Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rick Warren » Rick Warren - How God Heals Broken Nations

Rick Warren - How God Heals Broken Nations

Rick Warren - How God Heals Broken Nations

Hi, everybody. Last week, I started a new series on the power of vision but because of events that happened this week here in America, I want to take a one week pause from that series and I want to share a very special message. Today, I'd like to speak to you, not just Saddleback Church members, but to Christians everywhere, here in the US and even in other nations too. And I'd like to speak to you about how God heals broken nations, how God heals broken nations. You know, this past week we saw how deeply America is divided and what some people are willing to do to get their way. And we saw how allegiance to a person instead of allegiance of the rule of law can lead to anarchy. It was a dark and shameful day when for the first time in American history, armed Americans laid siege on their own Capitol, trying to replace the rule of law With the rule of a mob.

Now, friends, these are difficult times and many norms have been broken. Things that we would have never thought in our lifetime would be possible. And the next dozen days could be tense in what has always been a respectful transfer of power, but these are different times. And in many ways, they're desperate times. Politically, our government has been paralyzed by partisanship. Economically, millions of people are out of work. Internationally, our reputation is shredded. As I said, enemies were laughing at us this week. And spiritually, the culture is descending into chaos. This week after the events that we saw happen before our eyes at the national Capitol, I kept being stopped in grocery stores being asked, "Pastor Rick, what's going on? How can this be happening in our nation? What does God think about all of this"? And a phrase that I kept hearing was this. "We need a national healing".

We need a national healing, and you know what? I agree 100 %. And I've actually thought this for years that our nation and many nations need healing. I immediately thought of Psalm 60 where David cries out to God in a national time of conflict in those days. And in Psalm 60:2, listen to this. It's in the New Living and in the Living Bible, David says this, "You have shaken this nation and split it open. Now Lord, heal the cracks before it completely collapses". That is a verse for our time. Lord, heal the cracks before it completely collapses. The message translation that verse says, "Heal the brakes because everything is coming apart at the seams". And in the next verse, Psalm 60;3, it says, "You have shown your people desperate times. We're staggering like we're drunk on wine". What a picture. But then verse four and verse five gives us some hope. And it says this, "But you," talking about God. "But you have given us a banner to rally to; all those who love truth will rally to it. And then you can deliver your beloved people. Use your strong right arm to rescue us".

Now, anytime you see the phrase, but you, in the Bible and it's talking about God, you can get ready for a good dose of hope. But God, or, but you, because God's word is filled with examples of how God heals hurts, heals brokenness, heals conflict, and actually heals a broken nation. He did it many, many times with the nation of Israel. And there is a clear pattern when you look at this book and you study this book, there is a clear pattern and there is even a specific promise that God gives us in the nation that we live in and when it's in trouble. Now it's not a promise to any specific nation. The United States is never mentioned in this book, neither is Germany or Argentina, Philippines or China, where other Saddleback members live, we're an international church, but it is a specific promise to the people of God. It's a promise to Christian believers who live in any country, and that's what we're going to look at today.

How God heals a broken nation. 3,000 years ago, God made a promise to Solomon at the dedication of the new temple in Jerusalem. And as I said, it's not a promise to America or to any other specific nation, but it is a promise to God's people anywhere. And it gives us a specific path to the healing of any nation. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is the verse I'm talking about. And it goes this, you've heard this verse many times, but we're going to tear it apart, word by word today. "If my people, if my people," he's not talking to politicians. "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," that's the path and here's the promise. "Then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land".

Now with every promise of God, there's always a premise. There are conditions, there are requirements. And that's what we're gonna look at today. You know, this nation along with many many other nations needs a miraculous healing. Right now, we need healing in our culture. We need healing in our government. We need healing in our economy. We need healing in our businesses. We need healing in our schools, in our cities, in our families. We need healing in our marriages, in our hearts. We need healing everywhere. And the good news is that the wounds that we can see around us today are not fatal and healing is available. So what's it going to take? What's it going to take to turn things around? How does God heal a broken nation? Well, in 2 Chronicles 7: 14, the verse we just read, God gives us, as I said, the pathway and the promise. He gives us four prerequisites or conditions for national healing and then... And by the way, it's not just for national healing. This can heal relationships. You've got a broken relationship? Do these four things. It can heal a relationship. It can have personal healing in your own life. So let's look at them.

