Heal Our Land

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“Heal Our Land.”

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday, 29th August 2021

Good morning Seacoast Church and everyone else who is joining in with this online service today.

I want to begin this morning with a question that was recently asked by one of the most respected Christians leaders and authors of our current time.

Charles Stanley asked a really important and relevant question, but he firstly quoted 2Chron 7:14.  Most of us would know it very well.

2 Chronicles 7:14

New King James Version

“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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

We’ve known this to be true – many of us have tried to faithfully respond to this scripture for decades.  And it’s as relevant now as it as ever been.

But the question Charles Stanley asks is this:

“Does your life and your lifestyle contribute to the healing of our nation?”

When I heard him say that, I thought – this is where we are at right now.

This nation of Australia – and every other nation around the world for that matter, needs God’s healing.

Yes, we need healing from Covid-19 – but we need healing on so many different levels.  

Spiritual healing has to be at the forefront.  Without that, everything else pales into insignificance.

We need to pray!  More than ever we need to pray for Christ to be revealed…  

…for the Holy Spirit to be poured out over us again as a nation – a fresh Anointing – 

a new, alive sense of the prophetic promise that was proclaimed by Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros in 1606 – 

that “Terra Australis” would become the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit.

We need to pray for the church to become the beautiful, spotless bride of Christ that she is destined to become.

This land – all of us – turning from our wicked ways – hearing from heaven – hearing God’s heart, His wisdom, His prophetic voice…

When it does come to the pandemic, there are so many aspects to that, and layers of the effects it is having on us.  

I have a few things that I want to say about that this morning.  

But what I ultimately want to do is nurture and encourage spiritual healing.  

Relational healing.  Healing within the body of Christ.  And healing in the wider community.  

And for us as the church to do our part in seeing the healing of our land come to pass.

What we should be aiming for – is to live and walk as Jesus did.   

We need the Holy Spirit to guide us through this season – and the seasons that are yet to come.  We need His wisdom.  

I am not getting into a debate about vaccinations.  I don’t know if you’re feeling as I am – that in a very short time, we’ve actually moved way beyond the vaccination debate.

I just want to very briefly bring up a couple of thoughts – only so I can then move on to what the Word of God says.

My personal opinion is that vaccination is our personal decision.  I have been one of the hesitant ones up tho this point.  But I am refusing to be bound by fear and anxiety in either direction.  

In the end, I will go with where I put my faith.  That’s where my peace will be.

But what really breaks my heart is seeing businesses go to the wall.  People’s livelihoods being destroyed.  Fear and anxiety filling people’s hearts and minds.  

Division and strife rising up in relationships.  Families being separated because of lockdowns and border closures.

A supposedly voluntary vaccination program all of a sudden becoming mandatory for many.  

Governments reaching for increasing levels of authority and control.

Am I trying to incite rebellion and civil disobedience because of this?  Absolutely Not!

I honour our Prime Minister.  You could never pay me enough money to do his job!  

This is where I think we need to recognise that we are subject to both worldly authority and to a heavenly authority.  

They are both vitally important.  And knowing the difference is also really vital to understand.   

Don’t switch off at this point or make a judgment about were I am going.  

But Paul is very clear as he speaks to the church in Rome.

Romans 13:1-2

New King James Version

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 

2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

We cannot ignore this scripture.  We cannot make our own decisions about which parts of the Word we will listen to, and which parts we won’t.

Peter says:

Peter 2:17

New King James Version

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”

Paul says in his first letter to Timothy, to pray for those who rule over you.  Then in his second letter he reinforces this by saying:

1 Timothy 2:1-2

New King James Version

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority…”

And probably the most persuasive argument here is from Jesus Himself. Both in His words, and in His actions.

When Judas betrayed Jesus to the soldiers, and the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, the disciples were there as well.

Luke 22:47-51

New King James Version

“And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. 

48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 

50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.”

We need to be extremely careful about how we as Christians respond to the things that come against us.

We do not need to be bringing judgement upon ourselves!  And we certainly don’t want to be responding any differently to how Jesus would respond.

Should we be free to express our thoughts and opinions?  

Of course we should!  

We do live in a democratic society.  At least for now, we do!  We have the freedom to express our views.

I’m really glad that we have an organisation like Australian Christian Lobby to go into bat for us and have fruitful influence over our governing authorities.  

Through them, we have a powerful voice.

But we do it in a proper and honouring way.  

We do it with humility.  Remember?  “If My people will humble themselves…”

We are seeing too many expressions of opinions and casting around of knowledge – whether accurate information – or misinformation 

– some from prominent church and Christian leaders – others from apparent experts – that are washed with arrogance, pride, self opinion, self righteousness.  

It’s an attitude that stinks. And it goes directly against God’s call to walk in humility.  

And for many people, like myself, I can’t get past the attitude to even begin to hear the argument.

So – having said all that – I believe as we enter more into the end times – where light and dark will become more and more distinct – there is going to be a tipping point.

The tipping point will be to do with our faith – our spiritual allegiance – our freedom to actually have faith in Jesus Christ – and to express it publicly.

Yes, I know we are already imposed with a lockdown where we cannot meet together as a church.  

But we’ll cope with that.  We’ll get through that.  Things will open up again.

But the tipping point will be when we as Christians will be controlled to the point where we must renounce our faith or suffer the consequences.  How will we respond then?

Who knows how far away that will be.  But I think we’re seeing that worldly authorities are capable of taking drastic measures.  

