4th Of July

One Cry

Happy Independence Day, USA!

I have LOTS of terrific Fourth of July information for you. We have 4th of July quotes, an Independence Day prayer, devotions for July 4th, Independence Day sermons, and even a few 4th of July pictures, and MORE! July holidays are the best, because the weather is great and we can celebrate outdoors. So, let's get started preparing for a great time! First up, a little refresher on what we're celebrating.

American Independence Day Facts

What is Independence Day in the United States? (aka Fourth of July, 4th of July, July 4th). In the year 1776, on July 4th, Thomas Jefferson's version of the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress, which consisted of delegates from all thirteen colonies. The United States of America was seeking independence from Great Britain. The Revolutionary War would continue to be fought until 1783.

When is Independence Day? American Independence Day is celebrated annually on the 4th of July, usually including festivities such as parades, picnics and fireworks. United States' Independence Day became an official federal holiday in 1941.

Visit this site if you would like a History of Independence Day and the Revolutionary War.

4th Of July Quotes

Those who will not be governed by God, will be ruled by tyrants. William Penn

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - God governs in the affairs of men, and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without His aid? Benjamin Franklin

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. Do not ever let anyone claim to be a true American patriot if they ever attempt to separate religion from politics. George Washington

The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart. Thomas Jefferson

More Patriotic Quotes:

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. Ronald Reagan

God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it. Daniel Webster

Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us. Benjamin Rush

Devotions for July 4th

When is YOUR Independence Day? Please look to our awesome nation, the mighty USA, as a symbol of freedom. It was no easy start for our country - nothing good ever comes easily. There were many struggles and many lives were lost during the Revolutionary War. Our own lives have struggles, as well, especially our spiritual life. Our natural personal freedom is only perception. The reality of the matter is that we have a false sense of freedom. We're actually slaves. Absorb this freedom quote from Goethe, "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

Romans 3:23 explains that each of us are sinners that fall short of the holiness of God. We're naturally enemies of God's (Ephesians 2:1-3); and slaves of the power of sin. Thankfully, Jesus Christ died for us and his grace now rules. But, it's our responsibility to approach Christ and offer him our lives. Romans 6:15-18 explains that once our personal shackles to sin have been unlocked, we must stop living for the world. We're no longer to live as slaves to sin, but as slaves of Jesus Christ.

Those are our two options and no one is ever in between sin and Jesus. You are either a slave for Christ, or a slave of sin. If you're for Jesus, then step away from sin and enjoy your freedom to do right. This pleases God, and it becomes YOUR personal Independence Day.

Let's close with this freedom quote, "There are two freedoms: the false where a man is free to do what he likes; and the true where a man is free to do what he ought." Charles Kingsley

Happy 4th of July, my Friend. God bless you.
- Brad Johnson

Freedom Bible Verses

Consider these Bible verses regarding real personal freedom:

For you are free, yet you are God's slaves, so don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil (1 Peter 2:16).

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law (Galatians 5:1).

You say, "I am allowed to do anything"-- but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"-- but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23).

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:9).

Independence Day Prayer

Creator and lover of what you have created,
Open your arms to those imprisoned by sin
That they might experience the independence
You intended in the creation.

Gracious Christ, crucified and risen Christ,
Embrace those who stumble through life
That they might feel the independence from uncertainty
That you died to abolish by undying love.

Mysterious, yet ever present Holy Spirit,
Fill us with your power when we waver
That we might cling to the independence from doubt,
Promised by the Lover and Savior of all that is yours.

Eternal Trinity, holy and ever present,
We thank you for the independence
Provided in our spiritual life
Which makes a celebration of national independence
A true and meaningful celebration.

In Thy Holy and Most Blessed Name,
AMEN.

Author: Larry Winebrenner
Contributed from www.home-bible-study.com

More 4th of July Quotes:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. George Washington

The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws . . . The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and his Apostles . . . This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government. Noah Webster

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson

More Independence Day Quotes:
We here resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Abraham Lincoln

The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country. Calvin Coolidge

Freedom Quotes:

A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject of all, subject to all. Martin Luther

We find freedom when we find God; we lose it when we lose Him. Paul E. Scherer

Independence Day Sermons

Please read and use this 4th of July Sermon as you like. This message can be used in full or in part as an Independence Day speech, or it would make a great Fourth of July Bible study lesson. The downloadable version can be reached from the link at the bottom of the page. The Fourth of July sermon is full of great 4th of July quotes and challenging Bible teaching and application.

Independence Day Sermon
Independence Day Bible Verses: Romans 13:1-7

Let's open with a 4th of July Prayer:
Dear Lord God, maker of heaven and earth and all things contained hereupon, we ask for mercy today. This country you created for your purposes is under severe attack. The Constitution's foundation is shaking and the walls are cracking. O Lord, please use your powers to reign in the assault on America by those who disregard You and Truth altogether. Also help each of us to understand the limitations of our government, and our own personal responsibilities to our country. Lord, may the fireworks in our heart be for You and your ways. May the excitement of being your disciples rule our lives. Use us to proclaim your salvation, God. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

This 4th of July quote comes from the pen of John Adams . . .

