Summary: As we celebrate our nation’s freedom (USA), let us remember what God has made our freedom for.
Galatians 5:1 (New International Version)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
INTRODUCTION: Freedom Lady.
Atop the hill in Washington, D.C. stands the Capitol Building of the United States of America. The cornerstone was laid in 1793, but the crowning touch, is the statue on top of the rotunda known as the “Freedom Lady” that was placed there in 1863. The Freedom Lady, stands nearly 20 feet tall (that’s some lady), and stands proudly atop the dome. A crest of stars frames her face. A shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand.
Sculpted in Rome, “the Lady” was brought to America aboard a sailing ship. During the trip across the Atlantic Ocean, a fierce storm developed. The Captain ordered cargo thrown overboard to lighten the load. The sailors wanted to throw the heavy statue overboard, but the captain refused, shouting over the wind, “No! Never! We’ll flounder before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.” And so, “Freedom” was saved, and the statue stands above the dome today, because one man stood for “Freedom.”
For me, one word sums up America, freedom. America prides itself on her freedom. Yet freedom in the history of our nation has gone through a transitional period of since our inception that I call
3 Phases of Freedom.
PHASE 1. Freedom OF … This leads to the Bill of Rights. In 1787, our constitution was written, and sent for ratification to the states. As the ratification process went along, people want the guarantee of specific freedoms, and within a few years, the Bill of Rights were added as the first 10 amendments to our constitution. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of people to peaceably assemble, and many of the other freedoms we enjoy. Paul reminds us in Romans 13:4, "The government is God’s servant working for your good." -- (GOD’S WORD) This first phase of freedom flows out of the Revolutionary War and Declaration of Independence that we celebrate this day.
PHASE 2. Freedom FROM …. American Culture Today. Over the years, and especially over the last 40-50 years, we have seen a change in freedom out of phase one’s freedom of to phase two’s freedom from. For many Americans today freedom means to be free from any type of restraints. Freedom that is similar to what one finds in the Old Testament in the book of Judges in Judges 21:25, "At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing." – (The Message)
Somewhere along the road of freedom, we as American have fallen into the trap of being more focused on our freedom from, than our freedom of. Bill Maher observed, “We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities.”
A recent survey indicates only 13 percent of Americans still believe in all 10 Commandments. 9 out of 10 citizens admit they lie regularly. For 10 million dollars, 7% of our people say they would kill a stranger.
Many Americans are living in this second phase, wishing for a better day, but also seeking freedom that goes along with whatever they feel like doing. That’s why I hope for a third phase.
PHASE 3. Freedom FOR … Opportunities of Outreach. While phase 1 takes us back to America’s birth, phase 2 describes today, phase 3 describes God’s eternal purpose whether one be free or a slave, to recognize that freedom is for an opportunity of outreach to connect people to Jesus the ultimate source of eternal freedom. As Jesus himself declares in John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free." -- (GOD’S WORD)
In the movie, The Patriot, the story is told of a fictitious character, Benjamin Martin and his family’s involvement in the American Revolution and the price that was paid. The movie begins with the opening credits rolling, and Benjamin Martins speaks this line, "I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me."
Martin fought in an earlier war with the French and Native Americans, and though he was a war hero he was haunted by his own actions. Later in the movie when tragedy hits, Martin repeats the line, "I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me."
How about you, do you have that same fear? Throughout Galatians Paul affirms how Christ’s death takes away that fear, and how God provides lasting forgiveness and restoration in knowing that Jesus Christ has set me free not just for a day, but for eternity.
As we celebrate our nation’s freedom this weekend, let us all celebrate and remember what God has made our Freedom for.3 freedom principles stand out.