RIGHTEOUSNESS exalteth a nation…
INTRODUCTION: In Hosea 8 God said to Israel because they had sown to the wind, they were about to reap the whirlwind. God said if they reaped anything beneficial, it would not go to them, but to someone else. Could that be a picture of America which has sown to the wind and is not reaping the whirlwind?
I still believe that America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. I don't say that just because I am an American, but because I believe that the facts bear it out. But America did not become great because of her vast resources, her superior intellect, or her sheer willpower. America became great because God made her great.
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:2, "That RIGHTEOUSNESS exalts a nation, and that the nation whose God is the Lord is a blessed nation."
God honored America because America honored Him and upheld His STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. This nation was forged out by men who recognized their dependence upon Almighty God.
In fact, many of the founding fathers had more respect as lost sinners for the living God and His Word, than many so-called believers in the church today. They knew that neither they, nor their nation could make it without the assistance of God.
Our founding fathers were men of CONVICTION who stood for what they believed no matter what the cost.
Our founding fathers were men of CHARACTER, who lived by the right not by the expedient.
Our founding fathers were men of CREATIVE wisdom. They didn't form a democracy based on the changing whims of each passing generation. Rather, they formed a republic based on the unchanging, eternal absolutes of God and His Word.
Our founding fathers were men COMMITTED to God, to His authority, and to the foundational principles of His Word. They did not hesitate to legislate morality. For the first 160 years of our history, most laws were based on the laws of God.
John Quincy Adams on July 4, 1821 said, "From the day of the Declaration…they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of conduct."
James Madison the fourth President of the United States said, “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
It is interesting that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state Constitution: For example,
In the Preamble of Connecticut 1818, “The people of Connecticut, acknowledge with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.”
In the Preamble of Maryland 1776, “We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…”
In the charter of Rhode Island in 1638 states, "We submit our persons, lives, and estates, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and to all those perfect absolute laws He has given us in His Holy Word."
In the Preamble of Pennsylvania 1776, “We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance…”
The Pledge of Allegiance as adopted by the Congress, June 14, 1954, are the words we repeated earlier, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Our beloved national Anthem uses these words in the 4th stanza, "Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto, "In God is our trust!"
In fact, upon investigation, you will discover that many of the statements indelibly etched on many of our national monuments in Washington D.C. all bear unmistakable testimony to the fact that America is one nation under God, founded for the furtherance of the gospel and the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Next time you travel to Washington D.C. remember to look for these:
Inside the Capitol building you will see in the rotunda a picture of the Pilgrims about to embark from Holland on the sister Ship of the Mayflower, the Speedwell. The great chaplain, Brewster, has open on his lap the Bible, and there very clearly are the words, 'The New Testament according to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." On the sail is the motto of the Pilgrims, "In God We Trust, God With Us."
Engraved on the metal cap on the top of the Washington Monument are these words: "Praise be to God."
In the Supreme Court courtroom, above the head of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, are the Ten Commandments, with the great American eagle protecting them.
In the Senate across from the eyes of the President of the Senate, who is the Vice President of the United States, are the words, "In God We Trust." Above the American flag that is behind the Speaker of the House of Representatives you will find in large words inscribed in the marble, "In God We Trust."
On the walls of the various rooms of the Library of Congress you will find statements such as these:
"What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."
"The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork."
"Wisdom is the principal thing therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding."
It has, without question, been established that our forefathers paid a great price so that their posterity could live in freedom. Dare we be willing to pay any less a price for the same ends, today?
But as we bask in the glory of the past blessings, we have cause for great alarm today, for the same God who was true to His Word and blessed America must also be true to His Word and exercise judgment if we do not repent. The Bible says God destroys the nations that forsake Him and reject His laws.
In Psalms 9:17; we read, "The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God."
America has a heritage that cries, "We cannot go without God." In the past few decades, we have sown to the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.
Psalm 33:11-12 says "The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…"
As a preacher of the Word of God it is my duty and responsibility to preach the whole counsel of the Word of God, and to stir up your spiritual and moral conscience with a renewed zeal in "RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Please follow me in your Bibles to a number of passages of scriptures. And as you do may I encourage you to underline them in your Bibles.
Proverbs 14:34, "RIGHTEOUSNESS exalteth a nation…"
Proverbs 28:12, "When RIGHTEOUS men do rejoice there is great glory…"
Proverbs 29:2, "When the RIGHTEOUS are in authority…"
Jeremiah 4:2, "The Lord liveth in truth, in judgment or justice, and in RIGHTEOUSNESS…"
I believe by now you have discovered that the key word in all these passages is the word RIGHTEOUS or RIGHTEOUSNESS. It comes from the Hebrew word meaning "to be, to make right" in a moral sense.
We are at an hour in our nation where we must do something about this verse. The issue we are faced with today is a MORAL issue, an issue of “RIGHTEOUSNESS.” In view of this, there are three actions for which we are accountable.
FIRST: The responsibility of the church is that of providing DIRECTION as a prophetic voice. Our responsibility is not to issue ultimatums to Washington, Harrisburg, or Annapolis or to whatever state you might live. However, we are to be the MORAL conscience of the nation. We are to be like Isaiah 30:21 saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it."
It was Martin Luther who said, "It is the job of the magistrate to uphold the laws of God, and it is the job of the preacher to hold him to do so."
Far too long we have taken the ridicule from the liberal crowd who has sat in the seat of authority saying, "you keep the religion in your church and leave the moral life to the government."
Far too long we have taken the ridicule from the liberal crowd who have said, “we must keep the separation of the church from the state by declaring God off limits in our society.”
Listen to me, make no mistake. In the past America was a godly nation, founded upon and governed by Bible principles. God's laws from the Word of God are always based upon MORAL ABSOLUTES. And it’s from these that we are to remind those in authority that "This is the way, walk ye in it."
Please go with me to Philippians 2:27. Notice would you the word "conversation." The Greek word is "polite" and if I were to translate this word to an English equivalent, it would be “politics.” Thus we would read, "Only let your politics be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…" Make no mistake, we do have a part:
We have a MORAL RESPONSIBILITY to promote RIGHTEOUSNESS.
We are to be the MORAL CONSCIENCE of our nation.
We are to be the PROPHETIC VOICE proclaiming to a nation that we are to be governed by God's MORAL ABSOLUTES.
SECOND: We are to underscore the fact that in our preaching, in our living, in our voting, in our witnessing, and in all other things we do that GOVERNMENT and INSTITUTIONS are to be made accountable to God just like individuals are accountable to God!
Over the last several decades it has become evident that our government feels no accountability to God. But governments according to Romans 13 and numerous other passages of scripture do have accountability to God almighty. We must continually remind our elected that it's "RIGHTEOUSNESS that elevates a nation to greatness."
It was the French Statesman Alexis de Tocqueville in the early 19th century who wrote this about America: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with RIGHTEOUSNESS did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”
What made America great was the flaming PULPITS of God's men proclaiming the Righteousness of the Word of God, and God's people living RIGHTEOUS lives from the MORAL ABSOLUTES of this book.
That's what made America great, and that's what will save it for our children in the next generation. Now when we talk about RIGHTEOUSNESS, we must understand it from two areas.
Number 1. We must understand it as "SPIRITUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS." In the New Testament "Spiritual Righteousness" comes to us through FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Philippians 3:9 the Apostle Paul in his autobiography says, "He was found in Christ, having not his own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Paul couldn't depend upon his own righteousness because all His righteousness was as filthy rags in the eyes of God.
When we speak of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that Paul had, we call this IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS. When one accepts Jesus Christ as Saviour, His righteousness is IMPUTED to you. This and this alone is what makes you acceptable to God.
It is this concept of righteousness that must always be in the forefront of our ministry.
It is this "spiritual righteousness" that we need to be constantly preaching in order to bring men and women to an awareness and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Number 2. There is the aspect of "Moral Righteousness." This is the righteousness that we find in Proverbs 29:2, "When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice…"
Now we can't expect everyone in America to come under SPIRITUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS. Although it is our responsibility to proclaim the message of the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can't force salvation on anyone. That's a choice of each individual soul. But we can encourage our nation to be sensitive to MORAL RIGHTEOUSNESS. It is this righteousness that the church must constantly point to and of which this preacher consistently reminds us.
Because righteousness exalts a nation to greatness and because sin will bring a nation to ruin, we must constantly make this government and its leaders who represent us become accountable to God.
What might some of these MORAL ABSOLUTES be?
From Psalm 139:13-16, we believe that from the time of conception within the womb, every human being has a scriptural right to life.
From Psalm 31:15 we believe that apart from judicial capital punishment, no medical or judicial process should be introduced that would allow the termination of life before its natural or accidental completion.
From Genesis 2:18-25, we believe in and support the right of the TRADITIONAL FAMILY of ONE man married to ONE woman.
From Psalm 127:1-5, we believe that children are from the Lord and that they are the responsibility of the parent and not the state.
From Proverbs 14:34, we believe that we have the right to influence all secular endeavors to establish and maintain the moral principles of scripture.
