Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Lancaster Church of Christ, serving the communities of Harrisburg, Junction City, Monroe, and Lancaster, in Oregon


The Lancaster church of Christ meets on Lingo Lane, a county road between Hiway 99 E and 99W, two miles between Junction City and Harrisburg, in Oregon. Get a map here http://www.dexonline.com/servlet/ActionServlet?pid=singlemappingresults&mq=Y&primaryBusinessRecordID=2kdk47totsfhom25iqnn0302t3&primaryHeadingID=933&primaryProductID=1136

A brief history of this church can be found here http://ncbible.org/nwh/OrLaneWest.html#lancaster

This group follows the New Testament Doctrine; its salvation pattern is from Acts 2 and the rest of the New Testament.

The current preacher is Stanley Sherman
Phone: 541-998-1944 (home) and 541-998-8989 (Stanley's Office phone-leave a message.)

Email Stan: StanSherman@comcast.net

Worship begins is from 10:45 til noon on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon Bible study meets in the fellowship hall at 4 PM, and Wednesday afternoon at 4 PM.

For those interested in Bible study, there are Bible Classes at 9:45 am Sunday, and parents are welcome to attend along with their children. The adult Bible class is in the auditorium.

The Lancaster church of Christ warmly and heartily welcomes visitors.

The Ladies Bible Class meets here every Thursday morning from 10-11 am, and also has a long history. Good fellowship and refreshments are enjoyed after the study.

If you are buying an R.V. in Junction City, or getting your vehicle serviced there (Country Coach or any other company), be sure to visit us.

Sundays at 3:30 p.m. Stanley Sherman broadcasts on KORE 10.50 AM on the radio in Springfield/Eugene.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

