“If we are not governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants” (William Penn).
“Is the Lord saying, ‘The party’s over’?” (John Anderson)
“But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath” (Jeremiah 10:10).
What is the future for Australia? We have seen that the moral, financial and spiritual mess of the nation is easily documented. Is there any destiny for Australia? Or, is the party over?
Does Romans 3:10-18 describe Australia?
A. SIN AND JUDGMENT
Will God continue to ‘wink’ at the sin of Australians? Can we get away with sexual promiscuity, killing the unborn (elderly and handicapped, if we get a chance), crime, violence, drug addiction, massive economic debts, etc.? Will we get away with a humanistic, utilitarian value system: I will do what’s right for me, the end justifies the means.
David Chilton observes:
“In the midst of what many experts believe to be the most savage disease in a millennium [AIDS], God is speaking.
God is speaking to a world that has winked at sin and is paying the price medically, judicially, and economically.
God is speaking to a Church that has tolerated disobedience by preaching a message of accommodation and tolerance.
And God is speaking to Christians who have surrendered to the enemy. As a result of ignorance regarding God’s Holy Word, fear of rejection for taking a stand, or lack of confidence in a Sovereign Creator, many have stood idly by, fruitlessly hoping that things will get better.”
Are Christians just left hoping? Jeremiah 8:7; 10:10 and Obadiah 15 are key verses to understand the mind of God.
“Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements [law, ordinance, judgment] of the Lord” (Jer. 8:7).
“But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath” (Jer. 10:10).
“The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return ypon your own head” (Obadiah 15).
What brings on God’s wrath? Read Jeremiah 4:4; 8:9; 10:8, 14-15; Hosea 4:1-3, 6-9; Romans 1:18; 2:5:
- “because of evil you have done”
- “no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land”
- sin that “breaks all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed”
- “against all the godlessness and wickedness of men”
- “your stubbornness and unrepentant heart”
Those who proclaim peace when there is no peace are false prophets who will be brought down with the other sinful people when judgment comes. (See Jeremiah 6:13-15.) There is a clear link between sin and judgment.
To see this link in a contemporary sense, I include this incident that happened to American, David Chilton:
“A few years ago, when I worked with the Institute for Christian Economics, a reporter for a national Christian magazine called. He was polling economists and economic writers around the country, asking us a single question: ‘If you could change one government policy in order to pull us out of our economic problems, what would that change be?‘
‘That’s easy,’ I said. ‘Stop killing the babies.’
His journalistic instincts keen, he said: ‘Uh…what?’
‘Stop killing babies,’ I repeated. ‘You know, abortion? In case you’ve missed the story, over 4,000 unborn babies are slaughtered in this country every day. They’re poisoned, chopped in pieces, suctioned, or simply delivered and left to die. Sometimes the doctor strangles or smothers them…’
‘Uh, yeah, I know that.’ He sounded nervous. ‘But I think you misunderstood the question. I was asking what economic policy you would recommend to alleviate the country’s problems.’
‘Yes, I know that. But you misunderstood my answer. I said that if I could change only one thing to solve our economic problems, I would stop abortion. That’s not the only thing wrong, of course. Many other things should be stopped, such as the government’s manipulation of money and credit. Confiscatory taxation should be stopped. Protectionism should be abolished. Fractional reserve banking should be outlawed. We could talk about a lot of things. But you asked for one thing. Life isn’t that simple, but I was willing to play along. So I said baby-killing.’
‘Wait a minute,’ he said, exasperated. ‘What has abortion got to do with our economic problems?’
‘Maybe that’s the real problem,’ I replied. ‘Here you are, a writer for a respected Christian publication, and you don’t get the connection between (a) the legalized murder of one and a half million people every year, and (b) the fact that God is selling us into economic bondage to other nations. It’s called Divine Judgment. And it won’t stop with mere economic judgment. Murder is a capital crime.
There is something fundamental here. God’s law is eternal. His justice works throughout history to fulfil His purposes. Nobody can escape the consequences of God’s absolute and universal law. When a nation breaks His law, it suffers the consequences. Australian culture is under the sentence of judgment. We have failed to outlaw the abominations that are plagues in our culture.
