Sermon Topic - Can America Return to God?
An excellent sermon regarding the decline of our values and standards as a culture and as a nation. Over the past century, the church has failed to be the “salt and light” it is called to be. The church will be held accountable. However, the church can lead America back from the brink of destruction if, and only if, a modern day remnant of “Black Robe Preachers” will rise to stand in the gap and preach the whole truth without fear.
By Mark Beaird
Text: I Chronicles 7:14
Britain’s King George III wrote the day’s activities in his diary: “July 4, 1776—Nothing happened today.”
Nothing happened? America was born that day, King George. Her birth marked an epoch in history for the cause of human freedom.
For 218 years, we have celebrated our independence—our own right to do as we please in governing our own lives. What a wonderful country we live in—despite all its faults and failures. What wonderful freedoms are offered to us as citizens of the USA.
One of those freedoms is what I want to talk about today—FREEDOM OF RELIGION. We can believe or worship anybody or anything we want with no one to tell us differently.
Many thousands of Christians around the world die for that right each and every year. Yet in America—a country established for that very right—many will not give God the time of day, much less their lives.
What has happened that made millions now celebrate the “Freedom from Religion” instead of the “Freedom of Religion?”
Many have tried and succeeded often in getting God kicked out of our schools, sporting events, public places and work places.
It is not the god of the Hindu, Muslims, it’s not the philosophy of reincarnation or the New Age, it’s not homosexuality or condom distribution they want out. It is Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. “Spiritualism” has taken the place of Christianity. Spiritualism puts self on the throne and religion in general. Christianity—the founding guide for America—is under attack.
In the April 1994 edition of Reader’s Digest, an article by former Secretary of Education William Bennett entitled “What Really Ails America” had this to say, “Today, much of society ridicules and mocks those who are serious about their faith. America’s only respectable form of bigotry is bigotry against religious people. And the only reason for hatred of religion is that it forces us to confront matters many would prefer to ignore.”
To a great extent our society has gotten what it wanted - A society without God. But what good has it done? Bennett goes on to say,
“Last year I compiled The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, a statistical portrait of American behavioral trends of the past three decades. Among the findings: Since 1960, while the gross domestic product has nearly tripled, violent crime has increased at least 560 percent. Divorces have more than doubled. The percentage of children in single-parent homes has tripled. And by the end of the decade 40 percent of all American births and 80 percent of minority births will occur out of wedlock.”
These are not good things to get used to.
The United States leads the industrialized world in murder, rape and violent crime. At the same time, our elementary-school students rank at or near the bottom in tests of math and science skills. Since 1960, average SAT scores in our high schools have dropped 75 points.
In 1940, teachers identified the top problems in America’s schools as: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise and running in the hall. In 1990, teachers listed drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, suicide, rape and assault.
These are not good things to get used to, either.
We have become inured to the cultural rot that is setting in. People are losing their capacity for shock, disgust and outrage. During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Damian Williams was filmed crushing an innocent man’s skull with a brick, while Henry Watson held the victim down. When Williams was finished, he did a victory dance. Watson and William’s lawyers then built a legal defense on the premise that people cannot be held accountable for getting caught up in mob violence. (“I guess maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time”, one juror told the New York Times). When these men were acquitted on most counts, the sound you heard throughout the land was no outrage, but relief.
This is not a good thing to get used to. What is the answer?
Bennett concludes with these words, “Today we must carry on a new struggle for the country we love. We must push hard against an age that is pushing hard against us. If we have full employment and greater economic growth-if we have cities of gold and alabaster-but our children have not learned to walk in goodness, justice and mercy, then the American experiment, no matter how gilded, will have failed.”
“Do not surrender. Get mad. Get in the fight.” “Do not surrender. Get Mad. Get in the fight.”
How can we turn this nation back to God? Can it even be done? Yes! We can make a difference!
II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
I. IF MY PEOPLE WHICH ARE CALLED BY MY NAME…
A. There can be no “finger-pointing” when returning to God. He’s talking
B. Judgment always begins at the House of God.
II. ...WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE…
A. It is good to be a proud American as long as we can bow to God.
B. Prayer is never obsolete, outdated or too late.
III. ...AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS…
A. We are notorious for repenting but not turning. Repentance means
B. Do we love evil too much to turn from it?
IV. ...THEN I (GOD) WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN…
A. God is waiting to hear from us.
B. God longs for America to return to Him.
V. ...AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND…
A. Forgiveness awaits all who will turn.
B. Healing awaits all who turn.
Can America return to God? If America wants to - YES. Do we want to?
God has given us a great blessing in our country. It is a blessing worth preserving through prayer and devotion to God in the face of those who would want to tear it down. Unless we serve God we will live in bondage.
Christianity and patriotism have much in common. It is significant to note that:
Our patriotic hymn “My County, ’Tis of Thee”, was written by a Baptist clergyman, Samuel Francis Smith.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy.
The words, “In God We Trust,” carried on all of our coins, are traced to the efforts of the Rev. W.R. Watkinson of Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. his letter of concern, addressed to the Hon. S.P. Chase, was dated November 13, 1861.
Seven days later Mr. Chase wrote to James Pollock, Director of the U.S. Mint as follows: “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. Will you cause a device to be prepared without delay with a motto expressing in the finest and tersest words possible, this national recognition.”
The president of the College of New Jersey, the Reverend John Witherspoon (Presbyterian) was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence. He is too much forgotten in our history books: John Witherspoon had a far-reaching influence on democracy. He had personally taught several of the signers of the document, and nine of them were graduates of the little college over which he presided at Princeton.
When he took up his pen to put his name to the document, Witherspoon declared: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, a spark. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to consent to our own slavery. That noble instrument upon the table, that insures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very morning by every pen in this house. He that will not respond to its accents, and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions, is unworthy of the name of free man. For my own part, of property I have some; of reputation, more. That reputation is staked, that property is pledged on the issue of this contest; and although these gray hairs must soon descent into the sepulcher, I would infinitely rather they descent thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country.”