Lest We Forget
Psalm 144; Text verse 15
It is our aim in this message to point out the godly influences, which
have contributed to America's greatness and to inspire ourselves to pass on those
contributions to succeeding generations
In our pledge of allegiance we say, "one nation
under God." On our coins are the words, "In God We Trust". A legal
oath in court is phrased, "So help me God." Every president and
governor in our history has been inaugurated with the Bible and
prayer. Every session of our National Congress and State Assemblies
are opened in prayer. Every branch of service has it chaplains. When
our astronauts went to the moon they placed on its surface along
with our Nation's Flag a copy of the Bible on Microfilm
What is the cause of these influences in our
national life which pay homage to God?
THE FOUNDING OF AMERICA
A. The Spanish came for greed but did not retain
The first foreign power to send forth armies and
settlers were the Spanish. They intended to extract from this land
its wealth for their own national purposes. We believe God prevented
this nation from being a colony of Spain.
A refugee from a Latin American dictatorship who
came to this country said, "I had to know what made the United
States different. Why did part of the new world become the
wealthiest, most powerful, most advanced nation on earth while the
rest remained backward, poverty-stricken and unstable? I bought
books on United States History and I read and read. After a while I
saw the difference. Latin America was developed by lust for gold;
men came and took and gave back nothing. The United States was
developed by men who wanted to serve God. They brought families and
built on the Bible. So I got a Bible and read that. I came to know
Christ through it. Now I understand why North America developed so
B. The French came for gain but did not retain
The French came for territorial expansion. They
one time exercised authority over a large portion of this country,
but lost that control. Many other nations tried to forge colonies in
this country but none were able to retain their holdings.
C. The Pilgrims came for freedom of religion and
missionary outreach and possessed the land.
They had spoken out against the feudal system and
the State Church. They fled first to Holland, but because they
rejected the consequences of intermarriage with people of contrary
religious conviction they left there and came to America.
They anchored near Plymouth Rock in December of
1621. Those who survived the voyage were sick and weak. They rowed
toward shore but were overturned. It was Saturday evening. They
walked up and down in wet clothes and through the cold Saturday
night. They could freeze and die, but they could not violate their
convictions about the Lord's Day and build a fire.
They penned the Mayflower Compact, "In the name
of God, Amen, and having undertaken in the glory of God, in the
advancement of the Christian faith…do solemnly and mutually in the
presence of God covenant and combine ourselves together…"
Others joined them who fled Catholic and reformed
persecution in Ireland and Europe.
D. Freedom of religion was first guaranteed in
In 1636 Roger Williams founded the First Baptist
Church of Providence, Rhode Island. He penned the first charter
guaranteeing absolute religious liberty and civil democracy. In 1643
the Constitution of the New England Confederation did likewise.
E. The Declaration of Independence was based on Bible principles.
It contains four references to God:
- "…the laws of nature and of nature's God…",
- "…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable rights…",
- "…appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the
rectitude of our intentions…",
- "… with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine
John Adams, a member of the committee appointed
to draft the American "Declaration", and Benjamin Franklin were the
only two individuals who suggested the terminology to be used. Adams
recalled in a letter to Jefferson in 1813 that they had based their
immortal document to a great extent on the tenets laid down in the
bible. He wrote, "The general principles on which the fathers
achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity."
In 1681, William Penn said, "If you are not
governed by God, you will be ruled by tyrants."
F. Our national Constitution was based on Bible principles and
drafted in prayer in 1787.
Fifty-five men labored five months on the
Constitution without reaching agreement. Benjamin Franklin arose and
made a motion for prayer: "I have live, Sir, a long time, and the
longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth…that
God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to
the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can
rise without His aid?" From the day they began their sessions with
prayer they moved steadily forward in writing the greatest
constitution in the history of humanity.
Daniel Webster said in Plymouth, Massachusetts,
in 1820; "…more than all, a government and a country were to
commence with the very first foundations laid under the divine light
of the Christian religion…who could wish that his country's
existence had otherwise begun? Let us not forget the religious
character of our origin."
Other statements by our founding fathers abound
which describe their reliance on Biblical principles to draw up the
organization and philosophy of our nation.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICA
Our Religious Heritage
Some of the most respected men in all of
Christian history have been Americans. Pastors, evangelists, circuit
riders and missionaries, have stamped the life of America with the
message of Christ. Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield,
David Brainerd, William Carey, Peter Cartwright, Adoniram Judson,
Charles G. Finney, D.L. Moody, R.A. Torrey, J. Wilbur Chapman, Gypsy
Smith, Billy Sunday and thousands of other servants of God have
filled our years of history with powerful Christian influence.
