In the sermon text for this Lord’s Day (Luke 20:20-26), Jesus’ enemies plot to trick him into saying something they could use to condemn him. Jesus did not take the bait. Instead, he replied with the famous words, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” This statement lays the foundation for our understanding of the relationship between church and state—a relationship that we often must hold in tension.
The hymns selected for this service rehearse the context in which Christians live out their dual citizenship. They describe the spiritual conflict that rages, the Christian’s appropriate response (personal assessment, duty to engage the battle, courageous resolve), and the hope of our final victory.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: 1 Peter 2:13-17
Hymn 588 A Mighty Fortress is our God
Note: Martin Luther’s famous hymn describes the Christian’s conflict. As citizens of Christ’s kingdom, we are engaged in a spiritual battle against the world’s kingdom controlled by the evil one.
Hymn 585 Am I a Soldier of the Cross?
Note: In view of the conflict, we must make the Christian’s assessment. Each of us must ask, “Am I a soldier of the cross?” Or, am I engaged in the battle and doing my part?
Scripture Reading Ephesians 6:10-20
Note: The apostle Paul makes clear that Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare. Therefore, he commands us to put on the “panoply of God” (or “full armor”) and to pray for each other to stand and speak.
Hymn 589 Soldiers of Christ, Arise
Note: This classic hymn states the Christian’s duty. Echoing Ephesians 6:10-20, Charles Wesley’s famous hymn calls us to put on the panoply (full armor) that God provides, to stand firm, and yield no ground in this spiritual conflict. In the power of God, we can, we must “win the well-fought day.”
Hymn 403 I’m Not Ashamed
Note: Isaac Watts answers the question he posed in the previous hymn (am I a soldier of the cross?) with this statement of the Christian’s resolve:
I’m not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend His cause;
Maintain the honor of His Word,
The glory of His cross.
Message: Responsibilities of Dual Citizenship
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn 643 For All the Saints
Notes: The Christian’s hope is Christ’s promised victory and his coming kingdom. We stand in the lineage of faithful generations who “by faith before the world confessed” Jesus as their Lord. We determine to fight nobly as they did and anticipate the day when praise to the Triune God will come from “earth’s wide bounds.”
Prayer Response: Mark Williams
Benediction: John Miles