What is in a name? Biblically, names carried destiny or profound spiritual truths. When God wanted to change your destiny, He changed your name. We see this pattern over and over in Holy Writ. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter, and Saul became Paul. Interestingly enough, ever born-again, overcoming child of God receives a new name. Revelation 2:17 states, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it.”
Based upon this Biblical example, we prayed extensively over each one of our children’s names. If they ever decided to backslide, they would have to change their names. Their names would prayerfully remind them of the God of their fathers and the Kingdom multi-generational vision they abandoned for the pleasures of this world. In other words, don’t sell your godly birthright children, for a bunch of worldly pottage. God hates this betrayal.
Proverbs 22:1 states, “A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.” There was a time in America when our children were taught to honor the name of God. The third commandment teaches, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain (Exodus 20:7.” More than using God’s name as a curse word, this commandment forbids God’s people to name the name of Christ and then live like pagans. Jesus reiterated a similar warning in New Testament. Quoting from Isaiah, He declared, “This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
Based upon the honor of God’s name, some American families worked hard to keep their name honorable and noble, though contending with a sinful nature and feet of clay. They tried to pass on a good name to their children in the hopes that they would do well and not destroy the faith, trust, and integrity invested in the family name. Those days are long gone and for most of this generation, we are too busy sinning and fulfilling our fleshly desires to be bothered how our conduct dishonors God, disgraces our families, or hurts others. God forgive us for taking His and our family names in vain.
The foundational Scripture for today’s message is Hebrews 11:32-40; 12:1, 2. God’s word states:
And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
After laying this Scriptural foundation, we will proceed by God’s grace on a historical journey. We will be investigating certain times and events in American history where men put their names on the line to change the course of history and to pass on to us a heritage of Christian liberty.
There are important lessons learned by the study of history. George Santayana stated: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” In other words, if we do not know where we came from, we will have no idea, where we are going or what to do once we get there. History is His-story. It is God’s redemption plan worked out through the eons of time and His covenant people.
The first document we will examine is the Mayflower Compact. It states:
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.
Seeking to flee religious persecution, our Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers escaped England and went to Holland for sanctuary. In Leyland, they obtained religious freedom to serve and worship God according to the Bible, rather than submit to the unholy, tyrannical alliance between church and state in England. Eventually, the Pilgrims left Holland to undertake a hazardous journey to come to the New World. Though they obtained what they were seeking in Holland, they were losing their children to a corrupt culture and decided to become “stepping stones” for future generations. William Bradford stated, “Lastly, a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.”
While crossing the Atlantic, a great storm arose. It blew them off course. Instead of arriving in Virginia with the King’s official papers to expand the colony, they arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Though they endured much suffering crossing the Atlantic, they would not step foot off of the ship, until they crafted a governing document, the famous Mayflower Compact. The men signed this document, which became the basis for the Connecticut Constitution. It was the Connecticut Constitution that eventually became the basis for the U.S. Constitution.
The next document in American history that demanded signatures from brave men was the Declaration of Independence. Fifty six of our Founding Fathers signed this document, which was, in essence, the signing of their own death warrants. They did it any way! In so doing, they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to enshrine these immortal words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The largest signature in the center of the document was John Hancock. He wanted to make sure King George didn’t need his spectacles to see his signature. What a guy! We could sure use men like this today. What inspired these men to put everything they cherished on the line? It was the same motivation that compelled our Pilgrim forefathers and mothers to carve out the Kingdom of God upon these shores. They were seeking a city on a hill, a light to the nations as liberty was proclaimed through out the land.
Eighty-seven years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, America faced another trial by fire. Slavery! A great and bloody Civil War was fought between the North and the South over this sin against God and this crime against our black brothers and sisters.
In his famous Gettysburg address, President Abraham Lincoln profoundly declared, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
To ensure our nation did endure, thousands of Christian clergy appealed to President Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation freeing our black brothers and sisters. Different Christian denominations sent 79 official condemnations of slavery urging Lincoln in the strongest terms possible to set the captives free. One letter sent by 3050 New England pastors was 200 feet long. Why so long? They needed the length to contain every one of their signatures. They put their name to this document and President Lincoln took note and I dare say he also took courage. Eventually, he put his signature on a document that changed the course of the Civil War. He signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Senator Charles Sumner thanked the ministers. He stated, “In the days of the revolution, John Adams, yearning for Independence, said, ‘Let the pulpits thunder against oppression,’ and the pulpits thundered. The time has come for them to thunder again.”
How many believe it is time for American pulpits to thunder again in our day? Oppression and tryanny are once again threatening our liberty and national survival. Many our questioning like Abraham Lincoln, can the nation conceived by our Founding Fathers long endure?
Starting with Hebrews, we read of the great clouds of witnesses that ran their lap of the race, who are cheering us on to faithfully run ours. They will not be perfect (mature) until we follow their example and run the race of faith set before us. We must therefore cast off every besetting sin and keep our eyes on the prize, which is none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Patriarchs, Prophets, Kings, our Lord, His Apostles, early Church Fathers, Martyrs, Reformers, Colonial Fathers, Founding Fathers, and American patriots of time past have all run their lap of the race. They placed their names, live, fortunes and sacred honor on the line to pass on a godly heritage, which produced the freest, most prosperous nation on the earth. It is our turn now!
I’d like to introduce to you another document a time like this demands. It is called The National Emancipation Proclamation for the Unborn Child. I am going to read it to you and ask you to sign your name to this historical as well as prophetical document. One of the goals we have set for the States of Refuge is to gather as many signatures we can accumulate and put them on a huge scroll to unveil at the Lincoln Memorial. We are scheduling this event for January 1st, 2013. The month and date are significant on two counts. First, January 1st, 2013 will be the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the first Emanicipation Proclamation. January 22nd, 2103 will be the fortieth anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade infamous Decision. Historically and Biblcally these are both noteworthy numbers.
Similar to the way, William Wilberforce unrolled a scroll of signatures in the English Parliament demanding England abolish the slave trade, we are going to roll this scroll down the Lincoln Memorial steps to demand our nation “Let God’s Babies Go” in Jesus’ name! Come sign your name and let us make history in Jesus’ glorious name!