Speaker 1: Amen, thank you for that Ms. Leah. Sure. Do appreciate her willingness to sing for us this morning. And people talk to me before they join the church about the music here, and we're obviously seeing a lot of the old hymns. But I always say, you know, we're not opposed to singing some of the newer songs that are worthy of being sung in church. And that's one of those songs. And if you're not familiar with the music of Keith and Kristen Geddy, they've written a lot of wonderful, modern hymns as well. I would call them and appreciate being introduced to that song here this morning. Take your Bibles if you have them and turn to the Book of Acts. Chapter number twenty two is where we're going to be this morning. And I do appreciate all the effort that you've made to be here today. I understand that Sunday mornings can kind of be the like the grease trap for everything unwanted. It all happens on Sunday morning. You know, I mean, you have totally normal schedules all week long. The kids get up, they get ready, they get out to school, you get your breakfast, you drink coffee, you read your Bible and you go on with your day and everything is just great. And then Sunday comes and everything just falls apart. I mean, the wheels just completely fall off. And so I know some of you probably had not the best morning that you wanted to have, but you are here and we are glad that you're here. I was telling one of our folks this morning about the time I think I've told you this before. We had a rough night, the night before our kids were little. We live next to a townhouse that had, I think, six college guys living in it, and there are video game room shared a wall with our bedroom. And so we'd hear Call of Duty until two or three o'clock in the morning. You know, I just. All night long. So we'd called the police on them that night because they were being so loud. This was a Saturday night, Sunday morning. I woke up and I was drinking my coffee. Nobody else was awake yet. All of a sudden, I hear. Like those. Blessed college people. Come in to complain. So I go the door, I rip that door open with all the attitude I could muster. Standing right in front of me was six and a half foot tall SWAT team member. And the Fairfax County SWAT team, this guy was huge. I mean, he was every bit what you would expect. I was like, Oh, hello, sir. There's a situation in the apartment complex behind you. We have an armed man is armed and he has got a hostage. We set up a sniper outlook in your upstairs window. Sure. Come on in. Back the blue. I said, you want water, coffee? Is said no. My partner is coming in a few minutes so you can just stay here by the door and let him in. I appreciate it. It's like, OK, is it safe for us to be in the house? It's like, I don't know, should be. They just stay in the front of the house, don't go to the back of the house and close all your windows. OK. As I say, we are ready for church in record time and we got out of there that morning. But anyways, I hope whatever happened to you this morning that it's maybe fixable or you can deal with it when you get home, but I'm glad you're here today. All right. Accept number twenty two. If you're there, go ahead and stand in honor of reading God's word if you're physically able acts. Twenty two. We're going to be reading in verse number twenty four. Well, says that the chief captain commanded him. That's Paul to be brought into the castle and be that he should be examined by scourging, that he might know where they cried and so against him as they bound him with songs, Paul said, under the centurion that stood by. Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman? And I'm condemned when the centurion heard that he went and told the chief captain saying, Take heed. What I'll do is for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came and said to him, tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yeah. Chief captain answered with a great sum obtained by this freedom, Paul said, but I was freeborn. And straightaway, they departed from him, which should have examined him, and the chief captain also was afraid after he knew that he was a Roman because he had bound him on the moral because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear and brought Paul down and set him before them. Osprey all over. Thank you for this day. Thank you for the opportunity. We have to be here this morning. Prayed you would bless us as we look into your word that you would speak to us. You use your Holy Spirit to show us the things that we need to see and that we would take those things and apply them to our lives. Oh Lord, I love you so much and thank you for all you do for us. It's a Jesus name, I pray. Amen. Thank you. May be seated. I I don't get political very often up here. You've actually had people not join our church because I wasn't political enough. Strange, isn't that weird? But anyways, I am really, really proud and grateful to be an American. I mean, when you stop and think about which we should do on a regular basis, the amount of blessings and privileges