Matthew R. Perry

What Are You Thinking? (Romans 8:5-8)

In Sermons on July 16, 2006 at 8:18 pm

Part II:  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Holiness

The date:  January, 1776. 

The place:  Just outside of a prime piece of real estate outside of Boston called Dorchester Heights in the colony of Massachusetts. 

The event:  British and American forces ready to engage one another in battle to claim this piece of real estate, which happens to be a good sized hill that would give them an important strategic advantage.  Both understand their role — secure that hill.  But there is more to this than simply going and securing the hill — they also have to gather intelligence to surmise the position of the enemy. 

David McCullough in his bestselling work 1776, noted that the British command did very little intelligence work and thus knew very little about the position of the Americans (and had no clue as to how close they were).  In fact, McCullough writes that General Washington’s name never came up in conversation — as if he were of so little threat to them that they spent little time talking amongst themselves as how to strategize against his army.

But General Washington went about this in an entirely different manner.  Virtually all of his spare time was spent gathering intelligence as to the enemy’s position and speculating what the British commander’s next move would be. 

So how did the battle over the hill at Dorchester turn out?  General Washington determined to begin moving into position on March 5, 1776, under the cloak of night — and on the anniversary of the Boston Massacre where British forces opened fire on unarmed civilians. 

During an extended exchange of cannon fire, the Continental Army moved quickly but silently in the cold over frozen ground up the hill, putting as many as 20 cannons in place — and astounding amount of work in such a short time.  When the British woke up that morning on March 5th, they were utterly astounded.  One British officer commented, “They did more work overnight than our army could have done in three months!”  The result was that the British were not prepared and could not fight because of the position of the Continental army.  They had to retreat and also bring in ships to evacuate Boston itself (more than 11,000 people). 


What is the lesson?  Our minds are occupied but what is important to us.  The true gauge — -the true barometer to our spiritual life is not our feelings in and of themselves, not our religious activities in and of themselves, but the gauge is our thought life and what goes on in our minds! 

(Click here to listen to the entire sermon via RealAudio.)

(This sermon was preached on 16 July 2006 by Matthew Perry, Pastor, Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY —



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