Happy Birthday, United States of America!
The United States of America is 239 years old today!
But, is the state of our union strong? That depends upon whom you ask.
Today, as we celebrate our Independence from Great Britain, many would likely say, “I’m not so sure the state of our union is strong.” The reason for that concern, for the most part, is what is seen as the spiritual and moral decline of the nation.
Let’s go back to the founding of the nation. One of the dominant ideas that led to the formation of the nation was religious freedom. Our forefathers came from England where they did not have freedom of religion. They wanted a nation where a person could worship if they chose to, but if they didn’t choose to, they would not face punishment from the government. And, that’s what happened. In America, we have freedom of religion.
We also have what’s referred to as “the separation of church state.” Those words are not found in our constitution, but the phrase means the government is not to get involved in religion and the government is not to dictate what religion anyone should practice. I am a Minister, but the separation of church and state is a good thing. We don’t want the government telling us what the church can and cannot do.
Now, as Christians, we are concerned about the moral and spiritual drift of the nation. We are concerned about what we feel is the lack of sensitivity by the government to Christian ideals. However, the influence of the church is not dependent on the President or the Congress. As we simply live our faith, we can have influence in culture. Jesus challenged us to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” We can do that regardless who occupies the various offices of political power.
So, on this Independence Day, yes, America is becoming less and less spiritual. Yes, morally we are slipping, but spiritually, we are not dependent upon the moral or spiritual condition of the culture. We are dependent on the power of our Lord to enable us to live our faith for Christ. We can be influential in society by simply living for Jesus. By helping others… by demonstrating compassion… by doing what Jesus would do.
Today, on our country’s birthday, let us determine to live for Christ and make a difference in our nation.
Several years ago, Rick Warren published a book that became a best-seller. It is entitled, “The Purpose-Driven Life.” In the book, Warren says that every Christian has a purpose and it is to live for the glory of God. Warren goes on to explain that we are to serve and help others.
Perhaps you read that book. Or, maybe you are one who has struggled with your purpose in life. Maybe you have thought, “there has to be more to life than this.”
Everyone of us has a distinct purpose. The key is to discover that purpose and live for God. In the book of Acts, the Bible says that Paul had a distinct purpose. The Bible says of Paul, ” ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Messiah and hear him speak. You are to take his message everywhere, telling what you have seen and heard. And now, why delay? Go and be baptized and be cleansed from your sins, calling on the name of the Lord…’ (Acts 22:14-16).
Notice the text reads… “the God of our Fathers has CHOSEN you to know his will and to see the Messiah and…. to take his message everywhere…” In another text in Acts the Bible says God called Paul to be a missionary to the Gentiles.
So, Paul had a purpose. Each one of us have a purpose as well. How do we know our purpose? By reading God’s word and praying and being involved in God’s work. Also, this may help us discover our purpose; What are you passionate about? What do you think your strengths are?
God has a plan for all of us. For some, it may be to best a Christian mechanic. for others, maybe it’s to be a Christian schoolteacher. For others, maybe it’s to be a Christian coach. For others, it may be full time vocational Christian ministers.
But you don’t have to be in the ministry for God to use you. God may have called you to teach or coach or be a Christian businessman. The key is to know your purpose in life and do it.
If you don’t already know it, today ask the Lord to help you discover your purpose in life and get involved serving the Lord.
Since last Friday, the United States has been engulfed in a discussion about the Supreme Court’s ruling that all fifty states have to recognize same-sex marriage. Many are elated with the ruling while others are deeply troubled. I want to share my heart on this.
First, like some of you, I have some gay and lesbian friends. I want to live my life like I think Jesus would and because of that, I will not be a hater or one who doesn’t treat people with respect. I think it is very wrong for some Christians to carry signs saying “God hates homosexuals” or something similar.
Second, as a Pastor, I want to minister to all people. A gay or lesbian person is more than welcome to worship with us at FBC Emerson or to attend a Bible study. For that matter, a transgender person is welcome to worship as well. We want to minister to everyone.
