Faithlife Sermons

Call to the Nation

Notes & Transcripts

06/28/2009 Call to the Nation Knox 16 PC

800/375/801 Psalm 72 2 Chronicles 7:11-18 James 4:7-10

OOPS! Consider these trends: (1) The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home. (2) Increasing taxes and spending of public money for welfare and entertainment. (3) The mad craze for pleasure, with sports becoming more exciting and more brutal. (4) The building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy is the decadence of the people. (5) The decay of religion, with faith fading into mere form. Do those sound familiar? They are the five key reasons for Rome's downfall, as set forth by Edward Gibbon in his classic work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but could the Canada be headed down a path similar to that of ancient Rome?  
  UGH! The raising up of the Temple in Jerusalem was a major landmark in the history of Israel. They had come from thing a scattered people held in slavery in a foreign land to lay claim to the land which God promised them. They had begun to form the land and the 12 tribes of Israel began to form an identity. It was not without trouble.
When the kingship was established there was division in the tribes of Israel. In fact when David began to take control and authority as the king of Israel, the nation was involved in civil war. The history of this is proclaimed in first and second Samuel and first and second Kings. Under David's reign the warring factions made peace and there was one nation. This one nation continued to prosper and reach its heights under the kingship of Solomon.  
  But, inasmuch, as the heart is deceitful above all things, the Lord visits Solomon and tells him that he has heard his prayer. But there is this warning here, very implicit, which states that we can fall from grace very easily. One generation later there was civil war and the land of Israel was divided in two with the northern kingdom consisting of 10 of the 12 tribes. The South contained the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
Throughout the history of Israel the people forgot the Lord our God and worshipped other idols and depended on help from nations that were only human flesh and blood. They continued to go down until they were sent into exile.  
  This nation of Canada was formed as the alliance of a number of provinces. The great railroad was the link from east to west to join the nation. But it was never strong enough to keep the nation together as one entity. That became apparent when the Constitution was repatriated and brought back to Canada in the 1980s. To this very day Québec has not signed on.
"Boldly I must confess that I believe the national difficulties we face result from the decline of religion and morality among us. I must confess equally boldly that my own hopes for the well-being of my country depend, not so much on her navies and armies, not on the wisdom of her rulers, not on the spirit of her people, as on the persuasion that she still contains many who love and obey the gospel of Christ. I believe that their prayers may yet prevail. God can give effect to the weakest effort." William Wilberforce in Real Christianity, first published in 1796  
  AHA! If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. If you will do this, I will do that.
WHEE! There are great divisions in this land along the lines of English and French and aboriginals. This land of Canada needs to come to repentance to bring these great ethnic groups together as one. The most important aspect of Old Testament repentance is contained in the Hebrew word shub, which expresses the idea of turning back, retracing one's steps in order to return to the right way. The truth and reconciliation commission is one small step towards this goal.  
  However, as events unravel across the world in places like Iran and Pakistan, we gain a sense of a tremendous diversity in ethnic groups in this nation of Canada. Some of our churches in the Presbyterian Church in Canada have as many as 35 and 40 ethnic groups in their congregations. This will only become more so as the years move ahead. Will we hold on to that ideal presented by the founding fathers, to bring this great nation together in 1867, to prevail?
Their choice was psalm 72 which says that he shall have dominion from sea unto sea and we might add from the North to the South. The key to the healing of this land is for a return unto righteousness and walking in the path of the living God and turning away from our own way of stupidity.  
  The Japanese phrase for foreigners means “stinking of foreign hair.” What is called “the French Pox” in England is called “the English Pox” in France. In Czechoslovakia, drinking too much is “to drink like a Dutchman,” but in Holland it is “to drink like a Pole.” In Hungary and Austria, the cockroach is known as a “Swabian,” in Poland as a “Prussian” and in Germany as a “Frenchman.” “Each nation,” reports Noah Jacobs, “associates a host of miscellaneous vulgarities, vices, diseases and disagreeable traits with foreign countries.”
Our true king and leader of this land is Jesus Christ. We are called by him to show obedience unto the authorities that he has put in place. And at times that might mean bringing a prophetic word to the nation. In order to prosper, this nation must return to its biblical roots. Everyone in this nation is doing their own thing and forgetting about the One who created them and the One who redeemed them.  
  In Isaiah 55 ff we hear the word of the Lord. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. We need to be in line with God.
The prophecy from James the brother of our Lord is very uncompromising. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  
  God is beginning to move into the living rooms, and the board rooms, and where ever the authorities and the powers of this land reside. In Ottawa a little more than one third of the members there are comprised of those people who confess to be Christians. Today and forward we need to lift up these men and woman up in prayer that the Lord will strengthen them.
God is beginning to move to have influence on this land once again. We have a chance to call this nation to repentance and renewal. The land needs to be healed. Hearing the confession of an aboriginal leader at our General assembly last year opened my eyes up dramatically to the need for healing in this land.  
  There needs to be healing not only for the aboriginal peoples but also for the French-speaking peoples of this land and the English-speaking peoples of this land. There is no longer any time for excuses about how we deal with the environment. There's no need to have political deflections about what we are to do about social justice. God's desires for nothing short of justice in this land.
Many years ago when some friends of ours visited Czechoslovakia they related two particular things that happened in the local church. Remember, they were under oppression of a communist regime. The tanks had rolled down into the streets of their national capital. The people prayed most fervently for two things, their church, and their nation. And in 20 short years the people of Czechoslovakia once again knew freedom.  
  Abraham Lincoln It was his proclaimed a national fast-day, by which he set apart Thursday the 30th day of April 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Lincoln wrote:
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. “The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people. “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity, too proud to pray to the God that made us. “It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”  
  We have been placed in a place of privilege and honour in the world. We are truly blessed to be born and raised in this land or to come to full citizenship in this land from another land. This land has prospered greatly and like the people of Israel we have turned away from him. That is the danger in any nation when it comes to prosperity.
This stumbling economy has certainly made it clear to us that money isn't going to support us when we need it. It is going to come back to that reality of the series on the Shepherd Psalm. The lord is my Shepherd and I am proud of that. I am proud of my God. I shall not want, I will be content in him always. The Lord is watching over his temple today. That temple is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church.  
  YEAH! “I have seen patients that were dead by all standards. We knew they could not live. But I have seen a minister come to the bedside and do something for him that I could not do, although I have done everything in my professional power. But something touched some immortal spark in him and in defiance of medical knowledge and materialistic common sense, that patient LIVED!” Dr. Will Mayo
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