What Can We Do for Our Country?
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 5, 2014
What's the biggest problem we have in our country today? -- There are so many to choose from, like the struggling economy. The good news Friday was the unemployment rate went down to 5.9%. The bad news is that the main reason why it went down was another 315,000 people dropped out of the work force, giving a new record of 92.6 million out of the work force. (1)
What's the biggest problem we have in the U.S.A. today? -- Multiple scandals in Washington? Ebola in Dallas? Skyrocketing national debt? The growing threat of violent Jihadists?
*There are many other possibilities. But if you really want to know America's biggest problem, you can find the answer in one of the Lord's parables. In Luke 19, Jesus told this parable about Himself, and the Lord said:
12. . . "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
13. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'
14. But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'"
*THAT is the biggest problem we have in our country today: People who angrily reject the Lord and say, "We will not have this man to reign over us." Many of the most powerful positions in our country are occupied by people like that. It's as if they are shaking their fists at Jesus Christ and saying, "We will not have You to rule over us!" That is America's biggest problem today.
*What can we do about it? How can we help our country? Christians: One thing we can do is vote. This God-given freedom was established in our Constitution, and it has been protected by the sacrifice of over a million of our soldiers.
*Most people in the world can only dream of the freedom we have been blessed with all of our lives. Thousands of people were out in the streets of Hong Kong last week, protesting for the freedom we have, hoping for the freedom to vote for leaders not hand-picked by Communist dictators in Beijing. (2)
*And it would be a shame for us to ignore the God-given freedom we have. I tell you this today, because tomorrow is the deadline to register for the upcoming election next month. And all Christians ought to vote. We are a whole lot more likely to get godly leaders, if godly people vote.
*But as important as voting is, It is by no means the most important thing that we can do for our country. What else can we do? Here in God's Word we see four things that will surely help us, and could also help our country.
1. The first helpful thing is to keep giving glory to God.
*That's what King David was doing in vs. 1-5: giving glory to the Lord. And in vs. 1-2, David said:
1. I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
2. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
*David was singing praise to our most high God. He was praising the Lord not just with his lips, but with his whole heart! He was singing with gladness and joy in his heart. And we can sing praise to the Lord. We can worship Him, adore Him, exalt Him. We can give Him honor and glory and our thanks.
*Notice in vs. 1-2 that David's worship was intentional: "I will praise You, O LORD. . . I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You. I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." Four times David said: "I will. I will. I will. I will." Giving glory to God was something he intended to keep on doing. And it's something that we need to put in our busy schedules. We must take time to worship the Lord, thank the Lord, and give Him glory.
*But why should we praise the LORD? The most important reason is because He is worthy of our worship! And there are countless reasons why God is worthy of our praise. But in vs. 2-3, David was praising God for defeating his enemies:
2. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
3. When my enemies turn back, They shall fall and perish at Your presence.
*David could well have been thinking back to the time when God gave him the victory over Goliath the giant. I say that because the introduction to this Psalm in the KJV says: "To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben."
*That word "Muthlabben" is a mysterious word that could have several meanings. But the great preacher Charles Spurgeon agreed that it concerned "the death of the Champion who went out between the camps." -- And that was Goliath. (3)
*And yes Christians: We will still face giants in our lives. But they shall fall and be destroyed at the presence of our God! We see this kind of power on the night before Jesus died on the cross for us. John 18:3-6 tells us:
3. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
5. They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
6. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
*Jesus went on to let that small army get up and arrest Him, because He wanted to save us by dying on the cross for our sins. But the Lord wanted that army to know who was really in control.
*Jesus also wanted to protect His followers, so the next few verses in John 18 say:
7. Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?'' And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth.''
8. Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,''
9. that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.''
*Here in Psalm 9:3, we can give glory to God, because our giants will fall and be destroyed at the presence of our God! Then in vs. 4-5, we can give glory to God, because we see Him fighting for His people. There David said:
4. For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.
5. You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
*Notice that David speaks of all this as being in the past tense. -- That means it's as good as already done! So Christians: No matter what happens to us, we can still give glory to God, because He will give us the victory in the end!
