Message Recap | 07.06.2014
Speaker: Pastor Steve Davis, Family Life Pastor
As we celebrate Independence Day we must ask ourselves this question. Was the Sacrifice of Freedom in vain?
To become a “Land of Liberty” and before Freedom could ring out, it required sacrifice. It is documented in the lyrics of some familiar patriotic hymns and songs like, “My Country tis of Thee”, “America the Beautiful”, and “God Bless the USA.” However, beyond human effort and a pioneering spirit, the Source of Liberty was not found in us. The protection and preservation of Freedom would require a greater power than our resolve.
Imbedded in our quest for and celebration of freedom, are the convictions we highly value: It takes sacrifice, there is a cause that rises above self-interest, God must be over this quest… For the dream to become reality, human tears will be shed, brotherhood will be prevalent and God’s grace and mercy must be acknowledged and experienced. We all know that there can be NO freedom without cost, without sacrifice.
Thomas Jefferson said: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
The question remains: Was the Sacrifice in Vain? For our country? For the men and women who served in the fight for freedom? For you, personally? So many lives lost and yet, it seems that so little of lasting consequence was accomplished. Was their Sacrifice in Vain? The purpose of the sacrifice was to promote and protect freedom, to enable “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all people everywhere… but the question remains: Was their Sacrifice in Vain?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “…in America, we have fought and struggled to protect further freedoms, most of which are stated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.” Some of these freedoms include: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, The Right to Bear Arms, The Right to Assemble, The Right to Vote, and so much more!
Thomas Jefferson, the drafter and signer of the Declaration of Independence said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever”.
If we look into the scriptures, we have a prescription for healing and restoration for our nation. It’s found in 2 Chronicles 7.14-15: “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
This healing, this restoration, it must begin with us! How do we as Christians stand up to a self-assessment of our faith and the freedom Christ purchased with His blood? Was HIS Sacrifice in Vain? In a review of history and in the course of human events, we can look at others and assess, evaluate, and even criticize their decisions, their actions, and their sacrifice; that’s easy to do. We can even give an opinion as to whether the consequence of such past behaviors “made the bed we now lie in.” We can look back at others, or even from side to side in the present day at what others are doing to impact the world and country in which we live, and their effect on the freedoms we hope (or expect) to enjoy… And we can consider this path of history as a relay race where others have run their leg of the race well, or not so well, and usually point the finger of blame to someone else’s leg of the race. But concerning the freedom we can have in Christ, the freedom He purchased with His sacrifice, His blood, if we are to ask: Was HIS Sacrifice in Vain? The only person to look at for that answer is the person who stares back at you in the mirror. Along with yourself, we can look into the Word of God to direct us. Hebrews 12.1-3 says: “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We must look to Jesus and look within ourselves. He is the source of the freedom we long to enjoy. He is the Giver of Life and Liberty. Jesus alone paid the price to set us free! Others certainly have sacrificed for the sake of His Church, in proclaiming His truth, in demonstrating His love, and standing up for their Faith in Christ. But only Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, could lay down His life as the necessary sacrifice for salvation, which is His gift of grace!
Paul said in Romans 6.10, “The death he died, he died to sin once for all.”
So the question remains: Was Christ’s sacrifice in vain? Only you can answer that. How do we experience this freedom through Christ’s sacrifice? It comes through His victory on the cross and our surrender to His lordship in our lives. The choice for freedom is yours…