Number one, first condition for healing. We must humbly confess our sins. "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves". Now, again, this is not a promise for everybody. It's a promise for followers of God, followers of Christ. "If my people called by my name". You call yourself a Christian? You're called by Christ's name. "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves". The number one cause of all our problems is pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency, thinking we don't need God. We think we're God. We don't even think about consulting God in much of the time in what we're doing. James 4:6 says, "God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble". And so we start with the humble humility of confessing our sins to God.

1 John 1:8 says, "If we claim we're not sinning, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us". It's self deception for me to look at the sins of everybody else, worry about sins of all my enemies, worry about the sins of all the people I disagree with and not think about me. You've heard the phrase, hate the sin, love the sinner. Love the sinner, hate the sin. I got a better one for you. Love the sinner and hate your sin. Love the sinner and hate my sin. I should hate my sin. I shouldn't worry about hating everybody else's sin. Let me worry about just hating the sin in my own life. See, the problem is instead of practicing humility, we spend more time, you might write this down. The problem, the first of these four problems that we're looking at is that we spend more time accusing others and excusing ourselves, than we spend practicing humility. We spend more time accusing others and excusing ourselves, than we do practicing humility.

Now let me show you some verses where God talks about this tendency, James 4:12. "God gave us his laws so he alone can rightly judge us". God is the only one who has the right to judge us and he alone has the right to save or destroy. So who do you think you are to judge and condemn your neighbor? I don't have a right to judge you and you don't have a right to judge me. The Bible says, God is the only judge in law giver. Romans2:3 says this. "So when you, a mere human, passed judgment on others and yet you do the same similar sins, how do you think you're going to escape God's judgment"? We often try to take the focus off of our failures and our sins and our mistakes by pointing at everybody else. But as the old saying goes. when you're pointing the finger at somebody else, I got three of them pointing right back at me.

1 Peter 4:17. "For it is time for judgment to begin". And everybody's going, "Yeah, yeah, judge those people, God. Judge those people," well, let's read the rest of the verse. "For it is time for judgment to begin and it must begin with us. Judgment must start with the family of God". Did you know that? If God's going to judge America or any other nation, he's going to start with the Christians in it. He's going to start with those who claim his name. I call myself a Christian, a Christ-ian, a little Christ. The family of God, judgment has to start. If it's going to start anywhere, change is gonna start at? It's gonna start in the church. Not in politics, not in anything else.

Proverbs 28:13. "People who try to cover up their sins will not succeed". Why can't we learn that verse? The cover up is always worse than the sin. "People who try to cover up their sins will not succeed, but if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy". So the first step to any kind of healing, the first step to any kind of recovery, national or anything else, in your home, in your marriage, is humble confession. That's the first step. So let me just be frank, let me ask you a question. Do you want to be healed? Do you want your family to be healed? Do you want your marriage to be healed? Do you want your nation to be healed? Then you must take the hard first step of humble confession. "If my people will humble themselves". James 5:16, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed".

If you're taking notes, circle the phrase each other. Confess to each other, pray for each other. Write this down, I need others to help me change. I need others to help me change. You can't change simply by yourself. If you could, you would. But you can't, so you won't. There are a lot of things in your life you don't like about you. And you've tried to change them, but they don't change, why? 'Cause God has wired the world and wired the universe in a way that we only change with the help of others. That's why we have recovery groups at Saddleback and support groups at Saddleback and small groups at Saddleback and online groups.

And if you want to be a part of an online group, we literally have, I don't know, seven, 8,000 small groups spread out all over America. We'll help you get in one. But he says, "Confess your faults to each other and you will be healed". Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing. So here's your homework, make sin list. This week, sit down and say, "Lord show me anything in my life that's on pleasing to you," and be specific. Don't just say, "Forgive me for all my sins". Now make a list, be specific, jealousy there, that's gossip. Write it down. The slander, write it down. It's impatience, write it down. It's anger, outburst, write it down, and then confess it. Cross them all out and burn the paper. That's the first step. We must pray. We must humbly confess our sins.

Number two, we must not only confess humbly, we must pray sincerely, pray sincerely. This isn't mouthing prayers that we've prayed all our lives. It's praying from the heart. "If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray," and pray. This is not half-hearted praying. This is not thoughtless praying. This is not meaningless praying. This is not now, I lay mine down to sleep. Bless the gift and the giver. Thanks for this food and bless it to our bodies. Not ritual praying, it's praying from the heart. Sincere praying is authentic praying. It's passionate praying, it's sincere. It's even desperate praying, "God, you gotta help us now. We're in deep trouble. We need this healing now". An example in the Bible is Jacob who says to God, "I'm not going to let go of you till you bless me".

