Sermons

Summary: God does judge nations, cities, churches, families. If we refuse to pursue His glory, there is nothing left for God but to hold us accountable.

The news is particularly dark today—disrespect among the youth of the nation; increasing sexual assault in which even infants and toddlers are violated; violent crime increasing; external threats to national economic security; rising social unrest centring around linguistic and racial issues. Daily news casts cast a pall of negativity and darkness over those who watch. All that is lacking is an actual invasion and occupation by a hostile, foreign power. And I fear that even that possibility may be lurking in the wings.

Some time ago, I listened to a talk show host as he lamented the increasingly disrespectful attitudes witnessed among the young and the concomitant dissipation of morals within society. He discussed a variety of remedies, none of which will make any difference. The one remedy that has always worked—repentance—was never mentioned.

“The crown has fallen from our head;

Woe to us, for we have sinned!” [1]

[LAMENTATIONS 5:16]

I have witnessed, as you have, the disintegration of courtesy in society and the hastening slide into moral turpitude with the passage of years. It seems more evident in the “little” issues—children who are openly disrespectful toward their elders, the defiant stance of young mothers walking two or three abreast down a crowded sidewalk refusing to make way for others, the sullen glare of young men who feel compelled to view every person as a threat to safety. Doors are locked on homes which two decades ago would never have been barred. Almost every automobile is equipped with alarms or mechanisms to immobilise the steering wheels. Even churches and synagogues are alarmed to keep thieves and those with malicious intent at bay.

“The crown has fallen from our head;

Woe to us, for we have sinned!”

[LAMENTATIONS 5:16]

As the talk show host bemoaned the present condition of society, I couldn’t help but recall a statistic which likely holds the key. With the increase in crimes against society there has been a progressive and correlated decrease in attendance at religious services. The more we have discarded ideas concerning godliness and righteousness as outmoded and trite, the greater our propensity to disregard responsibility for one another. Churches which were filled with worshippers and people seeking after God a couple of decades past are now emptied, dark, silent; and though these churches may attract a modest attendance for a morning service, they no longer offer evening services or mid-week services, and the baptismal waters are seldom stirred.

“The crown has fallen from our head;

Woe to us, for we have sinned!”

[LAMENTATIONS 5:16]

Modern Canadians appear to be spiritually schizophrenic. On the one hand, we appear hesitant to confess that we are a Christian nation. If, however, we do make that statement, it is almost inevitably in the form of an apology because we don’t want to offend other nations where another religion predominates. Then, again, we may boast that we are a Christian nation, but the concept appears to have a different meaning from what it may have once meant. At best, the concept points to an ancient heritage that no longer is relevant, a dim memory of a forgotten day. We retain the patina of that bygone era, claiming certain moral features while rejecting the open embrace of the Faith.

People openly hostile to godliness acclaim their relationship to God; but it is impossible to reconcile the open ridicule of biblical principles with a lifestyle so consumed with the self that it has no time for God. Politicians treat the Faith as though Christ’s assembly was a tawdry trollop rather than the holy Bride of Christ. Even a growing number of pulpits brazenly dismiss the Word of God, no longer believing the Word to be authoritative. Many of these pulpits exalt the expertise of the preacher as superior to the revealed will of Holy God. Anyone foolish enough to oppose the popular will is mocked and jeered as unworthy of being heard.

The mournful refrain is repeated each time a nation is confronted by Holy God, each time a culture is revealed to be wicked, each time an individual is exposed for the sinful character that has gained control over life. It has been that way throughout the centuries, reaching back into history. Without question, the mournful refrain will be heard again and again until the day the Master returns to reign in righteousness.

“The crown has fallen from our head;

Woe to us, for we have sinned!”

[LAMENTATIONS 5:16]

The tragedy is that when this plaintive refrain is heard, it inevitably is after judgement has already been visited on that nation. The people never utter this cry before judgement rains down, for had it been heard it would have meant that the people were looking to God for mercy. Always and ever, it is after God has surrendered a people, or a culture, or a nation, to the dust bin of history, that the people bewail their condition.

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