Sermon: “The Idol of Politics”

Wes  —  December 20, 2014

There has been a lot of discussion about my recent sermon, “The Idol of Politics,” so I wanted to share it with you. You can find it on our church website or by clicking on the image below.

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When we think of the word, “Christian,” what comes to mind? How do we define this word in our minds? Most people think a Christian is someone who “goes to church” or has been baptized or tries to follow the teachings of the Bible. But I would like to suggest that most of us don’t have a full understanding of the word “Christian” because we don’t understand the root word, “Christ.”

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Over the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about the woman’s role in the church. More and more young ladies are frustrated that they are not allowed to preach and teach during the public worship assembly. They see a prohibition against female preachers as misogynistic and oppressive. Much has been said in regards to this, but here are a few points I hope we’ll consider.

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How can we be expected to worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) if we do not even know what it means to worship? There is so much confusion over this word and instead of worship bringing Christians together as one body, as it should, it often becomes the very thing that divides us. Here are a few things I believe we must understand about worship.

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While the church desperately needs to recognize the distinction between our doctrines and our man-made traditions, we also need to fight the urge to dismiss all traditions as irrelevant and out-of-date. The man-made traditions of yesterday have an extremely important role to play in the church today. We just need to recognize – and respect – them for what they are.

Here’s why we should respect our man-made traditions…

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I absolutely love Thanksgiving! I love spending time with family, I love the idea of setting aside a day to be particularly thankful, and I love the food. I could eat turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce all year round. But recently, I got to thinking, “Is a feast really the best way to give thanks? Are we really honoring God by having a great big feast?”

Here are some thoughts on that…

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Is the church you attend, “of Christ”? The sign may say you are “of Christ,” but are you? Does the leadership structure (i.e. elders, deacons, preachers) make a you “of Christ”? Does the absence of mechanical instruments make you “of Christ”? Does the fact that you fully immerse in water, those desiring to be saved, make you “of Christ”? What is the very best way to tell if a church is “of Christ”?

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Before you read a book – or a collection of books like the New Testament – you ought to have a sense of what you’re reading. If you’re reading a novel, you should know that. If you’re reading a historical biography, you should know that. In the case of the New Testament, I’m afraid many of us don’t understand what we’re reading when we read it. So here’s a little information that might be helpful.

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When we sit down to play a game that we’ve never played before, we ask, “So, what are the rules?” People often think of Christianity in the same way. They want to know, “What are the rules?” I must admit, I struggle with this myself. But I’m beginning to see how destructive it is to think of Christianity primarily in terms of rule-keeping.

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We often treat the Bible like a reference book, rather than a collection of 66 books that reveal one unified story. With a reference book – like a dictionary – you can pull a quotation from the middle of the book, without any concern for the context. But you cannot do that with the Bible. Sadly, we often string together a series of biblical quotations – without any concern for the context – to try and prove a point. The worst might be when we use this method to quickly convince people of the necessity of baptism.

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