A More Excellent Way

THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY -A Sermon on Love
Introduction:
A. My family and I, while on a vacation trip several years ago, visited Eureka
Springs, Arkansas in the Ozarks, where the largest and most famous
annual Passion Play is presented, depicting the crucifixion and resurrec-
tion of Christ.
1. There's a story about an actor who was playing the part of Christ in the
Passion Play in the Ozarks.
a. As he carried the cross up the hill a tourist began heckling, making
fun of him , and shouting insults at him.
(1) Finally, the actor had taken all of it he could take.
(2) So he threw down his cross, walked over to the tourist, and
punched him out.
b. After the play was over the director told him, “I know he was a pest,
but I can't condone what you did. Besides, you're playing the part of
Jesus, and Jesus never retaliated. So don't do anything like that
again.”
(1) Well, the man promised he wouldn't.
(2) But the next day the heckler was back worse than before, and
finally the actor exploded and punched him out again.
c. The director said, “That's it! I have to fire you! We just can't have
you behaving this way while playing the part of Jesus!”
(1) The actor begged, “Please give me one more chance. I really
need this job, and I can handle it if it happens again.”
(2) So the director decided to give him anther chance.
d. The next ay he was carrying his cross up the street. Sure enough,
the heckler was there again.
(1) You could tell that the actor was really trying to control himself,
but it was about to get the best of him.
(2) He was clinching his fists and grinding his teeth.
(3) Finally, he looked at the heckler and said, “I'll meet you after the
resurrection!”
2. Sometimes it's hard for some, professing to be Christians, to behave like
Christians ought to, and we react like people of the world would react to
situations.
a. We go about carrying our crosses, and then someone crosses us, and
Sherman--Page 2
we lose our composure and lash out to get even.
b. We are no different than the world. No one could tell us apart.
B. But the Bible shows us that we're to be better than that.
1. It teaches us to exercise love in all of our relationships with one
another.
2. Listen to these passages:
a. ROMANS 12:18 “If possible, as far as it depends on you, be at
peace with all men.” (NASV)
b. EPHESIANS 4:1-3 “...walk in a manner worthy of the calling with
which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with
patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent
to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (NASV)
c. HEBREWS 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the
holiness Without which no one will see the Lord.” (ESD)
d. I PETER 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls by obeying the
truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see
that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” (KJV)
“unfeigned” love means “not pretending” or “not hypocritical” love
3. Now all these verses say the same thing.
a. It may be difficult at times, and not everyone is easy to love, but
Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, commands us, as much as possible, to
live together in peace and harmony as brethren in His body the
church.
b. PSALMS 133:1 “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity.”
B. There are some chapters in the Bible that are consider classics. Scholars
call them “standard chapters” because they feature a particular topic all
the way through.
1. For example:
a. Psalm 23 is the great chapter on God's comfort and care.
b. Hebrews 11 is the great chapter on faith.
c. I Corinthians 15 is the great chapter on the future final resurrection
2. And, when we think of love, we typically think of I Corinthians 13.
a. I Corinthians 13 and Psalm 23 are called the most popular chapters in
the Bible.
Sherman--Page 3
b. They have been read on many occasions—for weddings, funerals and
during times of illness, comfort and meditation.
c. And they are truly balm for the human heart no matter in which
setting they are applied.
C. But the fact is that, regardless of how dearly I Corinthians 13 is held in the
minds of people, the average person has no idea about what its true mean-
ing really is.
1. The average person, who thinks of love only in terms of warm fuzzys,
positive thoughts, emotional stirring, tugging at the heart-strings, and
other pleasant and pleasurable responses—the average person will read
the chapter, and comment on how wonderful, beautiful and profound
it is, and miss the real context of the chapter and its real purpose.
a. The description of love is beautiful on the surface.
b. But, it's even more beautiful and profound when we uncover the
great truths it teaches.
2. I Corinthians 13 lies in its context as a part of chapters 12 and 14--
a. and is in contrast to the spiritual gifts that were temporarily placed in
the church to strengthen the church and confirm the spoken Word
until the New Testament was complete.
b. Some brethren in the church at Corinth were abusing and misusing
these gifts.
(1) Some were jealous of the gifts others had. Some had received
no gifts at all.
(2) There were also divisions and contentions and accusations.
(3) There was confusion and disorder in the church services.
(4) They had misunderstood the nature and purpose of the 9 gifts
distributed by the Holy Spirit throughout the church to certain
ones. They were...
(a) Word of wisdom (the gospel message)
(b) Knowledge (supernatural knowledge of the scriptures)
(c) Faith (miraculous faith—the power to exert unnatural
influences)
(d) Healings (power over diseases)
(e) Miracles (to heal all manner of diseases)
(f) Prophecy (the ability to foree and forecast coming events)
Sherman—Page 4
(g) Discerning of spirits (the ability to look into the hearts of
hypocrites and false apostles and expose them)
(h) Tongues (the ability to speak in languages not previously
learned—It was not babbling or jibberish such as what peo-
ple claim today—Corinth was a crossroads on major trade
routes, so there were people of all nations and languages
visiting the city)
(i) Interpretation of Tongues (Tongues could only be
exercised if there was someone present to interpret and give
the understanding to the speaker)
c. These 9 gifts were not given to make one member more powerful and
important than any other member of the church.
d. The spiritual gifts were the credentials of the apostles, and those on
whom they laid their hands to pass on the gifts—for the purpose of
introducing themselves to unbelievers as being men of God and not
charlatans or fakes.
e. Now from the context it seems that some members were ready to walk
out and quit.
(1) Paul talks to them about the church, as in a human body, is a
body of people with differing abilities in characteristic and num-
ber, but all are important to the overall functioning of the body.
(I Corinthians 12:13-27)
(2) Now we must not lose sight of the fact that the purpose of the gifts
was not primarily for the benefit of those that received them, but
for those who were receiving the message of the gospel from these
Christians at Corinth.
4. Chapter 12 closes with the words: “But covet earnestly the best gifts:
an yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (V-21)
a. The way of love—that which would be around long after those 9
temporary gifts had ceased—love is the more excellent way.
b. We're ready now to build upon this foundation and look at the
characteristics of true love in chapter 13.