However, I cannot perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. Ok, someone may say, “Why not? You just said a gay or lesbian person is welcome in your church.”
You are right… that’s exactly what I said, but, although I will minister to all people, I cannot, Biblically, perform a same-sex union because the same Bible that tells me “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16) also tells me that marriage is between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:18-25). Now, someone could say, “Well, you are just a hater.” No sir, I’m not. I love all people. I will minister to all people. My life is based on what I believe the Bible teaches and as I interpret the Bible same-sex marriage is wrong.
Some have said they are open to same-sex marriage because Jesus didn’t say anything about it. That is true; Jesus didnt say anything about it so we are left to take what Jesus did say and as best we can interpret what Jesus would do. I know that Jesus loved all people. But. as I understand same-sex marriage, it is not a Biblical definition of marriage. In the Bible, marriage is between a man and a woman, or at times, a single man or a single woman or maybe a blended family. But you do not see an example of a same-sex marriage in the Bible.
Now, someone may say, “Are you really going to base your decision on a book as old as the Bible?” Yep, I am. I realize that many today do not believe in absolute truth but I do. The Bible is absolute truth. It is as relevant today as it was years ago.
I love everyone. Our Lord loved everyone. Jesus loved the sinner but not the sin. We are all sinners saved by grace. Although the United States Constitution may not prohibit same-sex unions, as I understand the Bible, it does. I’m not a hater. I’m a Pastor who is trying to follow Christ. I do not believe Christians are to be haters, but we are not being haters by standing on a priniciples that God’s Word teaches.
We live in a world of diversity. Everyone asks you to respect their lifestyle… their view. Ok, I hear that and understand it. With that same thought, process please respect my views as a Christian.
While walking this morning we met this little kitten. It needs someone to rescue it. That kitten is like many people; they need someone to rescue them. Some are having problems with drugs or alcohol. Some have made mistakes. Some have lost jobs. Like this kitten, they are almost helpless & need someone to help them.
There is an old hymn we used to sing;
“Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity,
From sin & the grace.”
You know what concerns me about America? Yes, the same-sex ruling bothers me… but I am more concerned about the lack of commitment among Christians to the Lord and to His church. It absolutely BURDENS my heart today to see God’s people forsake the house of God. In 33 years of ministry, I’ve never seen anything like it is today.
It’s easy to click that you “like” something on Facebook. It’s easy to quote some verses.. maybe listen to music… etc… But there is a major disconnect between Christians and the Lord’s church today. I’m can’t control the Supreme Court. I can vote but after that, I can’t control the President or the Congress. But, I can control me… and you can control yourself.
I almost want to say, if you aren’t active in a local church, you don’t have the right to complain about the nation. Jesus Christ died for us folks. He shed His blood for mankind. Jesus started the church to carry on His work. If you love Jesus, the church should be important to you.
In II Kings 15:3-5, the Bible tells of King Uzziah. Uzziah “…did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. The Lord struck the king with leprosy, which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house.”
Did you get that? Uzziah was struck with leprosy because he was disobedient. We need to be thankful God isn’t still dealing with disobedience like this or many of us would have leprosy. Christians, it’s time for us to wake up and serve the Lord. Stop putting other things ahead of Christ and live for Christ.
Many of you have heard Preachers say that 85% of people attend church for the first time at the invitation of a friend or relative. I had an example of that yesterday.
A week ago, Holli and I were eating Henry’s Louisiana Grill & Henry’s Uptown in Acworth (one of our favorite spots). We were seated next to a couple close to our age. I wasn’t eavesdropping but our high-tops were so close, I could hear some of their conversation. I heard someone say “Louisiana.”
So, I started a conversation. We talked and as we finished I asked where they attended church. They said they had been going with their daughter. I gave them one of my cards and invited them to FBC Emerson. I told them a little about the church and encouraged them to try us.
Yesterday morning, I walking through the sanctuary like I normally do… shaking hands with people… and I see this new family. The lady says “You are trying to figure out where you know us from, aren’t you?” I chuckled and said, “Yes, I am am.”
