Summary: We are in three wars in America. War against Terror. War against Christian Values. War against Our Souls.
TEXT: Acts 16:35-40 - And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” 38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. 39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.
Acts 22:22-29 - And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him. 25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.” 27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”
He said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” 29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
Lee Greenwood sings a song that goes like this:
And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there is no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
Freedom and independence are costly. This country didn’t start out as a nation of free men, but as subjects bound under the tyranny of an unfair English King. Through a bitter struggle our forefathers broke those chains of bondage. My freedom was purchased in blood on the battlefields of Bunker Hill, Yorktown and in the numbing cold of Valley Forge. It has also been fought for in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, and in Kuwait, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. As we speak American Solders are defending your freedom all around the world. Defending your right as FDR phrased it in his 4 Freedoms Speech given at his 4th Inauguration January 1941. The Freedoms Speech, Worship, Want, and Fear.
The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way - everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want - which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitant’s -everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear - which, translated into world terms, means a worldwide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world.
Paul understood freedom as well. He was first a Roman Citizen, Second a Citizen of Tarsus. Third a Hebrew of the Hebrews. And lastly and most importantly a Citizen of Heaven. In our text this morning we see Paul use first use his rights as a Roman Citizen in Philippi. After being beaten and thrown in Prison with Silas, Paul threaten to use his citizenship because of the way his was treated and get all the town officials in trouble. Then we see in Acts 22 Paul again appeal to his citizenship. Here he begins a lengthy journey that would eventually lead to his witnessing before Caesar and Death in Rome.
Too many Christians today are giving up their freedom and liberty in Christ for the sake of a little “security” in the things of the world. Just like America is slowly loosing the freedoms that men have died for, the Children of God are slowly being drawn back into the tyranny of Satan.