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God And The United States Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2021 1:00 am

God And The United States Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 18, 2021 1:00 am

Many of us have the idea that God owes us His favor. After all, we’re Americans. But as we run the race of life, let’s ask ourselves if God owes us anything. After examining the evidence, we might conclude that what He owes us is judgment. In this message we consider what God thinks of the USA

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Many of us have the idea that God owes us His favor.

After all, we're Americans. But as we run the race of life, let's ask ourselves if God owes us anything. After examining the evidence, we might conclude that what He owes us is judgment. Today, we consider what God thinks of the U.S. of A.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, America is splitting apart at the seams. Could the intense strife on our streets be a form of God's judgment? Dave, what we need to do is to understand what is happening on our streets. When you see our history being vilified, when you see statues being torn down, that's not just a random act of violence. There is an underlying philosophy that is governing that to try to destroy our past in order to build a brand new future on a humanistic Marxist foundation, the unraveling of America deliberately. Those are the kinds of themes I discuss in my new book entitled We Will Not Be Silenced, responding courageously to our culture's assault on Christianity.

We need to understand what is happening in the culture, and then we need to know what to do and how to stand. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Go to rtwoffer.com.

That's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now as we listen to this message, let us continue to pray in our hearts for the United States of America. God bless America. After the 9-11 terrorist attack, God bless America signs were everywhere. God was back.

The ACLU looked on in dismay as members of the Congress saying God bless America on the steps of the Capitol. God was allowed off the reservation, and he was allowed to enter into American life, into mainstream American life once again. He was able to at least get his toe off of the reservation. But what kind of a God was back? Well, a very tolerant God, a God who accepted everyone no matter what religion you were.

I'm told that there were two porn shops in Nashville who had God bless America on their marquees. It was a very tolerant, tolerant God. The God who was back was a God who could never possibly judge America, only bless. He was only allowed to bless America. He was the God of capitalism, the God of freedom and democracy, the God that obviously would bless America because look at who we are as Americans.

Just look at all of the things that America has done and given the world. Very interestingly, when religious leaders, some of them perhaps unwisely, suggested that this was a judgment of God, the media began to hyperventilate. I mean, there was no possibility that this could be God's judgment. God was not allowed to judge.

He was only allowed to bless. Now I have to say that such remarks are probably unwise for a number of reasons. Number one, we don't know exactly what God is up to. And number two, it may be more of a judgment on the church than America at large. But anyway, the very suggestion that maybe God would judge us was inadmissible.

The God who came off the reservation was not permitted to judge. But it's interesting that in the Old Testament, God said to Israel, I lay before you two ways, the way of blessing if you obey me and the way of cursing and judgment if you don't. And today we're saying there's only one side to God's attributes, and that is blessing.

Well, let me ask you this question. This happens to be a series of messages on God and the nations, and this is number five in the series. Is God actively involved in what happens in nations, in terrorist attacks, for example? The Scripture says in Isaiah, chapter 45, verse 7, I form light and I create darkness. I bring prosperity and create disaster. I, the Lord, do these things. And Amos asks, when disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?

Wow, that's strong language. It doesn't mean that God does it, but it does mean that it's part of his providential work. I mean, he does let it happen, and he could prevent it from happening. So God is involved at the end of the day, is he not? What I'd like to do in the next few moments is to invite you to look with me to the 10th chapter of the book of Isaiah, because Isaiah is going to give us a window into God's purposes, and we will use the principles that we learned there as a backdrop to do a very, very quick discussion of God and America, all too briefly, I might add. One of the problems with this series always has been that I've got more information and so much more could be said, but we will give you an overview as we talk about God and America. Isaiah chapter 10 is very fascinating as it gives us this window into God's purposes because of the fact that God is going to show us there principles by which he judges nations, principles that if properly interpreted are still applicable to us today.

The 10th chapter begins with God listing some of the sins that he was going to judge them for. Woe to those who make unjust laws to those who issue oppressive decrees. I need to stop there, because someone has said show us, show us your laws, and I will show you your God, and how true that is.

And the great battle in America is for laws, it's for the judges, it's for the Supreme Court, it's for who says what can happen and what can't happen. But God says woe to those who make unjust laws, and then he says to deprive the poor of their rights. Someday I'm going to preach about that because the Old Testament particularly says so much about the poor, and God often judges people on the basis of the way in which they treat the poor. And then he says those who are cruel and ruthless, they make widows their prey and rob the fatherless. God says that's what's happening in Israel, and that isn't a total list of all of Israel's sins, but many of them, and God says for that you're going to be judged.