It was the couple we met @ Henry’s. So… Christians… please invite your friends to church. I am telling you… it works. Will they all attend? No, but some will… But we have to invite. Invite someone to church this week
(Like many of you, I am burdened for our country. And this burden started before, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage this past Friday. I’ve never done this before, but I’m sharing the manuscript of my message this morning. Please share as the Lord leads.)
America: Where We Are & Where We Are Headed
THIS PAST FRIDAY, THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS ACCEPTABLE IN ALL STATES. IT WAS RULING I WAS EXPECTING YET, WHEN IT BECAME OFFICIAL, IT WAS KIND OF LIKE A KICK IN THE GUT FOR ME. FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS, I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT OUR COUNTRY.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN GOING FORWARD?
AS WE PREPARE TO CELEBRATE OUR NATION’S FREEDOM, I AM VERY PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN BUT ALSO VERY CONCERNED FOR OUR COUNTRY. I STILL BELIEVE THAT WE ARE THE GREATEST NATION ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. IN SPITE OF ALL OUR STRENGTHS, THERE ARE THINGS IN OUR NATION THAT BURDEN ME. IN FACT, AS I VIEW OUR COUNTRY, IT IS MY OPINION, THAT IF THE LORD DOESN’T INTERVENE SOON, I SHUDDER TO THINK WHERE WE ARE HEADED.
UNDERSTAND THAT I’M REFERRING TO MORAL AND SPIRITUAL DECLINE. TECHNOLOGICALLY AND MEDICALLY, WE ARE LIVING IN EXCITING TIMES. BUT MORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY, WE ARE ADRIFT.
NOW, YOU MAY SAY, “NOW, PREACHER, THAT’S STRONG TALK.” I UNDERSTAND THAT AND BELIEVE ME, I’VE CONSIDERED THAT. I’VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT. AND I STILL BELIEVE IT TO BE TRUE.
THIS PAST WEEK, I EMAILED SEVERAL MEN WHOM I GREATLY RESPECT. I WANTED TO GET THEIR THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY. I ALSO WANTED TO SEE IF I WAS OFF-BASE.
I EMAILED TEN MEN. OF THE TEN, ONLY 3 WERE VERY OPTIMISTIC. THE OTHER 7 THAT WITHOUT A REVIVAL… WITHOUT A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING, AMERICA AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT, WILL CEASE TO EXIST.
WHY? BECAUSE AMERICA HAS DRIFTED.
AS I SEE OUR COUNTRY, I THINK ABOUT THIS TEXT IN THE BOOK OF ISAIAH. IF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY, YOU KNOW THAT ISRAEL HAD DISOBEYED GOD. PROPHET AFTER PROPHET WAS SENT TO ISRAEL TO NO AVAIL. THERE WERE TOLD REPEATEDLY TO TURN AWAY FROM THE IDOLS AND TURN TO GOD BUT THEY NEVER DID.
AS THE PROPHET ISAIAH BEGINS HIS MINISTRY HE SAYS THAT GOD IS TIRED OF THE FESTIVALS AND RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS OF THE PEOPLE.
“WASH YOURSELVES, MAKE YOURSELVES CLEAN; REMOVE THE EVIL OF YOUR DEEDS FROM MY SIGHT. CEASE TO DO EVIL, LEARN TO DO GOOD; SEEK JUSTICE, REPROVE THE RUTHLESS; DEFEND THE ORPHAN, PLEAD FOR THE WIDOW. COME NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER,” SAYS THE LORD, ” THOUGH YOUR SINS ARE AS SCARLET, THEY WILL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW; THOUGH THEY ARE RED LIKE CRIMSON, THEY WILL BE LIKE WOOL. IF YOU CONSENT AND OBEY, YOU WILL EAT THE BEST OF THE LAND; BUT IF YOU REFUSE AND REBEL, YOU WILL BE DEVOURED BY THE SWORD.” TRULY, THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HAS SPOKEN.”
