HOW TO BE A WATCHMAN IN MODERN AMERICA - Bible Lesson Outline
HOW TO BE A WATCHMAN IN MODERN AMERICA
Jeremiah 7:28 - U.S.A. in the 21st Century
Jeremiah is a book that can be applied to America in many ways. It's actually about Israel. But many of the passages could very well be about America. Sometimes I read a passage and I realize that if God spoke harshly to Israel, He would have to be just as harsh on us if not more so. Again, I realize that the book is the Lord's message to Israel (through Jeremiah the prophet), but you can't get away from applying it to our country. And I think that when we do that, we can learn some lessons and we can more clearly see the state we are in as a nation.
It's important to have a true realization of where we stand. It's important to sober ourselves by learning God's point of view about a nation and it's people. And we can do those things by reading the scriptures. I think Jeremiah is a great place to go, to help us with those things.
Judah/Israel - the Jews
Jer. 2:5. God asks why they are so obsessed with vanity and wasting their time on things that are frivolous. He's asking them to explain themselves - why they found it necessary to abandon Him. America fits this quite well. We are seeing the fruit of the 60's in the way the current generation has turned out, and a big result of the 60's was that America abandoned God. That was evident even then - there's a famous Time magazine cover from 1966 that simply has a question on it: Is God Dead?. I recently read a quote about that cover and what happened in America in the 40 years since that era. "You killed God and all you got for it was the single mother household."
Jer. 2:8. Speaks about the spiritual leaders - those who hold the Bible in their hands and read from the book but don't know God. People like that have always existed, but from my point of view these sorts of churches and pastors and religious movements are at an epidemic level. We don't have a national awareness of hard-hitting, convicting preachers. We went from Johnathan Edwards to D.L. Moody to Billy Sunday to Billy Graham to now Joel Osteen. Even from the time I got saved - 20 years ago - the level of compromise has gotten worse. I remember back then being very suspicious of Christian leaders in my college campus group who thought it was good to dialogue with people of the Muslim faith etc (without really witnessing to them). In 2013, there are a number of churches who have taken it a few steps further and have started having "Chrislam" services and "interfaith" services where the quran is read along with the Bible.
America needs the true God, or it has absolutely no hope to survive as a nation. God shows his displeasure with a nation that leaves Him (v.2:11-13). He does not take it lightly. And the fact is, America HAS changed its gods. Even secular, non-religious people see it and talk about it. A bestselling fiction book came out a few years ago titled American Gods. In it the new "gods" of America were personifications of the internet, TV, and other technology. It's not too far off. If you need a visual confirmation of that, just look around next time you're out in public and see how many people are staring at a glowing rectangle (their phone). Those same people - and me and you - will most likely go home and stare at a giant flat-screen glowing rectangle in their living room until bedtime as well. "Hath a nation changed its gods?" Yes.
Jer 2:14, 17. God asks if Israel has been spoiled or defeated and made into a servant. The answer is yes, and Israel brought it upon itself. It happened when the nation forsook the LORD. What happens when someone forsakes the LORD is that they lose wisdom - God is the source of all wisdom. (See Jer. 8:9). Without wisdom, we make bad decisions. As a nation, we've done just that. Now we're in verse 14, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov 22:7).
This has happened on a national level, but you and I have both seen it in individuals (this lack of wisdom). Have you ever met someone who actualy did not know who Jesus was? What about someone who had no idea who Adam and Eve were? (I have, but in their defense they were from California.) We are at the point where there is a significant number of people in our nation just like verse 4:22 describes: "they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge."
I read all this not to dwell on negatives but to serve an alert. Even though you may know much of this, we need to be aware of the fact that this nation is going to be judged. It's simply a fact, if we're to believe the rest of the Bible. Verse 5:9 makes it clear that God sees a nation (any nation) that lives against Him, and He will take action. We need to reflect on that.