*Keep giving glory to God. The Christians who pioneered our nation surely did. Melvin Newland once explained: "The hardy souls who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 fled from tyranny and oppression. And in the Mayflower Compact which they signed beneath the swinging lantern in the cabin of their ship, they proclaimed that they had come to the new world for 'the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.'"
*Melvin also explained some of the ways they gave glory to God: "In the early colonies the first public building to be erected was a church house, and the first public event was the worship of Almighty God. When sorrow came they gathered at the church to appeal to God for help. When bountiful harvests filled their barns they gathered at the church for thanksgiving to God."
*They knew to keep giving glory to God, because He has given us every good thing we will ever have. "Samuel Adams was often called the 'Father of the Revolution.' And at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Sam Adams declared: 'We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.'" (4)
*Many hardships lay ahead, but Sam Adams gave glory to God, and so did King David. That's what we need to do. It will make a difference in our lives, and it can even help our country. So keep giving glory to God.
2. But also speak up about our Savior.
*That's what David did in vs. 6-12, and that's what the Lord wants us to do. But what can we say about the Lord?
 In vs. 6-8, He is our righteous Judge.
6. O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; Even their memory has perished.
7. But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment.
8. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.
*In other words: God's enemies may seem strong, but God is infinitely stronger! They will last for a while, but He will last forever! And in vs. 8, all the world will be judged by the righteous Judge from Heaven. Everyone is going to find out that the Supreme Court isn't supreme after all! -- God is!
*What can we say about the Lord? -- He is our righteous Judge.
 Then in vs. 9, He is our refuge: "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."
*Christians: The Lord is our refuge, our high place of safety. Some of us are old enough to remember the story of Corrie ten Boom. She was one of the Christian heroes from World War II. Corrie and her family were sent to concentration camps for helping Jews escape from the murderous Nazis.
*Corrie was placed in solitary confinement for four months. The cell was dark, with dirty water standing on the floor. When Corrie heard the terrible cries of other prisoners, she knew that she was also under the constant threat of torture.
*And Corrie later wrote: "Once I stood with my back against the wall with my hands spread out, as if to try to push away the walls that were closing in on me. I was dead scared. I cried out, 'Lord, I'm not strong enough to endure this. I don't have the faith.'"
*It was then that God spoke to Corrie in an unusual way. She noticed an ant on the floor. The moment that ant felt the water on the floor, he ran straight back to his tiny hole in the wall. Corrie said: "Then it was as if the Lord said to me, 'What about that ant? He didn't stop to look at the wet floor or his weak feet. He went straight to his hiding place. Corrie, don't look at your faith. It is weak. I am your hiding place. And you can come running to Me just like that ant disappeared into that hole in the wall.'" (5)
*Corrie found her hiding place in God, and we can too. What can we say about the Lord? -- He is our refuge.
 And in vs. 10, He is reliable.
*Our Lord God is constantly and forever reliable! As David said in vs. 10: "Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."
*The Lord has never forsaken anyone who has put their trust in Him. He never has. And He never will. Carl Haak asked: "Can you imagine anything so terrible as being forsaken by God?
*Imagine being confronted by a terminal disease which shocks you into an awareness of the frailty of your body, and then to have no God. Imagine going through the death of a husband or wife, and having no God. Imagine your life broken in a thousand pieces, friends turning their backs on you, your name being slandered, your children disowning you, or your parent forsaking you, and then having no God?
*Can there be anything worse than for God to forsake us? The word 'forsake' here literally means 'to leave behind and give over to the control of someone else.'" (6)
*If we were trapped in a burning building with people we love, even if we tried our best and risked our own life, we might have to leave someone behind. But God will never leave His people behind! As King David said in vs. 10: "Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."
