Summary: As United States citizens we enjoy the blessings of freedom.
INTRO: As United States citizens we enjoy the blessings of freedom. But freedom can be lost. In the last 20-30 years, religious freedom has come under vicious attack in America. You can no longer pray at graduation ceremonies or high school football games. You can’t witness on the job. You can’t even carry a bible or wear a Christian T-shirt in many places. If we continue down the path we’re on, we are in danger of forfeiting our freedom! You may think, “Pastor, you’re crazy! This is the United States of America! Home of the Free and the Brave. You’re blowing this out of proportion don’t you think?”
Am I? In my short lifetime (39 years) I’ve seen prayer removed from our public schools. Today we hand out condoms, pump pornography into school libraries via the web and have metal detectors at the doors. The only time we pray in school is after students have been gunned down in the halls. I’ve seen abortion legalized in a society whose Declaration of Independence reads, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And yet, within the span of my lifetime, over 40 million babies never received their inalienable right to life. Over a million a year! More recently we have allowed the hideous practice of partial birth abortion. With the help of the likes of Dr. Kavorkian and others, infanticide (the killing of the elderly and handicapped) is not far behind.
Christians are no longer respected in many segments of our society. We’ve been dubbed the “religious right” or “conservatives” and painted as mean-spirited, small-minded bigots because we believe in the teachings of the bible. Religious convictions are respected if you’re a Jew or a Muslim, but if you’re a Conservative Christian, you are “prejudiced” because of your beliefs. If you don’t think I’m telling you the truth, interview John Ashcroft, our new Attorney General. Congress tried their best to block his nomination simply because he was a Christian with biblical values. I’m trying to imagine who George Washington “the praying president” would have more in common with; the likes of Ted Kennedy and Tom Daschle or Atty. General Ashcroft?
We’re in a critical stage in American history. I believe God has given us one last chance to turn things around. If we don’t do something with it, we are headed for disaster. Every day we let the power brokers on Capitol Hill slip another one under the table as the few make decisions that do not represent the wishes of the majority. Every day in America, we are forfeiting a little more of our Freedom. In the sports world, if you don’t show up for the game when it’s scheduled, you “forfeit.” It counts as a loss. That’s what’s happening in America.
Good people who know better aren’t showing up to make a difference at the polls, at city council and school board meetings. We’re not getting involved in the political process. We’re not informed. We’re apathetic or discouraged or “too busy” and we are forfeiting our freedom. It’s frightening to think about what America will look like in 20 more years! Let’s spend a few minutes talking about the ramifications and the reasons why we’re losing our freedom. I want to talk about it on both a national/political scale and on a more personal/spiritual scale.
PROP: THERE ARE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN FORFEITING (OR LOSING) YOUR POLITICAL FREEDOM AND FORFEITING YOUR SPIRITUAL FREEDOM.
INTERR. SENTENCE: Are you aware of the symptoms that can rob you of your freedom, both as an American citizen and as spiritual being with an eternal soul?
I. BE UNSURE OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE. This is the first step in forfeiting your freedom. If you don’t know what you believe and why, then you’ll believe things that you are told by those who do know what they believe…even if they’re wrong. And that’s exactly what’s happening in America.
Illustr. – Quotes from Charlton Heston’s speech delivered to the Harvard Law School, February 16, 1999.
If you don’t know what you believe, you’ll believe things that you are told by those who do know what they believe…even if they’re wrong. If you believe all the “politically correct” garbage coming out of Washington and Hollywood and other capitals of liberal thinking without checking the facts, shame on you! Just because they are a famous actor or entertainer or public figure or a politician doesn’t make them right! Be informed. Know what you believe! “Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.” – Mark Victor Hansen
It’s the same spiritually. If you don’t know what you believe, you’ll believe things that you are told by those who do know what they believe…even if they’re wrong.