I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
I won the lottery! I was born in America! So did you. You had a 1 in 25 chance and the dream came true! I’m proud to be an American, and though half of our citizens are clueless and a small but very vocal group is trying to burn it to the ground, I still believe our future is worth fighting for.
This holiday is about so much more than hotdogs, cook outs, swimming and fireworks. The 4th of July is about a country founded, rooted and established on Christian principles.... In keeping with that tradition, I like to remind us of some of the words our founding fathers said in this regard, especially since today’s revisionists are trying to erase our heritage.
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not but religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the gospel of Jesus Christ."
-- Patrick Henry [give me liberty or give me death]
"Do not let anyone claim tribute of American patriotism if they even attempt to remove religion from politics."
-- George Washington Farewell Address to Nation
Recently Rep. Lauren Bobert said separation of church and state was to keep government out of religion, and not the other way around. She got creamed for saying such, but she was right.
A letter from Thomas Jefferson stated that 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. [paraphrase]
-- President Thomas Jefferson in an address to Danbury Baptists. Full text of letter
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people... it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other..."
-- John Adams
So you can see that despite what modern politicians, the contemporary media or the history revisionists say - America was founded on the concept of freedom to worship [any God (Buddha, Allah..etc) but specifically on the freedom to worship Jesus Christ.
Why can’t some Americans accept their roots? Even a South American president years ago said, “People came to my continent looking for gold, but those who came to America were looking for God!”
1620—1st pilgrims arrived. As they stepped off the Mayflower they signed a compact, the 2nd paragraph of which begins: “For the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith.”
The Puritans: they gave their reasons for coming to America as well. In the opening sequence of the New England Confederation it says: “Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the gospel in liberty and peace.”
Benjamin Franklin, when once challenged about having a political session opened with prayer said, "I've lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth —That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it.”
So, the founders wanted to keep church and state separate?
Well, let’s think about that.
1. First colonies – Jamestown, Va. First community bldg was a church. It’s the only bldg there with wall still standing today.
2. Puritans first act at Plymouth Rock = kneel, praise God, and dedicate the new colony.
3. Roger Williams (Bapt. Minister) est. Rhode Island.
4. Lord Baltimore held church service in establishing Maryland.
5. William Penn (Quaker) est. Penn, NY, DEL, Conn, NC, SC, Georgia.
Ill. -- When you read their writings you see no doubt that God birthed America.
6. William Penn in writing gov’t policies for PA made sure “all treasurers, judges, and all elected officials professed faith in Christ.”
Our Founding Fathers consistently spoke of the need for utilizing the Bible and Judeo-Christian values in defining and preserving this nation:
* Twelve of the original 13 colonies incorporated the entire Ten Commandments into their civil and criminal codes.
Our first president, George Washington, took the oath of office and put his hand on what? (the Bible)
What was his first official act as President? (kissed the Bible, then held a 2 hr. praise/worship session in Congress)
How did they determine to open sessions of Congress? (in prayer)
Who would lead in those prayers? (chaplains)
How would they be paid? (tax dollars)
Does all of that sound like they wanted to keep God out of government?
By the way, opening in prayer is a mystery to investigate…why is it that the little boys and girls cannot in school, but the big Congressmen can?
Who decided to put “In God We Trust” on our coins? It was adopted by Congress!
*In 1776, 11 of the 13 colonies required that one had to be a Christian to be eligible to run for political office. [what if today?!]
*In 1777, the Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase Bibles for distribution in the nation.
* President John Adams stated, "The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal code as well as a moral and religious code.
*94% OF THE WRITINGS OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE U.S. CONTAINED QUOTATIONS FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
*THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS OF ALL 50 STATES MENTION GOD.
*The famous "Liberty Bell" has part of Leviticus 25:10 inscribed on it: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
*Proverbs 14:34 is inscribed above the L.A. city hall door: "RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTETH A NATION: BUT SIN IS A REPROACH TO ANY PEOPLE."
