WILL AMERICA RETURN TO GOD?
Malachi 3:7
7 "From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes, and have not kept {them.} Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. "But you say, 'How shall we return?'

INTRODUCTION
I want to point out the background of the word return. I will use Strong's and Thayer's dictionaries to help us gain some insight.

RETURN
7725 shuwb (shoob);
a primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbial, again:

7725 shuwb- to return, to turn back
6) used of spiritual relations (figurative)
a) to turn back (from God), to apostatize b) to turn away (used of God)
c) to turn back (to God), to repent d) to turn back (from evil)

TURN
5186 natah (naw-taw');
a primitive root; to stretch or spread out; by implication, to bend away (including moral deflection); used in a great variety of application (as follows):

5186 natah-
to stretch out, to extend, to spread out, to pitch, to turn, to pervert, to incline, to bend, to bow
3) to turn, to incline, to influence, to bend down, to hold out, to extend, to thrust aside, to thrust away

Will America return to God? The answer is "yes if":

1. Yes If We Return to . . God's Love.

2. Yes If Ministers Return to . . Righteousness.

3. Yes If We Return to . . Judging Sin as Sin.

4. Yes If We Return to . . The Word of God.

5. Yes If We Return to . . Being Godly People.



1. YES IF WE RETURN TO . . GOD'S LOVE.Mal 1:2-3

2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. But you say, "How hast Thou loved us?" "{Was} not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD. "Yet I have loved Jacob;
3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation, and {appointed} his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness."

ILLUSTRATION
An old legend says that one day Abraham was standing by his tent door when he saw an old man coming along the way, weary with his journey and with bleeding feet. With true hospitality he invited the old man to share his meal and to lodge with him for the night. Abraham noticed that he asked no blessing on the meal and inquired why he did not pray to the God of Heaven. The old man said, "I am a fire worshiper and acknowledge no other god." At this, Abraham grew angry and sent him from his tent. Then God called Abraham and asked, "Where is the old man who said, "I have cared for him for over a hundred years even though he has dishonored me. Could you not endure him one night and so prove to him God's love?" Where is our hospitality? Are we being and doing all we can for those in need about us?

APPLICATION

WILL AMERICA RETURN TO GOD?

YES IF WE RETURN TO . . GOD'S LOVE.



2. Yes If Ministers Return to . . Righteousness. Mal 2:6-9


Note the word turn in two verses. TURN 2:6 KJV TURNED 2:8
6 "True instruction was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity.
7 "For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
8 "But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says the LORD of hosts.
9 "So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways, but are showing (NAS)

ILLUSTRATION
Konnie Stevens took over as pastor of a large southern church after spending eight years ministering in Moscow and other Eastern European cities. Things had changed a lot in America, especially in the world of technology. Cable, computers, cellular phones -- it can all get a bit confusing. So when pastor Stevens complained to his new secretary that he didn't think that the paging device folks asked him to wear was working, she was gentle in pointing out that he was wearing his garage door opener. That of course explained why his pager wasn't having much success opening the garage door.

Pastor Stevens had all the tools. He just needed a little good information on how to use them. Today the body of Christ (the church) is facing a similar information crisis when it comes to spiritual gifts.

APPLICATION
WILL AMERICA RETURN TO GOD?

YES IF MINISTERS RETURN TO . . RIGHTEOUSNESS.



3. Yes If We Return to . . Judging Sin as Sin. Mal 3:5-6



Note the word turn in verse 5.
5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien, and do not fear Me," says the LORD of hosts.
6 "For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

From Strongs, Brown-Driver and Briggs.
SORCERY 3784 kashaph (kaw-shaf'); a primitive root; properly, to whisper a spell, i.e. to inchant or practise magic:
3784 kashaph- (Piel) BDR
to practice witchcraft or sorcery, use witchcraft sorcerer, sorceress (participle)

ADULTERY 5003 na'aph (naw-af');
a primitive root; to commit adultery; figuratively, to apostatize:
5003 na'aph- to commit adultery a) (Qal) BDR
1) to commit adultery a) usually of man; always with wife of another

