A message delivered by Frank Becker, Faith Temple Baptist Church, on July 11, 2021
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? More to the point, which came first, “A nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, or a group of re-created and born-again men and women who were free indeed?
This morning, I will argue that a great nation can only be born when a significant portion of its citizens have become “free indeed.”
During his passion week, Christ made a number of claims about himself that shocked both the Jews and their Roman masters. Among our Lord’s claims was one that John recorded in his gospel, chapter 8, verse 31-36:
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
I. FIRST, we’ll examine what makes a person “free.”
II. SECOND, we’ll examine what makes a nation free.
I. FIRST, then, what makes a person “free.”
“Ye shall know the TRUTH, and the truth shall make you free.”
This was readily misinterpreted by the unhappy and rebellious Jews of that day. They expected a political Messiah who would crush their enemies — both Romans and the Parthians — and would be enthroned as their earthly king. That’s why, on Palm Sunday, they shouted things like, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord;” but a week later they cried out, “Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar!” Take care that you do not change your loyalty!
Pontius Pilate asked, “What is Truth?” whenTruth was standing right there in front of him.
The Jews looked for a political solution to their national problem rather than a divine sacrifice for their sin problem. They looked for a conquering king rather than a suffering servant. They looked for a political deliverer rather than a Living Sacrifice. Proud and self-righteous, trusting in their hereditary link to Father Abraham, they did not identify “The Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.”
They hung Jesus upon a cross, and continued in their quest for political freedom. Their intransigence resulted in their ultimately losing a war to Rome and having their holy temple destroyed.
“What kind of people does it take to create and sustain a free country?” The answer is, a significant number of people who have already become “free indeed.” Do you know that the Bolsheviks took over Russia with the avid support of just 3% of the people?
“Where do we find people who are “free indeed?” They are people who know and obey the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.”
Therefore, freedom comes to those who have been saved by faith in Jesus Christ. That’s freedom from sin and its penalties, and an assurance of eternal happiness in the presence of God. It doesn’t free us completely from problems in this life, but it does assure us that we can seek God’s help in every situation, as I mentioned in our message on I Corinthians 10:13.
What is this freedom? It is, of course, trusting Jesus for your salvation, knowing that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, and that your destiny is eternal life. But it’s more! It’s a holy boldness, a fearlessness that recognizes that we are not of this world, and that we are virtually indestructible, honestly believing that to be absent from the flesh is to be present with the Lord, and knowing that we had ought to fear what God may do, God rather than what man may do to us.
Freedom in Christ is a one-on-one individual matter, but a nations political freedom comes only after many citizens finally believe the “Truth.” So, whatever happens to America, whether there is a Christian majority or not, whether it remains free or not, you are an individual who must make your own peace with God. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
II. SECOND, what makes a nation free?
Did you ever wonder what really made America great?
Americans, too, looks for deliverance via political means. They might, like the Jews who slew Jesus, cry out, “We have no king but Caesar!” Or Trump. Or Biden. Even many Christians devote their time, energy, and money to electing people they hope they can trust to keep their word, rather than crying out to God for forgiveness and blessing and supporting His work.
We claim that America was founded as a Christian nation, but America’s enemies, foreign and domestic, mock this idea. They insist that America was never a Christian nation, and they do all they can to “cancel” the character and credibility of our founding Fathers.
Conspirators, foreign governments, dirty politicians, spies, and ignorant idealists are tearing this country apart, setting people of every race, religion, socio-economic group—even the sexes—against one another.
On July 4th, while I lay ill at home, I looked in vain for programming on TV that would be patriotic and godly, and all I found was a travesty of a musical that mocked the character, godly motives and incredible personal sacrifices of our Founding Fathers.
When we used to observe Independence Day, it was to celebrate our freedoms, and to remember the courage, self-sacrifice, and heroism it took to achieve and sustain those freedoms. More than that, we spoke of the Creator without whom we would not have these freedoms.
