Hope for a Doomed Nation
Post on 16-Sep-2015
DESCRIPTIONI have some things on my heart that I want to say to you as your pastor with regard to the nation inwhich we live.
Grace to You :: Unleashing God's Truth, One Verse at a Time
Hope for a Doomed Nation Scripture: Selected Scriptures Code: 80-424
I have some things on my heart that I want to say to you as your pastor with regard to the nation inwhich we live. And as I think about Memorial Day and all thats been sacrificed through the years togive us our freedom, and as we watch those things that we love and those freedoms that have beenpurchased for us at the price of blood beginning to disappear, and things changing dramatically, itsimportant for us to have a perspective that is biblical and God-honoring. And it is this: the Biblepresents the truth that the human heart is deeply embedded with wickedness and corruption.
All are sinners. All fall short of the glory of God, we know that. Man is evil, not only in his behavior;hes evil in his thinking, hes evil in his intension. Every part of him is infected with evil. He is evil tothe core. He is desperately wicked to borrow the language of Jeremiah. He is characterized by sin,iniquity, and transgression; and nothing he does pleases God. This is the biblical definition of thehuman condition.
Now that evil is obviously rampant in every human heart; and collectively, it encircles the globe. Itinfects everything that man does, everything he touches. So what we have on the planet is massiveevil. It is compounded by the presence of Satan and demons who orchestrate a system of evil and asystem of spiritual wickedness that corrupts the environment, that corrupts the thinking of man. Andso you have the Satanic kingdom doing its work and you have sinners moving within the framework ofthat Satanic kingdom who are infested with evil down to the very core. That leads inevitably todisaster.
We read in Ezekiel, chapter 7, it was that that lead to the terrible, terrible devastation that came in586 when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian forces came and destroyed the land of Israel and thecity of Jerusalem. And God hasnt changed, and man hasnt changed. God is still a holy God and Hewill not tolerate sin, and He will judge it.
In order to mitigate sin and God has to do a lot to mitigate sin. Just think about the fact that theworld is created in Genesis 1 and 2, and by chapter 6, God destroys the entire planet. Why? BecauseHe saw only evil continually. It doesnt take long. Once you have the fall in chapter 3 until youre inchapter 6 and God drowns the whole of humanity. There is such massive evil loose in the world inhuman life that God has to place restraints in the world. Man is so evil, he has to provide somerestraints or we would literally self-destruct.
Sin, by definition, is man going beyond the bounds, beyond the borders, beyond the established laws.The Bible says sin is lawlessness. It says sin is rebellion. And the heart of every man and woman isthe heart of a rebel, a heart of a sinner.
In fact, sin is Gods would-be murderer. Sin, if it had its way, would kill not only the law of God, butGod Himself. And if you wonder about that, then ask yourself why there is such an explodingpercentage of our population who are declaring themselves as atheists. The problem in our city, theproblem in our state, the problem in our nation is not circumstances, its not economic, its notpoverty, its not lack of education; the problem is inside man. The destructive reality is the rebelsinner. Thats the only kind of person there is in the world.
And Jeremiah said they work hard at it; they weary themselves committing iniquity. Psalm 7:14 says,Behold, he travails with iniquity, birth pains. He literally goes through pain to sin. You might say mengo to hell sweating; they work hard at their transgressions.
Sin causes evil to overpower all of us. Individually and collectively, it dominates the mind, the will, theemotions, and the affections; and consequently, it infects everything collectively. It is a massiveamount of evil; therefore, overpowers good. Sin causes people, of course, to fall under thedominance of Satan and to do his bidding and his will; and everything he does is against God. Sinsubjects people to all kinds of misery, all the miseries and pains of life.
