Key Word:- CONSIDER
Title:- The Fair Flag of Future Glory
Philippians 3:19-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, what can I tell you about my beloved England and its powerful Christian legacy? The mother of parliamentary democracy, the Pilgrim Fathers, Puritan divines and of course, crumpets, wonderful crumpets! The fact is, I could leave you with such a list of honourable heritage today that it would make you want to root up your family, load up your kids and beg for entrance into such a marvelously brave and culturally diverse Kingdom! Equally, I could provide you with a list of such dreadful failings, that those of us who hail from there, would hang our head in shame and speedily wish to change our passport and our accent.
When loving our nations, true love demands the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Anything else is head-in-the-ground naivety, and dear friends, we as Christians should be mature enough to refuse to play the rah-rah card of juvenile jingoism and sing the silly songs of “how great we are” which tell to ignorant children ardent for some desperate glory, the old lie of: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (It is great and glorious to die for one’s country). Loving our countries to death, surely means leaving behind us a most powerful Christian legacy.
Lest I be misunderstood today, let me say that it is good that we love our country, wherever and whatever our country might be and if necessary, fight and die for what is right in God’s eyes. However, it is better that we as Christians, love our true and solid homeland even more. For we do not serve a monarch, a prime minister or a president, no! We serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Friends, I am convinced that our countries would be far better places if we were the true patriots and active ambassadors of our heavenly home that we should be. My oh my, if we did that what a powerful legacy we should leave behind for future generations. The treasure of a question then is, how do you know when we are not true patriots and active ambassadors of heaven? Well, here is the test: let me ask you, do you eagerly await an all-transforming and all-subduing Saviour who will take you home? Is your mind set on heaven or on this earth? After all, just where is your treasure and what are you living for friends? Your true estate or your real estate? For truly, where you lay your treasure up, there your heart shall be. I think I know the answer to these questions friends, and I think you do too, for really, just what is the legacy left amongst us of the Christian’s longing and looking for heaven, their true homeland?
Well when we look at the lack of powerful Christian legacies, we see that America alone, aborts 1.5 million babies per year. Enough have now been murdered, that the combined total would exceed the current population of a small nation; say, even the population of England! Pornography is America’s most favourite and not-so-secret pastime, our citizens pouring billions of dollars into the industry each year; and what more could I say about the increasing rise of racism, drugs, crime, murder, sexual predators and offenders, homosexual agendas, same-sex marriage, and so on, so on and so forth. The continents of Europe and now Asia fair no better, and frankly the whole world simply increases in its stink like the old slop bucket that it is, waiting to be emptied.
Meanwhile patriotism continues to be the current hot and hungry word and in my observation, this earthly patriotism has the tendency to be particularly adept in driving dedicated, proud and prayerful Christians to wrap their faith tightly and totally, up in an earthly flag. We must beware of this for I wonder if at times, that though it is possible to wrap right causes up in an earthy flag, it is almost never possible to wrap faith up in the same? After all, tell me how many hundreds of thousands of soldiers over the centuries, do you think have prayed to the same God, then rose up under their own flags and killed one another? Do you see what I mean? Faith cannot be wrapped up in an earthly flag! England and America need only look to their own civil and revolutionary wars to see this to be the truth. So I say again, just where are all the powerful Christian legacies?
No, I am not a lefty liberal, neither am I a pacifist. No sir, I am a member of the very far and extremely distant right. I am a soldier. I wear a uniform and carry a weapon. I am a freedom fighter and today, I am longing and looking for a new revolution to rise up amongst my brethren. A real revolution, which is rooted in heaven. For I wonder what our present and passing, earthly homes would look like, if the fair flag of future glory was unfurled to fully fly before them? I need to ask you today then to examine two things. First, the State of your nation and what flag you have wrapped your faith in, and secondly where you have placed your heart and your true allegiance? Surely this shall determine the power of any legacy we eventually leave behind us? THINK ABOUT THAT!
Listen:- Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. Isaiah 40:15-17
Pray: - Lord show me my true flag and the bloody and glorious banners that I march under today. Strengthen my heart, then let the seal of my citizenship break in with warmth and wonder upon my blind eyes and my deaf ears. Show me heaven O God, give me a glimpse of my true home, and help me in my forthcoming departure to be assured that I have left behind some powerful Christian legacies. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Dulce et Decorum Est ~Wilfred Owen
"Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori."