Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? ... “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” - 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17 (NIV)
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. - 2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)
The other day as I was entering the building where I fellowship. Someone handed me a lapel pin. It was a cross with an American flag filling it in. I handed it back. Could you imagine this kind of thing happening in the 1st century church?
You're in Ephesus. It's evening and you're on your way to brother Caius' house for fellowship. Paul the apostle is there. As you approach the home Paul is out front greeting people. As he is greeting people he hands each person a small cross and in the middle of the cross is a little Roman iron eagle symbol.
I hope you are saying to yourself. "No I don't see that happening." Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. Its from another place." I can't find anywhere in the NT were the disciples were instructed to go and make the nations of this world into Christian nations. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ there is only one nation that is Christian on this planet and it belongs to Jesus and it is His bride. It is the body of believers throughout the entire world. Peter calls us a holy nation. In modern day American evangelical Christianity the moto is God and Country. However, Jesus tells us its Him alone and His kingdom. It's His kingdom we live for and it alone. When someone is saved they become citizens of a new nation, a new kingdom who's king is Jesus. It is his rule we follow. We are to follow his lead no matter what the cost. When he tells us to love our enemies that doesn't mean kill them in self defense. He tell us to not resist an evil person.
People ask me the question, "What if someone breaks into your house and you have a wife and kids, shouldn't you defend yourself and shoot them before they shoot you?" That is what you would call a hypothetical. Then I must ask myself should I interpret scripture in light of hypotheticals? Should I interpret scripture through the filter of my patriotism? The answer is no. That would be bad exegesis. Hypotheticals do not determine how we are to read the NT. We read the truths of scripture and filter the world around us through it.
Here's a hypothetical. Imagine the 12 apostle living during the civil war of the USA. 6 of them lived in the south and the other 6 lived in the north. The authorities of that time, on both sides, tell them to take up arms and shoot each other to secure justice for their particular side. Do you think John would point a musket at Peter and shoot him dead because the authorities tell him that this is God's will and you must obey the authorities because our cause is just and right? The honest answer is NO. Hypotheticals can be made up for either side of an argument. That's why we don't interpret scriptures in light of hypotheticals.
We must let the NT speak for it's self. As followers of Jesus Christ we are to live for His kingdom alone and not the kingdoms of the world.
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. - James 4:4 (NIV)
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.- 1 John 2:15 (NIV)
We cannot create Jesus in the image of an earthly kingdom. That is exactly what we do when we wrap Jesus in an American flag. We yoke the kingdoms of this world with the kingdom of God. This is not part of the gospel of the kingdom of God we see in the NT. If it's not there, it shouldn't be here.