GOD GIVES US FREEDOM

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Galatians 5:1-5:15

Text: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

Freedom! What is freedom? What does freedom mean to you? How did we acquire freedom? Do you appreciate freedom? Is freedom important to you? Did our forefathers always have freedom? How did freedom come to mankind?

When we speak of freedom, we are speaking of living without restraints. We still have rules, laws and regulations that are in place to protect us and other people, but these are beneficial for all of us.

Drivers must stop at stop signs, red lights, drive on the right side of road, pull over for emergency vehicles, and so on and if they don’t and they get caught, there is a penalty to pay. Driving is a privilege and not a right and this privilege is regulated by laws.

We have the freedom to cross the county line or the state line without having to produce any type of identification. In other words, there is no “check point.”
We have the freedom to live in the neighborhood of our choice. We are free to pick our vocation or our profession. We are free to attend whatever church we so desire or not to attend church at all. We have the freedom of choice when it comes to voting for political leaders.

We have the freedom to agree or disagree on every day issues. We are free to voice our opinion concerning issues that arise. We are free to express our thoughts in books, newspapers, songs, signs and on the internet.

We have the freedom of choosing a person with whom we would like to share the rest of life. We have the freedom to marry or not to marry, to have children or not to have children, and to educate our children in the public school or private school system or to home-school them.

Our list of freedoms is endless. I would venture to say that there is probably no other country in the world where people have the freedoms that the American people have.

These freedoms did not come easy. Britain wanted power and authority. Their empire included the religious colonies that were established along the Eastern coast of North America. All the colonies and settlements under Britain’s control were established to increase the wealth of the Mother country.

The Mother country wanted to sell more of her products to these colonies than she imported from them. In so doing, she would accumulate more wealth at the expense of the colonies. To make this work, the British government imposed rules and regulations on the colonies. We can see that there was not a whole lot of freedom beneficial to the people of the colonies.

As we know, the first permanent British settlement in North America was Jamestown. This occurred in the year 1607. Then in 1620, the Pilgrims arrived in North America and established Plymouth Colony. After that, other religious colonies were set up.

Since there was such a great distance between the colonies along the shore of North America and the British homeland, control from the Mother country over the colonies was a bit difficult. Because of this, the colonies were able to set up governing bodies within the colonies.

The colonies began to grow and spread to other areas in North America. Over a period of time, the Mother country wanted revenue from the colonies. They began by instituting the Stamp Act in 1765. The colonists viewed this as a violation of their rights and their freedom. Because of the Stamp Act, riots occurred forcing the British government to repeal it. That was wonderful, but the result was the institution of other taxes.

The thirteen colonies decided to fight for their rights and their freedoms which were hampered by the British. The armed conflict began in 1775 and lasted until 1783. This war was known as the Revolutionary War or the American War for Independence.

A formal document was issued in 1776, The Declaration of Independence, which broke allegiance with the British government. The war went on until 1783 when the British government gave up all claims to the United States.

These United States of America will be 234 years old on July 4, 2010. When you think about it, America is a young country compared to countries like Egypt, Greece, China or Rome that have been in existence for many centuries. Egypt, Greece, and Rome are talked about in the Scriptures.

There are some facts I ran across that are interesting. When our third President, Thomas Jefferson died, out 16th President Abraham Lincoln was just 17 years old. Then when Lincoln was assassinated, our 28th President, Woodrow Wilson was merely 8 years old. When Wilson died, our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, was a young lad of 12. When Reagan died, our 44th President, Barack Obama was an aspiring 27 year-old law student at Harvard. (Source unknown except for Obama)

There you have it. The lives of five men can take you all the way back to the beginning our country, 234 years ago.

We are a young free democratic country based on the following: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. (Declaration of Independence)

July 4th is the day to celebrate the freedom brought about by the Declaration of Independence. We need to celebrate what was handed down to us by our forefathers. God blessed the men who fought who fought for our freedom. God has blessed our nation through the years and continues to bless it each day.

America’s freedom is from a loving God. We do have minor issues, but we know God is in control and will not give our country more than it can handle. Furthermore, whatever comes, our God will furnish a means to come out as victor and not victim.

