The Church: The Conscience of a Nation

Where Is God In Our Nation Today And How Do Bring Him Back?

Matthew Maher
Oct 25, 2020    49m
Where is God in our nation today and how do we bring Him back? A nation is a reflection of it's people and there is no separation of church and state. We must turn back to God as a church and make our pulpits flame with the righteousness of God to heal our nation. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matthew Maher (00:02):
Church, look at me, the government will not elect the Gospel. Schools no longer respect the Gospel. The courts no longer protect the Gospel. The world at large rejects the Gospel. But by God's grace alone, salvation goes to anyone who sincerely, genuinely, authentically selects the Gospel. And those who select the Gospel, oh, there will be a conviction in that person's life to stand firm steadfast on the truth. You ain't moving me from this conviction. And here's the reality. When we truly live for the Lord, we consequentially give up the world.

Matthew Maher (00:55):
So I want to begin by sharing with you the truth that undergirds the message this morning. And that truth is this, that the pulpit which is defined in Latin as a platform will determine the state of the pew. And the pew is you and the pew, therefore, determines the pulse of the populace. That's the interaction we have with community, society. Jesus said, you're the salt of the earth. You're the influencing agent of the earth. You're the light of the world in the midst of a culture that is hell bent on darkness. It is the church and the Christian that lights it up. Don't just point it out, light it up. But how do we get to be the influence of the earth or the light of the world? Again, back to the pulpit. In order to effectively reach the lost, the pulpit needs to biblically teach the found.

Matthew Maher (01:51):
As I often say, my audience is Christian. As much as I have a heart to reach the unchurched, the de-churched, my heart wants to re-church the church. In other words, get back to biblical truth. We prescribe to a biblical worldview. I wish I had more time to define and explain a biblical worldview. I want to run through what I put together made up of the seven pillars of a biblical worldview. Why is this important? Because only 6% of America claims a biblical worldview which means only 6% of 330 million people say that the foundation by which they view the world is seen through the Word. To prescribe to a biblical worldview is to confirm that the Bible is the lens through which you see this world, the filter by which you run every single issue through. Every issue can be ran through the Bible. It is the framework by which reality, that's the Greek word for truth, aletheia is perceived.

Matthew Maher (03:00):
Ever wonder how somebody can have a perspective that is so detached from reality? It's because they don't have aletheia, truth. Seven pillars in order. The first is understanding God is creator. Genesis tells us that. But as creator, God is omniscient which means all knowing; omnipotent, all powerful; omnipresent, all places, God is creator. The second pillar is that he created humans. That's you and I. We're the chief crown of his creation. But as humans, we're mortal. God creator; humans, we're mortal which means there's an expiration date on your temporal life. There's brevity to it. The Bible says it's like a shadow. It's fleeting, it's passing. But there's more to it than just being mortal, created in the image of God, intrinsic value, dignity worth. Every human being from the womb to the tomb has value in God's economy. That's a biblical worldview.

Matthew Maher (04:13):
Third pillar, there's sin, however, and sin has led to the fracture of humanity. Sin is evil and with sin being evil, sin is also fatal. Back to being human and being mortal. The wages of sin is death which means 10 out of 10 people will die. We deserve death but God decided to give us life. This is a biblical worldview. There's sin in this world. I can pinpoint the reason there is a fractured, broken society. It's sin but not just sin. There's also a real enemy. The fourth pillar, devil. God creator, humans mortal, sin evil and fatal, a real enemy devil. Be sober. Be vigilant because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. That's the bad news.

Matthew Maher (05:09):
You have to understand the bad news with a biblical worldview before you appreciate the insertion of the good news. We call it the Gospel. Euangelion. To be a messenger of the good news is to understand Jesus is Savior. God creator, humans mortal, sin evil and fatal, a real enemy devil, Jesus Savior. Hallelujah. Jesus is the son of God. Jesus is the Savior of the world. Jesus is the sinless sin substitute and Jesus is the solo way to Heaven. That's a biblical worldview. In a world that has thousands of religions, ideologies, different philosophies, some people believe that if you're just a good human being, you will go to Heaven. But the Bible is like, no, we're all deserving of death and eternal separation from a Holy good creator

