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Summary: Paul Revere’s ride was a warning of the Redcoats coming. Today we "ride" to warn of the Second Coming of Christ. Is our life going to be worth the sacrifice that Jesus paid to set us free?

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One if By Land or Two if by Sea

By Pastor Jim May

Thank God for freedom to worship him. Thank God for the blessing of living in the “land of the free, and the home of the brave”. I thank God for America. Even with all of our problems, injustices, prejudices, crime and bad government, we still live in the greatest nation on earth. There is no other nation on earth where I would rather be. God has blessed us so greatly.

But this freedom was not free. There was a heavy price in blood and suffering that has been exacted from the citizens of this great land. Down through the years there have been millions of lives that have been sacrificed for the cause of freedom and it is inevitable that the price of freedom will continue to rise as we see the prophecies of the end times coming to pass.

We are living in the last days of man’s history upon this world and as we draw ever nearer to end of days, the cost of freedom will grow ever larger. Great strides are taking place right now across this nation and around the world to remove those freedoms that were purchased in blood.

One great American Hero was a common man whose claim to fame was one famous horseback ride in the middle of the night. His name was Paul Revere and he was a great Patriot who placed his life, his fortune and his future on the line to spread the news that the revolution had begun.

After looking for the signal in the belfry of the old North Christ Church steeple, (one lantern if the British were coming by land, or two if they were coming by sea), Paul Revere and others rode through the darkness on the night of April 19,1775, to warn the people of the danger that was coming.

Through a system of signals and word-of-mouth communication the news that the British had arrived spread quickly. At Lexington Green, in Concord, Massachusetts the British regulars were met by 77 American minutemen who had assembled to stop their march. After a brief skirmish, the British were forced to march back to Boston with the Americans firing on them all the way.

On that day the “shot heard around the world” was fired as American Patriots began the long struggle to break free and form a “more perfect union”.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about that night entitled, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”. I want to read a few portions of that poem this morning as we commemorate the birth of our nation and we celebrate the freedom that we all enjoy.

The first few stanzas of the poem go like this …

Listen my children and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;

Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march

By land or sea from the town to-night,

Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch

Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--

One if by land, and two if by sea;

And I on the opposite shore will be,

Ready to ride and spread the alarm

Through every Middlesex village and farm,

For the country folk to be up and to arms

The final stanza goes like this…

So through the night rode Paul Revere;---

And so through the night went his cry of alarm

To every Middlesex village and farm,---

A cry of defiance, and not of fear,

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,

And a word that shall echo for evermore!

For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,

Through all our history, to the last,

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,

The people will waken and listen to hear

The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,

And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

As we come together on this Sunday morning, I know that many of you have probably already begun preparations for your own personal celebration.

I am so grateful to every one of those brave patriots, and for all of those down through the years who have paid the price for the freedom that we all enjoy today. We must never fail to honor them.

How can we best honor those who have suffered and died for our freedom? Do we honor them best by holding ceremonies in our nation’s parks or in the Capitol at Washington, D.C.? Do we honor them best by building statues and monuments to their bravery and courage? Do we honor them best by building museums that continually display the bits and pieces of history that have preserved from generation to generation? Or do we honor them best by the way that we live our lives and what we also accomplish for the cause of freedom?

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