Summary: Are you right with God?
Turning to the Lord
A. "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, the many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us. It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
B. Quite a statement. It was spoken on April 30, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln as a proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer. Perhaps today that’s what we need to get back to.
C. I’ve stated before, and I believe it bears repeating, that we are a people in need of revival and renewal. I hope and pray that God will use the events of this past week to turn hearts toward Him.
D. We were put on this earth by Him, for Him, only to return to Him one day; and as we are all too well aware of now, no one knows when he or she will return to meet the Lord. You have no guarantee of tomorrow. "What is your life? It is only a vapor that appears for a little while, and then it is gone."
E. Are you prepared to meet the Lord? If today were to be your last day on this earth, would you be prepared for what you would find the second after death?
1. Some of you today are not saved, that is, you have never admitted to yourself and to God that you are a sinner, repented of that sin and trusted Christ to save you. You need to be saved today.
2. Some of you today are saved, but you are not living a life that is surrendered to God. You are living like you want to, acting contrary to God’s Word and will for your life, and are not pleasing to Him. If you were to die in that condition you would meet the Lord in that same condition. You need to repent and turn to the Lord.
F. In a George Gallup poll, it was found that there is little difference in ethical behavior between the churched and the unchurched. There’s as much pilferage and dishonesty among the churched as the unchurched. There’s as much sexual immorality, as much drunkenness, as much drug abuse, as much disrespect for parents and authority among the churched as among the unchurched.
G. One writer stated that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior. He goes on to say, "It is revival without reformation, without repentance." And it is no real revival at all.
H. We are suffering from only one disease in our world. Our basic problem today is not a race problem. It is not a poverty problem. It is not a war problem. It is not a terrorist problem. Our basic problem is a heart problem. We need to get the heart changed, get to the heart of the matter, allow Jesus to root the sin out of our lives, surrender to Him completely, and allow revival to take place in our lives, in our families, in our churches, and ultimately in our country.
I. Very briefly this morning I want to look at a time when John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness of Judea. His message was clear, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." If we are to turn our hearts to God today, then we must act on the following instructions from our text.
I. You must repent. (1-5)
A. What does it mean to repent? To repent means to change direction.
1. You must have a change of mind. You must agree with God about the sin in your life. He hates it. He hated it so much that He could not be in the presence of it.
a. Because of your sin you were separated from God and you couldn’t change that. But God made the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins and make possible a way that we could be united with Him.
b. You must agree with God that your sin is awful. You must agree with God that your sin is real. You must agree with God that you are a sinner.