And now the principles, the principles of God's judgment. First of all, God uses an evil nation to judge his own people. He uses an evil nation to judge his own people, a nation that is more evil than his own people. You'll notice he's going to use Assyria, verses five and six. Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger in whose hand is the club of my wrath. Send him against a godless nation. I dispatch him against a people who anger me, who sees loot and snatch plunder and to trample them down like mud in the streets. See what God is saying? He's saying that Assyria is my rod to discipline Israel.

It is the club of my anger. Well, what about this nation Assyria? Now when I speak about Assyria today, I'm not talking about the Assyrians that we have here at the Moody Church. You know that we have Assyrians here at the Moody Church. In fact, one of our staff member is an Assyrian.

I won't give you his full name, but to give you a clue, his last name is Milko, completely Assyrian. These Assyrians, and now we're talking centuries, centuries ago, were barbarian. They were ruthless.

And they were cruel. And they worshiped the god, the god Asher. God says they are my club for Israel. I'm going to send them into Israel because my people have forsaken me and I'm going to use these people to judge my people. Now I can imagine every chariot in Israel during those days having a bumper sticker, if chariots have bumpers.

And the bumper sticker is God bless Israel. All that God can do is to bless us. Preachers today on television, many of them, not all of them, but many, all that God is willing to do is to bless you. He'll give you money. He'll give you health.

That's all. There's no judgment. There's no need for repentance. He's the God who just blesses.

That's his job, like somebody says. I want you to know today that God can also judge. And the terrorist attack coming from evil people with a network of fanatics who are evil, God may indeed use people just like that to humble and to judge America. That is the first principle. There's a second principle of judgment and I might say, by the way, before we go on to it, that it's also possible for God to sometimes use better nations to judge more evil ones.

We would say that that happened during World War II when the allies ganged up on Nazi Germany and I would say it also when the United States fought its war in Iraq. So God uses one nation to judge another but sometimes the most evil nation is his club, his rod. There's a second principle and that is that God judges the evil nation that he uses. God judges the evil nation. It says in verse 7, but this is not what he intends. Who is the he? The Assyrian, the king of Assyria. What God is saying is, now I intend to use Assyria as this rod, this club, but he isn't saying in his mind, let's obey God and let's go out there and do something for Jehovah.

No, no, no, no. He has entirely different intentions. But this is not what he intends.

This is not what he has in mind. His purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations. God says that's what his purpose is.

It is an evil purpose. And because his motive is evil and against me, he will be judged even though I use him. You'll notice what it says now in verses 12 and 13. When the Lord has finished all of his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. For he says, by the strength of my hand, I have done this and by my wisdom because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations. I plundered their treasures like a mighty one.

I subdued their kings. God says he's going to be judged. Specifically, verse 16 says, therefore the Lord God almighty will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors. Under his pomp, a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame. God says, I will judge Assyria for its wickedness. Now you say, well, but God used Assyria.

Yes. Somewhere along the line, I came across a story that beautifully illustrates this juxtaposition between God's will and his sovereignty and human responsibility. There was a nobleman who had a grove of trees that he loved very, very much. In fact, he gave a name to every single tree. But there was an evil neighbor who wanted to do something very wicked to this nobleman. So the neighbor climbed over the fence and spent almost all night sawing down one of the nobleman's most cherished trees.

But as the wicked man was trying to leave, he ran in the wrong direction and got pinned to the ground. And there he was. Well, the next morning, the nobleman came to look at his trees and he had a man with him. And he came across the felled tree.

And this man who was pinned under it sit in a choked whisper. He said, I got your tree. He knew he was going to be punished. But just the idea that he had cut down the nobleman's favorite tree delighted him. And the nobleman said, the man that I have here is a contractor. And I want him to build me a summer house. And the reason we're taking this walk is that I can show him which tree I intended to have him cut down.

Thank you so much for doing my work for me. Now, did that mean that this evil neighbor didn't get judged? Of course he got judged because his intentions were evil.

But in his evil work, he still did what the nobleman wanted. And that's the way God is. God says, Assyria, you're judging Israel, but you too will be judged. Rest in the fact that terrorists, not just in America, but around the world, terrorists will be judged by God in this life somewhat indiscriminately, from our standpoint haphazardly, because some may live to have long lives. But in the end, God's judgment will be meticulously balanced, and we will praise God forever for the accuracy of his judgment.

Nothing goes unpunished. There's a third characteristic, and that is that God's purpose is judgment. His purposes in judgment is really twofold. First of all, regarding unbelievers, very quickly, verses 18 and following, the splendor of his forests and fertile fields will be completely destroyed, as when a sick man wastes away and the remaining trees of his forest will be so few that a child could write them down.