Well, that's the problem. How do we get ourselves in such a mess? I'll tell you how we got ourselves such a mess. We spend more time complaining than we do praying. We spend more time complaining than we do praying. Praying changes things. Complaining, worrying, being anxious, griping, never changes anything. Now this is not a new problem. This was a problem back in Hosea's days, years, and years ago. Hosea 7: 14 says this. "They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and they wail". That word in Hebrew, wail, literally means complain loudly. It means, "I'm griping". How many times have you sat on your couch looking at the television, griping about what's going on in your society, griping about what you see on the news, complaining about what's happening in the world? How much has that changed anything? How many times have you complained on social media about what you see going on in our nation, our world, or wherever? He says, "They don't cry out to me sincerely. Instead, they sit on their couches and complain".

Let me ask you. Do you spend more time watching the news, or on social media commenting about the news, or in prayer talking to God about what's going on? One of them can change things. The other two are worthless. Colossians 4:2, "Be earnest, that's sincere, and unwearied and steadfast in your prayers". This is the Amplified translation. "Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayers, being alert and intent in your prayers". In other words, I don't put my mind in neutral and just start mouthing off spiritual words. "Be intent in your prayers with thanksgiving". He says, "Okay. How do I be more sincere in my prayer"? By being more specific. How do you mean more specific in your prayer? Write down a prayer list. Nothing becomes specific until you write it down. Then all of a sudden, it becomes very, very specific.

You know, when I was in college, I remember in my dorm room, I took a big piece of butcher paper and I covered my wall and on it I wrote the date and then I would write my prayer request and then I would wait, and then when it was answered, I'd write the answer down and I would write the date it was answered. And at the end of that year in college, I had on that wall, 56 specific answers to prayer. You think that built my faith? Of course, it did, why? 'Cause I could see. I prayed specifically, I got specific answers and that built my faith. Ephesians 5:18 says this, "Praying the spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for all you need. To do this, you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God's people".

If you're taking notes, go back and circle all the all's and always in that verse, that's sincerity. Jesus said it like this. Luke 18:1. "Jesus said to his disciples, told them a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up". You're always doing one of those two things. One or the other. You're either praying or you're giving up. You're praying or you're giving up. You look at the world right now, you feel like giving up on it. You look at our society, you look at our government, you look at the paralysis of our government. Well, you can pray or you can give up. If you prayed as much as you worried, you'd have a lot less to worry about.

So if you're serious about seeing our nation heal, it ain't going to happen through the voting booth, the ballot box. It isn't going to happen through politics. If you're serious about seeing our nation healed, here's your homework. Make a prayer list. Make a prayer list of some specific things you're going to ask God to do this year in your life and in your family, in our church, in your church, in the whole world, in our nation. Make prayer list. This is your homework. Make a prayer list for this new year. Now we come to the third condition for national healing, or for that matter, any other kind of healing. It says, "If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves," that's one, humbly confess, "And pray," pray with sincerity, then third, "And seek my face," here it is.

We must seek God intensely. We confess our sins humbly and we pray sincerely and we seek God intensely. "If people will humble themselves and pray and seek my face". Now this kind of seeking God is not some casual pastime. It's not a pursuit in your spare time. Seeking God intensely means you're not doing it in your spare moments. It's not some low priority. "Well, if I get the time, I'll seek God intensely". No, it must be a serious pursuit. It has to become your primary focus. Now, why should I make seeking God my primary focus in my life? Because in Hebrews 11:6, it says this, "God rewards those who earnestly seek him," not in their spare time but earnestly, sincerely seek him, intensely, seek him, earnestly. You don't become an Olympic athlete in your spare time. No, you gotta make it your primary motivation in life.

Somebody asked me one time, "Do you play golf"? I said, "No". I said, "I play at it, but I'm just not willing to invest the time to be good". To be a pro at anything requires intensity. So let me ask you, what does God want from you this year? In this brand new year? What does God want from me more than anything else in this new year? I'll tell you what he wants from you. He wants that you intensely seek him, that you seek him intensely. Not that you seek his blessing. Not that you seek his gifts. Not that you seek his favor, but that you seek him. You want to know him. Now, what I'm talking about right now is so rare among people. Most people seek God's blessing. They seek God's favor, they seek God's goodness. They don't seek God. Psalm 14:2 says this, "The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race. And he looks to see if there is even one person with real understanding, who seeks for God". He says, "I can't find people like that. Everybody wants my blessing, they don't want me".

