We honor our country best when we do not limit our vision to America. We serve our country most effectively when we understand that our final loyalty and allegiance belong to the Lord God who has revealed Himself through the Person of Jesus Christ.
In the beginning, mankind enjoyed a common language, and thus a common citizenship. Genesis 11 tells us that, because of man’s presumptuous arrogance, God judged all people by confusing their languages. The judgment of God was upon the nations, and the nations were scattered. God began to address this scattering when he promised Abraham in Genesis 12,
I will make of you a great nation… And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Genesis 12:2, 3)
The nations that were scattered in Genesis 11 will be restored in Christ. Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would rule not only Israel, but all the nations of the earth. It is clear that the New Testament understands Jesus to be this Messiah.
The scattered nations will be restored through the spread of the Gospel.
Matthew records for us a perplexing story about the Syrophoenician woman who pled with Jesus, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” (Matthew 15:22)
At first, Jesus ignored her. When she would not stop begging Him to help her, He finally responded, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel… It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:24, 26)
The woman said to Him, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:27)
Jesus, in acting out this dramatic parable, showed that His mission was not only to Israel but also to the Gentiles. He said to the woman, “Your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” (Matthew 15:28) Her daughter was healed.
That story in the Gospel of Matthew introduces the book’s triumphal conclusion when the Risen Lord declares to His disciples,
Go therefore and preach the Gospel to all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
The message of the crucified and Risen Lord is not exclusively relegated to Israel. Rather, it is to be proclaimed to the nations. These scattered nations will be restored under the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Will our preaching of the Gospel usher in the Kingdom of God? That is not ours to determine. We have been told to preach the Gospel, and we are told that the scattering of the nations that began in Genesis 11 will find its resolution through the proclamation of the Gospel to the nations.
Remember that you hold a dual citizenship.
We live in a day of nationalistic spirit and pride. This is, in many ways, a good thing. Patriotism has a good and proper place; it’s appropriate, for example, for us to gather to remember the heroes who have died on our behalf. Nonetheless, you and I as Christian people must never forget that we first of all proclaim the One True Creator God who has created all the peoples of the earth.
History tells us that nations and empires rise and fall, and you and I ought to be realistic enough to know that even our nation may one day fall—but the good news of Jesus Christ will never fail. The Gospel transcends national border and territory. The Good news of Jesus Christ will live on following even the decline of the American culture.
Jesus Christ is Lord not only over the United States, but He is also the ruling, reigning Lord of the rest of the universe. He is the one into whose hands the creator God has disposed and placed His authority and right of sovereignty and execution. You and I worship the one true and living God who has created all people and who has now revealed Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ.
This same Lord has told us to carry the message of His death and resurrection on behalf of mankind unto all the nations. That mandate must finally cause us to transcend even our own beloved social and political boundaries.
We will become better Americans when we carry out this mandate. We will become better preservers of democratic institutions of freedom when we live out our allegiance to the one true creator God. We must accept our responsibility as citizens, not only of all the earth, but also as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
The preceding was adapted by Rachel Motte from a sermon Dr. Sloan delivered at Tallowood Baptist Church on May 27, 1990.