that we enjoy, enjoy because of the country that we were either born into or we live in now. I mean, it is an awesome privilege that very few people throughout history have enjoyed what you and I enjoy today. I mean, just because it's been a certain way for all of your life doesn't mean that it's been this way for all of history. And the American experiment is a wonderful privilege that you and I get to enjoy. I have at my house an American, a United States of America passport. One of the most powerful documents that any person can possess. I've just got thrown in a drawer. You know how many people would spend thousands and thousands of dollars to have an American passport? I mean, it's just absolutely crazy when you think about the power that you have because you are a citizen of the United States of America. You realize you can take that passport you go to. You can get into over one hundred and eighty different countries. You know, you can take that passport and if you're overseas, you can go to the United States Embassy. You can go there and get assistance. I mean, we are blessed. We have some amazing privileges. Our country is, if not the most powerful country in the world, one of the most powerful countries in the world. And as an American citizen, you have that power backing you up when you go overseas. If something were to happen to you, the United States of America. We hope. Would have your back. I read the news, I know what goes on, I know that there's been some failings. But historically, if you're a citizen of the United States of America and all of the power and all of the the influence and the money, everything is all backing you up. It's really cool to think about. It makes you feel pretty good, doesn't it? I mean, it fills us with pride, patriotic pride to say I am an American, or should I realize that you may not be too happy with what's going on politically, governmentally? The last year, maybe you weren't too happy about the last four years? I don't know. I mean, we got all kinds of different people here. But regardless of what you think about the direction of our government, the direction of our country, you have to admit we are incredibly, incredibly blessed to live in the United States of America. I mean, the fact that we get to meet here this morning is a privilege. It's a blessing. I believe that some of the wonderful things that we've seen happening here at our church are a result of some of the blessings and the privileges that God God has granted us by living in this country. And so we have a lot to be thankful for. We have a lot to be thankful for. In an excerpt of Twenty Two, we see the polls sit in citizenship was also a very powerful tool at his disposal. Paul was a citizen of Rome, don't you think about Rome for a second here? Rome during this time was not exactly at the top of its game. They were going through a little bit of a corrupt period, but Rome was still the world superpower. Rome controlled the majority of the civilized world at that time, and Rome was pretty protective of those that were citizens of the Empire. And Paul just so happens to be. A Roman citizen. Now, last week, we saw the poll had gotten to a bit of a pickle. Do you ever play baseball? Do we get into a pickle? Pickles are so much fun. It's like you wanted to get into a pickle just so you could be in a pickle just to see if you could beat it. But Paul is in a pickle. He's there in the temple. He gets, he gets mobbed. They were beaten to death. But here comes this. This Roman captain of the guard down from the fortress and he grabs Paul out of this, this chaos and brings him up to the fortress and from the balcony entering into the fortress overlooking the temple. Paul is given the freedom to share his testimony with all the people that are gathered there. We don't know how many people there were. There were at least hundreds, maybe thousands. We know that during these festivals, the population of Jerusalem could swell many times over. And so there was a lot of people there and Paul speaking to them. He's telling them about who he is, his pedigree, what God did for him and how his life has been changed since the gospel was applied to his life. But at the mention of the word. Gentile. Prejudice of the people stirred up, they begin ripping their clothes off, throwing dust up in the air and shouting and screaming and telling the captain that Paul is deserving of death. He's not even worthy to remain on this Earth. And so verse number twenty four, the chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle. Now last week, we know that Paul spoke to the people in what language? Ebru, we don't know whether or not this captain could speak Hebrew. Perhaps he just wasn't fluent enough in Hebrew to keep up with Paul. Mr. Vaughn, let me know that I need to brush up on my Spanish and I'm not too good at Spanish. I took a lot of Spanish in high school, but and I can. I can understand some words. But I can't speak it, and if somebody really starts to speak it quickly, I'm going get lost really fast. Perhaps that's the case with