Very few people, the truth is, very few people really seriously make knowing God the goal of their life and that that's why we get stuck in cycles year after year after year. What's the problem? Okay, well, just like I told you, there's a problem with you know, we do more complaining than we do praying. The problem is, write this down. We spend more time seeking everything else. We spend more time seeking literally everything else, but God gives us a wonderful promise in Deuteronomy 4. Deuteronomy 4:29 says this. "If you seek the Lord your God, you'll find him". You'll find him. "If you look for him with all your heart," that's intensity, "And with all your soul," that's intensity. "And when you're in distress and all these things have happened to you, you will return to the Lord your God and you'll obey him for he is a merciful God, and he will not abandon or destroy you".

That's a verse for what's going on this past week and in the days ahead. How do I seek God with intensity? By making the knowing of him my first priority and my daily passion. Those of you who listened to the James series I taught, know that I touch a little habit called HWFW and HWLW, his word, first word, his word, last word. That the first thing you do in the morning is you open up this book and you read a little bit of it till God speaks to you. Doesn't matter how long it is. You just read till God says something to you and then you leave your Bible open by your bedside. When you get up in the morning, the first thing you do is not look at your phone, is not look at the TV. It's not look at social media. It's look to the truth.

Seek first his word His word, first word, and you read, and you pick a book like Psalms or Proverbs or Philippians, and you read until God speaks to you and then you stop. Sometimes it's just one verse. You go, "I need to think about that". And you read until something comforts you or something challenges you. Both of them will fill your soul, comfort or challenge. And then you leave it open. And at night, right before you go to bed, the last thing you do is you read again. His word, first word, his word, last word. And you just read till something speaks to you and then you go to sleep with that on your mind. Matthew 6:3, Jesus made this promise. "Seek first his kingdom". "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be given to you as well". He says, "I'll take care of the rest of your life". So what do we do? We confess our sins humbly. We pray sincerely. We seek God intensely.

Now we come to the fourth condition for a national healing or any other kind of healing. we must turn back to God completely. We turn back to God completely, not half-heartedly. "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways". He says, "Then I'll hear from heaven and I'll forgive their sins and I'll heal their land". Now he says, "Turn from their wicked ways". You know that word, turn, the old Testament, it's written in Hebrew, the New Testament, it's written in Greek. The word in Greek is the word, metanoia, which literally means meta-, to turn, and -noia, to change your mind. Noia is noose, your neuron, your neuropathways comes from from that. And it means... Repentance simply means to change your mind. This is the way I used to think about that. This is the way I think about it now. Turn from your wicked ways, make a U-turn.

Now, when I say that phrase, wicked ways, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking about there are people out there who are wicked and there are people out there who are good. And I want to hang out with the good people and I want to condemn and criticize and point a finger at the wicked people. It is a mistake. Listen, it's a mistake to categorize people as either good or wicked. Why? Because the reality is we all have wicked ways. I have wicked ways. You have wicked ways. The Bible says, "There's not a just man upon the earth that doeth good always and sinneth not". The Bible says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". And the Bible says, "If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves, the truth is not in us". We all need a savior. So guess what? I'm wicked, you're wicked. We're all in the same boat on that one there.

Now here's the problem. I've given you a problem in each of these. Here's the problem, we don't see, we just don't see our own wicked ways. We don't say, "Oh, it's very clear. We can clearly see the wicked ways than other people. Oh, we could point them out quickly," but we don't see our own wicked ways. So let me just give you, for your own personal edification and evaluation, one of the many lists of sins in scripture. It's 2 Timothy 3. And in 2 Timothy 3:2-5, Paul gives us a laundry list of 19 specific wicked ways. And he says people are gonna be acting this way in the last days. I want to recommend that you might want to use this as a checklist for personal evaluation and confession. Here's what it says. 19 different things to check myself. It says that in the last days, it says, "People will be self-absorbed". Am I ever self-absorbed? "Loving only themselves. They will be greedy for money. They will be boastful and arrogant".

