Sermon, 3rd Sunday after Trinity (INDEPENDENCE DAY ANTICIPATED) 2 July 2017 Anno Domini
St Andrews Anglican Orthodox Church
For Our Country.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pledge of Allegiance – All stand and recite!
The Perfect Law of Liberty – Every Day is Independence Day to the true Christian
The Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident (like the truth of the law of gravity)…that all men are created equal (made equal in the eyes of God at birth, but not condemned to remain equal in labor or business), endowed by creator with certain unalienable rights – that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…..that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Some quotes at the Signing –
When Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said:
“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
John Adams said:
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
John Adams continued:
“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration…Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory…Posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God, we shall not.”
Declare Liberty – the Liberty Bell:
After our founding fathers approved the Declaration of Independence, there was a call to have it read publicly, to fire cannons and to ring the bells in celebration! The first bell they rang was in the hall where they approved the Declaration to summon the people to hear the first public reading of America’s founding document. They
rang the Liberty Bell. Where did it get its name? From the Scripture imprinted years earlier on its rim, Leviticus 25:10, which says, ‘‘Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof!’’ Proclaim liberty throughout the land. Let freedom ring!
It certainly does not seem realisitic that our Framers of the US Constitution intended the restraint of the Christian religion as modern so-called Justices seem to believe, does it?
The Flag & Colors –
Charles W. Stewart, superintendent of naval records and library of the United States Navy Department, made the following observations in the Geographic, concerning the origin of the colours used in the national flag of America:
“The flag may trace its ancestry back to Mount Sinai, whence the Lord gave to Moses the Ten Commandments and the Book of the Law, which testify of God’s will and man’s duty; and were deposited in the Ark of the Covenant within the Tabernacle, whose curtains were blue, purple, scarlet, and fine-twined linen.”
“Before the ark stood the table of shewbread, with its cloth of blue, scarlet and white. These colours of the Hebrew Tabernacle were taken over by the early Western Church for its own and given to all the nations of western Europe for their flags. When the United States chose their flag it was of the colours of old, but new in arrangement and design, and they called it “The Stars and Stripes.”
“Our flag is of the colours red, white and blue. Red is for courage, zeal, and fervency; white is for purity, cleanness of life and rectitude of conduct; blue is for loyalty, devotion, friendship, justice and truth. The star represents a heavenly ownership…the stars of heaven, the Bright and morning Star – Dominion. (See Exodus 25:4; 26:1, 36; and Numbers 4:7.)
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
The Perfect Law. Let me remind you how, in every revelation of Divine truth contained in the Gospel, there is a direct moral and practical bearing. No word of the New Testament is given us in order that we may simply know truth, but all in order that we may do it.
This truth is illustrated below. Having liberty as a blessing to ourselves, we owe that truth our hearts and lives –
Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
We have, as Christians, the responsibility to walk at liberty, not being shackled by the former chains of sin.
We cannot be free apart from Christ. Christ came for the purpose of making us free and proclaiming Liberty!
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
We have a heavenly responsibility to proclaim the Liberty whereby we were set free, both as individuals and as a nation:
Jer 34:17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the
What has made us free?
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
So do not abuse our privilege under liberty. Do not return to the falling walls of Babylon and the flesh of the heart.
13. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
We are to comport ourselves as a free people and not as those living under despots such as in China, fearfully looking about to know if we are being watched.
James 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” (James 2:12)
On Independence Day, Americans should give thanks to the Author of liberty that we have been privileged to live in this “sweet land of liberty,” where we can worship God freely, in accord with His Word. Liberty is not license, however, and the essence of the American system is liberty under law. Fundamentally, that law is “the law of nature and of nature’s God”–the natural laws of God’s world and the revealed laws of God’s Word. Within that framework we do have liberty–but not liberty to defy either the physical law of gravity or the spiritual “law of liberty.” The latter is formulated in Scripture and has been applied over the centuries, in the English common law and later in our system of constitutional law, both of which are based on Scripture.
Some today, seeking license rather than liberty, might recoil at the very idea of “the law of liberty,” calling it an “oxymoron,” or contradiction in terms. But Jesus said that only “the truth shall make you free!” (John 8:32). “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4), and “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15), not freedom!
No one can be saved by the law, but those who are saved–by grace through faith in Christ–will love God’s law, for it is “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). We should say with the psalmist: “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (Psalm 119:44-45).
There is, indeed, a law of liberty, and whoever will walk in real liberty will find it only in God’s law of life, through His revealed Word. For “whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). HMM
Hierarchy of Laws – We are to obey the laws of the land…unless those laws contradict the law of God. We obey the law of righteousness and not the law of fleshly desire.
Whose law do you keep? You eternal destiny depends upon that question.
“Prenez en Gré“
In Christ Alone
† Jerry L. Ogles , D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary
“Metus improbo compescit, non clementia.” – Syrus, MAXIMS: Fear, not kindness, restrains the wicked!
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – HOLY SCRIPTURE:
“If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan.”