Leadership

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In the LORD I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”? For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.

Psalms 11:1 – 7

Heading into a crucial election year soon has reminded me again why the Foundations of Our Freedom need to be remembered and realized. I would like us to be prepared for decisions we will make as we are given the right and privilege to vote for future candidates and on issues that will affect our lives. That is one of the main reasons I want to preach on The Foundations of Freedom.

Have you ever had someone, or a group of well-intended friends or families try to give you counsel based on their own bias? I have. How did it work out for you?

This is precisely what was happening with David. He states his unshakable trust in the Lord as His refuge during times of challenge. Then it appears his “counselors” respond in panic with advice and support… their lack of faith is revealed in how they responded.

Let’s take a moment and see what is happening in this Psalm of David…Psalm 11:3 – 7.

The pivotal verse may very well be verse 3… “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Perhaps the best translation from the Hebrew and interpretation of this verse is done by Joseph Alexander in the classic three-volume commentary, The Psalms: Translated and Explained, first published in 1850 and printed again by Baker Book House in 1975. On page 53, Alexander wrote…

The year was 1833. The place was the Island of Jamaica, the Crown Colony of the British Empire. The issue was the abolition of slavery. Although the British considered Jamaica an important resource to their empire, their Parliament had voted to set the nation free. A date was set, and the island slaves waited for their freedom with great anticipation.

Finally, the morning came, and as the rays of the sun announced the day, across the Island could be heard the song, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last.”

Likewise, a song of freedom is at the heart of the American spirit. We are a nation founded upon the idea of Freedom.

Our Constitution declares we were established:

“To secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and those who would follow.”

In his Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln declared our nation to have been “conceived in liberty.” Freedom and America are synonymous terms.

But true freedom never comes apart from God. Our Forefathers understood and acknowledged that vital truth. That is why they ensured that America was built on solid foundations from the Word of God when they established this land.

THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR FREEDOM.

John 8:32 “And you will know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”

A clear understanding of the truths of life, morality, honesty, and social order is best found in the Bible. The teachings of no other document more plainly describe the principles upon which nations build a civilized society.

These Biblical principles have come to be known as the Judeo-Christian Ethic. And although they are numerous and found throughout the Bible, we will look at seven of the most basic ones that have undoubtedly served as foundations for our great nation.

Our Country’s founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and others, have been given to us by our Founding Fathers. They had to lean upon some common understanding of law, government, social order, and a basic moral code to form such documents. These major areas sprang from a common acceptance of what has come to be known as the Judeo-Christian Ethic.

What is meant by “Judeo-Christian” is “the influence of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament on one’s system of values, laws, and ethical code.” It is not just a system of theological thought but a culture of values as seen in one’s individual right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Some would debate that a few of our nation’s Founding Fathers were not true Christians, and some were Deists. What matters were their writings, words, and votes, indicating that the vast majority of them embraced the Judeo-Christian Bible as the basis for a civilized society and social order. During these days of rampant pluralism and situation ethics, we pastors, parents, teachers (and our people) must remember these same anchors of faith and values were given to us through the Word of God.

Although there are many biblical principles from which our Judeo-Christian values spring, I have selected seven biblical principles that seem to have the most significant relevance in America’s past and present. These “common sense” values provide moral balance in a seemingly unbalanced world.

Principle #1 – The Dignity and Sanctity of Human Life

Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.”

Matt 22:39, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Scriptures emphatically teach the significance of valuing and preserving human life. Our Founding Fathers wrote In the Declaration of Independence that every man, woman, and child has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We Americans believe this for our citizens and send our courageous men and women in uniforms worldwide to defend the rights of those whose lives are threatened. 

When we believe and understand that every human being has measureless worth, that does away with bigotry, racism, self-centeredness, and all the rest that goes along with it. Suppose people and nations do not grant this respect and protection to the born and unborn. In that case, all other professed mores and values are meaningless and useless because they are no longer undergirded by the most basic human need—the need to exist.  The dignity of human life is not just a standard in the Bible—it is the beginning principle of any civilized society.

Principle #2 – The Preservation of The Traditional Family

Genesis 2:21 – 24, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

The Biblical view of marriage and family is the basis of our society and serves as the backbone of a healthy social order. It is the clear plan of God that involves a man and a woman producing children within the institution of marriage. At the beginning of humanity was the joining together of Adam and Eve. Marriage has been defined as a holy union between one man and one woman, and out of that union comes children born into a loving home with a father and a mother to nurture them and teach them how to become healthy, productive, and responsible citizens.

God instituted the traditional family defined as one man and one woman. If this marriage is blessed with children, those children have the right to a godly and secure home with a Dad and Mom.

When God’s definitions of “marriage” and “family” are no longer respected, these institutions become meaningless. World history has repeatedly proven that preserving the traditional family is vital to the future of any great nation.

Principle #3 – Having A National Work Ethic

2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”

It means people should work for their livelihood and the welfare of others. We are not to be dependent upon the government for our livelihood. The very fiber within the American spirit is the willingness and desire to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage. This self-determining spirit has no desire to exist on handouts from the government or live off the generous benevolence of others. And it is this independent spirit that has caused America to create the greatest and most robust economy in the history of the world.

Yes, Americans have had their challenges. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the pandemic of the 2020s knocked us to our knees, but they did not beat us. Hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart, Americans helped one another and lifted our nation back to economic might.

The world’s powers may look at our nation and ask from where this spirit of honest and diligent labor has come. So, where did this work ethic originate in the American psyche? It came from the men and women before us who were taught to believe the principles and practice of honest work found throughout the Word of God.

Principle #4 – The Right to A God-Centered Education

Deuteronomy 6:1 – 7, “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you—“a land flowing with milk and honey.’ “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” No one can possibly understand the creation without first knowing its Creator.

