A Celebration of Freedom
John 8:31-36; Galatians 5:1, 13-15
July 4, 2004
Introduction: William Wallace asked the right question. If you saw the movie Braveheart, you know the story of the Scottish patriot. Mel Gibson directed and starred in the 1995 movie about the Scottish revolt in the 1400's. At one point in the movie, Wallace prepares a rag tag band of rebels for battle. They must face a larger and better-armed English army.
His says to his men—"I am William Wallace, and I see before me an army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. You are free, free from badges, free from flesh and free to love. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?"
A tall soldier near the front eyes the huge opposing forces arrayed across the valley and then answers, "Fight against that? No, we will run, and we will live."
Wallace responds, "Ay, fight and you may die, run and you'll live. At least a while! And dying in your beds many years from now, you would be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom."
What will you do with your freedom? That's a question to ask ourselves on the 4th of July. It is a good thing when the 4th falls on a Sunday. That way we are more apt to pause to give thanks to the One who bestowed our freedoms upon us. We make a tragic mistake when we separate God from our freedom. Without God, our concept of freedom can easily degenerate into selfishness. Wise men have always known that real freedom can only exist hand in hand with responsibility. William Wallace asked the right question, "What will you do with your freedom."
We naturally think of our national freedom on July 4th. We should. That's the great legacy of our founding fathers. We live in a land blessed with freedom. Few nations have ever known such liberties. We are free to gather in worship. No government official tells when, or how, or what to worship. We can speak our minds. A free press keeps us informed about our world. We choose where we live and what we do to make a living. We select our own leaders from dogcatcher to president. Many peoples around the world only dream of such privileges.
We celebrate July 4th because on that day our nation's founders signed the Declaration of Independence on that date in 1776. Many call it our country's Birth Certificate. Do you remember its opening words from your grade school social studies class?
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the ...
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