"The 4th day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America, to be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty from one end of the Continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, the blood, and the treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states; yet, through all the gloom, I can see rays of light and glory; that the end is worth all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we shall regret it, which I trust in God we shall not."

I love the United States of America. I love this country because God established it. He used brave men and women to fight for and even die for this great nation. I love this country because I possess the freedom to worship Jesus Christ. I love this country because God uses U.S. missionaries and U.S. ministries to help teach the rest of the nations about Him and His Son.

I love the United States of America.

However, I’m not preaching from the Declaration of Independence, nor am I preaching from the Constitution, I love God more than I love this country; and I’m preaching from the Bible. Patriotism is neutral, and it has limits and even negatives. “Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.” by Bertrand Russell. “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.” by George Bernard Shaw.

Read Romans 13:1-7

This passage is not out of Paul’s thought processes, as the liberals say. It actually fits right into the argument found in chapter 12. Verses 1-2 of chapter 12 tells of what the relationship between believers and God should be like; verses 3-14 tells of what the relationship between believers and other believers should be; and verses 15-21 tells of what the relationship between believers and outsiders, or even enemies should be.

The relationship between the believer and civil authorities, then, fits right in.Paul is writing to the church in Rome, the heart and center for the government of the Roman Empire. Many of the Jews throughout the empire were looking for opportunities to shake off the yoke of subjection to Rome. They were looking for their messiah to come and make them independent once again, with a king of their own. There was lots of turmoil, and at one point things got so heated in Rome that Claudius expelled all the Jews from the city.

So, with that background I hope you understand the need for this warning from Paul. Plus, Paul does not want Rome to think that the gospel of salvation is antagonistic in any way shape or form to the properly functioning Roman government. Of course, this letter was written before the Roman emperors became totally intolerant of the Christians.

Let me give you the lowdown on this passage – the main point of the passage:

Written To? Each and every true believer.

What? Be in subjection.

To Whom? Your government authorities.

Why? Because the government is established by God to have authority over you.

That makes the first point simple:

Point #1: God commands believers to honor and respect governmental authorities.

Read Romans 13:1.

God created everything by His word, including the Earth. On this earth He created great land masses. He then created man, who sinned and rebelled, and at the Tower of Babel He sent them off to different parts of the globe to establish separate nations. Time marched on and these nations became heavily populated. You know what happens when you put lots of totally depraved people together – disorder breaks out. Chaos is prevalent, and anarchy rules.

So God, because of his common grace, established governmental authorities to control us. Government controls the behavior of those within its nation. And our great nation – the United States of America – was established by God Almighty! Remember what we learned in public school growing up? That Christopher Columbus sailed to America to discover riches and gold. That is a lie - it’s from revisionist historians. Christopher Columbus sailed to America in order to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God establishes nations for His purpose! Some as punishment, some as a blessing. He established and developed the USA for many purposes: for temporal blessings upon its inhabitants, as a refuge for the persecuted Church, and for a missionary sending nation to promote His gospel. It’s so obvious that God loves America! He has chosen to love and bless this country, and He continues to love it in spite of our horrible national transgressions!

He is in control of the kings, queens, princes, dictators, rulers, and presidents. Jesus told Pilate the only power he [Pilate] had was from above. Listen to Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” He sometimes blinds leaders to wisdom, and he sometimes sheds light. His working providence brings peace upon nations, he brings war upon nations.

He sways elections. He brings forth “natural” disasters, and He rains “heavenly” blessings upon those within a nation. Because of the Lord’s work in all of this, each and every true believer must be in subjection to the ruling authorities. Who are we talking about here? The ruling authorities include politicians from the president on down through local politicians and all military personnel. Judges and everyone in the judicial system, including police officers, are included, as well.

Which leads right into my next point . . .

Point #2: God punishes law-breaking citizens.

Read Romans 13:2-5.

When you break the law, does God smote you right on the spot? When Israel had their theocracy God would occasionally punish law breakers immediately. Look what God did in 2 Kings 7:25, "At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them." Listen to what the Lord did with Korah and his rebellious followers (Numbers 16:26-35) "And Moses spoke to the congregation, saying, 'Depart now from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing that belongs to them, or you will be swept away in all their sin. . . . As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. All Israel who were around them fled at their outcry, for they said, 'The earth may swallow us up!' Fire also came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense."

If you shoplift does a lion come and kill you? If you do illegal drugs does the earth open and swallow you? No, the Lord uses the means of the governmental system to punish you. Politicians have set the laws, a police officer enforces the law, and a judge convicts and sentences lawbreakers. That's how God’s correction works upon a law breaker. The wrath of God falls on you through His avengers, His ministers of justice. Are the politicians, judges, and officers ordained ministers? No. But they are your authority, sent by God to correct you when you do wrong.

