God and Country

This Sunday, many churches will be in full Americana patriotic mode.  There will be singing of the National Anthem, marching on the colors, military honors and sermons about how great America is.  There may even be hints of which political party you will support if you are a “real Christian.”  That will not be the case at Sappony.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love America!  If you have to live on this planet, there is no better place to live right now than in the United States.  Even during the pandemic and political turmoil, we have great freedom and autonomy.  We have freedom of conscience in worship guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  And we will exercise that right on Sunday.


We will worship the Lord.  Plain and simple.  In His house, we will proclaim Him as the ruler of heaven and earth.  We can be thankful for America, and we should, but we must not idolize those things that are less than God is.  Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, ESV).  He is superior to any earthly leader and any nation, including our beloved United States.  He is worthy of all of our honor, glory, and praise!  To worship and honor anything less is idolatry, plain and simple. So on the Lord’s Day, in the Lord’s house, we will worship the Lord only.


America is great, but I can tell you, it is not the promised land.  It is not “heaven on earth.”  It is a deeply flawed nation full of deeply flawed people.  So is every other nation on earth.  We have long had a tendency to equate “Christian” with “American” and that is simply not the case.  The nation, as good as it is, has largely abandoned Christ. So what must we do as a result?


Paul reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth (Philippians 3:20).  Peter refers to us as “aliens and strangers.” (1 Peter 2:11).  Jesus Himself asserts, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16).  So, if we don’t belong here, why are we here?  Paul reminds us that we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20).  Ambassadors have a purpose in being sent.  We are here to represent Christ in this fallen world.


So, since we are stationed here in America during this time, the best way to be an ambassador for Christ is not to worship the nation in which we currently sit, or its leaders or political structures, but instead to faithfully worship the Lord and tell others about Him.  That is the best way to honor our Lord and America.

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