AS I LOOK AT THIS TEXT, I FEEL LIKE ISAIAH. LIKE ISRAEL, AMERICA HAS DRIFTED YET, JUST AS THE LORD PROMISED ISRAEL, THE LORD PROMISES US THAT IF WE WILL REPENT, THERE IS HOPE FOR OUR NATION.
LET’S LOOK AT WHAT THE PROPHET SAID.
I. CONVICTION OF SIN
IF AMERICA IS GOING TO TURN AROUND, IT MUST BEGIN WITH CONVICTION OF SIN. SIN HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE GARDEN OF EDEN. SIN IS NOT A NEW THING BUT… SHAME OVER SIN IS SOMETHING THAT IS SLIPPING.
THERE IS LITTLE SHAME IN AMERICA TODAY. LISTEN FOLKS… WE ARE ALL SINNERS SAVED BY GRACE AND JESUS LOVES US ALL. YOU’VE HEARD ME SAY THAT AND I BELIEVE THAT. THERE IS NOTHING THAT LIES OUTSIDE THE REALM OF GOD’S FORGIVENESS.
HOWEVER, WE HAVE REACH A POINT AS A NATION THAT PEOPLE DO NOT SEEM TO HAVE ANY SHAME WITH THEIR SIN.
IN THE LAST MONTH OR SO, THERE WAS AN ARTICLE ABOUT DARRYL STRAWBERRY IN THE PAPER. STRAWBERRY WAS A GREAT BASEBALL PLAYER WHO GOT HOOKED ON DRUGS. HE SAID, “I WAS A DRUG ABUSER AND A WOMANIZER.”
NOTICE WHAT STRAWBERRY SAYS… HE CALLS SIN WHAT IS IT… SIN. WE MUST GET BACK TO THAT. THERE MUST BE CONVICTION OF SIN.
WE NEED TO BE CONVICTED OVER MEN AND WOMEN LIVING TOGETHER OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE.
WE NEED TO BE CONVICTED ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY.
WE NEED TO BE CONVICTED ABOUT THE LACK OF COMMITMENT AMONG CHRISTIANS.
IF THESE THINGS DON’T BOTHER US, IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION. HAVE WE GOTTEN TO A POINT THAT WE JUST CASUALLY DISMISS SIN AS “THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS?”
II. CONFESSION FROM SIN
NOTICE WHAT ISAIAH SAYS, “REMOVE THE EVIL DEEDS… CEASE TO DO EVIL…” ISAIAH IS TELLING THE PEOPLE THERE MUST BE CHANGE. HE SAYS… “REMOVE THE EVIL DEEDS… CEASE TO DO EVIL.” THAT’S STRAIGHT ENOUGH, ISN’T IT?
THE SAME IS TRUE IN AMERICA TODAY. IF OUR LAND IS GOING TO CHANGE, THERE MUST BE CHANGE IN THE HEARTS OF OUR PEOPLE. WHAT MUST CHANGE?
A. THERE MUST BE A REVIVAL IN THE HOME
YEARS AGO POPE JOHN PAUL II SAID, “AS THE HOME GOES, SO GOES THE NATION.” MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, I BELIEVE THAT TO BE A TRUE STATEMENT. THE HOME IS THE FOUNDATION OF SOCIETY. IF THE HOME IS THAT IMPORTANT, IT SHOULD STAND TO REASON THAT MANY OF THE PROBLEMS IN OUR NATION ARE ROOTED IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE HOME.
DR. PAUL POWELL HAS SAID, “THE STRENGTH OF A NATION IS IN THE HOME.”
PLATO SAID, “THE LIFE OF THE NATION IS BUT THE LIFE OF THE HOME WRIT LARGE.” TAKE THE TYPICAL HOME OF ANY NATION AND MULTIPLY IT BY THE SIZE OF THE NATION AND YOU WILL KNOW WHAT THE NATION IS LIKE.
AS I LOOK AT AMERICA, THERE ARE MANY PROBLEMS WE ARE FACING THAT GROW OUT OF THE HOME. THE HOME IS TO BE A PLACE WHERE CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT AND SHAPED. BUT IT IS NOT HAPPENING TODAY.
