New Life Church of Tampa
I Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb
Sermon Notes for Dr. Thomas Atchison
A. They Made A Bold Declaration
For more than 14 months after the Battle at Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775) the patriots fought not for their independence but rather they fought for their rights within the British Empire. Rights that had been gradually taken away before, and even more after, the Boston Tea Party. And 100’s of Americans gave their lives to regain these rights, 400 alone died at the battle of Bunker Hill.
Understand, this was a bold declaration, in it, the Americans were challenging the most powerful empire of the world at the time. And the Americans entered the war without a Navy or an Army. Their fighting forces consisted only of militia units in the various colonies. These citizen soldiers were ready to defend their home and families when danger threatened. The colonies could call up militia men for service ranging from a few days to a few months. On the other side, England had an army of well trained highly disciplined soldiers. They made a bold declaration -- they had pledged their life and their allegiance to their country.
B. And They Paid A High Price
After the Americans declared their independence, they had to win it by force. The task proved especially difficult, partly because the people never fully united behind the war effort. 7,200 Americans were killed in battle during the war, 8,200 were wounded, 10,000 died from disease & exposure (nearly 3,000 men died at Valley Forge alone), an additional 6,500 died in prison after being captured and 1,400 soldiers were listed as missing.
What about the 56 men who signed the declaration of Independence? Did they pay a price for pledging their allegiance? They sure did, their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, 5 were captured by the British and tortured before they died. 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. 2 lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another 2 sons were captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds of hardship of the war.
Now, its one thing to make a bold declaration in the comfort of a congressional meeting, but it’s quit another to pay the price, to fulfill that declaration on the field of battle, to pay with blood; - yours - your families - and your neighbors...
Our founding fathers made a bold declaration - they paid a high price.
C. And They Reaped A Great Reward
The Americans made a bold declaration.They paid a high price.
And they reaped a great reward - they won their freedom, their independence...
And a particular kind of nation was established, a nation where every human being could be free, and have something to say about how they were governed.
And though many signers of that Great Declaration paid a high price, others reaped a great reward. 2 of the signers became Presidents, 10 US Congressman, 19 Judges, 16 became Governors and dozens of others held other high political offices -- not to mention the enduring place they hold in our history.....)
The Patriots >> they made the pledge; paid the price and reaped the reward (freedom, a new land, new country a bright future, a bright future - a new beginning)
A. We Too Made A Bold Declaration
If you are here today and you call yourself a Christian, YOU TOO have made a bold declaration.
Do you remember the day, when you stood before the body of Christ, when you came forward and confessed Jesus as your Lord & Savior, when you stood before the body proclaiming your desire; to be a Christian, to be united with Christ, to be bathed in his blood. Courageously announcing, that nothing but absolute independence from the shackles of sin and the ways of this world would be acceptable. Do you remember the day "fellow Christians" when you made that good confession, "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and I receive Him as my Lord and Savior." When you repented of your sins and were buried with Christ in baptism and were raised to live a new life. >>> In doing this, you were making a bold declaration.
You were at that time >> pledging your allegiance - your devotion, your loyalty, your dedication, your commitment, your very life, to the Lamb of God, to Jesus Christ. Understand that you were at that time proclaiming what Paul proclaimed in Galatians 2:20; "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave himself for me..."
Friends it is a very bold declaration to say, that you will no longer, live for yourself, that you will no longer, seek your will for your life, that you will no longer, live for the things of the world (power, pleasure, popularity and possessions). But rather that you will seek God’s will for your life, seeking to do what pleases him far and above what pleases you! Declaring that he comes first.
Yes it is a very bold declaration to say that you will live for him who died for you... And if you are here today and a Christian, you have made that declaration.
When you came to Christ.
When you pledged your allegiance to the lamb.
You were making a very bold declaration.
B. And Like The Patriots You Must Also Pay A High Price
Ray Boltz Video - "I Pledge Allegiance To the Lamb"
It’s one thing, to make a bold declaration in the comfort of a church building, but it is quit another to live up to it. To pay the price. To fulfill that declaration on the battlefields of our Daily lives. Most times saying words is the easy part, the actions are much tougher.
Understand wars are not won by those who only make declarations, who only make claims, who only speak words. No victory is seldom achieved by those who lift only their voices.
Unfortunately we who are in the Lord’s Army find just like the patriots found, in the American Revolution, that our war (for many reasons) is hard to win. For one, in our bold declaration we are challenging an empire that is very powerful. We are declaring war against; "the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world, we are taking a stand against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms..."
THERE ARE real battles to be fought, real struggles to over come. We are called in scripture to; "finish the race," "to fight the good fight," "to endure hardships like a good soldier."
YES WE ARE in a real war (and we have a real enemy, and he does not like it when someone, opposes, challenges, defies him) and our enemy (satan) will attack us, pursue us, tempt us, he will try to make sin look good. He will at times, come at us head on just like a roaring lion, and at other times he will appear as an angel of light.
And not only is the war hard to win because we have an enemy but another reason is because not everyone is committed to the war effort, not everyone who claimed Jesus as their Lord one day in the assembly, has lived up to it in their daily lives.
Yes, some are just like the "Torries" and are still more loyal to our enemy... to sin & satan. They still serve him, worship him, give their best efforts and time to him...
A final reason our war is hard is because others are like that 1/3 of the colonists and are unconcerned about the outcome of the war... They are indifferent. They are uninvolved. Now they may not directly hinder the war effort and they will certainly want to take part in any benefits, but they will not join in, they will not leave their comfort and safety, they simply watch and critique from the sidelines.
Let’s make no mistake about it - there is a high price to pay to fulfill our declaration - THAT JESUS IS OUR LORD.... Our Lord demands total, radical, unswerving allegiance and the fact that he does, is no secret, Jesus made this clear to us when he walked the earth......
“There is severe warnings in scripture about those who merely make the declaration, who speak only the words... Who only make the claim What is it that gets in the way of people keeping and fulfilling their declaration? I think most meant it when they gave it. I don’t think they were lying about it, they had good intentions. So what is it then that gets in the way?
The answer can be found in just one simple word...."SELF"
"WE" get in the way, our pride, our opinion, our desires, our comfort, our convenience, our will, our way...... Many will say "I pledge allegiance to the lamb" but in reality their allegiance is still to self.
That’s why Jesus said we must pick up our cross, and deny self daily in order to be his disciples. What do you think Jesus means by the term pick up your cross, (My job, my husband, my wife, my kids, my good looks.....?)
To the people is Jesus day picking up ones cross meant only one thing...."DEATH"
And to pick up your cross daily, to deny self, to die to self..... is a high price to pay.
But the reward we shall reap is a great one ---- is worth it!!!!
C. Reap A Great Reward
Not only will they win their freedom --- freedom from sin, death and condemnation (no small thing)
One day we will reap what is perhaps the greatest reward of all. One day we will stand before the Lord and all His glory and receive the crown of life which he gives to those who love him and long for his coming....
And we will hear those most precious words of the ages; "Well done they good and faithful servant, come and share your masters happiness..."
And we will in our new body, join that great heavenly choir that is circled around the Lamb;
The declaration is bold "Jesus is my Lord".
The price is high "Die to self".
But the reward is great!