Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations. (KJV)
Why Psalm 100? Why today? As a bright young student in Chickamauga Elementary School, I had to memorize Psalm 100, from the Kings James Bible, and say it before the class; every one of us did.
That lead to more we had to memorize at Chickamauga Elementary. We had to memorize the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, and then the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America; thank you Mrs. McPherson and Mrs. Dennis. I think it would serve us well if our students had to do that today, but I’m not sure that they do anymore.
We live in the greatest, strongest, freest country on earth. And I believe emphatically that the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and most of all, the Holy Bible and God’s hand on us are the reasons why.
I’ve seen a lot of this world. I’ve been to places many men only dream of going. I’ve been to a lot of places I can’t even tell you about. And I’ll promise you this, nowhere in the world is God worshiped as freely as He is in the United States of America. Not only do we have the Freedom to worship, but we can also design all our worship as we please, every Sunday morning. In addition to that, the Methodist pulpit is said to be the freest pulpit in the country. No one, except you and God are looking over my shoulder to hear what I say. With some recent changes in our laws by the Congress and Supreme Court, that could be in danger. Some pastors have already been challenged by local law officials, challenging what they say. I pray to God I never bow to man-made law that decides what I can say on Sunday mornings.
God has given us Freedom; Freedom from sin, Freedom to worship, Freedom to live as we please, in completely Free Will. The Constitution is supposed to guarantee our Freedom from wrongfully enacted laws of man. But let us never forget our Freedom comes from God and it was paid for on the Cross of Christ.
Jesus spoke of us being free, in and on His terms. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36) (NIV)
He was speaking at that time to the Jews who had believed and became followers. And He was also speaking to us. He came so we could be Free, completely Free, absolutely Free. But too often, after receiving forgiveness for sin, and the Freedom that comes with it, we turn around and walk right back into that bondage.
Not only are you Free from sin, all your sin, if you accept it, but you are Free from the spirit that permeates our society today. John told us that the spirit of Antichrist would be alive in the world, and we can see that on a daily basis. Go with me to 1 John 4 to see exactly what I am talking about.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3) (NIV)
We know Gods’ Word can protect us from any and all ungodly spirits. We accept God’s cover and have to allow Christ to cover us with His protection to keep our Christ given Freedom.
Freedom in Christ comes from acknowledging our sins, accepting His forgiveness, and proclaiming His Lordship. True Freedom in Christ endures all challenges. True Freedom in Christ allows us to move in Him and have our being.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.‘ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:24-28) (NIV)
God put the desire for freedom in us and is the only one who can guarantee it. He can guarantee Freedom in this world and in the world to come. Freedom is necessary for peace. Jesus came to give us Freedom from God’s law, the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament. He has brought us Freedom from fear. Only Christ can say fear not for He is the true Prince of Peace. He brings us Freedom from want. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. (Psalm 23) And God supplies us all we need And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
And above all, Jesus brings us Freedom from the sting of eternal death.
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV)
Now let us give thanks in this Benediction:
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! Bostwick UMC 7/4/21
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration
of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these 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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
June 11, 1776 – Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence.
July 4, 1776 – Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence in the morning of a bright, sunny, but cool Philadelphia day. John Dunlap prints the Declaration of Independence. These prints are now called “Dunlap Broadsides.” Twenty-four copies are known to exist, two of which are in the Library of Congress. One of these was Washington’s personal copy.
The Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Delaware – George Read, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean
Georgia – Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Massachusetts – John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
New Hampshire – Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
New York – Lewis Morris, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, William Floyd
Pennsylvania – George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, John Morton, Benjamin Rush, George Ross, James Smith, James Wilson, George Taylor
Rhode Island – Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
June 21, 1788 – U.S. Constitution adopted, when New Hampshire finally ratified it.
Preamble of the Constitution of the United States
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.