The Price Paid for Freedom

Today is a great day in the Lord and in our nation!  Today we celebrate our freedom, and we remember the price which was paid to set us free!

The 4th of July is a day marked by back yard bar-b-ques and fireworks.  We celebrate our independence and freedom as a nation, but I fear we have forgotten the price paid for the freedom we cherish.  

The Declaration of Independence was signed by fifty-six men on July 4th, 1776.  Their decision to declare their independence from England brought great hardship and suffering into their lives.  

Of the 56 men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty.

At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelson’s home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.

What is the price you are willing to pay for the freedom of others?  The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were wealthy men who could have lived out their lives with the “status-quo” and they would have never suffered the hardships they experienced.  What they did, they did for others.  They took a stand and devoted themselves to fight for the freedom of others.  To fight for the freedom of their generation and the generations to come.

When Paul writes the words of our text he does so as a prisoner.  He has taken a stand for the Gospel and in this stand he is fighting for the freedom of all people. The people of his generation and the generations to come.

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brothers and sisters, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Philippians 1:12-14

As the word spread and the people of the colonies heard about the Declaration of Independence, they were emboldened to take a stand for freedom!  This is what Paul is speaking of in our text, but to a much greater degree.

Paul is living out the consequences of his convictions!  He has preached Jesus as the Savior of the world and in so doing he has angered many important and influential people.  This has resulted in his arrest and subsequently his appeal to Caesar.  Paul is awaiting his audience with Ceasar, and it is during his wait that he pens the letter we have before us.  

What is his point?  Others are being encouraged to preach Christ because of the imprisonment of Paul.  Sounds strange, doesn’t it?  One person is suffering, and others are encouraged to do the same thing which resulted in the first person’s suffering.  

It is a marvelous phenomenon that when a person takes a stand for their convictions and their convictions are true, then others are emboldened to do the same thing.  In the 13 British Colonies the people stood with the 56 signers of the Declaration.  History is witness to the fact that when the Church is persecuted for proclaiming the name of Jesus, the Church grows and is stronger and more faithful than ever before.  It is during easy times of peace and harmony that we as God’s people take the precious gift of salvation for granted.

Someday I pray we learn to treasure the times of peace and make the most of them for the Kingdom’s work.  For now, it seems we must go through the hard times to be reminded of how blessed we are.  May we know days of peace as a nation and not take “this” peace for granted.  The alternative will bring great suffering to many.  

Blessings on your 4th of July celebration.

In Christ,
Pastor Russ

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