ONE NATION UNDER GOD?
Today we celebrate July 4th, Independence Day, and it is without a doubt one of the greatest celebrations in our nation. It brings out deep expressions of patriotism among the people citizens and non-citizens. We celebrate the greatest nation in the world! We remember those who fought for freedom and stood up to the mighty British. We celebrate those that have fought for freedom ever since. We celebrate those men and women who are protecting our freedom right now!
We celebrate FREEDOM today! Without question, America is the most free nation on the globe. It is also the most prosperous and wealthy nation. It truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
God has blessed this nation abundantly ever since its inception. Some will argue as to when that took place actually; however, it is clear that all those that came to North America in the early 1600s had something very important in mind. It was religious freedom!
Today we are going to take a closer look at the start of this nation and whether or not we are still ONE NATION UNDER GOD.
Today, Lord Willing, I will present this message from two perspectives:
The Historical perspective and the legal one. Evidence will be presented outlining the historical case for America as One Nation under God and evidence will also be presented in a legal forum to demonstrate that very notion.
The foundational verse for today is
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!
We sing and pray for God’s blessing and many believe this nation has favor with God. We will examine this notion through history and scripture.
We begin with the early settlers and founders of this great nation.
As a nation we have enjoyed blessings of God that go beyond our imaginations. During the past two centuries, America became the world’s greatest economic, political, and cultural power. America has been able share the Gospel message to the world more than any other in history. The United States has seen a higher standard of living and prosperity than any other nation in history.
Some might state that America began on April 29, 1607, when after three months at sea, 105 English settlers arrived and named the area in Virginia now known as Cape Henry, after Prince Henry of England. The area where the settlers first arrived is also presently known as “First Landing.” A wooden cross was placed on the beach as the English gave thanks for their safety. Two weeks after their arrival, they continued their voyage and eventually established the first English settlement, Jamestown in May of 1607. Many believe this is the actual beginning of this great nation, and many also believe it was religious freedom that was the basis for this expedition.
However, historically, religious freedom, or even tolerance, was not fully supported by Virginia’s government until 1776. Just as in England, the power of Virginia’s government was united with the power of the Church of England (Anglican church) as an “established” religion. Some Separatists, were expelled from the colony.
Additionally, some historical notes need to be clarified. Virginia was not settled by Europeans seeking to solely create a haven for religious liberty.
Let’s look at some key historical facts:
- Early English Protestants, or Separatists, wanted to separate entirely from Roman Catholic influence. Even though it was its own entity by the 1600s, the Church of England was heavily influenced by Catholicism. The Anglican church established under King Henry VIII in the 1500s when the Catholic church would not allow the king’s divorce to Queen Catherine of Aragon. Henry created the Church of England to marry his second queen, Ann Boleyn.
- The Puritans were influenced by John Calvin, a French theologian who was active in the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, as well as German theologian and former Catholic priest, Martin Luther.
- Puritans were persecuted in England under Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Ann Boleyn and King Henry VIII. The queen objected to anyone who opposed the Church of England.
- When Elizabeth died, King James I succeeded her to the throne. He was the king responsible for the King James Bible. James was the reason the Puritans fled to the new world.
- Pilgrims read the Geneva Bible, published in 1560, which preceded the King James version by 51 years.
The Mayflower Compact of 1620, one of the first seeds of democracy, was signed to establish rules and laws, but ultimately they remained loyal to King James.
In Spring of 1630, Puritans, opposed to Anglican persecution, sailed to the New World, and on the deck of the Arbella, halfway between England and Cape Cod, leader John Winthrop declared in his famous sermon A Model of Christian Charity, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.” This paints a clearer picture of the beginning of this nation upon godly principles.
Freedom was not Free!
Now that we have a clearer sense of the beginnings of our nation, let’s look at the Founders of this nation and what they believed.
George Washington – “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
John Adams, the 2nd President, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson- “Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.”
Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President in a quote found on the Jefferson Memorial – “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?
James Madison, our 4th President and Father of the U.S. Constitution has had this quote attributed to him. “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
Benjamin Franklin, most notable Founding Father, -“Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.
Patrick Henry, an Anti-Federalist of “Give me liberty or Give me death” fame, where this quoted is attributed – “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not be religionists but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
(A little about the Federalists and Anti-Fedralists)
In the 1830’s renowned French philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville toured America. When his tour had been completed, he made this observation: “I have toured America, and I have seen most of what you offer. I’ve seen the richness of the fields and the wealth of your mines. I’ve seen your industrial might, the beauties of the rivers, the streams, the lakes, and the grandeur of the mountains. I’ve noticed the abundance of the forests and the marvelous climate with which you are blessed. In none of these things did I see the cause for the greatness of America. It wasn’t until I went into your churches that I saw the reason for America’s greatness. America is great because America is good; and as long as America is good, America will be great. If it ever ceases to be good, it will cease to be great.”
