2 Chronicles 7:13-15

If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. (2 Chronicles 7:13-15, KJV)

Check Your Watch Carefully Now

In the late sixties a pop rock band by the name of Chicago Transit Authority actually posed a deep philosophical question in one of their most popular songs. You may have heard it “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” Now they might not have even known that they were doing so. However, as one who was growing up during those times I’m inclined to think that they did.

Be that as it may, the title of this little work borrows on the theme as I ask – Who Knows What Time It Is? And speaking of time, it has been said elsewhere that as we consider a watch, any description of its goodness or its badness is bound up with what that particular watch is supposed to do. For example we do tend to think that the more functions the watch would have the better watch it is supposed to be.

There is an old classic story that goes something like this:

Every day on his way to work a man had to walk right past the shop of the local clockmaker. He figured this was a good place to make sure his watch was set to the proper time, so each time he would stop and set his watch to the big clock in the window of the clockmaker’s shop. Then one day after noticing that the man would do this, the clockmaker asked him what kind of work he did.

The man sheepishly confessed that he worked at the nearby factory as a timekeeper and that his watch wasn’t working properly so each day it needed to be reset. He explained that he was using the clock in the clockmaker’s window every morning to guarantee his own watch was set to the proper time because it was his job to ring the closing whistle for the shop at day’s end.

Now since he realized that the man’s job was to ring the closing bell every day at 5pm, the clockmaker, who was now more than a little embarrassed confessed to the timekeeper, “Oh dear, I don’t quite know how to tell you this, but my clock isn’t working very well either, and every afternoon when I hear the whistle from the factory at 5pm, I have been setting my clock to it!”

If you stop here and think for a moment, the critical question then becomes: How could either of them possibly know what time is actually right when the only thing they can do is to set a watch that doesn’t work correctly to a clock which itself isn’t functioning properly? Hence the deeper philosophical question which is behind the question: “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” And it’s not just a problem in this country as you will see in Contemplative Spirituality In Northern Ireland.

And now for the crucial question of our mixed up time: “What is going to happen to a culture who itself doesn’t know where it should turn to find out what ideas are true and which of them are false?” The answer: You have the United States of America–right now–today! An alleged postmodern nation which undoubtedly lost its way morally a long, long time ago. Quite obviously more and more people simply do not know where to go to find out what is right and what is wrong?

The Time For God’s People To Repent

Men and women, if we have any hope left then the time has arrived where we must follow God’s advice in our text – ”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 will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land .” And yes, historically these words applied directly to the nation of Israel, but notice here that Yahweh Elohim–the LORD God–says – “If My people, who are called by My Name.” So today this would be Christians and not the unbelievers in the land, because it is clear God Almighty says – “if My people” turn from–repent–change their ways.

O I know this isn’t what we’d like to hear, but there is some good news within. God the Father is most certainly capable of turning any people back to Himself. The wise King Solomon once prayed for his nation – May He [the LORD our God] turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways (1 Kings 8:58). And later on in that same book of the Bible the great prophet Elijah would pray – Answer me, O Yahweh, answer me, so these people will know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You are turning their hearts back again (1 Kings 18:37).

This turning is what we mean by the nearly forgotten word repentance, and simply must happen before we can talk about a real Revival. This is a word that is so very badly misused in religious circles today. True Revival happens when God the Holy Spirit comes upon His people so powerfully that entire communities end up changed–and that for years! O beloved, take heart–it can happen–and it has happened before, even in the United States.

In fact the history of the Christian Church in America shows that there have been at least one–arguably three–true Revival(s). You’ll hear them referred to as the Great Awakenings. Maybe another time, I’ll talk more about them, but for now I just wanted to offer us much needed hope. Hope that our Father God can bring about Revival in His Church, and hope in that we can also see from our own nation’s history that indeed God the Holy Spirit has brought about Revival for Christ Jesus our glorious Lord.

But I must tell the truth there is absolutely no way that this country can continue this horrific slide into immorality without soon incurring the wrath of Almighty God. And it is absolutely not possible for this people to change their ways on their own, because their watches are not only running slow, they are in fact broken! Ah, completely shattered would be the better way to express it, when judged by the inerrant and infallible eternal Word of the one true and living God contained in the Bible.

The genuine Church of Jesus Christ needs to stand firm with the absolute Truth that the Word of God alone is the singular absolute standard by which all truth and morality must be judged. The cold hard truth is, the only way that the watches of this powerless pagan people can possibly be fixed would be for them to return to the ways of God Who favored this nation in the first place. And the only way any of them them are going to do so is the same way we all came to God; through the power of God the Holy Spirit and by way of the old rugged Cross of Christ.