Sherman—Page 5
DISCUSSION:
A. I CORINTHIANS 13 is divided into 3 parts:
1. I CORINTHIANS 13:1-3 is the first division and points out the impor-
tance of love:
a. (V-1) “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not
have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
(1) In the first century, at the entrance to most pagan temples, there
was a big gong or cymbal hanging. When people came to
worship they would hit the cymbal or gong in order to awaken
the pagan gods to listen to their prayers.
(2) Paul was pointing out that even if a Christian could speak with the
greatest of eloquence in every language, but didn't possess love
for a fellow Christian or the lost, then their life as a Christian was
just as useless as this ridiculous pagan act of pounding on a gong
to awaken non-existent gods.
b. (V-2) “And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries
and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove
mountains, but do not have love I am nothing.”
(1) If you think you are a super Christian, will a commanding know-
ledge of the Bible, and you know philosophy and theology and
psychology and all the other ologies, but you don't have love,
what's all your wisdom and knowledge worth?—absolutely
nothing. But if you do not have love for God to fully do His will
and love for others, your knowledge is absolutely worthless!
(2) In Galatians 5:6 Paul says that “the only thing that counts is
faith working through love.”
c. (V-3) “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I
deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me
nothing.”
(1) He didn't say “If I give 10%”. He says if I give everything--
empty my bank account, sell everything I have to give to the
poor and needy—but I don't have the kind of love God wants,
there is no blessing for my generosity from God. He counts it as
nothing. I may as well kept everything.
(2) That's how important God's kind of love is.
Sherman—Page 6
d. So, Paul is saying here by way of the Holy Spirit, that if you attend
church services every time the door is open, if you read your Bible
every day, if you pray, if you help the needy, visit the sick, and do
everything a Christian ought to do, but you don't manifest God's
kind of love in your life—it's all worthless! You might as well have
stayed home.
e. So, obviously, the practice of love in our lives is very important,
much more important perhaps than we ever realized before.
(1) Jesus says in JOHN 13:34 “A new commandment I give you:
Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must live one
another.”
(2) That, folks, is our standard: To love God as Jesus loved God.
To love the church of Christ as Jesus loves His bride, the church.
To love one another as Christ loves us.
Love others through Jesus' eyes.
(3) And notice that Jesus says this is a commandment, not a sugges-
tion.
(a) And God never commands us to do anything that we can't
do. It's a matter of want to.
(b) The Bible teaches that love is something we can control.
2. So now, let's look at what this kind of love is like. This is the second
part of I CORINTHIANS 13—VS. 4-8
a. The Greek language—the language of the New Testament has basic-
ally 4 words for love:
(1) Agape—brotherly love, charity, the love of God for man and the
love of man for God. Reverence. Sacred devotion.
(2) Storgenatural affection as between parent and child; family
relationships.
(3) Philia—affectionate regard, friendship, loyalty to friends, family
and community.
(4) Eros—intimate love, passion.
b. The love of I Corinthians 13 is AGAPE love—brotherly love; the
love of God for man and man for God. The love Jesus commanded
for us.
Agape is “a caring, self-sacrificing commitment which shows itself
Sherman-Page 7
in seeking the highest good of the one loved”.
B. THE 15 CHARACTERISTICS OF AGAPE LOVE SHOWING
WHAT LOVE LOOKS LIKE AND HOW IT ACTS IN EVERYDAY
LIFE:
1. (V-4) Selfless “love is PATIENT”.
a. Why do you think the Holy Spirit put this one first?
(1) How often, when we are affronted or offended, do we form an
immediate judgment without taking time to find out the facts or
motivations.
(2) The Greek word comes from two words meaning long-tempered.
I like the KJV which says that love “suffereth long”...it's long-
suffering.
b. “If you're patient, you're slow to anger, you endure personal wrongs
without retaliating. You bear with others' imperfections, faults and
differences. You give them room to changeroom to make mistakes
without coming down hard on them.” (Steven Cole)
2. (V-4) Selfless “love is KIND”.
a. This is the next logical characteristic of true love, because kindness
is patience in action.
b. The Christian's response to harsh treatment is kindness.
c. Jesus said in LUKE 6:33, 35 “And if you do good to those who do
good to you what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the
same thing...But love your enemies, and do good, and lend,
expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and
you will be sons of the Most high; for He Himself is kind to
ungrateful and evil men.”
d. Kindness motivates others toward positive change.
3. (V-4) Selfless “love is NOT JEALOUS”
a. The jealous person wants what other people have for himself or her-
self.
b. The jealous person will not applaud the success of others and
wants all the attention.
c. JAMES 4:2 “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet
and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel...” (ESV)

Sherman-Page 8
4. Selfless “love does NOT BRAG
5. and is NOT ARROGANT,”
a. Bragging and Arrogance are sometimes called the ugly twins, and
both grow out from selfishness, personal rights, and pride.
b. One commentary says,Jealousy is wanting what someone else
has. Bragging is trying to make others jealous of what we have.
Jealousy puts others down; bragging builds us up.” (The
MacArthur New Testament Commentary, I Corinthians)
c. Selfless love isn't focus on self, but tries to build up the other person
d. The humble, loving Christian realizes that all he has is an undeserv-
ed blessing from God (I Cor. 4:7). The real Christian doesn't boast,
but thankfully serves others.
6. (V-5) Love “does not act UNBECOMINGLY”.
a. Another version says of love, “it is not rude”.
b. Love does not needlessly offend on purpose.
c. Love has good manners, is courteouspolitesensitive and
tactful.
d. Love, in wishing the best for others, expresses itself through
modesty and moral purity, so as not to be offensive or a poor
example or a stumblingblock to others.
7. (V-5) Selfless love, “it does not seek its OWN.”
a. It is not selfish and does not demand its rights!
b. Aren't you glad that Jesus didn't demand His rights? He could
have stayed in Heaven, and we would never have had a chance at
obtaining salvation.
c. True love is never selfish nor feels deserving.
8. (V-5) Selfless love “is NOT PROVOKED”.
a. The KJV says, “is not easily provoked”
b. The Phillips Version says “It is not touchy”
c. A quick-tempered person is like a bomb.
(1) Look at the devastation they leave behind.
(2) A quick-tempered person is definitely selfish and shows
personal weakness, lack of self-control and impatience.