Now, many of us hopefully are in the small percentage of people that IS aware. And we do grieve over our country. And we realize how serious it is. Many of you have watched the changes in our country and hated to see things get worse and worse. There always is a small number of people like that: Jeremiah was just ONE of those people obviously.
Jer. 6:16-19 - old paths, the good way, the trumpet
More Observations (Specific):
- Our society and our society's leaders have a much different makeup than in decades or centuries past. There are many good things about our country and society today, but many of the most important aspects of our civilization have taken a downturn. For instance, America's Founding Fathers were mostly men of strong character and morals. Today it seems we have few visible leaders that we could even consider to HAVE character or morals.
- Society had a sense of right and wrong. Some individuals still committed crimes and went against what was widely understood to be right - but for a time in America people commonly had a conscience. Today, it's more and more common to see major news events that show people acting without any sense of moral character. This is exactly the type of person mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:2 - "having their conscience seared with a hot iron". A seared conscience doesn't function and has no feeling.
Examples: school shootings, the "knockout game", "bash mobs", the RECENT eruption of bizarre crimes (such as the "Miami Cannibal" in May of 2012).
[I've had people tell me that crime is not increasing; only the reporting of crime has increased. (I've heard similar arguments about the strange weather patterns.) That argument might have made more sense a couple of decades ago, but I don't think it holds up any longer in 2013. For over 15 years people have had access to the internet. For over 30 years, cable news has been available. And before both of those things, major network news and newspapers have been reporting things that happen around the world. The trends in the world are undeniable.]
- Not only did America "kill" God in the 1960's but today we are attempting to turn ourselves into gods. The movement known as Transhumanism wants to merge humans, computers, and machines. The goal is to overcome current human limitations by merging PEOPLE with TECHNOLOGY. (Remember our new gods?) They will improve human bodies with technology and some transhumanists they think that one day mankind might achieve immortality through some kind of technology. God is no where in the thoughts of the transhumanists. Many of these people are famous scientists and intellectuals. For the past two years many of them met at the Global Future International Congress to talk about these ideas. The June 2013 meeting was held in New York city and they drafted a resolution to submit to the U.N. "setting the radical lengthening of human lifespan and the creation of Avatars as a priority for the preservation of humankind.".
[Among the featured life-extension projects is “2045” a Russia-based Avatar project consisting of three phases. First, to create a humanoid robot dubbed “Avatar”, and a state-of-the-art brain-computer interface system. Next, to create a life support system between the “Avatar” and the human brain. The final step is creating an artificial brain in which to transfer the original individual consciousness. ]
- Access to and obsession with pornography is destroying our society in many ways.
- Hatred between people who otherwise should feel love toward one another is constantly being stirred up in the news media and by different groups who get airtime to advertise their agendas. No one benefits except for the people in power and the people who profit from it. The news media presents it, but when you see an ingenious plan that breeds confusion and division among people, it's not of God but comes from satan.
- Downsize your lifestyle. Rid yourself of frivolous commitments and belongings that weigh you down and keep you closer to this world than to God. Materialism and worldly "status" is what keeps people from seeing God - saved or unsaved.
- Build up your faith by reading the Bible.
- Turn off the TV. As many of the negative things I rehashed, you knew most if not all of them. And the news will rehash them again, but won't ever offer a solution.
- Serve as a watchman by warning others of what is to come and how to escape the judgement of God.
- Take a look at what's important to you in life and reevaluate the things that have value - and the things that will not last. Make sure that you invest in the lasting things (which are eternal things).
- As a practical matter, especially in our economy, get out of debt and do not incur debt if at all possible! Romans 13:8 "Owe no man anything but to love one another"
- In your own life constantly try to get rid of the sin, and do what 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says: "prove all things, hold fast that which is good".
- Be encouraged to know that the Lord is real, His word the Bible is accurate and it's true, and what He says will come to pass WILL come to pass - the bad AND the good things. For the people who are God's children, and especially those who live obediently, "the good life" is up ahead. The circumstances we're living in now are flawed, uncertain, sometimes, unpleasant...but temporary.
END - Jeremiah 9:23-24