Dependence Upon God (7/5/15)

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Sermons | 0 comments

On July 4, we celebrated the independence of our country from England.  But on July 5, Pastor Jim led us into a celebration of our DEPENDENCE on God.  Our nation’s roots are founded on God, and we need to keep praying for all of our leaders.

Click the below “play” button to start the recording, then scroll down to follow along…

 

 

Our scripture was from 1 Timothy 2:1-7.  Pastor Jim read from The Living Bible translation (paraphrase)…

1 Timothy 2:1-7

1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,

4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.

5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.

6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.

7 And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.  New Living Bible 

 

Fourth of July Quiz…

Even though there have been many changes in our culture and in the government that represents it, it is well to remember that our Founding Fathers were largely people of faith.  Try out this “quiz”; you might be surprised!

OUR FIRST PRESIDENT TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE AND PUT HIS HAND ON ____?

Click Here for the Answer

The Bible!  And every president since has done the same thing.

HOW DID THE FOUNDING FATHERS DETERMINE TO OPEN SESSIONS OF CONGRESS?

Click Here for the Answer

Prayer!

The inclusion of prayer before the opening of each session of both the House and Senate, traces its origins back to the days of the Continental Congress and the official recommendation of Benjamin Franklin on June 28, 1787:

I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live,  the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?  We have been assured in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’

I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, imploring the assistance of heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.

… Close the answer drop down before clicking “Next” (or, if you click “Next”  first, you’ll have to scroll up to see the remaining questions)…

WHO LEADS THE PRAYERS IN CONGRESS?

Click Here for the Answer

The official Chaplain of the Congress

WHO PAYS FOR THAT CHAPLAIN?

Click Here for the Answer

The Chaplain is Taxpayer Funded!

  • Doesn’t that violate the constitution? Nope!-  Click Here for a discussion about this issue.
WHO DECIDED TO PUT “IN GOD WE TRUST” ON OUR COINS?

Click Here for the Answer

Congress!

This was adopted on April 22, 1864.  Click Here for more information on this act.

Does all of that sound like the founding fathers wanted to keep God out of government?

In his letter to Thomas Jefferson, on June 28, 1813, John Adams wrote:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.

 

  • On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from England.
  • Two days later, the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed.
  • Four days later, the Declaration was read out loud to the people of Philadelphia.
  • After that, they rang what we now know as the Liberty Bell…
The inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus 25:10, which says:

Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all  the inhabitants thereof.

 

Independence AND Dependence!

When John Adams and the other signers affixed their names to the Declaration of Independence they were committing treason and opening themselves to England’s death penalty.  The closing paragraph of the Declaration says:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

After signing the document, Adams is quoted as saying: “Whether we live or die, sink or swim, succeed or fail, I stand behind this Declaration of Independence.  And if God wills it, I am ready to die in order that this country might experience freedom.”

Are we willing to make that same commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Just as the cross was our “Birth Certificate” of new life in the Grace and forgiveness given by Christ, our freedom was carried on the shoulders of those who were willing to give their all.  The founding fathers declared independence from England, but they also made an equally strong declaration of DEPENDENCE on God!

 

Our Leaders were Men of Prayer…

450px-The_Prayer_at_Valley_Forge_by_Arnold_FribergGeorge Washington’s army had more defeats during the war than victorys.  But weather, “luck”, and so many events made it clear that the hand of God was with us during this revolution.

In the darkest moments of the Revolutionary war, General George Washington is said to have knelt in the snow of Valley Forge to call upon God for His guidance.

The painting entitled “The Prayer at Valley Forge” by Arnold Friberg (in 1975), depicts the “Father of our Country” turning to our Heavenly Father.  Peter Dominy, CEO of Friberg Fine Art, inc said:

We trust that this painting will create a lasting legacy that can be viewed and remembered by all citizens and visitors as a symbol of this nation’s birth that eloquently communicates the need for prayer in guiding the people and leaders of the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln routinely rose at 4:00AM to pray.
President Franklin Roosevelt, on the eve of the D-Day invasion, gave an impassioned prayer on the radio affirming his reliance on God.  Here’s how the prayer ended… (Click Here to listen to the entire prayer)…

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

 

Pray for Our Leaders…

Our Christian response to government is to pray for our leaders.  In Romans 13, Paul says that the leadership is there for our peace.  He writes in 1 Timothy 2:2 that we should pray for all of our leaders because God put them there to give us earthly peace and freedom so that we could freely worship God.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  (The Message)

You may not have voted for some of these people; you may not even like some of them.  But we need to be in constant prayer for all of them.  Paul is saying, “Pray for these leaders who have the authority to lead in a way that brings peace for the church and all people to thrive and to live freely, not in opposition to, but under protection of the state.

God doesn’t care if we’re an elephant or donkey…  He comes first.  Pray for whomever is in office.  Be proactive, pray ahead of time, and then watch God work.  If “the other person” gets in office, does God jump up and scratch his head, “what are we going to do?!?”  No.  God says just keep praying. I’ve got it covered.

Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States

John Boehnor, Speaker of the House

John Boehner, Speaker of the House

Cory Booker, US Senate (NJ)

Cory Booker, US Senate (NJ)

Chris Christie, Governor NJ

Chris Christie, Governor NJ

FrankLoBiondo, US House of Representatives (NJ-3rd)

Frank LoBiondo, House of Representatives

Mitch McConnell, US Senate Majority Leader

Mitch McConnell, US Senate Majority Leader

Bob Menendez, US Senator (NJ)

Bob Menendez, US Senator (NJ)

Donald Norcross, US House of Representatives (NJ-1st)

Donald Norcross, US House of Representatives (NJ-1st)

Barack Obama, President of the United States

Barack Obama, President of the United States

Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader US House of Representatives

Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, House

Harry Reid, Minority Leader US Senate

Harry Reid, Minority Leader US Senate

John Roberts, Chief Justice US Supreme Court

John Roberts, Chief Justice US Supreme Court

And there are so many others.  We need to pray for our county and township leaders.  Pray for our pastor, District Superintendent and bishop.  Pray for the delegates to next year’s General Conference.  We may agree or disagree with some of the decisions that have been made, but we can pray that God’s will is always followed.