*The same Lord that David wrote about is our only Savior today. His name is Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for our sins, and rose again the third day to give eternal life to all who will receive Him as their Lord and Savior. And He will never forsake us!
*That's why the most important things we can ever do in life are the things David stressed in vs. 10: Seek the Lord. Know the Lord. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. And then, in vs. 11: "Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people."
*It will make a difference in your life, and it can help our country too. So speak up about our Savior.
3. And take your troubles to the Lord.
*King David certainly had a many troubles in life. But in vs. 12, David knew that the Lord "remembers" His people. And "He does not forget the cry of the humble."
*That's why David began to cry out to the Lord in vs. 13:
13. Have mercy on me, O Lord! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death,
14. That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.
15. The nations (i.e. the godless nations) have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.
16. The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. . ."
*David also prayed down in vs. 19-20, and there he said:
19. Arise, O Lord, Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight.
20. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah
*We see a lot of problems in David's prayer, but we also see a lot of praise. He was in trouble, but he had already been touched by God. Notice that David asked for mercy in vs. 13, and he asked for victory in vs. 19. We should do both!
*Lift up your prayers to the Lord. You will never be sorry for taking your troubles to the Lord. It will make a difference in your life, and it can help our country too. Take your troubles to the Lord.
4. And always remember our Redeemer.
*We see the importance of this truth back up in vs. 17, where David said: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."
*Remembering God always makes a difference. And for us in the United States, that means remembering our roots. The history books have been re-written in my lifetime to blot out most of our nation's Christian heritage. But in 1954, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren said that the history of our country and its documents exhibit the same objective: "A Christian land governed by Christian principles." (7)
*And listen to a small sample of the kind of things our Founding Fathers wrote:
-George Washington wrote: "You do well to learn above all the religion of Jesus Christ."
-Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration wrote: "On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts."
-Jacob Broom, Signer of the Constitution wrote these words to his son: "Don't forget to be a Christian. I have said much to you on this head and I hope an indelible impression is made."
-Roger Sherman, signer of both the Declaration and the Constitution wrote: "I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the old and new testaments are a revelation from God and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him."
-Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration wrote: "My only hope of salvation is in the infinite, transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!"
-And our 6th President, John Quincy Adams said: "My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ . . ." (8)
*Remembering God always makes a difference. And I have no way to prove it, but I believe this nation would have fallen 40 years ago, except for the fact that there are still millions of people in our country who have not forgotten God. He has not forgotten us. We must not forget Him.
*There can be no doubt that America is in big trouble on many different levels. But there are some things we can do. Yes, Godly people should vote. But the most important things we can do are found right here in the Word of God:
-Give glory to God.
-Speak up about our Savior.
-Take our troubles to the Lord.
-And always remember our Redeemer
(1) Labor Participation Rate Drops To 36 Year Low; Record 92.6 Million Americans Not In Labor Force - Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10032014 - www.zerohedge.com
(2) 'Umbrella Revolution' Protests Spread In Hong Kong - AP By KELVIN CHAN - Posted: 09292014 7:23 am EDT Updated: 09302014 10:59 am EDT
(3) "The Treasury of David" by Charles H. Spurgeon - Psalm 9
(4) SermonCentral.com sermon "Blessed Is the Nation Part 1" by Melvin Newland - Psalm 33:12
(5) Corrie ten Boom, HE SETS THE CAPTIVE FREE - Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1977 - Cited in Billy Graham, HOPE FOR THE TROUBLED HEART - Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991, p. 134 - Source: Sermons.com sermon "Damaged in Transit, But Deliverable" - Series: "Help for Troubled Hearts" by King Duncan - Luke 20:27-38; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
(6) Adapted from: THE REFORMED WITNESS HOUR - "A Wonderful Declaration of a Blessed Fact" by Rev. Carl Haak - January 12, 1997 - No. 2818 - http://reformedwitnesshour.org/1997/1997jan12.html
(7) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Gregg Strawbridge
(8) Adapted from Wall Builders Resources - Winter 1996