Chaplain-in-Chief's July Sermon
An Independence Day Meditation
I Pledge Allegiance
Read Joshua 24:14-16, 26-28
In thinking of the 4th of July there are some interesting statements that have been made. For example, “What did one flag say to the other flag? Nothing, it just waved.”
“What was George Washington’s favorite tree? The infantry.”
“What kind of tea did the American colonists thirst for? Liberty.”
“Why did Paul Revere ride his horse from Boston to Lexington? Because the horse was too heavy to carry!”
“What did Paul Revere say at the end of his ride? ‘I gotta get a softer saddle!’”
One other, “What happened as a result of the Stamp Act? The Americans licked the British!”
Even in these one liners, we are reminded that the 4th of July is more than hotdogs, cook outs, swimming, and fireworks. The 4th of July is about a country founded, rooted and established on Christian principles.
I know that there are historical revisionists seeking to change history; but for any who are willing to read what was actually written the message is clear indeed. It cannot be ignored. Let us notice …
I. The Words of our Founders
Patrick Henry wrote, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
George Washington in his farewell address to the nation said, “Do not let anyone claim tribute of American patriotism if they even attempt to remove religion from politics.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The 1st Amendment has created a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one directional wall, it keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.”
To quote Patrick Henry again, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
So you can see that despite what modern politicians, the contemporary media, or historical revisionist say, American was established with a foundational belief in the God of the Bible. The words of our founders are plain indeed.
Let us also notice …
II The Deeds of our Founders
The American Revolution began as a struggle for the rights of citizens within the British Empire. These rights had been challenged by the British Monarchy. The 13 colonies were being heavily taxed to maintain the luxury of the empire; taxed without representation. The government did what it wanted with no thought of the impact on its citizens.
Finally in the early summer of 1776 the Continental Congress voted to announce and declare that the colonies would accept nothing less than absolute freedom from England.
On July 4, 1776 fifty-six members of the Congress representing the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence.
In the American formulation as declared by our founders, man's rights come from God, not from man's ability to "reason" them into existence. Man does not depend on government to grant him rights through a bureaucratic process, but instead to secure those rights that have been granted to him by God.
In other words, power comes from God, to you, which is then loaned to government. Thus, the Declaration states, "That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
After the declaration was signed, couriers took copies to George Washington who was with his troops in New York. On July 9th the Declaration was read to the Revolutionary Army. The context of the struggled had changed. No longer were these soldiers fighting for rights within the empire, they were now fighting to establish a free and independent nation.
This was a bold declaration. The Americans were challenging the most powerful Empire in the world at that time. The Americans entered this struggle without a Navy or an Army. They had only the militia units of the various colonies. These citizen soldiers were called to defend their homes and families and the new struggling nation.
The founding fathers, the military leaders, and the foot soldiers paid a high price to gain the independence described in the Declaration.
Finally in 1781 the British Army under the command of General Cornwallis was surrounded by US forces at Yorktown. At the end of the struggle, 10,000 British soldiers laid down their arms while their General hid in a cave. The American Revolution had been a success; a new nation had emerged in the midst of the family of nations and the world has not been the same since.
So yes on this day let us hear once again the words of our founders and let us view with pride the deeds of our founders; but let us remember the greatest of all challenges and that is …
III. The Diligence of Freedom and Liberty is Now in Our Hands
As we investigate the Scripture passage read a moment ago we find that the Old Testament nation of Israel was facing a similar task. Joshua gave Israel this challenge, Choose this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
Joshua warned, If you forsake the Lord … He will turn and do you harm (Joshua 24:20).
On this 4th of July in the light of what our founding fathers said, and what our founding fathers did, and the strong testimony of Scripture, may we say from the depths of our spirits, The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey (Joshua 24:24).
The Apostle Paul reminds us that Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (II Corinthians 3:17).