Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Acknowledging our dependence on the Lord

AA Declaration of Dependence@

How much do you know about July 4th?

I found out that there are thousands of web sites where you can get information about the history and meaning of the fourth - and you know what? Just about every one of those sites have a link to a place to buy illegal fireworks! Now that=s what I call freedom!!!

We celebrate July 4 because that was the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. Thirteen colonies - New Englanders - Kris Brake=s people - wanted freedom from Great Britain. They were tired of the heavy ruling hand of the King and all the bureaucrats. They didn=t want anyone telling them how to live, how to spend their money and how they were to serve God. They wanted freedom. They wanted liberty. They wanted to be independent. But what did that freedom cost them?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well-educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."They gave you and me a free and independent America.

Wow! What a story! How dedicated they were!

We owe our freedom in America to men like that. We owe our freedom in America to our servicemen and women that have died on the fields and to the ones who put their lives on the line even today. Many of you this morning have friends and family that have loved ones stationed in Iraq or preparing to deploy - we need to pray for our servicemen and be thankful for them.

But today=s message isn=t just a patriotic one. While I=m thankful for what these men did in signing this Declaration of Independence, I want to look at what motivated them to do it.

1. They were tired of not feeling free.

2. They wanted to be free in their worship.

3. They wanted a better life.

4. They wanted hope and a future for their children.

5. They just didn=t want to live like they were living anymore. - They wanted to be free.

I can see why they were willing to fight. They didn=t want it anymore - they wanted to be free.

Who does that sound like? Spiritually speaking, does that sound like you today?

You=re tired of never feeling free - sin has it=s ugly grip on your life.

You can remember the last time you were free in worship - so many burdens drag you down.

You want a better life - and you keep trying to make it happen - but it never does.

You want hope - You want a future for you families - but you=re not sure you have anything to offer.

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