Faithlife Sermons

Celebrate Our Heritage

Notes
Transcript

Celebrate Our Heritage

Our passage that I’ve chosen for today displays a contrast that I believe speaks to us as we celebrate our nations heritage and also our commitment as Christians in the world today.
Our passage is Galatians 6:1-10
Galatians 6:1–10 ESV
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Let’s pray:
Holy Triune God, we have gathered here on a day that our country celebrates its birth to give you our worship. You alone are worthy of glory. You are the one who holds the nations of this world in the palm of your hand. God open our hearts this morning to hear the message you have for us to hear from your Word. Bind distractions and wandering thoughts from us and for this time attune our hearts and minds to Your Word. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening. We pray this all to your glory. AMEN.
Today is the day we celebrate the birth of our nation, a nation like all others that was created with perhaps the best of intentions and yet has never been perfect. As one reads through the history of the United States of America there is clearly much to celebrate. And there is much to cause us to mourn and recognize a need to repent as a nation. Our nation is, as many have said, a “great melting pot” of cultures and beliefs that has endured for 245 years. At its inception it seemed to have the best of intentions:
The founding fathers of our country put it this way:

We hold these truths to be self-evident,...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
So begins the document that declared our independence from England. This new nation would become a great power in the world. The United States would become one of the most prosperous nations in the world - sending aid around the world, furthering science and technology, medicine, and defending the oppressed.
Yet even in the midst of our celebrations, we can’t forget the aspects of our history that are more painful. We cannot forget the treatment of those original citizens of this land, the Native Americans, and the damaging effects of which we can still observe today.
We can’t wipe out of our history the memory of slavery, and the thread of racism that it wove into the fabric of our nation.
We cannot forget the nationally sponsored racism of internment “camps” (more like prisons), imprisoning people based upon their ethnic heritage during World War 2.
We cannot forget how our government through the centuries has supported dictators around the world when it has served our purposes.
We are a nation that at its best can boast of great highs, and at its worst must hang its head in shame of incredible lows. We are not as pure as we often would like to credit ourselves for being.
Our text from Galatians gives us great direction here:
Galatians 6:1 ESV
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Yes, we must also keep watch on ourself.
Today there is much vitriol in our media over how offended we should be over at times things that 10 years from now few will remember. Yet, what about ourselves, are we casting judgment quickly on others when unrepentant when it comes to our own sins?
Remember Matthew 7?
Matthew 7:1–2 ESV
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
And that beautiful visual in verse 3
Matthew 7:3 ESV
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
We all need to be better whittlers, working on our own log before we go and point out another’s speck.
Back to Galatians:
Galatians 6:4–5 ESV
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
By testing our own work we take the time to look honestly at ourselves - as individuals and as a nation. Only by our self-examination will we be able to change.
Galatians 6:7–8 ESV
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
On this Independence Day let us all seek to sow the Spirit, let us take an eternal perspective. In the words of Paul
Galatians 6:9–10 ESV
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
This takes an undying commitment. A commitment that must be taken up day by day, that requires a discipline and an unwavering commitment.
Perhaps we might take on the words of the closing of our nations Declaration of Independence. The closing words read:
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.
When it comes to following our Lord, have we pledged our lives, our fortunes and our sacred Honor? Those are such incredibly powerful words. Unfortunately, for too many we pledge these things only to ourselves.
As Christians we do pledge these things to our Lord. As Christians we, as Paul said earlier in his letter to the Galatians, “have been crucified with Christ and it no longer [we] who live but Christ who lives in [us].”
A popular verse quoted often about repentance comes from 2 Chronicles 7:14
2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
if my people who are called by my name 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.
Today, as we celebrate communion, we are turning to God. Let us first take some time for confession:
I invite you to read the parts in bold font:
Almighty God: you alone are good and holy. Purify our lives and make us brave disciples. We do not ask you to keep us safe, but to keep us loyal, so we may serve Jesus Christ, who, tempted in every way as we are, was faithful to you. Amen .
From lack of reverence for truth and beauty; from a calculating or sentimental mind; from going along with mean and ugly things;
O God, deliver us .
From cowardice that dares not face truth; laziness content with half-truth; or arrogance that thinks we know it all;
O God, deliver us .
From artificial life and worship; from all that is hollow or insincere;
O God, deliver us .
From trite ideals and cheap pleasures; from mistaking hard vulgarity for humor;
O God, deliver us .
From being dull, pompous, or rude; from putting down our neighbors;
O God, deliver us . From cynicism about others; from intolerance or cruel indifference;
O God, deliver us . From being satisfied with things as they are, in the church or in the world; from failing to share your indignation about injustice;
O God, deliver us . From selfishness, self-indulgence, or self-pity; O God, deliver us . From token concern for the poor, for lonely or loveless people; from confusing faith with good feeling, or love with wanting to be loved; O God, deliver us . For everything in us that may hide your light; O God, light of life, forgive us . —The Worshipbook (1970)
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