Summary: What are our God-given responsibilities as Christian citizens? Can we be soldiers of the cross and still good citizens in the land?
ONE CITIZEN UNDER GOD
*INTRO> There are slogans, sayings we’ve all heard concerning our nation over the years:
-->America, love it or leave it.
-->My country, right or wrong.
-->Better dead than red.
-->Power to the people.
And there are statements that are especially applicable to our focus this morning:
-->Alexis de Tocqueville said it best when he realized even at the very beginning of our national life: "America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
-->Thomas Jefferson explained: "Patriotism is not a short and frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime."
But where is the BALANCE between being a child of God and a citizen of America?
-->Can we be soliers of the cross and disciples of Christ, and yet still pledge our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America?
--What exactly are our responsibilities as Christian citizens?
Turn to 2 Chronicles 7.
Let me answer one of those questions straight up: Yes, we can be soldiers of the cross and pledge allegiance to the flag.
-->In fact, as Christian citizens we should pledge allegiance...because God’s instructions to us are to submit ourselves to every institution and government, as God has authorized them for the purposes of peace and order.
But today, we’re looking at...
THE FIVE GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITIES OF CHRISTIAN CITIZENS:
1) We are to PRAY.
-->2 Chronicles 7:14 -- "and (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
<>The most important thing we can do as Christian citizens on behalf of our country is to pray.
--ILL>Mary, Queen of Scotland, once said: "I fear John Knox’s prayers more than an army of ten thousand men."
-->Unfortunately, that does not describe the intensity and fervency of many Christian’s prayer life.
---->ILL>I’m reminded of the story of two men who were walking together. The first challenged the other: "If you’re so religious, let’s hear you quote the Lord’s Prayer. I bet you $10 you can’t do it." The second responded: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." The first man pulled out his wallet and fished out a $10 bill, muttering: "Wow! I really didn’t think you could actually do it!"
Did you "catch" what 2 Chronicles 7:14 is saying? -- It means the healing of our nation will come from God, and as the result of His answer to the prayers of believers within the country!
So, we’re to pray.
But how shall we pray? What should be our focus? What kinds of prayers shall we pray?
--a) Declaring our dependence upon God.
----->2 Chronicles 7:14 -- "and (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray..."
----->We’re to humble ourselves, recognizing that the very preservation of America is in the hands of God.
----->We’re to recognize that there’s really only one true "super power"...and it’s NOT America, it’s God.
----->We’re to recognize that every country and civilization that ever believed it was "above God" fell, but God has never fallen.
--b) Declaring our submission to God.
----->2 Chronicles 7:14 -- "...and seek My face..."
----->Notice: we’re to seek His face, not His hands.
-------->Our goal is not to receive FROM Him, but to seek to please Him.
-------->We’re to come before Him and worship Him, adore Him, acknowledge His superiority and divinity.
--c) Confessing and repenting of our sins against God.
----->2 Chronicles 7:14 -- "...and turn from their wicked ways..."
----->We need to repent of our personal sins as individual citizen believers.
----->But we as a nation also need to repent of our national sins before we should ever expect God’s blessing.
----->The context of 2 Chronicles 7:11-14 is that Solomon had requested that the temple he had just finished building for God would be a place where the nation could come and pray to God and that He would hear their prayers of confession and repentance.
----->In those verses right before verse 14, God is explaining that He might choose to send pestilence or calamity on Israel due to the sinfulness of the people.
----->We know it was due to Israel’s sinfulness because as soon as they repented of their sin and turned to total dependence upon God, God healed the nation.
----->Whose responsibility do you suppose it is to pray for America’s spiritual awakening and its return to the faith of our fathers?
----->Whose responsibility do you suppose it is to call our nation to repentance?
----->Whose responsibility do you suppose it is to "model" good citizenship and moral, conscientious, and responsible living?