Summary: We’ve gone a long ways away from our roots as Americans. So, one of my goals is to do a little bit of educating. People need to know this, & if they don’t hear it at church, where will they hear it? (*Powerpoint Available - #204)
ILL. In the early colonies the first public building to be erected was a church house & the first public exercise was the worship of Almighty God. When sorrow came they gathered at the church to appeal to God for help. When bountiful harvests filled their barns they gathered at the church for thanksgiving to God.
ILL. In 1643, as more & more people arrived on these shores, they joined together to form “The New England Confederation.” They wrote a constitution, the first constitution written in the New World, & it began with these words: “Whereas we all came into these parts with one & the same end & aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our lord Jesus Christ, & to enjoy the liberties of the gospel in purity & peace…"
These are our spiritual forefathers who came to the shores of America so they could worship & practice their faith without fear of persecution. So the first thing that’s right with America is that its earliest settlers came here primarily looking for religious freedom.
II. OUR FOUNDERS HAD A STRONG DESIRE TO BE PLEASING TO GOD & TO DO HIS WILL
A. The second thing right with America is that the founders of our nation had a strong desire to be pleasing to God & to do His will.
But before I go any further, please remember that around 150 years passed by from the time of the earliest settlers to the beginning of our nation. And we’re not very proud of some of the things that happened during those years.
You see, as time passed, & the original settlers died off, many of their descendants were more concerned with increasing their wealth & comfortable living than being faithful to God & His Word. And as wave after wave of immigrants arrived, many of them came for other reasons & with entirely different motives than those earliest settlers.
For example, whether out of concern for them, or just to get rid of those considered “undesirable,” England began a program of emptying its prisons by making it possible for prisoners to come to the New World as “indentured servants.” At the same time, the King of England granted vast tracts of land in the New World to his special friends, & slavery was introduced into the colonies to work these plantations.
The spiritual atmosphere deteriorated rapidly. Churches were dying & many of them that had once sought religious freedom for themselves were now being intolerant of others. And it was during this time that some went off in strange spiritual directions.
ILL. For example, in 1692 a slave girl was brought by her master to live in Salem, Massachusetts. She began to tell young girls there wild & vivid tales about the power of Voodoo, & it wasn’t long until fear filled the community & the Salem Witch Trials began.
The end result of it all was that by 1730, only about 10% of the people in the Colonies attended church at all. That which had begun “for the glorie of God & the advancement of the Christian faith” had almost disappeared from our land. By the way, much of what you hear derogatory about our early history comes out of this period. Those who oppose Christianity love to point out the faults of that time.