind us – those of us who call ourselves Christ-followers and those who are looking to us for answers – is where we should be putting our trust and hope. Yes, we should be praying for our leaders and for the people who inhabit our country, and for our nation as a whole. But I would suggest that maybe the reason – the underlying motive for our prayers – is that we can retain a certain level of “comfort,” that we won’t be called upon to suffer for Jesus. That then begs the question – in who, or what, or where are we placing our trust, faith, and hope?


In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus is responding to some questioning by the Pharisees. “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ for the Kingdom of God is already among you.” (NLT)


I found an interesting footnote in my Bible which said “The Kingdom of God is not like an earthly kingdom with geographical boundaries. Instead, it begins with the work of God’s Spirit in people’s lives and in relationships. We must resist looking to institutions or programs for evidence of the progress of God’s Kingdom. Instead, we should look for what God is doing in people’s hearts.”


In The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church, Greg Boyd makes this assessment from his introduction to the book.


“The myth of America as a Christian nation, with the church as its guardian, has been, and continues to be, damaging both to the church and the advancement of God’s kingdom. Among other things, this nationalistic myth blinds us to the way in which our most basic and most cherished cultural assumptions are diametrically opposed to the kingdom way of life taught by Jesus and his disciples. Instead of living out the radically countercultural mandate of the kingdom of God, this myth has inclined us to Christianize many pagan aspects of our culture. Instead of providing the culture with a radically alternative way of life, we largely present it with a religious version of what it already is. The myth clouds our vision of God’s distinctly beautiful kingdom and thereby undermines our motivation to live as set-apart (holy) disciples of this kingdom.”


I would add that when we perceive that America as we know it is falling apart, that myth clouds our trust in God.


In the publisher’s note for this month’s issue of Prayer Connect, although he was commenting on why we in America are surprised at miracles, made two very important points:


“Christians have experienced the safety of being the dominant culture in America. As this disappears more and more, we will need to rely on our faith, not on the power of our vote or voice. When every human idea or thing that we have trusted is removed, many believers will begin to walk in the strength of Christ alone. Then, we when we pray, ‘greater things’ will happen.” He also states, “I believe that before the end comes there will be the greatest spiritual awakening and revival the world has ever known. Why? Because God is bringing into His Kingdom those who are yet to be saved before Jesus comes.”


Church – we need to be aware of the realities that exist. But we also do not need to live in fear of what appears to be happening in America – or anywhere else in the world. We need to put our trust and faith in the Kingdom of God.


Two weeks ago, when I was having some unusually high anxiety, a close friend admonished me to get off the internet and Facebook, and just breathe in God. Which was unusual because I’m usually the one who’s encouraging others to do just that. I knew I needed to fill my mind with other thoughts. I knew that what I was dwelling on was causing me to lose sight of where my trust should be. Then the song “In Times Like These” came to my mind and it was in my head for a solid couple of days before I realized my anxiety was gone.


In times like these you need a Savior,

In times like these you need an anchor:

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One,

This rock is Jesus, the only One;

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


I intentionally chose the Old Testament reading in I Chronicles because David’s prayer of praise restores the order of my thoughts towards who’s ultimately in control.


“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.” I Chronicles 29:11-12 (NLT)


If ever we needed a reminder that God is still in charge, it’s now. Whenever we look at the things that are going on around us, things that cause us to worry, to have anxiety, to be disheartened, dismayed or depressed, or maybe even angry, we need to keep our eyes and our hearts fixed on God. Fixed on Jesus.


As Christ-followers we are called to “live out our faith,” but we need to be rock-solid of what we are living out – on what our trust is built upon.


It’s time for each of us to take a close look at where we are actually putting our trust. We may need to repent, as I had to, and refocus on God, so we can truly say “In God We Trust."


Benediction: Romans 15:13

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 



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