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What Can We Do for Our Country?

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What Can We Do for Our Country?

Exodus 17:8-15

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 4, 2012

*Forty years ago I was a very skeptical young man, as well as an extremely liberal atheist. I was actually a card-carrying member of the ACLU, and I was cynical. Mostly I was cynical about God. I literally thought that God was a man-made crutch for weak people. So I was very cynical about God.

*But I was also cynical about our country. For several years, I wouldn’t even say the pledge to the American flag, because I couldn’t see anything good or special about America.

*Then, in 1975, by the grace of God Georgia Savoie invited me to church and I got saved! God had been at work in my heart for several years, and I gladly trusted in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

*By the way: Thank you so much to everyone who prayed, helped with food and invited people last week. Remember that there are people out there just waiting for you to invite them to church. And even if you have to invite 40 to get one to come, it would be worth it! -- Because you could see their life change for all eternity.

*After I got saved, God began to change my heart in many ways. For the first time in my adult life, I began to love and respect this great country of ours. I found out that President Lincoln was right when he said that our nation was “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” And the Declaration of Independence was right when it said, we have been “endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

*I found out that with all our problems and imperfections, this nation is the best in the world, because it was founded on the Word of God. When the Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower, they would have thrown away all their food before they threw away this Book.

*Today I love this country more than ever before. And I am sure that most of you feel the same way. But today, America is at a great crossroads in history. I believe that this is the most important election since the Civil War. Which direction will we choose? The answer will affect our children, our grandchildren and the whole world.

*Now let me tell you this: From a Pastor’s point of view, it doesn’t matter to me if you have a “D” or an “R” by your name, or any other letter for that matter. I don’t want to know who you vote for. And I will love you and do my best to minister to you no matter who you vote for. But there are great Biblical issues at stake today, and we truly love our country. So, what can we do for America? -- Let’s look at this old battle in the Word of God and see.

1. First: We must become aware of the battles we face.

*God’s Word gives us an example in vs. 8&9:

8. Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

9. And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.''

*Many of you know about the bitter rivalry between the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau: How Jacob tricked Esau and stole the family blessing, then how Esau swore to kill his brother, Jacob. Now, over 400 years later, the descendents of Esau were the pagan Amalekites. And they were on the warpath to destroy Jacob’s off-spring, the Children of Israel. This Scripture reminds us that as Christians, as God’s people, we are most certainly going to face battles in life.

[1] Speaking on these verses, the great preacher, Charles Spurgeon stressed that some of our greatest battles are internal.

*Spurgeon said: “Young Christian, do not dream that as soon as you are converted your struggle is over, but conclude that your conflict has but just begun. . . (Salvation and being born-again) “do not change the old nature. That remains still the same, but we have at our new birth infused into us a new nature, a new principle, and this new principle at once begins a contest with the old principle.” (1)

*That’s why the Apostle Paul speaks of the “old man” and the “new man.” In Galatians 5:17, Paul also tells us about the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit striving against the flesh. 1 Peter 2:11 begs us to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

*And Spurgeon said, “Young Christian, you have begun a life of warfare, rest assured of that. You would never be told to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ if it were not so (2 Timothy 2:4).” (2)

-Some of our battles are internal.

[2] But there are also external battles to fight and win.

*Over in Deuteronomy 25:17-18, Moses helps us see how cruel and cold-blooded Amalek was. There Moses said this to the leaders of Israel:

17. “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt,

18. how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.

*With no fear of God to restrain them, the Amalekites were happy to attack weak and weary people. This fact reminds us that evil, murdering men have plagued the world ever since Cain killed his brother, Abel. Just wars have often been fought. And as in the days of Moses, we must be alert to the enemy’s attacks.

*Three times in the last century brave American soldiers helped save the world from tyrants: From the Kaiser in WWI, from the Nazis in WWII, and from the Communists in the Cold War.

*Now our brave soldiers are on the front lines around the world. We still have 66,000 troops in Afghanistan alone. They are engaged in part of a global war against warped Islamic fascists who love to kill us more than they love life itself.

*Does it matter? -- Last Sunday in Nigeria, an Islamic suicide bomber attacked a Catholic church. The blast killed at least 15 people and severely injured about150. Ninety percent of the victims were children. (3)

*Church: That happens almost every Sunday in North Africa. And it would be happening here, if the Islamic terrorists had their way. But our brave soldiers are fighting for the freedom and protection of our children. And they are paying a high price. Anyone who has ever seen a Wounded Warriors TV spot should know this is true. Those men and women made that heroic sacrifice for us.

*We must be aware of the battles we face. That includes the global war on terror. It also includes what many people call the culture war.

*When did this culture war start? -- Probably in the 1950’s, certainly in the 1960's. And why are we having a culture war in the United States? -- It’s because there are millions of people in this country who think the same way I thought back in 1972.

*They don’t think America is the answer. They think we’re the problem. They are ultra-liberal and anti-Christ. They reject Biblical values, and they want all references to God taken out of the public arena. The problem is that they are in control of most of what we see on TV and in the movies.

-They control network TV.

-The largest newspapers.

-Many of our universities.

-And many of our courts.

*That’s why:

-In 1963, prayer was taken out of the public schools.

-In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that we couldn’t pray before football games.

-The ACLU is trying to get the words “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

-And two Federal Appeals Courts have overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, paving the way for nationwide same sex marriage.

