Summary: This sermon for the 4th of July weekend includes the true story of a Colonial soldier who fought hard for freedom.
The Sacrifice For Freedom
33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
35And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."
36The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."
38And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."
40But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?
41And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."
42Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
43And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
44Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last.
This weekend, we celebrate the anniversary
of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
However, the American Revolution began in April of 1775.
Battles such as Lexington and Concord,
Ticonderoga and Bunker Hill had already been fought
by the time the Declaration was signed.
The Revolutionary War is so far back in time
that we don't often remember the brutality of it.
The battles were fought at close range
as the soldiers lined up in straight lines facing the enemy.
They were easy targets.
Sometimes the fighting would turn to hand-to-hand combat
with swords and bayonets.
The Revolutionary War soldiers were a group of patriots.
Many had little or no military training.
Yet, they bravely took on
the best trained and best equipped military on earth.
Their stories of sacrifice and bravery often amaze us.
Those men fought and many died to make freedom possible for us.
One of those brave man was Samuel Whittemore.
On April 19, 1775, after the Battle of Lexington, British Redcoats
retreated through Whittemore's hometown in Massachusetts.
Whittemore picked up his musket to defend the town..
He put two dueling pistols and a sword in his belt
and went off to join the other Colonial Minutemen.
He selected a position behind a stone wall and waited.
The other Minutemen fired and fell back to reload.
Whittemore waited until the Redcoats were at point blank range.
He stood and killed one British soldier with his musket.
He drew his pistols and fired, killing another Redcoat instantly
and wounding another so badly he died later.
Then he drew his sword and attacked.
More of Samuel Whittemore's story a little later.
Our Bible passage today is about another fight for freedom.
Jesus went to the cross to set us free from sin and death.
Point #1. Jesus stood alone in the battle for our freedom.
When Jesus went to the Garden to pray,
He prayed alone.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." 37And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." 39He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." 40Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." 43And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 44So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45Then He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand."