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Let me start off today by thanking you for joining us. I know that not every country has an Independence Day, and America is the only one that celebrates this holiday on July 4th, but that has no bearing on the value of our topic today.
I believe that every Christian should glorify God for their independence, and I believe every Christian should celebrate God for their dependence.
And — regardless of when you do so — God will be pleased by the celebration.
But before we do that, I want to invite you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Social media can be a scary place, but I like to redeem people’s feeds by providing them Christ-honoring content. I hope to see you there.
And you can also check out CelebrationOfGod.com to access today’s free episode notes and transcripts.
And — with that — let’s talk about how every Christian everywhere has something to celebrate on Independence Day.
On the 4th of July most Americans take time to party. I don’t know that most really give much attention to the fact that Independence Day was designed to commemorate our independence from Britain. I think most Americans like to grill and watch sports and set off fireworks, and they do so with very little thought to the fact that the day is designed to memorialize something. In fact, I believe the younger generations are completely missing all of the patriotic elements.
But Christians are supposed to live intentional lives of daily sacrifice. We should be aware of why we do what we do, and we should help our fellow disciples do the same.
So, is this going to be a discussion about nationalism and American pride? Definitely not.
Do I believe that Christians should be thankful for the nation in which God has providentially chosen to place them? Of course. And do I believe that a certain level of national pride is appropriate when one’s nation holds to biblical teachings? Obviously. But there are fewer and fewer of those these days. Most of our nations are ramping up their disapproval and vitriol concerning the things of God.
And that shouldn’t surprise any of us. And — I want to add — it should not be a Christian’s goal to Christianize their country. God has called us to worship Him and teach others to do the same. If my entire country genuinely did this, would our country’s laws and practices line up with Scripture? Yes, they would, but it’s foolish to think that aligning our country’s laws with the Bible will somehow create a “Christian nation.” That’s putting the cart before the horse.
Yes, I do believe that Christians should vote and govern in line with Scripture, but it’s not an act of evangelism. We should be introducing individuals to Christ. That’s evangelism.
So, I believe that Christians can enjoy the secular, national celebrations as long as they are giving God the thanks for the country in which they live. But I also don’t think that should be the main focus of our celebration.
Even if you live in North Korea or Communist China, you still have a lot to celebrate on Independence Day. In fact, as you celebrate God, there are two main topics on which you can focus.
1. Your Independence
Regardless of where you live, all born again believers have been set free from sin and death. And that is definitely worth celebrating.
Romans 6 has a long discourse on the fact that believers are no longer slaves to sin.
In John 8:32 Jesus eloquently teaches us that truth sets us free from the lies of self and Satan.
And the eternal life promised in John 3:16 is a promise that we are free from the threat of eternal death in hell and separation from God.
I don’t care if you live in a country where all of your liberties have been stolen, they cannot take your freedom from sin and death.
But if you happen to live in a nation that provides you freedom to live your life unfettered by a godless government, that too is something to celebrate.
I’m happy America is a sovereign country not ruled by another. I’m happy that — compared to many countries — our constitution provides us certain liberties. And I’m very thankful to God for that.
Just remember this . . . you are always free to obey God. Even if the world kills you for it, they can’t keep you from obeying God.
So, yes, Christian, regardless of where you live, you should celebrate God for giving you freedom in Him.
But you should also celebrate . . .
2. Your Dependence
If you visit CelebrationOfGod.com and click on Independence Day, you’ll find additional resources including our Bible Reading as well as other podcast episodes where I’ve discussed this topic.
One of those podcast episodes is one I did for Truth.Love.Parent. called “Dependence Day | a new way to view your family.” On that episode we discuss four key things on which all Christians must be dependent. I’ll mention the first three here.
A. We are dependent on our fellow disciplees.
We don’t have the time to discuss all the one-anothers in the Bible just now, so I encourage you to do a word search on the “one another” passages and really study all the verses in the New Testament that describe how we should be “one anothering” each other. You’ll easily discover all the things you and your fellow disciplees should be doing with each other, but you’ll also learn how very badly you need other Christians ministering in your life.
There’s also a plethora to be said in the Scriptures about Christian unity. The High Priestly prayer deals with this, but the concept is also discussed in so many of Paul’s epistles. One example is I Corinthians 12:12, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
You really need to be dependent on the Christians in your local Body of Christ if you’re going to function in a way that glorifies God.
