Summary: This sermon challeges those of us who are Christians to stand in the Gap and intervene with God for the United States of America.
Title: Stand in the Gap
Text: Ezekiel 22:23-31
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: In October of 1997 I had the opportunity to be a part of something that I will never forget. Bill McCartney, the founder of Promise Keepers had a vision to bring men from all over the nation to Washington D.C. to pray for Revival, Reconciliation and a Spiritual Awakening in our nation. That day 1.4 million Christian men from every denomination and race came together to worship God and to intercede with Him on behalf of our nation.
We heard several inspirational sermons that day, and we sang several songs. But the most meaningful thing as far as I am concerned was when we got down on our hands and knees and humbled ourselves before a holy God, and confessed our sins and the sins of our nation to Him. This event or gathering was called, "Stand in the Gap: A Sacred Assembly of men.”
The first part of this title came from verse 30 of our text, which says, "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none."
This morning I want to challenge and encourage each of you to "Stand in the Gap," on behalf of your friends and family, on behalf of our church and community, and most importantly on behalf of our nation.
During the last month I’ve done my best to convince you just how serious, and how ominous the situation in America today really is. We are living in a day and time when the church has lost much of its influence. Gone are the days when the church was the most respected and influential organization in the community. If that’s not bad enough, many Americans actually believe the church has become irrelevant in today’s society. Almost 40 percent of young adults and teenagers today have a negative view not only of the church but of Christianity as a whole.
Instead of being the light of the world and the salt of the earth, many Christians have lost their zeal and enthusiasm for the Lord and have become indifferent and apathetic.
Most Christians today are reluctant to get involved in the lives of unbelievers. Many of us have fallen for Satan’s lie that things have gotten so bad in America that there’s nothing that we can do about it.
illustration: A few years ago I heard about a tragic accident in which a woman and her small child both drowned. That’s bad enough, but what really troubled me is that dozens of people were standing there watching the whole thing without even offering to help. One person even videotaped the drowning, and later bragged about it. But no one attempted to help her in any way.
According to our Text this morning one person could have made the difference for the Nation of Israel. I want us to take a closer look at this passage of Scripture this morning. The first thing I want you to notice is that:
I. THE NATION OF ISRAEL HAD ONCE AGAIN TURNED ITS BACK ON GOD.
This time as a result of their disobedience the Israelites found themselves in captivity in Babylon. Now you would think that alone would be enough to get them to repent of their sins and return to God, but it wasn’t. Many of them still had misconceptions about what it meant to be God’s chosen people. They thought that God would always protect them regardless of how far away from Him they were. They expected God to protect them and bless them as He always had. But they were unwilling to keep their part of the covenant. They were unwilling to give up their false gods and sinful lifestyles.
In our Text, the Prophet Ezekiel condemned four groups of people in particular for their sins.
A. In verse 25 he mentions the "Princes."
He is referring to the political leaders in Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. Their responsibility was to serve and protect the people. But instead they had abused their power and had actually taken advantage of the people. Ezekiel compared them to a roaring lion that tears and rips the flesh of its victims. These government rulers like the majority of our politicians today weren’t really interested in serving or protecting the people. Instead all they were interested in was getting rich and increasing their power and influence.
I heard a news report this week that said that 66 % of our Senators and 39 % of the members of the House of Representatives are millionaires. On average their salaries are around $169,000, which is nothing to sneeze at but in reality they make much more from the Special interest groups and lobbyists than they do from their salaries. So even though we elect them, when they get to congress many of them are corrupted by the Special interest groups and all of their money.