There’s been a lot of talking lately about making Americal great again. This is not a political program, but the idea is certainly a biblical one. Any nation on earth can be greater by following the principles of the Bible. Let’s make America great in the eyes of God!

ROBERT >> I’m sure you haven’t tuned in today to hear about Donald Trump and the politics of the day. And I’m not going to do that. I’m not entering into the political debate about what makes a nation great; but I do want to see what the Bible says. If you’re interested, stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment. <br><br>

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, <br> speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love. <br><br>

ROBERT >> God said it long ago: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people, Proverbs 14:34. <br><br> This is the Bible answer to the question, What makes a nation great? <br><br> And we may look at that from two perspectives today. <br><br> First of all, I want you to see it positively, and then I want you to see it from the negative perspective. Positively, God says righteousness exalts a nation. The very first word of our verse is righteousness. It’s a word that is seldom uttered outside of conservative churches today. You don’t hear our politicians talk about righteousness, and you don’t hear the news media say anything about it. But righteousness has been defined by some as right living. Righteousness is to live righteously, to live rightly before God. And it’s also been defined as a right relationship with God, being right with God. You put these two things together, and we can say that if we have a right relationship with God, then the product of our lives is right living. If we really want to solve the problems of our country today, we must present Jesus Christ as the answer, because it is only through his righteousness that we obtain the righteousness of God. I want to read this passage to you from 2 Corinthians 5:21, where the apostle Paul spoke of obtaining the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. Here he reminds us of the great sacrifice of Christ that was necessary for our righteousness. Here he says, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Yes, righteousness is found in Jesus Christ. The one who knew no sin was made to be sin for us. That is, he became our sin offering. Having paid the price for our sins, we could be made right with God. But now let’s also notice that Jesus defines what it means to live a righteous life. Humankind has a varied idea of righteousness. We could never in a million years agree on what is righteous and what is unrighteous. We’ve all got different opinions and ideas about it. But Jesus sets the standard. And he does that not only by his teachings, but also by his life. I love in Acts the 1st chapter when he describes Jesus among his apostles after his resurrection, and he describes the life that Jesus lived with them on the earth, and he says here in Acts 1:1, Jesus began both to do and teach. Yes, Jesus not only taught righteous living, but he set an example. <br><br> In 1 Peter 2:21, He suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps. Society today, they don’t want a standard. They’ll not even acknowledge that one exists. And this is the main reason that the word of God has been attacked and ridiculed by unbelievers for generations. At the founding of our nation, however, the Bible was held, at least by many, in high esteem. And this is what exalts a nation. <br><br> It’s what makes a nation great. And yet today many are doing everything they can to remove the Bible from our country, to destroy the influence of Christ in our nation. So we’ve looked at the idea of what makes a nation great from the positive standpoint in Proverbs 14:34, where the Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation. But now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. <br><br> Negatively, the same Proverb says, Sin is a reproach to any people. As surely as righteousness exalts a nation, sin destroys it. <br><br> Today, many people want a God who’s merciful and loving and kind; but the God of mercy and love is also the God of judgment and damnation. People turn away from such a God. But here’s a problem. <br><br> This verse, Proverbs 14:34, is a couplet. It has two parts. And these parts are opposite, they’re contrasting. One cannot be accepted without the other. They stand together as a testimony of God’s unapproachable holiness. The truth is that God will judge sin. He will not wink at it, he will not forget it, and he will not misplace his records. To understand this truth, let’s examine the meaning of the word sin. <br><br> Let’s notice first of all from 1 John 3:4 what the Bible says. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” <br><br>That’s right. Sin is lawlessness. As a nation loses respect for the law of God, a nation loses then its greatness. America does not demand this greatness of itself anymore. We don’t honor what’s good and right. Contrary wise, we honor and reward the evil and the wrong. <br><br> Look at our culture. The bad guy is now the norm. The good guy is the potential hypocrite who bears watching. The immoral and the ungodly are celebrated while those who speak out about such sinfulness are assailed as intolerant bigots and punished by society. The bad guy has been turned into the good guy, and the good guy has been turned into the bad guy. This has happened before. <br><br> The same kind of confusion about good and evil is what brought God’s judgment upon the nation of Israel. If you go back to Isaiah chapter 5, I want you to hear how the prophet indicted God’s people, the nation of Israel, long ago. <br><br> In Isaiah 5:20, here’s what it says: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” <br><br> We, too, need to take heed to this warning if we want to be great. Sin is a reproach to any people. Sin brings a reproach, whether it’s in the life of the individual or in the timeline of a nation. Israel’s sin, it caused them to go into captivity, their capital city stood in ruins, they were mocked and ridiculed by the other nations, they were disgraced before the world. Don’t think that it cannot happen to America. God is bound to judge sin, and he’ll not turn a blind eye to America’s foolishness. As he judged Israel and the heathen nations, he will also judge us. <br><br> What would God’s personal message to America be? <br><br> If he spoke to us audibly in this day, I believe he’d say, Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. <br><br> What do we do with that? <br><br> I want to leave you with some things today, two facts to remember. Let’s all remember that God is sovereign. We need to remember that no matter what happens, God is still in control of our nation. <br><br> I want you to notice what Daniel said in Daniel 4:25. At the end of that verse he reminds us that, “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and He gives it to whomever He chooses. Proverbs 21:1 tells us that, The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes.” <br><br> We’re to trust in God and not in any man or woman or any party for America and for the world. <br><br> Psalm 46:10, you may remember the Psalmist and where he wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God.” <br><br> To be still means to cast down, to let fall, and it’s the idea of not putting forth exertion. The picture is of letting our hands fall to our sides as we leave matters with God. We’re not to just have a moment of silence or even just be quiet. The purpose is so that we can know God. And to know God means to acknowledge and to comprehend, to discover God. We can’t even begin to know God this way until we become still before him. And this is actually a rebuke, that we’re to quit striving and working in our own self-effort, and submit ourselves to God. <br><br> When it seems that everyone has turned against us, be still, and know that the Lord promised never to leave us or to forsake us, Hebrews 13:5-6. <br><br> When the storms of life, both physical and emotional, are raging about us, be still, the Psalmist says. <br><br> Know that God will be our shelter in any storm that the devil could throw at us. Listen to these reassuring words from the book of Romans. Romans chapter 8. Paul wrote this chapter to encourage the Christian. <br><br> Notice what he says here, Romans 8, beginning in verse 35. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” <br><br> As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. <br> <br> “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” <br><br> When our future looks dark and dim, be still and know that God is already there, that there’s nothing that he doesn’t know, that he can’t handle. You might want to open up your Bibles to Psalm 139 and just spend some time there to see how precious you are to God and the many thoughts that God has toward you every day. <br><br> Let’s also notice something else here that we need to remember, and that is that Jesus Christ is the savior. He is the only one. Only he could and only he did pay the price for our sins. <br><br> In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no one comes unto the Father but by Me.” <br><br> You see, I couldn’t die for you, and you could not die for me, because we all have our own sins. It took the sacrifice of a perfect one. And so God’s son left heaven to become one of us. <br><br> And having lived a perfect life, he gave himself for us. This is what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 5:19 when he said that, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses against them. <br><br> John says that Jesus became flesh, and He dwelt among us, in John 1:14. Matthew and Luke both explain how he was born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. <br><br> And the Hebrew writer tells us that he was tempted like we are, but he was without sin, Hebrews 4:15. “And that being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him,” Hebrews 5:8-9. <br><br> Many great heroes have made great sacrifices for this country of ours; but Jesus Christ made the greatest sacrifice of all for the salvation of all people. I want you to see how the apostle Paul spoke of this and how he reminds us of the wonderful sacrifice that Jesus made for us all. <br><br> In Romans chapter 5, beginning in verse 6, here’s what he writes: “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” <br><br> This is the good news of the gospel as Paul outlined it in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, how that Christ died for us according to the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised again the third day according to the scriptures. Our faith for this country and this world is not in any man or any woman or in any political party, but it is found in God’s son, our savior, Jesus Christ. Still there are some things that we need to do. We need to pray. And we need to pray diligently. <br><br> Look with me in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, where the apostle Paul reminded the young preacher to remind the Christians of his day first of all to pray. <br><br>In 1 Timothy chapter 2 beginning in verse 1 the Bible says, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” <br><br> Instead of bashing and criticizing and condemning, let’s pray. Let’s give thanks for all people of all nations, for our president, for all other government leaders here and around the world. Now, some of you are going to have a hard time with this, maybe because your man or your woman didn’t win, because we have enemies, because people are evil. Imagine what Timothy thought when he received this letter from the apostle Paul, and Nero, a pagan, a great persecutor of Christians, was king. Pray for that one, he says. And Paul says that we are to do this so that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. That’s the way real Christians live out of respect for God. <br><br> We’re not troublemakers, we’re not seeking a fight, but we do all that we can to get along with others and to please our God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 I think will help us to put all of this together well. <br><br> Here the Bible says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, listen to this promise: “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 heal their land.” <br><br> A great nation is a praying nation. Things truly happen when God’s people pray. But let’s also remember that we must be salt and light. Go back with me to Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5, where he describes those who make up his wonderful kingdom. And he describes them as the salt and light. <br><br> Here it says, Matthew 5, beginning in verse 14, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. He says you are the light of the world.” <br><br> And notice in verse 13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” <br><br>. You are the salt of the earth, he says, you are the light of the world. Salt may be used to preserve meat from rotting, and light dispels darkness, exposing and guiding us. We’re to be such a preserving and transforming influence upon this world for Jesus Christ. God told Abraham that he would not destroy wicked Sodom if he could find ten righteous people; but they were not to be found. It is the righteous that will preserve this nation. But we must not let the world influence us; we must influence the world. We’re in the world, but not of the world, as Jesus prayed in John chapter 17. <br><br> When the world gets in the church, we’re all in trouble. But finally, let me say to you today, trust God. Trust God. And I want you to hear these words of faith given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ himself just before going to the cross for the sins of the world. <br><br> In John chapter 14 beginning verse 1, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” <br><br> Yes, Jesus Christ is coming again to take us back home with him. <br><br> He will deliver the faithful. 2 Corinthians 1:10 reminds us about how he delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we trust, that he will still deliver us. He has delivered us, he is delivering us, and he will still deliver us. We need to trust God for our deliverance. <br><br> Galatians 1:4 reminds us of the one who gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father. <br><br> Yes, as John said in 1 John 5:4, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” <br><br> And so Jesus promises, Be faithful unto death, and I’ll give you the crown of life. Have you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? <br><br> Have you confessed him as your Lord and your savior? <br><br> Have you given yourself to him in the waters of baptism, turning from sin, to be raised up to live a new life with him? <br><br> If not, I hope that you’ll make that decision for Jesus today and join with all of us who are Christians in being the salt of the earth, the light of the world, to help this nation and this world be great through the power of Jesus Christ. <br><br> If you’ve fallen, if you’ve left the Lord, if your faith is struggling, let us know. Confess this before God, be made right with God. Let us pray with you and for you. Whatever your need, I hope that you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today. <br><br>

SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me. <br> I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free. <br> I know, I know that my redeemer lives. <br> I know, I know eternal life he gives. <br> I know, I know that my redeemer lives. I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me, a home, a house not made with hands, most wonderful to see. <br> I know, I know that my redeemer lives. <br> I know, I know eternal life he gives. <br> I know, I know that my redeemer lives. <br><br>

SINGING>> All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give. <br> I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live. <br> I surrender all. <br> I surrender all. <br> All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all. <br> All to Jesus I surrender. <br> Lord, I give myself to thee. <br> Fill me with thy love and power. <br> Let thy blessing fall on me. <br> I surrender all. <br> I surrender all. <br> All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all. <br><br>

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today, and we’d really like to hear from you. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. <br><br> You may e-mail us at <br><br> Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. <br><br> Also, please visit our web site at <br><br> All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. And we want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program, and encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of our program. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please, join us next time right here on The Truth In Love. <br><br>

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace. <br> From the toils that bind me it will bring release. <br> Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, <br> showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow. <br> Sing to me of heaven, <br><br>let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. <br> Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, <br> sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all. <br> Sing to me of heaven tenderly and <br> low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go. <br> When my heart is weary, when the day is long, <br> sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song. <br> Sing to me of heaven, <br> let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. <br> Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, <br> sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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