*An image of Moses carrying the tablets of God's Law faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
*The entering President takes his OATH OF OFFICE with his right hand on the Holy Bible, and concludes his vow "So help me God."
* The Supreme Court [bldg. entrance features Moses at the center of several lawgivers] itself begins each of its sessions with the phrase 'God save the United States and this honorable court,'
*First Vice President and Second President, John Adams wrote in 1798:
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
*His son and our sixth President, John Quincy Adams said:
"No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied, and so profoundly meditated upon as the Bible." -
* President Thomas Jefferson:
"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." - 1781
*Theodore Roosevelt, America's 26th President, wrote:
"In this actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down-grade." - 1917
Today I want to look at the parallel between our founding father’s allegiance to this country and our allegiance to the Lamb, Jesus Christ the Son of God. First we will look at "the patriots" and then "the Christians."
a. They Made a Bold Declaration
For more than 14 months after the Battle at Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775) the patriots fought not for their independence but rather they fought for their rights within the British Empire. Rights that had been gradually taken away before and even more after the Boston Tea Party. And 100’s of Americans gave their lives to regain these rights, 400 alone died at the battle of Bunker Hill.
Then early in the summer of 1776 at a meeting of the continental congress on July 2, 1776, the colonies voted to announce and declare that they would accept nothing less than absolute freedom from England.
2 days later on July 4th, after making some minor adjustments to the text, the final wording was ratified and signed by the 56 members, representing the 13 colonies. [John Hancock, etc.]
After the declaration was signed couriers took copies of it to George Washington who was with his troops in New York -- and on July 9th the declaration was read before the militia troops who were out in the fields.
Understand, this was a bold declaration, for the Americans were challenging the most powerful empire of the world at the time. And the Americans entered the war without a Navy or an Army. Their fighting forces consisted only of militia units in the various colonies. On the other side, England had an army of well trained highly disciplined soldiers.
They made a bold declaration -- they had pledged their life and their allegiance to their country...
b. And They Paid a High Price
After the Americans declared their independence, they had to win it by force. The task proved especially difficult, partly because the people never fully united behind the war effort. A large number of colonists (about 1/3) remained unconcerned about the outcome of the war, they were indifferent and supported neither side.
And as many as 1/3 of the population sympathized with Great Britain, the called themselves loyalists (the patriots called them "Tories," the name of the political group in great Britain that adamantly supported the King). These problems meant that victory in the Revolutionary War depended on patriots who made up less than 1/3 of the entire population.
7,200 Americans were killed in battle during the war, 8,200 were wounded, 10,000 died from disease & exposure (nearly 3,000 men died at valley Forge alone), An additional 6,500 died in prison after being captured and 1,400 soldiers were listed as missing.
Young people, you need to know when you look at this American Flag that these red stripes are bars of blood, a price paid for you to be free!
And when people today burn that flag in ignorant demonstrations, it’s not freedom of speech, it’s high treason against the land of the free and the home of the brave, and should be prosecuted as such!
What about the 56 men who signed the declaration of Independence? Did they pay a price for pledging their allegiance? They sure did, their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, 5 were captured by the British and tortured before they died. 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. 2 lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another 2 sons were captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds of hardship of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty. At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelsons home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered George Washington to open fire on his home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields were destroyed. For over a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home only to find his wife had died and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.
Now, it’s one thing to make a bold declaration in the comfort of a congressional meeting, but it’s quite another to pay the price, to fulfill that declaration on the field of battle, to pay with blood; - yours - your families - and your neighbors...
Ill.—this week celebrities and some Americans are renouncing their citizenship and threatening to move away. Please do! Most protesters are all talk and no action.
Our founding fathers made a bold declaration - they paid a high price.
C. And They Reaped a Great Reward
The war that began on April 19, 1775, officially ended when the treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, nearly 2 years after the Great Battle at Yorktown, where 10,000 troops laid down their arms and General Cornwallis hid in a cave.
The Americans made a bold declaration.
