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10 Questions That Skeptics Ask

Revive Us Again - Calling a Sacred Assembly

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(9/23) I am curious. Have these last few weeks been helpful to you? How has your prayer life been affected? We have tried to teach you to pray as Jesus taught the apostles. We have tried to show you the keys to powerful praying, and how Paul prayed for those He loved. Last week my friend Bob Kimmel taught you how to pray for those that don't know Jesus as their Savior. This morning I want to show you how important it is that you pray for repentance and revival in America. Next week, I want to begin a brand new series. I know I have been saying that we would return to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and I plan to, perhaps after Christmas, but for a long time now, in fact, for 12 years, God has been impressing on my heart to write a series that I would like to try to put into a book. It will be a 12 week series called, What to Do When You Don't Know What To Do, A Survival Guide For Hurt and Confused Christians.

About 5 years ago, a new TV show came on that for at least one season captivated America, it was called, Heroes. Does anyone remember that? If so, do you remember the first year's story line? It was, "Save the cheerleader, save the world." It was about people that had super natural abilities or gifts and they were be challenged to use their gifts to save the world from a nuclear blast and somehow, a cheerleader was the key, hence, "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World."

That story line is more real than you may realize. The world is heading for a day of judgment. A day when the world will be burned with fire and every human being will be brought before the throne of God to be judged for their sins (2 Peter 3:10-13). But even before that day, God is in the process of judging Nations; nations that He has blessed beyond measure but have turned their backs and rejected Him. Let me read to you one more time the words of Jeremiah 18:7-18. The only hope for a nation heading towards Judgment is the prayers and repentance of God's people.

The Plan

A. He saved you to save the world. His plan from the beginning was to rescue people from their sins and then live in them and gift them with a supernatural ability to impart grace to others and then use them to save the world. You were saved, not just so you could go to heaven, not just to be forgiven, you were saved to be a hero.

Part of the process of being saved was that you repented. If you didn't repent, then I would seriously question your salvation. Do you remember what the word repent means?

B. Repent means to change my mind with a view to changing my actions. You believed the truth of Jesus' death and resurrection for your sins and salvation and you turned away from sin to live a life set apart to God; like these guys (1 Thess.1:5-10). As a result other towns, cities and counties had a spiritual awakening. The result of repenting is that we walk the path that God has always desired for us to walk, which basically is this (Deut 10:12-13) To Love God, Fear God, Obey God, Serve God, and to Walk in His Ways. That has always been His desire.

The Problem

Often when we have seasons of peace and prosperity we as a nation, or churches, or families, or individuals do a reverse repentance. We turn away from God and towards idols, substitutes for God, and we go after them like Eve went for the forbidden fruit. We rationalize that its not too bad, in act it looks good, and perhaps God's word is too restrictive, and God will understand, especially if I continue to give my money. And three things occur.

  • Our Hearts Drift from God. (Dt. 30:17) We forsake our first love. Some object, hobby, sport, person, etc, becomes more important than God and we may not bow down to it, but it becomes an idol. What is the greatest Commandment? To love God with all our hearts, all our minds, all our soul, and all all our strength. We may begin with a passionate love for God, but over time we begin to drift towards other things and we commit spiritual adultery.
  • Our Wills Disobey God. (Dt. 8:11-17) We forget the reason that we exist and the reason that God saved us. We stop praying, reading the scriptures, gathering regularly to learn and grow and pray with other believers. We think that attending church is all that God wants us to do. And we refuse to get involved using the grace that God has given us to bless other people and that is disobedience. If you love Jesus you will love people and will be involved in feeding His people. You may not like this but if you aren't involved in shepherding, feeding and nurturing others, you don't love Jesus. His new Commandment was that we love people the way He loved us. Remember His last confrontation with Peter? Do you love me? Then, care for my sheep. To us in John 14, If you love me, keep my commandments.
  • Our hearts are Drawn to Substitutes. We want entertainment, comedy, TV, Technology, and pleasure instead of the teaching of God's word.

The Pain of our drifting has least 4 affects on God

  • God is Grieved His heart is pained. Gen. 6:6 "God saw the wickedness of man and His heart was grieved." Ps. 78:40, "How often did they provake Him in the wilderness and grieve Him in the desert." Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God that has sealed us for the day of redemption. It literally breaks God's heart when His people drift away from Him
  • The Gospel is Ineffective The reason is that we stop sharing it and the world around us sees that we are no different than them and they have no reason to want what we have.
  • Grace is Cheapened. Because the things Jesus died to forgive us of are still part of our lives.