1. A RENEWAL OF DISCIPLINE OF CHILDREN IN THE HOME.
I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT IS TODAY. KIDS ARE BEING RAISED IN HOMES WHERE PARENTS DO NOT DISCIPLINE THEM. OH, THEY MIGHT GET TIME OUT OR HAVE THEIR PHONE TAKEN AWAY. BUT SOMETIMES EVEN THOSE THINGS ARE NEGOTIABLE. BUT ONE THING IS FOR SURE; MOST ARE NOT GETTING SPANKINGS TODAY.
NOW UNDERSTAND; I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT CHILD ABUSE. IF ANYONE EVER BEATS A CHILD, THAT ADULT SHOULD BE BEATEN. I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT HURTING A CHILD. BUT I AM TALKING ABOUT TEACHING A CHILD THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO THEIR ACTIONS. THAT IS NOT HAPPENING TODAY SO KIDS BASICALLY DO WHAT THEY WANT AND THERE ARE NO REPERCUSSIONS.
2. DIRECTION FOR CHILDREN
IN ADDITION TO NO DISCIPLINE, PARENTS ARE SPENDING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS GETTING THEIR KIDS ON TRAVEL BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL AND CHEER QUADS. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH PARTICIPATION IN A SPORT. SPORTS CAN TEACH CHARACTER ETC… BUT, THIS STUFF IS HAPPENING ON SUNDAY MORNINGS WHICH IS TAKING PEOPLE OUT OF WORSHIP. THAT IS WRONG. AND IT CONCERNS ME THAT PARENTS DON’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM WITH THIS.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? BECAUSE PARENTS, FOR WHATEVER REASON, HAVE DECIDED TO BE THEIR CHILD’S FRIEND AS OPPOSED TO THEIR PARENT. LISTEN, THIS ESTABLISH THIS CLEARLY; I DO NOT BELIEVE IN CHILD ABUSE. OK… WITH THAT SAID… CHILDREN HAVE TO BE DISCIPLINED AND THEY ARE NOT GETTING IT TODAY.
WHEN KIDS ARE NOT DISCIPLINED THEY DO WHATEVER THEY WANT. THAT’S JUST A FACT. AND PARENTS NOT DISCIPLINING THEIR CHILDREN IS AFFECTING THE SCHOOLS. WHEN YOU SEND A KID WHO IS NOT DISCIPLINED INTO THE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHER TRIES TO DISCIPLINE THAT CHILD, OBVIOUSLY, IT DOES LITTLE GOOD. THE KID KNOWS THEIR PARENTS AREN’T GOING TO DISCIPLINE THEM.
B. THERE MUST BE RESPONSIBILITY IN OUR NATION
BISHOP FULTON SHEEN ONCE SAID, “WE HAVE A STATUE OF LIBERTY ON THE EAST COAST; WE NEED A STATUE OF RESPONSIBILITY ON THE WEST COAST.”
WE MUST BEGIN TO TAKE AND ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR ACTIONS AND THINGS WE DON’T DO. FREQUENTLY TODAY, WE HEAR SOMEONE SAY “IT’S NOT MY FAULT…” OR…. “I DIDN’T KNOW.”
YOU KNOW… IN THIS INTERNET AGE.. I DON’T KNOW THAT “I DON’T KNOW” IS A REASONABLE RESPONSE ANYMORE. YOU CAN FIND THE ANSWERS TO MOST ANYTHING BY GOOGLING IT.
OR, SEVERAL PEOPLE CAN SEE SOMETHING BUT THEN SAY, “IT’S NOT MY FAULT.”
THERE IS AN OLD SAYING “EVERY TUB HAS TO SIT ON IT’S OWN BOTTOM.” THAT MEANS, WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS.
