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November 2, 2020 9:00 am
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You I want to begin today by quoting from actor, writer, lawyer, commentator Ben Stein, the and I quote Ben says I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish and it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lips of bejeweled trees, Christmas trees, I don't feel threatened and I don't feel discriminated against. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say Merry Christmas to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians, I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. He goes on to say, in light of recent events, terrorist attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it all started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained of that. She didn't want prayer in our schools and we said okay. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school and we said okay then, Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. We said an expert should know what he's talking about and we said okay now were asking ourselves why our children have no conscience. While they don't know right from wrong and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves, probably Mr. Stein says if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with we read what we so." Nice that we know lawn. I think Ben Stein is spot on.
Here I agree with what he's saying but lawn were not sitting in Congress this afternoon were not sitting in some state legislature today where we could pass laws to change all of this wherein church so I mean what in the world is the church have to do with all of this while I believe much in every way. William Bennett, the Secretary of Education under Pres. Ronald Reagan said and I quote he said Dostoyevsky reminded us in brothers caramel that quote if God does not exist.
Everything is permissible."
In recent years, nothing has been more consequential than large segments of American society. Turning away from God and as a result, we are now seeing everything here in America. Therefore, Mr. Bennett says, in my view, the real crisis of our time is spiritual." Now, folks.
If the real crisis of our time were political, or if the real crisis of our time were economic or if the real crisis of our time were military. Then, indeed, the church would have very little if anything to do with it but if Mr. Bennett is correct and I believe that he is. If the real crisis of our time is the ritual well then suddenly the church of Jesus Christ has everything to do with it. And this is what I want us to talk about this July 4 weekend 2010.
I want us to talk about the Church's role of in helping America.
But before we do that, let's talk for a moment about how we got to where we are in America today. You know, I think just about everybody here knows who Terry Schiavo is a 1990 Terry at the age of 26 collapsed at her home and she was pronounced to be in a persistent vegetative state and put on a feeding tube eight years later, in response to a petition by her husband, the Florida Circuit Court ordered the feeding tube removed and after multiple appeals by her parents, saying that if the husband didn't want to take care of her parents would, after all those appeals failed tube was removed by court order, and on March 31, 2005 Terry Schiavo died of starvation and dehydration. Now, in April of that year.
The very next month, 2005, right after Terry died.
I was in Europe leading a footsteps of Paul tour and while we were in Rome and we had a little break in the action. We were talking one of the tour guides and she said to me, and I quote she said you Americans pride yourselves on how spiritual you are compared to us in Europe she said but you know here in Europe we don't starve people to death."
And folks really there was a whole lot I could say to your because honestly I wasn't shocked and I was as embarrassed about what it happened back. I didn't know what to say how could something like this happen in America.
Well folks. How did we get to the place in America where homosexual marriage is now legal. How did we get to the place in America were abortion on demand is our X Did national policy. How do we get to a place in America where teacher in the public schools in their classroom can talk about Satan worship and witchcraft and Islam and New Age philosophy and voodoo. But if they even mentioned Jesus Christ and the Bible don't lose their job. How do we get to the place in America where we need arm.
The policeman walking up and down the hallways of the public schools in America. How do we get to the place in America were premarital sex among college students is so common that they actually give out free condoms on the bulletin boards in college dorms like they did at Johns Hopkins University were my youngest son, John, where, and finally, how do we get to the place in America where people can burn the American flag on public property, but on that very same property. We can't post a copy of the 10 Commandments will whose fault is it that America's gotten to this point.
Solano whose fault it is the ACLU's fault is the national organization women's fall is very linen people for the American way. Their fall is the of the National Gay and lesbian the task force if their fall is the national education Association as their fall.
Well, I don't believe that any of these groups are at the base of the fault for how America got to where it is today friends I believe default for where we are in America today must be laid squarely at the feet of the church in America and let me tell you why. The first 175 years of America's history, the church occupied a position of almost complete cultural dominance in America, and from that position.
The church was able to exert a unique moral influence over all of American society, but friends as we all know it is not that way anymore. Sadly, in America today what the church says makes little difference. Both the public policy and to popular opinion, and how did we lose disposition of cultural dominance is the church in America.
