Righteousness Exalteth a Nation

Proverbs 14:34, "Righteousness exalteth a nation:  but sin is a reproach to any people." 

Introduction:

   When I go into the woods, I use a compass.  It helps me when I do not know which way to go - when I have no inner sense of which direction to go to get back to the road, when I can see neither sun nor stars, when every tree looks the same, or when darkness falls and I cannot even see the trees.  My compass points the right way.  I have learned to trust my compass.  My compass knows direction better than I do. 

   Unfortunately, our country - the USA, America the Beautiful - has voluntarily given up its moral compass.  It has exchanged the truth and guidance of God's Word for feelings, fads, and fancies. 

   As Christians, we should be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, including freedom of religion and the right to worship God as we believe that He wants to be worshipped.   

   Thus far, this country upholds my freedom to preach the Gospel boldly, without fear, without loss of property, without torture, without being killed for speaking out on matters of conviction.  It is my prayer that these freedoms will continue.  Many nations do not allow the religious freedom that we now have.   

Discussion:

I.                   MANY IN THIS GREAT NATION HAVE MISTAKEN FREEDOM FOR LICENSE.

A.       Instead of being grateful to the God who our founders recognized, many in our country have tried to throw off the bonds and responsibilities that faith in God brings with it.

1.      Instead of seeing freedom as a responsibility, many have tried to use it as an excuse to do whatever feels good.

2.      This type of lawlessness is not true freedom, and it brings reproach on any people.

3.      This country has lost the only true moral compass.  Instead of looking to and following the Truth of the Bible, it has looked at philosophers, educators, scientists, and psychiatrists to determine what is right and what is wrong in our new, modern world. 

B.       FINDING TRUE MORALITY:  The Bible comes from the mind of God.  It always points the right direction.

1.      Morality flows from the nature of God.  It is a reflection of His character and purity.

2.      There is nothing we can substitute that will guide us into right and away from wrong like the Bible can.

3.      Morality cannot be found in the mind or heart of man.

4.      It is not a subjective matter.  It is not subject to what I feel or think at any given moment, and it is not subject to the thinking of the masses.

5.      Morality cannot be decided by popular vote. 

Jeremiah 10:23, "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself:  it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." 

Proverb `4:12, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." 

C.       Is the United States more morally deprived than other nations?  Maybe not!

1.      Those who have traveled to other countries realize that, in a comparative way, the U. S. may be better off morally than many other nations.

2.      Many countries display their pornography on magazine and postcard racks and broadcast it more openly than do we.

3.      Those who have done mission work in Russia know the extremely high divorce rate and the casual attitude toward abortion.

4.      Some Scandinavian countries have "led the way" in things like euthanasia, sex-change operations, etc.

5.      Many countries have openly nude beaches and other depraved practices. 

D.   Other countries are not the standard!

                1.    Whether or not we are a morally depraved nation cannot be

  determined by comparison with other nations.

2.      Other countries are not the standard.  God's inspired Word is! 

2 Corinthians 10:12, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves:  but they, measuring themselves by themselves among themselves, are not wise." 

3.      Regardless of how we compare with other countries, two things are clear: 

a.       Our moral standards have declined from where they used to be.

b.      We, as a nation, do not come close to acknowledging or upholding God's moral standards.                                                     

II.                AREAS OF MORAL DECLINE:

A.       We once saw HOMOSEXUALITY as the shame and perversion it was / and is.

                    1. It is a perversion and abomination in the eyes of God. 

Romans 1:26-27, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:  for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived:  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you:  but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 

2.             Now, the political and social climate in our nation encourages people to openly choose and live a homosexual lifestyle.

3.             Children are adopted into homes with two "daddies" or two "mommies."

4.             Our public school system teaches that homosexuality is an alternate lifestyle.

5.             Any who would dare to speak out against this abomination is condemned as being unkind and motivated by hate.                                      

B.       ABORTION was once outlawed.

1.      Now it is available virtually on demand, even for minors.

2.      Sanctity for life has now changed to where many are clearly advocating further strides in killing, like euthanasia.