I believe Rousas J. Rushdoony is correct when he says:
“When a people reaches a certain level of moral depravity, punishment ceases to be particular and becomes national. The civil order has lost its ability to act for God, and God then acts against that order. In other words, there is punishment, but the punishment is from God and the people or nation shall fall.”
Don’t miss this connection between personal and national sin, and judgment. The Bible makes it clear in the prophets.
William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, saw this:
“I looked upon the world around me as being in actual rebellion against God…that He was mocked, and scorned, and hated, as when on earth…I came to realize that…the men and women around me in consequence of their rebellion ‘were in great danger of damnation,’ and that ‘all of their miseries, present and to come, were the results of their rebellion against God.”
Billy Graham acknowledges it:
“The crack in the moral dam is widening, but like the people in Noah’s day before the flood, life goes on as usual with only a few concerned and scarcely anyone alarmed. However, apathy will not deter catastrophe. The people of Noah’s day were not expecting judgment but it came.”
John Anderson examined the Book of Amos’ judgments and found this pattern:
1. This is what the Lord says.
2. For three sins of [the nation] and for four.
3. I will not turn back my wrath.
4. Because [of one sin the nation has committed].
5. I will send fire [and then tells the particular way the judgment would come].
The phrase, “For three sins…and for four…” is a poetic phrase that means “extensive, habitual sin, one sin after another. It is repeated, innumerable, extensive, widely practiced sin [a ‘defining sin’] bringing national guilt–the condition is terminal.” When this continues, “I will not turn back my wrath.” This is a terrifying statement. If we continue to sin, there will be no more mercy. We will face God’s wrath. “For sin, there is one of two things we receive from God: mercy or judgment.”
Question: Do you think Australia is committing a dominant ‘defining sin’ that will bring judgment, if we don’t repent? If so, what is it?
A prophetic voice will speak up and it must proclaim the connection between sin and judgment.
John Anderson says:
“Today as the thundercloud forms, the Church must see the significance of the present situation, see the moral and spiritual aspect of things, and faithfully and fearlessly and compassionately speak up. Its cry of compassion must be filled with the reality of judgment.
In speaking up, the Church should remember that unrepentant society and individuals will delude themselves to the very last and will buoy themselves up with false hopes that they can escape judgment; so the message of the Church needs to speak to the heart and conscience, probing them before God.
…The Church must confront a society wilfully deluded by clever lies while the blood of millions of destroyed unborn cries out for God’s judgment. Convinced of our sin and of God’s righteousness, we must be equally convinced of judgment ‘because the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of violence’.”
Remember what Jesus said about the times of Noah and Lot? (Matt. 24:37-38; Luke 17:26-29)
What, therefore, should the church do?
B. SOUND THE ALARM!
When the nation was rushing toward judgment, Joel the prophet was told by God: “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill” (Joel 2:1). Hosea was told: “Put the trumpet to your lips” (Hosea 8:1). Amos said: “The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem” (Amos 1:2).
Who wants this task today? It will be a compelling message of the ‘Elijah’ church. Leonard Ravenhill believes “there is a suffocating indifference in the Church to the peril of judgment for the nation’s sin.” He tells of a Presbyterian friend of many years who wrote to him, expressing concern at the country’s condition:
“I’m still thinking that we have just two alternatives in the final analysis-wrath or revival. We can have Christian schools; political action; Christian protests; letters to our [parliamentarians]; food storage; moving to the country; home meetings; bookstores; Christian radio; evangelism; Christian ministries of every conceivable variety; retreats; bigger and better churches; feeding the poor; giving our bodies to be burned; prophecies galore; prognostications; timetables for the future; etc., but unless we have a veritable explosion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ out into the world, the world will explode in on us.”
1. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN MORALITY AND BLESSINGS/CURSINGS
The Old Testament prophets saw the clear link between a nation’s morality and God’s blessing or judgment. They knew that if people cheat, lie, commit adultery and fornication, kill and resist the nation’s laws, the country will come under judgment. It is one of God’s infallible laws. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 makes this especially clear.
