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Declaration of Independence

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Everyone is a Slave to something... Who is your master? Sin or God?

Notes & Transcripts

Intro

This sermon is Split into 3 different topics, First we will Look at The Declaration of Independence since July 4th is just a couple days away. Secondly we will look at one of God’s decisions and lastly we will look at our own decision.
You see the first thing we must understand is that things always happen in that order. God decides to give us something, send something our way, or allow something to happen to us. And then we have to decide what to do with that blessing, what to do about that conflict, or how to deal with what has happened to us.

Body

1. The Reason Behind the Declaration.

As far as Jefferson was concerned, King George III was an overbearing tyrant, enslaving his colonists to his will. And Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry all knew that “no law” really just meant another bad law. So, Lee, Jefferson, and some others got together and decided that it was time to throw off a bad master, and choose a good law.
With today being July 2nd, just a couple days away from independence day I think it would be appropriate to take a few minutes here and look at what Jefferson wrote: But instead of me standing up here and taking 10 minutes to read the entire Declaration, I have pulled out a few quotes and summarized it so that it is easier to understand and much shorter. You’re welcome.
But instead of me standing up here and taking 10 minutes to read the entire Declaration, I have summarized it so that it is easier to understand and much shorter. You’re welcome.
In the opening paragraph it reads
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the political Bands which have connected them with another, Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
This opening paragraph of the document sets forth one of the main purposes of the document: to explain the reasons for wanting separation from Great Britain.
Then it goes on to state...
“The History of the present King of Great Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object and Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”
In order to prove their right to separate themselves from Great Britain and to convince the rest of the world that their cause was just, the Declaration's writers needed to show the world that the British government acted in a manner that justified the colonists' decision to "dissolve the political bands" with Great Britain.
next it says...
We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS...solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown..."
and...
“FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES...have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do”
Just in case you were confused, the committee states directly the purpose of the Declaration of Independence. Its purpose is to notify the world that they are free and independent states, and more importantly, "ought to be."
One thing that one will notice while studying this document is how the many grievances about which Jefferson wrote, never implied that order itself or even monarchy was bad. Their biggest gripe was’nt a bad form of government but the Laws which that government was supposed to uphold. He wouldn’t let laws be made; He wouldn’t enforce the laws that were there. And because of that, the Colonists were being forced to live under “bad law.” It was Jefferson’s claim that King George was merely trying to impose his will as the law. And it was that with which Jefferson disagreed.
When we Americans talk about freedom, we are supposed to know what we are talking about. We’re not talking about no law, we’re talking about good law. In declaring independence, they knew they had broken one law, but an even higher law compelled to do so. Jefferson wrote:
“It is their right; it is their DUTY to throw off such Government, and to provide guards for their future security.”
This Declaration of Independence was not a call to throw off all law. In fact, it was the opposite– the Founding Fathers’ biggest problem with King George was that his law was bad law or no law at all. The whole point of this document was not that monarchy was somehow inherently bad – it was that this particular monarch no longer served their interests.
Well, back in Bible Times, Paul also knew a thing or two about freedom, as well. He realized that you could declare any type of independence you wanted. But, regardless of what you said or did, there were still laws. Laws of Nature or “natural rights.” These Laws of Nature can also be reffered to as God’s law. You see Paul’s whole line of thinking was based around the realization that the question isn’t if you are going to live under laws, but whose. And, what would that law be like. Would it be a kind, beneficent law? Or, would it be the arbitrary law of sin that inevitably leads to death? Looking back we can see how this idea was resurrected again in 1776. Everyone realized you had to make a choice. Anarchy isn’t viable. There will always be an order – the goal is too make sure you’re under a good one.

Transitional Statement: We are all under laws, but we have the choice to decide which laws those are. So while I continue with the next point which is entitled “God’s Decision” just bear that in mind.

2. God’s Decision

1. Genesis – God’s first gift to man in the Garden of Eden was Life but His second gift was freedom. (free will)
The Founding Fathers' understanding of freedom and the role of government lines up effortlessly with what the Bible has to say about freedom. While studying this topic i ran across a quote by James Merritt which states
"The Founding Fathers understood clearly that the connection between God and government, freedom and faith was not only necessary, but absolutely indispensable."
God calls all of us to freedom. God's first gift to mankind in the Garden of Eden was life but the next gift was freedom. And with the gift of freedom came one of the most precious things that God has ever given us. It is called free will.” You see, God does not want a bunch of robots down here on earth to worship Him. God wants us to choose Him out of our love for Him, and that is impossible without freedom. God's intention for every human being is that human beings should be free. The Declaration of Independence tells us that we have unalienable rights, meaning life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have these rights because freedom is a gift from God and we must trust God to maintain these rights.
Real freedom means loving others more than you love yourself. Love takes the place of every law God has ever given. If every person loved other people as much as they love themselves, we could solve every problem in this country. If you love people, then you wouldn't hurt them, steal from them or lie to them. So the question has to be asked, how can I learn to love others? By emerging yourself in God's Word and maintaining an active prayer life.