They paid a high price.
And they reaped a great reward - they won their freedom, their independence...
And a particular kind of nation was established, a nation where every human being could be free, and have something to say about how they were governed.
But not only did the patriots win their freedom, but at the treaty of Paris in 1783, the US territory doubled in size, as Britain gave the new nation all of the land to the east of the Mississippi River.
And though many signers of that Great Declaration paid a high price, others reaped a great reward. 2 of the signers became Presidents, 10 US Congressman, 19 Judges, 16 became Governors and dozens of others held other high political offices -- not to mention the enduring place they hold in our history.....)
The Patriots: they made the pledge; paid the price and reaped the reward (freedom, a new land, new country, a bright future - a new beginning)
We won the lottery twice! You were either raised by Christians or someone shared Christ with you!
a. We Too Made a Bold Declaration
If you are here today and you call yourself a Christian, YOU TOO have made a bold declaration. I hope you realize what a commitment you have made!
Do you remember the day, when you stood before the body of Christ, when you came forward and confessed Jesus as your Lord & Savior, when you stood before the body proclaiming your desire; to be a Christian, to be united with Christ, having been bathed in his blood? Courageously announcing that nothing but absolute independence from the shackles of sin and the ways of this world would be acceptable.
In doing this, you were making a bold declaration.
You were at that time pledging your allegiance - your devotion, your loyalty, your dedication, your commitment, your very life, to the Lamb of God, to Jesus Christ. Understand that you were at that time proclaiming what Paul proclaimed in
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Friends, it is a very bold declaration to say that you will no longer live for yourself, that you will no longer seek your will for your life...that you will no longer live for the things of the world (power, pleasure, popularity and possessions). But rather that you will seek God’s will for your life, seeking to do what pleases him far and above what pleases you! Declaring that He comes first.
Yes it is a very bold declaration to say that you will live for Him who died for you... And if you are here today and a Christian, you have made that declaration.
This declaration is as bold and as powerful as the one Joshua made in Joshua 24:14,15. You remember that one don’t you? God’s people had conquered the Promised Land and were beginning to settle down.
14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
When you came to Christ...
When you pledged your allegiance to the lamb...
You were making a very bold declaration.
b. And Like the Patriots You Must Also Pay a High Price
It’s one thing, to make a bold declaration in the comfort of a church building, but it is quite another to live up to it. To pay the price. To fulfill that declaration on the battlefields of our daily lives. Most times saying words is the easy part, the actions are much tougher.
You know, on that day when Joshua made his bold declaration, he was not alone, others also did, they said the same words (within the comfort of the assembly).
What a declaration by the nation of Israel, they were pledging their allegiance to God - but
Tragically, it didn’t last long. All you have to do is turn the page over to the book of Judges, and you will see recorded how God’s people quickly turned away from him...
Today in Christian America we find that not everyone is committed to the war effort, not everyone who claimed Jesus as their Lord one day in the assembly, has lived up to it in their daily lives.
Yes, some are just like the "Tories" and are still more loyal to the enemy... to sin & Satan.
A final reason our war is hard is because others are like that 1/3 of the colonists and are unconcerned about the outcome of the war... They are indifferent. They are uninvolved. Now they may not directly hinder the war effort and they will certainly want to take part in any benefits, but they will not join in, they will not leave their comfort and safety, they simply watch and critique from the sidelines.
Let’s make no mistake about it - there is a high price to pay to fulfill our declaration - THAT JESUS IS OUR LORD.... Our Lord demands total, radical, unswerving allegiance and this is no secret...Jesus made this clear to us when he walked the earth...
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
And to pick up your cross daily, to deny self, to die to self...is a high price to pay.
But the reward we shall reap is a great one --- is worth it!
c. Reap a Great Reward
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
The declaration is bold "Jesus is my Lord"
The price is high "Die to self"
But the reward is great
We won the lottery! Let’s pledge our allegiance now!
[portions based on sermon by Steve Malone]
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