The Endowment of the Creator

2021-07-04 – Independence Day – The Rev. Canon Christopher M. Klukas
Deuteronomy 10:17-21; Psalm 145; Hebrews 11:8-16; Matthew 5:43-48

Endowed by the Creator

  • “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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
    • from the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson and signed by representatives of the 13 colonies on July 4, 1776.
    • Unalienable rights endowed by the Creator.
    • Governments should exist to protect those unalienable rights.
    • Great Britain was not upholding its responsibility to protect these rights.
  • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Amendment 1, Bill of Rights, 1789)
    • Myanmar – “Religious nationalism is especially strong in Myanmar and drives much of the persecution of Christians. There is an increasing emphasis on Buddhism, to the exclusion of all other religions…Communities who aim to stay “Buddhist only” make life for Christian families impossible by not allowing them to use community resources such as water. Well-established churches have been attacked, and in some instances, Buddhist monks have invaded church compounds and built Buddhist shrines inside…The government…sends mixed signals, since it has become clear that extremist monks enjoy the support of the army.”
    • Hong Kong – Apple Daily shut down by Beijing and published its last paper on June 24. “Founded by pro-democracy activist and multimillionaire Jimmy Lai, Apple Daily [was] the only pro-democracy print newspaper in the city. It openly criticized Beijing and supported the democracy movement even as the Beijing-imposed national security law choked out Hong Kong’s freedoms…The shutdown marks the end of Hong Kong’s freedom of the press.
  • As much as I love our country and am thankful for the freedoms we enjoy, it is important to recognize that we are not perfect. As a human institution we can’t be.
    • We need to protect our freedoms lest we lose them.
    • We need to guard against pride lest it cause us to fall or keep us from seeing what is over the horizon.

A Better Country

  • Hebrews 11:1-12 – By faith…Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah
    • “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar…” (v. 13)
  • Abraham – Hebrews 11:9-10 – Abraham did come to live in Canaan, but he didn’t see the fullness of what God had promised.
  • Hebrews 11:15-16 – This is the Kingdom that is coming. It is here now in part, but not in its fullness.

How then Shall We Live?

  • Strangers and exiles – Hebrews 11:13 – this world should always feel a bit uncomfortable to us. When we get too comfortable we have become too much like the culture.
  • Dependent on God – Psalm 145:15-16
  • Exercise your liberties in righteousness and peace
    • Romans 6:17–18 – Slaves to righteousness
    • 2 Peter 2:15-17 – “not using your freedom as a coverup for evil”
    • Just because you have the right or freedom to do something doesn’t mean you should do it. We are children of God, this identity should govern our behavior. Don’t just look out for yourself. Do everything in love.

Conclusion

  • As we celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, let us also celebrate our dependence on God, the giver of all good things, and let us recommit ourselves to living as righteous people under God, serving those around us and helping others and our nation to flourish.

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