Summary: When the prosperous no longer recognize the source of their prosperity, they become ungrateful. And their ingratitude eventually evolves into greed.
Idea: When the prosperous no longer recognize the source of their prosperity, they become ungrateful. And their ingratitude eventually evolves into greed.
By eliminating God from our national conversation, we eliminate our ability to publically recognize the source of our prosperity. This arrogance will ultimately eat away at our national conscience; our national sense of OUGHT and OUGHT NOT.
Why? Because when we eliminate God from the national conversation, we lose our conscience as a nation. Every man will do what is RIGHT in his own eyes.
No God. No gratitude. No accountability. No moral consensus regarding right and wrong. Law replaces our national conscience.
* The past three series have been addressed to us as citizens trying to cope with current reality. So, we talked about worry, money, and uncertainty. For the next two weeks, I'm putting on my prophet's hat.
* With everything going on in our nation, I imagine you have had a few conversations with the television. Perhaps with the President, a talk show host, a congressman/woman, Bill O'Reilly, or Anderson Cooper.
* And I would imagine you've joined in a few conversations around lunch/cubes/airplanes.
* It is difficult not to have an opinion, even if you don't have answers. We all have a good bit of emotion, even if we don't have much information.
* So, if you were marching outside the Capitol today, what would your sign say?
Turn to the person next to you and tell 'em.
* Several of the issues we face as a nation intersect with biblical principles.
* In times like these, pastors should become prophets and stand outside the doors of power and shout out truth, whether or not anyone chooses to listen.
The current debate continues to be framed as rich vs. not so rich, capitalism vs. socialism, big government vs. big business, and Republican vs. Democrat.
But there is another contrast that would better frame our current national debate--one that if taken seriously would take us back to our roots as a nation and would help to restore our national conscience.
Before I tell you what that is, I want to spend our time today talking about our consciences.
I. Conscience is that internal part of us that informs our oughts and ought nots.
A. Conscience is an internal moral code.
B. When you violate it, you feel guilty.
1. At which point you ignore your guilt and keep going. Or you attempt to undo or redo what you've done.
2. When a person continually violates his conscience, it loses its volume, its punch.
C. Families and communities share a collective conscience. "There are things we just don't do here. Don't seem right. Don't know why? Just don't."
[You've been in homes where family members talk in ways that are offensive to you, but not to them.]
D. Insight: In a relationship of shared conscience, you don't have to have many rules/laws. There is a consensus around right and wrong.
1. In a healthy marriage, how many rules?
In a healthy home, how many rules?
2. Healthy cultures are ruled by conscience, not law. Work. Team. Marriage.
If you have to tell employees not to take office products home . . .
3. As the collective conscience diminishes, laws must be inserted to control behavior.
Like families, communities, and teams . . .
E. Nations share a collective conscience as well.
1. Not everyone in the nation. [Youth group. Guy from France stripping down and changing in public.]
* The anti-slavery movement in England and the U.S. was fueled by an appeal to national conscience.
* The Civil Rights movement was an appeal to a national conscience.
* The laws governing abortion are an appeal to a national conscience. [It doesn't seem right that an eight-month-old, pre-born baby should be killed and extracted. Or 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 is okay?]
* Child pornography laws. We don't allow men to marry 11-year-olds or have three wives.
* Legalize certain drugs?
The resistance to gay marriage is largely fueled by conscience. Just doesn't seem like it ought to be.
F. A conscience has to be informed.
1. We are born with some sense of right and wrong. But then we are taught the difference as well.
14Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.
2. We are taught not to cheat, steal, or lie.
3. We were taught not to litter (American)!
4. We are taught things related to morality.
5. The earlier we are taught, the more deeply held these beliefs are and our consciences are shaped.