Faithlife Sermons

The Plan of God

God's Promises  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I’m not sure America has ever been more divided politically. Talk radio, television commentators, and the immature, impulsive use of social media, fictitious forwards and fake news all fan the flames of anger. Much of the anger is based in fear and concern – worried about the direction and state of our nation.
And – there are a lot of reasons to be concerned:
Since abortion became legal in 1973, there have been more than 60,000,000 abortions in our country. Over sixty million babies!
Every 10 seconds a child is abused or raped.
More than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis- over 70% of these children  below the age of 3.
43% of US children live without their father.
There are nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies a year.
There were over 127,000 reported rapes in 2018.
There were 16,214 murder and manslaughter cases
Church attendance and membership has declined by nearly 20%.
The percentage of Americans who profess to be Christians is at an all-time low.
What do we do?
Does the church stand by and watch as America slides down the slippery slope to hell?
Do we start a political party?
Do we picket and petition?
Is the answer Christian TV and talk radio?
Do we solve it with Facebook?
When a nation has lost its spiritual foundation, what should be the response of the church?
It’s not the first time this has happened. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was on a spiritual and political roller coaster. It seemed to be an endless cycle.
The nation would lose a war and be taken captive. In response, the people would cry out to God, burn their idols, destroy the pagan altars and declare that they would only serve the one true God. God heard their prayers and a time of peace and prosperity followed.
Then, the people would get comfortable and take their blessings for granted again. Morality would decay - sexual sin and idolatry — And – every time, when they turned from God, Israel was defeated by their enemies and taken captive again.
Sexual sin, moral decay, spiritual decline, political corruption, selfish immoral leaders. Any of that sound familiar?
Let’s take a look at King Solomon. He built an elaborate temple to honor the Lord. The dedication of the temple was an amazing affair – an outpouring of worship and celebration. Solomon prayed a prayer officially dedicating the temple. In that prayer, he prayed these words:
Open your Bibles or apps to 2 Chronicles 6:24-31
When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you...
...and when they turn back and confess your name, praying and making supplication before you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their fathers.
When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you...
...and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.
“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them…, whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel—each one aware of his afflictions and pains, and spreading out his hands toward this temple - then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men), so that they will fear you and walk in your ways all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers. (2 Chron. 6:24–31 NIV)
Solomon attributed the challenges Israel continually faced not to their enemies but to God’s disobedient people
Let’s continue in chapter 7, vs 1 and following
7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it.
Lord - let it happen again! Let your glory fill this place - so much so that all we can do is bow down and give thanks to the Lord. Let His glory fill this place!
Sometime later, God appeared to Solomon in response to His prayer. Here’s what God told Solomon in 7:12-13...
I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain. Or command locusts to devour the land and send a plague among my people…
Why would God do that? Remember Solomon’s prayer. Those things occurred because God was judging His people for their sins.
It’s very important to note –
“God’s people” were being judged – the people who knew Him and knew what it was to serve Him.
God’s instructions to a nation in crisis...
II Chron. 7:14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
That was the answer for Israel then. I believe that is God’s answer for America now.
Some of you have heard it quoted hundreds of times. I want you to not only know it, but understand it, and embrace God’s instructions. Remember the goal: our land to be healed. God says, “For that to happen…”

If my people, who are called by my name…

Who is “My people, called by my name?” That’s us – Christians, followers of Jesus. God’s people aren’t a political party, they are the people who love God.
We’ve made the challenges in our country us against them. But, God is not speaking to the sinners, He’s speaking to the church.
Are you a follower of Jesus? If so...
God’s plan for America starts with you
If you want to see a turn-around in America, this the answer.
God’s answer may be controversial. This isn’t a popular answer, but it’s the right answer because it’s God’s answer which is better than your answer.

If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves…

Humble = “to stop arrogant, self-focused, sinful behavior and approach God in repentance with a humble attitude”.
How do you humble yourself?
Humble yourself by admitting you don’t have all the answers
We should apply God’s instructions to our lives before directing anger at others who aren’t serving Him.
It’s arrogant to think you know how to fix all the problems. Only God has that answer.
Humble yourself by coming by being a worshipper of God
Worship acknowledges all authority and power belongs to God
Worship acknowledges Creator God has the answers, not His humble creation.
Radio stations play worship songs. People attend worship concerts.
But true, pure worship doesn’t require a big name artist or impressive musicians.
Worship is a lifestyle
 Louie Giglio writes, “Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God—for who He is and what He has done, expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.”  Worship is how we respond to God with our lives – our actions, our words, our sacrifice.  It’s a choice, a decision that leads to humility.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face…
God’s formula for healing America, God’s answer, is for you and me to pray. That seems too simple doesn’t it? It’s the last thing we want to do.
We seek answers through politics instead of prayer I
It’s not a political problem, it’s a spiritual problem. Why would you think a political answer can ever solve a spiritual problem?
Let me ask you – if we elect someone as president who believes exactly as we believe, and every official, federal, state and local all believe like us, would that solve the problems in America?
Would that usher in the kingdom of God?
Would the hearts of the parents to be turned toward their children?
Would all marriages become models of faithful love?
Would greed and pride be legislated out of existence?
Would that solve the problems of sexual immorality, anger, violence, suicide and addiction?
Of course not. Because no human system has the ability to change the heart.
I’m for Christians in politics – at every level.
My hope for the future, and my hope for the world is not in politicians — I put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God may, and I hope will, use Americans to bring healing to the world. But, understand this, healing is found in Jesus Christ alone. He is the hope of the world. My citizenship is heaven first, this world second.
Some seek answers through petitioning and picketing
Maybe we need to picket every place that is guilty of sin and petition against everyone we can think of. Maybe we need more “Share if you support” posts on Facebook. Maybe you need to forward more messages.
Listen! No human system has the ability to change the heart.
God’s answer is clearly revealed in Scripture. But Christians in America aren’t doing it. Why?
Prayer takes time and humility — People want instant answers
God has called us to pray
We try to control things since God isn’t doing it on our timetable
Prayer is much more difficult than forwarding another angry email or sharing another post
Prayer takes focus and effort — puts the emphasis on God instead of on you
There’s no glory in prayer
Try this - every time you are tempted to post something political on Facebook, post a prayer instead. And - not a “God get that liar” prayer. Post a genuine prayer for unity and God’s purpose for our country.
If we want our land healed, it starts with humbling ourselves, seeking his face and prayer
Is prayer a priority in your life?

