Summary: On the day that we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we also need to remember the Declaration of Freedom proclaimed by Jesus at the start of His earthly ministry.
The Declaration of Freedom
Today we remember the infamous signing of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. A document that claimed freedom from the oppression the colonies were enduring from England. Tension between the Colonialist and the British Army often sparked battles throughout New England.
It was during the months that followed the battles at Lexington and Concord that Patrick Henry, the fiery politician from Virginia, gave his famous speech before the Virginia Provincial Convention. As he concluded his speech, he issued an ultimatum. Listen to his heart as he speaks:
3 million people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the Destiny of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. Battle sir, is not to the strong alone, it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
Besides sir, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged. There clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable -- and let it come. I repeat it, sir let it come!
It is in vain, sir to extenuate the matter. Gentleman may cry peace, peace, but there is no peace. The war has actually begun! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle?
What is it that gentleman wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."
Do you hear his cry, his desire, and his passion for freedom? Patrick Henry desired to be dead than in the chains of slavery. Then on July 4, 1776, the freedom that he longed for was declared. Yet it was not realized. The battle was still to come. The freedom was declared but it was not won, yet.
Many today are crying out for freedom. “It is my right to…” is their cry. Passionately they pursue the freedom speech, the freedom of pleasure, the freedom to do whatever they like to, yet they do not find freedom.
• The freedom to drink and get drunk only creates the slavery chains of alcoholism, bankruptcy, and divorce.
• The freedom to sleep with whomever, wherever only forges the bonds of incurable disease, broken hearts and shattered families.
• The freedom of foul speech only shackles the soul to the gutter pits of hell, clouds out reason and leaves one in ignorance.
• The freedom for women to choice imprisons the emotions of the mothers in a dungeon of guilt, heart ache and depression.
• The freedom of comfort only entangles the heart in laziness, indifference and self-centeredness.
Their pursuit of freedom that thousands upon thousands seek does not bring the liberty that they want. Their passionate pursuit only ends in the bondage of slavery that we abhor. They desire freedom but never really obtain it. Their quest only ends in their slavery to their passion. It only ends in their slavery to their sin.
I am here to say this morning that true freedom can only be found in one place. The freedom that America passionately desire is not found in the pursuit for personal pleasure. It is not found in the search for social significance. It is only found in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to bring real freedom. He came to bring freedom from the powerful bonds of sin. Sin is those activities and action, thoughts and desire, words and language that bring displeasure to the God of creation.
It is sin that God says carries a penalty of eternal death. The apostle Paul said it this way: for the wages of sin is death. The sin in our lives deserves the payment of death. Paul also tells us that everyone has sinned, except one—Jesus. Jesus came to set us free from the death bonds of sin.
At the beginning of His ministry, in His home town of Nazareth, He proclaimed His declaration of liberty to those in bondage.
In Luke 4: 18-19, we find that declaration. Turn there in your Bibles and let us read.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;