July Pastoral Message

4th of July Pastoral Message

By Rev. Dr. Nicholas V. Gamvas

We Are Free Because Jesus Rose From the Dead

 

On the 4th of July, we focus on preparing to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. As many will attest, the 4th of July comes with several mixed celebrations all across the country. From barbecues to fireworks displays, to parades galore it is indeed all good – but today we want to really examine what it means to be free – and to wrap our minds around freedom as we really should know it.

We are under the authority of this world  Our nation was built on wanting a freedom in choices that we make – but we are not only free today based on the ideas of our fore-fathers.

We are free because Jesus rose from the dead!
We are free to worship a Risen Savior!
We are free to worship openly in the church of our choice!

We have the right to declare that we are free from the tyranny of sin that plagues so many – and even plagues some of us  today!  We are free to thank God for the freedom we have, because it was not free to attain!

(Read Romans 13:1-7)

Pray for Governing Authorities
We are to respect those who are over us, and St. Paul is making sure that we understand. However, can God be involved in that authority? Certainly!!

Did you know that God placed those authorities over us?    This goes hand in hand back to the issue that our faith has  experienced over the centuries of time. Let’s see how God’s authority establishes the laws that we have now.

Exodus, Chapter 20
Take a glance at verses 13-17: Murder; Theft; Adultery;   Lying: All laws of the land!
Despite what some liberals want to convince you of, these are  actual laws on the books today, prosecuted against for breaking them – and yet most do not want to admit that the Bible was published WELL BEFORE these laws were in place!!

Remember the whole 10 Commandments issue.  This issue was whether a judge was free to publish the 10 Commandments in a public court house. Those opposed argued because they were offended – but when asked about the similarities between the 10 Commandments and our laws today …they had no comment!

However, the purpose of today is not to talk about that specific issue – but to understand that our mission is not just centered on St. Paul writing to us. Jesus gave us these very same principles as well!!

In (Matthew 22:17-21) – Basically summed up as “render onto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s!”

Application:  This means that we are to obey the laws of the land (respect for authority, pay your bills, etc.) and at the same time give to the Lord what He is due as well! This is    accomplished through tithing, service, giving of items to others, and most  importantly giving of YOU in all circumstances, true Christian Stewardship.

If our portion of rendering unto God is to give ourselves, what are we waiting for? We have an excellent example to follow in Jesus, and so if we are following Him – following the laws of the land ought to be a piece of cake!

The conscious celebration of those laws (or freedoms) ought  to go hand in hand with following the Lord’s example and   direction!

How do we celebrate our freedom?

Freedom means having the ability to do what is right (integrity) and chooses to do no wrong.

Integrity means doing what is right, even when no one is looking.  God owns it all … so what we have we ought to give glory for it! No matter what stage of life we are in today, we can give God  the glory for having what we have. You see, we can breath – we can get from place to place – and we can buy groceries to feed ourselves and to help feed others too. Even in the littlest things – we can celebrate our freedom.

Application:  Jesus gave us a road map to follow – a method to be free and show your freedom.  America was founded on freedom – and with this freedom comes a price.  Some have paid that price with their lives, and we celebrate them on the 4th of July.

REAL freedom comes from God through Jesus Christ, because  He died on a cross to give us freedom that we would have forever and ever – which to me, is much more important than anything temporary that this world could offer!

July 4th — make it about more than fireworks and food. Take the time to think to yourself of all you have – and get down on your knees and give God the thanks, the praise, and the glory.

This world is temporary – but Heaven and Hell are eternal. Choose this day to be free forever … because Jesus has already paid the price. Amen!

 

HAVE A BLESSED, HAPPY, AND SAFE, 4th OF JULY!