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…

We are quick to point out the sins of society and slow to point out sins inside the church.
There’s something wrong with the church today.
The divorce rate in the church is essentially the same as outside the church.
Just as many struggle with pornography and sexual addiction.
We tolerate the three G’s – greed, gossip and gluttony and pretend they are not sin, because we enjoy them to much.
To avoid offending people, the church sacrifices it’s moral authority. Standards are lowered and holiness is diminished in an attempt to build and keep a crowd.
To turn from our wicked ways means to change direction
If we are going to see revival in America, it must start in the church. It’s time for a turn-around.
I long for the day...
We get as excited about worshipping God as we do at a concert or a football game.
When church attendance matters more than sleeping in, going to the lake, or catching up on homework.
I’m disturbed by the fact that probably more than half of our church misses more than half the time. I pray church becomes a priority again.
When prayer is more important than the latest thing to stream on Netflix.
When the church lives with a high standard of sexual purity, different than the world we claim to be trying to save.
When marriages are holy and strong, and committed to God.
Our habits different from the world.
God, heal our land, and God start right here!
Let’s get personal – it starts with you and me
God said, “If my people”. That’s you. That’s me. Consider the verse this way.
if Curtis Pryor, who is called by my name, will humble himself and pray and seek my face
Make that verse personal. Ask yourself, what do I need to change? What areas of my life are not pleasing to God?
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…
…then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Our worship, prayer and repentance leads to God forgiving us
When we stand before Him, humble and forgiven, acknowledging that all power, all authority and all answers are in Him, look what happens!
That’s what we all want — Desire isn’t the issue.
The questions is – are we willing to follow God’s plan?
Are you willing to follow God’s plan?
Do we want to see America healed so much that we are willing to humble ourselves, worship, repent and pray? Are you willing?

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We can’t vote revival into existence. .But, we can pray revival into existence!
As you leave the will have a promise box, last week’s memory verse and today’s verse
We are learning promises all through this year
The sad reality of Second Chronicles 7:14 is that it didn't happen. God gave his people a direct promise. Even with that promise, God’s people continued in their wicked ways. And the result was God’s judgment on the land and on the people. They were conquered by enemies and the very temple that once was filled by the glory of God was destroyed.
It’s time for God’s people to follow God’s instructions and see God’s plan revealed.
II Chron. 7:14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
My heart is broken because we fear when we send our children to school.
My heart’s broken because the country I love is deeply divided.
My heart’s broken because the church has been portrayed as angry and all too often that’s true.
My heart’s broken because we have forgotten the assignment of Jesus to be salt and light - to draw people to Him.
My heart’s broken because those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus aren’t living, giving or acting like it.
My heart’s broken because I fear what God had to do to get Israel to repent is what He will have to do to get us to repent - judgement
The ball’s in our court
Will you humble yourself, pray, turn from your wicked ways and seek God’s face? If we do that, He will forgive our sin and heal our land.
It’s time for God’s church to be united around the cross of Jesus, who is our hope and the hope of the world
God, we humble ourselves before you today. We admit we don’t have all the answers. We don’t know Lord, because we’ve tried a lot of stuff and nothing’s worked.
Lord we ask you to forgive us for our sin.
Forgive us for prioritizing other things before you.
Forgive us for bowing down to the false gods of convenience, materialism, impurity and greed.
Forgive us Lord for our lazy approach to you.
Forgive us Lord for our arrogance.
Forgive us for thinking we have the answers
We humble ourselves and ask for your forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
We obey your command collectively and individually. Forgive us Lord. Forgive me Lord.
Then, we pray - forgiven and humble before you, that you will hear from Heaven and heal our land.
We pray for America today
We pray for peace in Jesus’ name.
We pray for peace in Congress.
We pray for peace with our leaders.
We pray for peace on the streets and peace in the pews and peace in the schools.
We pray for marriages to be restored. We repent of sexual sin and we pray that our nation will be turned from immorality and turn to you.
We ask you to do what only you can do.
Our hope is not in a political party, who we can elect or what we can legislate. Our hope is in you Almighty God, for it’s you and only you that can bring revival in this nation.
We cry out Lord. We cry out to you.
Let your glory fill this place. Let people see something different and be drawn to you. It wouldn’t be our words or actions, but the glory of God. Let your glory fill this house - and your glory fill us and go with us and be through us.
Let the name of Jesus be glorified and your purpose be known.
In the name of Jesus, we cry out to you. We cry out for America. We cry out.
Song: My Nation Healed
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