Matthew Maher (06:00):
And you're going to die because you're human. And if you're a sinner, unrepentant, that's fatal. And the real enemy, the devil, he's trying to take as many people as possible unless we come to the conclusion that Jesus is our Savior. And there's no other way back to the Father except through Jesus, the Savior. Sixth pillar, there's absolute truth. Truth is not relative. Truth is definitive. Where do you find truth? Scripture. God creator; humans mortal; sin evil, fatal; a real enemy devil; Jesus Savior, absolute truth found in my hand in Scripture. The meaning of life, morality and destiny, all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God. The breath of God. It's breathed out and is profitable for doctrine, teaching. It's what we do here at church for reproof. I say reproof is reinforced proof. We need evidence because faith is not feeling. Faith is built on facts. For correction, to be redirected back to the patterns of righteousness for the instructions therein of righteousness. Right living, right speaking, right responding, right interacting with other human beings.

Matthew Maher (07:25):
This is righteousness built on the life of Jesus that the man or woman of God, that's you and I, may be complete because we're fractured. And we need the Scriptures to complete us. Thoroughly equipped, furnished by the Holy Spirit. You're filled by the Holy Spirit for every good work and a good work is you and I showing the world how God works, how God looks. Final pillar, faith. It's one thing to know all the proceeding pillars intellectually, academically. I have the Scriptures memorized. But putting your faith into practice, faith determines behavior. Let me go through it one more time. God creator; humans mortal; sin, evil, fatal; a real enemy devil; Jesus Savior; absolute truth; Scripture; faith determines behavior. And you can't separate faith from the way you live. While we think faith is compartmentalized, it's a Sunday thing. It's a church thing. Faith according to the Scriptures, the Bible, faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. Faith then is how I live my life outside of the church building

Matthew Maher (08:45):
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, that's Jesus, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age. Titus 2:11 and 12. I love that verse that literally summed up the seven pillars. Okay. With that in mind, it's in the church where we discover the way to live righteously. In Matthew 16, Jesus has his disciples' attention. He asks them what society is saying about Him. Some say you're John the Baptist. Some say you're Jeremiah. Some say you're Elijah. And then He asked the most important question in all of human history. Jesus says who do you say that I am? What is your conclusion about who I am? Who do you say that I am? And Peter says you are the Christ, right? The Messiah. That's the Old Testament presentation of the coming anointed one.

Matthew Maher (09:41):
So he's got the Old Testament down. And you are the son of the living God, which ultimately is what we know about the New Testament. He is giving us the gamut of Scriptures in one answer. You're the Christ, Old Testament. And you're the son of God, New Testament. And Jesus says you have answered correctly but flesh and blood has not revealed this to you. My Father who is in Heaven has revealed this to you. Changed his name in this moment. You are Petra, little stone and on the Petro, large stone, massive rock of your confession you just made, I'm going to build my Ekklesia, Greek. It's the first mention of the word church in the Bible. Any Bible students here, you always want to take notice to the first mention of any given doctrine. The first mention of the word church came out of the mouth of Jesus when he said I'm gonna build my church. He said my church. He took possession of it and the church would be built on what? Not Peter but a confession that Peter made that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and the Gates of Hades, death, hell, the enemy will not prevail against the Ekklesia, the church of Jesus Christ.

Matthew Maher (10:59):
And I'll give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind and loose on earth will be bound and loosed in Heaven. Translation, you have the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. You become the executor of the will. What is God's will? That we would loosen those that are in bondage to sin by preaching the Gospel, those that are bound by sin. And if they die in their sin, they're going to hell. And it's only the keys of the Gospel that can set people free. We loosen. We bind. This is done in the spiritual realm.

Matthew Maher (11:44):
The Ekklesia was a Greco-Roman word. It was a concept. When Jesus said it, they understood that it meant public gathering, assembling. It meant to be called out. But by and large, it was for the citizens of any given empire or kingdom to be called out in a public square, in a public setting, publicly to discuss or have discourse about the common concerns of society. In other words, when we come together publicly, it would be foolish not to address the common concerns of society. This is not a Christian bubble. When we come to church, when Jesus said Ekklesia, he was saying I'm calling you out. You are my people. But I want you to come together publicly to discuss, have discourse about the common concerns of society by preaching biblical truth so people can have a proper frame of reference of reality. That's a biblical worldview. It's a righteous assembly where we have righteous attitudes in response to, some of the songs we just sang this morning, having a righteous attitude and response to God's goodness, God's grace and God's glory. What does that do in your heart? A righteous response, a righteous attitude. Who am I that you would choose a wretch like me, that you would set me free from being a slave to fear, that I'm a son and you're a daughter of the most high God? That's a righteous attitude.