Today’s world faces the same sort of judgment that Israel faced. The day of judgment is coming for Australia. Our cup of iniquity is almost full. To turn the tide away from judgment, the Lord said: “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” (Joel 2:12-13).
Is this message too convicting, too hot to handle? Where is the urgency about God’s judgment on sin? We are too busy preaching success, prosperity and endless material blessings. David Wilkerson believes
“there should be a heartrending cry from our pulpits, from every television evangelist, of soon-coming judgment on this nation. We have far surpassed the violence of Noah’s day, and God is going to shorten the days and pour out His wrath…
“The congregation of Zion is spoiled! The day of the Lord is at hand; the land is perplexed; there is desolation and destruction threatening on all sides–yet, the Lord’s people do not take it to heart. The church is in the valley of indecision; the Spirit has gone forth to awaken and stir the sleeping–yet there is no fear of God before their eyes. Approaching judgment? Not until they see the end of their favorite television series. Not until the last dregs of pleasure have been wrung out. Not until the easy life ebbs and withers. Not until all fleshly desires and ambitions have been fulfilled. ‘Do not interrupt us, O God,’ they seem to be saying, ‘for the Lord’s coming or sudden judgment would deny us of all that our hearts are set upon.’
Amos brought a message of judgment to the six nations (Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, and Moab) that were surrounding Israel and Judah. Where are those nations today? Only one survives. Every nation is accountable to God. All nations will face the eternal, impartial Judge. Love that will not punish sin is not real love.
Judgment is at Australia’s door! Every year we slaughter about 100,000 unborn children. That’s a million people over a 10-year period. I understand that in 1992, Medicare funded its one-millionth abortion. John Anderson calls it as it is:
“But our guilt is multipliedd immeasurably by the callous deceptions that tell our public conscience it is proper and moral to choose such violence. Such bloody injustice is the kind of sin God can use to bare the magnitude of our iniquity and to show why He will no longer hold back His wrath and our society will be judged. In Israel’s case, the nation as such ceased to exist. So did the six neighboring nations. Will ours? Is God impartial?”
The Lord says we are to sound the alarm. We are to warn the people. False prophets (a false ministry) will not warn because they think they know better than God.
Where does judgment begin? Peter could not be clearer:
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17)
Where is the warning being sounded? We need to work with greater urgency! Where are the churches, pastors, denominations who are warning Australia about cultural and economic collapse because of the nation’s sin? God’s laws cannot be broken, without punishment, forever!
2. WHAT, THEN, IS THE MESSAGE?
a. Warn of the coming judgment.
(1) Show the link between immorality (which is much broader than sexual impurity) and judgment.
(2) Warn about what happens to a nation that ignores or rejects God.
Throughout Anderson’s book he refers to modern people who “live as if God were not there.” This is Australia! Show the connection between godlessness and God’s wrath (Romans 1:18).
(3) Show God’s grief over sin.
At the time of Noah, “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5). What was God’s response before judgment came? “The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Gen. 6:6).
God has deep grief and pain over the rampant sin in the world. The Lord doesn’t bring judgment without warning. Will you participate in this warning, or will you go on living in peace and prosperity oblivious to Australia’s approaching danger?
b. Repent or perish
Every news item that speaks of devastation, disaster, sin and its consequences, should alert people who have ears to hear and eyes to see. It should drive us to our knees in humility and repentance.
Repentance means a complete turn around in everything about our lives and country.
Recently, a Christian friend in my home church was killed in a tragic car accident, less than two weeks before her wedding. It has been a solemn warning to the people in the church to be right with God. Will that country city where the accident happened be called to repentance? Every tragedy like this should remind us, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). It should also cause us to consider the seriousness of eternal things, sin and judgment for sin.
In compassion, we must call people and the nation to repentance for the sin we commit. Repentance must be the focus of our Christian proclamation.
God is holding off judgment to lead people to repentance:
“Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
My heart beats with that of John Anderson when he says:
“Repentance of sin must be out public and personal priority. Let the Church lead the way in open, humble and public repentance of our idolatry, our pride, our ignoring God, our immorality, our killing of our unborn, our other violence, and so on. Let the churches get together to repent and cry out to God for spiritual awakening…
A good place for the church to understand repentance is by reading the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3.
