For God and Country
I Timothy 2:1-4
On July 4th, we celebrated 232 years as an Independent nation. But did you know that July 4th is not the original independence day? That’s right, the original independence day was July 2nd 1776. That’s when the members of the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence from Great Britain. However on July 4th, 1776, Congress voted to approve and ratify the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. -- Just a bit of trivia for you.
56 men signed the Declaration of Independence. What happened to those 56 men? Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Several of the signers lost entire fortunes as their businesses were destroyed by the British. Two lost their sons who were serving in the Revolutionary Army. Some were driven from their wives never to see them again. One had two of his sons captured. Five of the actual signers were captured by the British, counted as traitors and tortured before they died. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. We owe so much to these brave patriots, who risked everything for this country. As Americans, we walk in the footsteps of heroes, who have given their lives for this land.
I ask you the question this morning, “What are you doing for America? Over 40 years ago, President John F. Kennedy laid a challenge before the American people. He said, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”
What can we Christian Americans do for our country? The Apostle Paul lived under the rule of the Roman Empire. In fact, he was a Roman citizen doing his best to obey the Roman law. Even though the Roman government was far from perfect, the Apostle Paul saw that it was his responsibility to do what he could for his government and all those in authority.
What can we do for our country? The Apostle Paul lists three specific things in these four verses that can have untold impact on our country. Do you want to be a Christian citizen who actually makes a difference in our great country? Then follow these three assignments.
First, we must pray fervently. It says in verses 1 and 2, “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Do you pray for our country? If you don’t pray for our country then now is the time to start. This year is a crucial year. There is probably more at stake in the upcoming election than there has ever been before. Do you pray for revival in our land? Do you pray for the defeat of Satan’s plans for our country?
Don’t ever discount the power of prayer. Don’t make the excuse that it won’t do any good. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chron. 7:14)
Prayer has been vital to our country from its foundation. During those terrible days, when the Revolutionary Army camped at Valley Forge, a farmer was walking towards the camp. As he stepped forward he heard a voice in the distance. It was an earnest voice. It sounded like someone praying. He stepped closer to see through the trees and spotted a sight he would never forget. He saw George Washington on his knees, his cheeks wet with tears, praying to God. It was reverent moment.
When the farmer got home, he had to tell his wife the news. “George Washington will succeed! The Americans will secure their independence!” “What makes you think so, Isaac!” asked his wife. The farmer replied: “I heard him pray, Hannah, out in the woods today, and the Lord will surely hear his prayer. He will, Hannah; thee may rest assured He will.” God did hear George Washington’s prayer and the fight for freedom did succeed.
If George Washington could humble himself to pray, shouldn’t we go on our knees for our nation?
It says in verse 2 that we are to pray for “kings and all that are in authority.” Do you pray for President Bush? Do you pray he would make wise decisions? Do your pray for our nations leaders, that they would stop turning from God? We have an awesome privilege here to influence the leadership of our nation starting in the highest office.
A few years ago, Brother Layman from the Salem Wesleyan Methodist Church shook hands with President Bush at a rally. He only had a short moment to tell President Bush, “I pray for you every day.” As Brother Layman left the President, tears glistened in the eyes of our President. President Bush understood that prayer does make a great difference.
Lord teach America to Pray
And as her flag unfurls on high
Its starry splendor to the sky,
May we in grateful thanks to Thee
Who gave to us this land so free,
Preserve her freedom in Thy way.
Lord teach America to pray!
May our good land be true and just,
Her motto e’er In God we Trust
May she be guided by Thy Word,
Thy wisdom in her halls be heard.
May all who love her plead today,
Lord, teach America to pray!
Yes, we must pray fervently. Second, we must live faithfully. Verse 2, “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Good Christians make good citizens. In fact, the best, most diligent, most honest, most loyal, most patriotic citizens of the United States of America should be dedicated Christians.
I’ve heard Church people boast about how they break the law. Not only do they make the job of the authorities harder, but they set a bad example in front of sinners. They disregard the law. Now, what right do they have to encourage a sinner to obey the authorities?
A student in Bible College was traveling down the highway and had the pedal to the metal. Maybe not literally, but he was having a great time completely trashing the speed limit. Suddenly in his rear view mirror, you guessed it, he saw those little flashing lights. As the officer walked up to the students car, he noticed two big words on the back of that car. “Jesus saves!” The officer had plenty of advice for that Bible college student. I’ll sum it up this way.
“Young man, you’ve violated the law, endangered innocent lives, risked your own life by your illegal and dangerous speeding, all of that contrasts the words printed on your car, and does not bring honor to Jesus.”
Friends, there’s enough trouble in this country without those of us who call ourselves Christians causing even more dillemas. The way of the model Christian citizen, should instead be a way of a “quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.”
The Scripture says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God...” I Pet. 2:12
We ought to be the ones that our government can count upon to be honest, law abiding citizens. -----------
First, we must pray fervently; second we must live faithfully; third, we must witness fruitfully. Verses 3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Do you want to know one of the key ways that you can help our nation? Lead our countrymen to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only hope for our country. Someone has well said, “Nature forms us. Sin deforms us. Education informs us; but only Christ transforms us.”
America will never be good just because we elect the right leaders into position. It takes a grass root revival of good and decent morals among the common citizens to make a difference in our country.
Alexis De Toqueville was a Frenchman who came to visit our country when it wasn’t even 50 years old. He said, "I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!"
In this great country, the United States of America, our greatest threat may not be from the terrorists. It may be from the moral rottenness that is sweeping the innards of our country. They say that before the great Empire of Rome fell from the outside, she fell on the inside. Rome was rotten and corrupted in its government and in its people. Rome fell. We will fall just like Rome unless we have a transformation of the hearts and minds of our everyday citizens. Jesus is the answer to change hearts and minds.
You want to do something great for your country to save it from within? Be a witness to the old rugged gospel message. Remember America is only as good as its people.
We can try to see all the right leaders elected. We can try to see all the right amendments brought in, but in reality the final decision will lie with the majority of people in this country. That majority, whether good or bad, are going to take this country one way or another. Let’s do our part to see that the majority are Christians.
Remember most of all, that it is God’s will that our countrymen are saved and brought face to face with truth. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.------
John Young joined George Washington’s army at the age of 16, in 1776. He served as a brave soldier for our country even though the British were better armed, better trained, and better equipped. He undoubtedly faced some bitter days and trying disappointments as the British seemed to win the day on several battlefields. But when freedom was at stake, John Young stepped forward saying, “What can I do for my country.” John Young was my grandpa, 2 times removed. He left my family a heritage of patriotism. Now, I too want to ask, “What can I do for my country.”
As we have seen today, we can pray fervently, we can live faithfully, and we can witness fruitfully. Those things combined can and will make a difference for our country.