Matthew Maher (13:14):
Why? Because God has called us out of darkness and we come together publicly. We're not supposed to forsake the assembling of ourselves together according to the writer of Hebrews. This is where we serve one another up. We stimulate unto love and good works. This is where we glorify our God because when we leave the building, you better believe the world we live in, as I said last Sunday, is trying to push God out of it. We also have righteous anger here. Ever wonder why at least this pastor, I hear you guys say it, he's always yelling. Yeah. Because there's a righteous anger. You see what sin has done to humanity? When you read about sex trafficking, children being molested and abused, mistreating of the elderly, abortion, murder, genocide, drugs, addiction. I mean it should get us to have righteous anger about what angers God.

Matthew Maher (14:13):
In jail, I was actually standing in the entryway to the bathroom. Probably two people could fit there comfortably. All the traffic on the housing unit would go into the bathroom all day long. And on this particular day, I stopped to have a conversation with an elderly inmate. His name was Pop. Pop was in his 70s. Pop should not have been housed on this particular unit with so many rambunctious inmates. Pop barely had physical fluidity. He was failing. You could tell his body was failing. And he was talking to me in the doorway and he was talking slow. So I'm tracking, I'm trying to pay attention to him. Out of the corner of my eye, I see one of my fellow inmates. His name was Russia because he was from Russia. And he's walking fast down a path just like this. And I could tell he's not going to yield. I could tell how fast he was walking, he's not going to yield. You ever been talking to somebody and you see somebody's walking behind them and you try to kind of redirect them? You don't want to interrupt the conversation. You kind of, you say, excuse me, you pull them this way.

Matthew Maher (15:31):
Before I could pull Pop out of the way of the bathroom entryway, Russia literally spearheads him. Literally hits him with his shoulder hard as could be. Pop falls over. I got to grab him. I instantly felt my blood pressure rise. Maybe it wasn't my blood pressure. Something was rising in me. I stopped my conversation with Pop. Made sure he was okay. I walked out of the bathroom at Russia, walked all the way down the housing units side by side with Russia, letting him know that I disagreed in how he just treated Pop. When we got on the other side of a concrete pillar which on the other side, everybody would smoke. And that's where they would not be seen by the guards. When we got on the other side of the pillar, I guess I should pause and tell you before I became your pastor, I was trained in the art of street fighter. So I'll continue my story. I actually get on the other side of the pillar and I gently but forcefully put Russia up against the wall. And instantly told him to try to move. Try to move. Try to push me like you pushed him.

Matthew Maher (16:42):
At that time in my life, I was a very strong young man. Took the toughness that Russia may have thought he had. Paralyzed him. He couldn't move. I watched the fear in his eyes. He couldn't move. When I let him go, I told him how I disagreed on how he just treated an elderly man. Now that is not a story to advocate for violence or vengeance. Let's just say church discipline is done differently in prison. That's a story to advocate for vigilance and resistance because the Bible says be sober and vigilant. Your adversary, the devil is walking around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Stand firm it says. Resist him steadfast in faith. When I looked up the Word resist in Greek, I was pleasantly surprised that it means to establish one's position publicly by conspicuously holding one's ground, to forcefully declare one's personal conviction.

Matthew Maher (17:49):
In other words, why don't we tolerate immorality and violence and evil and sin? We give it space in our lives and we tolerate it as opposed to warring against it spiritually and resisting it as the Bible says. And like I did physically with Russia, I'm asking the church to do spiritually with any form of spiritual oppression that we come up against with. How do we do that? Well, we understand Proverbs 28:1 says you're the righteousness of God and the righteous are as bold as lions. What do we know about lions? Do you ever wonder how they tamed a lion?

Matthew Maher (18:34):
Various practices to tame this very powerful creature. One way of taming a lion was by the lion tamer getting in the proximity of the lion. But not too close. The lion would be in the cage. And he would spend time walking around the vicinity of the lion cage so the lion would get used to his presence. And as the lion got used to his presence from a distance, he would day by day get closer and closer. He was conditioning the lion to be okay with his presence. And then eventually they put a cage inside the cage and he would get in the cage, still safe and away from the lion, but closer than ever before. And the lion would again be conditioned to be okay with the presence of a man. And then eventually he removed the cage within the cage and he'd get in the cage and it would just be him in the lion. The lion had already been conditioned to tolerate his presence so that the man's presence could regulate the lion. And then they would take the lion out. And that would make a circus by way of entertaining the masses.