7. Generations are Affected. Our children build on what we do. If we compromise a little, they will compromnise alot. And today the United States of America is adrift from God. Less than a third of Americans will attend any kind of church today, and less than a quarter of the people in this area will attend any kind of church today.

IV. The Punishment (Consider Rev. 2-3). This isn't just Old Testament stuff. Look at Revelation 2-3 where our Lord Jesus personally wrote 7 letters to 7 churches. This was only 60-65 years since He died and rose again; just 65 years- and look how they have drifted.

1. 1) Rev. 2:1, 4-5; 2) 2:12, 14-16; 3) 2:18, 20-23; 4) 3:1-3; 5) 3:14-20 The Patience (Ps. 103:8 and 2 Peter 3:9, 15) These remind us that God is patient and gives us room and time to repent because he doesn't want to punish us.

2. The Passion If God does discipline His children it is because He loves us (Heb. 12:5-6; Rev. 3:19). How will God chasten us?

3. The Possibilities

  • He doesn't answer Prayers (Ps. 66:18; Isa. 59:2)
  • He withdraws His manifest Presence (Ps. 13:1) How Long will you forget O Lord, forever?
  • There will be a spiritual Famine (Amos 8:11-12) God's word will be watered down and people will not be saved.
  • We reap the consequences of our sins (Rom. 1:24-31; Jer. 2:19)
  • God will use Natural Disasters to get our attention (2 Chron. 7:13; Amos 4)
  • God will even stir up our Enemies against us (Hab. 1; Joel 2; Lev. 26: Amos 4:10). What he did to Israel, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Tyre, Sidon, and Palestine He will do to America. God will allow, or even stir up the ACLU, Atheist, Liberal politicians, Post Modern Educators, and the Muslim and anti American communities in the world to get the attention of America so that we will repent and not be judged.

4. The Purpose - His purpose is not to hurt us but to help us to return to Him and have the best life possible. And to get His people to wake up and start interceding for their country and back to doing wehat we have been blessed to do.

The Penitence

(Joel 2, 2 Chron. 7:14, Ezekiel 22:30) In Joel, the Lord God is warning Israel of impending judgment that will occur as Insects, locusts that will destroy their nation, but the locust are just a picture of the invading armies that will come. God says to them to sound an alarm, this is serious, gather everyone and pray, repent, don't just go through the motions. This is serious. God told Solomon that the way to healing and restoration lies not in the hands of politicians or the might of their military but in the prayers of God's people. "If My People...." Turn in your Bibles to Ezekiel 22:23-31. God is looking for His people to do what Moses did and stand in the gap so that People will repent and God's judgement will be averted. He wants His children to gather corporately and pray, humbling themselves, with honesty and not show, asking God to search their own hearts and remove all the idols, and forgive us of our self centeredness, and for not being the Heroes that He saved us to be. He wants us to call out to Him for our children, our spouses, our parents, our communities, and our country. He wants us to turn back to Him and seek His manifest presence in our churches and in our homes. Henry Blackaby said in His book Fresh Encounter that there are seven steps in God's plan for revival.

  • God is on mission to redeem a lost world. He calls people into a relationship with Himself and accomplishes His work through them.
  • God's people tend to depart from Him, turning to substitutes for His presence, His purposes and His ways
  • God disciplines His people because He loves them.
  • God's people cry out to Him for help.
  • God calls His people to return to Him and repent or perish.
  • God revives His repentant people by restoring them to a right relationship with Himself.
  • God exalts His Son Jesus among the people and draws the lost to saving faith in Him.

Listen to this from 1857

VI. The Promise - (2 Chron. 7:14) The promise is Restoration, Remission (Forgiveness), and Reconciliation. The key is in you being the Hero God saved you to be.

I am going to ask two things of you:

  • To seriously ask yourself if you have drifted from God. Has your faith become just a ritual instead of a passionate relationship with the one who gave His life for you? Do you need to repent of idol worship or sins that you have justified in your own mind. In what way are you involved in the care and nourishment of God's sheep-His people-His children? Its time to repent and return to your first love.
  • To join hundreds of other Christians tonight to seek God's favor for our families, communities and our Country.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman