Matt Hagee - A Nation In Need of Truth
We are a nation in need of truth. But what is truth and what do we do with truth? Jesus said very clearly, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". These are two different statements that are put together in the context of this conversation. First is the knowledge of truth, and then is what do you do with the truth you know? Often times, whenever we know the truth, we pretend that we're ignorant of it, because we do not want the responsibility of living under it. Said candidly, we call it "Playing Dumb". But the reality of it is, is it doesn't matter whether you ignore the truth, debate the truth, argue the truth, or don't apply the truth: no matter what you do with truth, truth does not change. And we are a nation in desperate need of truth.
There's all kinds of arguments that are happening in our world today. We're arguing about who should be in control and who is out of control. We're arguing about who should be defunded, who needs to be refunded, and who's overfunded. Let me tell you something. If you want to defund people, who kill innocent people, defund planned parenthood. If you want to refund somebody, refund taxpayers whose tax dollars you've wasted on government programs. And if you want to know who's overfunded, celebrities and sports stars, who think their talents and their wages give them a certified expert opinion. They're overfunded.
We argue about who's essential and who's non-essential. We argue about what needs to be done and how to do it. And the reality is the louder the arguments get, the more we have forgotten how to solve problems. Look back at the 240 plus years of our history. And the way that this nation has solved problems is not like any other nation. It's not like any other state. It's not like any other geographic region of people. Why? Because this is not any nation: this is one nation under God. This is not any nation: these are the United States of America. And it's when we are united that we experience what Psalm 133 says, "Behold, how pleasant and good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity: for there, I (God) will command a blessing".
Our blessings do not come from a political party. Our blessings do not come from a savvy economic scheme. Our blessings do not come from individuals, who decide when and where we are going to receive them. Our blessings come from the one source that the Bible says, "Every good and perfect gift comes from our father above, in whom there is no shadow or variation of turning". Church, our blessings: nation, our blessings: man, woman, boy, and girl, your blessings come from the one and only true God who sits on the throne in heaven above! The truth is, in this nation, we like to treat symptoms but we seldom find the cure. We say that our murder rate is a problem with gun control. We don't have a gun control problem: we've got a sin problem. We say that our national debt is a problem with the economy. We don't have an economic problem: we've got a greed problem. And a greed problem is a sin problem.
You look at the world we live in, and for every symptom, there is one source. And that source is sin. I believe the words of Abraham Lincoln when he paraphrased the scriptures. Jesus Christ spoke and said, a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Lincoln gave this speech when he was running for office, in which he said, "A nation divided against itself will not stand". He made the point that if America was going to fall, it would fall from within and not from without. His words were prophetic for the world that we live in today, because we are destroying ourselves on so many levels. Why? The arrogance and the pride of self-deception.
We believe we can do it on our own. We can fix the economy on our own. We can correct failing education on our own. We can resolve the race issue on our own. We can right all of the wrongs on our own. We can overcome evil on our own. We can make America great again on our own. None of that is true! Why? Because the truth has not changed! Jesus Christ said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing". It is time to put Jesus Christ back where he belongs, not in the book on the coffee table, but sitting on the throne of our heart, soul, mind, and body. What we need is as a nation is truth. We don't need truth that we want to hear and truth that makes us comfortable. We need truth that makes a difference. And that truth comes from God's word and God's word alone. We don't need a denominational takeover. We don't need a political party to be in power. We don't need personal opinions and beliefs to rain free. What we need is to submit ourselves to God's truth and let freedom ring from sea to shining sea!
"You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free". But the one thing that we do not enjoy in this generation is truth. As tolerant as we say we are, the one thing we do not tolerate well is truth. We've used the word "Tolerance" until it's lost its meaning. We put it on t-shirts. We hashtag it. We make it a bumper sticker. We have all kinds of ways to apply it. We pretend that it can cure all of the world's wrongs until we sound absurd. There are people who say, "Well they'd just get along better in the Middle East and quit fighting if they could just be tolerant". That's been going on since Jacob and Esau, so go ahead and tolerate that. We'd stop all forms of violence in our cities if we could just teach people to be patient and tolerant. There would be no social injustice if we could just be tolerant. We strip the word down to where nobody wants to even pay attention to it when you use it. But the thing that we can really truly agree upon that we do not tolerate is truth. Why? Because as long as you're standing upon what you believe, and I'm standing upon what I believe, we can tolerate each other's differences of opinion.
But the second we introduce truth and we have to change what we believe, suddenly we become intolerant. When this truth is uncomfortable, we pretend it's confusing. How many people do you know pretend to be confused about the things in God's word? I have this conversation often: "Pastor, I'm really confused about what the Bible says concerning giving". Okay. I'm going to break it down for you. The Bible says, "Give and it shall be given". Oh, some of y'all have read that verse. The only thing that's confusing is that you haven't adjusted to truth. truth is uncomfortable. We pretend it's confusing. Truth is unpopular. We like to ignore it. I'm not going to speak the truth: I don't want to lose favor with my friend. And that truth brings with it a burden. That burden is the responsibility to apply it to your life, because truth that isn't applied will not bless you. Truth that isn't applied will burden you.