Matthew Maher (19:42):
And I'm saying that's, what's happened by way of us tolerating the presence of evil. It started out from a distance and by way of a slow fade, slowly introducing immorality and evil to our society, we always reason well, it's only out there. It's not affecting my home in here. We get in our little Christian bubble and all the way into the cage, evil came and we are lions and we're subdued and we tolerate it. And not only do we tolerate it, we're regulated by it. Well, another law, another law of the land. I guess we just got to bow to it. No, no, no. To be silent with your faith is to keep the lion of Judah in a cage. You see, with faith silent, with boldness absent, chaos and confusion run rampant. 2 Chronicles 15, with beginning verses 5 and 6, as Azariah gives a word to the King Asa, king of Judah. And he says this on behalf of God. In those times, there was no peace to the one who went out nor to the one who came in but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the land. Nation destroyed by nation, city by city for God troubled them with every adversity.

Matthew Maher (21:06):
Can that not sum up 2020? No peace inside. No peace outside. Turmoil, adversity, chaos, confusion, no peace within our land. We're looking at the contention of an election, racial tension, COVID, deception, sexual devolution, social warrior, social justice warriors made up of Millennials and Gen Z who have no clue about history which has given rise to a progressive ideology. Couple that with so many people having a social media theology which means they believe everything they see on a screen. Cancel culture says I can't say anything that will offend you while at the same time, they support a socialist and globalist agenda. And in all of this nonsense, the world expects the church to be silent? Oh, no.

Matthew Maher (22:06):
This is my declaration. The church and the Christian are the conscience of a nation. And to remain silent with the truth only emboldens a culture of lies. See, evil can only prevail when the church ceases to roar and Christians cease to rise. See, we're in the midst of many troubles. The question I have, are we turning back to God? That should be the ultimate question that we have for ourselves. Are we turning back to God? Am I turning back my life and my family back to God? Because when God's people, you and I, get out of tune with His truth, God does what he has to do to bring you and I back to what's true. This is what God does. Do you ever wonder about the beauty of a symphony or an orchestra? Various instruments playing together, producing a beautiful harmony. But the orchestra rises or falls based on 1) their preparation, their gifting and their music ability but also the conductor. And the conductor's role maybe unbeknownst to what you think is very pivotal. The conductor who stands at center mass, he is directing the many musicians.

Matthew Maher (23:29):
He's unifying the performers. He is setting the tempo. He is shaping the sound and he is controlling the pace of the music. Interestingly, every single musician has a different music sheet dependent on what they're playing. But the music sheets that they have, they're not competing with one another. They're completing one another. And the reason why there's so much discord and division in the body of Christ is because we are getting our music sheets from the culture and from the media. And the media is feeding you music sheets that will have you seeing any given issue between two humans and they'll have you racialize it between a black man and a white man. And that's how we're seeing it these days because the media has given you a music sheet. Instead of looking at what the Bible says, you are looking at what the media says and you're racializing every single problem. Media and the culture and the world with COVID, their music sheet is to terrorize, to get us to walk in fear. 2020 has the music sheets having us politicize everything. You know, when an issue is politicized, they want you to choose a side, right or left or do you have the spiritual discernment to know the difference between right or wrong?

Matthew Maher (24:47):
But when you look at the conductor, Jesus Christ, He begins to harmonize, not racialize, not terrorize, not politicize. He begins to harmonize. And while we might have different giftings and we might have different opinions and perspectives, when we all look at the same music sheet and we begin to play our part, we become the church of Jesus, a Christian who is the conscience of a nation. You determine the pulse of our country individually where God has placed you. That's what Psalm 33:12 means .blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Blessed are the people favored, highly favored are the people who declared Jesus is their Lord, who the God of the Bible is their Lord. See, a nation is a reflection of its people.

Matthew Maher (25:43):
And we look around and we see the condition that our country's in, it's a reflection of its people. So I'm wondering where's the church and the Christian who are supposed to be the conscience of the nation. See, if the conscience of a nation has been compromised, has been desensitized, it's probably because the church has turned away from God. That's you and I. 2 Chronicles 15, we back up a few verses in verse 3 and it tells us how a land gets in that critical condition. You ready? For a long time, Israel has been without the true God for a long time. America has been without the true God.

