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Moses in front of a city
November 1, 2020

Triumph Tragedy Exodus

By:  John Poundstone
Book:  Acts

I bring a message titled Triumph. Tragedy. Exodus. Ultimately, it’s an invitation.

Triumph. Tragedy. Exodus. It’s a pattern.  Throughout world history.  More importantly, throughout the bible. Here’s where it started.

Riff… Possible examples: The Garden of Eden. Triumph. Tragedy. Exodus.  East of Eden. Devil was handed earth. Cain and Abel. City of Enoch. Ruler devil, through people, created kingdoms of this world and the systems of this world. Mankind. The New Jerusalem the Father envisioned was copied and corrupted. Triumph. Tragedy and exodus forthcoming. Daughters of Cain. Nephilim. Violence. Noah. Sea. Babel. Scattered. Abraham. Abraham. Sarah. Hagar. Ishmael. Banished w/ Angel. Abraham. Sarah, Isaac, Jacob. Moses. Red Sea / Wilderness. Joshua. Promised land. Babylon. Cyrus. Egypt. Rome.

Triumph. Tragedy. Exodus: Jesus. Baptism. Wilderness. Kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus. King of the Jews. Crucifixion. Death. Hell. Grave. Resurrection. Departure. Ascension.

Holy Spirit / Pentecost. Constantine & church for 1700+ years.

Exodus:  Matthew 3 & 4, Mark 1. Repent: Kingdom of God is at hand. Whole of the bible: And it’s coming. Born anew from above, you and I are Kingdom kids. We no longer belong to death, sin, hell or the grave. We also no longer belong to the kingdoms and systems of the co-called civilized world. Our citizenship, our nature, our constitution are of another dimension.

But what about Tuesday / Election Day?  Your vote matters a great deal. It does two things:  Influences what kind of world your children and theirs will grow up in. Secondly, gives you stronger standing and a more credible voice to engage with those who run civil government and politics.

But what about the election results to come?  Here we find dualism. If Donald J. Trump wins, some will declare triumph! Some will declare tragedy. If Joseph R. Biden wins, some will declare triumph! Some will declare tragedy. Depending on which candidate wins, some might even declare exodus to other countries.

I assure you, for a Kingdom kid, a son or daughter of Christ, the results of the election are neither triumph nor tragedy.  It’s merely an election result.  Only circumstances will change.  Our identity, our authority, our power, our peace, our joy, our roles, our methods, our ways, our strategy, our vision, our mission… all those remain unchanged.  Our tactics will have to shift regardless of who wins.  Our identity and our Gospel and our King do not shift.

I’d like to hit a few things head on.

  • Sanctity / dignity / privacy of a person’s vote. Uphold yours. Insist others do so.
  • “If you vote a certain way you’re not a Christian”.  I utterly reject and repudiate that.  Your vote has no bearing whatsoever on your standing in the Kingdom.
  • “Vote the Bible”.  To do so you will have to write in the name of some person I’ve never heard of. For certain, neither current candidate nor political party comes even remotely close to being biblical.
  • Single-issue, wedge-issue voting.  Let’s take abortion for instance.  Empirically, which person or party holds what political office seems to have questionable actual effect on abortion rates. I am NOT taking sides, I am NOT promoting any candidate, or party.  I am simply reporting easily ascertainable facts.

    I found the statistics in about 30 seconds.  If government has any actual effect on abortions and abortion rates, it may have been extremely limited.

    Roe v. Wade happened in 1973.  Abortions spiked 1979 through 1993… largely unrelated to Roe v. Wade and due to other factors, some of which are pretty insidious.  During that period when abortions spiked, 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans were president:  Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton.  If anything, abortions and abortion rates were lower during democratic terms. Arguably, maybe rates changed after terms.

    It’s interesting that abortions and abortion rates were lower 2009 through 2016 than any time since 1971.  They were lower than in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade. When President Trump took office in 2017, he inherited from President Obama the best outcomes on abortion since 1971. My point:  Abortion is not an issue changed at the ballot box. It’s one changed in the hearts, in the culture, in the pocketbooks, in generations of people.

For Heaven’s sake, let’s vote.  Vote our conscience.  Vote as Holy Spirit directs.  Then give the outcome to God. Whenever the outcome is known, ask Him what to about it.  And follow that. But let’s be radical and take the true radical approach. Here it is.

The claim that “Jesus is Lord” is a political statement. Unequivocally and absolutely.  It’s a political statement that refuses to claim that Caesar—or any other entity—is Lord.  So wherever you stand after a political election, don’t let your heart be troubled on the one hand, nor place your full hope in any fallen human on the other.  Don’t yield to the temptation to become engrossed in partisan politics.  To do so is to forget who you are and to whom you belong—that you are part of an eternal Kingdom that is part of the heavenlies.