Here's what Jesus had to say in Matthew 11:28 and 30: he said, "All ye who are heavy laden and burdened, come unto me and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you: for my yoke is easy and my burden is light". I want you to see the yoke that Jesus Christ was speaking about. I've got one set over here, if I could get the production assistants to bring it. And I want you to understand this: when Jesus Christ in Matthew is talking about "A yoke," he's using the same word that is also described in scales. We're talking about balancing scales. And the Greek word for "Scales" is "Zygan". The Greek word for "Yoke" is "Zygan". Why? Because in order for this to work properly, it's got to be balanced. In order for that to work properly, it's got to be balanced. This is why the Bible says, "Do not be unequally yoked with nonbelievers".
The think about a yoke is the people who wear it have work to do. When a farmer would take a yoke and held put two oxen on it, he was letting the oxen know we've got work to do. We've got a field to plant. We've got something that needs to be done. We live in a world that doesn't want to wear a yoke, because we don't like the idea of work. But Jesus Christ said, look. It's not a matter of if you work: it's a matter of who are you working for? He said, if you're heavy ladened and you're labored, take the yoke of the world off and put my yoke on. Why? Because if you work for them, you're not going to enjoy what you get. If you work for me, I'll bring it back to you pressed down, shaken together, and running over. You need to understand this: you do not escape a yoke.
The one, who is in charge, puts it on you or takes it off of you. And whenever you submit your life to Jesus Christ, he becomes your master. He becomes your Lord. He is the one that puts the yoke on you or he takes the yoke off of you. If you choose not to submit your life to him, then this world will put a yoke on you. This world will put a burden upon you. And you are either going to live under the yoke of Christ or you're going to live under the yoke of this culture. Jesus said, put my yoke upon you, because I will give you rest. This yoke will deliver you from poverty, because when you wear this and you do the work of the Lord, he said, "No good thing will I withhold from those who diligently seek me".
You say, "Pastor, you don't understand: my family members have gotten sick. My family members have breathed their last. My family members have died". If they died in the faith, they're more alive today than they've ever been before. And when the trump of God sounds, you're going to see them again. This world can't make that promise. Our God will not break that promise. And when the trump of God sounds, it'll be the greatest reunion you've ever known! It is a privilege to live in America. Our forefathers made great sacrifices so that we could live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Today, America's future hangs in the balance.
God's yoke will deliver you from destruction, because the Bible says, "Thy word have I made as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". That means that by staying in constant contact with his truth, he'll help you navigate the days in which you live. There isn't a day or an hour in our life that takes God by surprise. The question is, are you walking with him or is he walking with you? If you're walking with him, then this word is a lamp unto your feet. It's a light unto your path. If he's walking with you, then he's staying like a gentle shepherd right beside you, saying, if you step there, you're going to fall. If you step there, you're going to break your leg. If you step off that cliff, it's going to hurt when you land. I'll put you back together again, but I'm telling you right now, "Stop"! And then you're lying in a hospital bed in a body cast going, "I just don't know what the Lord is saying". He's saying you need to chill out.
The Bible says in the Book of Proverbs, "There is a path that seems right to man, but the end thereof is destruction". How many men do we see in the world destroying their businesses because they're doing what they think is right? destroying their marriages, because they're doing what they think is right? destroying their dreams and their destinies, because they're doing what they think is right? This yoke will deliver you from bondage. For John 8:36 says, "Whom the son sets free is free indeed". The question is not, "Are you wearing a yoke"? The question is, "Whose yoke are you wearing"? The one from this world or the one Jesus Christ says is burdened easy and light? In this generation, it's not that we don't know the truth. It's that we ignore the truth we know.
Consider this biblical principle from the perspective of two Pharaohs, and consider how these principles align with the world that we're living in today. Both of these Pharaohs were not godly men. They were idol-worshiping pagans. They did not have a relationship with Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But there came a time when one Pharaoh needed to know the truth. He had a dream. In the dream, he saw seven fat cows come out of the Nile River. And in that same dream, he saw seven skinny cows come out of the Nile River, and he was so troubled by the dream, because the skinny cows ate the fat cows. And he wanted to know what it meant. So he found a man in whom the Spirit of God dwelled. He was a prisoner named Joseph.
Now here you have a righteous person filled with truth, talking to an unrighteous man in need of truth. And when this righteous person shared the truth, this Pharaoh had a decision to make. Why? Because now he knew the truth. The question was, "Was he going to do something with the truth that would make him free"? Joseph interpreted his dream and he said, here's what this means. There's going to be seven years of such abundance: you will not be able to keep all the grain. You can eat it or you can store it. If you store it, and don't use it all, then there are going to come seven years of famine. And in those seven years of famine, Egypt will become the richest nation on earth, because all of the surrounding nations will come to you and they'll buy grain from you. And when they run out of money, they'll give you their land. And when they've given you their land, they'll give you their children and their children's children, because the borrower is slave to the lender.