Matthew Maher (26:24):
Bible scholars believe that he's talking about the time of judges, a time of sinfulness and lawlessness, a time where they turned away from God. For a long time, we have pushed God out of the public square. But to understand where we are at presently, we must understand where we have come from historically. April 30th, 1789 in the first presidential inaugural address delivered by the first president George Washington. He gave what would become a prophetic warning to the United States of America. He said this, "We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles favorable smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and the right which Heaven itself has ordained."

Matthew Maher (27:22):
Translation, there will be no favor from God if the people rebel against the order of God. From last Sunday's sermon, when we push back against the restraints that God put in place, moral order, social order, law and order, and the final restraint, the pulpit that is preaching spiritual order, when Washington got done, his first address, the entire government, the House and the Senate went to St. Paul's Chapel which is located at present day ground zero. Historians say this was the spiritual birthplace of the United States of America where they shut the doors on the world. And nobody knows what happened in that sanctuary. But many believe based on writings that came out after it that they got on their knees and they dedicated this land to the one true God. There's a plaque in that chapel to this day over George Washington's pew that says the prayer that he said asking for God's Holy protection upon this land.

Matthew Maher (28:32):
As the years unfolded, church, the assembling of the people happened in the halls of Congress. Prayer is what started their day. Now many would argue back this is not a Christian nation. I didn't say it was a Christian nation. I said it started as a nation of Christians. Semantics? No. Started as a nation of Christians. Bible verses were written all over the monuments. The mention of God as a creator, a Supreme being is in every single governmental document. Yet less than 200 years after that story I just told you, in 1962, the Supreme Court outlawed a simple 22-word non-denominational prayer which was actually devised by the New York Board of Regents and used in all of the public schools in New York City. The prayer was as following: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee and we beg thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country."

Matthew Maher (29:41):
And the Supreme Court ruled to remove that from the public square. One year later, the Court issued another ruling declaring the reading of the Bible and the reciting of the Lord's Prayer in Pennsylvania and Maryland public schools was unconstitutional, outlawing reading the Word, praying to the God of Heavens with no single citation of a precedent case. They banned practices that existed in the public square for over 170 years. Too many cases to regurgitate as I looked up which is happening as we speak for people trying to remove The Ten Commandments from courtrooms, from monuments, from municipalities. I didn't finish my thought from last Sunday. Ten Commandments in a courtroom, a court of law. Our laws underneath them that govern society are divine. They all were birthed out of The Ten Commandments. There are millions of laws on the books and they all can be reduced to The Ten Commandments which Jesus reduced to two commandments: love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do you understand this?

Matthew Maher (31:02):
And people are saying that hanging those laws because of the mentioning of God is unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Constitution itself says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal." Self-evident, undeniable. Everybody knows this. Theological underpinnings. And we've been endowed with certain unalienable, can't take them away, rights. Government doesn't give the rights. God gave the rights. Government holds them. Amongst these are life as God defines it. Liberty as God gives it. Because wherever the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty. That's the DNA of freedom, church. Anyone in any time that has fought against freedom, true liberty is tyrannical. It is the father of lies. It's the enemy. And the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of opportunity, the pursuit of property. Yet we want to remove moral order and we wonder why our land is in the condition it's in.

Matthew Maher (32:22):
You might say why are you talking about courts and judges? Well, for one, there's a book of the Bible called Judges and the role of the judge in biblical times was to discern the law, to be a defender of the people as they applied the law and a deliverer of the people. Do you look up why they're talking about packing the courts? Does anybody have any idea what that means? When they say are you going to pack the courts, it means that with nine current Supreme Court justices which has been the number for a long time at this point, that they want to add seats to that court and fill it with what's called judicial activists which are those who will become an extension of the legislative branch which is not what the courts are supposed to do. Judges are in place to interpret the law, to interpret the Constitution as original interpretation.

Matthew Maher (33:18):
But judicial activists, left liberal and laws want to redefine law. They want to reinterpret law. They want to implode the foundation and the framework of our land which has built upon spiritual law. Don't believe secular revisionists who are trying to tell you otherwise. So what's that got to do with you? Everything. We live in a country where we elect and select our leaders. But we've shirked our responsibility over time because we reason well, God's will be done. But you can't use God's will be done as an excuse not to do God's will. And we put the people in office. We select and elect and then they select an elect. They appoint, they nominate. It's like the woman who had two sons and of course, she had trouble with them. And they were rambunctious but they often were getting into so much trouble and when things turned up missing, the mom knew it was them. Anytime something was missing at the church, everybody knew it was these two brothers.

