Summary: The song says, “God bless America, land that I love…” I’m convinced that God has blessed America. But the Bible teaches that to whom much is given, much is expected. If so, then God must expect a lot from America. (Powerpoint Available - #277)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
REVISED - 2015)
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This Wednesday will be Veterans’ Day. As that day dawns, will you pause to think about what it signifies: the men & women who offered themselves in service to their country - & those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today?
Oftentimes, when I think of Veteran’s Day, I remember funerals with flag-draped coffins & armed soldiers who gave 7-gun salutes, & folded flags being presented to grieving widows. And I’m reminded of the generations that have preceded us, & the price they paid for our freedom & our heritage.
PROP. The song says, “God bless America, land that I love…” I’m convinced that God has blessed America. But the Bible teaches that to whom much is given, much is expected. If so, then God must expect a lot from America.
I. AMERICA'S PAST
Would you think with me a moment about America’s past?
ILL. History tells us that in 1620 a group of Christians, who called themselves Pilgrims, made their way from England across the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of this land. They had received permission to settle in the northern part of the region known as Virginia to establish a colony & erect a church that they hoped would be free & independent of the Church of England.
But late fall winds battered their boat, pushing them northward. And when they finally sighted land it was at a place we now call Cape Cod, Mass. The date was Nov. 21. They didn’t want to land there because it was a cold & forbidding wilderness.
So they debated for a while. “Should we try to get to Virginia, or just go ahead & settle here?” Finally, they decided that their boat would probably not make it to Virginia. So they came ashore at a place we know as Plymouth Rock.
But before they did, they wrote what is known today as “The Mayflower Compact.” It began with these words:
“In the name of God…, we whose names are underwritten… Having undertaken, for the glory of God, & advancement of the Christian faith…, a voyage to plant a first colony in the northern part of Virginia, do… solemnly & mutually in the presence of God, & one of another, covenant, & combine ourselves together…”
Do you realize what they were saying? “We have come here in the name of God.” “We have come here to glorify God.” “We have come here to advance the Christian faith.”
They were saying, “We are unashamedly Christians, & we search for a place where we can worship God the way we feel the Bible teaches us to worship Him.”
ILL. Someone has said, “The difference between North & South America is that the Spaniards went to South America in search of gold, but the Pilgrims & Puritans came to North America in search of God.” There is enough truth in that to explain some of the differences in the history & development of our two continents.
The earliest foundations of this new land were spiritual foundations. We are a nation built upon faith in, & a commitment to, God.
II. AMERICA’S PRESENT
A. Secondly, think about America’s present. Are you proud to be an American? I am. I still get chills when I sing the “Star Spangled Banner.” I still get tears in my eyes when I say the Pledge of Allegiance. I love this country, & I’m proud to be an American.
There are so many things you can do in this land that you can’t do anywhere else in all the world.
ILL. There is an old story about a Lieutenant, a Private, & a beautiful young lady who were all sitting in the same compartment of a train. They didn’t know each other, & since Lieutenants don’t talk to Privates, & Privates don’t talk to Lieutenants, they traveled in an awkward silence.
They came to a tunnel & suddenly their compartment was engulfed in darkness, a darkness punctuated by 2 unmistakable sounds. The first was the sound of a passionate kiss, followed by a loud slap.
When they came back into daylight, the Lieutenant had a very red mark on the side of his face, & he was thinking, “That lucky Private. He kissed the beau-tiful girl, & she tried to slap him. But instead of slapping him, she slapped me.”
The young lady was thinking, “The Lieutenant must have tried to kiss me, but by mistake he kissed the Private & the Private hit him.” The Private sat there thinking, “Only in America can you kiss the back of your hand, slap a Lieutenant & get away with it.”