C. THERE MUST BE A RENEWAL OF WORK ETHIC
WHEN SOMEONE IS HIRED, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THEY WANT TO KNOW IS, “HOW MANY DAYS DO I GET OFF?” AMERICA HAD A WORK ETHIC AT ONE TIME BUT NO LONGER…
D. THERE MUST BE A RETURN TO GOD
ACROSS OUR NATION, ALL CHURCHES OF ALL DENOMINATIONS ARE EITHER PLATEAUED OR DECLINING. THE ONLY CHURCHES THAT ARE GROWING ARE SOME OF THE NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCHES. BUT NINETY PERCENT OF CHURCHES ARE NOT GROWING.
WHY? SOME OF IT IS BECAUSE CHRISTIANS ARE NOT ATTENDING WORSHIP. ACROSS OUR NATION, THIS IS HAPPENING. IT’S NOT JUST A BAPTIST, OR METHODIST OR PRESBYTERIAN THING… IT’S ACROSS THE BOARD. ACROSS OUR LAND, CHRISTIANS DO NOT SEEM TO BE BOTHERED BY MISSING WORSHIP ON THE LORD’S DAY. THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE.
WHY IS THAT?
I’M GOING TO OFFER SOME THOUGHTS…
SIMPLY PUT.. CHRISTIANS ARE FORSAKING GOD. AS CHRISTIANS, WE WILL PRAY TO GOD AND ASK GOD TO HEAL US, TO GET US A JOB, TO TAKE CARE OF OUR KIDS ETC… BUT WE DO NOT SEEM TO FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO WORSHIP GOD AND THANK GOD FOR ALL HE HAS DONE FOR US.
THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL MADE A GOLDEN CALF AND GOD PUNISHED THEM. AMERICA HAS GOLDEN CALVES… SPORTS, LEISURE, MATERIALISM…
IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION, THE LORD SAID TO THE CHURCH @ EPHESUS, “YOU HAVE LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE….” THE LORD COULD SAY THAT TO US TODAY. WE HAVE LEFT OUR FIRST LOVE. IT USED TO BE THAT SUNDAY MORNING WERE KIND OF ROPED OFF AS A DAY FOR CHURCH. NO MORE. IT’S JUST ANOTHER DAY OF THE WEEK.
E. RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER (TRUST)
IN WASHINGTON D.C., THIS IS PARAMOUNT. THE REPUBLICANS DO NOT TRUST PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS AND VICE-VERSA. IF YOU CAN’T TRUST SOMEONE, IT’S HARD TO BUSINESS WITH THEM. I BELIEVE THIS IS ONE OF THE KEY THINGS PREVENTING OUR CONGRESS FROM MAKING PROGRESS. THERE IS NO TRUST.
AND, WE SEE THIS ACROSS THE NATION. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS NOT HELPED THIS. SOME ORGANIZATION CAN TAKE A HALF-SENTENCE OUT OF SOMETHING A POLITICIAN SAYS AND THEY POST IT ON THEIR WEB-SITE. THAT HALF-SENTENCE IS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER. WHAT MATTERS IS, PEOPLE CLICK ON IT. PEOPLE SHARE IT. SO, A STATEMENT THAT ISN’T TRUE CIRCULATES ON THE WEB WHICH CONTRIBUTES TO THE LACK OF TRUST.
G. A REJECTION OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH
ABSOLUTE TRUTH TEACHES THAT THERE ARE TRUTHS (THE BIBLE) THAT ARE ALWAYS TRUE. WE BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE IS GOD’S INSPIRED WORD. WE BELIEVE THAT IT IS TRUTH WITHOUT ANY MIXTURE OF ERROR.
OUR LIVES ARE GUIDED BY GOD’S WORD. BUT THERE IS A GENERATION NOW THAT IS ASKING, “WHY IS THE BIBLE CONSIDERED AUTHORITATIVE?”
THE BIBLE BEING ABSOLUTE TRUTH FORMS OUR BELIEFS ON ABORTION AND HOMOSEXUALITY.
III. CANCELLATION OF SIN
OK… I’VE JUST LISTED A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT CAUSE US ALL GREAT CONCERN. THE QUESTION NOW IS, “CAN AMERICA CHANGE?” MOST DEFINITELY AMERICA CAN CHANGE!