He may be talking about the Assyrian soldiers. God says, I'm going to show you my power and my ability to even destroy you. God shows to the wicked the fact that they will not repent, even if he shouts from heaven. Now let's apply this to America. Where are we here in the great United States, a nation that has been so wonderfully blessed by God? After the terrorist attack, church attendance increased. I'm told now it is lower than ever, but thankfully not here at the Moody Church. You know that our attendance has been growing during the last years and continues to grow.

And every time I'm here, I see the balcony come out further and further and further, and I say, God be praised, God be praised. But across America today, what you find is a decline in church attendance. And so what we have is just a blip on the screen, the Tribune after 9-11 came out with an article that said it's okay to talk about evil now. It even suggested that maybe we lived in the end of the postmodern age where evil was not admitted into public discourse.

But somehow all that is forgotten and lost, is it not? And what we have in our society today is taking out God's laws. God is being pushed back onto the reservation.

The public square is being scrubbed clean of anything that has to do with God. God is not supposed to inform or to govern or to control what politicians might do. And that's the nation in which we live. I want you to know, regardless of what you think of Judge Moore in Alabama, whom I met yesterday, by the way, I was speaking at Promise Keepers in Atlanta, 15,000 men at Promise Keepers in Atlanta.

You want to hear something that's good about America? Think back to what God is doing in so many different areas of this great nation. But Judge Moore, who was there, was telling us, and showing us really, and I spoke to one of his attorneys, that constitutionally, if you look strictly at the Constitution, those Ten Commandments had a place there in the Supreme Court building. Those Commandments constitutionally should have belonged there. Now, we can argue whether or not this was really the cause to fight and say this or that, but I'll tell you what is happening is there are judges in America today who are no longer interpreting the Constitution and interpreting the law. They are making up the law in the United States of America. And my friend, that's why it is that when there's a vacancy on the Supreme Court, we find so much political conflict. Show me your laws and I will show you your God.

Our laws determine who we are as a country and what direction we are going. You know, I've written a new book entitled We Will Not Be Silent, Responding Courageously to Our Culture's Assault on Christianity. And one of the chapter titles is how that the radical left joins with Islam to destroy America. Have you ever noticed that the radical left will never criticize Islam? Are you aware of the fact that Islamic teaching is taking place in some of our public schools and those who oppose it are called names, hateful, intolerant, and you name it. The reason is because both have a common objective, at least for now, and that is the destruction of Christianity and also the destruction of capitalism.

And that's why it is that they are cohorts, even though they have radically different teachings. We need to be aware of all of these things. And by the way, I also warn of the danger of interfaith dialogue and all that that's going on. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.

Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book, We Will Not Be Silenced, responding courageously to our culture's assault on Christianity. I really believe it will be very enlightening and helpful and especially give us courage when we're tempted to be silent.

RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. All signs seem to indicate dark days coming for the United States. For those without jobs, perhaps facing foreclosure, those days have already come, and no doubt the moral climate is sinking fast.

A very concerned listener of ours has emailed this person. Pastor Lutzer, is America under God's judgment now? I believe that America is under God's judgment today, yes. You know, oftentimes when we talk about a nation being under judgment today, people think that that means that we see judgment only in a terrorist attack or at a time such as Katrina, the tremendous natural disaster which devastated so many. But actually, a nation is under judgment when it begins to feel the effects of its sin. Judgment is nothing more than the accumulated effects of sin. All sin has some judgments, but when you have a nation that has so turned away from God as we have, so consciously turned away from God, we see the effects of sin and the judgment of God everywhere. We see it in the breakup of our families, for example. The fact that 20 million children will go to bed tonight in America with a single parent in the household, fatherlessness because of immorality, because of the breakup of the family, because of selfishness, because we have ignored God's laws.

All of this, the effects are clearly seen, and we need to understand that. We also see it in the political world where God is excluded from government, from law, from education, and this has its consequences too. We look at the moral and the spiritual breakdown.

We see today that our leaders appear to be absolutely blind to what is happening around them. That too is judgment. You know, when Israel was taken into Babylon, they were under judgment. In the midst of that, you have people like Daniel and others who are faithful to the Lord. We are called to be faithful at a time when our nation is experiencing the consequences of its sin.

That's a long story what faithfulness really means, but yes, God does not wink at sin. We have dethroned God in our culture, and the consequences are apparent. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, and may the Lord have mercy on the United States of America. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. The struggle over the public viewing of God's law to man led to Chief Justice Roy Moore being ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court. This is evidence that God is being systematically excluded from public life. Next time, more about the judgment of God on America. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-14 12:14:39 / 2023-12-14 12:22:59 / 8

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