Is this passage talking about the strict blind obedience to governmental laws? Does this verse demand that we never, ever surpass the speed limit? That we never, ever take a U-turn where a sign forbidding it is posted? That is definitely not the focus of the passage. The focus of this passage is the relationship between the believer and the ruling governmental authorities. When a police officer pulls you over and writes you a speeding ticket, you respect and honor him, and accept his punishment with grace. You blew it, you broke the law, you were caught, admit it, smile and accept the punishment.

NOW, obedience comes into the picture. Because of God’s wrath which falls upon you - you should behave. Did you notice in the passage about Korah the effects that proper punishment encourages? You should fear the consequences of bad behavior.

Read vv. 4

Have you checked the federal penitentiaries lately? They don’t work, do they? Did you know that the name “penitentiary” came from the word “penitence?” That is, repentance? That's because conditions were intentionally made so bad it would lead you to repent of your crime. It would strike fear in the general public so they would never want to commit a crime, as well. Proper punishment, the wrath of God, leads to proper behavior.

Another reason to behave is a clear conscience. Read v. 5, “Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for the sake of the conscience.” God’s intent is for the government to work along with the Holy Spirit to maintain order in an imperfect world. You all know what conscience means, con = “with,” science = “knowledge.” When you commit a crime, you commit it “with knowledge,” and it weighs heavily upon you. The Holy Spirit works you over, and the burden becomes intense as your walk with God falters. You must seek a clear conscience, so that you can stay in touch with God.

Do your best to stay within the boundaries of the law. The question raised, though, is this, “Is it ever okay to break the law?” Well, yes, it is okay to break the law, or rebel against it, IF it causes you to break commands from God.” Look closely at the example left by the disciples in Acts 5:27-29, “Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 'We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,' he said. 'Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood.' Peter and the other apostles replied: 'We must obey God rather than men!' Acts 5:33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. Acts 5:40-42 They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Have you bought into the lie that we can’t witness because of privacy laws?!

When the law says we cannot speak about our faith, we don't listen, because we’re commanded to share our faith. Jesus Christ told us to go forth into all the world preaching and baptizing disciples. If we get in trouble, we suffer for Jesus. If our employer says no witnessing on the job, guess what, you have to obey Jesus Christ and witness at appropriate times. If you get in trouble, you suffer for Jesus. Your whole life is a testimony to Jesus Christ, and that includes at home, at church, at work, and in the community.

When there's a conflict between God’s law and man’s law, God’s law overrules. Here are some ways we can rebel against laws that cause us to break God’s commands:

1) Write letters and make phone calls to the politicians who can protest the passage of the proposed law.

2) If given the opportunity you can vote against the law, and

3) later vote against the politician who was for the law.

4) Like the disciples in Acts 5, you can first listen to God, then do what He says, thereby breaking the law.

If you get caught you will have to suffer the consequences of obeying God rather than men.

Go ahead and rejoice, ‘cause that is suffering for Jesus.

Point #3: God blesses and uses submissive believers.

Read 1 Peter 2:13-17

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of evil, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

When you highly esteem those in governmental positions, God uses you. They are trained to expect rebellion from people, but when you honor them regardless of the situation, they're pleased and will thank you. Maybe they’ll even listen to you witness about the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. That’s what Paul did.

Conclusion

Read Romans 13:6-7.

This is a clear command – make sure you pay your taxes. If you don’t you’re holding back the wages of God’s avengers - those people put in charge of your nation who punish criminals and who protect you. In essence, you’re stealing from God if you cheat the IRS. You’re a thief, you have to repent and pay back what you owe. God doesn’t have a statute of limitations.

This passage does not lend itself to a legalistic interpretation which would have me to tell you specifically that if you drive 66 mph in a 65 mph zone, you're guilty of breaking man’s law and God’s law. Or, if your parking meter runs out you'll experience the wrath of God. That's much too shallow of conclusion for this passage; plus, it’s a complicated topic, as well. There's some grace there just like there is with God – you see, the grace of God even shows itself in our laws.

Please understand that God is sovereign and in providential control of every nation and government in this world. He is in control of all earthly leaders. When you turn on FOX News and see the chaos throughout the world, the turbulence in the Middle East, the problems in Syria, Iran, North Korea, etc, trust in God – He has it under control. The main point of this passage is to show you why you must acknowledge and honor those public ministers who are in place for your good. Always respect them.

This Scripture is about a relationship between you and those in authority. If you love America, and if you love Jesus Christ, you’ll honor those in authority, and you’ll teach your kids to do likewise. Happy 4th of July, Friends. Amen

Download your free printable Independence Day Sermons here: 4th Of July Sermon

Photo attributions:

Statue of liberty by Erik Harmon Fireworks by Angie Perkins