Jesus First, America Second

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America is one of the only countries that celebrates patriotism in a church sanctuary…but does it really belong there?

As the 4th of July is tomorrow, I’m not only reminded of how our country was founded, the many men & women who have fought for our freedom, and those specific freedoms that were fought for, I can’t help but also think of the over-patriotic citizens.

You know who I’m referring to…the people who have in reality, made patriotism into an idol as they put their nation beliefs ahead of all that Jesus teaches. While many other countries have similar freedoms as we do, they do not bring nationalism into the church because they feel there is no need for it. They believe Church should transcend the country.

Patriotism isn’t central to the Gospel or His mission. In fact, patriotism is what divided people in the Bible & what divides us in this generation.

Of course I’m not suggesting the church ignore the 4th of July, Memorial Day, or Veterans Day…but the majority of a church service should be set aside to focus on the Lord.

Consideration of what we communicate through patriotic services should be remembered:

  • American believers should give thanks to God for the blessings of our temporary earthly citizenship, as long as we emphasize blessings of belonging to the eternal, multinational family of God.
  • When people in our culture are celebrating the benefits of earthly citizenship, American believers should seize the opportunity to communicate solid, biblical teaching on the distinction between earthly and heavenly citizenship.
  • As American believers express gratitude for this nation, we should be careful not to diminish the value and worth of other nations.
  • Pastors and church leaders should make it clear that American believers have more in common with Arab believers in Iraq and Syria than they do with their unbelieving next-door neighbors.
  • There is something beautiful about a congregation that shows respect and gratitude to people who have served their neighbors well. When we recognize veterans or law enforcement officers, we are lifting up ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things for the good of their communities.

While we celebrate this temporary holiday with our families, let’s shed some patriotism on our future permanent nation.

Does the Pledge of Allegiance belong in a church service?
How about the American flag?
If flags are shown, should all national flags be erected?

Feel free to continue the discussion below!

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