Sermon title:

Blessed Is the Nation Whose God Is the Lord

Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, June 28, 2020

 

 

Psalm 33:12 says,

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

 

That was originally written about the nation of Israel,

but it has a wider application,

especially in the Christian era.

 

Psalm 33 goes on to say,

 

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,

the people he chose for his inheritance.

13 From heaven the Lord looks down

and sees all mankind;

14 from his dwelling place he watches

all who live on earth—

15 he who forms the hearts of all,

who considers everything they do.

 

So, God looks at all the nations of the earth, but

 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

 

Have you noticed which nations

have been the most prosperous,

with the most blessings?

 

The United States has been the most prosperous nation

historically, for centuries.

 

And it has also been the place

with the most Bible-believing Christians.

 

Could that be a mere coincidence?

 

There are other countries in Europe and South America,

where formalistic, ritual Christianity prevails,

and they have tended to be

second to the United States in prosperity.

 

And then there are the countries of Asia and Africa

that spent most of their history in paganism,

without accepting the Gospel of Christ,

and they have tended to be

the poorest and most unstable

nations of the world.

 

There are exceptions of course,

but this seems to be the general rule

that the most Bible-believing countries

have been the most prosperous—

with America at the very top,

as the envy of the rest of the world.

 

That’s a key thought to keep in mind

at this particular time in our nation’s history.

 

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

 

 

In just a few days we’ll all be celebrating

the 4th of July,

also known as Independence Day.

 

But how many know its meaning?

 

And how many know its Christian significance?

 

People have a tendency to name holidays

after a date on the calendar.

 

For example, many folks in this country

celebrated Cinco de Maio on May 5th.

 

Cinco de Maio is actually

Spanish for the 5th of May.

 

But how many know that it celebrates

a victory of the Mexican army over French invaders?

I myself didn’t know until recently

that France took advantage of America’s distraction

during our Civil War,to invade Mexico

with a force of 30,000 French soldiers

and set up a French puppet government

that ruled south of our border

from 1864 to 1867.

 

The Cinco de Maio holiday commemorates

a temporary Mexican victory over the French

a couple of years before the final Mexican defeat

and the establishment of that French empire.

 

According to what I read,

Cinco de Maio is celebrated more here in the U.S.A.

than in Mexico.

 

It's an occasion to honor Mexican-American culture,

and it's not really a big deal in Mexico.

 

But the 4th of July is a big deal

here in this country.

 

Things may be different this year

due to the coronavirus crisis,

but the 4th of July is usually a time

for family cookouts and

community fireworks displays.

 

And it's a big deal,

because it celebrates the founding of this country.

 

It was on the 4th of July back in the year 1776

that the Declaration establishing this country

was officially signed and took effect.

 

Before that, we were 13 separate British colonies,

ruled over by the King of England.

 

After that first Independence Day,

we were the United States of America.

 

Our country came into being on that day,

and so it was a big deal,

and it continues to be a big deal.

 

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But I mentioned a moment ago that the 4th of July

also has great Christian significance, too.

 

And that's because our Founding Fathers

and the Founding Documents they created

specified that they were setting up

a Christian country.

 

It’s popular today to deny

that we started out as a Christian country.

 

But the documented evidence still exists.

 

One of those documents is the Declaration of Independence

that was officially signed on July 4, 1776.

 

But it wasn’t the first or the oldest document

testifying to the Christian foundation of this nation.

 

Over 150 years earlier

there was the Mayflower Compact

drawn up and signed aboard the Mayflower

while it anchored off our coast

before its people came ashore to found

the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

 

The ship was still off the tip of Cape Cod,

near what is now Provincetown,

when 41 men on board

signed this document

dated November 11, 1620.  

 

The only other British colony, so far, in North America

was located in Virginia,

so they referred to what is now

Massachusetts

as the northern parts of Virginia.

 

But, as we read part of it,

notice what they said about God

and about the Christian purpose

of their voyage to the New World.

 

That Mayflower Compact begins like this:

 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick . . .

 

Notice that they started off their document,

almost as if it were a prayer, by saying,

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN.

 

And then referred to the king who granted them

permission to set up the new colony

as ruling by

the Grace of God.

 

By the way, that king “James” who commissioned them

to settle here in 1620

was the very same king James

who commissioned

the King James Version Bible of 1611.

 

The Mayflower Compact the Pilgrims signed

is seldom quoted today,

but that King James Bible is still in use

and is quoted countless times every day

even now, over 400 years

after it was published.

 

The men who were about to leave the Mayflower

to begin settling New England

continued their document

by stating that the purpose of settling

this new colony was,

for the Glory of God,

and Advancement of the Christian Faith.

 

What plainer evidence could there be

that the land we live in today

was settled by people who came here

for the Glory of God,

and Advancement of the Christian Faith.

 

They said so themselves,

and their words are preserved for us to this very day.

 

And then they further stated

that they were signing the document

in the Presence of God and one another

 

They had a sense of God being present with them,

watching what they were doing,

as they signed a document

to set up a government for themselves

and for their descendants.

