Jeff Owens is the pastor of Twin Rivers Baptist Church in New Bern, North Carolina.
“And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.” (Jeremiah 2:7)
The Bible says here, “I brought you into a land of plenty, and you have defiled it. I brought you into a country that is fruitful, and you have defiled it. I brought you into a nation of goodness, and you have defiled it. This land, your heritage, you have turned into an abomination.” This Scripture here reminds me of America, the land of plenty, of fruited plains, the country overflowing with the goodness of God. It reminds me of the place that we call the good old U. S. A.
Every coin that’s minted in the United States has inscribed on it these words, “Liberty” and “In God We Trust.” You can thank a man from Pennsylvania that was governor at the time by the name of John Pollack. He was the director of the mint in Philadelphia and felt it was urgent, because money would pass through people’s hands daily, that we be reminded of “Liberty,” and “In God We Trust.” Look on the penny, you’ll see the head of Abraham Lincoln there, the 16th President of the United States. It says, “Liberty”, “In God We Trust.” On the nickel, Thomas Jefferson, President #3, and the words, “Liberty”, “In God We Trust.” On the dime, Eisenhower will be there, President #34, and you’ll find these words, “Liberty”, “In God We Trust.” On the quarter you’ll find George Washington, the father of our country if you will, and our first President, but you’ll find these words, “Liberty”, “In God We Trust.”
Every session of the House of Representatives begins with a prayer to God. Every session of the United States Senate begins with prayer to God. The 83rd Congress set aside a room in the capitol of the United States. It’s a private prayer room for congressmen. In that room is a picture of George Washington. Behind him you’ll find the following words etched. “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” (Psalm 16:1) Inside our capital is a picture of the Pilgrims about to embark from Holland. Chaplain Brewster is pictured there with an open Bible on his lap, with these words, “The New Testament, according to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” Written on the sail of the ship, the Mayflower, was the Pilgrim’s motto, “In God we trust. God be with us.”
Above the head of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court hangs the Ten Commandments from the Word of God. Engraved on the metal cap on the top of the Washington Monument are the words, “Praise be to God.” Lining the walls of the Washington Monument stairwells are phrases like, “Search the Scriptures.” (John 5:39) “Holiness to the Lord.” (Zechariah 14:20) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Etched in the walls of the library of Congress, you will find Micah 6:8. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Etched in the walls of the library of Congress, you will find Psalm 19:1. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Etched in the walls of the library of Congress of the United States of America, the country that this flag stands for, you’ll find John 1:5. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” At the north end of the Lincoln Memorial you’ll find these words, “As were said 3,000 years ago, for it still must be said, ‘...the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’” (Psalm 19:9) The Jefferson Memorial wears these words, “God, who gave us life, give us liberty.”
John Quincy Adams, our sixth President, said this. “The first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention is the Bible.”
Abraham Lincoln said, “All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated through this Book. But for the Book, we could not know right from wrong. All the things that are desired by man are contained in this Book.”
Woodrow Wilson, President #28, said, “The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God, the spiritual nature of the need of man.”
Andrew Jackson, President #7, said, “Go to the Scriptures; the joyful promises it contains will be a balm to all your troubles.”
Calvin Coolidge, President #30, said, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teaching of the Bible, that it would be difficult to support them if them if these teaching would cease to be practically universal in our country.”
Samuel Francis Smith put it this way. “My country, tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountain side let freedom ring.”
In 1777 Patrick Allison, the chaplain of Congress at that time, petitioned Congress for Bibles. He said, “You’ve got to listen to me. Yes, there is hunger in our country. Yes, there is sickness in our country, but it all could be healed if we only but add more of the Word of God.” He petitioned Congress for Bibles and received 20,000 Bibles. They were sent here from Scotland and Holland, and the congressmen met as this preacher passed out the Word of God and they took hundreds of them to every congressional district and passed out the Word of God. That beats the stuffings out of our congressmen today that are passing out birth control.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Just as God in past times provided for any country great men, God has provided for America great men. Jonathan Edwards entered Yale College at the age of 13. He graduated valedictorian in his class at age 17. In 1734 he was pastoring in Northampton, Massachusetts, and a revival broke out. In 1741 he preached that famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Revival broke out, and it is said from 1740 to 1742, between 25,000 and 50,000 people joined the churches of Massachusetts. God gave an Edwards. Why? Because we were one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
God gave us a Charles Finney. He wanted to be a lawyer, but as he studied the books, they kept referring to the Law of God. They kept referring to the morality of the Bible, and you can’t get away from it in America. Sown through the fiber of our great country is the Word of God, and it’s to be preached by the man of God to a country that was given to us by God. Charles Finney would read those law books. He went to church, an unsaved man. They said, “Mr. Finney, you need to be saved.” They began to pray for him and it wasn’t long until he got saved, and gave up his law career and stepped up the ladder of success. He left the menial task of man’s law, and stepped up to the excellent task of presenting God’s Law to a country that needed him. In 1840 he preached, beginning with just a couple of weeks revival in Rochester, New York, but so many people started getting saved, they stayed an extra week, and then an extra week, and then an extra week. By the time he was done, he preached a six month revival, and 100,000 souls were saved in the state of New York, a half million saved by his death. God gave us a Charles Finney. God gave us a Jonathan Edwards.