Joseph shared with Pharaoh the truth. And Pharaoh acted upon the truth. And do you know what? The truth set Egypt free from famine. The truth set Egypt free from poverty. The truth made Egypt the most powerful nation on the face of the earth. And what did Pharaoh say about Joseph in Genesis 41:38? He said, "Can we find such a man in whom the Spirit of God is"? Being a wicked, idol-worshiping pagan, he recognized that there was something spiritual in that guy that was connected to a source greater than himself. He took Joseph's truth given by God, and he set Egypt free, and made them one of the most powerful nations on the planet. Exodus 1:8, we meet another Pharaoh. And this second Pharaoh, the Bible says, "He knew not Joseph".
Now I would like to argue that point, because I just told you about our founding fathers. And I don't have to judge them by what historians say about them. I can look at 1 John 3, and it says, "He who works righteousness is righteous". And I can tell you that when these men got together and they wrote the declaration of independence, and they wrote our constitution, you can see the sacred foundation of those documents, and they're righteous things. The freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the freedom of religion, the opportunity that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator to live life in the pursuit of happiness. These are God themes interwoven in our foundation. And the only reason that we don't know them is not because they're not there: it's because we ignore them. We throw them out the window the second we feel like we've got a new problem to solve.
Oh, the founding fathers knew nothing about COVID. No, they knew all kinds of sicknesses that we don't even want to deal with today. So there arose a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph. How? The previous Pharaoh had made him a prime minister. The previous Pharaoh had built pyramids enshrining the contribution that Joseph had made in Egypt. The previous Pharaoh built silos to store the grain for seven years. Did those silos get torn down? Did the pyramid go away? Did the history books change? Did the school that this Pharaoh was raised in read something different than the way history really was? No! The reality is this Pharaoh chose to ignore the truth. He knew how Egypt got where Egypt was. He knew who was responsible for making them great. He knew why they were the most prosperous nation in the world. And he said, I know better than that. And in choosing to ignore history, he made a fatal mistake. He imprisoned the people that God said, "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you".
As long as Egypt blessed the lineage of Abraham, Egypt was blessed. The second that they began cursing the lineage of Abraham, they began to decline, and they've never returned: the bloated corpse of Pharaoh in the Red Sea is testament that God keeps his word to a thousand generations. So what do we do in this nation? It's time that we stopped ignoring the truth. It's time that we quit pretending we don't know what to do. It's time that we went back to what the Word of God says. John 17:17, "Thy word is truth". It is this truth that makes us one nation under God. It is this truth that brings every blessing that we possess. It is this truth that has anchored our society and our nation. It is this truth that our past leaders have used to call upon the Lord in hours of trial.
When we were in the days of the civil war, and Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of prayer, he asked for those who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give themselves to a day of fasting and prayer. Who was it that Franklin Delano Roosevelt prayed to on June 7th after d-day when thousands of our soldiers were being buried in the sands of a French seashore? He didn't get on the radio for seven and a half minutes and lead a prayer to a higher power. He didn't call upon the man upstairs. He started a national radio address, without apology, by saying, "Almighty God". When we, as a people, turn back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: when we turn back to the God of the Bible: when we turn back to the God who says, "I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you," then we will see God do great things in this nation again! How do we do it?
If America is being destroyed from the inside out, we cannot expect a change to come from the outside in. We've got to make the change inside us and then share it with those around us, which means that no political party, no candidate, no plan, no program is going solve it or save the day. The only thing that can make that difference, the only thing that can make that change is the individual power of Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit in your life. Don't waste your strength blaming the people to your right and to your left until you are doing all that you can, heart, soul, mind, and body, to serve him. Be his hands and feet. Serve him with gladness.
God doesn't want us to spend our days dressing up and playing church. He wants us to be the church of the living God that shines his light in this nation until darkness is dispelled. He wants us to be the church that comes into his courts with thanksgiving and into his gates with praise. He wants us to thank him every morning when we wake up that the sun reminds us that his mercies have been renewed: and that we're still redeemed. He wants us to rejoice in the joy of our salvation that where sin did abound, his grace did much more abound. We have a decision to make today! So let me make it publicly. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! God is not waiting for Washington to get it right. God is waiting for you to get it right. God is not waiting for a seminary student to get into the senate. God is waiting for you to get on your knees and go into heavenly places and make war on behalf of the children of God on this earth.
God is not waiting for there to be some form of reconciliation before he can pour out his spirit. He said, "I'll pour out my spirit upon all flesh," and "Those who call upon name of the Lord, they shall be saved". Child of God, don't you think it's time we called upon him? Don't you think it's time we asked of him? Don't you think it's time we followed him? Don't you think it's time that we declared the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: that God is alive and let his enemies be scattered! We are a nation in need of truth. And the truth will make you uncomfortable. The truth will require you to change. The truth may ask you to say, "I was wrong". But when you know the truth, and you put it to work, it will make you free. Would you stand to your feet?
Heavenly Father, today in this sanctuary, we've heard your word. And your word is true. Your judgments are pure. Your loving kindness is better than life. We, as a people, need to turn from our wicked ways, so that you can heal our land. So let each and every individual under the sound of my voice and those who are watching over television, recognize and have the courage to start making that turn today, to turn from their pride, to turn from their arrogance, to turn from their self-will, and start to live selflessly for the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It's in Jesus' name, that we pray and ask. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.