B. We are dependent on the Scriptures.
There are a ton of passages I could use to persuade us of this point, but I will share just a few.
First we see that we are dependent on the Scriptures in order to know God.
In John we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
The second to the last chapter says, “31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Christ was the physical Word, and the Scriptures were written to record everything we need to know about the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
And Romans 10 reveals the following, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
You cannot have a relationship with God or know the mind of God apart from His Word. Therefore, we must be dependent on the Bible for our relationship with the Lord.
But the Bible doesn’t just introduce us to God. It purifies us.
Psalm 119:9 tells us, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
We cannot be sanctified apart from the Word of God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags; only by the washing of regeneration and the word can we be presented before the Father spotless and clean.
If you want to be righteous and pure and holy, you must be completely dependent on the teachings of the Bible.
Third, the Scriptures guide us.
Psalm 119:105 pictures the Word as a light: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
This is one of a myriad of passages that teaches that we must be dependent on the Word of God to know the right way, make the right decisions, and fulfill our purpose.
If you want to glorify God in the choices you make, you must be dependent on the Bible as it reveals God’s will to you.
So, we must be dependent on the Bible because it connects us to God, it purifies us, it guides us, and — lastly — it corrects us when we’ve gone astray.
In II Timothy 3 we read, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
If you want to address the sin in your life from which the Lord has set you free, you need God’s Word.
This means that Christians are to be dependent on other believers, the Bible, and — most importantly . . .
C. We are dependent on God.
The first place I want to look is Jesus Himself. Jesus prayed a lot (which in itself is instructional), but right in the midst of the longest recorded prayer Jesus outlines for us just how dependent we need to be. We call the prayer His High Priestly Prayer, and I want to quote a few lines for you.
John 17:20-24 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
To the exact same degree that the Father was in Jesus, and Jesus was in the Father, to the exact same degree that Jesus is one with the Father, we too must be one with God.
This is a relationship of dependence — Christ in us, the Father in Christ, us in Him.
This is so necessary because we cannot do any part of life by ourselves. In John 15, Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
We must be in Christ as He is in us.
This relationship is organic, symbiotic, and — from our standpoint — utterly dependent on Him because apart from Him we can do nothing.
You don’t need more independence from God. You need a greater dependence on God if you’re going to be able to glorify Him.
And those are just a few ways all believers — regardless of where you live — can take some time to celebrate God’s gift of independence and dependence.
So, let’s end by reviewing the best ways to prepare for, celebrate, and disciple during Independence Day — or any other day you want to celebrate your freedom from sin and freedom to God.
Visit CelebrationOfGod.com or use the link in the description of this episode to access our Independence Day Bible reading which includes the verses we discussed today and many more.
Spend time reading through and praying through this list — reflecting on God’s awesomeness to give us independence from that which kills us and dependence on that which sustains us,
You can also redecorate your Celebration Walls to include verses about your independence in Christ and prayer requests for those who are stilled enslaved to sin.
On the 4th of July — or whatever day your country celebrates it’s independence or institution (or any other day for that matter — we recommend you spend time in God’s Word and prayer and look for opportunities to introduce other people to the freedom God provides.
National holidays like this are perfect for inviting over your coworkers and neighbors so you can get to know them better and have a chance to share with them the hope you have in Christ.
And for your friends and family who are sons and daughters of God . . .
In America it’s too easy to get sidetracked by the explosive fireworks, delicious food, and inordinate festivities that the whole day goes by, and we give very little thought to the preeminence God is to have in our lives.
When that happens, we’re in serious jeopardy of having done nothing more than consumed those pleasures for ourselves instead of sacrificing them to God.
Well, your fellow disciples need to be reminded of this as well. If you can do nothing more than point your family, friends, students, and other Christians in your life to the awesomeness of God on Independence Day, you’ve done something very powerful. You’ve become salty salt and a bright light set on a hill.
Any time we deliberately purpose to point people’s minds to reflection on God and admiration of what He’s accomplished, we’ve done them a needful service.
Make sure you don’t forget to celebrate God this July 4th, and help those God has put into your lives to make the day about God.
Isn’t it awesome knowing that we have been set free from death and hell? Well, then worship God and praise Him for giving us that liberty.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets and join us next time as we finish up our Celebrating God at Church series.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.