Our forefathers, without a doubt, understood this. Did you know that most of America’s oldest and most respected universities—such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth—were founded by Christian preachers or churches?

Harvard University, founded in 1636, adopted “Rules and Precepts,” which included the following: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.” The university’s original seal has upon it these words: “Truth for Christ and the Church.”

In addition, the first textbook for school children, The New England Primer, taught the ABCs to children by instructing them to memorize: “A—In Adam’s fall, we sinned all. B—Heaven to find, the Bible mind.”

This does not mean that all schools should be Christian, but it does mean the recognition of the Creator God.

It has been said today’s youth are tomorrow’s future. Our nation’s first president, George Washington, reminded us of the importance of a God-centered education when he wrote, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle…it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Principle # 5 – Recognizing The Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 12:1 – 3, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your Country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Galatians 3:7 “Therefore, know that only thse who are of faith are sons of Abraham.”

Psalms 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…”

The book of Genesis records the story of God coming to Abraham and making a covenant with him, which means that a Nation under God was a nation that was especially blessed above all the nations of the world.

The foundation of this covenant was that if Abraham followed God in obedience to His laws and commandments, God would bless Abraham with a legacy of children that would outnumber the stars in the heavens (Gen. 15:5). Therefore, Abraham believed God and obeyed His Word, and God rewarded him with a nation of people known as the Jews.

The Abrahamic Covenant states that if a person or a nation obeys God, observing the moral truths found in the Bible, that person or nation will be blessed.  If they disobey, they will bring punishment upon themselves. For most of our nation’s history, Americans have accepted that good deeds produced good results and that God would bless people who were “God-fearing” and respectable in language and lifestyle. This fact has been proven to be accurate time and again. Proverbs writer says plainly, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

Principle #6 – Being a Nation of Common Decency

Matthew 22:39 “The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Simply put, decent nations are made up of decent people who would do decent and honest things when faced with a situation. This has been the experience of our national history, for the most part. For example, Americans have given their lives in wars on foreign soil so that others might taste freedom. Americans have worked to feed the world’s poor and hungry, to clothe the naked, and aid the disabled. Americans have opened their arms to many of the world’s oppressed people groups and allowed them safe harbor upon our shores.

Engraved on the pedestal on which stands the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor are these words by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

A world-renowned symbol of freedom, this Statue reminds us of all that America has indeed been and continues to be today, a nation of common decency

Principle #7 – Realizing Our Personal Accountability to God

Hebrews 9:27 “…it is appointed for men to die once but after this the judgment.”

Perhaps the most significant restraint for acts of evil against one’s fellow man is the realization that every person and nation will one day give an account for their actions to Almighty God. Indeed, the Bible tells us that we are responsible for our actions and will be held accountable for what we do or don’t do. Also, there is a penalty for doing wrong to our fellow man, and there is a blessing when we do that which is right, noble, and just.

A story is told of Daniel Webster, the great American statesman who was once asked, “What is the most sobering thought that ever entered your mind?” He quickly responded, “My personal accountability to God.” Daniel Webster knew that one day he would stand before God in eternity and give an account for his actions. The same applies to every man, woman, and nation.

The Founding Fathers knew these and other Scripture principles were essential for preserving our national freedom.

America has been blessed as a nation in a precise way. It is not that we are a special people above all other nations—not at all—but there is no doubt God’s blessings have indeed been given to us because, for the greater part of our history, a greater portion of our people have honored and obeyed the Word of God. What is true for us is true for all others who choose it, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Ps. 33:12).

THE GREATEST FREEDOM OF ALL

Upon our coinage is stamped these words: “E PLURIBUS UNUM” It is Latin meaning: “From Many — One” America is a nation of ones. For the “Land” to be free, the people must be free!

That is the message of the Gospel. Jesus told us He had come into the world to set men free. Certainly, Christ is the greatest Freedom Fighter this world has ever known!

Galatians 5:1 (NIV), “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm…”

Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

FREE from SIN… 

Think about it… No longer do sin and the weight of sin control our lives. No longer are we controlled by the World, the Flesh, and Devil. We become free to live our own lives for the very first time.

FREEDOM from ETERNAL DEATH

Death no longer has control over us, for through Christ, we have conquered Death, Hell, and the Grave. This can only come by placing our faith alone in Jesus Christ!

Are you free today? I’m not talking about political or social freedom but spiritual freedom. Eternal freedom.

Have you been set free by Christ? You can make your eternal proclamation of Freedom today. Place your faith alone in Jesus Christ (The real foundation for freedom), and He will become your Savior. Allow Him to Set You Free!

Even if our Country no longer holds to any or all the seven biblical principles that have the most significant relevance in America’s past and present, we can remain free in Christ!

Thank you to Dr. Richard Lee for the information used to prepare this sermon.

Dr. Richard Lee is the founding pastor of First Redeemer Church in Atlanta. He served as general editor of The American Patriot’s Bible (Thomas Nelson) and has contributed to numerous other publications and books. Pastor Lee holds doctorates in theology, pastoral ministry, literature, and law and continues his postdoctoral studies at the University of Oxford. Dr. Lee’s television broadcast, There’s Hope, has received the prestigious Ministry of the Year award from the National Religious Broadcasters. He has served as President of the Pastor’s Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a member of the Oxford Roundtable, a Trustee of Liberty University and Liberty School of Law, and a Board member of the National Religious Broadcasters. Find out more about Dr. Lee’s ministries at http://www.thereshope.org

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Written by Stan Ponz
Dr. Stan Ponz is founder and president of Make It Clear Ministries (a national ministry that began in 1973 to help people take the Gospel and the Word of God into every person's world!). Stan also serves as President of Clarity Christian College. and is married to his high school sweetheart Carol, who led him to the Lord in 1966.