Summary: A July 4 sermon
Galatians 5: 1-15
Introduction: We have celebrated our Nation’s birthday, but do we truly understand Freedom? The men who signed the Declaration of Independence were essentially signing death warrant on themselves. As he signed it,, John Adams said: "Whether we live or die, sink or swim, succeed or fail, I stand behind this Declaration of Independence. And if God wills it, I am ready to die in order that this country might experience freedom."
I. Our independence as people is based upon our dependence on Jesus.
A. Paul ends chapter 4 by describing Isaac and Ishmael as free and slave.
1. The analogy is that those in Christ are free.
2. The Galatians had been preaching a salvation by the Law, including the necessity to be circumcised (convert to Judaism, then Christianity) to be saved.
B. We are not obligated to the Law - We are obligated to God.
1. The Declaration of Independence states:
a. “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
b. "With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes & our sacred Honor."
2. We are not free to indulge our sinful nature.
a. We don’t have freedom to sin, we are free from sin.
C. We are obligated to our fellow man.
1. We must treat others with the love of God who lives in us and loves them.
2. The love of God must flow through us. (Vertical relationship vs. horizontal relationships)
II. True freedom can only come in Christ
A. Forms of Government:
1. Monarchy – Gov by one
2. Oligarchy – Gov by a few
3. Aristocracy – Gov by the “best”
4. Plutocracy – Gov by the rich
5. Anarchy – No Gov
6. Democracy – Gov by the people – Only Christian form because it is the only form that forces us to consider the others as equal to us. We are all equal under God.
B. Patrick Henry was a great statesman and orator. In 1764 elected to House of Burgesses, 1774 Delegate to 1st Continental Congress, 1775 “Give me Liberty or Give me Death!”, Revolutionary War – Commander in Chief of VA military forces, Member of 2nd Continental Congress, helped write the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (1st 10 amendments), VA state Governer, re-elected 4 times, retired, re-elected 5th time, refused office, offered a Senate seat, Ambassador to Spain and France, Sec of State under George Washington, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He refused all these.
1. He said: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians - not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
2. His Last Will and Testament ends with: "I have now given everything I own to my children. There is one more thing I wish I could give them & that is Christ. Because if they have everything I gave them & don’t have Christ, they have nothing."
C. The fruits of freedom - We must think of our neighbor as ourself.
1. Love and Grace are more powerful than works.
2. When we have love (God) as the number one priority in our lives, we are free to do what we want for it will be in His Will and be pleasing to Him.
III. The dangers we face
A. Lack of love for one another – Love of self - putting our own desires above those of our fellow man.
B. There are many in our land who have forgotten about God and the Gospel upon which this Nation was founded.
1. (Proverbs 14:34) “Righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people."
C. To a great extent, our modern objectives have become success, status, & security. These are followed closely by self-indulgence, comfort & pleasure. Our permissive society turns freedom into license; rights into riots; & pornography into profit. Concerned about a higher standard of living, some fail to live by any standard. Riches are elevated above righteousness, & science above the Savior. We abandon the moral law & then shake our heads in disbelief as crime increases.
Conclusion: As we remember this week the birth of our nation, let’s not forget where true freedom comes from.