The Declaration of Family Independence
Series – Family Matters
Independence Day Sunday 2007
Text: Joshua 24:13-18 (congregation to recite 16b - 18)
Has there ever been a time in your life when you wished you could simply start over in your marriage? A place where past hurts can be healed, hasty words could be retracted; a place where attitudes could be made right and misunderstandings could all be forgotten.
There are many counseling rooms and Pastor’s offices; and as a last resort, Family Law Courtrooms where people go on such a search, but, in reality, on a physical and emotional prospective, that place doesn’t exist.
Wouldn’t it be good, in our journey as families, to have a place like Shechem? – The place of the shoulder.
• The place where God made covenant with Abraham.
• The place where Joshua had rehearsed the Law with the Children of Israel when they first stepped foot into the Land of Promise.
• The place where they returned to recommit to serving God, on Who’s shoulders they could safely lean.
o It’s good to lean on the promises of God!
The bible tells us that on this particular day Joshua called all of Israel, it’s civil and spiritual leaders, it’s influential and it’s commoners to Shechem and there he drew a proverbial line in the sand.
As a nation, we celebrate the 4th of July as a day that as one people, we drew a line in the sand against, what Jefferson called “a tyrant unfit to rule a free people”. Hundreds of thousands have stood at that line and stand there today to defend the freedom our forefathers so diligently established.
There is another line, drawn in the sand of the Garden, that God drew on our behalf that brought about a war of revolutionary proportions; a war that bears great implication to the very core of family values. For there God said:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
And just as those 56 men who signed America’s declaration pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor; God pledges his all to the redemption of man and therefore the family when, through the Apostle John He declared:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
But to walk in that freedom is our choice. At Shechem Joshua gave Israel a choice, not to mindlessly forget their past, but to put the past aside and press in to God.
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
They followed with a declaration of service to the God who had seen them through.
In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson documented what he called “self evident truths” and accusations against the king in order that the whole world could understand America’s justification for rising against a tyrannical ruler.
I think it’s time for the biological families that make up the Family of God to make a declaration of our own.
Folks, it’s time to give Hell notice that we are going to exercise our freedom in Christ; that we are going to take back our families, our neighborhoods, our communities and our nation.
It’s time to make a Declaration of Independence from sin, ….. Independence from the Accuser of the Brethren. So,
At Christ Fellowship
When in the course of Spiritual Renewal it becomes necessary for a family to dissolve spiritual ties which have connected them to the philosophies and manner of the world, and to assume through the influence of Spiritual Authority the separate and Superior station to which the Word of God has entitled them, the enlightenment of family and friends and the Great Commission Itself, requires that they should declare the cause which impels them to the separation.
We hold The Truth to be supernaturally revealed, that our family is divinely ordered of the Lord, that we have been endued by God Almighty with certain Kingdom Authorities that among these are abundant life, liberty in the Holy Spirit and the pursuit of fullness in Christ. That to secure these rights Christ came and dwelt among us, becoming as us, yet without sin that He might present Himself in our stead to God an unblemished sacrifice, paying the penalty for our unrighteousness, and rising again to forever break the curse of sin and death. That whenever any form of principality or power comes to buffet our family, it is our Kingdom Right to call upon Heaven and through the Blood of Jesus Christ and the word of our Testimony, rebuke the devourer and send him to the dry places.
Providence indeed, in following the example of Christ’s love for the Church, will dictate the longevity of our Godly home. And, when in times of hardship and struggle, temptation and trial, we find ourselves pressed and persecuted, struck down with little remaining human strength, we will as husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters, together lay aside the weight and the sin that does so easily beset us. And, as one, will once again look to Jesus the designer and completer of our family.
Satan has assaulted the family, our family, long enough. He has taken what was not his to possess; he has oppressed by an authority that was stripped of him at Calvary.
He has challenged our covenant of Marriage which we made humbly before God.
He has assaulted our children who have been dedicated by us to serve none other than Christ.
He has oppressed our finances, taken our blessings, robbed us of joy and has shaken the very foundations of our faith.
He has endeavored to prevent revival in our hearts, our homes, our church, our community and nation.
He has taken captive the minds of our youth and has lulled our generation from taking them back.
He has obstructed the move of the Holy Spirit by causing us to accept that such experiences are for the “hyper-spiritual” and the “over the edge”. Causing us to have a visual resemblance of godliness but denying the power of a Godly life.
He has bound us with the generational curses of our fathers and has unjustly accused us before God Himself.
He has plundered our extended families, our fellow believers and friends and has caused those to whom we witness to become caught up by the cares of this world.
He has introduced, into the minds of many, that the Word of God is no longer relevant, that fellowship of believers is optional and that our testimony as a family should be kept silent or low key.
He has filled our family calendar with so much activity that we have become inactive in family devotion and fellowship of our local church.
He has bound our finances and led us to extend ourselves so tightly that we struggle in obedience to giving to the House of God.
He is, at this time, making plans for our demise, roaming to and fro, as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour; for he comes only to kill, steal and destroy.
But we do here and now, declare our independence from such treachery by submitting ourselves, our children, our loved ones and our home to the Supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ, and with full assurance in God’s faithful promise, do hereby this day declare that
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
A note from Pastor Terry,
Thanks so much for looking over this message. I trust that, in some way, you were blessed, encouraged and empowered on your own walk with Christ. Every message I prepare is bathed in prayer that God will draw, inspire, and challenge my listeners (or readers) into a more meaningful and power-filled walk with Him.
Pastors, how we need one another! We need to be encouraged, strengthened and built up in order to encourage, strengthen and build up. It’s my personal prayer that the message you’ve just reviewed has done that for you in a personal way. Use what you can of this message, toss what you can’t and above all, let God’s Spirit inspire it all!
Sometimes I feel like Peter and John at the Temple steps…”Silver and gold; I don’t have but what I do – I give to you”
Grace and peace to you, your family and the Flock you tend.