Our Education Heritage.
With strong authoritarian approach to education,
this nation became the most advanced nation on earth. With textbook,
Bible and hickory stick, a nation was educated which became the envy
of the world.
Our Industrial Heritage.
Along with other nations, this country was guilty
of many abuses regarding the working man and child labor. There is
no country, however, which has done more through its laws to grant
protection and authority to the laborer for a just wage and decent
working conditions. Indeed for a time, organized labor was the most
powerful force in American life. At the same time industry in
America has become the unrivaled giant of the world. Over half the
wealth of the world lies within the borders of the United States.
Our Political Heritage.
America enjoys the right to elect whatever
representatives they desire to city, county, state, and national
positions. These representatives write all laws. It is still
possible for bad laws and abuses to be corrected by electing
representatives who will do so.
THE BLESSINGS WE ENJOY
Consider some blessings the United States has
- Every other great nation has had at least one change of
government by revolution. The U.S.A has never had a revolution
that changed the form of government.
- We are the only great nation that has never been humiliated
by signing a document of surrender
- We are the most scientifically advanced nation on earth.
- We are the only great nation that has never given up
- We have more material blessings than all the rest of the
world put together.
- We have more professing Christians than any nation on earth
and more churches with an orthodox Bible position.
- We have sent more missionaries out with the gospel than all
other nations combined.
- Godly forefathers have passed on all the above blessings and
more, to us. They possessed sufficient conviction, fortitude and
effort to pass them on. May we be persuaded to preserve them for
the next generation.
VIGILANCE WE MUST MAINTAIN
Satanically inspired forces would erode the
foundation of our freedom and destroy the influence of Christianity
within this nation and around the world.
Assaults On Our Foundations
- By the British in the War of 1812. Our National Anthem was
written after the battle of Fort McHenry.
- By Mexico in 1846-47.
- By Civil War: The North won because God wanted one nation and
not two. The Confederates had two chances to win the Battle of
Gettysburg (on the first and the third days).
- By Spain in the Spanish-American War 1898.
- By Germany and her confederates in World War I.
- By Germany and Japan in World War II,
- By Communism in Korea, Indo-China, Cuba and Russia.
There is constant effort to change our country
from the land of the free and the home of the brave to the home of
the spree and the land of the rave. God's people must be vigilant!
Drugs, drunkenness, obscenity, humanism, abortion, and etc. abound.
We are barraged in all branches of government with
bills to separate our nation from God; stifle individual freedoms;
take away the rights of private ownership; make Biblical practices
illegal (discipline of children and the husband/father being the
authority in the home); transform our government from a Republic to
a Socialist state and relinquish our freedom to an internationalist
Every heresy imaginable under the name of
An invasion of oriental religions and cults
An apostasy in once orthodox Christian groups
There are many influences that threaten to
destroy our money system:
Deficit spending by government; (pressure groups
lobby to get our legislators to subsidize everything.)
Being the Free world's "policeman" takes its
Giving foreign aid may have some noble goals, but
it is rarely used for noble purposes and has produced disastrous
Everybody wanting more money produces an
inflationary spiral that constantly drives costs up
Big business being more concerned about profit
than the national welfare
The goals for which we must fight
At Dover, England, three lights are used to guide
ships past the rocks. The pilot maneuvers the ship so that the three
lights appear as one. We need to guide our ship of state so that the
home, the church, and the government are lined up together. Amos 3:3
When the Declaration of Independence had been
drafted many of the representatives were afraid to sign it because
they knew that it could be their death warrant. John Witherspoon
made a challenging speech that so motivated John Hancock that he
could hardly wait to sign the document.
John Witherspoon was also a fundamentalist
Presbyterian preacher. John Hancock went to hear him preach. His
subject was John 10:9, "I am the door, by me if any man enter in
he shall be saved…" On the way home he spoke with friends
saying, "I've always enjoyed hearing John Witherspoon speak, but
tonight he left me mystified. He said Jesus was a door, and that I
don't understand." He arrived home in the dark, felt for the door
handle several times before he located it, then opened the door and
stepped inside. Still thinking of the preacher's message he said,
"Now, I see." His family sitting around the open fire laughed and
one remarked, "Sure you can see. You've been out in the dark. You
just opened the door and came into the light. Of course, you can
see." John Hancock said, "By faith I have also laid hold of another
door that opened into light and life eternal." He had put his name
on the Declaration of Independence, but the Lord had now entered his
name in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted