Summary: This sermon ivestigates the price paid for our freedom and the continuing price that must be paid to maintain it. Devotion to God and vigilance being the prices to maintain our freedom.
When in the course of Human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature¡¦s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Signed on July 2 and adopted in the Congress on July 4, 1776- The declaration of independence set free the 13 colonies of America from its rule by Great Britain.
Richard Stockton a Quaker from New Jersey was one of the 56 signers of that declaration. Stockton in 1758 helped to construct the Quaker Meeting house near his home Morven. Stockton was a prominent Lawyer and Landowner until the day that he signed that declaration. The English army routed him and his family from their home and he was imprisoned as a traitor to the crown. As a result of his harsh treatment, his health was broken. After his imprisonment he returned to the burned and sacked remnants of Morven and died their four years later at the age of 51.
His is only one of the stories of these 56 men- many others tell the same story of men who gave their life for freedom.
Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence . . .
5 were captured by the British and tortured before they died.
12 had their homes ransacked and burned.
2 lost their sons in the war.
9 either died from war wounds or from hardships suffered in the war.
Freedom my friends is never free.
In this book of Joshua were are given a history of Israel¡¦s occupation of the promised land. God had brought this people out of slavery and into a Promised Land of freedom. But before Joshua died he left the people with this same stern warning that Freedom is never free-
There is a price for gaining freedom - But there is also a price for maintaining freedom- Thats what I want to talk with you about this morning.
Let me make something perfectly clear. You see freedom is not won or maintained by force of arms- by military arsenals- or by armies of men and women- Freedom is won and maintained in God alone- Great nations rise and fall upon the blessing and judgment of Almighty God- and that is what Joshua told Israel this day. (V12-13)
The Lord through Joshua makes clear that the price of our continued freedom is two-fold
1) The price is Devotion to God ¡V v6- Joshua reminded Israel that it¡¦s continued freedom rested on it¡¦s ability to follow God. If they were to turn from God there downfall would surely come-My friends that is true for us today-James Madison- 4th president of the US and one of the framers of the constitution ¡§We have staked our future on our ability to follow the ten commandments with all our heart.¡¨ He knew as Joshua spoke so many years before him that freedom and democracy can only be maintained if men walk with God. You cannot write enough laws to govern a godless society. You cannot make enough rules to make moral an immoral nation. Often we look at our nation and become discouraged ¡V abortion, same sex marriage, pornography, violence, crime, hatred - -we see it and we become discouraged. We see it and we hear that the downfall of America is inevitable as God¡¦s judgment comes upon us for our sin. We feel helpless to change our society and our world. But the truth is far different. We are far from impotent to affect the world around us. Let me share with you just two ideas about the price of devotion that must be paid to preserve our nation.
„« It starts with us ¡V not with them ¡V We get discouraged because we can¡¦t change the whole world. The country seems to be falling apart and we can¡¦t do anything about it. We come to church, we pray, we love God ¡V are we simply at the mercy of the godless in our society? Hear the word of God to Solomon ¡V if ¡§My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.¡¨ The truth is that the healing of the nation will start within the church ¡V this is what Jesus said about us. ¡§You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15¡§nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16¡§Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Revival will not come to a nation until reformation comes to the church.