People are having to choose whether to continue working or not for the sake of what they choose to do regarding what they put their own bodies.

Business people are forced to stop running their businesses because of government health orders.

The reasoning behind it all is a health threat.

But if we look to the prophetic word from Revelation, the reasons for a future governmental control order will be very different.

 And this will be far bigger than our own Australian government.

Revelation 13:16-17

New King James Version

“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 

17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

The beast is referring to the anti-christ.  The great deceiver.

The point I am making, is that when it comes to matters of faith – matters of salvation and of eternal life 

– this is where we shift to the authority of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.

How do I know that?   Because there are clear examples in God’s Word.  And God rules over all.

Daniel and his friends are a great example.

When Daniel refused to eat the king’s food – it was because it went against his faith.  

Jews were forbidden to eat such food.  And yet they were proven to be stronger and healthier than the other young men around them.

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego refused to bow down and worship a golden image, they were thrown into a fiery furnace.  

The outcome of that story miraculous in itself.

When the authorities conspired against Daniel – they had a decree passed that everyone must not not bow to any other god except the king himself.  

Otherwise they would be cast into a den of lions.

Daniel continued to bow down and worship his God – and so in effect, expressed civil disobedience.  He too, was miraculously delivered.

There’s a great story about the Hebrew midwives refusing to obey the king of Egypt.

Exodus 1:15-16

New King James Version

“Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; 

16 and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, 

then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.”

They too, refused to obey these authorities, to murder the children.

In the New Testament, when Peter and the apostles were commanded not to preach about Jesus, they refused to obey that order, and obeyed their calling to preach salvation in Jesus’ name.

So we need wisdom to know when the line is crossed.

But whenever that is – remain Christlike – and remain humble servants of God.

Don’t rise up in pride and arrogance.

Proverbs 11:2

The Passion Translation

“When you act with presumption,

    convinced that you’re right,

    don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face!

    But humility leads to wisdom.”

We so need wisdom right now.   And the road that leads to wisdom in paved with humility.

Proverbs 2:1-5

The Passion Translation

“My child, will you treasure my wisdom?

    Then, and only then, will you acquire it.

    And only if you accept my advice

    and hide it within will you succeed.

So train your heart to listen when I speak

    and open your spirit wide to expand your discernment—

    then pass it on to your sons and daughters.[a]

Yes, cry out for comprehension and intercede for insight.

For if you keep seeking it like a man would seek for sterling silver,

    searching in hidden places for cherished treasure,

then you will discover the fear of the Lord

    and find the true knowledge of God.”

Humility isn’t about being a door mat.

Humility is about seeking, knowing and walking in godly truth.

You can be humble, and at the same time be very courageous.  Jesus was!  Daniel and his friends were.

We’ll never exhaust God’s wisdom and understanding – and I think that reality keeps us humble.  

We can do our best to walk in what has been revealed to us – but none of us knows everything.

This season of life we are all facing right now is a test of how we will respond when our very core beliefs – our positions of faith 

– the things that are our true identity become threatened.  

Our true freedom is not determined by anything around us – by our circumstances – by anyone.

Our true freedom is what is on the inside.

Paul is again a classic example for us here.

He might have disobeyed authority when he preached the gospel.  He knew when to obey God before man.

But when he was bound by chains in a dark and damp dungeon, instead of hearing him rant and shout against the authorities – and react out of his own sense of injustice and self importance 

– what he actually did was start singing and rejoicing in who God is.   

He just put his eyes firmly on his Saviour.  He wrote encouraging letters to his friends in ministry.  He gave them words of encouragement, and he sought to receive the same from them.

We all need each other.  We need to be building one another up.

We might have different views, believe different things regarding government policy.  

Many of us have a certain level of suspicion and mistrust directed towards various political entities right now.  And we have a right to question and to voice our concerns.

But in the end, ultimately, our trust is in our Heavenly Saviour – in the hands of a loving and righteous Father 

– and absolutely looking always for the wisdom and leading of the Holy Spirit.

In Him there is no fear.  There is no anxiety.  There is no mistrust.  

In Him we find the source of our faith – and the source of our divine peace.

Buckle up for the journey with the Word of God!  It is life!

We are definitely in this together – whether we are meeting in person or not.  

I hope this word helps to bring some clarity to your world.  It’s a framework around how I am viewing things right now. 

And as we close, let’s share communion together.  Pause if you need to, to go and get some bread and juice.

Very simply, as we receive this bread and wine – or juice, as we give thanks for Jesus Christ and what He accomplished for us on the cross of Calvary – plus the resurrection life that is now ours, let’s also pray for our nation…

That God would come and heal our land and heal the hearts of our people.

Let that healing include most importantly of all, a surrender to the Lordship, love and grace, and authority of Jesus Christ Himself.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, we come humbly before You in this moment – and we give You thanks for Your Son Jesus, who died on our behalf – took our sins upon Himself – and allowed Your forgiveness to flow freely over our lives.

We remember – and we celebrate this new life we have – eternal life.

And we do pray for every man, woman and child in this land of Australia.  This great south land of the Holy Spirit.  

We pray that hearts would be open to you.  That in times of crisis and uncertainty, people in our nation would find peace ad hope in the revelation of Jesus.

I pray for every family, every person who is part of Seacoast, and every person that is watching this video now online.

Let Your covering and protection and love overflow them all.  In Jesus name.

Amen.


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