If you were at First Baptist Church Sunday morning, you may skip this article and go read the funnies. Otherwise, allow me to share a few thoughts from the message. Then you can decide whether or not you wished you would have read the funny section instead.
This week our nation is celebrating Independence Day. And, indeed, there is much to celebrate. We enjoy freedoms in this land like no other nation on earth, and for this we owe the gratitude to God. Our founding fathers recognized their own dependence upon the “protection of divine Providence” as they declared their independence from Great Britain. They made their case “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world,” and grounded their convictions under the self-evident truth “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
I’m certain that it would be very curious to a John Adams and the 55 other signers of the Declaration of Independence as to how and why this nation has abandoned her reliance upon the Lord God. But we have. Just look at the ungodly decisions this country has made to legally allow the killing of unborn children – where innocent blood is on our hands. Look at the arrogance and audacity of judges to redefine the God-ordained institution of marriage. Look at the rampant sexual immorality that pervades this land, where the God-blessed boundaries have all been mocked. Look at the soul-numbing violence portrayed through certain genres of music, through video games and in the movies – and then unshockingly played out in real life by some.
Space permits me from going on, but you get the point. Our national morality has predictably plummeted because we have quit looking to God for help. And we are suffering the consequences economically, politically, socially and spiritually. Perhaps we have already reached the point where God’s righteous wrath that has been kindled upon this nation will not be quenched.
Such it was in the days of Josiah, the king of Judah, where the nation had so provoked the Lord to anger by their evil practices that He was about to bring swift disaster upon them. But because Josiah turned to the Lord with all his heart, God stayed His hand of wrath in his generation. See 2 Kings 22-23 for details.
Listen, friend, I don’t know how long before we reap the full measure of the Almighty’s judgment against us for our rebellion against Him, but I do believe He will spare us from disaster if we’ll turn wholeheartedly to Him in repentance and faith.
For Josiah, the turning came when they got into the Word of God. That’s where we need to start, as well. We need to submit to the truth and authority of the Bible. We need to recognize the implications of our disobedience and repent of our sins. We need to humble ourselves before God and commit to walk in His ways. We need to get rid of the idols that keep us from following the Lord and return to worshipping Him as Lord.
Christians, it begins with us. I would love to see a spiritual renewal spread throughout this land. But I’m not waiting for it to come through Washington. I’m not expecting the courts to right the ship. I’m not counting on Congress to legislate a reformation. If revival comes, it will come through the church belonging to Christ Jesus, walking in the ways of Christ according to the Word of Christ.
I long to see this generation of believers rise up and radiate the glory of Christ, not just in America, but throughout the world. My prayer is that of the psalmist who wrote: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine up us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” (Psalm 67:1-3).