this, this man. Here he is, Paul. He's picking up a few words here and there. He's trying to follow along. He kind of gets lost. Then all of a sudden everybody starts screaming and he's like, What happened? So he pulls Paul in after seeing the reaction of the people, and he's probably starting to think, you know what? Something doesn't add up with this guy. There is something strange. I mean, who is this man that is fluent in Hebrew and Greek? Remember, he had spoken to the captain in Greek, and then it was like, You speak Greek is like, Yes, be Greek, speak Greek all the time in. You must be. Yes, we agree these drinks in Hebrew. I mean, who is this man that is capable of stirring the Jews up to so much hatred? You know, I mean, this guy, he was sent there to keep the peace in Jerusalem. I'm sure he probably wasn't all that friendly with the Jews. And so seeing them all stirred up, it's like what is going on with these people? It looks appalling, says who is this man that speaks with much more dignity and much more composure than you would expect from just a common rabble rouser. Well, he decides to resort to the only sure way he knows of for discovering the truth. And he gives Paul over and verse number twenty four to be examined by scourging. Paul will be beaten until he reveals who he really is. So Roman soldiers, they take Paul out to the fortress courtyard. One commentator noted that this is most likely the same place where Jesus would have been beaten. You've heard about people that would have been scourged by the Romans, and if you if you have heard about this, then you know that there would have been a pole, a beam that they would have been tied to. Sometimes it would have been a vertical beam, sometimes have been horizontal. You'd either be tied with your arms stretched around the beam so that you're your skin on your back would be stretched. Or they would binge you over and tie your your, your feet and your hands together so that you were stretched over either way. They want your back to be stretched out so they can then take that, that that that that scourging instrument. It's a different instrument that we've seen Paul get beaten with before. Before he was whipped here, he's going to be flogged and there's different Greek words involved in this. And if you if you sat through an Easter service, no doubt some preacher has talked about the fact that there they would have a wooden handle, with several leather straps coming out of that wooden handle. At the top of each one of those straps, there would be a piece of metal, a piece of bone, a piece of glass. Whatever they could get their hands on would be attached at the end of those strips. And so the intention there is that they're going to take that and they're going to basically try to rip the flesh off of Paul's back to try and discover who he is. But they never get that far, thankfully, right? As Paul is being tied to the post, he says something that brings the whole exercise to a screeching halt. Have you ever been on your way to do something and something happens? You hear something, you see something and it just makes you stop right in your tracks. Maybe you're walking into your house and hear a sound from another room from one of your children or a pet. And you're like, Oh. Something bad just happened, and you stop whatever you were doing and you go and you got to find out what just happened in the house and then you discover that your kids have gotten into your wife's makeup and use it as you know, to do cave drawings on the walls. Anyways. Paul says something to them that just stops the whole process, and he says to them and version number twenty five as they're binding him. He says. Hey, guys. May I ask you a question? Is it lawful for you to discourage a man that is a Roman and unconditioned? See what the Romans did not realize to this point was that Paul was a Roman citizen and what they were doing was extremely illegal. Illegal, you cannot do this. You see, Paul Paul as a Roman citizen, enjoyed many privileges, many rights, if we could say it that way. You see it as a Roman citizen. Paul had a right to a trial. Paul had a right to a trial of his choosing. You see, Paul could either be tries tried locally or in a Roman trial. Paul had Paul was exempt from any form of demeaning punishment, such as scourging or crucifixion. You know, it's interesting. Traditionally, we know that or we believe that Paul was was killed by what? Beheading, but traditionally, we believe that Peter was killed by crucifixion. See, Paul is a Roman citizen, was not subject to a death by crucifixion because it was intended to be a humiliation that even a Roman citizen who was a criminal would not be subjected to. You see, Paul as a Roman citizen, not only had a right to a trial, not only was exempt from demeaning punishments. But Paul had to be accused by another Roman citizen of breaking a Roman law. And this had not happened, says Iman condemned. There is no Roman citizen that is here condemning me of any specific crime. So why are you going to scourge me illegally? A Roman