Summary: A message to focus on our freedom in Christ.
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Introduction: IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands 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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States...We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Friends, the Declaration of Independence has been and continues to be the model for freedom around the world. America is the longest surviving democratic republic because of the principles that are recorded in this document. There is a reason that over the past 200 years that millions of immigrants have come to our shores. The American dream is fundamentally about the principle of freedom! But make no mistake the American dream of freedom was birthed by those who were seeking religious freedom, people who had been persecuted and driven from their homes came to America to freely practice their religious faith. You will find references to the God that they worshipped four times in the words that I read for you this morning and it is evident that these men traced their rights to this freedom, not to a human government or an earthly monarch but to the Creator and Supreme Judge of the universe. We could learn a lesson from their acknowledgment.
I. The Prescription for Freedom (31)
Jesus offers real freedom to every man. This freedom may be realized by believing in Jesus. What are the elements of belief?
a. Assent to the truth
What do I mean when I say that belief includes an assent to the truth? It means that we agree that God is the source of all truth and we agree with God about the scope of the truth. It is the truth about us, "for all have sinned" and that "the wages of sin is death," and that "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."