The fourth of July is a national holiday celebrating our independence from Great Britain. Now it was on the 2nd of July that we actually declared our independence, but in typical bureaucratic fashion, it took Congress two days of debate before they were able to come up with a declaration containing verbiage agreeable to all. Hence…we celebrate on July 4th, which is the date on the Declaration of Independence (many historians believe it was not actually signed until August 2, 1776). (Reference: “Top 5 Myths About the Fourth of July!“. History News Network. George Mason University. June 30, 2001.)
Whatever is the true and correct date of our independence, it is on the 4th of July that we celebrate as a country with parades, carnivals, patriotic displays, and, of course, fireworks. It is a time we spend with family and friends, relaxing at the lake, enjoying freshly grilled cuisine together, or any combination of fun-filled activities. Our independence as a country is certainly something worth celebrating, after all, the United States of America is the hallmark of freedom to the entire world!
Another lesser known fact about the 4th of July is that it is the day three of our past presidents entered their eternity. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signors of the Declaration of Independence who later became president, both died on the same day: July 4, 1826. And President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. I bring up these facts for a simple reason, to remind us all that the 4th of July is as good a day as any to contemplate that one statistic that is beyond argument: we will all one day pass from this world.
And while death is never a fun topic for discussion, it is from this very holiday that we can all find reason to rejoice! Because when the United States of America became independent it led to the eventual adoption of our constitution (in 1789) and bill of rights giving us the promise of the free exercise of religion (the first amendment was ratified in 1791). And it is with this guarantee that we are free to investigate and pursue our own religious convictions.
So, on this Independence Day I want to challenge you to spend some time contemplating the simple reality that you will eventually die and there is no escaping that fact. And, while you are celebrating your freedom, I want to further encourage you to thoroughly investigate the validity of the Christian faith. Because if you do investigate with an open heart and mind, I am confident you will conclude, as tens of millions of others have, that Jesus Christ is real, that he surely walked this earth, that he was crucified on the cross, died a horrible and agonizing death as payment for our sins, and that he truly rose again.
In our independent country, we place a lot of faith in eyewitnesses. There were hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ. The apostles were so convinced of the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection they endured beatings, jail time, and eventually death so that the message of salvation through faith in Christ would go out to all the world.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Folks, if you haven’t already done so, why not make this 4th of July the day you secure your eternal home with Jesus. It’s really simple, all you have to do is ask him.
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