This nation is being shaken economically, politically, socially and culturally. We are reaping the sinful choices we have sowed over decades, and judgment will come.
“Do modern Christians really believe this? Not many seem to. They do not confront the whole society with the call of repentance. They do not seem to recognize that our whole civilization is in rebellion against God, from top to bottom.”
Has Australia gone too far? Are we too far into the sewer of degradation to be rescued? Yes! Unless we repent!
“If we abandon our apostasy, confess our individual and national sins, and seek atonement through the only sufficient covering that God has provided, there is hope (Jeremiah 18:1-10; Ezekiel 33:11-19). But if we love death–if we continue to embrace the contaminating corpse of sin, the rottenness that devours our bodies and souls–there is no salvation.”
Ernie Abella, a humble, gentle-spirited man from the Philippines, spoke at a summer camp in the U.S. in 1990. What he said about America can be applied to Australia:
“Your nation will be shaken so that there will be passion in your prayers. The reason there is no passion in your prayers is because your hearts have become fat. You are dying from obesity of the spirit… You are to cry, you are to repent, you are to seek forgiveness of your God because you have had so much, received so much and yet you do not act on what you have heard.”
Intercessory prayer is a critical aspect of spiritual warfare in Australia. Christians and pastors urgently need to place prayer at the centre of God’s agenda today. This intercession will involve some of the following:
- repentance and confession for personal sin (including what one has not done to be a prophetic voice),
- repentance on behalf of the country,
- intercession for those involved in the moral & spiritual struggle in Australia,
- prayer for God’s answer concerning that “what” of one’s personal involvement in being salt and light today,
- to seek the Lord for a spiritual awakening in Australia,
- it is critical that we engage in Mighty Prevailing Prayer (the title of Wesley Duewel’s book).
- to put on the armour of God (Ephesians 6).
The revivalist of the nineteenth century, Charles Finney, said:
“Unless I had the spirit of prayer, I could not do anything. If I lost the spirit of grace and supplication even for a day or an hour, I found myself unable to preach with power and efficiency, or to win a soul by personal conversation.”
If we will spend time in prayer, several things are certain:
- You’ll become super-sensitive to your own personal sin and its abhorrence before a holy God,
- You’ll weep over the grievous sin of Australia,
- You’ll develop the Lord’s deep passion to proclaim the good news, warn about judgment to come, and call people to repentance.
- the Lord may give you the burden to pray for revival.
Prayer and spiritual warfare are critical for these times. Will you be a partner in intercession?
D. THIS IS A CALL FOR SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP
We so desperately need Christian leaders who know their God, spend time with him (in the Word and in prayer), and observe the Australian culture from God’s perspective–and then become involved.
We need a sense of outrage at what is happening to ‘the lucky country.’ But it must be righteous indignation that leads to positive action. How can we tolerate what is intolerable to God and remain passive and indifferent?
Christian leaders of conviction and vision will be people of action. But it will take perseverance. “To persevere is to succeed.”
If we proclaim God’s message of judgment to our culture, weep in prayer for our nation, issue a cry of compassion for Australia to confess its sin and repent, and preach salvation through Jesus Christ alone, God may open the windows of heaven and pour out Australia’s first spiritual awakening of consequence.
I have a heart-longing for God to send revival, like he did in the days of Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, Evan Roberts (Wales) and Duncan Campbell. Do it again, Lord, is my prayer.
Duncan Campbell, the leader of the Hebrides revival in 1949, defined revival simply as “a community saturated with God.” Revival brings the church to its knees and radically changes society.
“Whole books can be written analysing what is wrong with the church today, but there is hardly a need for this. We must simply admit that we are not an eternity-minded people. We live like the world we are supposed to be saving: for the things of time rather than for the things of eternity. Our priorities are world-related rather than heaven-directed; our treasure is on earth. Revival always begins by putting eternity back into the minds of the Christians, and only when the church takes eternity seriously can we expect the world to do so.“
Second Chronicles 7:14 is still the answer to national revival: “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
WILL YOU PRAY FOR THE LORD TO GIVE YOU A BURDEN FOR REVIVAL?
