Monday, July 8, 2019

The Foundation of Freedom

The signing of the Declaration of Independence did not make us free from Britain. It was only a declaration, an expression of our intentions. It was filing for divorce. The divorce would take place later.

The signing merely set in motion the goal of freedom that would have to be fought for and gained at the defeat of our overlords. Though we measure our independence from July 4, 1776, that independence was not granted by the King of England until September 4, 1783.

What went on between declaration and independence? The Revolutionary War, a war which consisted of more than 1500 conflicts ranging from minor skirmishes to full blown battles. The result? The British surrendered claim to our territory. 6800 soldiers gave their lives on the battlefield. An additional 17,000 or so died of complications from their wounds or disease directly associated with the war.

As we know, freedom isn’t free. There is always a price.

Abraham Clark, one of the patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence, understood that it could mean his own death with his name on such a rebellious document. He was prepared for that, but not for the day a British officer announced, “We have captured your sons! They are prisoners of the Crown—locked away on a prison ship, and they will surely die there unless you repent of this foolish rebellion against the king!” The officer handed Clark a letter. “Sign this paper, admit you were wrong and your sons will go free.”

He said, “I was the one who stood with the others to declare the intention of independence not my sons. Shoot me if you must! I’m the one you want! Shoot me and let my sons go free.” The officer pressed the letter against his chest. “No, your sons will remain our prisoners until you sign.” Suddenly, the price of freedom stared him in the face. But, he could not sign, regardless the cost.

Thomas Paine: "These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

It is not the statement of intentions, or the lofty words of a motivational speaker that drives men to sacrifice their lives, but the resolve that what they fight for is worth the price. And as long as men and women are willing to pay that price we will remain free.

One man wrote: This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. Or, as we hear frequently, we are the land of the free because of the brave.

We’ve stood strong against the tyranny of mighty nations and have joined the battle whenever there has been an attack against freedom.

John F. Kennedy: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

But today, the attack against liberty doesn’t come from an outside foe, but within the ranks of our own government. The greatest threat we face today is the movement toward Socialism. No enemy we have fought against has had the potential to dismantle the liberty we possess like the cry to reinvent America and turn it from a Republic into a Socialist nation.

Antonio Gransci said, “Socialism is precisely the religion which must overwhelm Christianity. In the New Order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture by infiltrating schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.”

The pathway to destroying America has never been from the outside but from within. It starts by changing the message of who we are then replaces it with a different message of what we can become, using a false narrative of the promise of new freedoms.

Paul faced a similar situation in Galatia when he wrote: Gal 1:6-10 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. 

They were deserting the Lord to embrace a different message than the one of Grace, leaving what had established them for something they were never designed to be. They were replacing the foundation upon which the Gospel was built.

The foundation is the groundwork that supports the structure built upon it. You cannot change the structure without changing the foundation. Before Zerubbabel could rebuild the Temple he had to first reestablish the foundation – where it was and how it was defined.

Ezra 3:10-11 Now when the builders had laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD according to the directions of King David of Israel. They sang, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, saying, "For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever." And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 

It was essential he rebuild the Temple on the original foundation because the first Temple was built according to the blueprints of heaven. It was crucial to God’s design.

So, when the first Temple was destroyed, building the second was not a simple task of  just replacing the first but restoring it to where it was before.

Did that matter? Of course. The foundation was a reflection of God’s intentions not the fulfillment of man’s design for worship.

There is a call today for Christians to change their convictions and beliefs which is a demand they reject the foundation upon which Christianity is built.

Jesus taught the importance of the foundation: Luke 6:47-49 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.

Paul described his ministry as foundation work: 1Cor 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ

Paul didn’t create the foundation. He built upon the foundation God had determined was the only one that could sustain life – Jesus Himself.

So you can understand why the Galatians deserting that foundation was such a crime.
  • They were declaring Jesus was no longer relevant.
  • That it didn’t matter what you believed or how you built your life.
  • That our ways are better than God’s ways, our thoughts better than His thoughts.
  • That the will and wishes of the people were more important than God’s boundaries.

We understand boundaries – property lines. We have a designated perimeter to our property as does our neighbor. If we choose to ignore these boundaries and infringe on our neighbor’s property, we are violating the law of the boundary and have trespassed.

