Here are the Notes from the message this past Sunday at New Life Community Church, Monroe, Louisiana
A NATION IN THE BALANCE:
“Give Me Liberty…”
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Dr. Robert W. Clanton
Liberty is a theme that runs throughout human history. It is a major theme in the Bible. Here are some verses to get us started.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 (ESV)
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (ESV)
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NASB)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)
The context of these Bible verses is spiritual and moral. The context in American history and human history is political and governmental.
America is a land of freedom!
FDR’ State of the Union address January 6, 1941. Four Freedoms:
Freedom of Speech Freedom of Religion
Freedom from Want Freedom from Fear.
We have our Bill of Right. We are “THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE.”
But now those freedoms are in the balance. Our freedoms seem to be in conflict with each other.
On the one side we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech and on the other we have freedom of sexual expression and a different kind of freedom of speech which has been called freedom from censorship.
On the one side, all vestiges of religious and spiritual values are increasingly outlawed while artistic expressions are promoted including the works of Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe.
One commentator has described it this way: the one side is religious freedom and on the other is erotic freedom. And, it is not just freedom. Three years ago I preached a couple of messages about where we are as a nation and concerning the homosexual agenda I described things this way:
Massive Transformation of our Society and Culture
Three Steps in the Gay Rights Agenda:
- ACCEPTANCE of homosexuality
- APPROVAL of homosexuality
- PROMOTION of homosexuality
When our nation was founded, it was founded on the principle of LIBERTY AND FREEDOM.
Perhaps the most famous statements along these lines were made March 23, 1775 when the House of Burgesses in Virginia met in a church – St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia. In the audience were two individual who would later become presidents of this fledgling nation: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The speaker was this man:
After repeated provocations and an economic stranglehold on those early colonies, the decision had to be made if some sort of plan would develop to enable FREEDOM. It was a hard decision involving radical changes for all involved. In that setting, Patrick Henry gave the speech by which he is remembered until this day.
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable²and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Certainly, the issues of that day are different from those of today. But the cause is not different. Few of us will ever be called upon to pay the price of those early patriots of our nation, but I feel that all of us will be called upon to stand for the truth of God’s Word. The price may not be our blood, but it may be something even harder to lay down. It may mean the vengeance of a society that no longer wants our presence and despises the Lord we serve. It may mean enduring the lies and slander of a culture built on a different value system than that which we find in Scripture.
How are we to live? How are we to fight?
ALBA GU BRA
This is far more than political freedom. It is the story of man’s relationship to God and God’s place in His world.
1Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (NKJV)
One of the most vivid examples of this took place in France about 15 years after the American Revolution. It’s called the French Revolution. We do not have time today to outline the whole story, but one of the big events was what has been called the Storming of the Bastille which took place July 14, 1789.
The Bastille was a prison in Paris that represented the old regime. As the populists forces rose in Paris, they finally attacked this bastion of the monarchy. It only had 7 prisoners. But, the tide had turned. Louis XVI was executed and the new order was established. Interestingly, it was Napoleon that then rose to power and ultimately declared himself THE EMPEROR.
The famous words of the French Revolution were LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY.
But, one of the lesser known aspects of the French Revolution was the de-christianizing of France. It was such that one author wrote: The primary objective of the French Revolution was to destroy the Catholic Church.
Here are some of the actions:
- confiscation of Church lands (1790), used as backing for the newassignat currency
- destruction of statues, plates and othericonography from places of worship
- destruction ofcrosses, bells and other external signs of worship
- the institution of revolutionary and civiccults, including the Cult of Reason and subsequently the Cult of the Supreme Being (spring 1794)
- the enactment of a law on 21 October 1793 making allnonjuring priests and all persons who harbored them liable to death on sight
The dechristianization campaign can be seen as the logical extension of the materialist philosophies of some leaders of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire, while for others with more prosaic concerns it provided an opportunity to unleash resentments against the Catholic Church (in the spirit of conventional anti-clericalism) and its clergy.
Anthony Kennedy. Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
This sentence from 1992 Justice Anthony Kennedy is probably the most destructive sentence that the Court has ever spoken. That would be my guess. I have not read them all, but he said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
How shall we fight? What shall we do?
Step 1: It’s PERSONAL
13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:13-14 (ESV)
16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:16-18 (ESV)
Step 2: It’s SPIRITUAL
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. II Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV)
Step 3: It’s CULTURAL
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16 (ESV)
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 (ESV)