The Bible says that if “we know the truth, the truth will make us free”. Here are some truths that might help “set you free”(Humorous)
It is certainly easy to see what is “wrong with America”. But, in our time, it is harder to see what is right. It seems imperative to me that we understand the role that Christian life and leadership has played in our nation’s heritage. It also seems important to identify the key things we can do as Christians living in our beloved nation at this time. Four things you can do now that will help lift up what is right with America. I will be using more quotations and providing more background material than might be ordinary, but I want you to have accessible for your benefit and, particularly those of you with children and grandchildren, your further study.
1) Celebrate your heritage
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a shale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”(John Adams)
“Bad examples are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serous religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practiced. Atheism is unknown there; infidelity rare and secret, so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel”(Benjamin Franklin in “Information to Those who would Remove to America”. Franklin not known to be a Christian).
Christianity and patriotism have much in common. It is significant to note that: Our patriotic hymn, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” was written by a Baptist clergyman, Samuel Francis Smith. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy. The words, “In God We Trust,” carried on all of our coins, are traced to the efforts of the Rev. W. R. Watkinson of Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. His letter of concern, addressed to the Hon. S. P Chase, was dated November 13, 1861. Seven days later Mr. Chase wrote to James Pollock, Director of the U.S. Mint as follows: “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. Will you cause a device to be prepared without delay with a motto expressing in the finest and tersest words possible, this national recognition.” The president of the College of New Jersey, the Reverend John Witherspoon (Presbyterian), was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence. He is too much forgotten in our history books: John Witherspoon had a far-reaching influence on democracy. He had personally taught several of the signers of the document, and nine of them were graduates of the little college over which he presided at Princeton. When he took up his pen to put his name to the document, Witherspoon declared: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, a spark. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to consent to our own slavery. That noble instrument upon the table, that insures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very morning by every pen in this house. He that will not respond to its accents, and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions, is unworthy of the name of free man. For my own part, of property I have some; of reputation, more. That reputation is staked, that property is pledged on the issue of this contest; and although these gray hairs must soon descend into the sepulcher, I would infinitely rather that they descend thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country.”
“American is great because she is good. If America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great” Alexis de Tocqueville, 1848(French historian)
Dr. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, commented that in all fifty state constitutions there is an appeal or a prayer to the Almighty God of this universe.
2) Communicate your honor for our nation
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1). We respect those who are in positions of authority, on the basis of the position of authority alone,
Democracy is a form of government where you can say what you think even if you don’t think.
Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.
President Reagan tells how we could match Russia’s record after its more than half a century of socialism:
“We’d have to cut our paychecks by more than 80 percent; move 33 million workers back to the farm; destroy 59 million television sets; tear up fourteen of every fifteen miles of highway; junk nineteen of every twenty cars; tear up two-thirds of our railroad track; knock down 70 percent of our houses; and rip out nine of every ten telephones. Then all we have to do is find a capitalist country to sell us wheat on credit to keep us from starving.”
1892 Supreme Court Decision(The Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States, 143 US457), “These references and many other matters, which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a religious people..this is a Christian nation.”
We have had great sacrifices to make liberty possible. This brief visual image might just help us understand the cost of our freedom(Saving Private Ryan tape).
A stream never rises above its source. The problem is that we have replaced the source of our cultural identity. The Bible clearly teaches the consequences of our missing the mark with our understanding of our source of authority.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.(Proverbs 14:34)
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance”(Psalm 33:12)
Yes, there has been a tremendous human toll. However, we ultimately owe our freedom not only to the sacrifices of brave men and women, but to Almighty God who has allowed and sustained our freedom these many years.
3) Cultivate your hunger for God to work among us
You know what your own country is like. I’m a visitor, and I wouldn’t presume to speak about America. But I know what Great Britain is like. I know something about the growing dishonesty, corruption, immorality, violence, pornography, the diminishing respect for human life, and the increase in abortion.
Whose fault is it? Let me put it like this: if the house is dark at night, there is no sense in blaming the house. That’s what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, “Where is the light?”
If meat goes bad, there is no sense in blaming the meat. That is what happens when the bacteria are allowed to breed unchecked. The question to ask is, “Where is the salt?”
If society becomes corrupt like a dark night or stinking fish, there’s no sense in blaming society. That’s what happens when fallen human society is left to itself and human evil is unrestrained and unchecked. The question to ask is “Where is the church?” John Stott, “Christians: Salt and Light,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 109.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”(I Peter 2:9-10)
4) Consecrate your heart to be “salt and light”
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
8 Things Christians Can Do for America(with thanks to Jack Hayford)
1) Believe the promise…”if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14
2) Bless your enemies… “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44)
3) Value Life “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”(Proverbs 31:8)
4) Pursue Unity (…“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
5) Live in purity…”Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16a)
6) Serve the needy (Matthew 5:16)
7) Preserve liberty (II Corinthians 3:17)
8) Share Christ with passion(Matthew 28:19-20)