Screwtape Letters 3 War

C.S. Lewis

Considered - one of - most influential writers of the 20th century.

Born: 1898

At 15, he loses his faith and pronounces his commitment to atheism and the occult.

B/C of that influence, He eventually returns to Christianity.

Writes Books:

  • Chronicles of Narnia - Lion, Witch, wardrobe,
  • Mere Christianity

The Screwtape Letters

Telling of the story of a human life. Told from the view point of a demon bent on destroying the humans faith.

Also, of course, not everyone believes in a literal satan & demons. I personally do. But don't get caught up on that. As you'll see, that's not actually what the book is about. - Traps that we so easily fall into.

For us, it basically serves as a fun way to talk about some issues that seem to trip up a lot of Christians.


All you need to know is 3 characters.

1. Screwtape

The uncle - Senior demon. - Highly experienced and extremely successful demon. - The author of all the letters. 'Our father below' - Satan. 'Our enemy above' - God.

2. Wormwood

Screwtapes nephew. - Demon who's new to the job and doesn't really know how to tempt his human yet.

3. The Patient

The recently converted human who is the subject of the book. Wormwood (the nephew) is assigned the patient to reclaim back from the camp of the enemy (God).


Thus far: We've followed patient:

  • Becomes a Christian
  • Goes to Church

This week: The Patient Goes To War.

You say you're delirious with joy because the European humans have started another one of their wars.

I am delighted to hear that your patient's age means that he will be called up for military service.

In your next letter, give me a full report on your patients reaction to the war, so we will know whether it will be better to make him an extreme patriot or an ardent pacifist.

Both extreme patriotism and extreme pacifism are good things according to Screwtape.

Tortured Fear and stupid confidence are both desirable states on mind.

Either ditch is a good thing.

Ultimately screwtape says that any allegiance that will compromise his allegiance to the kingdom of God is good.


Ok, SO:

The war is a great opportunity for the devils, but not for the reason that many people think. It's those types of situations that can fill the humans mind up with so many other opinions, beliefs, convictions - have nothing to do with God, that we end up giving our heart to something other than God.

The real problem with your patient is that he's 'Merely Christian'. We want to get the patient in a state of mind called 'Christianity And…'

  • & Psychology
  • & Philosophy
  • & Empire
  • & Individualism
  • & Consumerism

Ultimately, - Attack

The Patient in encouraged to split his allegiance.

That we have contradictory beliefs and convictions in our heart and that's not a problem b/c we just put on different hats.

  • Are we having a Christian conversation? No prob, put on love.
  • Are we having a work conversation? Look out - Number 1.
  • Are we having a 'global conversation'? No prob, I'll put on my political parties hat.

Overarching theme : The real problem with your patient is that he's 'Merely Christian'. We want to get the patient in a state of mind called 'Christianity And…'


Ascension

In the bible there's a big event that's called the 'ascension'.

Jesus is promoted to where he currently is: at the right hand of the father. - Where he rules over the nations. Where he rules over the nations.

Christ now rules the nations as Lord.

Not someday, he currently rules. Now.

So, he isn't ruling a kingdom in heaven, he rules the nations FROM heaven.

If you want to sum up the the gospel according to apostles - Peter, James, Paul, - Can find it in the book of acts:

"Jesus is Lord."

Not GOING TO BE. "IS".

Original language, They would say "Christ is Lord."

What does that mean, Christ? Well it's not Jesus's last name. No, Christ means "The King".

The Jewish Messiah - "King of the Jews"

So when they're saying "Jesus Christ is Lord" they're saying he's not just king of the jews. He king of the whole world.

What does Lord mean? - It means emperor. - Cesar WAS Lord.

"Jesus Christ is Lord" = King Jesus is Emperor.

But the apostles are saying, no Cesar is not Lord, Jesus is.

So they're making a direct statement and there's also an implied statement.

  • Direct: Jesus is Lord.
  • Implied: And Cesar is not.

So they're making the contrast here. "You say Cesar is Lord, and we're correcting you and saying that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the emperor.

Very radical, very dangerous.

It's why Peter and Paul end up in prison.

"Jesus is Lord and Cesar is not."


These apostles after the ascension of Jesus believes that the world had a new King.

Traveled around the roman empire saying "Just want you to know that your emperor isn't real. Jesus is the real emperor."

In it's time, Political statement. - Politics are always controversial. - Always.

Part of the gospel in the book of acts is this: Politics of Cesar (power) have been replaced by the politics of Jesus (love).


Jesus is Lord / Cesar is not. - Whoop-dee-do.

Jesus is Lord and Cesar is not. - Not that big of a deal. Whoop-dee-do.

Jesus is Lord and nothing else is.

More controversial when you replace 'Cesar' with things in our day.

So whatever it is that's in the world's system that you hold dear, Paul is saying this "Jesus is Lord and that is not."

So when Paul was saying "Jesus is Lord and Cesar and Rome is not." - He didn't just get mean replies on facebook, he gets arrested and executed for it. - By the Roman empire.


Paul is in "Philippi".

Paul is in "Philippi". - Large city, important city, roman empire.

Preach "Jesus is Lord and Cesar is not."

Paul & Cilas - prison.

Singing hymns

Earthquake comes

Doors open

No one escapes b/c Paul says "Don't move."

Roman jailor commit suicide, Paul "Don't do yourself any harm, we're all here."