In fact, in Romans 8:20 it says that it is sin that subjects the creature to emptiness, to emptiness,corrupting the body, degrading all well-being, destroying all relationships; eliminating rest, joy,comfort, peace; defiling conscience, beauty, love, darkening the mind; making man virtually anunteachable and uncontrollable beast who is sensual and never satisfied. Man is therefore robbed ofhis honor, having been made in the image of God. He has corrupted that. He is robbed of his peace.Sin sets man on a damning course for eternal hell. Sin is the problem; it is the problem everywhere. Itdestroys everything that is good, everything that is noble, everything that is right, everything that isjust; and all men are sinners. Fallen man is so bad, and so selfish, and so destructive, and so unkind,and it runs so deep, that God had to place in society some restraints, and He built them in. And I toldyou there were four basic restraints that God has built into human life.
Number 1 is personal control in the life of every individual. What is that? Its the law of God written inthe heart, the law of God written in the heart. Romans 2: Every human being has the knowledge ofright and wrong written in the heart. And that restraint has a weapon, and the weapon is conscience,which accuses a person when they violate the law in the heart. Thats a restraint. Thats a personal,internal restraint.
The second restraint that God has put in the world is parental restraint, family restraint. God hasdesigned that fathers and mothers operate well-ordered families and pass on righteousness,goodness, kindness, and truth to the next generation. And the weapon they have, according to theBible, is the rod; and they use that rod to discipline children, to spank children, if you will, in order toinflict pain on them when they violate the law, to train them to go the right way. There are familyvalues, moral values that belong to the very essence of what it means to be a family, what it means tobe a husband and wife, and father and mother.
The third level of control is societal control, and that belongs to government. And government is givenby God the power and authority to control our lives collectively. We have government at all levels.There are forms of government in your business. There are forms of government in yourcommunities. There are forms of government in towns and cities, and states and nations, and even inthe world. And the weapon that the government uses is the sword. The weapon of the personal law ofGod in the heart is the conscience. The weapon of the family is the rod. The weapon of government isthe sword, and thats a lethal weapon, and it exercises that weapon under divine command.
There is a fourth restraint in the world and its the church, the people of God. We are the salt and lightof the world, and the weapon that we have is the gospel, and its the most powerful weapon becauseit is the only weapon that totally transforms the whole person, totally transforms the whole person.The church wields that weapon.
Now let me tell you something about man. God has placed the law in the heart, the family,government, and the people of God, the church, in the world. God has given the weapon ofconscience, the rod of discipline, the sword of civil law, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and sinnersfight against all those restraints as hard as they possibly can. They fight all those restraints.
Sinners fight those restraints relentlessly, aggressively, and they are aided by Satan and demons.They are aided by every aspect of human life. They are aided by philosophers. And educators, andpoliticians, and teachers. They are aided by false religious teachers. And they are aided by just thecollective life of sinners.
That is an ongoing war. If they can, they will fight against the divine law of God in the heart. They willdo everything they can to rewrite the law that should govern mens lives. They will throw away the lawthat they know in their own heart.
Romans 1:32 says they know theyre doing wrong, and they know there are consequences; and theynot only do it, they applaud those who do it. They will fight against the law of God in the heart, andtheyll do everything they can to silence the conscience. They will do everything they can to destroythe family. They will take every angle, every possible approach to destroy the family, to destroyparental authority, to destroy the union between a man and a woman, to destroy the relationship
between parents and children, to make children as rebellious as possible. They will do everything todestroy the family. They fight against that restraint.
And they will fight against the divine institution of societal authority as well. Theyll fight against everylaw. They will violate every law they can possibly violate. That is why we have to have policeeverywhere, and they cant keep up with the violators, they cant keep up with the violations becausesinners collectively, relentlessly fight against these restraints. It is their nature to do so. And they willfight against biblical Christianity. They will fight against the truth. They will fight against the gospel, theonly truth that can transform them.
Now, listen: this fight goes on all the time. Man would go to destruction without the restraint. God putsthe restraint there, and what they do is fight against the restraint, to overthrow this restraint, to rebelagainst it. And it is true that in a democracy like ours, in a republic that essentially is a democracywhere the people have the ultimate power, they will eventually destroy all those restraints, they will.That wouldnt happen necessarily in a dictatorship. It might not happen in a dictatorship where youget your hands chopped off if you steal, and you are executed if you commit adultery. If somebodyrules that way, those things might not change.
