“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. – Matthew 25: 31-33 (NIV) The only real and lasting solution for the United States of America is for us to turn back to God. - Greg Laurie This Pastor Laurie quote appeared on Facebook after the recent decisions regarding same sex marriages came down from the Supreme Court this week. It is a sentiment shared throughout a great swath of Christendom in this country. I have heard similar sentiments for over a decade now as the church is constantly praying for “revival” in a nation that was never spiritually alive to begin with. It is time to dispel this false narrative once and for all so that just maybe, the church can get back to what God designed us to be. Beloved, the only real and lasting solution for the United States of America is for the church to turn back to God. Not the citizens of this country but the citizens of heaven. Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. – 1Peter 2: 11-12 (NLT) The sad sad truth is that modern day Churchianity does not encourage this separation. The church and the world are so intermingled and blended that it is becoming more and more difficult to tell them apart. We are not acting as temporary residents but rather as full time dwellers in the land we are supposed to be but passing through. We do not act as foreigners at all. I would wager there are many Christians who identify themselves as Americans before they would as Christians. Instead of staying away from the worldly desires that wage war against our very souls we are encouraged to pursue them and embrace them. There are too many facets of the church that are in the business of selling earthly prosperity, false supernatural signs and wonders, and cultural relevance. We are raising up a generation of spiritually illiterate Christians who do not understand the war they are in let alone know how to fight it. We do not live properly with our unbelieving neighbors at all. What do they see when they look at us? Do they see the honorable behavior this Scripture implores us to present to them? Or do they see the church being run as a business? Do they see the compromising of the Gospel to draw as many people in as possible? I saw a roundtable secular panel last week on television discussing how churches need to come into “modernity” or risk having less and less people interested in attending. That they run the risk of losing the next generation because what they believe in no longer matches youth. While I understand that logic coming from people who do not believe in the inerrant Word of God, it is a conversation that churches have every single day as they seem to agree with such sentiment. The entire seeker-friendly and purpose driven movements are founded upon such nonsense. This secular panel was only reflecting what they see from the churches today. That they are run like a business and must therefore consider what they need to do in order to keep selling their product. Back to the false narrative being proffered. America cannot turn back to God because they never were in covenant with Him. Israel is in covenant with God and so is the church but America as a country never was. Wait a minute preacher! Wasn’t this country founded upon Christianity? No beloved it was not. It was founded by people seeking to escape religious intolerance and persecution not people looking to set up such governments. Were most of the founding fathers Christians? Probably, as it was the dominant religion of the time. But what form is up for debate. Jefferson referred to himself as a Unitarian, who dismissed the trinity. Many were Deists, who believed in God but not that any one book held His authority. Were we closer to God as a nation back then? Sure but the whole world was. What you have seen over the last 200 years is the increase in wickedness that Jesus said would happen as the end times grew closer. Satan is ratcheting up his influence on the world he controls because as the Bible says, he knows his time is growing short. Here is the thing though beloved. For all those who like to make the argument that the country has strayed from its Christian roots I have some basic questions. Was there ever a time when this country was saved? Where everyone in it was going to heaven? When everyone had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Of course not. Because here is where the rubber meets the road – as the key verses clarify for us – nations do not get saved; people do. The key verses are speaking of the time when Jesus will come back to judge the world. He will separate out the sheep who know Him from the goats who do not. What I like about these verses is it shows that while the nations will be drawn to Him for this judgment, He will separate out the people one by one. It is the individual people we need to be focusing on. Remember beloved that even the gay people celebrating this week will not be relegated to the group of goats because they are gay but rather because they have no relationship with God. If the political-obsessed Christians ever accomplished their goal of stopping every gay person from getting married they still accomplished nothing because they will all still be separated from God. So why then does this false narrative exist? What is the benefit? The reality we need to realize today is that focusing on the nation collectively allows us to avoid the harder work of focusing on the people individually. If only the country would turn back! Well what does that mean practically? If America reinstituted prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments on courthouses, and abolished gay marriage and abortion what would the practical result be? Nothing unless the individuals themselves repented of their sins, picked up their crosses and followed Jesus. We would have a country that may appear to be more “pro-God” but the appearance will mean little difference when Christ is separating the sheep and the goats. This false narrative allows us to think that the problem is all on the outside. That the blame is all external. That we are doing what we are supposed to but that the world is just so stubborn. And they are but what reason do we give them for wanting what we have? Waving the Bible at them while decrying their sinful state has two major flaws. One, the things of God are foolishness to them so they simply do not understand what we are trying to say. To them, it is us who are unenlightened. Secondly however, is they see the rank hypocrisy within the church itself so why would they listen? They hear us preaching love but acting in hate. They hear us preaching against sin but then see our sinful state. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5: 14-16 (NLT) Our light does not burn as brightly as it ought to. Beloved, when Jesus looked out on the multitudes He had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. When the church looks out today upon the multitudes they hold derision for them because they do not behave at a standard that we do not even hold ourselves to. It is time to leave the false narratives behind. The only real and lasting solution for America is for the church to be the church again and to witness to America, one American at a time. Not with condemning words but with all that Christ has done for us. Remember that the path leading to eternal life is narrow and few find it. There is rejoicing in heaven when only one person gives their life to Jesus. The mega church mentality only creates more people who think they are saved. The seeker friendly mentality is what leads to the compromises that secular panel was so fondly endorsing. If you are looking for a purpose to be driven by, might I suggest that person next to you on the bus? That person next to you in your home. That person next to you at work. There is nothing to be gained eternally by engaging them in a discussion about the Supreme Court. There is nothing to be gained eternally by discussing how this country was founded. The only discussion that has any eternal value is about them - personally. Their life and their need for a Savior. Tell them about repentance and the cross. Tell them about this carpenter from Nazareth who preached only three years but changed the entire world. How He hung on an old wooden cross so that we might be reconciled to our Creator. Tell them what this Jesus has done for you and that He wants to do it for them as well. That is the only hope beloved. That is the only love. That remains the only narrative we need. Rev. Anthony.