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As I said yesterday, I believe that we, here in America, are facing God’s Judgment. I believe that we have angered God, we have become a sinful, wicked nation. This is not only true for America, it is also true for Canada, Europe, and all of Western civilization. These used to be God-fearing nations, but today we do not honor or fear God. Instead we have given our hearts to the world.
The Bible tells us that to whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). We know better and, therefore, will suffer greater consequences.
God makes it clear in Scripture that He brings judgment on those who turn their back on Him. We only have to look at Israel to see the truth of this. Many times they turned their hearts away from Jehovah God to false gods and the ways of the world. God would first send preachers to warn them. The preachers would proclaim God’s judgment and warn that if they did not repent the judgment was sure and they would experience pain. When they rejected the preachers, God brought the pain.
I believe that God is bringing warning to us through people like myself and others who God has called to announce warning and coming judgment. God will use many different things to bring His judgment. He will use economic calamities, material calamities, pestilence, ruin, etc. These are the type of things God used when Israel turned on Him.
Often God would raise up an enemy to bring His judgment. For us, I believe that God is raising up an enemy and that enemy is Islam. Muslims will proclaim that God is going to judge the West. Of course they are referring to their god, Allah. I believe that God is going to judge us, not Allah, but Jehovah God.
We are already seeing some of this. We have seen times where God has revealed to us a bit of His judgment to, hopefully, get our attention. Some have listened and have understood what God is trying to tell us. But these are in the minority.
I believe that the problem is spiritual and that the solution is spiritual also. Our problem is rebellion against God and the solution is a return to the precepts of God. This involves repentance.
There have been times when we, here in America, have had to repent and turn back to God. We call these times the “Great Awakenings.” This is the same term that Duncan Campbell used to describe the revival that occurred on Lewis Island. When he wrote his book he called it “The Lewis Awakening.”
I want to begin with what he said concerning that revival.
First of all, of course, it was the awareness of God. That, to me, was the outstanding thing, the presence, the fear of God in the parish and in the neighboring parishes. You could speak to any person and you would find them thinking about God and crying for mercy……
But perhaps one of the main and outstanding features was this deep, deep conviction of sin.
This type of awakening, when a person has been made aware of who they really are, and who God really is, results in real something happening in the person’s heart. I can’t help but think of Isaiah Chapter six where the prophet is transported into the throne room and into the presence of God. He sees the holiness of God and the only thing he could say is “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” When he saw the holiness of God all he could relate to was his own filthiness. This is the same thing that was going on in these revivals.
If we are sincere and serious about seeking revival, we have to realize what is going to occur when true revival comes. When it happens God’s people will be visited with a knowledge of their own wretchedness that will overwhelm them.
Lets look at those times in American history that we call the “Great Awakenings”:
The first was in the 1730’s and 1740’s. There were two major preachers, Jonathan Edwards from Massachusetts, and George Whitfield from Great Britain.
The second Great Awakening was in the early 1800’s. There were a number of prominent preachers, but Charles Finney foremost preacher of that time period.
In each of these revivals, and in many, many others, you will find that it was the preaching of God’s holiness and the preaching of His judgment was the greatest factor.
Jonathan Edwards was know for that great sermon “A Sinner In The Hands Of An Angry God.” Look at what is going on in the preaching today. Look at the sermon titles of sermons preached today. You will rarely see something as hard hitting as “A Sinner In The Hands Of An Angry God.” The type of titles we hear today are like “The Four Ways You Can Find Happiness In Your Home” or “How To whatever.” A lot of the preaching going on in North America today is what I call “chicken soup” preaching. It itches the ears of the listeners (2 Timothy 4:3).
When I was in Bible college in the 1980’s there was a lot of preaching on church growth. I guess I am like most others, we all have ambition. I don’t think any student who left Bible college had the desire to pastor a small church. We all had visions of grandeur and success in pastoring these large churches. We wanted to know how to build one of these. In the 1980’s there were many books written about church growth, books like “America’s Fastest Growing Churches” by Elmer Towns.
The philosophy that was infiltrating the Bible colleges of the time was bigger is always better. I remember hearing, “you can either work hard, or work smart.” Of course we all wanted to work smart, we wanted the shortcuts. I believe that a lot of churches are struggling today because we have left the real work of God and turned to the world’s advertizing and promotional gimmicks.
I want to look at the passage that Jonathan Edwards used in his message “A Sinner In The Hands Of An Angry God.”
For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
It is that last sentence that was the basis for his message. We need to realize that God is holy and our sin is great before Him.
Here is a quote from an old Puritan preacher. His name was Joseph Allein. He was a graduate of Oxford in the 1640’s. He wrote a number of books and Charles Spurgeon liked to read after him. One of his book is known as “Allein’s Alarm” and here is a passage out of that book which captures the point that I really want to get across.
He that formerly thought there was little hurt in sin, now comes to see it to be the chief of evils. He sees….the deformity and the filthiness of sin’ so that he is AFFRIGHTED with it, loathes it, dreads it, flees from it, and even abhors himself for it.
He that could see little sin in himself, and could find no matter for confession, now sees the rottenness of his heart, the desperate and deep pollution of his whole nature.
He sees himself altogether filthy, corrupt both root and branch.
He writes ‘unclean’ upon all his parts, and powers, and performances.
He discovers the filthy corners that he was never aware of, and sees the blasphemy, and theft, and murder, and adultery, that is in his heart, of which before he was ignorant.
He saw no form nor comeliness in Christ, no beauty that he should desire Him’ but now he finds the Hidden Treasure, and will sell all to buy this field. Christ the Pearl he seeks.
When a person really understands their sin and acknowledges that their sin is more than just a simple mistake, when the realize that their sin justifies God condemning them to the lake of fire for all eternity, when they realize their wretchedness, that is a person who is ready to get saved. Until then, if they think that they have any measure of righteousness or merit in their salvation, they are going to miss Heaven for all eternity.
Do you know how a person gets saved? The Bible tells us clearly.
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
When you come to a point of contrition, remorse, and a broken heart over your sin and you confess that to God, then you are ready to get saved. God, in His Son, became a substitute for us on the cross. He took upon Himself our sin and died in our stead. This is the message of the Gospel. When we believe and trust in this with our whole heart, we will be saved.
When we speak of revival this is what we are talking about. It is when people are awakened to their sin in the light of God’s holiness and fall on their faces before Him and cry out for mercy. This is repentance toward God and will bring you to faith in Christ (Acts 20:21).
When this happens God changes our lives. We will talk more about this tomorrow.
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