Jailor asks "What do I have to do to be rescued?"

Paul "Believe in the Lord Jesus, the King.

"Believe on emperor Jesus, the real king." - See how edgey that is? Esp if you're a roman government official like this jailor was.

So he believes and that night his whole family is baptized. Huge shift of loyalty happening.


15 years pass

15 years pass - Pauls about 65 years old.

Arrested (for the 2nd time).

  • 1st time he was released.
  • This 2nd time he won't be released, he'll be executed.

During Nero Cesar

Paul said "I don't know. I don't even know what to wish for." "To be with Christ is awesome, but staying here with you, that's good for you. I just don't know." - Should I stay or should I go? Turns out, it wasn't up to him, he would go, executed.

One of the very last writings of Paul, writing to what seems like his favorite church. They were his strongest supporters even when he was in prison.

So he writes this letter, he doesn't know he's about to be killed. We do.

In rome, in prison, in chains - writes the happiest letter of his career.

He's so happy, he says that even some of the imperial guards in cesars house have become believers.

One of the themes: Jesus is Lord.


But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20)

"Citizenship is in heaven" - doesn't mean the earth isn't our home.

Colonize earth with the culture of heaven. We live here, but we're citizens of the kingdom of God.


Here's how Colonization works.

British Empire - 18th & 19th century

They went all around the world, colonizing.

They would say "The sun never set upon this british empire." - Cuz they were in all time the time zones.

One of their prized possessions : India.

They went there and set up colonies.

People would travel from England to India.

And when they got there, did they live as indians or as english? English of course!

So picture them in india in and english colony, what do you think they do at 4pm? YOU HAVE TEA! B/C your english!

Doesn't matter that you live in india. You're a citizen of England. Bringing the culture of england to India.


So Philippian church understands this - B/C they are in Philippi which is a 'Roman Colony.'

They're in greece - not in Rome - but it's part of the roman empire.

Paul "Your TRUE citizenship is heaven, and you're bringing THAT culture to earth.

"You are to live with Christ as your King."

Jesus's current project is to colonize earth with the culture of heaven.

So depending on where you were born, and your journey, you will have an earthly citizenship. Probably most of you have an american citizenship. Some maybe Brazilian, Columbian, Ethiopian, whatever.

But if you're a follower of Christ - you've pledged you allegiance to him before anyone else.

Paul was a roman citizen - born in Tarsus. But his ultimate allegiance is this "Jesus is Lord and Cesar is not."


312AD

This is how the early church lived. Ever heard that term? 'The Early Church'?

So that's from pentecost to the year 312. Definite end. EXACTLY 312AD.

What happened?!

For almost 3 centuries, whole identity "Jesus is Lord and Cesar is not!" - We'll be good citizens, we'll pay our taxes, we'll be law abiding. - But there's a line we won't cross.

We'll never go against what Christ told us.

Our allegiance to you will never be as great as our allegiance to Christ. Goes on for 3 centuries.

312AD - Pegan, Roman general - Constantine. - Civil war

Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Pic) - Apostolic Palace - Vatican

But in 312 - Pegan, Roman general - Constantine. - Civil war with another pegan roman general. Battle - Battle of the Milvian Bridge

Constantine took the Christian sign (Chi-Rho) and put it on his weapons and defeated his rival, and as a kind of superstition, he becomes a kinda-Christian.

Makes Christianity the 'official religion' of the Roman Empire (Coins)


Strange shift happens - birth - 'Civil religion'.

NOW - Strange hybrid of Christianity and Cesar.

NOW - Jesus - Lord - Cesar - too.

The real problem with your patient is that he's 'Merely Christian'. We want to get the patient in a state of mind called 'Christianity And…'

Jesus is Lord in heaven and Cesar is Lord on earth. - See how convenient that is? New way to reinstall Cesar as Lord.

"Christianity" had become dominant so now to be a good European citizen meant becoming a Christian. Dominant system - all the way up to the 20th century. - All collapses, we talked about that a little last week.


(Band)

So here's the question:

What about us?

How do we live under the reign of Christ and also live as responsible citizens?

Sum : 10 words:

Jesus is Lord. The kingdom of God is without coercion.

Not by force of any kind. Legislative or otherwise.

The kingdom of God persuades by love. - Spirit, Reason, if necessary by martyrdom, but never by force. - Doesn't work that way.


Sometimes we - huffy "Prayer - school!!!"

Try to use legislative force to get prayer in school.

As if you want government to concoct our prayers.

You don't need to have a law passed to pray. Just pray.

"Hey Cesar, can you help me make these people live like Christians?" - Ridiculous.

Can the kingdom of God advance without force? OF COURSE IT CAN! It did for the first 3 centuries!


As followers of Jesus

We as followers of Jesus - Believe that Jesus is Lord and nothing else is.

The real problem with your patient is that he's 'Merely Christian'. We want to get the patient in a state of mind called 'Christianity And…'

  1. Our citizenship is in heaven.
  2. We are colonists bringing the culture of Christ to the world.

Communion

Table which the King himself has prepared.

In the form of the bread and the cup - we find relationship with the one true king.

The Cesar way - Establish a kingdom with the blood of his enemies

Christ: "I establish my kingdom with my blood!"

Invites us to his table - eat and drink that I might abide in you and you in me.

Jesus invited each and every one of us, doesn't matter who we are. Take, eat.