Sherman-Page 9
9. (V-5) Selfless love “does NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT A WRONG
SUFFERED.”
a. The Greek word here is an accounting term.
b. As applied here, “love does not keep a tally of wrongs and bear a
grudge until everyone is paid for.”
Another version says that love “keeps no record of wrongs.”
c. There is no place in a Christian's heart for “personal justice” or
“getting even” or retribution or revenge.
(1) ROMANS 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but
rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance
belongeth unto Me, I will repay saith the Lord.”
(2) Instead of seeking personal justice, turn it all over to God
and seek ways to return good for evil.
(3) “But what if that doesn't make me feel vendicated?”
(a) Then you learn to live with it;
(b) Or, learn to forgive and leave it behind.
(4) To react as the world would, is to open the door for Satan to
come in and destroy everybody concerned along with a lot
of collateral damage. It is never right.
10. (V-6) Selfless love “does NOT REJOICE IN UNRIGHTEOUS-
NESS
11. BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH.”
a. The Moffatt version says, “Love is never glad when others go
wrong”
b. To rejoice in truth is to be happy when behavior is seen to be
harmony with God's Will.
c. As we said in the beginning, love is more than happy, fluffy good
feelings. Love is also seen in the Holy Spirit's admonition for
Christians to “reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long suffering
and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2).
(1) Love is seen in discipline and correction, and that is not
often pleasant, but is necessary to help and brother or sister
correct behavior and to protect the church from worldliness,
error, and false doctrine.
(a) This is often called “tough love”.
Sherman-Page 10
(b) Parents are familiar with this when it is necessary to
discipline misbehavior
(c) Proverbs 13:24 “He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
(d) God also disciplines His children—Christians, through
the command for us to watch out for each other, and when
and where necessary reprove, rebuke and exhort, with
patience and Biblical teaching. All of this is a part of
Agape Love.
(e) Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and
discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”
(2) I was a university student and took a couple other students
with me to church services one Sunday night. They did not
have the same appreciation for worship Christians should, so
they were not as reverent as they should have been. During
the invitation song one of them leaned over with some
remark that got the others giggling. I got caught up in it my-
self right along with them.
(a) After services the song leader took me aside and said,
“Stan I'm very disappointed in you. I thought of you
better than that.”
(b) Well I was mortified with a mixture of embarrassment,
regret, and anger—thinking at first, well who was he to
confront and judge me.
(c) As I thought more about it, I realized just how wrong I
was, so I went to the songleader's home and thanked him
for his rebuke.
(d) It was just what I needed, because I couldn't see that my
university environment was influencing me little by little
to let down my guard as a Christian and as an example.
(e) In fact, I might not be a preacher today if it hadn't been
for that little one-sentence rebuke by a Christian who
cared for my soul.
d. “There is a fine balance to love. Although love is kind and
overlooks the faults of others, it does not compromise the truth or
Sherman-Page 11
take a soft view of sin.
(1) To allow another person to go on in sin whether it is known
sin or a blind spot, is not to seek his best; it is not love.
(2) Love will sensitively confront and correct precisely because it
cares deeply and know that sin destroys.
(3) Love rejoices with the truth.
(4) Love gets excited when it hears of spiritual victories.
(5) Love encourages by expressing joy over little evidences of
growth.
(6) John, the apostle of love, wrote, 'I have no greater joy than
this, to hear of my children walking in the truth' (3 John 4).”
12(V-7) Selfless love BEARS ALL THINGS.
a. The Greek wording here can go in either of two directions:
(1) either to bear up under
(2) or, to protect by covering.
b. If the context allows the first meaning, to bear up under, then it
would be the same as “endures all things” at the end of V-7.
c. So it may be the second meaning—to protect by covering.
(1) In other words, Love doesn't broadcast the problems of others
to others whether true or not.
(a) Talebearing or Gossip, even though so common, is
among the sins that God says Hates in Prov. 6
(b) In I Timothy 5:13 the Holy Spirit says of people who do
this “they go around from house to house; and not merely
idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things
that not proper to mention.” and further on in verse 15
He goes on to say of these folks, “for some have already
turned aside to follow Satan”.
(c) The reason gossip is so evil is because it is murder in the
heart that Jesus talked about in His sermon on the mount.
It is character assassination; it ruins reputationstears up
churchesseparates friends and is always associated with
exaggeration and lying.
(d) It also reject's the Holy Spirit's pattern for resolving
disputes in Matthew 18 by not going first to the offender.
Sherman-Page 12
(e) To use old Western terms, a gossip is a back shooter, a
coward.
(f) REVELATION 21:8 says “...the cowardly and
unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral
persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their
part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone,
which is the second death.”
(9) As you can see, someone who gossips cannot claim to be a
loving person.
d. But gossipy tongues could be easily stopped if there were no
gossipy ears to perpetuate the wickedness and enable the sinner.
(1) I Timothy 5:22 warns us not to participate in other men's
sins.
(2) The right thing to do when you hear someone trying to tell
you gossip is to say, “Now let me stop you right there. Have
you talked to that person?”
(3) And the Bible teaches that you should go further and exhort
them not to carry gossip.
“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who
are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each
one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one
another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”
(Galatians 6:1-2)