At this point let’s forget the fruitless argument about whether this was a “Christian” nation. The fact remains there is only one real hope for this once great country that was so mightily blessed by God whatever His reasons may have been. And this would be a wholesale intercession before our Creator God Who is the Great Watchmaker. Like the prophet Jonah, Christ’s Church must stand in the gap for this now hopeless people and preach the Word of the Lord to them as we pray that God will grant repentance to this “Ninevah” before it’s too late.

Where O Where Are The Soldiers Of The Cross?

The only way we as the Body of Christ can help this country to at least come somewhat back toward our loving and merciful God–and we must remember that our Lord has chosen to place us here at this critical time in history–is by way of the Cross of Christ. Through being trivialized today in the self-centered wishy-washy Purpose Driven Church, the messed-up mystic Emergent Church and the silly self-aggrandizing Word Faith Church – the major pillars of the Devil’s Ecumenical Church of Deceit – it has been lost that the cross was where men went to die.

There really is but one hope for this capricious country not to be immediately swallowed up by the ground of sin it is in, and that’s for those of us who dare to call ourselves Christians to faithfully intercede for this foolish people. Right now true Christians must put away petty differences and walk together in Truth with the real Jesus. Friend, you need to know there is but one narrow gate to the Truth, and it leads to that one narrow road. There is only one price for Revival in our Lord’s Church and that price is death to self.

In the Gospel of Luke, which we Christians profess to believe in, the Master said to all who wish to follow Him – If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). As A.W. Tozer once said – “The cross is rough and it is deadly, but it is effective.” I speak the truth when I tell you, there is only one way that Christ Jesus is going to answer our prayers to stave off the “soon” coming destruction of America, and that’s if we who are his Body finally begin to make our stand for Him–no matter what it costs us personally.

O many have said to me lately: “We’re right behind you brother; you go on and keep preaching the Word of God boldly!” But as I discussed in You Wanna Be A Soldier Of Christ Jesus there’s ample proof that when I look back, O they’re behind me all right–way, way behind me. So I must tell you bluntly in Christ, the time has come for the Christian Church in this execrable nation to “put up,” or we will finally be “shut up.” Beloved, say what you will about Tozer but the man devoted his life to the pursuit of God, and he was speaking in the Spirit about the current sad spiritual shape of way too many of today’s Christians when he tells us about the Devil’s prime strategy:

I do not think that Satan much cares to destroy us Christians physically. The soldier dead in battle who died performing some deed of heroism is not a great loss to the army but may rather be an object of pride to his country. On the other hand the soldier who cannot or will not fight but runs away at the sound of the first enemy gun is a shame to his family – [think Who’s family you are in my fellow Christian] – and a disgrace to his nation.

So a Christian who dies in the faith represents no irreparable loss to the forces of righteousness on earth and certainly no victory for the Devil. But when whole regiments of professed believers are too timid to fight – [or too busy pursuing comfort in their earthly lives] – and too smug to be ashamed, surely it must bring an astringent smile to the face of the enemy; and it should bring a blush to the cheeks of the whole Church of Christ!

The Devil’s master strategy for us Christians then is not to kill us physically (though there be some special situations where physical death fits into his plan better), but to destroy our [willingness and] power to wage spiritual warfare. O and how well he has succeeded! The average Christian these days is a harmless enough thing. And remember that God knows he has remained but a little child – [in the ways of Christ] – wearing with considerable self-consciousness the harness of a warrior.

He is but a sick eaglet that can never mount up with wings; he is a spent pilgrim who has given up the journey and sits with a waxy smile –[while his brothers fight and die] – trying to get what pleasure he can from sniffing the wilted flowers he has plucked by the way.

Now let’s just stop for a moment and let that sink in. Remember the question before us today is Who Knows What Time It Is? As you can plainly see from the Bible we have been in the last hour, or the last time as the KJV puts it, for nearly two thousand years! Beloved of God, you need to know that the time has arrived for the true Church of Jesus Christ to finally stand up and be counted in America. This is what I was talking about in Analyze This Present Time.

Today I exhort you to discharge your weapons, go to your knees for Christ; let all the redeemed of the Lord, all the warriors of our great King of kings and Lord of lords close ranks together and gaze at His Majesty as the Source of our strength–the very reason that our hearts beat. O fellow soldiers of the Cross, let us all join hands as we prepare for the greatest battle there has ever been in Christ; let us raise our Swords of the Spirit to the LORD God Almighty–Creator of Heaven and earth–and then let us charge together headlong into His fray as we shout: “It’s to the end!”