1. That this conference will have provoked you to pray and then act as a prophetic voice in your community.
2. You are now aware of the biblical teaching that people cannot continue to live a lifestyle of sin and escape God’s judgment. We must call them to repentance.
3. Will you commit yourself to personal righteousness and pray and work for national righteousness?
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
4. There will be men and women who rise up from within the churches who want to hear from God and will spend time with him to hear his voice.
I believe John Anderson is correct when he says that “Western society is now at a crossroads, a watershed moment. The days ahead will be a time of accountability for our choices. Right now we desperately need a word from God.”
Our churches need a deep hunger and thirst for the genuine ministry of the
Holy Spirit. We need a consuming thirst to know God. I am confident some will emerge who will be like the psalmist: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God” (Psalm 42: 1-2).
5. My hope is that men and women of God will recognise the inroads of secularism into society and the church and will refuse to succumb to a dilution of the Word of God for the sake of tolerance and acceptance.
One of the themes of this conference has been the truth of the biblical assessment of what is happening in Australia: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18).
Never feel ashamed of standing on the truth of God’s authority. God’s revelation
lasts forever and authoritatively describes people, the diagnosis of the problem, and the final solution for all of society.
6. As you proclaim judgment on this nation, it must be with a broken heart of compassion for lost Australians. This is a special breed of Christian that I am confident God is raising up.
“Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: ‘We have sinned and rebelled…’ Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed” (Lamentations 3:39-42, 48).
The sinners of Australia can expect only two things from God: mercy or judgment. The awesome God is one of mercy, grace and limitless compassion. “His hands [are] compassionately opened toward those who are rebelliously pursuing evil and headed toward judgment.” Our nation needs the compassionate who will put their arms around people and cry with them over their sin.
7. John Anderson believes there are four key essentials of churches that God will use. I am confident some of these will emerge in the years to come. They will be believers who are:
- in unity [but never at the expense of truth],
- anointed [making God’s truth powerful and interesting. It attracts, edifies, convicts and saves, only through the power of the Spirit. It comes only through prevailing prayer by the messenger],
- determined to be a prophetic voice.
8. This is a call for radical Christians. (Remember, radical means “arising from or going to a root or source; fundamental; basic.”)
David Wilkerson says:
“I think God has come to hate the word balance–because what He is seeking now is radical Christianity… What should we be but radical in our service and devotion! God is calling for Holy Ghost radicals who will cast down all idols, come to His holy hill with clean hands and pure hearts, and live detached from this world, having in them an eternal vision. God wants to smash all idols.”
A prophetic voice will speak and demonstrate radical Christianity in all of life. It will be a “cry of compassion” with the warning: repent or perish. It will have the perspective of the tribe of Issachar “who understood the times and knew what Israel ought to do” (I Chron. 12:32).
LET US PRAY:
Great King of nations, hear our prayer,
While at Thy feet we fall,
And humbly with united cry
To Thee for mercy call.
The guilt is ours, but grace is Thine;
O turn us not away,
But hear us from Thy lofty throne,
And help us when we pray.
With one consent we meekly bow
Beneath Thy chastening hand,
And pouring forth confession meet,
Mourn with our mourning land.
With pitying eye behold our need,
As thus we lift our prayer;
Correct us with Thy judgments, Lord,
Then let Thy mercy spare.
–John Hampden Gurney (1802-62)–
Reading on revival
Edwards, Brian H. Revival: A people saturated with God. Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1990.
Finney, Charles G. Revival Lectures. Broadview, Illinois: Cicero Bible Press.
Finney, Charles G. Charles G. Finney: An Autobiography. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell, 1908.
Hulse, Erroll. Give Him No Rest. Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1991.
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Revival. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1987.
Ravenhill, Leonard. Revival Praying. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1962.
Ravenhill, Leonard. Why Revival Tarries. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1959.
Thornbury, J.F. God Sent Revival. Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1977.