Summary: This sermon reminds us of what we have lost by abandoning traditional values, and warns against a paradigm shift in culture that will have impact upon the future of our nation.
7-3-11 “Independence Day” Revelation 2:5
Tomorrow is Independence Day. Independence Day is to our Nation what the Day of Pentecost is to Christians, a birthday celebration. And just as we have tried to keep alive in our hearts and minds the religion which came from the Lord through His Apostles during the season of Pentecost, so too we should strive to keep alive in our hearts and minds the ideals upon which our nation was founded.
Well over a couple generations ago, before some of you were born, President Dwight D. Eisenhower commented: “Maybe our country needs to recapture the pride of its earlier years!” Seeing changes occurring in the 60’s compared to earlier years, Eisenhower had become concerned. I wonder how he would react if he were with us today?
Today’s downward riptide is very swift and strong, powered by negative attitudes toward religion, negative attitudes toward virtue, relativism, atheism, and negative attitudes toward values. The uniqueness of the American system of government is for the most part no longer widely appreciated nor understood. Why is that? Quite simply because such things are no longer taught, no longer praised, and no longer respected in our own country.
As Americans we should stand firm in the ideals and values which gave rise to our nation, a nation that was once compared with the 12 tribes of Israel, God’s nation. The constitution of the United States of America introduced a system of government previously unknown. So new and wonderful was this system of government that people celebrated it as a providential gift from God. And indeed it was. But like the 12 tribes of Israel, we have neglected to care for our nation. We have neglected to live by its ordinances. And we have forgotten the One from whom this gift was given.
Those who brought forth this most wondrous form of government were spiritually gifted, immersed in Christian culture and blessed by God. They gave us the Constitution which guarantees the inalienable rights of every citizen. I wonder, if these framers of the Constitution were with us today, what their reaction would be seeing widespread anti-Christian attitudes, and legislators of a mindset quite different from that of the framers of the Constitution. Freedom of religion does not mean, nor was it ever intended to mean freedom from religion. Atheism, the total lack of theism, was never intended as the policy of American government.
Those to whom we have entrusted governance have chased God away from our schools and institutions, claiming the separation of Church and State. But that doesn’t mean that what has occurred is right. Far from it, what has come about is very wrong and it is very dangerous. Liberty was achieved in America because the concept of liberty is rooted in natural law and liberty under God. “We hold these truths self-evident”, they said, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
But, a determined minority have succeeded in abolishing prayer in the classroom where many students had their only opportunity to learn that there is a Creator. Natural law has been replaced by concepts of relativism and changing truth. Most young people equate the word Providence with a city in Rhode Island and have no understanding at all of why that city was named as it was. If a vote had been taken in our country in Eisenhower’s day, God would still be alive in the classrooms of America today. But if such a vote were to be taken today, I’m not so sure. Witness the declining attendance at our own ecumenical service in the park. We are in the midst of a radical cultural paradigm shift, and it is affecting us even in Bird Island.
We know that America was founded upon the Providence of God. But the younger generation has little or no concept of what this means. No other nation, no other people, ever before in the history of the known world had based their governance upon the principle that government serves the people rather than the people serving the government. This idea was, God-inspired. And to lose that understanding is to have lost one of the precious treasures of our American heritage, the very bedrock and foundation upon which liberty was established.
And what has been the result? In previous generations our jails were under populated. Today America has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world. It seems as if jails cannot be built fast enough. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that there is no relationship between huge numbers of our citizens being incarcerated and loss of our moral compass. The rise of criminal violence in America coincided with the abandonment of faith and morals in this country. The next step may well be euthanasia, persecution of Christians, loss of liberty, and the rebirth of tyranny.