Bible Order: 1 Peter 1–5
Chronological Order: 2 Timothy 1-4
New Testament Only: Revelation 14
For God And Country
Let me begin by wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Praise God that He loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!
Now on to the post. It is believed by some that Jonah went to Nineveh with a message from God 100 to 150 years before Nahum wrote his prophecy of destruction. If you’ll remember, Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh but once he did the entire city turned to God. Here we have a wicked city that turned back to God only to wander away from Him once again and pass the point of no return within a couple of hundred years. How sad!
Nineveh, by the way was the capital city of the Assyrian empire. You can understand why Jonah didn’t want to preach repentance to Nineveh if you remember that Assyria was conquering the planet at the time and threatening the Northern Kingdom of Israel. In fact, within 50 years of Jonah’s preaching to the Assyrians they conquered Israel and sent them into exile. Still, when Jonah preached, the entire city repented and turned to God. Have you ever heard of such a large revival?
The years went by and the revival wore off. The descendants of those who turned to God in response to Jonah’s preaching had returned to evil ways. Nahum prophesied of that cities demise and in fact archaeological research has confirmed that his prophecies were fulfilled. Did Nahum go to Nineveh to preach repentance as Jonah had years before? No. Nineveh had been given the light and the light was rejected. Grace was offered and eventually rejected. Punishment was all that was left.
We have heard a story of revival that flourished and the petered out. During the time of the French Revolution, another revival was taking place. This revival was taking place in England and was being brought to the people by George Whitefield and John and Charles Wesley. At the time, England was the most powerful nation on earth. What has happened in those 200 years since? What is the spiritual state of England? What is the political state of England? Where do they rank among the nations? They aren’t even in the top 5 power ranking. What happened? They departed from the one true God.
In reading Dr. J. Vernon McGee I found this interesting quote:
Quite a few years ago I cut out this little clipping which reads:
“A United States Senator has stated that the average life of the great civilizations of the world has been about 200 years. He goes on to say that these civilizations have progressed (if that’s the right word) through the following stages:
from bondage to spiritual faith
from spiritual faith to courage
from courage to liberty
from liberty to abundance
from abundance to selfishness
from selfishness to complacency
from complacency to apathy
from apathy back to bondage
The Senator points out the interesting fact that the United States of America will be 200 years old in 12 years. Which of the above stages do you think we’re in? How much longer is our civilization going to last?”
McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Of course, America is even older than that now. At the time of the American Revolution we too were experiencing a revival; the same as in England driven by the Wesleys and Whitefield. In fact we had a couple more after that. But how long has it been since this nation experienced true revival? Is America today in a state of ascendancy or decline? I know we long ago passed the “selfishness” stage and I am pretty sure we have gone through the “complacency” stage. Have we hit apathy yet? When a president can arbitrarily change provisions of the law, refuse to enforce the law, or make his own law to suit his own political policy objectives; when the will of the people, as expressed through legislation passed through the democratic process can be ignored, I believe we have arrived at the bondage stage.
A few years ago I read a story about a number of preachers around the country who were going to publicly support specific candidates for political office from the pulpit. Such an act is illegal and those churches risk losing their non-profit tax status. The preachers feel their constitutional rights have been wrongly violated by the legislation in question and I must say I agree with them. The government has no right to restrict the free exercise of speech just because one wishes to exercise that right in a church. In fact, free speech is protected by the constitution specifically for the purpose of protecting political commentary. It is outrageous that the self-seeking politicians have so clearly violated one of our most basic and cherished rights.
By the same token I believe these pastors are misguided. Just because we have a right does not mean it is prudent to exercise those rights in certain circumstances. The political dialogue in this country has been poisonous, obnoxious, and hateful for many years. The body of Christ is about taking the good news of the Gospel to the lost. When churches preach politics from the pulpit they are dividing the body of Christ and losing focus on the number one priority; they are playing the devils game by his rules. We lose. As a wise friend once told me “You don’t fight God’s battles with Satan’s weapons”. By focusing on politics we lose focus on spreading the Gospel. You don’t believe me?
How excited to you get about the political situation in our country today? How much time do you spend reading about the latest political battles or tracking or talking about the upcoming elections? How many Christians can you expect to show up to a conservative political rally like the Tea Party? Okay, how often do you share the Gospel with a lost person?
When my church hosts regularly scheduled outreach efforts very few Christians attend. Satan is winning. We fall into his trap. We have taken our eyes off the ball and Satan couldn’t be happier. As long as he can show the angry shouting faces of those who call themselves Christians to a lost world he keeps the good news from going forth. The lost are looking for a reason to reject our message and far too many of us are giving them an excuse.
Our job, our focus, is the Gospel. We are citizens of this country and we have a right, and I dare say a responsibility to be politically active, but if you really want to see America restored that dog won’t hunt. If you want to see America restored you are going to have to start doing your part to spread the Gospel.
Brothers, you’ll have to forgive me. I hope none of you take my comments to mean we shouldn’t actively participate in our civic duties or that we should not voice our opinions about the issues of the day. I am simply attempting to point out that such activity often seems to be a greater priority for us than sharing the Gospel. It is said they will know we are Christians by our love. The most loving thing we can do is tell a lost and hurting world about the good news of Jesus Christ.
What would America be like if the majority of her citizens were in fact new creatures in Christ?
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 9/25/10)