We are part of a Kingdom that will outlast, and eventually overcome, all others. When we lose sight of this, we begin to engage with our political opponents like the world does, criticizing and even demonizing them. Demonization should only be relegated to non-human entities. Too many Christians are willing to say that those who disagree with them politically are evil.

The outcomes of this world’s political elections neither mean the salvation nor the demise of the world. They are but specks on the grand radar of time. Put things in perspective, please. Our spiritual forefathers lived under rulers who fed them to lions, lit them on fire as human torches, and other barbaric forms of oppression and slaughter.

Jesus is the Lord of the Kingdom and government to which the born-again belong. And make no mistake–He is also Sovereign over this world, no matter who is in power presently or in the future. Seek first His Kingdom, which includes showing this world what the Kingdom of God looks like, acts like, and feels like — especially during heated political seasons.  All presidents, prime ministers and kings will be but a footnote in the pages of history. But the Kingdom of Christ Jesus shall have no end.  This understanding removes fear and panic when it comes to our governmental officials.

Perceiving and taking literally the Kingdom of God as an actual political reality is a game changer. Once you see that Jesus has his own political agenda, His own vision for arranging human society, His own criteria for judging nations, then it’s impossible to give your heart and soul to the power-based, win-at-all-costs partisan politics that call for our allegiance. A lot of people don’t want the game changed. They want to win the game—not change the game.

I submit we should carry deep ambivalence toward either a political “take back America for God” or a political “socialism and moral relativism for all”. Both are agendas that are scandalous betrayal. People cannot imagine how God’s will is going to be done if “our side” doesn’t win the political game. This is the game most of the church has played for seventeen centuries—use Christianity to endorse or buttress a particular political agenda. 

“Christian” then becomes a mere adjective to the dominant political noun. What is dominant is a particular political agenda. Politics overpower everything. The political tail wags the Christian dog. Christianity’s role becomes to serve a political agenda. So viewed through the American lens, Christianity is seen to endorse democracy and capitalism, no different from how it was once seen in Europe to endorse monarchy and feudalism and even mass genocide.

To even suggest that Jesus doesn’t necessarily endorse every aspect of Jeffersonian democracy and self-enriching capitalism, or does endorse Marxism or isn’t all that upset about atheism is enough to get you burned at the stake in the culture and on social media, by one side or the other. 

I’ll assure you of this.  Conflation is impossible. The Gospel of the Kingdom cannot be merged with any gospel of ism’s. When Paul preached the gospel of the Kingdom, riots broke out everywhere. He was stoned, beaten, imprisoned and eventually martyred.  Why? Because he had the unmitigated gall to declare that there was another ruler on earth besides Caesar… or the U.S. President.

Around AD 51, Paul stood in the marketplace in the Greek city of Thessalonica and announced something like this: “There is now a new Lord of the world. He was born Jewish, but He is from the heavens.  Twenty years ago, the Jews had Him crucified by the hand of the Romans.  But God raised Him from the dead, exalted Him to the Heavenly throne, and He is now the ruler and King of both the heavens and earth.”

He went on to say, “Repent—cut all your ties to the present world order—and entrust your life to the new King, whose name is Jesus of Nazareth.  He is the One who will bring peace, justice and righteousness into the world.  Give Him your believing allegiance, and He will forgive yours sins and deliver you from this present evil age.  You will also receive eternal life now and in the age to come.”

The Gospel Paul and the other apostles preached sharply challenged Caesar and his kingdom.  Their message was radical, subversive and, then and there at least, was treasonous.

Optional, if time allows:  Note what the Book of Acts says at Chapter 17, verses 5-7:  But many of the Jews were motivated by bitter jealousy and formed a large mob out of the troublemakers, unsavory characters, and street gangs to incite a riot. They set out to attack Jason’s house, for he had welcomed the apostles into his home. The mob was after Paul and Silas and sought to take them by force and bring them out to the people. 

6 When they couldn’t find them, they took Jason instead, along with some of the brothers in his house church and dragged them before the city council. Along the way they screamed out, “Those troublemakers who have turned the world upside down have come here to our city. 7 And now Jason and these men have welcomed them as guests. They’re traitors to Caesar, teaching that there is another king named Jesus.”

When the Kingdom of God is announced, things happen… in 3 dimensions. The heavenly realm moves. Fallen men and women, people groups and world systems repent. Hell is awakened and incited and those who herald the gospel are criticized, attacked and persecuted.  Why? The Kingdom of God calls all the kingdoms of this world to account.