Transition statement: This leads us to our next topic, Since God has granted us this freedom, what are we going to do with it?

3. Our decision

Romans 6:1–23 NKJV
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You see in these verses right here, where it says “old man” in verse six it is talking about the old self, which is your former self before salvation.
Later in verse six it states that the “body of sin might be done away with” The Body of Sin is not a mass of sin or a sin that resixes in the body and can be taken out, but that the body is an instrument - one which sin uses to tempt us.
Also, the verse says that this body is going to be done away with with. This does not mean that the body will be annhialated but that it will be “reduced to a state of impotence” this means that it is defeated and deprived of power.
To paraphrase, what Paul says here is that since we have accepted Christ into our heart and He has granted us salvation, we have died and been raised from the from the dead with Him. And now we are no longer slaves of sin because we have been freed from it by death.
Looking now in verse 8 it says...
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
While looking at these verses one can see that Christ’s relationship with sin was far different compared to people. He knew no sin, nor was he able to sin. And yet He died to sin. Satisfying its demands once for all, He also died to its power, forever breaking its dominion over those who belong to God through His Son.
You see when you stop serving Sin, you begin to serve God.
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
One thing to note there, bodies are not evil, but believers must not allow sin a place of power in their bodies. Sin has been rendered powerless unless you grant it power.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
In verse 15 Paul poses a great question… He says “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”
What Paul is saying here is that Grace does not free anyone to sin but it frees believers from sin. You see, Paul is once again emphasizing that if you are living under sin, than you are a slave to it, but the free gift of Grace will free you from the bondage of sin and you are no longer its slave.
Paul’s writings are very straight forward here. If you’re in sin, sin is your master. And he asks a great question: When you were in Sin, what advantage did it gain you?
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Paul’s writings are very straight forward here. If you’re in sin, sin is your master. And he asks a great question: When you were in Sin, what advantage did it gain you?
When Jefferson asked this question about King George, the answer was pretty simple. It meant you couldn’t go over the Appalachian Mountains. It meant you couldn’t trade with anyone but Great Britain; and it meant everywhere you looked, there was another tax.
Sin is the same way. It traps you. It demands total loyalty, and every time you think you’ve paid the price, it demands something more.
So, for Paul, Christ himself was a Declaration of Independence from sin.
From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God
If you want to obey the laws of sin, go ahead. It’s your right. Just remember – you’re its slave.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
But for now lets focus on Paul.... He was asked the question, “How’s your master treating you?” Elsewhere, the Bible admits, Sin is pleasant for season. People who choose truly believe that they are getting something out of it.
But here’s the point – Sin is a fickle master. I know; I’ve been there. Just when you think you’ve gotten something, it turns sour. It doesn’t last.
If, on the other hand, you are willing to submit in obedience, you have a kind Master who loves you. Although we didn’t read it, & 23 will go on to say:
that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
® vs. 12 Bodies are not evil, but believers must not allow sin a place of power in their bodies. Sin has been rendered powerless unless you grant it power.
Put another way – if you’re going to be subject to some type of law, you may as well choose a good one.
® vs. 15 Grace does not free anyone to sin but it frees believers from sin.
And, if you have, how faithful have been to the King you’ve chosen? Which side of the battle are you fighting? Whoever you obey, that’s your Master. If you are trapped in Sin, you’re no better than a Benedict Arnold. But guess what, your Master is kind. He will take you back.

Conclusion

So, on this Independence Day, I have a question for you. What you are dependent on? As we are about to sing our closing hymn, and as we go to our Heavenly Father in prayer, I want to ask you again – How’s your Master treating you? Are you dependent on Nature’s God, the very author of liberty himself? His free gift, His grace, is that you can become his very son. If you haven’t declared yourself on his side, you can do so today.
And, if you have, how faithful have been to the King you’ve chosen? Which side of the battle are you fighting? Whoever you obey, that’s your Master. If you are trapped in Sin, you’re no better than a Benedict Arnold. But guess what, your Master is kind. He will take you back.
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