God gave us a D. L. Moody, a shoe salesman in Boston, saved in the 1800’s, moved to Chicago, preached for 40 years to 50 million people. That was in America -- Chicago, Illinois. We’re not talking about England. We’re talking about our country. God always gives great men to a country that will serve God.
Billy Sunday played baseball, but one day he laid down the ball glove and picked up the Bible, and ran across this great country preaching the Gospel. Thousands were saved, and thousands were changed. Those revivals had so much impact that they shut down the liquor industry. God gave us a Billy Sunday. Why? One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Then in the ghettos of Texas one day, a momma gave birth to a little lad by the name of Jack Frazier Hyles. As a young boy he got saved. God said, “I need you.”
Jack said, “I need You, too.” They made an agreement. God would use him if he would be usable, and he was. Thousands of servants of God are busy spreading the Gospel today as result of a little ghetto bound boy from Texas that decided that he was going to serve his God and try to save his country, the United States of America. God bless America.
Some people say that America is great because of the vast and fruitful land. That is exactly what Katharine Bates was saying when she said, “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plains.” Yes, we have an abundance of oil, and yes, we have an abundance of water, and yes, we have an abundance of timber, and yes, we have an abundance of rich soil. We’re one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. They say America’s great because of the vastness and richness of our land, but that’s not the whole truth.
Some say America is great because of the American people. We have pioneered a continent. We have molded a society. We have subdued the elements. We built a great country, but I’ve got news for them. We didn’t build it alone. We are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. America is not great because of our land. America is not great just because of our people.
Some say America is great because of the American system. We are blessed to have a free enterprise system. There are millions of jobs. There are lots of jobs out there for anybody who will get off their lazy carcass and go get one. We have free elections here. They say America is great because of the American system, and yes, it’s a good system because it was based on the truth of the Bible, but we have a great God. We are one nation under God!
Some say it’s our military that makes us great. God bless everyone of you that have ever served in our military. I admire you and thank the Lord for you. I’ll tell you what. If you ever served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, you go ahead and hold your head high. You have something to be proud of. You can be glad that you had that opportunity. Some say it’s because we have a great Army and Navy and yes, we do. Some say it’s because of the Air Force or the Marines, and I’ll agree that you’ve got something to be excited about. If you gave some years of your life to defend this country, you ought to praise God and say, “Yes, I served my country.” God bless you. We need you and depend on you to be there for us. Some say it’s our military strength that makes us great.
Some say America is great because of her generosity. We feed the hungry nations of the world. We doctor the sick nations of the world. We even feed our enemies. Yes, we’re a generous nation. Yes, we have beautiful land and lots of everything that we would need. Yes, America is great. America has great people. America has an American system that works and a great military. Yes, America is generous. But I don’t believe any of those things are the true cause of America’s greatness.
If there is any greatness about America, it’s a direct result and is directly related to the inscription that’s found on our lowly penny. “In God We Trust.” That’s where it’s at. The greatness that’s been established in our nation and demonstrated around the world for over two centuries now is the result of her relationship to God and His Word.
In our text, Jeremiah 2:7, God said, “You have made my heritage an abomination.” I’m proud to be an American. I’m proud of Old Glory. You can say what you want, but I’m proud to be an American. I’m proud to hold onto the Red, White, and Blue. Sure, there are problems that need fixed, but it’s still the greatest nation on the face of God’s earth.
You say, “Brother Owens, our nation is going to the dogs.” That’s all right. You’re probably one of them. What you ought to do is get your carcass out of our country if you don’t love her and hold your head up high, proud to be American. I’ll tell you what. This is Old Glory, and I’m proud of her. But do you know what we need?
You teenagers and young adults and youth leaders that are listening to me right now, do you know what we need? We need you to help salvage our heritage. We’ve got to preserve the heritage God’s given us. He’s given us the land of the free, and the home of the brave. But judgment hovers over our heads because America is moving farther away from God and His word.
Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” Folks, we’ve got our hands full. We’ve got a nation to turn back to God. We’ve got to do it. We have no choice. We’ve got to save Old Glory. Thousands of good men died in World War I. Thousands of good men died in World War II. Thousands of good men died in the Korea and Viet Nam. They died at the Persian Gulf. While these mens’ hearts burned with patriotism, we had other men that burned their draft cards. Too great a price has been paid for us to sit idly by while we lose our liberty.