Matthew Maher (34:27):
She had it up to here with them. She didn't know what to do with them. So she went to the pastor. Of course, the pastor can probably talk some sense into them and put the fear of God back into them. Pastor, I need your help with my two sons. You already know they're unruly. They're stealing things. The pastor says I know what I'll do. Of course, I'll remind them that God's always watching. A good, healthy dose that God is always watching you. So that was his tactic. He called the one young boy into his office. He looked him in the eyes and said young man, where is God? The boy froze. The pastor spoke more vehemently. Son, look at me. Where is God? The boy again startled. The pastor said I'm going to say one more time. Where is God? The boy jumped out of his seat, ran out of the office, went all the way home, slammed his bedroom door. His older brother was waiting. He said, what happened? He goes oh, man, you won't believe it. We're in big trouble this time. God is missing and I think we had something to do with it.

Matthew Maher (35:27):
Wait for the punchline. If God is missing, we did have something to do with it. What is missing in your life? You had something to do with it. If God is missing in your marriage, you had something to do with it. If God is missing in our country, our community, we had something to do with it. And when will the church and the Christian take responsibility? Proverbs 29:18 says where there is no revelation, ready?, the people cast off restraints. That was the idea from last Sunday. Where there's no biblical revelation, where the Word of God is not taught properly, explained and lived out, the people cast off or reject restraints. When human laws begin to violate Heaven's laws, all hell breaks loose and that's the enemy's agenda. He wants to sideline, silence and separate the church. Sideline you, get you to think that you're in your Christian bubble, nothing that goes on in your world pertains to your Christian lifestyle.

Matthew Maher (36:34):
He wants to silence you. Don't speak up about truth. Don't bring that up. That's offensive. You're intolerant. And all of these tactics to get us to be silent with biblical truth and ultimately, he's done a fantastic job separating the church. What do I mean by separating the church? Many people believe the lie of separation of church and state. You know why? Because nobody takes the 10 minutes it takes to Google the actual meaning of separation of church and state. So while many falsely claim that church and state need to be separated, don't bring up that in the pulpit, the church is the means for the state to remain liberated. There'd be no state without the church.

Matthew Maher (37:16):
Separation of church and state was written in response to a letter from the Danbury's Baptists to President Thomas Jefferson. Their concern about the interpretation of the First Amendment, whether or not they truly had freedom to exercise their religion, they were concerned that the state would overreach. So then Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter back to them affirming you have nothing to worry about. There's a wall of separation between you and I. In other words, the government cannot force a religion on the people. The government can not fund any given religion. The government cannot determine a religion. But when he said that, it was mainly about denominations because they had already had the religious framework based on George Washington and the other founders. And Thomas Jefferson, after he wrote this letter, two days later, he was at a church service in the House of Representatives.

Matthew Maher (38:15):
So how did we get this wrong? 1947, Everson versus Board of Education. A judge decided to look into the documents. That term separation of church and state, look at me, is not anywhere in our governing paperwork. It's not in the Constitution. It's in the Declaration of Independence. It's not in the Bill of Rights. It can be found nowhere except a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. And they looked for some type of justification to remove God from the public square, the God who founded spiritual, moral, and social order, the institution of government, family, and Christianity. The church, Ekklesia. And that we would influence the world because we lived out of supreme laws. And from 1947 and on, we see an unraveling of morality. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, newsflash, is a public truth which means it should be lived out in our public life, which means it should be introduced to the public square, which means Proverbs 14:22 holds true. Righteousness exalts a nation. Righteousness. Right standing, right behavior, right laws, right living. Righteousness provided by Christ alone. But sin is a reproach or shame to any people. And that's why it's true when the church is out of place, all hell breaks loose. When people are inclined to sit on the sidelines, to compromise, it's because pulpits fail to preach truth. Too many pulpits, they're more about having the people feel good as opposed to having them feel God. Big difference. I want you to feel God when you come to this church because I'm unashamed to preach the truth.