 

Plymouth County lies just to the East of this church,

and it’s a short drive to the Town of Plymouth,

where you can see a replica of the Mayflower

in the harbor where they dropped anchor

and see the very spot

where they built their first homes

in this new land

that they came to

for this express purpose:

for the Glory of God,

and Advancement of the Christian Faith.

 

If anyone today asserts that this country was not settled

and established for that reason,

they are ignoring this founding document,

which testifies against them.

The settlers who arrived on the Mayflower

certainly had in mind

the "Advancement of the Christian Faith

in this new land.

 

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150 years later there were 13 British colonies

all up and down the East coast of North America,

and those colonies, too,

were settled mainly by Bible-believing Christians.

 

Conflict with the British government

across the Atlantic, led to a growing desire

to separate from the old country

and declare independence.

 

The Declaration that representatives from each colony

signed on July 4th 1776, listed

dozens of serious grievances

that the British government ignored.

 

And it was those grievances that led to the separation.

 

But the reason that we’re looking at

the Declaration of Independence

during a church service

is because of what it reveals

about the Christian foundation

of this new nation.

 

The document begins with these famous words:

 

When in the Course of human events,

it becomes necessary for one people

to dissolve the political bands

which have connected them with another,

and to assume among the powers of the earth,

the separate and equal station

to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 

So, they based their right to an independent nation

on what they called

the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God

 

And by the termNature's God

they made plain that they meant God the Creator.

 

They were all from Bible-reading families,

and they grew up knowing the Genesis account

of the God of the Bible creating

the whole human race

from one original married couple,

Adam and Eve.

 

That’s what they were referring to

when they wrote further,

 

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, this new country declared

that its independence

was based on the laws of God, the Creator,

the God of the Bible.

 

This Declaration of Independence

was based on Christian belief.

and Christian faith.

 

And in its concluding paragraph,

the Declaration of Independence says,

 

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to

the Supreme Judge of the world

for the rectitude of our intentions,

do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,

That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.

 

So, the Founding Fathers appealed to God,

“the Supreme Judge of the world.”

 

They appealed to Christianity’s God.

 

The Declaration’s final sentence says,

 

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.

 

So, again, they were relying on God to provide protection,

“the protection of divine Providence.”

 

So, they based this Declaration strongly

on the God of the Bible,

referring to Him repeatedly, from beginning to end,

as “Nature’s God,”

 the “Creator,”

“the Supreme Judge of the world,”

and relying on His “divine providence,”

 

In this way the Founding Fathers made it very clear

that this new nation was being founded

on belief in the Christian Bible.

 

They were looking to the God of the Bible

to determine right from wrong,

to guide them in their actions,

and to bless their efforts.

 

And it was the July 4th, 1776 signing

of that Declaration of Independence

that we celebrate by our holiday.

 

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But our discussion of the Christian foundation

of this country would not be complete

without looking at one more document.

 

Like the Mayflower Compact, this one, too,

was written close to home, here in Massachusetts.

 

It was a letter written by John Adams,

who was born in Braintree and died in Quincy.

 

John Adams was one of the 5 men who wrote

the Declaration of Independence,

along with Thomas Jefferson,

Benjamin Franklin, and 2 others

whose names we wouldn’t recognized.

 

But, when he wrote this letter to the

Massachusetts Militia on October 11, 1798,

John Adams was the President of the United States.

 

He was only our 2nd president,

successor to George Washington.

 

But he wrote this letter while he was visiting Quincy.

 

He addressed it “To the Officers

of the first Brigade

of the third Division

of the Militia of Massachusetts.”

 

He noted in his address that they were

the officers commanding 2,800 men

who provided at their own expense

their own weapons and uniforms.

 

And he commended them for their martial spirit

and dignity.

 

But then he went on to compare

this country’s blessings

with the desolation afflicting many other lands.

 

And he credited the continuation of those blessings

on this nation’s continued

sincerity and piety—or religious devotion.

 

But then he sounded a warning.

 

He said,

 

But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World.

 

That was rather flowery language,

typical of eloquent speakers of the 1700’s,

but what did Adams mean?

 

When he warned of the USA speaking

the Language of Justice and moderation

while it is practicing

Iniquity and Extravagance

That meant talking the talk

but no longer walking the walk.

 

Iniquity and Extravagance” means

sin and self-indulgence.

 

He warned against that.

 

He said if our nation ends up,

“rioting in rapine and Insolence:

this Country will be

the most miserable Habitation in the World.”

 

Why?

 

John Adams explained,

 

Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion.

Avarice, Ambition Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

 

 

In other words, our Constitution was written for

a moral and religious people.

 

If our nation abandoned biblical morality

and the religion of the Bible,

our Constitution would no longer work.

 

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All of this should give us pause

to think about the way this nation is going today.

 

How long will we keep

our blessings and our prosperity?

 

How long will we be able to keep saying,

 

“Blessed is the nation

whose God is the Lord.”