America and Christianity: Part 5 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 5, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 

  1. Disgusted At Immorality
    1. There is hope for America because our God reigns. 
      1. He wants to help America. 
      2. He has shed His grace on our nation, 
        1. He continues to shed His grace on us and 
        2. He can do it again. 
    2. Second Chronicles 7 has the key to our future success.

      14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

      – 2 Chronicles 7.14
      1. What four things did Israel need to do for forgiveness? 
        1. Humble themselves
        2. Pray
        3. Seek the face of God
        4. Turn from their wicked ways 
      2. God preserved this for our modern world and for the church. 
  2. There Is Hope for America in These Four Things
    1. On April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave a 
      1. “Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer,” 
      2. as President Bush also called to be observed on September 14, 2001. 
        1. This is a sign of hope. 
        2. There are many things bad in America but 
          1. there are many good things also. 
          2. Let us be as quick 
            1. to note the good as we are 
            2. to note the bad. 
      3. Now listen to what President Lincoln—
        1. who sounded more like a preacher or a prophet—
        2. said,

          “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these 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 the 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.”
    2. On September 13th of 2001, the White House proclaimed another day of prayer:

      For Immediate Release

      Office of the Press Secretary

      September 13, 2001
      National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims Of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

      By the President of the United States of America

      A Proclamation

      On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked America in a series of despicable acts of war. They hijacked four passenger jets, crashed two of them into the World Trade Center’s twin towers and a third into the Headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense at the Pentagon, causing great loss of life and tremendous damage. The fourth plane crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside, killing all on board but falling well short of its intended target apparently because of the heroic efforts of passengers on board. This carnage, which caused the collapse of both Trade Center towers and the destruction of part of the Pentagon, killed more than 250 airplane passengers and thousands more on the ground.

      Civilized people around the world denounce the evildoers who devised and executed these terrible attacks. Justice demands that those who helped or harbored the terrorists be punished—and punished severely. The enormity of their evil demands it. We will use all the resources of the United States and our cooperating friends and allies to pursue those responsible for this evil, until justice is done.

      We mourn with those who have suffered great and disastrous loss. All our hearts have been seared by the sudden and senseless taking of innocent lives. We pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and faith.

      Scripture says: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” I call on every American family and the family of America to observe a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, honoring the memory of the thousands of victims of these brutal attacks and comforting those who lost loved ones. We will persevere through this national tragedy and personal loss. In time, we will find healing and recovery; and, in the face of all this evil, we remain strong and united, “one Nation under God.”

      NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 14, 2001, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with noontime memorial services, the ringing of bells at that hour, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I encourage employers to permit their workers time off during the lunch hour to attend the noontime services to pray for our land. I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in these solemn observances.

      IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.

  3. America Needs Repentance 
    1. What is repentance? 
    2. Repentance is more than self-flagellation and regret over past sins, 
      1. it also means to change your mind. 
      2. When you change your mind everything else about you follows. 
    3. Second Corinthians 7 gives the proper order of repentance. 
      1. Paul shows what leads to repentance and 
      2. what repentance works in our lives:

        9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

        – 2 Corinthians 7.9–11
    4. Repentance is the theme of the Old Testament. 
      1. It was not restricted to Israel, but 
        1. the Books of Jonah and Nahum, 
        2. addressed the city of Nineveh needing to repent. 
          1. God expects the world to repent. 
      2. Acts 17 is a New Testament passage showing the same:

        30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

        – Acts 17.30–31
    5. Repentance is the theme of the New Testament.
      1. According to Mark 1, the first thing that Jesus taught was repentance.
        1. The Kingdom of God was about to arrive and 
        2. to be in it requires a change of life:

          15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

          –MarK 1.15
      2. It is no surprise then when we open to Luke 24 
        1. that the theme of repentance continues. 
          1. All people living under the Old Testament needed it. 
          2. All people living during the days of Jesus needed it. 
        2. Has human nature changed? 
          1. It has not, which is why the Great Commission 
          2. in Luke 24 says:

            46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

            –Luke 24.46–47
  4. Why Is Repentance Not Practiced Or Preached in America?
    1. Have you realized that it is not preached very much? 
      1. Watch almost any religious television program and 
        1. you will not hear repentance. 
        2. The word “repentance” does not have to be used, but 
          1. listen to hear if sin is condemned, and 
          2. if people are urged to turn around. 
      2. The same can be said for radio programs and literature. 
      3. Churches around the country do not preach it, but 
        1. a positive message. 
        2. They preach happiness. 
        3. They preach psychology. 
        4. They preach a feel-good message. 
          1. A message of repentance 
          2. does not fit in with their kinds of worship styles. 
    2. So what is the problem? 
      1. We have been persuaded that wrong behavior 
        1. is not sin from which we must repent, but 
        2. that it is sickness that needs to be treated. 
      2. Repentance does not sound sophisticated. 
  5. Give Heed to the Message Spoken By Isaiah in Chapter 5
    1. It warns of the danger of materialism:

      8 Woe to those who join house to house;
      They add field to field,
      Till there is no place
      Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land!

      – Isaiah 5.8
      1. Does God give us material things to enjoy? 
        1. First Timothy 6 affirms that He does:

          17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

          – 1 Timothy 6.17
        2. Does He give them that we may isolate ourselves from others? 
      2. Do you see Israel’s goal? 
        1. They wanted more and more until they possessed the lands of others. 
        2. They wanted to crowd out others. 
    2. Isaiah 5 also warns of the obsession with pleasure:

      11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
      That they may follow intoxicating drink;
      Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!
      12 The harp and the strings,
      The tambourine and flute,
      And wine are in their feasts;
      But they do not regard the work of the LORD,
      Nor consider the operation of His hands.

      – Isaiah 5.11–12
      1. People do what they want to do. 
      2. They can find time to pursue their pleasure, but 
        1. it is a real chore to meditate on God’s word or 
        2. to worship with the church. 
    3. The prophet warned about enslavement and addiction to sin:

      18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity,
      And sin as if with a cart rope;

      – Isaiah 5.18
    4. He warned against moral confusion:

      20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
      Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
      Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

      – Isaiah 5.20
    5. Hear what he said about self-wisdom:

      21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
      And prudent in their own sight!

      – Isaiah 5.21
    6. He spoke about drunkenness:

      22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
      Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,

      – Isaiah 5.22
    7. We have to watch out for a lack of justice:

      23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
      And take away justice from the righteous man!

      – Isaiah 5.23
  6. Isaiah also preached repentance and restoration

    10 Hear the word of the LORD,
    You rulers of Sodom;
    Give ear to the law of our God,
    You people of Gomorrah:

    Isaiah 1.10

    16 Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
    Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
    Cease to do evil…

    – Isaiah 1.16

    17 Learn to do good;
    Seek justice,
    Rebuke the oppressor;
    Defend the fatherless,
    Plead for the widow.

    – Isaiah 1.17

    19 If you are willing and obedient,
    You shall eat the good of the land;

    – Isaiah 1.19

    25 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the LORD.

    – Isaiah 2.5
  7. Remember We Are the Salt of the Earth 
    1. Salt seasons food. 
      1. We make the world better tasting to God. 
    2. Salt kills weeds. 
      1. We stop the growth of evil. 
    3. Salt melts ice. 
      1. We melt the cold hearts of sinners. 
    4. Salt preserves food. 
      1. We preserve society from destruction. 
    5. Let us, therefore, get out of the salt shakers.