Matthew Maher (40:11):
I don't apologize if I hurt somebody's feelings. Compromise pulpit is not Christ pulpit. That's truth. And the state of the pulpit again, will determine the state of the pew. That's you. And the state of the pew determines the pulse of the populace. Okay. Look at this. 2 Chronicles 15, verses 3 and 4, for a long time, Israel has been without the true God. How do you get to a place in your society to be without the one true God? It tells us the answer. You ready? They were without a teaching priest and without law. Look at that. The role of the priest was to teach the law. The role of the priest in biblical times as it is in present times was vital to the moral and spiritual quality of the national life. But when that was neglected, the truth about God was declining and the fabric of covenant society was undermined. Cities are currently on fire because pulpits aren't.

Matthew Maher (41:16):
A man named Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831, he traveled over to the United States of America. He wanted to put democracy under a microscope. He wanted to discover what made America so great. What determined the reputation around the world about this country that became united in its union? Alexis de Tocqueville in the book titled Democracy in America, he said this. This can be summed up, his entire book. "I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers and it was not there. In her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there. In her rich minds and her world commerce and it was not there. In her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits of flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."

Matthew Maher (42:23):
Boom! Saw her pulpits of flame with righteousness? Yeah. Because liberty cannot be established without morality and morality cannot be established without faith. And now we're back at a biblical worldview. See, when the pulpit becomes more about keeping people happy, it becomes less and less about making people Holy. And a compromise pulpit produces scripturally deficient Christians and morally weak believers, right? A watered down Bible will produce a waterlogged people. You know, a waterlogged land, you cannot plant crops in it. It's useless. The only way to use a waterlogged land is if it's drained because the pores are suffocated. There's no oxygen. And I look at 2020 and I go God, He's purging his church. He's draining his church. So while some people are looking at it as division, I see it as separation. God is separating those who believe His Word, those who bleed His Word from those who are just playing church. Just playing church. They want to go somewhere that's more comfortable, doesn't really preach truth because they want to feel good. They don't want to be offended by truth. So they go and God's like that's okay. All I'm doing is purging my church. I want true believers, disciples that follow my Son Jesus, that are willing to die and willing to suffer persecution.

Matthew Maher (44:05):
Look at the end of this verse, verse 4. But when in their trouble, they turned to the Lord God of Israel and sought him. And He was found by them. Right, anytime you see the rebellious state of Israel or the rebellious state of the church, when we turn away from the one true God, there's always room for repentance. There's always room to return. And what I want to present to this assembly this morning is that we would be a people who turn away from our evil doing, our wickedness, our naivety, our complacency, our apathy of what's going on around us and repent and come back to God who says I'll be found because I didn't go anywhere. You did.

Matthew Maher (45:01):
There was a father who was reading a magazine. His little daughter was nagging him. So he attempted to distract her. He saw on the next page of the article he was reading a picture of our country, the United States of America. So he ripped it out and then he tore it into pieces. And he said to her go put the country back together. See if you can put it together like a puzzle, honey. She took all the pieces. She went into a side room. Within minutes, she returned with the paper put together, taped perfectly. The father was astonished. How did his little girl know how to put the country back together in so many pieces? "How did you do it?" he said. She said it was easy. On the other side was a picture of Jesus. And when I got Jesus back where he belonged, our country just came together. See, when the body of Christ comes together under the banner of the Gospel, our soul and society will know revival. When we actually come together under the unity of the Gospel, our soul and our society will begin to be revived. Healed is the Word.

Matthew Maher (46:25):
Now, let me say this as we close. This message about the church being the conscience of a nation, it is not determined by the upcoming election. Our responsibility in spite of the outcome, we must hold onto this truth and this hope, that the presidential election is not outside the bounds of God's providential election which means He's still on the throne. And the Bible tells me to the rising and falling of empires, kings and kingdoms, our God is in control. Psalm 75:6 and 7 says for exultation comes neither from, ready?, the East, the West nor the South. And then it goes into a new verse. What didn't it mention? The North. Exultation comes from the North. It's Heavenward. It's God's sovereignty. Verse 7, but God is the judge. He puts down one and He exalts another.

Matthew Maher (47:29):
Regardless of the outcome in November or December or January, whenever the heck we find out, will the church and Christian determine to be the conscience of a nation? Will we be salt influencing the world around us? Will we be light lighting up the darkness? Will we hold our ground? Will we resist the enemy? Will we be a people who is unashamed of the Gospel? And since we're not dead, we're not done. We've heard it this morning by God's grace. Let's do it this morning. God bless.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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Ocean City, New Jersey 08226