Topic: Sunday Message Verse: John 18:36–18:36, Isaiah 1:17–1:17, Isaiah 42:1–42:4, Ephesians 4:1–4:3
The Pledge of Allegiance
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Indivisible: not divisible; not separable into parts; incapable of being divided. ex: one nation indivisible.
When you look around at our country these days not only does it feel like we’re capable of being divided, but at this point in history it also seems like we actually are being divided. Lines are being drawn. Sides are being taken. "One nation, under God, indivisible." Is it even possible?
Indivisible: Why It Matters to our Church
Real, positive, and lasting change will never happen in our nation apart from Jesus and the hope that’s found in Him. And people will never genuinely encounter that one true hope unless Jesus’ church is indivisible. If we cannot be indivisible “in here,” then I can guarantee you that things are never going to change “out there.”
As a Christian, you can love America, but make sure it’s not a blind love nor your first love.
So when it comes to “blind love,” recognizing our flaws as a nation doesn’t mean you’re unpatriotic. You can sing “America the Beautiful” and really mean it, but at the same time you can also acknowledge that America is broken (especially for some people) and that we can do better. Beautiful AND broken: both can be true.
As Christians, we should only have one first love and one primary allegiance, and those ultimately and exclusively belong to Jesus. So we can pledge allegiance to America and be grateful for our nation, but it always needs to be secondary to our worship of Jesus as our King. "We have no King but Jesus."
John 18:36 NIV
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
2. "With Liberty and Justice for All"
One of the great things about the founding of our nation is the idea that everyone should get a fair shot at justice. The Sixth Amendment of our Constitution guarantees us the right to a speedy and public trial, judged by an impartial jury of our peers. We should be grateful that our Founding Fathers were passionate about “liberty and justice for all,” because that passion reflects the very heart of our God. Isaiah chapter 30, verse 18 says, “The Lord is a God of justice.” So even if "justice" is such a loaded and controversial word in our culture these days, don't lose sight of the fact that justice matters to our God big time. "Liberty and justice for all" was His idea first. Because it is, we need to pray for, care about, and work toward matters of justice for all, not just some. We also need to longingly look forward to the return of our King who one day will establish His perfect justice on this earth fully, finally, and forever.
Isaiah 1:17 NIV
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.Defend the oppressed.Take up the cause of the fatherless;plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 42:1-4 NIV
1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,my chosen one in whom I delight;I will put my Spirit on him,and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out,or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break,and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouragedtill he establishes justice on earth.In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
Even more than “one nation, under God, indivisible,” our primary concern first needs to be “one church, under God, indivisible.” Hopevale Church is a community of grace and truth, formed by the New Covenant Commandment of our Savior Jesus, who taught us love one another as He has loved us. We need to get past our petty infighting and move on to our higher purpose as Christians--unity for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus’ vision for His church isn’t one of conformity, but rather it’s one of diversity in all kinds of ways. Because when we can love people who aren’t identical to us and who don’t always share the same viewpoint on everything, that’s when we demonstrate the power of the love of Jesus to a watching world around us.
"O Lord, make us indivisible."
Ephesians 4:1-3 NIV
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.