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Sermon 3/26/06 - Tags
Psalm 50:12

Friday  Study Ministries
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If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains” (Psalm 50:12)

Many have objected to the “tags” that gang members with spray cans place on fences, walls and roadway overpasses around the world. The message is essentially this: “You may think this is your wall, but it is not. It is mine, or rather, it belongs to the gang I am a part of.” You object to the written statements they make because you think it is YOUR wall, your property. After all, you were the one who paid to build or buy it and you think of it as yours, not theirs. The fact that they disagree with you about ownership makes you unsure, worried and – angry!

Actually, “gangs” have been around since the beginning of the human race, and they have been claiming territories not previously owned by them for a long time. They’re called “governments” and the world is full of them. If you think about it, “governments” only exist because we pretend they do. It’s necessary to pretend in this manner because there are those in this world who are bigger and stronger than we are. Others might hurt us, except we can call the government agency called the “police” if they try. “Governments” give us laws that we can bend while hoping that others keep them; police and armies that we hope will not be turned against us; and rules of behavior we can inwardly sneer at, while insisting that others act in accordance with them. Those are the attitudes of humanity.

Governments post signs that identify “our” territory, warning those of different groups to conform to the rules within our “tag” area, or they will get into trouble. Border crossing signs, “Welcome to (whatever city it is)” signs, the brass markers at the front of embassies and so on, are actually “tags,” reminding us to pretend that the places marked by those tags are the territories of us or somebody else. “Watch out!” we are told, “This is Mine and if you come here, you’re subject to My rules!”

Am I an anarchist? Someone who wants to get rid of governments? No, definitely not. I feel that if we didn’t have governments, rules and regulations, the human race would have destroyed itself a long time ago. But to recognize national border crossing signs as only “tags” accepted by those who believe in them, is one way to begin to understand that everything in this world is not ours at all. The wall that got “tagged” is not really yours – it’s God’s. The gang, company, corporation or country that you swear allegiance to, was ALLOWED to have existence for GOD’s purposes. They and we are HIS; and it will be shown in eternity that He is the Owner of all that is. He is your Creator, just as He is mine, and you are “tagged” as “His,” whether you acknowledge Him or not.

My wife and I have continued to benefit from “Seek God for the City 2006,” a Lenten publication. A recent section included, “Seek God on Behalf of Gangs.” Here is the prayer for gangs: We pray ”that GOD will satisfy their deep desires for significance and belonging; for God to break spiritual and social powers holding them; for caring Christians to embrace them in the authentic love of God’s family; for blessing upon the neighborhoods they claim.” The “Prayer Walk” for that section included these words: “Pray at a place affected by gang activity. Speak God’s Word as you walk to spiritually ‘tag’ the territories with unseen, but real declarations of His Lordship and love.

As Christians, we have weapons greater than knives, guns, spears and atomic bombs. We have the Lord. And when we turn to His Word, we encounter God, who gives Laws that are good Laws, for they represent true concern for those who live under them. We are given citizenship in His kingdom, and actual membership in His family – we are part of a place and a people who don’t need to worry about territorial rights at all. Human “tags” of all kinds are just temporary because all territory, tagged and untagged, really belongs to God. His kingdom is REAL and there is no pretense to it. And we are given prayer, along with the promises in God’s Word, to “tag” those who have been captured by the enemy, trusting Him that they will be rescued and brought into the camp of the Lord.

Our Scripture for today is wonderful. God has no needs, for He is complete in Himself. He is completely unlike you, me, or the member of any gang. We are incomplete and in need of the God who made us. He is complete, “hungry” for nothing, and if He did have some kind of need, He wouldn’t tell us because we don’t have anything to give Him! Except ourselves! A key reason for the existence of gangs, in addition to protection, is: identity! Our tag, our job, our spouse, our children, our city, our country, our nationality, our political party, and so on – We fool ourselves and other people by identifying ourselves with those labels, those tags. We think that’s who we are! But it’s not – we belong to God!

If you as a gang member show up on my doorstep with a weapon, I’ll slam the door, call the police and have you arrested! And they’ll convict you! But you can show up in gang territory, armed to the teeth, and you’ll likely get away with it. And you might even break up a gang or two while you’re at it. Here’s how it works:

God correctly informs us that “the world is (His), and all it contains” (Psalm 50:12). Every building, fence, city, continent, animal and person on this planet, in this universe is – His. The “tag” of God is on all of us, whether we choose to see it or not. And He delegates authority to people like you and me. Ephesians 6:10-18 and its context describes military equipment issued to those who trust in Him. Most of the items are defensive in nature, but two are useful for claiming places that were not previously tagged as territories belonging to our Commander-in-Chief. “The Sword of the Spirit,” is one, identified as “the Word of God,” the Bible (Ephesians 6:17). The other weapon is “prayer” (Ephesians 6:18). When you “put on” the “armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11), you “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27); which is to say you have trusted in Him. When we do, our limited understanding of Scripture and our feeble attempts at prayer become powerful forces to rout the strongholds of the enemy, tagging them with the name and authority of their true owner – God.

The Word of God contains many promises and one is in our Scripture for today: “the world is (His), and all it contains” (Psalm 50:12). When you pass the painted sign of some gang or another, pray ”that God will satisfy their deep desires for significance and belonging” – prayerfully tag them with the Promise of His Kingdom. Let’s pray together:

Lord, we ask that You will tag the gang members of this world for Your kingdom. Let them, let us – trust in You and be Yours, in the power of Your Son. Forgive them, forgive US, of all our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131 USA

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