People have become so accustomed to pointing fingers that even
the church has gotten caught up in this. We look at our society and start blaming the liberals and atheists for the state
we're in, but that isn't what God says. God says that we bring this on ourselves. At this point I could go to the teachings
to the 7 churches found in the book of Revelation, or I could go to the promises of God given to us, through Solomon, at the
dedication of the Temple of God. I think I'll do the latter.
God says, "If MY people ..." This whole passage, which incidentally
can be found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 if you want to read along, is NOT to those outside of God's family, but specifically for
those who are IN God's family. "If MY people" defines who God is talking to, and as we shall see, what kind of impact His
people have, positively and negatively, upon the world around them.
"Who are called by My NAME." Those of us who call ourselves
Christians are calling ourselves by HIS NAME. Those of us who really ARE Christians (yes brothers and sisters there is a difference)
God has called by the name of JESUS. To review for a moment, God is NOT talking to those who call THEMSELVES by His name,
but those whom GOD has called through His Son. This then further identifies who God is speaking to.
"Shall humble themselves..." One of the biggest problems of
all humanity is the lack of true humility. We get to doing something, even if it's for the Lord, and twist our arms to the
point of breaking to pat ourselves on the back. And this is within the church. We are to be leading the world by EXAMPLE,
in holiness and humility. You cannot live a holy life if you are not living a humble life. So that is something you need to
get right with God right off the bat, and probably several times throughout any given day, at least if you're anything like
me you will.
"...and pray..." Probably the single most powerful weapon we
have against the enemy is prayer, and it is also probably the one thing we do the least of. Oh, we may shoot up a little prayer
her, spout off a blessing on the food, whatever. What we do NOT do is spend time in prayer. There used to be the phrase used
called, "Praying it through" which meant to pray until you received the assurance of God in meeting the need you were praying
for. You don't hear much about that anymore. God still requires us to pray. Do we even know what that is? What is prayer?
Since this is but one point of this message I'll give you a brief answer, so long as you realize that a full study of the
word needs to be covered at another time. Prayer is simply talking with God (and letting Him talk to you). Not much to ask
is it? I mean the Creator of the Universe, the Lord of all who has made us His children through the blood of His own son only
asks to talk with us. Put it like that and our lack of prayer seems rather scary doesn't it?
"...seek My face..." This is a specific KIND of prayer. It
has to do with finding out what God wants you to do for Him. You're asking Him (seeking) for His will in your life. God's
will is always to glorify Him, but how we are to do that as individuals is very diverse and changes from moment to moment
as we grow in Him. Yet this is the third of four requirements God has said He wants us to meet.
"...and turn from their wicked ways..." If you haven't tripped
up on being humble, or praying, or seeking God's will for your life you still aren't home free. You need to turn from your
wicked ways. If you find yourself saying, "But there are no wicked ways in me", then you really need to get down on your knees
and follow these steps, because you aren't even humble before the Lord. Most of us realize that there are things in our lives
that are bad, sinful, that we're "working on" to get rid of. What we are not always mindful of is the importance of getting
that sin out of our life. God says TURN FROM YOUR WICKED WAYS. He doesn't say, "Try to pull away from it." God is continually
asking us to do things we CANNOT do. This also is for another sermon. Simply put, God asks us to do what is impossible to
do that He might work the impossible in us and so glorify His name, drawing people to Himself, by the Spirit, through His
Those are the four requirements God has set up for every child
of God, every one who can be properly called "His People". Now we know that God doesn't do anything without a purpose or reason,
even if we may not understand it. Yet here God tells us WHY we are to do these things, or more to the point, WHAT He will
do WHEN we do these things.
"...then shall I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and
heal their land." Many people read these words and think they are blessed, and in a sense God is telling us that He does want
to bless us. Elsewhere we are told that God wishes to bless us with every spiritual bless according to His riches in glory.
This, however, is a spiritual "cause and effect". Or in computer logic terms it is an "IF THEN" program. God says if My people
will do this, then I will do something as well. One of the ways I like to study Scripture is to see what is on the other side,
what is the opposite of what is being said. It gives you an interesting picture of the true teachings of God. Here it would
be "If MY people don't humble themselves and pray, don't seek my face or turn from their wicked ways then I will NOT forgive
them nor heal their lands."
Now look around you. Look at what society has become. It is
not Satan's fault. It is not the sinner's fault. It is the fault of God's people NOT humbling themselves, NOT praying, NOT
seeking His face and NOT turning from THEIR wicked ways. For if we had then God would surely have forgiven us our sin and
healed our land. You want things to change in your life and in the society in which you live, then meet the requirements of
God. Then and only then will you see those changes come about.
I don't teach a wimpy Gospel. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the
One who came to buy us back from evil once said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace,
but a sword." (Matt. 10:34) The words of Jesus, the teachings of the prophets, the teachings of the apostles, they were all
hard things to take. Yes Salvation is free, however, there are conditions God has placed on those who are saved by the blood
of Jesus. He has the right, not just because He's God, although that would surely be enough, but because He paid for that
privilege with the blood of His One and Only Son.
God is asking you and I to keep four simple requirements. He's
told us what would happen if we would. We can see what will happen if we won't. What are you going to do?
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