SWEAR 7650 shaba` shaw-bah');
a primitive root; propr. to be complete, but used only as a denominative from 7651; to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times):
7651 sheba` (sheh'-bah); or (masculine) shib` ah (shib-aw'); from 7650; a primitive cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adverbially) seven times; by implication, a week; by extension, an indefinite number:

SOJOURNER 1616 ger or (fully) geyr- BDB
a) a temporary inhabitant, a newcomer lacking inherited rights b) used of foreigners within Israel, though they had conceded rights

ILLUSTRATION
The state of Mississippi has a problem. European bankers have raised the issue of default on a $7 million debt. what makes the case unusual is that the debt dates back to 1841. One banker said that to pay it off now with interest would take about $50 million. With a low percapita income, Mississippi is not in a position to release that much money. The 146-year-old problem seems like ancient history to many in Mississippi, but Europeans talk as if it happened yesterday. "European bankers never forget," say state officials.
These unusual circumstances call to mind the fact that with unpaid debts there is always a day of reckoning. This is never more clearly seen than in man's relationship to God. Jesus taught that God does not forget unsettled accounts any more than He forgets the good that is done. Time cannot erase a person's record with the Judge of the universe. The day is coming when books will be opened and every work will be judged with absolute justice and righteousness. One thing is sure, the Lord will overlook nothing. Since it is impossible to pay the debt for our sins, the only way to come to terms with this account is to accept Christ. He paid it for us. He died on the cross as our Substitute so that we won't have to face the unsettled account later.

APPLICATION
WILL AMERICA RETURN TO GOD?

YES IF WE RETURN TO . . JUDGING SIN AS SIN.



4. Yes If We Return to . . The Word of God. Mal 3:7-8


Note the word return in verse 7.

7 "From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes, and have not kept {them.} Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. "But you say, 'How shall we return?'
8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed Thee?' In tithes and offerings. NASB

ILLUSTRATION
The Bible is actually a beautiful "love letter" from God, and the writer of Psalm 119 admonishes us to delight in its message and to meditate upon its contents. How sad that many Christians neglect it!! Sadder still that countless lost souls have never opened the Book at all.

When Elizabeth Barrett became the wife of Robert Browning, her parents disowned her because they disapproved of the marriage. The daughter, however, wrote almost every week, telling them that she loved them and longed for a reconciliation. After 10 years she received a huge box in the mail that contained all the notes she had sent. Not one had been opened! Although these "love letters" have become an invaluable part of classical English literature, it's really pathetic to think that they were never read by Elizabeth Barrett's parents. Had they looked at just one, the broken relationship with their daughter might have been healed.

All of us are alienated from God because of sin. But He has provided a way of reconciliation. In the Bible He tells about it, and also expresses His earnest longing for fellowship with us.

If you are a born-again child of God, how precious His love message from Heaven ought to be to you! Are you reading it often? If you are not a believer and pay no attention to the Bible, you're no different from Elizabeth Barrett's parents. You're cheating yourself, and someday you'll stand before God condemned and lost forever. Then you'll wish you had opened and read His "love letter" to you. Why not do it right now?

APPLICATION
WILL AMERICA RETURN TO GOD?

Yes If We Return to . . The Word of God



5. Yes If We Return to . . Being Godly People. Mal 3:16-18


Note the word TURN in verse 18.
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard {it,} and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.
17 "And they will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare {My} own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him."
18 So you will (TURN) again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. (NAS)

ILLUSTRATION
An example of the Holy Spirit's guidance can be seen in a statement by J. Wilbur Chapman. He said, "My life is governed by this rule:

Anything that dims my vision of Christ or takes away my taste for Bible study.

or cramps my prayer life or makes Christian work difficult is wrong for me,

and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it."

APPLICATION
WILL AMERICA RETURN TO GOD?

1 YES IF WE RETURN TO . . GOD'S LOVE.

2. YES IF MINISTERS RETURN TO . . RIGHTEOUSNESS.

3. YES IF WE RETURN TO . . JUDGING SIN AS SIN.

4. YES IF WE RETURN TO . . THE WORD OF GOD.

5. YES IF WE RETURN TO . . BEING GODLY PEOPLE.



br wp="br1">





E-Mail preachim@scan.missouri.org



Return to Preach Him Home Page.



Return to Preach Him Sermon Index.