d. Love defends the character of the other person as much as
possible within the limits of truth and righteousness
e. God's best is to forgive and renew relationships.
f. Love bears all things.
13. (V-7) Selfless love BELIEVES ALL THINGS.
a. Another version says, “Love always trusts”.
(1) This doesn't mean being gullible.
(2) But it does mean that love is not suspicious, but love is slow
to blame.
(3) Love does not doubt the other person's character and motives
without good reason, even if his actions offended you.
Sherman-Page 13
b. In other word, love believes the person innocent until proven
guilty. Don't we believe that way in our nation's justice system?
Why don't we believe that way in the Kingdom of God?
14. (V-7) Selfless love HOPES ALL THINGS.
a. Love is not pessimistic. It expects one to succeed, not to fail.
b. And if failure does occur, love does not look at failure as final.
c. Love is familiar with Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me.”
and Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are
the called according to his purpose.”
d. Love hopes all things.
15. (V-7) Selfless love ENDURES ALL THINGS.
a. The Greek word for endures is a military term meaning to sustain
the assault of an enemy.
(1) It carries the idea of holding up under trial, or
(2) Perseverance in spite of difficulties.
(3) Love hangs in there, but not with just a stoic, passive attitude,
but manifests a positive, triumphant spirit that sticks it out.
16. (V-8) Love never fails.
C. The third section of I CORINTHIANS 13: (8-13) closes the chapter by
returning to the superiority of Love which endures over the limited
spiritual gifts which were soon to pass away.
CONCLUSION;
A. And the last verse of the chapter says “But now abide faith, hope, love,
these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1. We are living in the last days of faith, hope and love.
2. When Jesus comes again there will be only one.
a. Faith will be replaced by the sight of Jesus' coming.
b. Hope will be resolved by reality.
c. But the time will never come when we can do without love--
(1) Love is eternal.
(2) I JOHN 4:8 “The one who does not love does not know God,
for God is love.”
(3) “...if ye forgive men for their transgressions, your Heavenly
Sherman-Page 14
Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, than
your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew
B. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not easily angered or
quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury.
Love does not delight over wrongdoing but
rejoices with the truth. It bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures
all things, perseveres through all things.
Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
This passage is not just about Love; it is about
each of us. It is about what we are each called
to become and what we will each become as we
mature emotionally and spiritually.
To really get a sense of the size of the task
ahead and to be true to ourself as to whether we
truly do love, simply replace the word love and
it in this passage with your name and read it
aloud:
“___is patient, ___is kind. ___does not boast,
___is not inflated. ___is not rude, ___is not
self-seeking, ___is not easily angered or quick
tempered, ___it does not brood over injury.
___does not delight over wrongdoing but
rejoices with the truth. ___bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
things, perseveres through all things.
___never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)