Frederick Douglass, renowned American Abolitionist and devout chrisitan, revered the Founders despite his overall hatred and dissatisfaction with the existence of slavery in the 1800s.- “Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too, great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.”
16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln- during the Civil War was asked by an advisor whether he was grateful that God was on the side of The Union Army.-”Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan at a prayer breakfast in Dallas, TX 1984-”Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
What is clear is that the American Revolution disrupted the control from the British Monarchy as well as the rejection of the Anglican church. This began the official separation of church and state eliminating the ability of any government to force a particular religion onto its people.
While the men that followed were not perfect, the importance of God and Christianity in America cannot be understated. Freedom from tyranny is worth celebrating, and to a greater degree freedom because of the power and love of God.
What happened to those fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Many signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Others had their homes ransacked and burned. Still more lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Some fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War. They knew the potential cost.
Freedom was not free!
Now that we have reviewed the founding of this nation, let’s look more closely at America today.
Proverbs 14:34-Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
The word “righteous” goes back to a root word meaning “to move in a straight line.” Used with reference to morality, “righteous” means virtuous and/or living or acting in the right way.
Whether a nation’s conduct is righteous in accordance with the standards of God and according to His moral guidelines will determine the greatness of any nation.
We certainly see decay in our nation today. Violence. Abortion. Idol worship. Removal of all remnants of God or Scripture. We see godless principles and shameless behavior in our culture.
Are we still ONE NATION UNDER GOD?
Now the case against America. The Trial of the Century!
GOD OF ALL CREATION
THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Judge: God Himself
Prosecutor: The World
Defense: The Body of Christ in America
Prosecution: The claim of One Nation Under God did not exist truly until 1954. The natural rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness have very little to do with God. Americans pursue the American dream in spite of God.
Defense: The evidence is clear that this nation was founded on godly principles. From the time of the earliest settlers, God has been vital in the establishment of the society in America. While there have been mistakes, it is a work in progress towards a more perfect union.
The Case in Chief:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!
The USA has done a good job of ignoring the principle in this verse. Is it any wonder our nation is declining in righteousness?
Proverbs 13:6 -Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked.
Psalm 9:17 – The wicked shall return to Sheol (abode of the dead), all the nations that forget God.
Romans 1:20-21 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 3:23 – for All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.
Deuteronomy 8:17-20 – Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Let’s look at the ten commandments
Exodus 20:1-21 —
How is that working out right now in America?
The Lord wants us to prosper. He has great plans for us. His Word even says so. He wants to give us Hope. He loves us. Nothing can separate us from His love.
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Romans 8:28 -And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8: 38-39 – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Defense Rests
Isaiah 10:1-4- Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, 2 to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! 3 What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth?
America has twisted God and Jesus into the version we are comfortable with. They have molded Jesus into their image. They have conformed God into their image.
Americans truly believe in God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Americans believe that God wants them to be happy, and is there anything wrong with that?
According to Pew research, the percentage of people who even consider themselves Christian drops each year. Additionally, Church attendance is declining in the United States. This is across all demographics and denominations. The people are abandoning this Nation Under God little by little. Of thousands of high school students polled in public schools in recent years, over 90% claim not to attend church on any consistent basis.
Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death-
JESUS ENTERS IN! FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!
John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
The Holy Spirit to guide us
Isaiah 61:1 – 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;
John 14:24-26 – Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
The Lord is with us
Psalm 118: 5-6 – Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
We are Free!
John 8:31-32 – So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Romans 6: 18 – and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness
Romans 6: 21-22 – But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Romans 8: 1-2 – 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.
It is by Grace and Faith alone and not works
Ephesians 2: 8-10 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Now, Jesus finishes his sermon.
Go into your mission field!
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We have been given great freedom here in the United States, and we only have God to thank for that; however, each year, more and more people are getting farther and farther away from The Word of God and Gospel message. It is our responsibility to share that message of love, grace, mercy and truth.
2 Chronicles 7:14-if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Why has America moved away from its Godly roots?
Have we forgotten God as scripture warned against?
Have we not taken scripture seriously?
Will you pray that God will open your eyes to blind spots to pursue righeousness?
Will you follow Jesus?
At what cost?
–We know the Founding Fathers took great chances to create a free nation at great cost.
–We know that Jesus took the wrath of God for us at great cost.
–We know the Disciples of Christ suffered greatly for the cause of Christ.
–Ask God to reveal blind spots and ask the Holy Spirit to invade your heart and soul.
–Ask Him to help you to follow Jesus daily even if it is to the cross literally and figuratively.
–Ask Him to fortify your soul and to be willing to stand up for righteousness!
THE CALL OF CHRIST
We have great freedom in the United States, and let us celebrate today, Independence Day!
More importantly, let us celebrate the freedom we have from sin and bondage through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!
That is truly worth celebrating!