ISAIAH SAYS TO ISRAEL, “THOUGH YOUR SINS BE AS SCARLET, THEY SHALL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW.” THAT VERSE TELLS US THAT WE CAN CHANGE.
BUT, THERE HAS TO BE A STARTING POINT. THERE HAS TO BE A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO SAY “I WILL BE THE CHANGE.”
“FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE COMMUNISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A COMMUNIST;
THEN THEY CAME FOR THE SOCIALISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A SOCIALIST;
THEN THEY CAME FOR THE TRADE UNIONISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A TRADE UNIONIST;
THEN THEY CAME FOR THE JEWS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A JEW;
THEN THEY CAME FOR ME – AND THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK OUT FOR ME. “ (MARTIN NIEMOLLER)
IV. CORRECTION FROM SIN
I’M CERTAINLY NOT A PROPHET. BUT, I FEEL IN MY HEART THAT THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE. IN SOME WAYS, I FEEL LIKE WE ARE REAPING WHAT WE HAVE SOWED.
WE HAVEN’T DISCIPLINED OUR CHILDREN AT HOME AND TEACHERS ARE EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED.
THE FAMILY IS FALLING APART. THINK ABOUT HOW MANY FAMILIES THAT YOU KNOWN THAT ARE BLENDED FAMILIES. THINK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU KNOW WHO ARE DIVORCED WHO DON’T GET ALONG WITH THEIR “EX.”
IT SEEMS THAT EVERY DAY, THE NEWSPAPER TELLS US OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT SCANDAL OR POLITICIAN WHO HAS FALLEN.
WE QUESTION WHO WE CAN TRUST.
THERE MUST BE A TURN-AROUND. THERE MUST BE A CHANGE.
IN THE SUMMER OF 1787 REPRESENTATIVES MET IN PHILADELPHIA TO WRITE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. AFTER THEY HAD STRUGGLED FOR SEVERAL WEEKS AND HAD MADE LITTLE OR NO PROGRESS, EIGHTY-ONE YEAR-OLD BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ROSE AND ADDRESSED THE TROUBLED AND DISAGREEING CONVENTION THAT WAS ABOUT TO ADJOURN IN CONFUSION.
“IN THE BEGINNING OF THE CONTEST WITH BRITAIN, WHEN WE WERE SENSIBLE OF DANGER, WE HAD DAILY PRAYERS IN THIS ROOM FOR DIVINE PROTECTION. OUR PRAYERS, SIR, WERE HEARD AND THEY WERE GRACIOUSLY ANSWERED. ALL OF US WHO WERE ENGAGED IN THE STRUGGLE MUST HAVE OBSERVED FREQUENT INSTANCES OF A SUPERINTENDING PROVIDENCE IN OUR FAVOUR… HAVE WE NOW FORGOTTEN THIS POWERFUL FRIEND? OR DO WE IMAGINE WE NO LONGER NEED THIS ASSISTANCE?
“I HAVE LIVED, SIR, A LONG TIME, AND THE LONGER I LIVE, THE MORE CONVINCING PROOFS I SEE OF THIS TRUTH… THAT GOD GOVERNS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN. AND, IF A SPARROW CANNOT FALL TO THE GROUND WIHTOUT HIS NOTICE, IS IT PROBABLE THAN AN EMPIRE CAN RISE WITHOUT HIS AID? WE HAVE BEEN ASSURED, SIR, IN THE SACRED WRITINGS, THAT EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE, THEY LABOR IN VAIN WHO BUILD IT.
I FIRMLY BELIEVE THIS…
“I THEREFORE BEG LEAVE TO MOVE THAT, HENCEFORTH, PRAYER IMPLORING THE ASSISTANCE OF HEAVEN AND ITS BLESSINGS IN OUR DELIBERATIONS TO BE HELD IN THE ASSEMBLY THIS MORNING.” (BENJAMIN FRANKLIN)