Sermon: Patriotism, the Summer Soldier, and Our Times (Part Two)

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Given 03-Apr-21; 71 minutes

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Patriotism is a form of love because one valuable element of true patriotism is the overcoming of the fear of sacrifice. God's calling of the Gentiles, from the time of the establishment of the New Testament Church until now, is an event which precedes the reconciling of all Israel with God. The level of sacrifice demanded in Romans 12 resembles the sacrifice of life, honor and wealth demonstrated by the signers of the Declaration of Independence. In terms of patriotism to God's Kingdom, Jesus Christ set the standard higher than anyone else, sacrificing His life for everyone, even before His father had called them. The intensity of love Christ bears toward His Father and His people sets the standard for the intensity of love God's people should bear toward their brethren—as well as those God has not yet called. In order to attain this level of patriotism to God's Kingdom, His people must develop a close relationship with the Captain of their Salvation (1 John 3:1-3), who has mandated that they love their brethren as themselves, being willing to sacrifice their lives for them. Expressing this level of love is tantamount to doing God's will, glorifying Him and demonstrating patriotism to His Kingdom. Just as the American patriots made great sacrifices, realizing that the prevailing world powers outnumbered them, so God's people must stand ready to sacrifice all, mutually pledging their lives, fortune and honor to God, trusting in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Though God's people's struggle is more spiritual than physical, the stakes are just as high.

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I want you to perhaps be more certain of where I am headed with the theme of these two messages. It actually is quite simple. It is that because normal patriotism, the patriots in the world, arises from a form of love. But understand it is carnal to be sure, but it is still a form of love. It is a clearly stated truth that we must love our brethren. In fact, we are commanded by Jesus to do so almost repeatedly in the New Testament. That is central to the sermons. But I am using the method I am to force something home. Therefore, He expects loving action must be implemented within God's Family relationships by us making right choices in terms of service in their behalf.

Now, the elements of true patriotism, driven by godly love (there is a difference), are a great aid in overcoming the fear of sacrifice. And that is important to giving love. I want you to turn in the book of Romans, chapter 11. This is what Paul says,

Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery. . . .

The mystery of which he is speaking here in the backdrop comes up at the beginning of the chapter. But the mystery is why Israel is at least partially blind in regard to the truth of God.

Romans 11:25-36 . . . lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy [talking about the Gentiles there]. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?" "Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?" For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

I am going to continue reading here into chapter 12.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

This section of Romans is a foundational summary of the position we too, like the first century Israelites Paul originally wrote this to, that they were in. The calling of the Gentiles is nowhere near completed at this time. It has been going on since it was begun in the general time there when Peter went there to Cornelius'. We have been called since the calling of the Gentiles began. Therefore this summary applies directly to us. It is still on. So I want you to consider (probably you will not do it until you read your notes or something like that again), that this problem that the Israelites had began before this summary and it applies directly to us.

The apostle's concluding statement ends chapter 11. Chapter 12 continues his thoughts and he begins chapter 12 with the term, "therefore." The entire statement in chapter 11 is aimed directly at you and me. Now, in using the word therefore, as it begins, the very first words in chapter 12, and in verse 1, what is it that God desires? Paul is urging us to become living sacrifices.

We are hitting a point here where the word therefore points to. It points to sacrifice. And what I began this sermon with is that I told you that what I am doing here will help very greatly to eliminate the pain of sacrifice. It will give us urges to follow through with the love that we are supposed to give to our brethren, or the love or the obedience that we are to give to God or whatever.

Paul is urging us to become living sacrifices in order to accomplish the reasons that God has called us to in the first place. We are following in the footsteps of the greatest sacrifice of all—Jesus Christ. But brethren, sacrificing is painful. Patriotism is also painful for the patriot as well. And that person in that case might be giving the major sacrifice and suffering through the pain.

What I did last week was tie patriotism to the pains of being thankful. Being thankful to our brethren is not always easy.

Now, I want you to turn with me to John chapter 10, and as we move along through this sermon, this particular statement by Jesus becomes very important.

