St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525

 
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SWEAT a Little... this Fourth of July
July 3, 2011

In his series of pamphlets, “The American Crisis,” Thomas Paine wrote, “those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” His words ring true today, though our struggles may take on different forms.

The Declaration of Independence recognized that freedom was God-given; yet it also took “sweat” to preserve for present and future generations. This Independence Weekend, I’d like to share a Biblical perspective on what it means for the followers of Jesus to “S-W-E-A-T” for their nation and bless it with the freedom Jesus has secured for all with the sacrifice of his own sweat and blood.

Submission:

We bless the nation by our obedience to God even when others are not. Jesus died to set us free from sin. When God’s people exercise their freedom from sin to live in holiness and righteousness, we honor God and sweat for the nation. “Never tire of doing good” (Galatians 6:9), the Bible says; and “Righteousness exalts a nation.” (Proverbs 14:34).

Witness:

We bless the nation by making the most of every opportunity to share the hope we have in Jesus. This nation is blessed whenever they meet Jesus through an authentic, respectful, caring, expression of our faith (1 Peter 3:15). Jesus tells us to expect to “sweat it out” a little in the public arena, “on my account,” he says, “you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses.” (Matthew 10:18).

Enlistment:

We bless the nation by our enlistment to serve. Jesus never planned for us to stay hidden among the safe circle of his follower. He constantly sent his followers out, “to heal, raise, cleanse, drive out, and freely give” (Matthew 10:8ff). While scripture tells us that we are not to adopt the sinful ways of the world, we are to be enlisted as God’s servants in the world. Jesus prayed for that to be so of us (John 17:9ff) Jeremiah taught the exiles, “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile... because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:9).

Assembling:

We bless the nation by assembling together for worship. The Bible warns that the more difficult the times, the greater temptation there will be to neglect gathering together in worship; and yet such times make it all the more necessary that we do so (Hebrews 10:25). In many instances, the Bible makes a direct connection with faithful people in worship and the prosperity of the nation. The Psalms call for a faithful gathering of praise concluding, “then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.” (Psalm 67:6).

Trusting with Prayer:

We bless the nation when we show our trust in God by commending it and our leaders to God in prayer. “In God We Trust” may be the national motto, but it’s nothing but a slogan unless the followers of Jesus actually carry this nation to God in prayer. Every time we use money, it can be a reminder to bless the nation with our prayers. Paul calls this the “first order of discipleship,” namely, “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Will Rogers cleverly said, “Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches.” The followers of Jesus are called to do some sweating for the nation by putting the word into practice; but bear in mind that Jesus’ sweat and blood made true and eternal freedom even possible to sweat for.

 

 

(c)2011 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 www.sjlagrange.com
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

 
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