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Monday, July 05, 2010

How The Church Can Help The Nation

 HOW THE CHURCH CAN HELP THE NATION
                                                          Stanley Sherman
INTRODUCTION:
A. EPHESIANS 6:10-12 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His
    might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of
    the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
    powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in
    high places."
   1. Even though it may sound erroneous, the fact is that everyone in the world has a reli-
        gion that they follow, even though they may not even know it, much less admit it.
        a. Everyone has a belief system--even if it is belief only in themselves.
        b. Even atheists believe in the philosophy of atheism, although I have never met a
            true atheist.
            (1) To be a true atheist, one would have to possess all the knowledge of the universe
                  in order to confidently assert that "there is no God...that God doesn't exist."
            (2) No human possesses such knowledge, so we understand the truth of PSALM 14:1
                  which says, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
    2. The philosophy that is behind the SECULAR PROGRESSIVE movement in our country,
        that has been increasing its speed in trying to discredit and marginalize the influence and
        public presence of Christianity in this country, --this philosophy, is SECULAR
        HUMANISM.
        a. John Dewey, who is called "the Father of American Education", penned the
            HUMAN MANIFESTO in 1933, along with Roy Wood Sellers and Raymond Bragg,
            which is the "bible" of the SECULAR HUMANISM PHILOSOPHY.
            (1) John Dewey described Humanism as our "common faith."
            (2) Julian Huxley, a famous atheist author, called it "Religion without Revelation".
            (3) The first HUMISIST MANIFESTO spoke openly of Humanism as a religion.
            (4) And the U.S. Supreme Court citied Secular Humanism as a religion if the l961
                 case of Torcaso vs. Watkins.
        b. Even though now secular humanists have completely reversed their strategy, claiming
            that Humanism is not at all religious, but is "scientific"--the facts of history and official
            declarations remain--it is a religious philosophy.
    3. Simply put, SECULAR HUMANISM denies God's existence, and rather considers MAN
        to be the ultimate authority on all matters of life.
    4. We can look all around us and see the influence and advancement of secular humanism
        upon our society and culture--upon our nation:
        a. the explosion of pornography;
        b. the increase of profanity--harder and more diabolical in the arts;
        c. the killing of babies through abortion;
        d. the acceptance and promotion of homosexuality in the media, entertainment, in the
                                                                                                            Stanley Sherman--2
           public schools--even at the kindergarten level;
       e. the successful legal attacks by the ACLU against communities, schools, public
           organizations--in their attempts to force the idea on the American judicial system that
           any expressions of religious faith (and especially Christianity) at any place other than
           on private property is unconstitutional;
       It's influence is further seen in the decline of church attendance, and the fact that we
       lose 95% of our children from church after they graduate and leave home;
       f. It is seen in the social mockery of anyone who promotes sexual restraint or
          abstinence among our young people;
      g. the mockery of those who choose to dress modestly and with good taste;
      h. the rise of sacrilegious humor and blasphemy being acceptable in our society;
       i. the rise of "diversity" acceptance, which teaches that all ideas are morally equal,
          and that to judge another's religion or lifestyle as better or worse, is intolerant and
          therefore "sin" in the eyes of secular humanists.
B. ISAIAH 5:20-21 warned, "Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put dark-
    ness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe
    unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!"
    1. that is a good description that matches the SECULAR HUMANIST/SECULAR PRO-
        GRESSIVE MOVEMENT, which is tearing the moral fabric of this nation apart, and
        tearing it to shreds.
    2. Christians cannot tolerate or accept this movement in any form.
    3  Paul says we are at war against such "spiritual wickedness in high places"
DISCUSSION:
A. I love America primarily for what it has been, but its getting harder to love America for
     what it is becoming.
     1. Someone has said, "We are living in times of big wheels, crooked deals, fuel spills,
         endangered seals, pep pills, cheap thrills, unpaid bills, take-our meals, and when
         you can't tell the Jacks from the Jills."
         a. Years ago Vance Havner said that at the rate America is decaying morally, we
             shall have to change our national symbol from the eagle to a vulture!
         b. Axexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker and histrorian visited America in
             1831 and was greatly impressed.  He said, "America is great because she is good.
             If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
     2. One of three things lies ahead for our nation:
         a. One is RETRIBUTION.
             (1) People ask, "Will God judge America?"
             (2) He has already begun judging America.  The America we once knew is gone.
             (3) PSALM 9:17 "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that for-
                  get God."
                                                                                                            Stanley Sherman--3
         b. The second thing that could happen is that JESUS WILL COME AGAIN.  No one
              knows the day nor the hour.
         c. The third thing that could happen is REVIVAL, such as one that swept across
             America during the 19th Century.
             (l)  Wouldn't it be wonderful to see a "sweeping, weeping, reaping revival" move
                  across America from coast to coast and border to border, before we finish
                  destroying ourselves?
             (2) A sign in the front yard of a church building said, "Either this church will have a
                  revival or a funeral."
             (3) Our SURVIVAL depends on REVIVAL!
             (4) An old preacher said that our greatest need is "a genuine, old fashioned,
                  heaven sent, sin-killing, devil chasing, Christ-exalting, soul-saving, saint-stirring
                  revival!"
B. 2 CHRONICLES 7:14 is the ONLY thing that stands between us and revival.
    "If my people* who are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek
    my face, and turn from their wicked ways, than I will hear from heaven, and will forgive
    their sin and heal their land."