John 10:14-18 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and I am known by My own. [Then verse 15, here comes a statement] As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. [verse 18 becomes exceedingly important] No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

Now, I am beginning with these specific scriptures. There are a couple more coming, all of which I used in last Sabbath's sermon. I am going through them again because I wanted us to be reminded again today of the "even as" or "just as" statements that Jesus used in teaching us the level of what the Father and the Son's caring concern is for each other. These teachings establish the level of the standards we are to strive to meet in our relationships with each other. And brethren, doing what I just read that the apostle John said, for us is a tall order. I mean tall! In some ways it seems like a lot to expect of us weak humans. But Jesus does not issue forth with entirely unreachable goals, targets, we are expected to strive for and to reach, because we are led by the same Spirit. God's Holy Spirit dwells in us too.

Remember, one of the major aims that we are aiming for here is that we are to love the brethren to the same level as Jesus loves the Father, and as the Father loves the Son. That is why I said, this seems like an awfully tall order to give a human being to do. And it is! It is almost unreachable unless we share the same Spirit. One of the major reasons is because we are afraid of the pain of the sacrifices we have to make in order to be like Them. And that is why I said, in some ways, it seems like a lot to expect from weak humans.

So, I repeat: it is the level of the Father's knowing care for the Son that sets the standards for all others in the Family. And it is also Jesus' level of knowing care for the Father. Both of Them do it equally.

I am not saying it will make or break us from being in the Kingdom. I am only repeating what Jesus taught. He is the one that set the standard under the Father. He set the standard of the level of our loving to what He did there. The way He loves the Father and the Father loves the Son—the level of loving, caring concern now for all the others in the Family! And that will glorify God before others and for that high level we will almost certainly be mightily aided by Jesus Christ. He very clearly establishes in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He also says that without Him, we can do nothing. Are you beginning to see why we can do nothing to meet that level of loving concern. He will most certainly be with us as we carry out his orders.

Can I make this any clearer how important our relationship with the Captain of our salvation is? I just cannot do it. And that is why He reassures us that He will be with us and it will be Him who helps us to meet the level of this loving concern for each other.

Let us go to I John. More and more I hope I will be able to get it across to you of why He has to be with us in doing this. We cannot do it! We cannot give that level of sacrifice.

I John 3:1 [This is a revealing verse.] Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us . . .

Do you begin to see what he is doing here? He is telling us we are going to receive that love. That if we make the effort to do this, Jesus Christ will be with us and we will have that love at that level. It seems impossible from our point of view now. But it is not impossible if we are making efforts to build toward that sort of relationship with one another.

I John 3:1-3 . . . that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him now. Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Now, here is some direction. We have to work toward having a relationship with one another by practicing the love. It is not going to just miraculously appear. It is going to be built toward that end by us expressing love to one another.

I John 3:5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

I John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest [it is the love or the relationship we bear with one another; we become plain]: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

It is almost repetitious. It is said so frequently. It is an important relationship point from the Father and the Son.

I John 3:13-16 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love [here is how we know love], because He [Jesus] laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

He is establishing standards for us that the apostle John learned from Jesus Christ.

In this section, Jesus speaks very highly of the level of love required to meet the demands of a rightly accomplished and truly consistent series of actions of this highest level. Why? Because God's activating love given us, in turn actuate love. You understand? This is why God gives us the love. It is so that we can actuate it in our life. Otherwise we would be just like the people in the world. Actuating love given us, in turn, actuates love. Now what the apostle is saying here is that the love that God gives us actuates love in us—the recipients—and that glorifies the Father. We are giving Him back the love that He gives us.

So it is using the principle that what one sows is what one receives. They are urging us to do this because, brethren, we will get it back eventually. I am not saying it would be immediately, but eventually it is going to come back to those people that we are giving it to. It is going to come from them. Do you understand that the Father and Son work the same way? They pour out love so that we can experience giving it back to Them, and to others as well.

Now I am not suggesting that a crop is reaped immediately. The consistent level of this degree of love should be practiced within God's own Family. It is, in one sense, the Family doing the work of God, carrying it out, and ours must be a relationship within the Family above all else, that is not one of rivalry, but loving unity. It must be one in which trust is given to each person within it without a hypocritical, sneaking suspicion that someone within the group is trying to bring down your reputation. But rather, we give pure and simple obedience to Christ without bragging self-righteous assertion. Jesus set the pattern to its highest standard on earth.

Jesus was the epitome of patriotism, and true patriotism is first motivated and then energized by love as the thoughts are acted upon. Jesus Himself loved to the nth degree. Actually, as the apostle John writes, "to the uttermost," as the old King James was first translated.