“I don’t like what ___ did.”  PRAY!

Prayer may not make what we want to happen, but prayer can change us to be more what God wants.  Prayer is to “Make it His way” (not Burger King’s “Have it YOUR way”).

You may not agree with decisions our leaders make, but they’re still giving you the freedom to worship and to serve God.

 

If MY People Will Pray!!!

Paul calls us to a ministry of prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1 where he says that “supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for ALL people…

All People!?!  Remember that Paul is writing this during the reign of Emperor Nero!  Nero blamed the Christians for a fire in Rome,so he got back at them by using Christians as human torches!  We complain about some politicians we don’t like, but consider where Paul was coming from.  In verse 2 of 1 Timothy 2, Paul is saying that we should pray for all who are in authority over us….

… for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Notice that Paul doesn’t say something like, “hey God- blast Nero into utter oblivion.  He’s really a bad dude!  You’ve got to do something about him!!!”  NO!  Paul tells us to “pray for kings”…  and  all who are in high positions, “that we may lead a peaceful and quite life.”

In other words, pray for peace amidst persecution.

John Chrysostom, a 4th century Church Father, said:

When you pray for someone it makes it a lot harder to hate a person, to despise a person, to react negatively against a person.  When you pray for someone, you begin to love that person. 

 

A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian Missionary Alliance, was said to wake up in the morning, fall on his knees, clutch a globe and just begin to weep in prayer.  Oh, that this would be the picture of our lives all throughout the week, and then our life together as a church when we come together.  That we are clutching, embracing the world in prayer.
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.
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel  the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.  It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess  our national sins,  and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

 

One of the Bible’s key verses on prayer is 2 Chronicles 7:14…

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.   NKJV

If MY People…  We need to be in prayer for everyone.  We need to be praying all the time.  When’s the last time  you prayed for the President? Or for congress?

God’s people have a mission to pray for all kinds of different people: Jews and Gentiles, Rich and Poor, different ethnicities, different nationalities, different backgrounds, different demographics.  Let your prayers be diverse.  Don’t  let your praying be elitist.  Don’t let your praying only be for people you like or people who agree with you on a particular position.  The prayers of God’s people  must be for all persons… Regardless!

 

Prayer:  The Devil’s Greatest Fear!

James 5:16 tells us…

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.   NKJV

Satan’s main concern is to keep Christians from praying!  Someone has said that “the devil trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees.”  God’s people need to use of freedom of religion and pray for our country and for those in authority over us.

Samuel Chadwick, a 19th century Methodist preacher said…

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, or prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks at  our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.

 

Andrew Murray, the great South African Christian writer said…

The man who mobilizes the Christian Church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.

 

As a people of God, as people who are called to pray, as citizens of the greatest country in human history, we pause to thank God for our land and recognize God’s gracious blessings upon our great land.  Use our freedom to pray to God, and then watch as God brings about change.

Perhaps we can begin today praying for our nation and all elected officials by simply praying the words which are very familiar to Philadelphia Flyer fans.  Words which were penned by Irving Berlin and have been immortalized  by the late Kate Smith:

God bless America, land that I love.  Stand beside her,  and guide her, through the night with the light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam.

God bless America!  My home sweet home!

 

On April 18, 1775 John Adams and John Hancock were at the home of Rev. Jonas Clarke, a Lexington pastor and militia leader. The morning after Paul Revere warned them of the approaching Redcoats, British Major Pitcairn shouted to an assembled regiment of Minutemen:

“Disperse, ye villains, lay down your arms in the name of George the Sovereign King of England.”

The immediate response of Rev. Clark and his company was:

“We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus!”

Pray for eachother.  Pray for our church.  Pray for our leaders.

God will bless America when we proclaim:  “We have no King but Jesus!”

 


Our country’s founding father’s and presidents have consistently acknowledged the power of prayer and our Dependence on God.  Pastor Jim researched the following quotes, but didn’t have time to include them in the spoken sermon.  Here’s some “bonus material” included only on the website…

Bonus Tracks

John Adams (2nd president), in 1778 wrote:

Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Thomas Jefferson, in 1871, wrote:

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.

John Quincy Adams (6th president):

No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied, and so profoundly meditated upon as the bible.

Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 said:

God governs the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid???

Theodore Roosevelt (26th president), in 1917 wrote:

In this actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down-grade.

Woodrow Wilson (28th president), in 1911 wrote:

America was born a Christian nation.  America was  born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture.

Calvin Coolidge (30th president), in 1923 wrote:

(Our Founding Fathers) were intent upon establishing a Christian commonwealth in accordance with the principle of self-government.  They were an inspired body of men. It has been said that God sifted the nations that He might send choice grain into the wilderness… Who can fail to see it in the hand of destiny?  Who can doubt that it has been guided by a divine Providence?

President Herbert Hoover finished his inauguration address with these words:

I ask the help of Almighty God in this service to my country to which you have called me.

Harry S. Truman (33rd president), said:

If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear.

Gerald Ford (38th president), in 1974 quoted a 1955 speech by President Eisenhower:

Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life.  Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first- the most basic- expression of Americanism.  Thus the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.

 

 

 


 Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…

 

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