Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Birthright Matters

Acts 22:24-29

24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea.
28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

Birthright Matters
In Acts 22, Paul finds himself at odds with the people.  He is beaten and dragged away for more beating.  But he challenges the guards with a simple question: "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?"
Every Roman citizen, born and naturalized, knew the rules.  Frankly, every non-citizen in Roman controlled areas knew the rules.  That was the way order was maintained...everyone knowing the rules, particularly the rules concerning the treatment of Roman citizens, helped to keep the order and established a hierarchy.  It was a big deal to become a Roman citizen.  It was a bigger deal to be born one.
We see this issue of birthright throughout the Old Testament for sure, but surprisingly, it is even a part of our modern conversation.  We challenge the national identity of those who may be born of US parents on foreign soil, or those of foreign born parents who are born on US soil.  US citizenship is a coveted status, whether one acquires it through naturalization or is born into it. Birthright, even today, matters tremendously.
I offer all this as a reminder of our birthright in Christ.  When we are born again, we are endowed with the citizenship rights of the Kingdom of God.  Our parenthood changes so our birthrights change along with it.  We become a child of God, and an heir of Christ.  If birthright is laid out in full complexity in the Old Testament, then we should look at the New Testament as fully explaining our own birthright within the body of Christ.
As with all great gifts, there are responsibilities in this new identity.  There are tremendous rewards and amazing expectations.  Child of God, know your birthright.  That way, when you're confronted with an enemy, you can say with assurance "Is is lawful for you to lay hands on a citizen of the Kingdom of God?"  Your enemy knows that no weapon formed against you shall prosper.  Your enemy knows that you are more than a conqueror.  Your enemy knows that the gates of Hell itself will not prevail against you...not because of you or I but because of our birthright in the Kingdom.
Get to know your birthright.  And if you're in Atlanta, Fellowship is a good place to start.

Galatians 4:4-7

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website ( includes a link to the Lifeline Blog ( where you can find previous messages.  

Evangelist Robinson also posts her entries on Facebook and Twitter. To subscribe to the mailing, or for questions and comments, tweet (@evangeliststeff) or send an email to fellowship_lifeline@yahoo.comFellowship Church can be reached at