citizen, there'd been no trial. Yeah, he was about to suffer a punishment that was reserved for only non-citizens. Now, when that rolling soldier who was maybe tying his hands to his feet heard Paul say, I'm a Roman citizen, I bet he stopped pretty quick. Fear began to pummel his heart. The centurion that is there overseeing this, this procedure? Well, the Bible says that when he heard that verse twenty six, he went and told the chief captain, I bet that Centurion, who Paul revealed this information to wasted no time in getting this revelation back to the captain. You see, if Paul had not spoken up, every person who played a role or played a part in his treatment would have faced severe consequences. The captain who ordered it, the soldiers who performed it, the centurion who oversaw it, all of them would have been in great trouble because they had done this to a Roman citizen. The centurion comes to the captain. And most number twenty six, he says taking what they'll do is that the statement has an error of questioning about it. One person is there trying to define what this is like. This is a centurion coming to the captain, his boss and saying, Do you know what you're about to do? Do you realize what you have asked us to do? Do you realize the danger you have put us in by telling us, discourage this man who is a Roman? Well. Because of Paul's claim to citizenship, he is spared from the scourging. The Bible tells us in verse number twenty seven that the captain comes to Paul to hear it for himself. He says, Are you a Roman? Tell me, tell me now. There's a there's a sense of urgency in this question. Tell me you are Roman. One day, somehow, mysteriously, my house growing up, we had a white closet door. Some, some some way crayon showed up all over that door. I mean, not just a little bit. I'm talking a lot like Sistine Chapel amounts of crayon. My mom gathered me and my two brothers, Joseph wasn't born yet, and she sent me Micah Andrew right up against the hallway. She opened the door and she revealed the artwork to us. She said, who did this? I swear it wasn't me. I didn't swear it back then, but I'm swearing to you now, hand on the Bible. I didn't do it. You do it, Gary. Wasn't me? Mica did was it, you know, not me? Andrew, was it you? Andrew was like to. Probably him. No. Not me, not me, not me. I remember saying not me. My mom was like, somebody did this, somebody did this because, I mean, your dad didn't do it. Now tell me who did it. Nobody ever fessed up, so you know what happens when no one admits to it? You all get the punishments. Injustice. I wonder if this captain wasn't a little bit perturbed. With Paul, the Paul had said something sooner. If you go back. To Chapter Twenty One. He says in verse No. Thirty eight art, not thou that Egyptian witch before these days made us an uproar led us to out in the wilderness for thousand men that were murderers. But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city and still is a citizen of no mean city. And I beseech that you suffer me to speak under the people. How hard would it be in that moment to say I am a Roman citizen? I don't know why Paul didn't say anything. Maybe he didn't think this was going to get that far. Who knows? We weren't there and we're not Paul. But here he is, and he is finally telling them, Hey, I'm a Roman. We know we know also that in previous occasions, Paul allowed himself to be beaten and then revealed, Hey, you guys guys whipped us up pretty good the other day, you know, we're Roman citizen. I don't know why all those things Paul seems to be a. A bit mischievous, mischievous. I don't know. Anyways, you say, what do you know? Well, not much. They had briefly discussed who Paul was out on the stairs, and yet Paul had not revealed it revealed this. But now he does, and he tells the captain that he is a Roman. And you may be thinking there as I did, you know, he says, Tell me or tell Roman. He said, Yeah, that's it. It's in. There's no like verification process, there's no checking on that. With to check with my superiors back in Rome to see if you really are a citizen. You just take his word. Why would this man just believe, Paul? Well, there's two reasons I think he believes him. All right, and I'll give you both. Number one, it's possible Paul was carrying his diploma with him. His diploma, like his high school diploma now, his citizenship diploma, you see Rome would give out two citizens a sheet of paper stating that they were a citizen of Rome. They didn't hold that paper up and stick it in a wooden holder that would be closed on either end. And it was real small you can keep it with, you know, if anybody had any concerns about you being a Roman citizen, you could pull it out. You show it to them. It was also possible that he had what they also used was a little clay tablet that was marked with a seal that only Roman citizens could carry. And so, you know, in order to be scourged, Paul would have been stripped of all of his clothes before the scourging. So it's possible that they would have found either his his diploma or the clay tablet in