A Call to Repentance and Prayer: Society Needs God, Part 5. Are you Living the Life or is your Religious Observance Null and Void?
Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him that glory may dwell in the land– Psalm 85:10
If we want society to change then believers must live the Christian life of purity, holiness, truthfulness and have integrity. We are called to be Christ-like. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount gives clear directions how to live (Matthew chapters 5-7), as do many other books of the Bible, especially the writings of the apostles’ Paul, Peter and James.
‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired than gold… Moreover by them Your servant is warned and in keeping them there is great reward’ (Psalm 19:7-11).
‘I will praise You with uprightness of heart when I learn Your righteous judgments. I will keep Your statutes; oh, do not forsake me utterly! How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You’ (Psalm 119:7-11).
‘I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts; a people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; who sacrifice in gardens and burn incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves, and spend the night in the tombs; who eat swine’s flesh and the broth of abominable things is in their vessels; who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day” (Isaiah 65:2-5).
‘For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. Nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear of You I will worship towards Your holy temple’ (Psalm 5:4-7).
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth. Our God shall come…a fire shall devour before Him and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him– Psalm 50:2-3
19. When is Religious Observance made Null and Void?
Religious observances, including worship and praise is made null and void when justice and righteousness are forsaken (Amos 5:21-24). ‘Defend the poor and the fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and the needy; free them from the hand of the wicked’ (Psalm 82:3-4). ‘To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice’ (Proverbs 21:3). See also See Isaiah 58:6-14, Ezekiel 18:4-9 and Matthew 25:35-46.
Society does not always stand up for those who cannot defend themselves and Christians should always be at the forefront of this, see How Christianity Made the Modern World and Britain, A Christian Country both by Paul Backholer. We are called to worship God ‘in Spirit and in truth’ (John 4:23). True worship consists not only of our social concern and our treatment of others, but of our lifestyle and heart attitude. We are to treat people how we would like to be treated. Jesus said, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12). We are to have ‘clean hands and a pure heart’ (Psalm 24:4), to be holy, to walk in the fear of God, and to uphold and adhere to the statutes and commands of God.
20. Is God Wearied with Us?
‘You have wearied the Lord with your words; yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” ’ (Malachi 2:17). Many people who profess to know God try to make an all-inclusive religion. They claim all roads lead to God and all people are good. Yet the Bible declares ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) and there is ‘none that is righteous’ (Romans 3:10). The only way to God is through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) who ‘is the Way, the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6).
“My people would not heed My voice… So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me… would walk in My ways!” (Psalm 81:11-13).
“Therefore you, O son of man…‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us and we pine away in them, how can we then live?” Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die…?’ ” (Ezekiel 33:10-11).
21. Should you Tell Anybody Everything?
There is a time to speak and a time to be quiet (Ecclesiastes 3:7) and wisdom coupled with discretion should be adhered to. Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matthew 7:6). ‘Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words’ (Proverbs 23:9).
‘The way of the just is uprightness… O Lord we have waited for you; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You. With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness’ (Isaiah 26:7-9).
There are many real issues, are we praying for revival on a consistent basis and living the life? Are we reaching out to others, sharing the Good News at home and abroad? Praying, giving and going (for those who can). Are we making disciples of all nations, being led of the Spirit? Are we trying to help the persecuted Church or provide Bibles to those who cannot afford them or are unable to obtain them? Are we anointed by the Holy Spirit and Christ-like? Do our tongues produce freshwater (blessing) or saltwater (cursing)? Do we think about that which is pure, holy, and lovely or dwell on bad and impure thoughts? Are you helping the poor and needy, the widow and the orphan? Are you living for the Kingdom of God or for something of lesser value?
In seeking God for heaven-sent revival, repentance comes before rejoicing. Have you ever sighed and cried over the sin of your country and the sins of the Church? (Ezra 10:1, 6, Nehemiah 1:3-4, Ezekiel 9:3-4 and Ezekiel 21:6). Is your heart broken by what you see? (Jeremiah 23:9). Have you ever groaned for revival? (Exodus 2:24 and Romans 8:26). Did God hear, or are your sins separating you from God so your prayers cannot reach Him? (Exodus 3:9, Isaiah 59:1-3 and Lamentation 3:40-44). Something to seriously consider.
“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” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
‘Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth. Our God shall come… a fire shall devour before Him and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him’ (Psalm 50:2-3).
By Mathew Backholer.
Mathew Backholer is a revival historian, author and TV presenter. If you want to know more, you can find his books or watch his programmes on streaming services, etc.