I have three reasons to suggest to you number one, partly because the church lost its moral credibility in the eyes of most Americans. This the result of corruption and greed and inauthentic behavior on the part of so many of the church's leaders coupled with sex scandals and misuse of funds and the sexual abuse of children it happened. Number two, we lost our position in American society, partly number two because large segments of the church in America drifted into liberal theology and instead of being the enemy of people liberal people who were trying to undermine biblical values in America, those liberal churches actually became allies of these people who were trying to undermine biblical authority in America and finally number three I believe it happened partly because evangelical churches in America. We didn't drift into liberal theology, but evangelical churches in America lost their focus, we became so interested in church growth and money and power and allowing preachers to self promote themselves in the national figures that we abandoned our God-given role as the moral anchor for American society. So I log you know what I think you got a point, but to lay the primary responsibility for America's moral decline on the church alone. I mean I just kinda think that maybe that's going a little too far.
Go to will know I don't.
Let me tell you allowing to do a little bit of syllogistic logic here with your likely little werewolves that you know if then, just a little. If then see if you don't follow this are here we go. If the church in America was fearlessly preaching biblical truth, then we would be training people in the pews to see all of life with a biblical worldview. Now if the tens of millions of Americans sitting in church pews were looking at life with a biblical worldview. Then all these people would vote for politicians who espoused a biblical worldview. That's keep going and if these millions and millions of Americans sitting in church pews all voted for politicians with a biblical worldview, then our legislatures and our Congress would be full of politicians who had this kind of biblical worldview and they would sponsor bills and they would pass laws and they would appoint judges that uphold a biblical worldview of society which would mean that there would be no gay marriage in America which would mean that there would be no abortion on demand in America, which would mean that we could read the 10 Commandments, and we could read the Bible anywhere we wanted to in America, and it would probably mean that Terry Scheible would still be alive in America today to follow that yes I know my friends, I stand by what I said earlier, I believe the fault for where we are in America today must be laid at the feet of the church in America and you know it's interesting is somebody at the Washington Post actually agrees with me. Yeah his name is William raspberry, who often wrote in the op-ed section of the Washington Post, and here's what he said and I quote in an article entitled the moral center go. He said I quote the church in America. Mr. Asberry says is endlessly involved in things that other agencies might do just as well, but the church is neglecting the position that it is uniquely qualified to hold, namely the moral center. He said the point of this is not to criticize churches that run nursery schools, but to caution them that they are more important work is the inculcation of moral values.
He says I know this must seem a strange message coming from a not particularly religious writer in an orderly secular newspaper well hello yeah but I am increasingly struck.
He says by the growing sense that America's major failings are not political, or economic but moral. Then he concludes listen. He concludes with this question. He says, shouldn't organized religion take the lead in being the moral center for our nation run" and I say yes yes a thousand times yes friends. One of the core responsibilities of the true church of Jesus Christ is to be the moral center not just for American society, but to be the moral center for every single society in which the church exists, and so that brings us to our final question of the day and that is how we going to do it, how in the world are we going to fulfill our responsibility to be the moral center of American society is, the church will I have four suggestions for us and then were done here we go. Suggestion number one want to be the moral center of a society that hears what the church can do number one we can lead as many Americans as possible to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ second Timothy chapter 4 verse five Paul the apostle Paul said to Timothy said but you, Timothy. Be sober in all things, endure hardship, look now to the work of an evangelist. Tell everybody you meet Timothy everywhere you go Timothy about the Lord Jesus Christ and you know Jesus said the very same thing. Mark 1615, commonly called the great commission. He said, go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Every person see when we as Christians faithfully carry out the great commission in the society. That society changes and the reason that society changes is because the hearts of the men and women in that society change, and as a result, the kind of society. These men and women want to build changes. The point is that transform people build a transformed up society and the church is the only institution in America that can produce these kinds of transform people.
This is why in second Timothy chapter 4, the apostle Paul did not say to Timothy Timothy to the work of a reformer. He did not say Timothy to the work of a legislator he didn't say Timothy do the work of a moral crusader. He didn't say Timothy do the work of a political activist. He said Timothy do the work of an evangelist in here McLean Bible church. We are thoroughly committed to doing the work of an evangelist here in Washington DC as God helps us. This is why we do the Internet campus so that we can do the work of an evangelist with a lot of people who can actually show up at one of our campuses and this is why we do day break down and not Northeast Washington and the projects. That is why we do the house in Anacostia with young men and women that are there, it's why we do access ministry and Jill's house and soaring over seven summer camps because we are out to reach out to tease children with disabilities and to their families and do the work of an evangelist for those families and it's why we do our junior high ministry with camps and outreaches. It's why we do our senior high ministry with camps and outreaches. It's why we do Metro blitzes at Metro stations handing out tracts and cards.