his personal effects. And these things validated what Paul was saying. There was a way to prove that you were a Roman. But the other reason than this captain would have believed, Paul is because it is documented that it was extremely rare for anyone to make a false claim of Roman citizenship. You see, Rome kept good records on who was a citizen and who wasn't. Your your citizenship had to be approved by the emperor himself. And so it was easy to ascertain the legitimacy of a claim. All you have to do is write back to Rome, and they would have a a role of citizens that they could just go down the list and check and see. Yup. He is in the Book of Citizens is a citizen or they go down. No, he's not a citizen. He's not in the book. You know, what happened to anybody that said they were in the book that wasn't in the book? The penalty was death. There was no exceptions, there were no excuses if you claimed Roman citizenship and it was found to be false, then you died could not fake your citizenship. And so because of these two points, Paul's claim is undisputed. However. The captain is not without some thoughts. He looks at Paul. It takes stock of what he sees. He sees a scarred, poor Jewish man from solicitor. How did this man become a Roman citizen? Becoming a Roman citizen was surely a privilege that was too costly for a man like Paul to purchase. And so in a roundabout way, the the the captain he he he shares a little bit about himself hoping to prod Paul to reveal more about himself. You see, the captain is also a Roman citizen, but he says the polar bear swim or twenty eight, he says, with a great sum obtained by this freedom. This this phrase with a great sum, it only appears one of the time in the Bible and it's in the book of Hebrews, and it refers to the sum of an argument, you know, like when you're arguing with your wife and you've got all these reasons why you're right and she's wrong. None of them are really that great, but you're trying your best. And so you're like, I mean, in closing, my argument is wrapped up like this. That's that's kind of what your whole argument. So when he says with a great sum is kind to say, listen, like with everything I had is what it took for me to purchase this privilege. During this time in Rome, it was common for people to purchase citizenship, either directly from the government as a as a fundraising effort. Remember, I said during the signing, Claudius is emperor. It's a time of corruption. There's a lot of waste in Rome. And so they're trying to refill the government's Treasury. And so one of the things that they did was they started letting people buy citizenship for a high price. Another way that this could have happened was there were citizens who were willing to give up their rights as Roman citizens. And so they would sell their citizenship. And so either way, somehow this Roman soldier had purchased a Roman citizenship. But even a purchased citizenship was still inferior to another kind of birth another. Well, there you go to a birth citizenship. The purchased citizenship did not carry the same weight, did not come with the same privileges and backing as a birth citizenship. And so this this man is saying, listen, I had to buy this right with a great amount of money. You don't look like you have about a bunch of money. How did you get to be a Roman citizen? And Paul interest me responds. And he says, I was free born. Paul did not purchase his citizenship. He received it at birth. The captain is right. A Roman citizenship would have been too expensive for Paul. He could have never bought that. He could be born into it. Early, Christian authors and historians have speculated as to how Paul's Jewish family gained citizenship. Some say that his father, or perhaps his grandfather, performed some great service to a Roman Pro Council who would have rewarded them with sit ins with citizenship. The most detailed account comes from Jerome, who stated that Paul's parents were taken to Tarsus as prisoners of war but were later freed and granted citizenship by their powerful master. Regardless of how it happened, Paul was a natural born citizen of Rome, which actually made his social status higher than even this Roman captain in Jerusalem. Think about that. If you were to size up these two men, you were to take stock of what they had at their disposal. You see the Roman captain elevated in his position, possessor of a citizenship that he purchased. And here's Paul this poor. I think diminutive, scarred, odd looking little man. And in Rome's eyes, he has more status than this guy. Not because of anything he's done, but because of his birth. He was born into a position of importance. And these soldiers. They're still in danger because they have changed and nearly scourged a natural born Roman citizen. Because of this, the Bible says in verse number twenty nine. Because of this, they were all afraid. They were all afraid why, because there could be some serious consequences if Paul chose to push the matter. To mess with the Roman citizen was to mess with Rome. Two, to mistreat a Roman