This Sunday, July 3, 2016 will mark the Sunday of Fourth of July weekend. For Americans and the country’s residents, the weekend may likely consist of barbecues, fireworks, memorials, and various patriotic gatherings to commemorate and celebrate America’s independence. July 4 is a welcomed holiday and good and right for this nation to celebrate. However, the celebration of, the honoring of, and the worship of America has no place in any gospel believing church this upcoming Lord Day’s. In this piece, I list three reasons.
- God Wants His People Exclusively to Worship Him and Him Alone!
God loves God more than he loves anyone or anything. God wants his creatures to offer him exclusive worship above all, and God does all things for the purpose of displaying his glory and making himself famous throughout the ends of the earth. Numerous texts support this.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments (Exod. 20:2-6).
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deut. 6:4-5).
. . . you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exod. 34:14).
And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish (Deut. 8:19).
Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the LORD is giving you (Deut. 11:16).
You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way. But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there (Deut. 12:4).
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you (Ps. 22:27).
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness (Ps. 29:2).
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God. . . (Ps. 95:6).
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth (Ps. 96:9)!
Then Jesus said to him, Be gone, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve (Matt. 4:10).
And he said with a loud voice, Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water (Rev. 14:7).
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed (Rev. 15:4).
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. . . (Rev. 19:10).
- God Does Not want to Share His Glory with Anyone or Anything!
God does not want to share his glory with anyone or with anything, not even with the United States of America.
Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. . . (Jos. 7:19).
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth (Ps. 62:7).
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works (Ps. 104:31). . .
All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord GOD (Ezek. 39:13).
And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them (Ezek. 39:21).
- Christian Worship Services Should Focus on Glorifying God in Christ!
Christian worship services should focus on glorifying God in Christ.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne (Matt. 25:31).
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels (Luke 9:31).
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory (John 2:11a).
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory (Eph. 1:11-12).
. . .that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:16). . .
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
Christian worship is not about America’s independence or America’s values. Christian worship should always and only be about God, his glory, and the glory of God in Christ. Any Christian worship leader who allows patriotic hymns or patriotic themes to enter into any Christian worship this upcoming Fourth of July Lord’s Day weekend will be guilty of idolatry, will rob God of his glory, and will import American nationalism and patriotism onto the Christian gospel.
American patriotism is not the gospel. Therefore, American patriotism should have no place in any Christian worship service this Lord’s Day. Rather, patriotic and nationalistic worship should be anathematized by all churches committed to the one and true gospel and to Christian, just as Paul anathematized a nationalistic and false gospel in Galatians.
May no church or worship leader distract from the glory of God in Christ by allowing American patriotism enter into Christian worship services this upcoming fourth of July Lord’s Day.