As we read in the paper and hear on TV, other nations and countries are having difficulties. There is turmoil and revolution. There is unrest. Elections are held but are not conducted in a civil or democratic manner. People are in need of food and housing. The media is prohibited. People are not permitted the freedoms that we as American citizens enjoy. We have the blessings of Almighty God.

Some people like John Adams indicated that July 4th should be a religious holiday. He thought it should be a day to remember that God had His hand in our deliverance.

There were 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. At the time, they did not know there would be suffering for them and their families.

It is documented that five of the 56 men were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve of the 56 had their homes destroyed. Two of the 56 lost members of their family in the Revolutionary army.

Two of the 56 had members of their family captured. Nine of the 56 died of battle wounds and other difficulties of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader watched as the British sank his ships. Thomas Nelson’s home was taken by the British and destroyed by George Washington’s forces. John Hart lost his wife and 13 children.

This is why freedom is not free. These are the people who placed their names on the paper that declared independence from the British government. These are the people who were willing to sacrifice all for the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for you and for me. These are the people who knew God was still in control and that He would bless these United States of America.

Listen to these humorous freedoms we have in America:

1. Only in America can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.
2. Only in America are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.
3. Only in America do drugstores make the sick folks walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy tobacco products at the front counter.
4. Only in America do people order double cheeseburgers, extra large fries and a large DIET coke.
5. Only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our junk in the garage.
6. Only in America do we use answering machines to screen calls and have call-waiting so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.
7. Only in America do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Someone sent these to me on the internet and how true they are. I don’t believe all these things apply to citizens of other countries. There are some countries that are extremely poor and are not able to have these privileges.

Our forefathers gave us the freedom we have in America. Jesus gave us the ultimate in freedom. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free….So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:31,32,36).

Jesus is the perfect standard of what is right. He enables us to be free of the results of our sins. He frees us from the dishonesty and trickery of the Devil.

Jesus gives us freedom to follow His word that we might spend eternity in His kingdom. He gives us the freedom to become all that God the Father wants us to be. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

Whenever Jesus finished talking to the crowds or preaching to them, they knew He had them in mind. He was concerned about their welfare and the way they lived their life. He was trying to relate to them the Father’s will for their life.

Jesus’ messages were down –to-earth, practical, meaningful and covered all facets of life. He wanted them to know how important they were to Him and how willing He was to help them bear the trials, tribulations, and burdens they would encounter.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He does the same for His children today as He has done in the past. God promotes life and liberty today just as much as in previous years.

Paul said, “The God who made the world and everything in it….himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:24-25).

You and I are not here by accident. Our life was given to us by God and is of great value. We are to honor, cherish and protect what God has given us. We are free people living under the grace of Almighty God.

As good as we try to be and as intelligent as we profess to be, there are numerous inconsistencies in our way of living. Someone sent these to me and I want to share them with you.

1. We have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
2. We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less.
3. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
4. We have more degrees but less common sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
5. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
6. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
7. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years.
8. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
9. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
10. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
11. We write more, but learn less.
12. We plan more, but accomplish less.
13. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
14. We build more computers to hold
more information, to produce more copies
than ever, but we communicate less and less.

God gave us the freedom to choose. Sometimes we make good chooses and sometimes we make bad choices. Our forefathers gave us the many earthly freedoms that we take for granted.

Ronald Reagan said, “I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God’s help to guide our nation through stormy seas. We can’t expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over on the shelf in our day-to-day living.”

Conclusion:

We celebrate 233 years of independence for America on July 4th, 2009. I am proud to be an American. I am proud of these United States. I thank all those people who fought for the freedoms that I now enjoy. I honor all those who gave their lives that I might enjoy life.

I thank God for His love for me. I thank Him for expressing that love by sending His Son into the world to pay my sin debt. I thank Him for the opportunity and privilege of spending eternity with Him in His kingdom. I celebrate and thank God everyday for all the freedom given me. I hope you feel the same way.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

May God bless America as we give praise and honor to Him.
Amen.


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