It's why we do the gathering on college campuses all throughout the metro area. It's why we do turkey outreach at Thanksgiving and Angel tree Christmas and it's why we do our food pantry and our clothing ministry and it's why we try to get all of you to take Christianity 301 so we can teach you how to do the work of an evangelist in your own personal life will and you know what I think it's why we spend $500,000 a year on secular radio with an and programming that is not aimed at promoting McLean Bible church, but that is aimed at declaring people's need for Jesus Christ you know on XM radio. We actually have not a sermon, just a thought on for XM radio station channels you say when I wait a minute you say that's not possible.
XM radio doesn't take advertising well. There are four channels that do and we found and we are on and I got an email we got an email from a gentleman who heard us and listen to what he said and I quote he said I just heard your aunt on XM channel 22. I have to admit, he says, I did a double take.
I was in my office flipping from one channel to another. When I heard a man say it's simple, you're either going to heaven or hell when you die and your relationship with Jesus is what decides that all he said. I thought has XM somehow been hijacked. How funny is that in the answer is no. XM radio hasn't been hijacked.
This is just McLean Bible church taking seriously our responsibility to do the work of an evangelist.
This is us taking seriously core value number nine which says our church must have not an economic or political. But an evangelistic impact on our community and this is something we are utterly completely passionately obsessed about in this church and it's a way we can help America number one number two suggestion number two is if we want to be the moral center of the society, the number two we need to declare biblical truth to that society.
Second Timothy chapter 4 verse one Paul writes Timothy and says I solemnly charge you Timothy in the presence of God in Jesus Christ preach the word reprove review exhort great patients and instruction, but Timothy preach the word and focuses the church of Jesus Christ. One of the greatest services that we can perform for America is for us to preach the word of God, and teach the word of God and stand firm for the word of God at all times, which means that here in Washington DC.
Every time McLean Bible church opens our mouth. Any time we say anything in this town. The anything we say needs to be God's truth. God's whole truth and nothing but God's truth in this town. No waffling, no budging, no watering it down. We must be loving the way we said, but friends, we must also say it firmly and with out compromise. You know I remember all those if then statements that we did all right member.
The first one was this if the church in America were fearlessly preaching biblical truth. Okay, but you know honestly, there is a premise that belongs before that one that shouldn't be the first one there's another one that should be first, and it should be this is preachers in America were fearlessly preaching biblical truth then the church in America would be doing the same every time I think of this. I think George Whitfield, George Whitfield, who led the great awakening here in the 13 colonies between 1730 and 1770. This man literally turned the 13 colonies around for the Lord Jesus Christ with an open-air preaching but you know I did open-air preaching. He did it because the pastors of the churches when letting preaching the church is and you know what it would letting preaching the churches well listen to what he said and I think it might make sense to you, George Whitfield and I quote he said the reason why we have so many dead congregations is because they have dead men preaching to them and that men cannot begin living children." You get it now. Right.
Why would letting preaching the churches well George Whitfield is right, friends, everything starts with the pulpits of America, we cannot build strong churches that have strong impact on America. We can't build those kinds of churches on anemic pulpits. It'll never work.
Let me just say that I don't have anything to say about what happens in other churches in America but I do have something to say about what happens here McLean Bible church and friends. I want to say to you by the grace of God as long as I have the privilege of being the pastor here. You have my solemn commitment that any time we open our mouths here McLean Bible church. We are committed to the fact that what's going to come out of our mouths. Here is God's truth. God's whole truth and nothing but God's truth so help us God that's how were going to do it here. This is the second way that we can help America number three suggestion number three want to be the moral center for society than the third thing we can do is train up young people in the knowledge of the written word of God. Second Timothy chapter 3 verse 14 Paul says, would you Timothy continue in what you have learned watch for from child old you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation.
Our goal here McLean Bible church is to see every young American grow up with the very same heritage that Timothy had and what was his heritage from a child he knew the holy Scriptures and our goal is both by the programming we run in kits quest and no one in our children's ministry and our teenage ministry and by training and encouraging parents to do the very same thing at home in their homes. Our goal is to see a whole new generation of young American men and women raised up to know the word of God and they love the word of God, and they obey the word of God, and they want to build a society that is based around the word of God. This is what were committed to doing here McLean Bible church.you look very carefully here at the resources that we spend McLean you will find that unapologetically our resources. The vast majority of them are dedicated to people under 40. In this church. I'm talking kits quest and Alana and junior high and senior high and the gathering ministry on college campuses and frontline are ministry to young men and women in their 20s and 30s and our future leader program. Why do we do that well friends it's because these are the future leaders of America.