We called ourselves a Christian nation. Now that title is disputed and spurned.
So, I ask, what did it take to take to give birth to this nation dedicated to freedom? It took a nation of Christians.
In his famed Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln began, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
Well, Mr. Lincoln, America was 245 years old last week, and thanks to men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and you, we are still hanging on, but barely by a thread, because in a very real sense, America is again involved in a civil war. It’s a war for the minds and hearts of the people, and sadly, it may already be lost, for too few individuals have been made free through the knowledge of the Truth. They instead think with their bellies and follow their lusts.
It’s ironic that the descendants of those slaves who were set free by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation are being told that they should “cancel” him.
The lies, the obfuscation, the claims and counter claims, all the planned confusion of those who would destroy America, are not new. As a child — over 70 years ago — I learned of these methods being promulgated by the Communist Party USA. But now communism is glorified by many “educators,” preachers, and politicians.
One of their pet arguments is that the founding Fathers did not believe in God, and that America was never a Christian nation.
Why do our enemies use that argument? Why did they take prayer out of the schools? Why mock preachers and attack churches? Why attempt to laugh away the morality of God’s people and the truth of God’s Book? Why indeed? Because without the moral fiber produced by faith in God and fear of God, a nation turns to sin. And people given over to lust and pride and greed and murder cannot comprehend higher values like freedom, much less consider dying for them.
I agree that all our Founding Fathers were not Christians, but many were, and virtually all were Deists who believed in a Supreme Being, a Creator.
I can prove it!Consider our first and most treasured historical document. Hopefully you were given a copy of a portion of that document when you entered the auditorium this morning. We call it “The Declaration of Independence,” but please note that our founding Fathers entitled it, “THE Unanimous Declaration.” UNANIMOUS!!! The representatives from all thirteen colonies signed it! Like the disciples on the day of Pentecost, they were in one place and of one mind and one accord.
And what does this Unanimous Declaration speaks of?I quote:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness….”
Freedom does not ultimately come from political or military action. Political and military action came only because god-fearing people had already—individually—secured individual “freedom” through faith in Jesus Christ. Those people, the kind who suffered through a freezing winter at Valley Forge — who wouldn’t surrender even though they were dressed in rags, shoeless and starving — these people gave us our nation, and only as long as godly people hold influence, will it endure.
Alexis DE Tocqueille, a contemporary of George Washington, said:
“I sought for the greatness of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers and it was not there, in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there.
Not until I went into the churches of America and heard their pulpits aflame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of the genius and power. America is great because she is good and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Well, it’s pretty clear that much of America has ceased to be good. Some labor to make America great again, but each day, multitudes who do no share our values sneak across our borders and increase the imbalance. But I warn you, every political gain can be reversed by the next party in power. You cannot legislate morality!
Jesus gave you your marching orders. Your job and mine is to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” No matter the condition of your health, your age, or the size of your bank account, all God asks of you is that you let your light shine. But He demands that!
Jesus warned of these end times in which we live as being “the beginning” of birth pangs and times of “great tribulation” (Mt. 24:8;21; 29).
America’s salvationbegins with YOU! You can impact someone. Reach out to your family, friends, care givers, your doctors, and the merchants who serve you. Begin in your own Jerusalem, then your Judea, your Samaria, and reach out to the uttermost parts of the earth! Use telephone, texts, email, and snail mail.
Perhaps that person you influence will become a great evangelist, missionary, or pastor.
But you won’t succeed if you are not “free indeed.” So, I’ll ask the question: “Are you free indeed?”
Have you — in your heart of hearts — backslidden? Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
Settle this matter this morning, or leave here with the almost certain truth that you are not truly free. As Jesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Otherwise, you are still an unwitting dupe, enslaved by the Enemy.
What does the Word suggest? “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Chorus: “Je—sus. use me, and O lord, don’t refuse me, for surely there’s a work that I can do. and even tho’ it’s humble, Lord help my will to crumble, and tho’ the cost be great, I’ll work for you.”