Now, most human patriotic acts are done partly, or even wholly, because the recipient of the benefit of the patriotic act had, in an earlier time, acted favorably toward the patriot, and the patriot then felt he owed the person something good in return. Whether you know it or not, the apostle Paul agrees with this and he writes of it. But I want to go back to John 10 because I think that it is good to repeat it. We will read verses 14-18 again because I said that later on this is going to become very important, what Jesus said there in regard to us.

John 10:14-18 "I am the good shepherd, and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father [same level]; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore [a concluding statement] My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

Because Jesus did what He did, He was the patriot to the highest degree ever, because Jesus did not wait until it could be construed that He owed somebody something. You can read those verses later and you will see that they say that He did it on His own. He died when it could not be construed that He owed somebody something. He did it entirely on His own. This is important to learn this. And it is the way that God wants us to begin directing our lives.

The nation in which He was the patriot of the highest degree was the Kingdom of God and that is what we are now part of. And this love of Jesus' was of the highest order. I will again repeat what He did. Almost all patriotic acts are done in order to pay back somebody who did a patriotic act or something for you. But Jesus' patriotic act, He did it while we were yet sinners. He did not wait for anyone to do something good for Him. He owed nobody anything. And I will tell you beforehand, before it ever comes, you are going to find out that Jesus had permission from the Father, but He did not do it because the Father only told Him to do it. He did it on His own.

Now during the campaigning period of the recent election, the educational stature and the concepts of the governmental stature by which America was founded was mercilessly trashed by leftists, even the New York Times and the Washington Post got into the trashing. Big newspapers. So I am going to give you a small overview of the patriotism that America was founded upon because, 1) it was exceptional. And 2) because there was so much of it.

Also, I am going to do this because America is one portion of the nation of Israel and I believe that you need to appreciate how God went to bat for the sake of Israel and end time events. We are going to receive a blessing from this because perhaps we are in the end time. With these examples, the patriots of that time give justification for the disappointment of so many older folks like myself that we experienced in the 2020 election campaign. Because the ones that I am going to give you were still widely taught when I went to elementary school. I learned these things when I was in The first eight grades.

During the American Revolutionary War, there was a great deal of patriotic courage and sacrificial zeal shown by many, whether on the battlefield or in the halls and the meeting rooms of those buildings in which the political, social, and economic leadership of the men forming the nation was planning the highly risky but necessary moves if we were ever to be free from England.

You probably never learned about Paul Revere's ride. You know that he did it, but who wrote the poem? It was Longfellow who wrote the poem. Here is something else. When did Paul Revere make the ride? It says in the first line of the poem: "'Twas the 18th of April in '75." The reason I am adding this is because the war really began right after the Days of Unleavened Bread, the 18th of April in '75, when Paul Revere made his ride regarding that particular period of time.

Now, very often the local leadership (this is something that you probably, again, I do not know), in America was the preacher in the town, partly because he was generally well-educated. He knew, he understood, what was going on. He also understood the great danger that these people were putting themselves in going to war against England. At that time, England's position in the world scene was well-known to American leadership. It was wealthy in terms of having the most powerful military force in the world. Both their army and navy were unmatched as fighting forces.

By way of contrast, America was not even a nation. It was thirteen colonies strung along the Atlantic coast, but unbound as one nation. It had no army whatever and very few trained military personnel. All it literally possessed, in terms of a fighting force, were thirteen small state militias. One thing it did have in common was a fairly comprehensive understanding of what it meant to be free. And that was supported by biblical principles that were gleaned by these men from the Protestant Reformation. Now, I am not saying that particular support was all good and right. But those thoughts were combined with love, with zeal, and the willingness to sacrifice to achieve the level of what they understood liberty to be.

Two more things that it also had. One was very good leadership from the educated leaders in the colony. Very many of that leadership actually received their higher education in England, though most of the leadership was indeed American born. Most of them were from fairly wealthy family roots so they had fairly decent educations.

The second element it had, and the most important one of all, was God had His plans of what He was going to do with America.

There is no doubt about King George and his great desire to hang on to the colonies. His reason was not only pride, it was monetary. I am going to tell you something that you probably do not realize, but economists claim that the American colonists standard of living in 1775 was already higher than England. How about those apples? This is why King George wanted to hang on to it. America was already what we would call today, in the vernacular, a cash cow in the making. It was rapidly becoming very wealthy because of hard work and a multitude of raw materials to reap, and the king very greatly desired to retain it. But unfortunately for him, God had other ideas.

