This is the Sunday morning sermon for Sunday, June 14th, 2009. It is something that the Lord has really laid on my heart. So hopefully it truly speaks what the I believe the Lord wants to say. Here it is.
AMERICA – REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL
This is a prophecy concerning national Israel. They had turned their back on God. Their sins had caused God to become silent and not answer their prayers. Then in the midst of this prophetic warning, we see the gospel proclaimed – God Himself would restore His people by bringing salvation. This is a Messianic prophecy concerning Jesus Christ 800 years before He came.
This morning I want to apply the themes of Isaiah 59 to our country – the United States of America. We were founded on Godly principles. The church didn’t run the government, but it had a strong influence because godly people were elected to leadership. But let’s be honest: throughout our history we may have been set up on godly principles, but our nation was never truly a godly nation like we were supposed to be.
Let’s take off our rose-colored glasses for just a moment. Our country didn’t deal with slavery until the civil war, and there was division then. The Black race was finally given the right to vote in 1871. Women were not given the right to vote until August 26th, 1920. People of color were not allowed to eat at certain restaurants, they had to ride the back of the bus, and to drink from different water fountains, and use different bathrooms. They also had horrible jobs and were treated less than human for many years even in the 20th century. If America was so godly a nation, why did we allow slavery, suppress the races and women, and so many other things?
Now in our day people that were suppressed are now free to pursue so many wonderful things. We had in the last election, a woman run for President, and a woman run for Vice-President. We also now have a person of color holding the highest office in the land – the President of the United States. People of differing backgrounds, races, and philosophies all have the right to vote, the right to earn a decent wage and other positive things.
And I applaud all these positive changes that have taken place. But have these positive changes made America a godly nation – No! We are turning our backs on God at a record pace.
The Homosexuals want to change the God given definition of marriage. This month was declared by our current President a month to honor the Gays and Lesbians; and while I can honor someone for doing significant important things – I cannot honor and support someone’s lifestyle who continues to live and abide in sin. Abortion is nothing more than murder for the sake of convenience; not for saving the life of the mother (less than 1 % of all abortions are for the safety of the mother). Teachers are having sexual affairs with their students. People want to legalize drugs. People want to call sin a disease or a lifestyle so that they may have a license to continue living in sin. People think that Christians are narrow-minded and bigoted. The list could go on and on.
Church, our country is drinking from the wine of wickedness and is drunk in their sins. We, like ancient Israel, have turned our back on the God who established us. We, like Israel need a deliverer.
For a few moments, let’s look at Isaiah 59 in this light:
Can God save America?
Really, this is the wrong question. The question we should be asking is, “Does God want to save America?” Honestly, I don’t have the answer. I’m not too sure. We deserve judgment, and it pains me to say that. But let’s go back to the original question: Can God save America? Well, let’s look into chapter 59.
Isaiah 59:1 TNIV – Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
The answer to our question is – Yes! God can save America. He is not powerless over our nation.
So, if God can save America, how did we become a nation of violence and wickedness?
We have turned from God and pursued our own wickedness.
Isaiah 59:2 TNIV – But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Let’s speak the truth this morning; the Devil is not the cause of the wickedness in our country. It is our own evil hearts. And I place the blame for our wickedness, not on wicked people, but on the church of Jesus Christ. You see, we’ve become self-righteous, bigoted, hateful toward our brothers and sisters and just plain religious and lukewarm toward the lost and God. The Church in America is at a crossroads. You see, judgment is coming, it cannot be avoided, and I believe that judgment must begin in the church.
1 Peter 4:17a TNIV – For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household.
In the book of James it lists some sins in the church during that time. We haven’t learned anything. This letter was written to Christians, not non-Christians. Notice what it says.
James 4:1-4 TNIV – 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Let’s look at some of these sins that plagued them and us both.
• Fights and quarrels. Want to see a good fight, go to church sometime.
• Evil desires, coveting and taking what belongs to others.
• Asking for things from the Lord with wrong motives, so that we can spend it on our own evil pleasures.
• Friendship with the world. In Greek, the word friendship means, “Looking at with longing and fondness.” We want to be popular and liked by the world so we begin to act like them. Notice that someone who is fond of the world and their ways and strategies becomes an enemy of God, James says.
Yes, America needs to repent, but we cannot expect America to repent until we first see the Church in America to repent.
What will it take for the church in America to repent – I believe the discipline of the Lord.
Hebrews 12:4-7a TNIV – 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as children? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.
What is the answer to both the American Church and America? Well, it was the same answer as it was for ancient Israel as well as all nations.
The answer is a return to the pure, true Gospel of our redeemer and deliverer – Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 59:15-17 TNIV – 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. 17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
We don’t need messages about how to obtain your best life now, or your purpose in life. We don’t need messages on how to improve your sex life, or how to have a bigger house, or a nicer car. We need to come back to this simple truth: Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and I as a vile sinner need Him, and you as a wicked sinner, need Him as well.
If the time of salvation has come, and we believe it has through Christ, then the Church of Jesus Christ needs to live like it.
Those who refuse to believe the Gospel, will be judged as they are – wicked and sinful.
Isaiah 59:18 TNIV – According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.
If those within the church refuse to repent of her adultery with the world, they will be judged for what they really are: Unconverted and not truly belonging to Christ.
If our country refuses to heed the gospel call and continues in her wicked ways, God will repay back in His wrath.
Those who believe the Gospel, will dwell under God’s established covenant.
Isaiah 59:20-21 TNIV – 20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD. 21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.
He will forgive the sins of the church that has become fond of the world and their ways, and give them His Spirit and His words to abide with them.
If America heeds the call and repents, God will forgive her sins and give our country His Spirit.
The key to repentance in America is the church. Will the church continue to chase after fads and stupid sinful lusts with fondness of the world, or will she heed the discipline of the Lord and repent?
My prayer is that God will raise up prophets in the churches to call the church to repent. It is better to repent than to be vomited out of God’s mouth. If you are chasing after fads, and not longing to abide in the Word of God – then please, believe the Gospel and turn from your sin, so that you might be restored this morning.
If you love this country, then begin praying for her, and the church within this country. Pray that God will cover us with a spirit of repentance and draw us to Himself.