We've seen a lot of that in politics and we've seen that a lot in our culture. "They will be insulting to God, rude and disrespectful even to parents. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unkind and unforgiving. They will enjoy slandering others," enjoy slandering others. "They will have no self control. They will love violence and there'll be cruel. They will be cynical, despising anyone and anything that's good. They will betray those loyal to them. They will be reckless and rash. They will be inflated with self-conceit. They will love pleasure more than God. They'll claim to be spiritual, but they will reject the true power that could make them godly".

You know, honestly, as I look over that list that I just read written 2000 years ago, I am amazed at how accurately describes our culture today, right now, how it describes our own hearts and how it describes the problems that we're facing right now in this nation of America and in whatever nation you're living in. There is only one solution. It's not a political solution. It's not an economic solution. It's not an educational solution. It's not a psychological solution. It is a spiritual solution. Our hearts must be changed by God and only he can change hearts. Acts 3:19 says this. "Repent and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out". Just wiped out. "And so that," get this sentence. "And so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord". Times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

Friends, we desperately need those times of refreshing right now. After the COVID-19 pandemic has taken us a year and all of the other problems that we've seen in society, we need those times of refreshing right now. And God promises that if we do what he tells us to do, then he will do three things. Let's review the verse again. "If my people," this is a promise to Christians, to believers. "If my people who are called by my name," are you called a Christian? Are you called by his name? "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'll do three things. "I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land".

Now please listen to me closely. With somebody as a pastor who cares about you and who loves you, we can't expect anybody else to do this. This is a promise for us. This is a promise for God's people. Today, it's a promise to the church we must lead the way. We must be the model. We must humbly confess our sins, not everybody else's. In recent years, the church has behaved very badly. We've made idols out of all kinds of things. And we have put our hope in the wrong thing and wrong people. But if anything is going to change, it has to start with us, not the people you disagree with or don't like or you think they are the problem. 1 Peter 4:17, we read this verse earlier. "For the time has come for judgment and it must begin with us. Judgment must start with the family of God first".

If God's going to judge a nation, he's going to first start with the Christians in that nation. Not anybody else. So stop looking for change to happen first in other people and the people you disagree with, the people you can't stand. The people who think differently than you, had a different background than you. You have to start with you. I have to start with me. We have to start with us. Will you join me in this? Will you be honest to God? Of course, I am interested in saving the nation but I am even more interested in saving our souls, our souls. And we have sold out many times our souls to second-class causes and they have betrayed us.

Here's the good news, 1 Corinthians 11:31. "If we judged ourselves in the right way, God would not judge us". Did you know that verse is in the Bible? 1 Corinthians 11:31. "If we judged ourselves in the right way, God would not judge us". So again, I ask you, will you join me? I'm asking this of Christians all across America. I'm asking this a Christians all around the world. I'm not asking this for people who don't know the Lord. I'm asking those of us who do, who claim the name of Christ. The Bible says that everyone that nameth the name of Christ should depart from inequity.

Will you join me, and in this new year that we would confess our sins humbly, that we would pray sincerely, that we would seek God, not his blessing, seek God intensely? And that we would turn to God completely. Because if we do that, we can expect, "Then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land". If that doesn't happen, I don't give this nation or the world any hope. Our hope is not in who we put in the White House, our hope is who we put on the cross. There's only one savior and his name is Jesus. Let's bow our heads. And with our heads bowed, would you follow me in a simple prayer and saying:

God I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. God, I want to follow the pathway to healing, healing in my heart, healing in my family, healing in my friendships, the pathway to healing in my business, in our church, in our community, healing in our nation, healing in our world. It's easy to understand what you've told us. It's hard to do it and we can't do it on our own. So we come to you Holy Spirit and ask you to give us the power to confess our sins humbly, and to be specific, to make a sin list and cross them all out, and to pray sincerely and make a prayer list and be specific about what things we want to ask you to do in our nation, in our lives, in our church. Help us to seek you intensely, to start and end each day his word, first word, his word, last word, to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other things will be added, and help us to turn completely to you. Help us stop looking at other people as wicked and to realize that I have wicked parts in me that are wrong, that are ungodly, that need to be changed by you. Thank you God for your grace.

If you've never invited Jesus Christ in your heart, say:

Jesus Christ, I need your forgiveness. I need you to save me from myself. I need your salvation in my life. I need the power to change. I need to know your purpose for my life. Lord, heal our hearts, heal our families, heal our nation. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Are you Human?:*