Summary: Starting with the Revolutionary War, Pastor Walther takes the listener to the ultimate war that all Christians face - the war with sin and temptation. This war must be waged and can only be won through faith in Christ.
Waging the War Within
On July 4, 1776 fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Citing numerous abuses of the law and the oppressive and unjust rule of the king of England, these men pledged their honor, their lives and their livelihood to the cause of justice and freedom. We have them and many others to thank for the freedoms we now enjoy in this country. The struggle for freedom didn’t end with them. Evil is always present and always eager to enslave us. The Revolutionary War, and many others like it over the years, was just part of a much deeper and difficult struggle that has gone on in the lives of human beings since the beginning of the world. Signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin referred to this struggle in one of his famous sayings: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbor, and let every new year find you a better man.” The struggle for freedom, the struggle for good, the struggle for peace in this world is not just the matter of occasional wars or political debates. This struggle rests at the heart and core of every human being. It begins within each of us as Franklin said so well: “Be at war with your vices.” This is also what God teaches us to do in an even more significant way as we heard in these words of Paul:
I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7.23-25
Are you at war with your vices? Are you at war with the law of sin that dwells in your members, that is your body? If not, I welcome the opportunity to introduce you to one of the most important concepts of life as a human being. If you are engaged in this war, I hope I can encourage you, and in both cases, I hope you will see the ultimate victory that God gives us in Jesus Christ, who truly sets us free from the ultimate evil and slavery of sin.
I Don’t Know What You are Talking About?
I hope everyone can understand, at least initially, what we’re talking about here. But I know that many people have no clue about this. The world is so different today than in Ben Franklin’s day. People today are taught that they are good by nature. “Vices? What vices? What are you talking about? We can do whatever they want, can’t we, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone?” That is the spirit of our age, and that has led our culture to be moral pacifists. Of course pacifists are easily over-run, and we are being over-run with evil. What once was considered vile and indecent behavior is not only accepted but praised.
In the colonial days everyone was encouraged to read the Bible, and good morals were held in high esteem. But to show you how far our culture has strayed, in January of last year Kenneth Dominguez, a high school student in San Diego, was actually disciplined for telling other students about his faith in Jesus and specifically told not to bring a Bible to school (http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=9a9a7d7c-9607-4a1a-8771-2a767038e603).