Monday, March 26, 2012
Message Given at Rally For Religious Freedom - Fort Lauderdale Federal Building March 23, 2012
For three quarters of a century now, many of our leaders have been looking to social darwinism, Marxist atheism and secular humanism as the philosophical foundation for the reshaping of our nation.
This at the expense of transcendent moral truth and the Judeo-Christian worldview that shaped the founding of our nation. Moral relativism is not what made this nation great. Secular humanism did not provide the guiding principles underlying the freedoms that produced the most prosperous nation in world history.
Our fore-fathers came to this country seeking, religious freedom, among other things. Not freedom from religion, but freedom for individuals to put the principles and ideals of their faith into practice. And the founding governing documents of this great nation were the product of that process.
Two hundred some years later, we have now come full circle as these religious freedoms are now under attack.
The question I want to ask is, how should we respond?
Thousands of Americans join us today in Stand Up For Religious Freedom rallies across the nation. 129 rallies at last count. We gather in prayer and public witness to oppose the recent Health and Human Services’ mandate announced by the Obama administration.
As we do so, may I suggest two Biblical mandates that should guide our prayers and response to the challenge before us.
First, the Church must begin by repenting of its own sin. The apostle Peter wrote, “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household”
(1 Peter 4:17 NIV)
We need to repent of our sexual immorality. In the Spring 2012 edition of Insight, a publication of the National Association of Evangelicals, it is reported that,
“Eighty percent of unmarried evangelicals between the ages of 18 and 29 have had sex. That’s 4 out of 5...30 percent of unmarried evangelicals have been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant.”
There is a direct correlation between sexual immorality and abortion, 83% of all aborted children being conceived out of wedlock.
We need to repent of the Church’s complicity with abortion. Insight also reports that,
“Thirty-two percent of all unplanned pregnancies among evangelicals end in abortion.”
According to Focus on the Family, 250,000 evangelical women choose abortion each year in America; 5.6 million women in evangelical churches have aborted unwanted children. (heartlink.org).
One study found that 43% of women having abortions identify themselves as Protestant and 27% as Roman Catholic. (AGI “In Brief” 2008)
That’s 70% of all abortions. As Rev. John Ensor has pointed out, if Christians stopped having abortions, abortion clinics would close having lost 70% of their business.
Insight concludes, “Abortion is happening in the Body of Christ, and it’s time for us to talk about it.”
May I suggest that a good place to begin the conversation is with a call for repentance.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV).
Abortion is, and always has been a gospel issue.
We need to repent of our hypocrisy. Just last week Dr. R. C. Sproul Jr. wrote a blog about the strong response of Christians to the recently published article by two Australian ethicists outlining why they considered “after birth” abortions to be ethical.
(“Savorless Salt” at http://rcsprouljunior.blogspot.com/)
He concludes with these words,
“We expose our hypocrisy, our callowness and shallowness when we protest after-birth abortion, sex-selection abortion, partial-birth abortion, late-term abortion, unsafe, unregulated abortion, Obamacare funded abortion, all the while living a business-as-usual life in the face of babies being butchered in our neighborhoods every day. The evil of killing babies is that they are babies, no matter their age, no matter whether they are born, no matter how they came to be, no matter what butchering technique is used. We, the living, must repent. Lord have mercy on our souls, and the souls of the babies we destroy.”
The healing of our land depends more on the Church repenting, than anything anyone else can do.
I almost hesitate to cite 2 Chronicles 7:13,14 because it is so often quoted. But I will anyway, because it could very well be the most under-practiced quoted Scripture in the Bible.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
No mention of the sins of politicians, judges or others in authority. No, it’s, “if my people” - that’s us. That’s where we must begin. Our repentant prayer will unlock the outpouring of God’s healing upon our land.
Secondly, we must involve ourselves in intercession for President Obama and those who govern us. The apostle Paul’s instruction,
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
(1 Timothy 2:1-6 NIV)
Whether a supporter of President Obama or one who opposes his policies, we are instructed to pray for him.
Have you ever wondered why the command to pray for those in authority is followed by a clear declaration of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only mediator between God and man and God’s desire for men to be saved? Could it be that God wants to change the heart of those who serve Him in government and bring revival to our land - in response to our humility, repentance, and obedience in prayer?
Today, I ask you, to join me in taking a stand for religious freedom. But may it be from a posture of bowing in humility and repentance before God, first of all me, for my sin and you for yours, the sin of the Church and then the sin of our nation. And may it include heartfelt intercession for the leaders of this nation and the people of this nation, a prayer for salvation if they do not know Christ, a prayer of blessing, and a prayer for God’s intervention in the affairs of a nation where many are turning their back on God.
May God help us. May God bless America.