From Matthew 22:17-21, we believe that God's money (that is the Tithes and Offerings from God’s people) are to be used to support God’s work. Therefore the federal, state, or local government has no right to tax any church ministry or property.
THIRD: Our goal is to bring the influence of the MORAL ABSOLUTES contained in the Word of God to bear upon every program and every institution of government.
The problem we face today is the propagation of MORAL RELATIVITY. This is the idea that you can do whatever you want to do, without any restriction.
Listen to this:
"It is MORAL RELATIVITY and not MORAL ABSOLUTES that has brought upon us sexually transmitted diseases. It is MORAL RELATIVITY and not MORAL ABSOLUTES that has brought about the abortion issue. It is MORAL RELATIVITY and not MORAL ABSOLUTES that has brought about the homosexual and gay issue.
There can be no absolutes; there can be no law, and there can be no right or wrong without a firm standard that is IMMUTABLE. There has to be some standard which never changes, that guides a great ship of state. And if there is no immutable unchanging standard, then there are no absolutes and MORAL RELATIVITY reigns. Consequently, the kind of IMMORAL problems we have in our nation today are encouraged."
God says it is RIGHTEOUSNESS that exalts a nation. As a citizen of this country, we have the right to be the MORAL CONSCIENCE of this nation. As believers, we have that responsibility.
Now there are by products to RIGHTEOUSNESS.
First: In the New Testament when "spiritual righteousness" is imputed to one who by faith has accepted Jesus as Savior, one by product is JOY, another is ETERNAL LIFE. The other by product is FREEDOM from the bondage of sin.
In Romans 6: 20, 22, Paul said, "For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
Second: From Proverbs 29:2 we see that “Moral righteousness brings REJOICING. But when immorality is the rule of the day it brings mourning.” It is no accident that our nation has enjoyed fantastic freedom.
In Proverbs 14: 34 again we read, "Righteousness exalts a nation…." Our nation was steeped in RIGHTEOUSNESS and as a result enjoyed Freedom. But my friend we must maintain that freedom by continually being the moral conscience of the nation. Listen,
When we lose our freedoms, we lose the platform for the preaching of the Word of God.
When we lose our freedoms, we lose the context for the establishment and the development and the expansion of the church through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Where in all the world has the gospel made its greatest impact – France, India, Africa, or Russia? The gospel has made its greatest impact (unparalleled in human history) in these United States. Why? Because of the freedom we have as a result of obedience to the Word of God and its MORAL ABSOLUTES.
But let us lose our concern for MORAL RIGHTEOUSNESS –
Let us not speak out of RIGHTEOUNESS,
Let us not speak out for RIGHTEOUSNESS,
Let us be silent on MORAL RIGHTEOUSNESS,
Let us say that is not our responsibility, and before long you will find that our freedoms will disappear!
I believe we are already finding that our freedoms are disappearing. Our freedoms to rejoice will be turned to slavery and mourning. As a result, it will not be long before the impact that the gospel has made on this nation will not only be denied but eventually gone.
America is on a suicidal course with destruction and judgment because we have forgotten the God of the Bible and forsaken His commands.
Did our founding fathers die in vain?
Is this noble experiment of freedom to end in the graveyard, alongside past civilizations that likewise rejected God?
Is there any hope for our children and their children?
Did not Psalm 9:17 say, "The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God.”
Does not Psalm 11:3, say, "If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?"
Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." That's exactly what too many of us have done. Absolutely nothing! We are too busy making money, watching TV, landscaping our yard, and doing things that do not have eternal value to save this nation.
You and I live in a democratic republic, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. That makes us the ultimate decision-makers, and before God, ultimately responsible for what takes place in this nation.
The only hope for returning this nation back to God is for those of us who name the name of God to turn back to God and become once again the moral consciousness of this nation.
"When there is a deep concern for MORAL RIGHTEOUSNESS on the part of the people, and they live and express themselves to that end,
There is rejoicing, there is religious and national freedom.
There is the hand and blessing of God upon that people.
There is the unparalleled opportunity for carrying out the Word of God."
In II Chronicles we read, "If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from there wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." There is nothing wrong with America you couldn't cure. As noted from II Chronicles 7:14,
Nations do not repent, individuals repent!
Nations don't turn from their sins, individuals turn from their sins.
Nations do not get right with God, individuals get right with God.
America is but a reflection of our heart and lives. May we do all we can to stand for RIGHTEOUSNESS, so that the next generation can still have "One nation under God."
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon "RIGHTEOUSNESS exalteth a nation," right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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