Summary: The greatest power is that of Christ working in us.
The Paradox of Power, II Corinthians 12:2-10
French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, 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!"
It was her goodness that made her strong and it is her goodness which makes her strong today. We live in a nation which whose character was plainly shaped by the influence of God through His Church. We live in a nation whose founding documents all proclaim the goodness of God implicitly.
It is our creator who grants inalienable rights. It is our creator who proclaimed liberty to captives of sin through Jesus Christ. It is indeed our creator who offers a definition and example of what liberty even is. I would now suggest that apart from and prior to the revelation of God in the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ, Liberty as a standard of conscience and a manner of life was nonexistent.
Pure liberty is not only found in Christ but it is defined by the very nature, person, and work of Christ. In other words, apart from the Gospel liberty, sweet and pure, cannot be found. Though she be sought in the halls of science and academia, though she be searched out in the hearts of men, though she be hunted on the fields of natures beauty, scarcely can a wisp of her fragrance be discerned, scarcely can a vapor of her presence be known outside of the Gospel.
Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” ( KJV)
This morning we will deal with two primary themes. As we celebrate the 4th of July we will deal with the paradox of power as it relates to this great nation which was founded by faithful men and women, guided by the principals of Scripture. Though they were imperfect they passed on to us a legacy, an inheritance of the promise that each of us must live up to: namely, to create a more perfect union.
The promise of liberty is that each succeeding must continually cash the check that the framers wrote to secure for each and every person life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The paradox of power as a motif in the Bible, when applied to the character of this great nation is that it is not our strong military might or our incredible wealth which makes us great. It is, as Alexis de Tocqueville remarked, our goodness which makes us great.