Now, since there was very little media covering the actual battles, the valor shown on the battlefields is pretty much limited to reports of the activities of George Washington and a few others. Much sacrificial service given to win that war, however, was made by the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. They had much to lose. And they lost a lot. Here is a bit of background of just a small slice of an overview of what they had to go through because we tend to think of wealthy leadership as being like "as snug as a bug in a rug" and safely separated from any danger whatever. But have we gone through anything to match what they sacrifice?

Most of the 56 men had a great deal of higher education, substantial material wealth derived from thriving business ventures, and solid large families. By signing the Declaration of Independence, they voluntarily set themselves up as fair game to the dangers of what British rightfully viewed as traitorous sedition by them. It was! Most of those men and their families paid dearly. Remember, again, America was not even a nation and it had no army to protect them. And except for the flowery signature of John Hancock, you probably cannot remember but one or two other names of the 56 signers. But all 56 knew when they signed they might very well be signing their own death warrants. But they were willing to lay down their lives to be free from what they considered as King George's lecherous rule. He was stealing the country blind. I kid you not.

Because of the inherent dangers of signing, the signers names were hidden for six months to give those men and their families time to prepare and flee. Twenty-four of those 56 men were lawyers and judges. Nine of them were plantation owners. The rest were notable in their professions, such as higher levels of teaching positions and other business fields.

I have a little joke here. Like being a blacksmith. You know why I put that in there. One of George Washington's most trusted advisors, a general in the army, was an ex-blacksmith in civilian life. I mentioned that because that is the way the army was that they were putting together, the continentals.

From the point of their signing and after that six month period finally becoming known and the ending of the actual warfare, they and their families, mostly the men, lived life as vagabonds, fleeing and in hiding, always in some state of apprehension because they feared someone would reveal where each family was hiding. They would then not only be found and tried, they would be put to death as traitors. The deaths of nine of them was directly attributable to the war and their role. Some though were not put to death, but they were nonetheless tortured. The homes of many of the 56 were ransacked and burned. Even if they were not directly harassed, what they committed their lives to triggered long periods of separation from their loved ones, as was the well-known case with John and Abigail Adams.

Adams spent most of his time during the warfare giving direction to others from France. He was fleeing there to collect money from the French. The French did not like the British and so they gave the American colonies a good pile of money to fight that warfare. So Adams spent much of his time in France, where he attempted to find financial resources for the military efforts of the Continental Army when it began forming under George Washington. And I will tell you, that must have been really discouraging to John Adams to be stuck there, away from the action, as it were.

You may be unable to quote a single line from the Declaration, but those signers knew from the tenor of the times, as well as the lofty (Have you ever read it? Boy, the English there is wonderful!) and challenging statements contained within the Declaration, that they were lighting the fuse to the explosion that would blow the lid off an-already tense relationship between the two countries.

Now there is one line that I feel should be remembered because with our declaration (I am talking about now, our.) that we believed in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and thus followed that with baptism, we committed ourselves to a covenant that calls for unswerving loyalty to the Captain of our salvation by living life as He did—to the same level. Did you realize that you had done that? I do not think so. But we are committed to the very highest ideals of which human beings can perform and do.

But that one line in the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence stands out to us too because it said: "We [the signers] mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." To each other, in that pledge, as it applies to us, points primarily to the Father and to the Son. But, as we will see later on, it also extends out to the brethren. That is what Jesus did. He extended it out to the level of the love that He has for the Father. That is a high standard indeed, brethren. But that is what we have come under.

I will bet you anything you did not figure that it was going to be that high and that somehow we would all just kind of skin by. Skinning by is not trusting the Father and Son to the level that Jesus Christ and the Father trust each other. But Jesus committed that to us. When He keeps repeating over and over that we are to love the brethren, He means it! It cannot be faked. He is watching to see whether we will do it.

Now, our war is not a bloody conflict at this time involving bombs and rifles, but a conflict over control of our mind, our heart, and its direction of our attitudes and our conduct.

Some of the impetus for this sermon originally came from Richard, because he gave a sermon in which he used the movie "The 300" as an illustration for an assertion by him within the message. But the assertion was made by the author of the book. And I will tell you, brethren, what the Spartans did took a lot of guts. Richard said the author of the book on which the movie was based, said the Spartans deliberately chose to fight the battle at Thermopylae because they were already free and they wanted to remain free! And they knew that if they fought that battle there, they would give their all to save the city of Sparta. Every one of them died.

