This month I traveled from the shores of Hawaii to the coast of Maine and then to Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. In Colorado this past week, I was reminded of our country’s heritage and how God has certainly blessed this great land. The mighty Rocky Mountains and the Pueblo Indian Cave Dwellings—the four corners monument and Pike’s Peak all speak of His glory. His goodness is evident in the United States of America. In seeing these sights, I also recalled a sermon I preached on July 4th two years ago at the First Baptist Church in Cornelia, Georgia. I would like to share some of that with you as we again celebrate God’s blessings on the United States this July 4, 2008.
This week we celebrate the founding of our beloved United States of America. Many of us will pledge our allegiance to our flag and to our country. I like the statement: one nation under God. Some of what I am about to say came from Michael W. Smith’s booklet about America.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that our country was founded on faith in God? Pericles founded the Greek civilization based on culture, and it failed. Caesar founded the Roman Empire based on power and it failed. But our founding fathers based America on “faith in God” and it will continue as long as our faith in God remains the foundation of our great country. I want to share two quotes with you from our founding fathers.
Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
As a nation under God we have freedom, we are free to choose, free to act, and free to speak. These freedoms are ours because we are a nation under God, and in God is our trust. As we look to our past, we realize that we have a firm foundation of biblical teaching and Christian faith. And as we look to the future, we must maintain that strong faith in the Lord and look to Him for our direction. Our focus cannot be on our culture or human power and might. It must be on Jesus Christ and His Spirit within us.
Psalm 33:12 states, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” God blesses the people and the nation who follows Him. In America, we will continue to see the blessing of God as long as He dwells in our midst. And as the Lord blesses America, we in turn must bless other nations. The American people are said to be the most generous people in the world. Surely, God has blessed other nations because of our obedience to His Word and truth.
Psalm 41 tells us; “Blessed is he who considers the poor, the Lord delivers him in the day of trouble. The Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land. The Lord does not give him up to the will of his enemies.” As Americans, we must continue to share with the people of the world so that they too might see the Lord, come to know Him, and be blessed by Him.
President Andrew Jackson said in his farewell address in 1837, “May He who holds in His hands the destinies of nations make you worthy of the favors He has bestowed and enable you with pure hearts and pure hands and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge He has committed to your keeping.” The Lord has committed unto us His Word to preach to the peoples of the earth. As we follow Jesus, He will bless others through our efforts and the kingdom of God will be increased.
As the greatest nation on earth we have the influence of a nation under God. That which began small in the beginning has increased in size through the courage of men and women of the past and a strong faith in God. Today, over 300 million people live in our country and it is still growing. We have influence around the world. We look to every continent, and we see missionaries at work proclaiming the gospel message. And these missionaries are not giving their lives in service in the international arena for money or power, or honor. They are doing this work for the Lord. Our country was founded upon faith in God and in order to stay strong, it cannot depart from its founding principles. If our people remain faithful to Him, our country will grow even stronger.
God’s influence is seen in our actions as well as our words. At the end of World War II as in other wars, the United States has gone back and rebuilt countries destroyed by war. Our nation contributed more than any other to the Tsunami Relief and other natural disasters around the world. The graduates of Toccoa Falls College have gone as relief workers, missionaries, teachers and soldiers to share the influence of freedom to other nations. Roy Thaxton and other Toccoa Falls College students responded when called by their country to serve in World War II.
On July 4, 1993, I was flying with a music group from one island to another in Indonesia. Our missionary partner who was traveling with us asked the flight attendant if we could sing the American National Anthem. We were on an Indonesian airliner and we were flying over the Pacific Ocean. She asked the pilot and he agreed and then announced to all the passengers what was about to happen. There—while flying over the middle of the Pacific—we sang The National Anthem. When we finished, there was great applause. We shared a little of the freedom of our great country on that flight. God opens up many ways for us to share His message to our world.
As Americans and as Christians, we have a responsibility to reach out to those around the world. To remain strong we must reach out and touch others for Jesus Christ. When we do, God will continue to bless this great country. May we today guard that freedom to worship the Lord in our influence in our neighborhoods and around our nation. May we celebrate the goodness of God and help ensure that the United States of America continues to be built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and the Word of God.
James Madison, our fourth president, said, “No people ought to feel greater obligation to celebrate the goodness of God, the great disposer of events and destiny of nations than the people of the United States…and to the same God, the divine author of every good and perfect gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land.”
As we celebrate again on July 4, may we remember that Jesus is the foundation of our country and the blessings He bestows. May we stay true to His Word and may we work to share that message across our nation and around the world.
May God bless you this week and May God Bless America. II Chronicles 7:14.