*Last May on ABC News, President Obama announced his support of legalizing same-sex marriage. And it’s an official part of the Democratic Party platform. Governor Romney supports traditional marriage. He supports the Defense of Marriage Act. And here is the bottom line on same-sex marriage (or any other issue): We can never say that something is right, if God says it is wrong. And God does say that homosexuality is wrong in both the Old Testament and the New.

*Another big issue in the culture war is abortion. Next year, marks 40 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973. Since that time, 55 million babies have been killed by abortion. (4)

*Church, can there be any doubt in your mind that God opposes abortion? -- The Sixth Commandment in Exodus 20:13 tells us, “Thou shalt not kill.” And the Bible clearly teaches us that life begins in the mother’s womb. In Jeremiah 1:5 the LORD said this to the prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” And John the Baptist had awareness in his mother’s womb. All babies do.

*But where do the candidates stand on abortion? -- The voter guide from the Louisiana Family Forum tells us that President Obama supports abortion on demand. He also supports using your tax dollars to pay for abortions. Governor Romney opposes abortion on demand and taxpayer-funded abortion.

*These are the public positions of our candidates. And each one of us has to prayerfully decide how to respond to these positions. But understand this: We are most definitely in a culture war in this country.

*We must be aware of the battles we face.

2. We also must be faithful to follow God.

*Moses is our example in vs. 9-12:

9. And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.''

10. So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

11. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

12. But Moses' hands became heavy . . .

[1] Why in the world did God want Moses to hold up that rod? -- Well first of all, it was a great encouragement to the troops.

*This wasn’t just any old rod. It was the rod Moses lifted when the Lord parted the Red Sea. It was also the rod God used to provide water up in vs. 5-6:

5. And the Lord said to Moses, "Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go.

6. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.'' And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

*Church, that rock in vs. 6 miraculously poured out a river of water, -- enough to satisfy 3 million people! Now the soldiers could look up at the top of the hill, see the rod and be encouraged. The rod reminded them: “Our wonder-working LORD is still with us! And He will help us!

[2] But God also wanted to keep His people from getting lifted up with pride.

*The LORD wanted them to know that without His help, they could do nothing. That’s why in vs. 11, the LORD set up this random condition for the Children of Israel to win:

-As long as Moses held up the rod, Israel was winning the battle.

-But whenever Moses lowered the rod, the Amalekites began to win.

*Moses had to keep holding up that rod. And he did his best to follow God’s command. Now the Lord wants us to be His faithful followers.

-In Matthew 4:19, Jesus said: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

-In John 8:12, Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

*And in John 10:27-28, Jesus said:

27. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

28. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

*Moses was faithful to follow God’s command, but it wasn’t easy. It was hard. His arms grew weary holding up that rod.

*The first time I went on a mission trip to Ukraine, we visited a church that had just built a new children’s building. They didn’t have a lot of land, so it was only about 30 feet by 30 feet, but 3 stories tall. It was a beautiful, brick building, built at great sacrifice by the poor people of that church

*We happened to be there on the Sunday they dedicated the new building. There were over 200 people crammed into that little courtyard with 5 or 6 Ukrainian pastors.

*They asked us to raise our hands toward the building while the pastors prayed. And they prayed, and they prayed: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes and more. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying except “Bog,” because that means “God.”

*The longer they prayed, the heavier my hands got. And by the end I was praying, “Lord, let this prayer be over!” It’s not easy to hold your hands up for 20 minutes, much less all day long.

*Church: Sometimes it’s going to be hard to follow God. But we have got to do the best we can to follow Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 compares it to running a race, and says:

1. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2. looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

*No matter who the next President is, we can follow Jesus Christ.

-And we must be faithful to follow God.

3. We also must be open to every opportunity for service.

*We see this truth in vs. 12-13:

12. But Moses' hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

13. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

*Moses couldn’t do it alone. Nobody can do it alone. We all need help. And God wants us to help each other. Be open to opportunities. Look for opportunities.

*Everybody needs to get involved:

-Some in the valley fighting.

-Some on the hill-top holding up the rod of God.

-Some holding up the leader.

-Look for opportunities to serve. That will help our church and our country.

*What can we do for America? -- We must be open to every opportunity for service.

4. And we must look to the LORD for salvation.

*Verse 14 reminds us that a terrible fate awaits those who reject the LORD. There “the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.’”

*Moses recognized our desperate need for the LORD’s forgiveness and mercy, so he built an altar for sacrifice and worship. Verse 15 in the KJV says that Moses called the name of that altar “Jehovah-nissi.” It means “The-LORD-is-my-banner.”

*It’s the idea of seeing that flag high and lifted up. It’s the idea of following that flag into battle and victory. Isaiah 11 uses this same word “banner” when it talks about the Lord coming back to rule the earth in victory. There God’s Word says:

6. "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

7. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den.

9. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

10. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.''

*Christians: The “Root of Jesse” is Jesus Christ. He is our banner! -- He is the one who leads us to victory!

*And when I think of Moses’ arms stretched out on that hilltop, it reminds me of another day, another battle, another hill, and other arms that were stretched out on the cross for you and me. Jesus Christ won the greatest battle of all when He died on the cross for our sins. And now, the Risen Christ calls us to trust in Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

*Jesus calls us to know that He will save us and give us the victory forever.

-So no matter who wins the election, our hope is not in a President. It’s in a King!

-Our hope is not in a country. It’s in a Kingdom that will last forever.

*Most of all, our hope is in a cross. So put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and serve the Lord every way you can.


(2) ibid

(3) “Gateway Pundit” - Posted by Jim Hoft on Monday, October 29, 2012, 12:11 PM


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