FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
309 East North St. Sidney, Ohio 45365
937-492-4909

Sunday School 9:15am

Sunday Worship Service 10:30am

 

Scripture: John 8:31-36                                                                                                                                                                                                       July 4, 2021

Sermon:  “The Joy of Freedom!”                                                                                                                              Pastor John Young

 

As most of you know, July 4th, 1776 is the day that the Continental Congress introduced to the world the Declaration of Independence, which separated the American colonies from the British Empire.  The document had been signed and ratified two days earlier on July 2nd.

Of some interest, (particularly with regards to this holiday), it is a Jewish tradition for the youngest child at the annual Passover meal to ask the family patriarch, “What makes this night different from any other?”  That question opens the door for regular remembrance of a special working of God in the lives of the Israelites.  I wonder what you would say if that practice was used in regard to this holiday?  “What makes July 4th different than any other day?”

While Independence Day doesn’t have the same biblical and spiritual stature as the Passover celebration, it is our country’s most important holiday, and it has a surprisingly rich spiritual heritage.

As we understand this holiday—and the Declaration of Independence—we can see a spiritual parallel to what Jesus did to purchase our independence from the penalty of sin.

[In order to do this we must first examine:]

I.   Our Nation’s Freedom.

A.   Our first consideration would be the COST of procuring it!

1.  Benjamin Franklin, addressing the assembly before signing the Declaration of Independence said: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

2.  Understand—the presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the King of Britain took place in the midst of existing military conflicts.  The document would be perceived as an official declaration of war by the American colonies.

a.  This was clearly understood by those who signed that document.  Listen to the last sentence: “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance of the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

3.  The costs were staggering!

a.  The American Revolution lasted from 1775 until 1783—eight years!  Many of the defenders of this document died without enjoying its benefits!

b.  Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence:

1) 5 were captured by the British and tortured before they died.

2) 12 had their homes ransacked and burned.

3) 2 lost their sons in the war.

4) And 9 either died from war wounds or from hardships suffered in the war.

4.  There were great costs in pursuing our Nation’s freedom.

B. Our second consideration would be the CONTEXT of its pursuit and formation.

1.  The Declaration of Independence is firmly based on scriptural truth.

a.  Listen to the a few sentences of this great document:  “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.”  “We therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE of the world…”  “…with a firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE…”

b.  The men who formed this document held the Bible in one hand as they wrote with the other!

c.   The people who supported it by giving their lives to pursue it—did so because of their belief in the scriptures!

d.  Our Nation’s Freedom was birthed from the CONTEXT of God’s Word!

C.  Our third consideration would be the CHOICES it provides!

1.  Although we often complain about encroachments on our liberties, we still have more freedoms than any other country in the world!

a.  We have the right to express our opinions-even if they oppose others.

b.  We can worship openly with no fear of arrest or hindrance.

c.   We have so many wonderful liberties and choices!

This holiday provokes our consideration of these three thoughts and the parallels to our Spiritual Freedom are astounding!

Perhaps you have already been making the comparisons?!?

II. Our Spiritual Freedom.

A.   For instance:  Consider the COST of procuring it!

1.  Let’s begin by examining Philippians 2:6-8.  Paul writes, beginning in verse 5, “Let this mind…”

2.  The gospels record for us the process of this ‘humbling,’ as well as, His obedience ‘unto death.’

a.  He would be rejected by His family, cursed by His Nation’s rulers, hunted like a criminal, tried by a Kangaroo court, beaten beyond recognition, nailed to a cross, and humiliated by public display!

b.  While hanging on the cross He would suffer the cost of separation!

1) He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

c.   But by far, the greatest cost would be extracted when He took our sin upon Himself!

1) Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

2) Jesus traded places with us!  He set us free and then received our condemnation and took our punishment!  Ultimately, He died for us!

3) What a cost to provide us with Spiritual Freedom!

B. Of course, we must also consider the CONTEXT of this Spiritual freedom.

1.  Its focus from the beginning was on God!

a.  He created Adam and Eve in an environment of Spiritual freedom.

1) They disobeyed and fell.  The result was they died spiritually (Gen 2:7, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”).

b.  Ephesians 1 allows us to peer into the mind of God before man was even created!  Notice what we learn (vv 1-7).

c.   That is, Spiritual freedom is not as much about man’s failure as it is about God’s loving design!

1) It didn’t begin when man sinned—it began before man was created!

2) It was founded in the context of God’s Word and plan!

2.  And, not only in its beginning, but also in its pursuit!

a.  The design of Spiritual Freedom is clearly reveal in Romans 8:29, “to be conformed to the image of his Son.”  Listen to the scriptures:

1) First Corinthians 15:49, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

2) Ephesians 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

3) Philippians 3:20 & 21, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

4) First John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

5) Spiritual freedom rises from the context of God’s Word and plan!

C.  Very quickly, Spiritual Freedom also provides wonderful CHOICES!  AMEN?

1.  We are forever set free from the penalty of sin!  Romans 6:23!

a.  Through Jesus’ sacrifice He made it possible for us to forever be set free!  What a Choice!  That’s not all!

2.  We are co-inheritors with the Lord!

a.  Peter reminds us that we are called “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”

b.  Listen to Paul’s words in Romans 8:15-17, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”

c.   That is a Wonderful CHOICE provided!

3.  But there is one more thing—we have an honorable purpose!

a.  Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ”

b.  Spiritual freedom gives us the opportunity (a choice) to live with an honorable purpose—service to the One who provided our freedom!

Conclusion:          In the same way we honor the framers and fighters of the Declaration of Independence by our resolve to live and propagate National freedom, we honor the Lord by our resolve to live and propagate Spiritual freedom!  In doing so, we insure that their deaths were not in vain!

            One of the maladies of our time is taking things for granted.  During today’s activities, take time to remember that our National freedom was purchased with a great price.  And always remember—Spiritual Freedom is available to everyone who makes the CHOICE to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Don’t take it for granted either!