3.      Pete Singer in his book "Practical Ethics" argue, "If we can put aside these emotionally moving but strictly irrelevant aspects of the killing of a baby, we can see that the grounds for not killing persons do not apply to newborn infants (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1979, p. 124).  He goes to say, ".killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person.  Very often it is not wrong at all" (p. 138).

4.      Not only do these chilling words represent a decline from where we once were morally, they are clearly against God's standard.   

Genesis 9:6, "Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed:  for in the image of God made he man." 

Proverb 6:16-19, "These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."  

Exodus 21:22-25, "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow:  he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.  And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."

5.      Cecil Hook (one who claims to be a brother in Christ) in his book "Free In Christ" argues for euthanasia, comparing it to putting down his family's fox terrier (New Braunfells, TX, p. 33). 

C.       PORNOGRAPHY is a threat to the fabric of our society.

1.      The standard of God is plain, pornography is sin. 

Matthew 5:27-28, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." 

2.      As a nation, we used to have laws against it that we actually enforced.

3.      Consider some of the terrible statistics pertaining to pornography:

        Child Pornography generates $ 3 billion annually.

        Revenue from pornography in the USA (approximately $ 12 billion) exceeds the combined revenue of ABC, CBS, and NBC (approximately $ 6.2 billion).

        There are 68 million search engine requests for pornographic material every day.  That is 25% of total search engine requests.

        There are 116 thousand internet requests for "child pornography" every day.

        (Some of these statistics represent worldwide figures and are not limited to the USA.  However, the U. S. is actively involved in this worldwide degradation.)                                                

D.       DIVORCE was once viewed as shameful.

1.      Every divorce has sin in it - either the sin of the fornicator who caused a just divorce, or the sin of people who divorce but have no scriptural cause to do so. 

Matthew 19:9, "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery:  and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." 

2.      Not everyone who has been through a divorce should be ashamed, but every divorce has shame in it.

3.      Today's view of marriage is simply a trail and error approach.

4.      Marriage vows are not seen as vows but as vague hopes.

5.      Commitment to spouse and to marital faithfulness is no longer honored by a large segment of society. 

E.        The CHOICES OF ENTERTAINMENT, in our society, represent an area of rapid and alarming decline.

1.      Perhaps the most used phrase used on television seems to be "Oh My God!"  It is used to express surprise, dismay, fear, and even lust.

2.      How can those who use God's name in vain make any pretense to reverence the God they blaspheme?

3.      Standards of speech have declined to a vulgar and crude way of expression in movies and television.

4.      Are we, as Christians, becoming desensitized to such repulsive language? 

Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." 

Ephesians 5:3-4, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient:  but rather giving of thanks." 

5.      And what shall I say more?  Time would fail me to tell of the decline in modest dress, the crude, antisocial, sensual, and violent lyrics of modern music, the casual attitude toward sex before marriage, the increase in gambling and related crimes and on, and, on.                                     

III.             LET US CONSIDER HOW THE LEADERSHIP IN OUR NATION HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS DECLINE IN MORALS OF OUR NATION.

A.       It is not only Hollywood that has led us down the path of moral degradation.

1.      Political leaders - Senators, Representatives, Presidents, and Governors - and many religious leaders and educators have publicly lied, been caught in illicit relations and perversions, and have defended themselves or their colleagues by saying that such things have nothing to do with being fit for positions of leadership.

2.      The only way we can accept that premise is if we simply close our eyes to the very real danger that a whole nation of children - including our own - will follow these leaders into sin, and into hell. 

Conclusion:

   Since righteousness exalts a nation, can we, as a nation, be exalted for our behavior?  Since sin is a reproach to any people, should we not, as a nation, hang our heads in shame?  Indeed, shame is foreign to hearts that are seared; our nation has forgotten how to blush because of its sinful behavior. 

Jeremiah 6:15-16"Were they ashamed?  Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush; therefore they shall fall among them that fall:  at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.  Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.  But they said, we will not walk therein." 

Genesis 6:5-8, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.  And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." 

There were not even ten righteous souls in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:22-33). 

(Adapted from an article by Rusty Stark in the Seek The Old Paths, October, 2004, Vol. 15, No 10)

--Dub Mowery

  

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