All American Speedway
October 14, 2017
“Our True Citizenship”
(Part 3 of Things Changing Today)
Hopefully, you have taken the time to watch the full version of these last couple messages online. The next one is 33 minutes long and ready for you online (links below). I’m also sure and it will challenge your thinking as it does mine.
Most people read the Bible and wonder what does that passage or story have to do with me? That was a couple thousand years ago and this is today …and far different. But two things are true:
- God does not change. He is unchangeable through time and culture.
- Neither does human nature. The struggles we have today are the same as they had then. Only the names have changed and the geography.
Daniel chapter 3 is the text we will use as our tour guide today. Israel’s era of world power from King David is gone and Babylon with King Nebuchadnezzar are the world power. America today is getting close to the same scenario as Israel if we do not change. Fortunately, God hasn’t given up on us yet.
What you see happening here is the war between the Kingdom of God through the Jewish believers from Israel and the kingdoms of man, powerful as they might be.
Last time in Chapel we talked about how we live similarly live in exile as believers in this world system but work hard if we want to keep our loyalty to God as Christians.
“Even though we hold passports from the nation of our residence, we as believers are ultimately citizens of another everlasting kingdom. Our loyalty is first and foremost to Jesus! This tension of where our loyalties lie are at the heart of our personal struggle for the faith.” – Bruce Stefanik & Jason Treadwell -Church on the Hill
PATRIOTISM – Love for or devotion to one’s country; or fatherland. You can actually be patriotic to a number of countries.
NATIONALISM – A feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country, often with the belief that is superior and more important than other countries.
These are powerful words and principals in most of us and our lives. These days as I look at what is happening in America it makes me wonder whether we have lost those values today. It sure seems like it!
As Christians we find ourselves first caught between patriotism and nationalism in our thinking. Read the two again and note the difference. (It’s all in that last line of nationalism). Once pride enters the definition of nationalism then we struggle whether we can be a Christian and nationalistic. Can I lay my pride down as a Christian and say others are more important than myself?
The world today is caught up in the nationalistic ideas that their country, culture, government, religion, politics & party is more superior to yours. That was what was happening in Daniel 3. We have seen it in Bosnia, India & Pakistan, Africa and even blossoming on the streets of America today.
Sadly, the first thing usually happening is the courting of the religious powers to bring them into their party or stand. What can you do for an answer when someone says… “well God told me…” That is the end of the subject right or wrong; leaving no room for any further conversation. It leaves you with… “If God’s in your camp and not in my camp…” The church today needs to be aware of this kind of activity.
Nationalism becomes its own kind of worship and religion. Sooner or later it brings you to believing the state, nation, government is the only one that can provide you with what you need. Back in the day communism was a classic example that Kathy and me with our daughters saw first-hand in the former Soviet Bloc countries we ministered in.
These three men in Daniel 3 had to decide whether they would bow and be patriotic and/or nationalistic or even just obedient to the commands from the governments of this world.
But, Jesus told us in Matthew 24: 4-13: “Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name claiming, I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such, things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All of these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
At this point I would like you to simply click on either of the links below for the video of this entire message. Its 33 minutes and well worth your time.
And I also hope that you set aside a few minutes for God each day and maybe 35-40 to watch and listen online to this week’s and each following week’s church service. You will not be disappointed. Here is the link:
or go to our direct link at Church On The Hill: