Help Turn The Course Of Your Nation
God is calling His people to return to Him and be a highway of holiness over which He can come to the lost world. But before we can become a highway of holiness, we must understand the issues of sin. In order to understand sin, we must see our sin from God’s perspective. We must build our relationship with God in such a way that our lives can be a highway over which God reaches the rest of our nation in a great revival among God’s people, and in a sweeping spiritual awakening in the hearts and lives of those who do not know Him.
There is an urgency that we carry within us. This urgency has at least two major directions. If I understand the Scriptures correctly, God will judge any nation that neglects His direction. It may very well be that we are under the judgment of God.
If I were to attempt to find the beginning of what I believe is a national neglect of God, I would return to the early 1960s. It seems as though God removed the hedge of protection from around America in that decade. We began to see unrestrained things take place from the ’60s to this present day. There seems to have been nothing to hold back the tide of injustice in society. A deep departure from God in the churches has continued since that decade. It is as if the hedge of His protection has been broken down, and God is letting us experience the consequences of our own sin.
There is an urgency in the Scriptures when God says, "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 Chron. 7:14). That great passage indicates clearly that the redemption of America waits on the repentance of the people of God. The salvation of the nation has little to do with Washington or Hollywood – it has to do with the people of God! If God’s people do not sense that the problem is with them, then America does not stand a chance of revival or survival. And so, understanding in ever-increasing measure what God says in His Word, we carry with us a deep sense of urgency that we are closer to the judgment of God on our nation today than we were last year.
Revival and Prayer
Do you believe that when God’s people pray that God hears, responds, and brings about a deep change? Are you helping your family and the people in your church to pray for the condition of their lives, families, church and nation? Remember, God said, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (2 Chron. 16:9). He also said, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (Jas. 5:16). Jesus said, "And whatever you ask in My name [consistent with everything I have taught you], that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13). With these promises – with which God’s people can change the course of a nation’s history – what has become of prayer in your own life, in your marriage, in your family, in your church, or in your denomination?
If revival in America depended on your prayer life, would there be a revival? If you have to say, Not my prayer life, then you must change your prayer life. To have a renewed prayer life requires a simple matter of a personal choice. Your life is the product of choices you have made and your church is the product of choices it has made. Your prayer meeting is a reflection of the choices you have made as a church. Our nation is a reflection of the choices that have been made by the people of God concerning their relationship with God.
That is one of the reasons why this kind of message has a sense of urgency about it. I believe there is a lot at stake. In fact, eternity is at stake for many in our nation. But in your church alone there are enough of God’s people – if they were serious with God – to turn the course of our nation.
There were only 120 people in the Upper Room who were wholly yielded to the person of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:15). God used them to turn the entire Roman Empire completely upside down. In 1904 God used a young man from Wales named Evan Roberts. God broke him and shook him through a specific time of prayer – with others who had been praying across the land – and 100,000 people came to faith in Jesus Christ in six months. The great revival of 1904 began with prayer. Thousands of people ended up on the mission field as a result. Roberts, at twenty-six years old, was focused on prayer and revival, and that revival set in motion a great missionary movement.
What could God do through your life? Do you sense that America needs the mighty touch of God? Do you believe God could work through your life as He has done with others? Would you be willing to make the kind of choices required by God to be that kind of person? Your response to reading this message will be a reflection of the choices you have made concerning your Lord.
Urgency of the Hour
There is another reason why there is such urgency to being completely yielded to God in the here and now. I believe we may be the generation that is still living when the Lord Jesus returns. I believe that God may now be calling the last generation of those who will go with Him on a mission to the ends of the earth. Most of the leaders I have encountered in the last few years – whether a pastor of a local church, a leader of a ministry group, or a leader of a denomination – have joined in saying they believe with all their hearts that we may be the generation that is still living when the Lord Jesus comes back.
Do you suppose, since the Father knows the time, the day, and the hour when He will say, Enough – time shall be no more; My Son will come in the clouds, the judgment will begin, and eternity will be ushered in, He could be causing an urgency in the hearts of His people and His churches, knowing that the hour is short and there is limited time for people to respond? Do you believe we will face our Lord and give an account to Him for the way in which we have lived? Do you suppose if our Father knows the time of His coming that He may have already issued the instruction to the Spirit of God to, make My people understand the urgency of the hour, that when they hear My Word, there will be a different kind of urgency in their hearts? Cause My people to understand that to invest their lives with the world that will pass away is not as important as investing their lives in the kingdom that will never pass away. (Paraphrase).