My brother-in-law went to Viet Nam. As a result of a land mine, he had one arm and one leg blown off completely. He lost an arm and a leg, but he fought valiantly for American freedom. Today we have queers, who lost their manhood fighting for the freedom to keep from serving Uncle Sam, or maybe it’s Aunt Sam to them. I’m not sure. At the rate of our nation’s decline, if we don’t do something about it quick, we’re going to have to change our national symbol from the bald eagle to the turkey. I don’t know. They’ll have to vote on that in Congress. People need to stop burning this flag right here. The only flag that ought to be burned is the one that some hippie punk has sewed on to the backside of his britches. Maybe what we should do is find some Marine who has risked his life for our flag and let that Marine turn that flag-burning hippie over his knee, and whip his rear end until there is enough fire to set off every smoke alarm in America. That’s what we ought to do.
This is my flag. This is Old Glory, the Red, White, and Blue. This is the one that you fought for, Army man. This is the one you fought for, Navy man. This is the one you fought for, Air Force man. Hey, Marine, this is your flag. Hey, Christian, this is the flag of your nation. Red, the blood that was shed; the white, the purity of God and His laws; and the blue, the royalty and the loyalty that we ought to have for our country. America is so smart we can help people to walk on the moon, but it’s not even safe to walk in your own back yard. If you don’t love America, why don’t you get your unpatriotic fat carcass out of this country? We love our nation and our liberty, we appreciate the men who fought and died to win it and keep it. We thank the Lord for the godly forefathers who framed our Constitution and penned our Declaration of Independence on the basis of the truth of the Word of God. If you don’t love America, why don’t you just go right ahead and ship out to the land that you love? Why don’t you get out?. This is our country. This is our flag.
I can feel the same concern that caused Thomas Jefferson to say, “Indeed I tremble for my country. When I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Folks, this Bible college is to train sergeants, and corporals, and generals. The preacher is our commander-in-chief. The Word of God is our ammo. The devil is our enemy, and preachers are the cannons that shoot the ammo at the enemy. “Rouse then soldiers, rally round the banner. Ready, steady, pass the Word along. Onward! Forward!”
I live in America and I’m proud of it. If you don’t like it, that’s tough, because I love America. This is my country. But America was only great because America was godly, and that’s slipping away fast. We’re the ones who have the real answer, and the opportunity to make a difference. Let’s cover this great land and win souls and build soulwinning churches and salvage our country’s heritage. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but listen to me, old timer. Don’t you tell me it’s too late for my country. Don’t you tell me it’s too late. This is my country. I’m not going to give up on America. We’ve got to cover this land like a blanket. Men, let’s build churches. Let’s rise up and build. Let’s do for God what must be done. We’ve got to. We have no choice. That’s our flag, and it stands for liberty and justice for all. I need the liberty to stand here and say this and so do you, and so do my children and yours.
America will be strong when we have stronger Americans. We’ll have stronger Americans when we have stronger Christians. We’ll have stronger Christians, when we have stronger preachers. We sing, “In New York harbor stands a lady with a torch raised to the sky, And all who see her know she stands for liberty for you and I. But on lonely Golgotha stood a cross with my Lord raised to the sky, And all who kneel there live forever, as all the saved can testify. Well, the cross is my Statue of Liberty. It was there that my soul was set free. Unashamed I’ll proclaim that the old rugged cross is my Statue of Liberty.”
“God, bless America, the land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her though the night with a light from above.” “Oh, say, can you see by the dawn’s early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous night, O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
It’s told that as Francis Scott Key wrote that song, the enemy knew that if the men in the fort would see the flag fall, that it would destroy their morale. So the British said, “We’ve got to take that flag down. We’ve got to destroy Old Glory.” They aimed their cannons toward Old Glory. The gunman said, “I know I hit that thing. I know the flag should have come down.” But what he didn’t see on the other side of the wall of that fort was the minute Old Glory began to fall because they had hit the pole, a soldier threw down his gun, ran over and held Old Glory up. So they shot another cannon ball, and it hit him and he fell, but another man threw down his gun, and grabbed that pole. He said, “I’m going to stand.” And another and another and another, the gunman said, “I know I hit that flag. I must have hit it 100 times.”
The next morning when the Americans celebrated their victory, as they brought through the gate of the fort the soldiers that had been taken captive, they looked over at that flag and there were 100 bodies stacked on top of one another with hands clenched onto the flag, and the mass of bodies was all that held up the flag. Those men said, “I’d rather die than give up this flag, and give up what this flag stands for.”
How about you? I believe in America. Let them say what they want. Let them do what they want. Old Insane Hussein found out, “We’ll kick your can if you mess with our country.” I love America. I believe in America, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
But now it’s your turn, younger generation. Will you stand for America and freedom? Will you stand for God and the Bible and the Gospel that this country was founded on? Many before you have paid the price for you to live in a free country today where you can worship and serve God, where you can live where you want and choose the job that you want. There is no other country in the world like the one we live in, but our freedoms are slipping away, and we need a new generation of patriots, men and women of God, to pray and win souls and stand for right and truth and freedom and serve God fervently with their whole hearts.
America needs you, teenager. America needs you, mom and dad. Are you going to answer the call? Are you going to pay the price in this generation to pass on to your children the liberty that was given to you? It’s your choice. Will you give your life to God and to saving the souls of this nation and the freedom of this nation, so that we can continue to serve God in America, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all?