Summary: A sermon on seeing America turned back to God.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord . . ." We would all agree that the United States is a blessed country!
When he was Secretary of Education, Bill Bennett was asked by a 7th grader: "How can you tell a good country from a bad one?" Bennett replied, "I apply the ‘gate’ test. When the gates of a country are open, watch which way the people run."
To be sure, more people are trying to enter the United States than leave it, which is only one indication of the fact that we are a nation that is blessed! I submit to you, however, that the blessings we enjoy today are largely due to the faithfulness of past generations rather than the faithfulness of the present generation. The second of the ten commandments is most illuminating, when applied to our country:
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin
of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments." - Exodus 20:4-6 (NIV)
We should be thankful that our forefathers were men of faith and conviction, for God’s blessings have extended beyond that first generation of Americans to later generations, including ours! But the benefits of their faithfulness are running their course, because America is no longer a nation whose God is the LORD!
Instead, we find that many in our country are worshipping at the altars of false Gods. Today, I want us to think about some of the false Gods, before which, too many Americans are bowing, and what we, as believers can do to bring America back to God. Too many Americans today are worshipping . . .
1. The God of "easy living" rather than the God of the work ethic.
A willingness to pay the price of working hard in order to build a life of value is a quality which has greatly contributed to our nation’s greatness in the past. It seems that today, however, our nation is filled with people who only want to do what is expected of them, nothing more. In fact, their dream in life is to "get something for nothing." If you don’t believe it, look at how many states now have passed a lottery!
This kind of thinking would never have brought about the establishment of this great nation.
What if Paul Revere had said, "It’s the middle of the night for goodness sake! Besides, I’m not the only man in Boston with a horse."
What if Patrick Henry would have said, "Yes, I’m for liberty, but let’s be realistic. Someone just might get hurt, including me."
What if George Washington would have said "I’m sorry gentlemen, but I have to get some personal matters settled at Mount Vernon. Why don’t find someone else? After all, I’ve already done my part in our fighting with the French."
Our country would never have been established, if our forefathers had possessed the same "I’ve done enough/I expect something for nothing" attitude which prevails among Americans today.
Someone has said that Patrick Henry shouted, "Give me liberty or give me death." Later generations took up the shout, "Give meliberty." The present generation shouts, "Give me!"
You see, our founding fathers believed in the God of the Bible, Who is the God of the work ethic. He is the God Who has said:
“One . . . "must work, doing something useful with his own hands . . ." - Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)
"If a man will not work, he shall not eat" - 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV)
Theodore Roosevelt said, "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the ’get rich" theory of life."
History shows that all civilizations have followed this timetable:
1. The people go from chains to spiritual faith.
2. From spiritual faith to courage.
3. From courage to liberty.
4. From liberty to abundance.
5. From abundance to selfishness.
6. From selfishness to complacency.
7. From complacency to apathy.
8. From apathy to dependency.
9. From dependency back to bondage.
2. The God of relativism rather than the God of righteousness.
A gray cloud has descended over our nation. There is no such thing as "black and white," or "right and wrong." Everything’s relative.
Dr. Karl Menninger, in his book, Whatever happened To Sin?, writes: “In all of the laments and reproaches made by our seers and prophets, one misses any mention of ‘sin,’ a word which used to be a veritable watchword of prophets. It was a word once in everyone’s mind, but now rarely if ever heard. Does that mean that no sin is involved in all our troubles - sin with an ‘I’ in the middle? Is no one any longer guilty of anything? Guilty perhaps of a sin that could be repented and repaired or atoned for? Is it only that someone may be stupid or sick or criminal - or asleep? Wrong things are being done, we know; tares are being sown in the wheat field at night. But is no one responsible, no one answerable for these acts? Anxiety and depression we all acknowledge, and even vague guilt feelings; but has no one committed any sins? Where, indeed, did sin go? What became of it?”