    * This is not a verse directed to lost people.  It is directed to God's people.  "If MY people,
       who are called by MY name..."   God's people at that time was Israel.   Paul calls the
       church today "The Israel of God" (Gal. 6:l6).  So members of Christ's church are the
       people of God to whom this universal statement applies today.
       (1) God's people are "the people" of revival.
       (2) An old preacher said, "God is not going to bring revival through the Chamber of
            Commerce or the Kiwanis or the masons or the mooses or the Gooses. It is going to
            be through the redeemed, those who have his name, those who know God through
            Jesus Christ...And all the dope dealers, baby butchers, and whiskey runners cannot
            hold back revival."
       (3) People ask, "But what about Hollywood or Washington or Wall Street?"
            No, the people of revival are God's people.  "IF MY PEOPLE..."
       Before revival can ever become a reality, the people of God must meet the four demands
       that God mentions in this verse.
       1. FIRST of all is the POSTURE OF PREPARTATION--HUMILITY.
           "If my people who are called by my name shall HUMBLE THEMSELVES..."
           a. This word, HUMILITY, carries the idea of being "under another".
           b. Someone has defined humility as "having to look up to see God".
           c. It is saying to God, "I can't but YOU can!"
           d. When we willingly humble ourselves to the Lord, under His hand, we are acknow-
               ledging His Lordship and headship in our lives.  We are admitting our weaknesses
               and reaching out for His power.
                                                                                                         Stanley Sherman--4
           e. Satan will try to trip us up with Pride.  Pride is our enemy and the opposite of
               humility.
               (1) Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." PROV. 16:18
               (2) I am afraid when I see many congregations of the Lord's church being motivated
                     more by the prideful desire to grow by the excitement of denominational ideas,
                     and emotional entertainment, rather than the truth of the gospel being preached
                     to try to win souls to Christ.
               (3) I can't see where Christ is pleased with our multi-million dollar edifices of pride
                     hoping to attract and entice the worldly.  It just doesn't fit with Christ's humility
                     and simplicity.  Far more money is going to the banks for mortgage payments
                     than to supporting mission and missionary efforts.  That is not right.
           d. Now please note that HUMILITY is voluntary.  If we do not humble ourselves, there
               may come a day when God will do it for us.  And, His ways are not pleasant.
       2. Now, while we are on our knees, the next demand is executed. 
           "If my people...shall humble themselves and PRAY..."
           a. Prayer is in essence "humility in action.
           b. Prayer doesn't just make a difference, prayer IS THE DIFFERENCE.
                  c. There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or church or anyone's
               heart that did not start with fervent prayer.
           d. Someone has said, "Revival is not planned out or worked up, but it is PRAYED
               DOWN."
      3. The third demand is a call to PASSION AND DEVOTION...making this prayerful
           plea a PRIORITY.  
           "If my people that are called by my name shall HUMBLE themselves, and PRAY
           and SEEK MY FACE.
           a. Revival and national repentance is not about seeking God's hand, that is, His
               provision.
           b. National repentance is about seeking God's heart--His will, His pleasure, His smile.
               (1) 2 CHRON. 15:2 "If ye seek Him, He will be found of you..."
               (2) 2 CHRON. 20:3 Jehoshaphat "set himself to seek the Lord"
           c. Someone has said, "God is not the 'spare tire' that you pull out when you are in
               trouble.  God is the 'fuel' that makes your life go."
           d. The word SEEK means to desire something.
               (1) The idea here is that we come to the place where God is the number one priority
                     and desire of our heart.
               (2) A.W. Tozer once wrote, "If we yearned after God even as much as a cow yearns
                    for her calf, we would be the worshiping and effective believers God wants us to
                    be.  If we longed for God as a bride looks forward to the return of her husband,
                    we would be a far greater force for God than we are now."
                                                                                                                   Stanley Sherman--5
               (3) Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, who lived between 121 and 180 said, "The true
                    worth of a man is to be measured by the objects he pursues."
           e. God said, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."  God must be top of our list.
           f.  Seeking God means more than just coming to church every week, but it is certainly
               not less than that!
               (1) It is an absolute shame that we have many church members in the area, but as
                    few as 25% attend weekly services.
               (2) Vance Havner has said, "We have a cheap church today because everybody is
                    in it.  Anybody can get in and nobody gets out.  What started as a sheepfold
                    looks more like a zoo!"
           g. Jesus said, in giving His great commission in Matt 18:19-20 "Go therefore and make
               disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
               and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that i have commanded
               you."
               (1) We talk about inviting people to church, and we try to design our building and
                     programs and watered down teachings to entice and entertain people into the
                     kingdom, but
               (2) We don't hear much about going out and making disciples who thereby will be
                     motivated to come to worship as committed followers of Jesus.
               (3) Our worship services are for Christians, not for outsiders.  That doesn't mean
                     outsiders cannot come or visit or attend.  Everyone is welcome.  But our focus
                     is to go out and make disciples. "Gather to worship, scatter to preach!"
           h. SEEK GOD'S FACE with the intent of DOING HIS WILL IN HIS WAY.
       4. And, this conditions us to obey the fourth demand of this passage:    
           "If my people will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and TURN FROM
           THIER WICKED WAYS..."
           a. We are sinful, and the only way we can have a relationship with a holy God is by
               having those sins covered by the blood of Christ.
           b. PSALM 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