citizen. Was to bring the wrath of Rome down upon yourself. Rome was the most powerful government force on the planet that power, among other things, was used to protect the welfare and the interests of her citizens. One of whom was the Apostle Paul. And so Luke is recording this for us, he's sharing with his readers the privileges that Paul enjoyed as a citizen of Rome. We we can sit here this morning and talk about the privileges that you and I enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. We can see here in the passage how Paul's citizenship terrestrial is speaking benefited him greatly. You and I can look at our own lines and see how our citizenship has benefited us greatly. Was that but as I study this passage? I can't help but think. Of another citizenship. A citizenship that Paul had. I have, but I hope all of you have. Which is not based on your physical birth. But it is something you have to be born into. Are you following me? See, I am standing before you today as a citizen of the United States of America. But more importantly, as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. There's a lot of similarities here between what we see Paul experiencing as a citizen of Rome, what you and I experience as citizens of the United States of America, what we can all experience as citizens of the Kingdom of God. See? Any benefits that Paul enjoyed? As a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Those things are available to us as well. Those who are citizens of the Kingdom of God have some amazing privileges. Blessings and protections backing them up. Rome was powerful. America is powerful. But these earthly manmade governments are nothing compared to the Kingdom of God. Being a citizen of the Kingdom of God is one of the greatest when, not one. It is the greatest status that one can hope to attain. Receive. But unfortunately. The price of Syrian citizenship and God's kingdom is too high for you and I to pay. Anybody would look at us and say, how did you get to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God? You can't pay the price just like that soldier did to Paul. You can't afford to become a citizen of Rome. Paul says, You're right. I can't. I was born into it. Anybody that says it looks at my life, they'd say, You know what? You're not good enough to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God. So you know what? You're right. I was born into it. You were born a Christian. No, but I received a second birth. It's not possible, how can a man enter into his mother's womb again and be born a second time? No, no, no, no, you misunderstand. That's the physical birth. I have had a spiritual birth. And when I was reborn as a believer in Jesus Christ, I received citizenship by birth into the Kingdom of God. It's not something I can do for myself. Guess what, I had zero to do with my physical birth. Right. When it comes to that spiritual birth, it's the same story. Jesus Christ died on the cross. Purchased the the ability for me to be born into God's kingdom. He purchased my citizenship so that I could be reborn just like Paul. Paul didn't do anything to receive his citizenship. We think his father or his grandfather had to pave the way so that he could enjoy the benefits of a natural born citizenship. The same story for us. Our Heavenly Father sent his son to to to to pay the price so you and I can be born into his kingdom. This is really cool stuff. The similarities, the crossover here. I mean, some of you young people, you want, you want to see a crossover where Spider-Man and Batman show up in the same movie. It's never going to happen. But this happens. It's the world's greatest crossover, thankfully, someone made that payment for us, thankfully. He then offered for us to be reborn into the kingdom of his father. You know, Paul, because he was a citizen of Rome, he was free from the demeaning punishment of crucifixion and scourging. Now you realize that because of our citizenship in the Kingdom of God, we are under no condemnation. Oh, Satan. He tries to condemn us. He accuses us before the father, he's there every day, accusing the Saints. We have an advocate. There's no condemnation for us, those that are born into the Kingdom of God, those that have received Jesus Christ as our savior. There's no condemnation. There is no accusation that can be brought against me as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Anybody that tries to bring an accusation against me is going to have to answer to my king. His government, because he is the one that's backing me. Isn't Grace amazing, the benefits that we get to enjoy? You can say whatever you want about me. You can. I got more powerful backer than you. You can go home today at lunch and roast me up one side and down the other. Make sure you do it evenly, OK, because you don't want one side to be well done and the other rare. That's gross. You know you want it to be even. That's your business. So whoever messed with a citizen of Rome had to deal with Rome. Rome was going to make sure that that didn't happen and go unpunished, even