America — What Does Freedom Really Mean?

statue of liberty sunset

The freedom to get the gospel out. God has given us that freedom, and in many ways, it has been used wisely—no one can argue the fact that America is the number one exporter of the gospel.

In part one I mentioned that I get emails regularly from government officials, school teachers, chaplains in the military and the like who say, “This is ridiculous. We’re being restrained. We can’t say anything. We can’t do anything. Why isn’t anybody saying something?” Who has the moral authority and responsibility to speak out if not the church? Yet we don’t, because we’re too scared. We’re cowards. We don’t want to lose our 501(c)(3) status, as if God is concerned about nonprofit status. We don’t want to lose our job. We don’t want to be bold. We’re afraid of what people may think of us if we stand up and speak truth. We enjoy comfortable Christianity.

Freedom Is a Gift from God

The church is to be the conscience of the nation; the government is to be the sword. In Romans 13, Paul says that the government is to be a terror to those who do evil. That’s its role. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, said: The origination and descent of all human power [is] from God first, to terrify evil doers; secondly, to cherish those who do well. Government seems to me to be a part of religion itself.

Someone will say, “But you can’t legislate morality.” Of course not, but you can deter wrongdoing. The reason that crime is escalating and the prisons are full is because there is so little punishment. Look at how far we’ve drifted. Psalm 33:12 says: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

Again, someone will say, “But look what Paul and the early Christians went through. They just submitted to the beatings and the persecution. They went through it.” Yes, they did. But we must stop comparing the government in the Rome of Paul’s day with our nation; they’re not the same. God has given us a government that Paul could not have imagined—a government of the people by the people for the people, with the power to elect representatives that either uphold God’s Word or don’t uphold it. Do you think that if Paul were here today he’d say, “Don’t do anything; don’t get involved”? I think that he would say the opposite, “Do you see how many opportunities for the gospel there are to proclaim the truth . . . to highlight God’s Word?”

Have you ever thought that maybe our freedom isn’t all about us? The freedom to get the gospel out. God has given us that freedom, and in many ways, it has been used wisely—no one can argue the fact that America is the number one exporter of the gospel. Throughout the whole world, millions have come to faith in Christ because of our freedom. Yet that same freedom has also been used to make us the number one exporter of pornography in the world—and millions in our own nation misuse their freedom and blaspheme the very God who gave that freedom to them.

You Troubler of America

This message is not just for whites or blacks or Hispanics—it’s for everybody. All of us fall under the blanket of Christianity. All of us are in this nation together, brothers and sisters locked in arms for Christ. That’s the priority. This isn’t about elevating certain agendas or people; it’s about returning to what God’s Word says.

Consider Elijah of the Old Testament. He called down fire from God, which wiped out the prophets of Baal. Interestingly, he would tell King Ahab these same things about returning to God—putting God’s Word first, getting our lives back on track, stop letting idolatry lead us astray. And King Ahab said to him, “You troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18:17). Isn’t that the same thing that happens today? “You troubler of America,” they say. Elijah said to them, “How long will you waver between two opinions?” How long will we waver between two opinions—if God is God, follow Him. There’s no middle ground. This is the same message we must boldly proclaim to our generation.

The old prophets cried out, John the Baptist cried out, Jesus cried out, and we must cry out! This message concerns everyone. Most professing Christians want to stay home, be entertained, and live lives of comfort, staying out of the battle. But God says, “No, stay in the battle. Let Me work through you.”

How do you know if you have not been called for such a time as this? I only regret that I have but one life to give for my Savior. That’s the passion; that’s the call. I’m not talking about civil war or civil disobedience. I’m talking about men and women on fire for God, broken before Him, broken and humbled by the magnitude of what is taking place in our country.

The church used to be a beacon of life promoting God’s Word. Yet if I talk about righteousness and repentance, I’m a hater. If I say, “I love all of you, but I can’t support gay marriage,” I’m considered homophobic. Or if I say, “Jesus is the only way,” I’m called narrow minded. We must realize that we won’t be liked by everyone. If the world hates Him, they’re going to hate you. Whose side are you on? Freedom is not free.

Shane Idleman

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