That is not that Im advocating that; Im simply saying in a democracy with sinners fighting againsteverything and all the power in the hands of sinners, they will eventually overthrow all the restraint.Its the nature of it. And when they do that, and when they do that, Romans 1 comes into play: Thewrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men who hold the truth inunrighteousness. When they throw the truth away and trample it with unrighteousness, when theyoverrun all those boundaries and all those restraints, then Romans 1 says, God gave them up. Godgave them over.
So now you have a form of divine judgement kicking in. So you watch a society like ours and you seethe fight against the law of God written in the heart: what is normal, what is natural, what is sensible,what is common knowledge about what is right and what is wrong; the fight against overthrowing that;the fight against the conscience, to silence the conscience. You watch them fight to destroy the familyevery possible way it could. You watch them rebel against all the social order and social disciplineand fight against biblical truth, biblical Christianity, the gospel, the true church. And when theysucceed in overrunning all those restraints, then Romans 1 begins to take place, and God gives themup.
And how do you know that? Because it says, God gave them up to sexual immorality. And then itsays, And, secondly, he gave them up to homosexuality, and then he gave them up to a reprobatemind.
All you have to do is look at a culture and ask: Have we had a sexual revolution? Have we had ahomosexual revolution? Do we have a reprobate mind? Answer: of course we do. This is indicatingwe have not only kicked over all the restraints and we are loose in the field of God, if you will, and Hehas pulled back and said, Youre turned over to the consequences of your own sin. That is a form ofdivine judgement. Its not that God will judge this nation; were in it.
Oh, theres an eschatological judgement, yes, coming. Theres an end-time judgement and an eternaljudgement. But already were experiencing judgement. And where there are and there certainly are advocates for righteousness, and advocates for morality, and advocates for goodness andkindness, there are some people who are still clinging to the things that are noble and good becausethey followed the law and Im not talking about Christians, but people who followed the law in theirhearts and grew up in good, sound, healthy, sensible, reasonable families, and who have learnedrespect because theyd been taught to respect, and they have that respect to society. There are thosepeople.
But advocates for righteous and beneficial morality, and advocates for righteous and beneficial family,and advocates for righteous and biblical societal government, and advocates for the true church andthe gospel of Jesus Christ, are like little Hans Brinkers with their fingers in a dike thats going tooverwhelm everybody. So its a losing effort in the end because God has allowed all the nations to gotheir own way; this is the pattern.
So as we look at our nation and I dont know whats going to happen in the next few weeks whenIm not here. Im just kind of preempting that a little bit by helping you to be able to think throughwhatever happens. I have to say at this point that there are many churches who arent helping.
One of the pastors in one of the largest churches in America said, The church should be the safestplace for homosexuals. We welcome them in love, but we confront their sin for their own sake, for thesake of their salvation. Theres so much confusion.
So how do we understand all those? Well let me kind of pull apart some things that you I dont needto illustrate them, youll understand. Let me take a look at what is driving this nations terrible demise,what is causing us to run so fast at the edge of the cliff. Kind of a spiritual pathology. What is ondisplay? Let me give you a dozen things that youll already recognize.
Number 1: what were seeing that mark a doomed culture, that mark a doomed nation, one:fascination with living for pleasure, fascination with living for pleasure. Do I need to explain that or isthis not the most pleasure mad society in the history of the world? Thrills, cheap thrills, mindlesskicks, adventure, danger, entertainment, sports, you name it. People with too much time, withoutwork, without self-discipline, without control; media feeing them a frenzy of entertaining devices bywhich they can waste their entire lives. The pursuit of pleasure, personal lusts, just feeding the very
essence of fallenness.
Many years ago, Neil Postman said, Were amusing ourselves to death. He was right. This is thereprobate mind, that mind that isnt productive. Its not disciplined. It doesnt think deeply. It doesntthink broadly. It doesnt be to the culture that it exist a force for good, and greatness, and nobility, andelevation. Were becoming more drunk on alcohol and drugs all th...