Tuesday, May 31, 2016

True Patriotism: Can a Christian be a patriot?

True Patriotism

"(1) Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? (2) The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, (3) "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" (4) He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. (5) Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, (6) "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." (7) "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. (8) 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. (9) 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'" (10) Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. (11) Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. (12) Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" [Psalm 2:1-12 NASB]

I.  What is Memorial Day?

“Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.[1]  It became an official holiday in 1971. 

So we remember American who have paid the ultimate price of giving their lives in what they believed to be just wars.   As Christians this does raise for us the theological question of what does make a war just.  [2]  We will discus this on Wednesday night.

Meditation: Gettysburg Address; List of the deaths in the wars of the USA, suggested movies Gettysburg & God & Generals.

II.  What is Patriotism? – Love of my nation

In fact, 94.5% of Americans think of themselves as at least somewhat patriotic, and 72.2% say they are either very or extremely patriotic, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll of 1,009 adults. Only 5% of those polled said they were "not especially patriotic."[3]

III.  How Should Christians Think of Patriotism

Creation:  God has ordained us to live in the political and social context into which we have been born.  So appropriate loyalty and love to our family, community, and social groups is part of accepting those God ordained relationships in our lives.  

However, all of our relationships must be seen within the context of being under God’s rule and part of God’s kingdom.   Our ultimate loyalty must be to the Creator and not to our human connections.

Rebellion:  We have made ultimate our nation and culture, putting them ahead of God’s will and way.  We want God to serve our nation instead of our nation serving God.   This is the “spirit of the beast” found in the book of Revelation.   It is also an attitude of revolution against God’s kingdom and righteousness. All nations will persecute God’s people eventually. 

Redemption:  The chosen KING MESSIAH JESUS,  has come to pay for the sins of his people, destroy the works of the devil, and bring back the full manifestation of the KINGDOM to the earth through HIS death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and return in glory. 

The disciples of Jesus (Christians) are now first of all citizens of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, ambassadors of that KINGDOM, and children of the KING.  Our primary citizenship is to the eternal KINGDOM and only secondary to the United States (or any other nation).  Our first love is for the KINGDOM and a secondary love would be for the United States of America.  [4]

We should use Memorial Day to remember all the martyrs of the church who gave their lives for the kingdom of God. [5]

Restoration:  Recognize that all earthly kingdoms will pass away and that the only eternal kingdom is that of the Lord Jesus Christ.

IV.  Closing Thoughts – From faith to service – Give to the Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com/ and  Operation Heal Our Patriots  http://video.samaritanspurse.org/a-heart-for-veterans/

War: Four Christian Views  by Robert G. Clouse; editor (Editor), Herman A. Hoyt (Contributor), Myron S. Ausburger (Contributor), Arthur F. Holmes (Contributor), Harold O.J. Brown (Contributor)

[4] See the movie Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film.   

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