Other Grecian cities were greatly impacted by the invasion. But they were not represented at Thermopylae because they were distracted by the Olympic Games that were going on at the same time. And even though the Persians were invading their parts of the land as well, they were distracted and they went to the games. So they would not go to fight side-by-side with the Spartans.

Now we have Somebody helping us too and His name is Jesus of Nazareth. We do not see Him, but He is there and He does not want to lose any of us—He does not want to lose 300, He does not want to lose even one. So He is going to make sure that They are backing us up with the kind of love that we need at this time.

Luke 14:26-27 Now great multitudes went with Him. And he turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me [we have already done that, brethren] and does not hate [or love less by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple."

Jesus is setting a standard and He does that fairly often. That is pretty high.

Luke 14:33 "So likewise, whoever of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."

There is another high one.

That is why I set this sermon in the position that it is and telling you at the very beginning that I am doing this because of the five years that are before us. Five years is just a guess to me. I do not know how long it is going to take, but it already looks as though there are people within the United States who are trying determinedly to turn the government upside down, as it were. And if they do that, you know eventually, like I said in the last sermon, the church is going to become involved because demons are pushing the buttons on these people to do what they are doing. They know who we are, personally and individually. So we have to realize that we are not in a pickle in that way. But nonetheless, we are in, possibly, for a very rough period of time because these things always eventually turn on the church. And I am sure that is because of demons.

Let us go to Matthew the 10th chapter.

Matthew 10:34-39 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. [Boy oh boy, those are chilling statements.] And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."

These admonitions from Jesus are sobering reminders of the serious level of devotion His calling might require. Have any of you ever thought of having to go through what He is describing? I think not yet, is often dismissed by our thinking, almost as if the persecutions never existed. But they did.

Let us return in thought to the Revolutionary War once again. One must not forget that those battles were fought even before we were a country. We were only colonies of England. We were not united. As such, a great deal of organization between the thirteen colonies did not exist.

There are some minor similarities between the battles we are involved in and what the colonists faced. The only thing that held the colonies together was a spiritual tie. They had a pretty much common vision regarding freedom and their commitment to concepts within that vision they held as ideals. The colonies had no central government, no standing army. As a fighting force, all they had were those thirteen state militias and promises from the leadership of those thirteen colonies to supply whatever they could. But the promises were more or less vague declarations because none of the leadership of any of the colonies were sure they could actually back what they promised. And any given militia might be a fairly well-organized and even fairly well-trained. However, militias are usually small and by no means were they regularly-trained volunteers that George Washington was collecting.

Now, here is something that happened during the passing campaign, but it happened in reverse. From within the environment in which the war was being fought arose Thomas Paine. Does that ring a bell? Thomas Paine was an English-born journalist who emigrated to the colonies in 1774 with a recommendation that came from one Benjamin Franklin, and incidentally, Thomas Paine is not well spoken of by religious people. He apparently was not a very nice guy and said things about God that he would better have kept himself quiet about.

He began publishing though a pamphlet titled "Common Sense," in which his articles at first urged reconciliation between the antagonists. But the battles at Lexington and Concord (that is where Paul Revere rode) in April of 1775, inflamed his sense of British injustices done, and he became solidly on the side of the colonists. In January of 1776, "Common Sense" began publishing articles strongly calling for independence, thus inflaming the nation in that direction.

Now, Trump did the opposite. He said, those people were publishing fake news. Well, I do not think Paine was doing that. Paine was noted for his vivid metaphors and rational directness that even the common man, farmers and whatever, clearly understood. In December of 1776, he began publishing a series of articles in his "Common Sense" pamphlet titled, "The Crisis." Now, from the first of these articles comes this memorable declaration he made while serving in the Continental Army:

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country. But he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. Yet, we have this consolation within us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

I will tell you, that blew up people's minds and they started to get behind the Continental Army because of his writings. Whereas with Trump, people were turning away from papers because of the junk that was in them. Well, it was "the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot" metaphor that got my attention at this time anyway.

This metaphor arose because fighting in the armed forces at that time was far different than it is today. And this was because the Continental Army was made up almost entirely of volunteers. Pay was extremely low and arrived irregularly. The men were fighting on home ground, sometimes their own farms, but at least near their family homestead. It was generally not far away from where they were having a war. Now accommodate these two facts vying for the soldiers time. The soldiers volunteered only for a very short period of active duty so that they can hotfoot it home and make the planting. How in the world can you fight a war like that? When your army picks up and goes home to plant the crop?

