Summary: Wise King Solomon composed many short, wise sayings called “proverbs” to help the reader know how to best get along in life. He shares one of these proverbs in Proverbs 22:28 that I think is appropriate that we look at on this “Happy Birthday America!” ce
Opening Statement: I am deeply grateful to be a citizen of the United States. I consider my United States Citizenship to be one of my most prized possessions. It is a privilege to be an American. I love the 4th of July. The corn is usually “knee-high.” The watermelons are juicy. The flags are waving. The fireworks light up the sky. Children ride their bikes. Families picnic together. Churches gather for worship and sing patriotic hymns. Apple pies bake in ovens. The crack of the bat in ballparks can be heard. Andy Griffith reruns entertain us. I love these American traditions. We can keep them if we maintain the ancient landmarks that our forefathers have established.
Illustration: A father was talking with his rather obstinate son one day and said, "Every person who lives in the United States is a privileged person." The boy answered, "I disagree." And the father replied, "That’s the privilege." We have the privilege to disagree. We have the privilege to speak our mind. We have freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, and the right of petition. We have the freedom to hope and dream and pursue our dreams. We are free in so many ways! We have these rights because of what our forefathers have done.
Transition: I want to speak to you today on the theme…
Title: Happy Birthday America – Remember the Landmarks!
Background / Text: Wise King Solomon composed many short, wise sayings called “proverbs” to help the reader know how to best get along in life. He shares one of these proverbs in Proverbs 22:28 that I think is appropriate that we look at on this “Happy Birthday America!” celebration day.
Recitation: Proverbs 22:28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone which was put in place by your ancestors (Net Bible). Proverbs 22:28 Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set (NASV).
Exposition: In ancient times, boundary stones or landmarks marked a person’s property. Anyone who moved such a stone was, in effect, stealing land. Boundaries in Israel were sacred because God owned the land and he apportioned the property to the tribes in the Book of Joshua. To extend one’s property illegally was a violation of covenant and oath. Or, to pull back a boundary previously held was to renege on commitment to God’s promise. The boundaries that were established by their forefathers were to be preserved.
Observation: Unfortunately, moving a boundary stone was, and still is, a major problem. It’s not so much in the realm of property that we’re dealing with the moving of the landmarks. Some of the founding principles, the landmarks, the ancient boundaries, on which America was founded need to be maintained in this relativistic, post-modern age when everything seems up for grabs and everyone interprets things the way they personally see them.
Key Word: What are some of these LANDMARKS that we must maintain in America?
Liberty and Sacrifice
Explanation: Someone has said, “The temptation is to enjoy the fruits of citizenship without tending the tree of liberty.” This quotation drives at the fact that many of us haven’t earned the freedoms we enjoy. We didn’t go to foreign lands and fight for them. We have not shed our blood, sweat, and tears for them.
Quotation: The poet expressed it well. "We eat from orchards we did not plant. We drink from wells we did not dig. We reap from fields we did not sow. Fires we did not kindle warm us. Roofs we did not build shelter us. We are blessed by moneys we did not give." If we ever move the ancient landmark of liberty and sacrifice and fudge on our own commitment to tend the tree of liberty by our own acts of self-sacrifice and service, then we stand to lose one of our great American traditions – July 4th.
Illustration: As John Adams signed the Declaration of Independence, he said, "Whether we live or die, sink or swim, succeed or fail, I stand behind this Declaration of Independence. And if God wills it, I am ready to die in order that this country might experience freedom." It was that kind of patriotism which led men, armed with little more than hunting rifles, to engage in battle with what was the most powerful nation in the world. Many of our forefathers paid a terrible price in the Revolutionary War, but finally they won the victory so that you and I might be citizens of this "land of the free and home of the brave."
Application: I am thankful to be a citizen of these great United States. But as a citizen, you see, I have a responsibility to tend the tree of liberty. Is the world a better place because you are a citizen of this country? Is our community a better place because you are a part of it? Is your church a better church because you are a member of it? Or are you like many, enjoying the fruits, but not tending the tree of liberty? Remember the landmark of liberty and sacrifice.