Land of the Lost / Acts 17:16-17

Posted on July 5, 2015

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This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church, on the morning of July 5, 2015. This message deals with the problems facing our nation, and the need to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Included in this post is an audio recording of the the message, and my sermon notes.

SERMON AUDIO:

Land of the Lost

SERMON NOTES:

This isn’t a message about patriotism. This isn’t a message about saving the nation. This isn’t a message to try to convince you that the United States has some special covenant with God. This is a message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we look at the depraved world around us, we should realize that He is our only hope.

If we (the church) set our sites on “saving the nation”, then we are no longer on target. It’s not about our political system, but the people who live here. The blood of Christ doesn’t cleanse nations, it cleanses people.

v.16: 
This narration could easily be describing America. It seems that not much has changed in the last 2000 years. The city was given over to false religion, the church was silent, but Paul was stirred. (are you?)

There is no doubt that we live in a vile and wicked society, steeped in idolatry and sexual immorality. However, the answer will not be found in passing more laws, the solution will be found when people know their savior.

  • Isaiah 45:6

v.17:
We need to Go Public. Paul took it to the streets, and got the attention of the locals. 

America has no absolute standard (I.e. the Bible), and If we proclaim the morality of the Bible, we are called intolerant, self-righteous bigots. However, we are not to be tolerant of false religions or any unrighteousness (not of ourselves or anyone else). A Christian’s righteousness is not our own, but God’s.

Work, pleasure, money, and self-indulgence has become the American god, and Christ is far too radical and judgmental to have a place in their lives. We see the symptoms in our society today. Idolatry, evolution, abortion, homosexuality, drunkenness, drug addiction, calling evil good and good evil.

  • Isaiah 5:20

The need is urgent! We need a revival in America, not for the sake of America, but for the sake of the people. We have people walking away from the church in droves.  

From our government education system, the media, our entertainment, to the government itself, the message is increasingly anti Christ. It’s the attitude that pervades our society on all levels, and inundates our children from the earliest ages. 

With all of the souls that are being lost, the modern church has adopted a save the nation attitude. “save this nation” the wrong emphasis, nations cannot be saved, only people!

All nations are temporary. God uses them, blesses them and judges them as He deems necessary. He sets up kingdoms and tears them down according to His will. None of these systems of government will be incorporated into God’s kingdom. America included.

This doesn’t mean that we give up on political involvement, we just need to have the right perspective. We should still strive to protect freedom and righteousness through our legal system, but we need to understand that laws are not the end.

The problem is we’ve come to the point in which we’d rather modify behavior through laws, than change lives. This approach provides only on outward appearance of righteousness, without any internal cleansing. It provides a false sense of security, with no eternal value.

We try to pass laws to solve our problems, but laws can’t change hearts, or redeem a man. The real problem is not a lack of laws and government programs, the real problem is the sinful nature of mankind. We need to make soul winning our primary mission. Jesus died for people, not for nations.

The hot issue today is same sex marriage. It is now legal, and like it or not, it is the world we live in. It’s not a matter of whether it’s right or wrong, we already know the answer to that, Scripture is abundantly clear. It’s how do we approach them? and Will we approach them? Do we love these people enough to even attempt to share the Gospel with them?

Like anyone else, they have needs, and Christ can fulfill those needs. Are we willing to share this with them? If you knew that if a persons needs were fulfilled, that their behavior would change, would you seek to fulfill that need? Or would you just try to guilt them into a behavior change without addressing the underlying needs. After all, repentance apart from faith is nothing more than a failed human endeavor. True, meaningful and lasting repentance must come with faith in Christ.

Homosexuals, like anyone else, need and desire love, completeness and contentment. The question then becomes, will we show them where to find what they need and what they are missing?

Here is what they need to know:
To truly know love, completeness and contentment, you must first know Christ. 

  • 1 John 4:8-10
  • Colossians 2:10

Our sins may be great, but His blood is sufficient.

  • Romans 5:8
  • Hebrews 9:13-14

His grace is sufficient

  • 2 Corinthians 12:9

When a heart is breaking, no matter the reason, let’s introduce them to the one who mends broken hearts. 

  • Psalm 147:3

They need to be reached with the message of Hope in Christ. They need to know the source of true love and contentment. They need to know that Christ is ready and willing to forgive and renew.

Our primary focus should be to save people, not America.
We should want to see hearts changed and transformed through Jesus Christ. When this happens, we will see a fundamental shift in this country.
Instead, we turn to government for our solutions. They’ve promised us a chicken in every pot, but people are still starving. It wants to give us cradle to the grave care, but it can hardly care for itself, and the grave is still the ultimate victor. No government can save you. It doesn’t matter how many taxes you pay, how many laws you pass, how good a citizen, or how well you serve your country. There are no government programs to get you into Heaven.

While we are commanded by scripture to obey our civil governments (so far as it doesn’t interfere with our service to God), government is not to take the place of Christ. Our allegiance is to Him and Him alone.

  • Matthew 6:24
  • Acts 17:28

Instead of falling for a chicken in every pot, feast on the Bread of Life, and drink the Living Water. Instead of cradle to the grave care, choose eternal care. If you want to fix what’s wrong, turn to Christ. Change comes by Him, not by government.

Christians can best serve our nation and our Savior by practicing and proclaiming Christ’s wonderful saving gospel of free salvation from sin and regeneration to righteousness.
Remember, as Christians, our true citizenship is in Heaven, and, unlike nations, the church has no borders or boundaries.

  • Philippians 3:20
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10 
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Posted in: Holidays, Sermons