Freedom Is Never Free
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
We live in a free country. Our freedom is no accident. It is God-given. However, it has been preserved by brave men and women who have sacrificed their very lives so that we might remain free. With all of my heart I pray that we might continue to enjoy this great freedom -- that our children and grandchildren may know and experience the joy and blessedness of the freedom that we have known -- "that we might stand fast in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free."
There are three things that I want us to consider this morning as we think about our freedom and as we hold dear to our hearts the memory of those who have fought and died for the love of this great land.
I. THE COST OF OUR FREEDOM
Freedom is never free. The freedom that we enjoy as Americans has been purchased at the cost of the lives of our forefathers.
The coming of the Pilgrim fathers was prompted by one overarching compulsion -- to escape the soul bondage under which they were forced to live during the reign of Henry VIII of England. And though they came by way of Holland, their basic motive was to establish a society where no man would be forced to violate his conscience by giving support to something in which he did not believe.
Beginning in Jamestown in 1607, there was structured into the framework of Americanism the story of legions of American patriots who believed in God and followed Jesus Christ with the unswerving conviction that man, created in God's own image, was to be subservient to no one save God only. They loved liberty more than life and were even willing to die rather than be forced to live under the dictatorial and hellish coalition of church and state.
In 1620 the Pilgrims set up the basic principles of Americanism -- this was to be a land of liberty, of soul freedom where each and every citizen could worship and serve God according to his own conscience.
In 1776 the issue was clearly drawn between the continued freedom of these Americans or a cruel and depressive dictatorship. On July 4, 1776, the Congress of the 13 states issued their Declaration of Independence from England.
Old Ben Franklin stood up in the company of men who were about to affix their signatures to that document, and he said, "This is a great risk, for if we sign our names and lose in our cause, then our identity will be known and all will be lost." That immortal 56 who stood in old Independence Hall in Philadelphia risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor -- everything was put down in that signature.
We well remember the stories of Boston, Concord, Paul Revere and the old North Church. This Declaration, along with the Bill of Rights, passed in 1791 are the most precious gifts ever given to a free people. They are the foundation stones upon which our nation was founded.
And may I say that not only did it cost much to purchase the freedom of our nation, but it has cost much to ...
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