When the king of Assyria was boasting of his intentions to capture the northern nation of Israel, he said: Isa 10:13-14 For he has said, "By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this, for I have understanding; and I removed the boundaries of the peoples and plundered their treasures, and like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants, and my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest, and as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth; and there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped. 

By his definition, removing the boundaries took away their freedom, which gave him the freedom to take them captive and hold them to serve according to his gospel – his message of life.

God said: Isa 10:12 I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness. Because of the threat against His people? No, because of the seriousness of violating the boundaries He had set.

Through Solomon, He wrote: Prov 22:28 Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.

Moving the boundary doesn’t extend freedom it removes freedom. It may increase ground for one but takes away ground from the other.

Educators watched children playing in a school yard at an elementary school. The kids played up against the high fence surrounding the playground. To some, it looked as though the children were imprisoned by the fence and suggested it be removed to give the kids a greater sense of freedom. However, after it was removed, the children moved toward the center of the playground far away from the outer boundary. Why? They lost their security. They needed their fence to define their freedom. Moving the boundaries took away what the boundaries secured.

Someone is always trying to take away the freedom of others under the pretense of expanding freedom. And they always do it the same way: By moving the boundaries.

In his State of the Union Address, President Trump said, “Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence – not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country."

What is the goal of socialism? To remove the boundaries set by our Constitution and rebuild our civilization on a different foundation.

Their cry is freedom, yet to achieve that freedom they begin by removing freedoms. The pathway of all takeovers is to first remove the ability of the people to fight back. The Second Amendment giving the right to arm ourselves has never been under greater assault. The second is to remove the ability of the people to voice their dissent. The First Amendment giving the right of free speech is now challenged everyday. If you agree with those in charge of the narrative, you can say whatever you wish. If you oppose it, you must be silenced. The third is to force the church into its building and restrict its influence on society, making us and our message non-essential to life.

Jeremiah wrote: Jer 2:31 O generation, heed the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of thick darkness? [No, I have set boundaries. I have provided light to follow Me.] Why do My people say, 'We are free to roam; We will no longer come to You'? 

Because, if freedom is without boundaries, we will live with no obligation to our foundation. And we will lose the freedom granted by that foundation. We will become enslaved to our own passions and desires or captivated by the desires of others who wish to control us. That works in society or in the church.

Gal 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 

What is the price of standing firm?

Ronald Reagan said, “We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something—for liberty and freedom and fairness. And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to.”

Paul’s message to the Galatians: The Grace of Jesus Christ is the treasure of the Good News. Stand in it. Don’t allow anyone to deceive you to follow another Gospel.

The Patriot’s message to America: Liberty is the treasure of America. Stand in it. Don’t allow anyone to deceive you to leave it for another government.

Jesus said: John 8:31, 36 If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 

That’s the foundation of our lives. We stand on the freedom we have in Christ. If anyone tries to take that freedom away, we must resist and stand firm. We must stay the course.

For our nation, we stand on the freedom established when we were founded. If anyone tries to take that freedom away, we must resist and stand firm.

Whatever comes against us, either against our faith or against our nation, we must stay the course, remaining faithful to the liberty upon which both were founded. Allow no one to remove the ancient boundaries our faithful God has set. And though we pay a price to stand firm, we do so, joining the heroes of the past.

A museum in Scotland, displays the sword of the famous Scottish hero and patriot - Wallace. Braveheart was the movie version. A visitor once said, “I don’t see how that sword could win such victories.” The guide replied, “Ah sir, you don’t see the arm that wielded it.”

The Declaration of Independence won no war. Victory came by the arms of brave patriots wielding weapons of deliverance.

The message of the Good News changes no life. Change comes when we see the arms of our Savior stretched out on a cross, sacrificing Himself on our behalf, and we give our lives to Him because of the His love for us.

Last verse of our National Anthem:
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
 O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

America: Stand firm. Stay the course.

Church: Stand firm. Stay the course. If the Son has made you free, you are free indeed. 

  1. There is no ultimate freedom apart from Jesus.
  2. A life built upon the foundation of who He is and what He’s done enjoys that freedom secured within the boundary set by Almighty God.
  3. National freedom reflects Biblical freedom in that our freedom also rests within the boundaries of a secure foundation – our Constitution.
  4. If we change either foundation, we will lose, not gain freedom, and any attempt to do so will ultimately fail.

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