We don't do it because old people like me aren't important were important, but we had our chance. This is the future of America and if we really want to contribute to the moral reformation of America.
We have to produce a new generation of young men and women and that's why we do it before and finally, we want to be the moral center of this country than fourth.
We need to support political candidates that stand up for biblical values.
You know nothing is more helpful in our struggle is the church to restore the moral equilibrium of America than to have allies in the political arena and yet it is scandalous in my opinion, how poorly we as Christians mobilize ourselves. To get these people in the office. You know all those liberal groups. I mentioned to you earlier. They know how to mobilize their people. They know how to concentrate their people to get the folks selected. They want to get elected and yet I want to say to you that all those liberal groups I mentioned earlier, the national organization women, the ACLU, the people for the American Way. Listen to me now.
All of them put together don't have enough voters to elect one single politician.
If we as Christians mobilize and concentrated our votes throughout America. To put it another way, my friends and everybody in America who says that there are Christian if we were all to vote together in a block we could elect any candidate in any election anywhere in America now as a church we cannot be formally involved in this in in actually supporting and and actually helping the political candidates get elected for two reasons. Number one, it's illegal for us to do that and number two.
Political action is not the mission of this church. The mission of this church is evangelism and discipleship of Washington.
However, this doesn't mean that you and I's individual followers of Christ can't be involved in this and we should if we are serious about turning our nation around morally and spiritually. We as individual Christians need to get serious about voting for and helping to elect political allies at every level of government. When you hear figures like 60 million Americans go to church but only 20 million of them voted. I'm sorry that scandalous and it explains why some of the people who get elected get elected. Listen we need to forget about voting our party. We need to forget about voting our pocketbook as Christians in this country. We need to forget about voting our race and we need to forget about voting our gender and we need to vote for people I don't care what gender they are care what race they are don't care what party they are. We need to vote for people that stand for a biblical agenda and get them in the office and I stand by that. Okay, I'm sure I'll get a few cards and letters but just keep keep them coming from. Sorry this what I believe I'll say that humbly in this one I'm going to preach because it's what I believe now let's conclude and say nobody can say for sure what the future of America is in the plan of God.
I look in the Bible you know searching for America in the last days. I don't see it. Well, I can't people say to me how to explain. I don't know I'm not God.
How can I display. I don't know what the will.
God's going to do in the end of the age. But you know what it doesn't matter because as long as America exists, and as long as we're the church of Christ in America than friends. It is our responsibility to do all that we can to promote moral and spiritual values to promote the moral and spiritual well-being of this land that we love so much. This land that so many of us have gone into harm's way to defend the land that we have young men and women today as we speak into harm's way, defending this country and we don't have as much courage as the church as they have out there.
It where the bullets are whizzing. Then shame on us. Shame on us so how can we help number one we can get out there and lead as many Americans as possible to a saving knowledge of Christ because transform people produce a transform society. Number two, we can faithfully hold up the truth of the word of God in America so that it least. America knows what God says on every single subject number three we can train young people in the knowledge of the word of God and hopefully produce a whole new generation of young men and women who want to stand and build a society on the word of God in them. Before we can support individual political candidates as individual followers of Christ that stand for biblical values and folks, let's remember.
As McLean Bible church God has given us the most significant city in America. Maybe in the world to go after and be the moral center of the city and be a lighthouse for the city and that's what we have to do folks. We've got to be salt and light for the city and not put it under a barrel. We gotta stand out and say you know what doesn't matter what it costs us doesn't matter how people may still think of us are slanderous. It doesn't matter whether people agree that it doesn't matter whether people like us will say it as nicely as we know how but were going to stand for what God says in this town and I hope you believe that that's what we believe and by the grace of God. That's what we're intending to do was pretty good for Jesus, thank you for challenging us today with the need to stand as the church firmly unashamedly uncompromisingly here in Washington DC.
Dear Lord Jesus said that we once had that position of being the moral center of the society and we lost it.
It's our fault as the church so Lord help us to work hard to get it back with authentic behavior with godly attitudes with courage with fortitude. God make us the kind of church you want us to be in the society and use this Lord Jesus here in Washington, not for the glory of McLean Bible Church, heaven forbid the Lord use us for the glory of the living risen Christ in this town. Father we pray you would turn America back to you, Lord, show us mercy, show us long-suffering and turn this land back to Christ.
We pray these things in Jesus name in all of God's people said would you say amen