          c. So this is a call to purity--repentance.  The phrase "turn from their wicked ways"
               is self-explanatory.  God wants his people to stop sinning.
           d. We don't like to face our sins.
               (1) We have a tendency to take credit for our successes and blame others for our
                     failures.
               (2) We must stop fighting for our sins and start fighting against them.
               (3) As long as we waste time trying to defend or justify ourselves, we will never
                     have a revival.
C. But what if we get serious about our responsibility and HUMBLE ourselves, and PRAY
     and SEEK GOD'S FACE and TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS,
                                                                                                                    Stanley Sherman-6
      then God says that we will REALIZE the PROMISE OF REVIVAL:
      "THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN, AND WILL
      HEAL THEIR LAND."
      God will HEAR US...God will HELP US (He'll forgive our sins)...and God will HEAL US.
      `1. Why do we want revival?
           a. For America's sake?  That's not good enough.
           b. For the church's sake?  That's not good enough.
           c. For our children and grandchildren's sake? That's not good enough.
           d. For the unsaved?  That's not good enough.
           e. We should want revival for the glory of God!
       2. Moral changes can only come to the hearts and lives of people who have encountered
           God.
           a. If there was ever a time when we as a people needed to seek God and cry out to
               Him for mercy that is now.
           b. Now is the time to turn to Him, re-commit our lives wholeheartedly to Him and
               work with Him in rebuilding the spiritual foundations that have been destroyed.
           c. This also involves awakening to our citizenship duty to vote and to vote responsibly.
               (1) Given the increasing threat to our nation by the ungodly,
               (2) And realizing our salt and light ambassadorship we are called to be by our Savior
                     our message is more important than ever.
               (3) If we fail to exercise our responsibility to vote, then a government will develop
                    that is not our government.
        3. The pain America now feels does not have to be the agonizing pangs of death.
             Rather, it can be--no, it MUST be, the REJOICING PAIN of birth--the rebirth of
             ONE NATION UNDER GOD WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!
CONCLUSION:
A. Why not now begin to turn our nation around by turning yourself around, and making your
     peace with God.  How do you do that in God's way?
     1. If you have not yet brought your life to Christ, in order to become a Christian, why not
         right now come to Him in FAITH, believing He is God the Son, that He did die for your
         sins on the cross, was buried in the tomb and rose from the dead for your justification;
         and, because of this, He can save you from all your sins, freeing you from the guilt of
         those sins.
         a. Jesus said, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall died in your sins: for if ye believe
             not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."   JOHN 8:24
         b. ROMANS 10:17  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing from the word of
             God."
         c. FAITH CHANGES YOUR HEART TOWARD CHRIST.
     2. Let your faith cause you to humble yourself before God by REPENTING OF YOUR
                                                                                                                 Stanley Sherman--7
         SINS, making up your mind to leave off your sins, to change from your old life to
          embrace a new life directed by Jesus Christ as a disciple of His (Matthew 28:18-20).
          a. Jesus said, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
              LUKE 13:3.
          b. ACTS 3:19 "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
              out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;"
          c. REPENTENCE CHANGES YOUR DECISION FOR LIFE DIRECTION.
      3. With your belief in Jesus and decision of faith to change your life, be willing to openly
          CONFESS YOU FAITH IN JESUS before others.
          a. Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess
              also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men
              him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."   MATTHEW 10:32-33
          b. ROMANS 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and
              shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
              saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth
              confession is made unto salvation."
          c. An example of confession is found in ACTS 8:36-38 "...And the eunuch said, See
              here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest
              with all thy heart thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I BELIEVE THAT JESUS
              CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD. And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and
              they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch;  and he baptized
              him."
          d. CONFESSION EXPRESSES TO OTHERS YOUR COMMITMENT OF FAITH AND
              WILL.
      4. Now you are ready to have your sins washed away in Jesus blood through BAPTISM.
          a. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." MARK 16:16
          b. ACTS 22:16 "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy
              sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
          c. GALATIANS 3:26-27 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For
              as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
          d. Your action of faith in BAPTISM ESTABLISHES YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH
               JESUS CHRIST.  (Romans 6:3-8;  Acts 2:36-47; I Peter 3:20-21; Colossians 2:10-
               13).
      5. JESUS ADDS YOU TO HIS BODY, THE CHURCH (Acts 2:4l-47; Ephesians 1:22-23)
          and exhorts you to "...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
          REVELATION 2:10.
B. If you became a Christian, but you have not been faithful to Jesus and you would like to
     turn to Him again, why not make this day the day of your revival?
     1. Jesus says to Christians who have fallen away, "Remember therefore from whence
                                                                                                                     Stanley Sherman--8
           thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly,
           and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."  REVELATION 2:           
           5.
       2. John wrote to Christians in I JOHN 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
           forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
  C. O LORD, REVIVE US AGAIN!!
                                                                                             --Stanley Sherman