George Washington was a miracle man. No, he had God on his side, and he was a fairly godly person to begin with. If they did not go home in the spring to plant, then they would go home in the winter to harvest. That is a whale of a bad way to fight a war. George Washington was never quite sure of the size of his army because they were part-time soldiers who could not be depended upon. How can a war be won with that situation? Well, you can win a war if God is on your side. That is really what it was. So, it is a good thing that God was on our side carrying out our purpose because He was going to use the nation that eventually became America in His cause.

Now, the Feast of Trumpets speaks to us from the book of Revelation of an especially tense period of time in the history of mankind. A time unequaled in man's history in terms of the intensity and the destructive power of war, combined with natural disasters like drought, famine, earthquakes, and disease. It is what we are looking forward to the fulfillment of. Brethren, we may have to go through it. And if so, these times will surely try men's souls far beyond what Thomas Paine and the colonists experienced. How deeply the Christian's involvement will be depends on factors that we cannot specifically see at this time. But regardless of whether his involvement is directly in it leading to much sacrifice and courage, it will probably be demanding of whoever is involved within it.

Thomas Paine wrote of patriotism often to encourage the colonists to give more of themselves in sacrificial service to the demands of the forming nation's cause. From Wikipedia: "Patriotism denotes positive and supportive attitudes toward a fatherland. It covers such attitudes as pride in the achievements and the culture [that is, of the nation], the desire to preserve its character, and the basis of the culture and identification with other members of the nation."

I want you to think what Wikipedia is saying in regard to us and what is coming towards us. Patriotism denotes positive and supportive attitudes to a fatherland. Is God's nation, the Kingdom of God, our fatherland? Yes, it is. Do we have pride in its achievements? Do we have pride in its culture? There is no better culture on earth. Do we have the desire to preserve its character and the basis of the culture—God's Word—and identification with other members of the nation?

At its roots, patriot is related to these other terms: patrician, patriarch, expatriate, repatriate, perpetuate, pattern, and even the male named Patrick. All of which are extensions of the word "father," and thus patriot is a term indicating kinship. Are we related to God? Association. Are we associating with Jesus Christ? Do we have an affinity for the Kingdom of God? Are we members within it? And do we have similarities with family-like ties with those others who are also part of it?

Regarding the ethics of patriotism, Wikipedia also states, "The primary implication in ethical theory is a person has more moral duties to fellow members of the national community than to non-members." I am talking about Christians and our national community is the Kingdom of God. I am telling you that the brethren come first! Do you understand? And that includes Jesus Christ and that includes God the Father. "Patriotism is selective in its altruism. Those are the good deeds. Patriotism implies a selective value preference for a specific civic or political community." Again, those are the Kingdom of God.

Here are some quotations regarding patriotism. They are meaningful.

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale said that just as he was being put to death by the British because he was a spy. But he had a regret.

Listen to this one. This is a good one. It was stated on January the 20th, 1961. "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." (John F Kennedy)

Here is another one from another president. "Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country." (Calvin Coolidge)

"Heroism on command, senseless violence and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism. How passionately I hate them!" You know, who said that? Albert Einstein. He meant it. He did not like people being patriotic. He was not an American, of course, really.

Here is another one. "To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography." (George Santayana) Because of where you live, because that is what a patriot does. He fights for his country rather than righteousness.

Under the influence of patriotism, people of all nations have performed many heroic acts through the centuries, most notably during warfare. Patriotism is heavily fueled by one's emotions because the patriot has a very strong tendency to perceive his nation as more or less wholly good and the one being warned against as wholly bad or evil.

This is why Wikipedia says that patriotism is selective and thus the comments of Calvin Coolidge, Albert Einstein, and George Santayana, were not very favorable toward it because Coolidge essentially said that patriotism is a sort of half-baked goodness. It can be with the patriot actually serving himself. And that is essentially what God said. Albert Einstein? He is saying that patriotism is a motivation for senseless violence and it can very definitely be that because of the emotion involved in carrying it out. And then there was George Santayana, the philosopher, saying the patriot is being controlled by geography, that is, where he lives, rather than by wisdom and righteousness.

Not everybody is in favor of patriotism, but there is a patriotism that is meaningful to the Kingdom of God and that is what I am after.

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