The attacks on religious freedom are accelerating in America. You may have heard the latest on the Oregon bakers, fined $135,000.00 for declining the invitation to bake a “wedding cake” for two daughters of Sodom, who then complained they were discriminated against. Now the pagan State of Oregon is poised to evict them from their home, steal the money from them, and then give that $135,000.00 directly to the two daughters of Sodom.
The new judicial standard seems to be that if you don’t believe the way I believe, then I can sue you for discriminating against me. Of course that only works one way, which is that it is always the non-Christians successfully suing the Christians. Whatever happened to the diversity and tolerance they supposedly support? It appears, rather, to be just a thinly veiled new form of persecution.
In town of Bremerton, Washington, coach Joe Kennedy has a pattern he established when hired seven years ago of, after every football game, walking out to the 50 yard line, kneelng down, and thanking God in prayer. No one is required to attend that prayer, but many of the players from both teams voluntarily join him there for prayer after each game. However, some unnamed someone must be very disturbed by such prayers.
This year, Coach Kennedy was told to stop praying or start finding a new job. The Coach received a letter from his school district demanding that he stop. Notwithstanding, the Coach said he will continue his postgame tradition of praying at the 50-yard line, and he did so this Friday evening. This coach isn’t trying to force anyone to do anything–he simply wants to exercise his own Christian faith. The persecution is ramping up, telling him he has no freedom to exercise his Christian faith outside the walls of a church. Are we witnessing the De-Christianization of America?
To understand the battle lines being drawn and, most importantly, what we can and should do as Christians, we need to turn back to the Law of God. Turn to Exodus 20:22, as we continue in our series True Law is God’s Law. As the battle for religious freedom rages, we must understand that no matter what any official says—whether Federal, State, or Local—no matter how much ink is spilled on paper by any branch of any level of government, it is not true Law unless it is in full compliance with God’s Law, for True Law is God’s Law.
You’ll recall that the setting here is Mount Sinai, just after God has given the Ten Commandments. The people were gathered at the edge of the Mount where a fence prevented them from touching the Mount and the tremendous power and majesty of God were on full display. Earthquakes shook the ground, fire engulfed the mountain, the blast of the trumpet was earsplitting, and the voice of the Lord was overpowering. The Israelites were terrified.
We saw last week that they were convinced that they were about to die. The fear of the Lord was upon them, as they understood His awesome power and majesty, His righteousness and pure Holiness. We shall see in the passage before us that the point is to truly worship God and to worship Him in the way that pleases Him.
Worship God in the way that pleases Him – Exodus 20:22-25: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.”
He alone is God: all else are impostors, frauds, fakes, and charlatans. We owe to the One True God worship and service, and we owe it to Him alone. We can worship God regardless of circumstances. The Pilgrims, before going ashore, decided to write a document known as the Mayflower Compact. At the heart of the compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order, and the law without a moral base is really no law at all. The day the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, according to William Bradford, they read the following from the Geneva Bible: “LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER.”
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