if it meant punishing their own soldiers. You know? I mean, here's this guy, he's a citizen, he's afraid. He's afraid that his government is going to judge him because of what he did to another Roman citizen. And, you know, we always think about our opposition coming from from without, but sometimes opposition can come from within. People can accuse you. So they got your back. Your sins are washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. What was going to happen in America? Are things going to get better? Anything easier for Christians? Are they what do you think? I'd say the trend is no. Probably not going to get easy. I would love to see. I think I think Jesus is coming back soon. I think this kingdom of God we're talking about is going to become a visual reality to all of us much sooner than we think. I mean, right now we know it's real. You've got Israel right now. We know this is not made up, but. For us, this life that we live is what we see. Very quickly. The life that we see the the the real experience that we're going to have, the thing we're going to hold in our hand is going to be the Kingdom of God. And it's going to become reality. Before that happens, I would love to see another. Revival. Before, you know, one last mass harvest of sorts. Wouldn't that be awesome? Let me great to be a part of that. Wouldn't that be great to be a part of that? Not just an observer, but a participate participant pent. Participant. In one last, harvests of citizens for the kingdom. Talk about open borders. And so, hey, anybody, anybody that wants to come be a part of this kingdom can come. But things might get. Worse, before they get better, and I'm not a doomsday person, I try to be optimistic. But natural for me, naturally, I'm a pessimist. I try to be optimistic. If things get worse. And we do have to make some hard decisions about, you know, serving the Lord, being faithful to him, making him the priority in our life. We face some persecution. Say based on this, heaven help the person. The persecutes presses citizen of the Kingdom of God. You don't oppress, persecute citizens of the Kingdom of God without the ruler of the Kingdom of God taking notice. People who would mess with the Christian people who would mock, belittle, mistreat a Christian should be like these Romans in verse number twenty five. They should be afraid. The fear of God. It's hard to have your guy if you don't know who God is. These soldiers, they knew who Rome was, they knew what Rome was capable of, and so knowing that they had messed with a Roman citizen, it made them afraid. I'm sure Paul was grateful for his citizenship in Rome. I know that I'm grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America. I wouldn't trade that for anything. I mean, there's not another country in the world that I'd want to live in. Something much greater, more powerful than Rome or America. It's the Kingdom of God. I hope this morning that you're sitting here, you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God. You can't buy your way in to God's kingdom. You have to be born. You have to be reborn. Spiritual birth. Having your sins forgiven by the only one who can forgive your sins, and that's Jesus Christ. He died on the cross. Pay for your sins. And when he died on that cross, all your sins were in the future. You say, Well, you know, I've been a bad person, you know? Yeah, I know you died a long time ago. Wash your sins away before you ever committed a single one of them. You go to him for salvation, you go to him for forgiveness, and he will save you. You can become a citizen of the Kingdom of God. And you can enjoy the the multitudes of benefits and privileges and blessings, contemporary and future. They come from being a citizen of God's kingdom. If you aren't a Christian this morning, we would invite you. To fill out the immigration papers now, there's no immigration. Become a citizen today. Primarily, father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for the opportunity. We've had to look at this and Lord, we're so grateful for the privilege that we have to be citizens of your kingdom. God, I pray that you would help those that are here today who may not be saved. To. Heed the calling of your Holy Spirit. They would realize their need for a savior and that today they would accept your free gift of salvation and citizenship in heaven. Or if there are folks are here today and probably the majority of the people here are saved. They've asked you for forgiveness of their sins. Trusting in your loan to get them to heaven. We're praying that you would can convince us this morning. The great power that is backing us that we would become good ambassadors for your kingdom. Or do you have left us here to represent you, represent your kingdom? God, I pray that we will be good representatives that we would seek to bring others into. Into your country. We'll introduce them to you. Our King. We show them how they can become citizens as well. Or we love you so much, thank you so much for the great privileges we have. Jesus name, I pray. Amen.