Love-2 Peter 1:7

Freedom From Religion Foundation Protecting the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. Article from website said, “FFRF invites area freethinkers to attend the placement of its solstice display this Sunday, Nov. 29 at 10:00 a.m. “to celebrate diversity, freethought, the Winter Solstice, and the freedoms we all share in the United States, thanks to our Bill of Rights.” I agree the Bill of Rights grants freedom of religion – not freedom from religion. I don’t have a problem of them putting up a sign promoting their no belief – which is their religion. Religion means – A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence The principle of the separation of church and state is not found in the Constitution. The first amendment states: (Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791) “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The principle of the separation of church and state is found in President Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist association who were concerned that the government might someday attempt to regulate religious expression. Jefferson wrote, “…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” Jefferson had no intention of allowing the government to limit, restrict, regulate, or interfere with public religious practices. He believed, along with the other Founders, that the First Amendment had been enacted only to prevent the federal establishment of a national denomination. It was not until 1947 that the Supreme Court used Jefferson’s words to mean the opposite of his original intention. Who are the founders of the Freedom From Religion foundation? In 1976 Anne Nicol Gaylor and her daughter Annie Laurie Gaylor (current co-president with her husband Dan Barker) founded FFRF. In 1967, Anne called for legalized abortion in Wisconsin. While she worked for abortion rights issues, Gaylor felt the need to address what she saw as the root cause of women’s oppression: religion. She felt that the existing women’s rights organizations were not confronting this issue, so she founded FFRF. She is the person who wrote what is on the poster on the courthouse lawn. “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Beside the poster is a display of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Lady Liberty looking at the Bill of Rights in the manger. The atheists are mocking Christians. We don’t make fun of them for not believing, we simple believe and put up a Nativity to remember Jesus’ birth. It is interesting that the imagery is Ben, Thomas, and George are giving birth to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights has their (founding fathers) DNA. They did not create a godless Constitution and secular society and government They could not have conceived of a society without God. They all believed in God and believed in Religious Freedom. Liberals claim that our founding fathers were deist, deist is from the Latin for God, theist is from the Greek for God. They may not have fit in with “evangelical Christians” today but the three heroes of the atheist were all members of mainline denominational churches and they all prayed. If they were true deists, why did they pray? Deist believe God created the world and then had no intervention. Jefferson in his letter Danbury Baptist Association wrote, http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=123 “I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man” Written in the front of Jefferson’s personal Bible, he wrote: http://www.faithofourfathers.net/jefferson.html “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator.” In 1778 George Washington wrote Thomas Nelson: “The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” I wonder if the Freedom From Religion people would be so high on Washington if they knew what he said about them. You are worse than a heathen if you lack faith and are not grateful to God. Washington said in his Farwell Address – September 19, 1796 “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Ben Franklin believed in prayer and God’s intervention also. (http://acheritagegroup.org/blog/?p=596) He begged those at the Constitution Convention to pray. “I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.” He also wrote his on eulogy. “The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and guilding, lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author. Franklin’s words sound Christian to me, not the words of a deist. Deist know there is a creator God by looking at nature but they can’t know there is new body with the Author of Life. The display of the founding fathers birthing the Bill of Rights is ironic. Men who believed in God and prayer could not have created a “godless Constitution” and a “godless government.” They believed in religion and the free exercise thereof. It saddens me like George Washington and the Apostle Paul to know people have turned their backs on God and hardened their hearts toward Him. Philippians 3:18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. I fear for their torment – I am sure they are saying what the rich man said. Luke 16:22 …The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ … 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Please don’t have the attitude of the local resident who was quoted on the news. “Well, whatever. If that’s the way they feel, they gotta’ go to hell, I don’t,” resident Marilyn Schmidt Anderson said. We must have an attitude of love so they don’t suffer in hell for eternity. We know our destination and we should want everyone to join us. Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. We are eagerly awaiting Jesus and we must help others eagerly await. Do you have that kind of love even for your enemy? Is your attitude fear and sadness for people going to hell or I don’t care I don’t have to go there? With that kind of attitude, you might not. We must add Love to our faith. 2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. “Love” (agape) is the supreme Christian virtue Agape is to love dearly agape not phileo is the word used of God’s love to man, What is love? 1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God’s love is what sent Jesus to earth to be born a baby and to die on a rugged cross. People are listen at this time of year – let them know what Christmas means – show them the love of God. When know God loves us and the most important thing we can do is love God in return. Matthew 22:35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Love God and Love your neighbor – that is all we have to do. It is not easy so we must dedicate ourselves to love God and each other. We talked about brotherly love (1 John 3:14, 15) last week and a few weeks ago we talked about loving our spouse (Ephesians 5:25) Jesus also tells us to love our enemy. Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Our love cannot discriminate; Jesus demands an all-embracing love – it knows no class or ethnic boundary. Love actively seeks the eternal well-being of others, regardless of the harm they seek to inflict upon you. John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The problem with our society is not atheist or pagans or liberalism. The problem with our world is that Christians don’t love one another as we have been commanded to. If we are going to change the world – if we are going to be salt and light, we must love one another like God loved us. People come to church not because of right doctrine but because of love. If we want the world to notice Jesus, then we need to love. (1 John 3:17-18; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Part of loving God is keeping His commands – We have love within the boundaries of God’s word. John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. … 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. God loves you – do you love God? Obey His commands and love your enemies. Obey Him and love one another. If you haven’t accepted His love, then come today. Jesus was born to die on the cross to save you from your sins. He loves you even if you don’t think you are lovable. That’s a face only a mother could love – God loves you no matter what you look like and no matter what you have done. His grace and forgiveness is free. Will you come and accept His free gift?