to God's glory. Believing God's word as it is written.
is the same yesterday, today and forever.
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Christ or Caesar? Do they belong
together in church?
Written in response to a church
service held during a Sunday morning worship service which included the
pledge of allegiance to the US flag, the singing of the Star Spangled
Banner, America the Beautiful and the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The sermon was combined with the patriotic service.
Governments (Caesar) of this world are culture oriented and reflect the
character of the people governed. All peoples believe their country is
the best and they venerate their own founding, national symbols and
songs. Our country is no different. Consequently the 4th of July, the
Stars and Stripes, the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful
are cherished by Americans. There is nothing inherently evil about these
things. But all these things are cultural, NOT spiritual. They
belong to Caesar not Christ.
Jesus said in John 4:24 (ESV) "God is spirit, and those who worship
him must worship in spirit and truth.” Our society has diminished
the worship of God. Culture usually dictates the nature of the
typical church service where the emotions of the flesh or ecclesiastical
rituals dominate the service instead of the doctrines of Scripture. Loud
rock and/or contemporary music that excite the emotions and magnify the
flesh has replaced sacred spiritual music which exalts Christ. The
simple straight forward presentation of the Word of God has been
replaced by a message about a god whose nature is like that of man and
whose desire is to grant our every wish or make us rich or improve us by
following some self help formula. Rituals performed by men in long
robes have replaced true worship of God in some churches.
Our culture has brought patriotic feelings, our national flag and songs
into the sanctuary set aside and dedicated to the worship of God. Our
culture has changed but Almighty God and His word and the values
contained therein have not and will never change. He is the same
yesterday, today and forever and His Word is as eternal as His person.
Worship should change our culture instead of our culture changing our
Psalm 119:89 (ESV) “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in
Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and
The Scriptures present a clear and absolute distinction between Caesar
(government) and God. In Mark 12:17 Jesus said, "Render to Caesar
the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Earthly governments (Caesar) are part of the world system. In John 18:36
Jesus said (in reply to Pilate the governor) “My kingdom is not of
this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have
been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my
kingdom is not from the world.”
Earthly governments are controlled by men who are either good or evil.
Elevating, extolling and pledging allegiance to the flags, symbols and
songs of Caesar (human government) inside the sanctuary dedicated to the
worship of Almighty God brings Caesar and Christ together in a worship
setting which makes them appear equal in our affections. God is eternal
and Caesar is temporal. God and Caesar (government) are not equal.
Such a bringing together elevates government (Caesar) and it’s symbols
and degrades the worship of God. The combining of Caesar and
Christ s detrimental to and destructive of the worship of God.
Patriotism is not evil inherently but it is NOT spiritual nor worship of
God. Rather it is “the things that are Caesar’s”. The Lord Jesus
Christ said we must worship God is Spirit and in truth and this cannot
include combining patriotism with the spiritual worship of God. Honoring
Caesar with Christ brings elements of the world system into what appears
to be an equal setting with the worship of God. The honoring of flags,
symbols and songs of any nation is not part of the worship of God.
Honor your nation but not in church.
God says in Isaiah 42:8 (ESV) “I am the Lord; that is my name; my
glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”
Can we expect our heavenly Father to bless us while we diminish the
worship of His holy and glorious person by honoring Caesar (government)
in our worship service held in the sanctuary dedicated to the worship of
God, the creator of all and the savior of those who believe in Him? For
the glory and honor of our eternal king and savior Jesus Christ, we
should respectfully remove the symbols of Caesar (government) from
within the sanctuary of our Lord and Savior and let the sanctuary be
consecrated to Christ alone. "Render to Caesar the things that are
Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s."
Joshua and Caleb believed God and entered the promised land and
experienced the miraculous working of God. All others of their
generation continued eating manna and died in the desert and never
enjoyed the wonderful food and blessings of the promised land. Heavenly
Father we humbly beseech you to forgive our sin and grant us true Spirit
filled worship that is pleasing to you.
Deuteronomy 4:23 (ESV) “Take care, lest you forget the covenant of
the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image,
the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you. 24 For
the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
Psalm 100: (ESV)
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Philippians 3:20 (ESV) “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from
it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our
lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him
even to subject all things to himself.”