Today, let us not forget to give thanks to the One who has given us liberty, freedom, and a great nation. While many individuals and political organizations are attempting to remove any reference to Almighty God from our public life, let us know our history and our rights as Christian citizens of this nation.
One cannot ignore (unless they do not have the knowledge) the Judeo-Christian foundation upon which our country was built. The historical documents and the writings, including those on our national monuments, present a clear picture of one great assumption: God belongs in the public arena of this country.
When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620 at Plymouth Rock, they planned to establish a government, as they put it, “based on the Bible.” The New England Charter, signed by King James, says that the purpose of the colony was “to advance the enlargement of the Christian religion, to the glory of God Almighty.” When they landed and stood on the shore, Governor Bradford, wrote of their first act: “being thus arrived in good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell on their knees and blessed the God of Heaven.” Down in Virginia, their charter provided for the settlement of Jamestown and was dated April 10, 1606: “We, commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desire for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness.” When they landed at Cape Henry in April 1607, they erected a large wooden cross and held a prayer meeting. The Charter of the Colony of Rhode Island states: “We submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute Laws of His, given to us in His Holy Word.”.
Religion, specifically, Christianity, was woven into the very fabric of the cultural, legal, moral, and social structure of the New World. They would have considered efforts to have a society without God and His Law blasphemous and arrogant. They had moved from an understanding of the Divine Right of Kings to an understanding that all human beings (including the King) should be ruled by law – God’s law. No one was above the law. This was a dramatic shift in ideas about government, but they still viewed that the people of the government must be submissive to God’s laws.
When the American Revolution was declared with Declaration of Independence, they believed in a “Creator” who “endowed” them with certain “inalienable rights.” They held “these Truths” to be “self-evident” in that they were observable in nature and in the laws of the Bible. The 56 men, who bravely signed the Declaration on July 4, 1776, concluded their statement with these words: “With a firm reliance on Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
In the last half of the 20th Century and now in the 21st Century, there has been a concerted effort my many to remove God from the public arena in the name of tolerance, freedom, justice, and rights. We must not forget that, unlike the other religions of the world, it is from the Judeo-Christian view of Almighty God that we have learned these things that we hold so dear.Without Him and the body of Truth He reveals, they would forever disappear from our grasp.Dr. Foley Beach is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (Canada, US, and Mexico).
As we celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas, let us challenge ourselves to focus on the “Light of the world,” and remember that Jesus really is the reason for the season.Do You Remember the Holidays? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Do you remember those days? As I write this, it is almost Thanksgiving. I just drove through a neighborhood where almost half of the houses already have their Christmas decorations up. I wonder how many of us really remember (or even know) the reasons behind these holidays. Thanksgiving Day was decreed as a national holiday in 1941 by the U.S. Congress as a day of “prayer and thanksgiving to God.” I wonder how many of us really remember (or even know) that Christmas is a national holiday in the United States set aside to remember the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. Is This What Jesus Meant? As I sit in my hotel room in southern Jerusalem overlooking the city of Bethlehem, I cannot help but wonder if the Church, in its various forms of Christianity, is anything like Jesus intended. After His resurrection, Jesus commissioned his disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20).
We have a God that loves us so much, and God’s love for us is expressed to us through His “covenants”. Also, God’s “covenants” reveal to us His grace and faithfulness. In today’s message, we will discuss God’s Covenant with Noah. A “covenant” can be defined as an “oath or promise of God”. In a Biblical covenant: 1) God establishes the Covenant; 2) God always implies that “I am your God, and you are my people” – God desires a personal relationship with us; and 3) God sets the covenant’s terms and rulers.
In Genesis 6:5-22, the corruption of humanity, through mankind’s sin after the Fall, became too much for God, and He became sorry that He made mankind. From Genesis, we know that God “grieved in His heart” because of human evil, corruption, and violence. However, Noah found favor in the eyes of God. Noah was righteous and blameless, and Noah “walked with God”.
After destroying all humans and all other inhabitants of the earth, except for Noah, his family, those animals that Noah collected for His arch, God “blessed Noah in Genesis 9:1-29; and God established His covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:9-1:10,11-13: “’Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you . . . that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’". Therefore, this covenant is not only with Noah and all other living things on the earth; but God’s covenant with Noah is with us too! The “rainbow” is a sign of this covenant between Noah and all humanity; and this “rainbow” is, also, a sign of God’s love, grace, and mercy.
In 1 Peter 3:18-21, the Apostle Peter relates Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, which is a redemptive covenant for our salvation, to God’s earlier covenant with Noah: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .". In this text from 1 Peter, we learn that our “baptism” represents our Salvation through Jesus. Like Noah and his family, we have been saved “through the water” not “by the water”. Therefore, “baptism” is another covenant between God and all humanity, through God’s Grace, to save mankind from itself if we accept God’s Grace. God does not see us, now, in our sin like humanity’s evil of Noah’s time; rather, God sees us through the eternal (like the “rainbow”) “Justifying” covenant blood of Jesus.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Genesis 6:5-22; Genesis 9:1-29; 1 Peter 3:18-21; Psalms 28: 1-9.
WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S SERMON VIDEO: https://awordfromthelord.org/video-archives/
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