God is stirring the hearts of children, young people, college students, and those in midcareer with a call into missions as never before. In recent days one foreign mission board processed over 9,000 names of people who were inquiring about the pursuit of foreign mission appointments. Did you know that just a few years ago in the Southern Baptist Convention alone, more than 300,000 people volunteered for missions at home and abroad? And more than likely, within a few years, they could see 500,000 from their churches on missions to the ends of the earth.
In recent times many have said, In an amazing way, over the last several years, God has stirred my heart and caused me to go on a mission trip. I never dreamed I would be on a mission trip in another part of the world, but something happened in my heart, and I went, and I have never been the same. This calling of volunteers is happening all across the people of God. I do not believe this is accidental. I believe this is under the direction of God, and I believe it has something to do with the near return of our Lord. Because of these urgent times we must stand before God and His Word and see things from His perspective.
From the Head to the Heart
It is not enough for God to speak to you from His Word, because all the head knowledge in the world will never change your life. When what you know in your head hits your heart you will not be able to rest day or night until God has become that way in your life.
I hear many people say, "Well, I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He is the Savior of man." All the Truth believed in a person’s head is also believed by all the demons in hell, yet they are one step ahead of us. At least when they know the Truth in their heads, they tremble. They know Jesus died for the sins of the world. They know He was the sinless Son of God. They know He was raised again. They know the power that raised Jesus from the dead has been given to every one of us who believes. They know He is interceding. They know He is coming back. There is not a Truth you and I believe in our heads that they do not believe and tremble. But the difference between the demons and us is that when we take it from our heads and let it hit our hearts, we cannot rest night or day until what God shows us in His Word is being lived out in our lives.
Second Corinthians 1:20 has made an incredible impact on my life this year. The passage says, "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." The moment you became united with Jesus Christ in the saving work of God through the death of His Son on the cross, every promise God ever made in the Bible has become yes for you. Now, many of you know that in your heads, but let me tell you how to know if it has ever hit your hearts. The moment you know that promise is true, it ought to be an obsession with you to find every promise God has ever given and live it out, so God can be that way in your life.
If it is in your head only, it will not change anything in your life. But when you hear the blessed Lord Jesus say, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father" (John 14:12), and that Truth hits your heart, your life will never be the same again.
Can you imagine what would happen to change the course of America if we believed just that one promise with our hearts? And there are hundreds of promises given in the Word of God. Are you letting what you hear in your head go eighteen inches lower to your heart, and begin to change the way you live?
You and I have the greatest single possibility of making a difference because God has given us His promises. God says He will respond when we have responded: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (Jas. 4:8). Then why do we not draw near to God, and keep in that direction until we know God has drawn near to us and His presence has literally changed everything about us? You cannot be in the presence of God and remain the same. That would be absolutely impossible. The Scripture, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you," is simple but profound.
Are you taking the promises of God and literally standing before Him until He is in you exactly as He promises in His Word? The tragedy is that many of God’s people can know they are living their lives the same as the world around them without it disturbing them. Did you know that it deeply disturbs God for us to live our way instead of His way? For God’s people to go their own way is called sin. The Scripture says, "Whatever is not from faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). The Scripture further explains, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (Jas. 4:17). Another Scripture states, "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). One of the laws is that you, "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Sin is when you see your brother with a load, and you do not help him carry it – that is sin, and that grieves the heart of God.
There is nothing I see in the Scripture that burdens the heart of God more deeply than sin in the hearts and lives of His people. So I want us to look at sin from God’s perspective – not from our perspective. How does God look on sin? Scripture says sin is coming short of what God has required. That is sin.
"Oh," you may say, "I’m just human." No, you are not; you are indwelt by almighty God if you have been born again! You used to be just human, but now you are a child of the King of kings, indwelt as a temple of God, and now your life is not yours – it is now Christ living out His life in you. Is not that what Paul said? "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). That is not a figure of speech – that is a fact. For me to know that and to resist Him is sin.
A definition of sin in 1 John 3:4 is that "sin is lawlessness [rebellion]." Rebellion is when one knows what God says and yet chooses not to obey. I have often said the two words that cannot go together are No, Lord. One of those words has to be removed. If He is Lord, there is no possibility of your saying no. You cannot call Him Lord without saying yes. What God is looking for are His children who constantly say, "Yes, Lord."
Reprinted from the book entitled Holiness by Henry Blackaby, copyright © 2003 by Henry Blackaby. Used by permission.