A rebel attempts to change the past.  A revolutionary attempts to change the future.  In Jesus’s short ministry He revolted against every aspect of the world system.  He called you and me as revolutionaries.  The Kingdom is an inside out, upside down revolution founded in unfailing, unending love… individually and collectively. The revolution launched 2000 years ago.  It is at our hearts’ doorstep today… and Tuesday… and thereafter.  I invite you to join.

The Kingdom is here and coming… is already but not yet.  So this morning I propose to bless you with dual opportunities:  To remain living in the blessed USA… and to migrate from the unholy and the profane world systems and toward the holy and pure King, His Kingdom and Its ways.  In short, an invitation to exodus.

What results will that produce?  In what ways does such a Kingdom manifest?  What does it look like?  Good news.  Christ and the bible tell us and show us.  It is actually measurable.  Please allow me to share with you a few Kingdom metrics.

Optional, if time:  Is anyone who is here today a naturalized U.S. Citizen?  Do you know one? You know, then, that he or she had to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. Sherry and I have  a spiritual son who did. Here’s what he had to repeat: 

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

Born anew from above, you and I are naturalized as citizens and adopted as family into the literal Kingdom of God. So I propose a Declaration of Allegiance to King Jesus and the Kingdom of God:

"I hereby declare that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any earthly prince, potentate, political party, state, nation or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will learn and support the Kingdom Way, Truth and Life and defend same against all enemies; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will wage warfare not with flesh and blood but instead with enemies in spiritual realms; that I will perform service in the body of Christ as Holy Spirit directs; that I will perform work of Kingdom importance under direction by duly submitted authority; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892… believe it or not, by a socialist minister named Francis Bellamy. It was published September 8, 1892. In its original form it read: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Francis hoped all nations would adopt it as their own.

In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added. It then read: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy's daughter and many others vehemently objected to this alteration. Today it reads: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Again, I bring invitation and opportunity. I propose a migration.  An exodus from the city of Enoch, from Babylon, from Egypt, from Rome and Caesar, from Washington D.C. and any other seat of world power… once and for all.  A migration fully into the Kingdom… our true citizenship… the promised land that has been right in front of us and fully available for 2000 years.

On Sunday of passion week the triumph of Christ as defined by culture was heralded in the streets of Jerusalem. In their minds he was going to take over from Caesar. Remember, He rode in on a donkey… not a presidential motorcade. On Friday all was seemingly canceled by the tragedy of Christ’s crucifixion. 72 hours later there was an exodus: Christ rose from the grave. Tragedy was fully overcome. Triumph reigned.

Yet tragedy happened again—by man’s definition at least.  40 days later the crowds were left behind and bereft. Christ ascended. Ahh… but there was again an exodus! Christ migrated to the right hand of the Father. His work completed, He sat down. And 10 days later… Triumph! Holy Spirit arrived in and among people! Some say the church was born that day. Some say it was born earlier. Either way, on that day God’s Church was irretrievably activated!

It is time for our exodus.  Such an exodus calls for a higher pledge. One that if we take seriously and truly live out, will serve incredibly well whatever country we live in. Your Heavenly Father, Jesus the Christ and all of Heaven are on the edges of their seats, craning their necks, looking for such a people and hoping and praying it is you.

Call for silence and Holy Spirit to speak.  Then, read the pledge aloud:

I pledge allegiance to the cross of Christ, and the King for whom it stands, one Kingdom under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Addendum.

I brought a condensed version of the foregoing message/essay the Sunday prior to Tuesday’s 2020 general election. I also recited the following prophetic word. It was recorded. I had written down and time-stamped the prophecy one week before the general election. I was moved to do so in part due to the vast number of prophetic voices who were so strongly “predicting” otherwise. I was careful to disclaim any political preference then and do so now. Even so, this word was not received well.

Read aloud, verbatim, 11/1/2020, during the foregoing sermon:

The 2020 Presidential Election.  A prophetic word. Time stamped 10/28/2020, Noon

  • Joseph R. Biden will win the popular vote and will carry the electoral college.
  • The margin will be convincing.
  • That will follow a messy period after 11/3 during which final votes are tallied.
  • The transfer of power will be ungainly and/or ugly.
  • Donald J. Trump will not go quietly.
  • History will show that among the significant reasons and causative factors behind this result include these two:
  1. Character still counts;
  2. Rejection and repudiation of evangelicals, evangelicalism and so-called religious conservatism.
  • With any luck, the American church will finally begin to genuinely, earnestly ask the questions, “What’s going on?”; “What happened to us?”

Other Messages

August 29, 2021

Become! Part 2

August 22, 2021

Become! Part 1

March 7, 2021

The Way Ahead

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