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Why We Need to Know American History and Law 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 5, In the year of our Lord, 2014


  1. Do you love the United States of America? 
  2. Do you love the church? 
  3. Do you know how the church can help America? 
    1. I believe the average American, including the average Christian,
    2. does not know of the connection between
      1. Christianity and the founding of America, and
      2. of America’s early years.
        1. In Matthew 5, Jesus revealed the enormity of our influence,

          13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

          14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5.13–16).

        2. I usually focus upon what we are in this teaching,
          1. that we are the salt, and
          2. that we are the light.
            1. However, we are the salt of what?
              1. We are the salt of the Earth.
              2. Do you see what we salt?
                1. What does it mean that we are the salt of the Earth?
                2. We give the Earth a good flavor to the Lord.
            2. We are the light of what?
              1. We are the light of the world!
              2. Do you see into what we bring our light?
                1. What does it mean that we are the light of the world?
                2. We give light that people might glorify God.
  4. Our status as salt and light 
    1. gives us far more power than we realize.
    2. However, we have to live as such.
      1. We have to retain our flavor.
      2. We have to retain our light.
        1. We are the salt of America.
        2. We are the light of the United States.
          1. Do not wait for the government, public schools, universities, the media or other entities to make the changes our nation needs.
          2. Fill your life with the teachings of Jesus Christ and
            1. let them flow out of your life in the form of good works.
            2. Be what people need for you to be.
  5. Therefore, we need to know our history and our laws, even as the Jews knew Persian history and law. 
    1. Ezra 1.1–4 shows
      1. that the Jews had full Persian authority and backing
      2. to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem,

        1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,

        2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem’” (Ezra 1.1–4).

    2. This did not please the enemies of the Jews living in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.
      1. Therefore, they wrote to the king,
      2. asking him to research the Persian historical records
        1. to discover whether the Jews had been “rebellious,”
        2. that the enemies of the Jews might have cause to stop the work,

          11 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him)

          “To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the region beyond the River, and so forth: 12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem, and are building the rebellious and evil city, and are finishing its walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Let it now be known to the king that, if this city is built and the walls completed, they will not pay tax, tribute, or custom, and the king’s treasury will be diminished. 14 Now because we receive support from the palace, it was not proper for us to see the king’s dishonor; therefore we have sent and informed the king, 15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. And you will find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces, and that they have incited sedition within the city in former times, for which cause this city was destroyed. 16 We inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the result will be that you will have no dominion beyond the River.”

          17 The king sent an answer:

          “To Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and to the remainder beyond the River: Peace, and so forth. 18 The letter which you sent to us has been clearly read before me. 19 And I gave the command, and a search has been made, and it was found that this city in former times has revolted against kings, and rebellion and sedition have been fostered in it. 20 There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the region beyond the River; and tax, tribute, and custom were paid to them. 21 Now give the command to make these men cease, that this city may not be built until the command is given by me. 22 Take heed now that you do not fail to do this. Why should damage increase to the hurt of the kings?”

          23 Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease. 24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4.11–24).

    3. After many years, the Lord fired up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah,
      1. who encouraged the people to get back to work on the temple,

        1 Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them (Ezra 5.1).
      2. The Books named after those two prophets reveal what they said.
    4. Notice what Ezra 5.1–6.15 shows happened when the Jews
      1. requested that further research be done
      2. to discover whether the Jews had authority to rebuild the temple.
        1. They discovered that in truth the Persian government
        2. was on the side of the Jews and their temple work.
          1. If the Jews had just sat back and accepted what others said,
          2. they would not have done what the Lord wanted done.
  6. Paul knew Roman law and used it to his advantage. 
    1. When Romans were about to scourge him, notice what happened,

      25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.” 27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” 29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him (Acts 22.25–29).
    2. Look at what Paul did on another occasion,

      9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?” 10 So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. 11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar” (Acts 25.9–11).
  7. Likewise, we need to know 
    1. the original intent and history of the United States of America.
    2. Our nation formed as a result of the combination of
      1. church history and world history, and
      2. our Founders so began our nation
        1. to favor Christianity and the church,
        2. although not one particular denomination over another.
    3. Do you know what our Declaration and Constitution say?
      1. If not, you need to read them.
      2. You also need to know other parts of our history.
        1. Our upcoming seminar will help you greatly.
        2. You will discover that we are on the right side of history.
    4. Since we are the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World
      1. God backs us and
      2. Jesus leads the way.
        1. If we arm ourselves with the knowledge of
          1. the word of God and
          2. the laws and history of America,
        2. you will see things change, because
          1. you will have done something about it.
  8. We may have to save America 
    1. like the Irish saved civilization.
    2. When the Roman Empire fell,
      1. it descended into chaos and
      2. living day-to-day became the main concern.
        1. People forgot the literature and history of the past.
        2. In many cases, people destroyed it.
    3. Yet, for some reason we do know of some things that happened in the past.
      1. That is because the Irish through Patrick and others,
      2. preserved and copied what was left, and
        1. worked to save literature from destructive hands.
        2. The church today needs to function in the same way.
    4. Evolutionists have already rewritten the natural history of the world.
      1. Secularists are rewriting the political and judicial history of America.
      2. Anti-Christian forces are rewriting America’s founding and history,
        1. downplaying or eliminating
        2. the Christian influence in our nation.
    5. May we never experience what Israel experienced,

      11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
      “That I will send a famine on the land,
      Not a famine of bread,
      Nor a thirst for water,
      But of hearing the words of the Lord.
      12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
      And from north to east;
      They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
      But shall not find it.”
      (Amos 8.11–12)