Derek finishes this message for the week by referring to a question that God posed to him personally: “Would you ask Me to give you My heart for America?” God presented a serious invitation to Derek to ask God for His heart. This same opportunity is now open to you. Will you accept the challenge?
Let me ask you. If the Lord were to send out amongst the Christians of America, today, the man with the inkhorn by his side, would he mark you or would he pass you by? Are you really grieving, sighing and crying for the condition of your country? Or, are you more or less indifferent. Well, we’ve got it all right, we’re pretty settled, we’re in a good church — as somebody said, a “user-friendly” church.
We got a letter from one of Ruth’s friends, she said, “I’m attending a user-friendly church.” And I said to Ruth, “Whatever is a user friendly church?” But she said it’s like they use with computers and other things, they make it easy. There are some churches that make it easy, they don’t demand too much, don’t talk about sacrifice or laying down your life or dying to yourself; just let people come, clap their hands and sing some happy choruses. User friendly. That’s not what God is looking for.
I want to ask you — I feel I have authority from the Lord to ask this. I feel the Lord showed me there in Auckland what was going to happen in this meeting. I pray it may happen. I want to ask you: if Jesus said to you, “Would you ask Me to give you My heart for America,” how would you answer? How would you answer? If the Lord says, “I’m looking for a man or a woman to stand in the gap,” where would you be standing? Don’t go on with the music as usual, don’t go on with the program. I’m so much in agreement with what Ross has said. Programs are for organizations, not for organisms. I want to challenge you. Would you this morning, after due consideration, tell God, the Lord Jesus, “Give me Your heart for America.”
I’m not a born American. I have a tremendous burden on my heart for my native land of Britain. Most of you are born Americans. Would you be willing to share the Lord’s burden for this nation? I believe this is critical. It’s either this or total disaster. I believe disaster will come in due course but I believe myself that God has many, many souls in this nation whom He has chosen for Himself. He’s waiting with infinite patience until they’ve been gathered in.
So would you just consider that for a moment. What is your actual attitude towards your own nation and your own people? Are you indifferent? Are you satisfied with the way you are? You can’t be satisfied with the way things are going in the nation, that would be impossible. So, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to do anything? Or, are you just going to go on with business as usual? Go to a happy meeting, clap your hands, sing the choruses, hear a sermon and go back to living just the way you were.
I want to give you an opportunity in a few moments to make a response. I have a feeling that if you want to make this kind of commitment, and please weigh it in the balance carefully before you do, I want to get you out of your seat. I think there’s something very important about moving at certain points. I want to invite you to come forward or go around anyway you can and kneel. Oh, I so much agree with kneeling.
Interestingly, in that article on shame in Newsweek there was one judge who was dealing with a juvenile delinquent who had raped his younger sister. He said, he demanded in fact, repentance. And actually the word repentance occurred in their article, isn’t that amazing! And he said, “Yes, yes, I’ll come.” He spoke to his sister and he said, “Sorry I did that to you.” The judge said, “That’s not enough. I want you to kneel down and ask forgiveness.” He said, “I won’t do it.” “Well then, you can go back to prison.”
He spent another week in prison, thought better of it, came back and said, “I’m ready to do it.” This is a secular judge. And he kneeled before his sister and said, “Sorry for the way I treated you.” The whole room dissolved in tears. There’s something about kneeling.
I’ve said to people, in fact, I think I said it on the 700 Club, the thing about us in churches is we’re so stiff, starchy. We’ve only got two postures, standing and sitting. We walk in, stand, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, and walk out. That’s not worship. I’m not going to preach my sermon on worship, that will come later. But worship, the primary attitude of worship in the Old Testament is being prostrate on your face before God. Worship is lifting up your hands, stretching out your hands, clapping your hands and even dancing. It is worship. You’ve got a spirit in your body which longs to express itself and you, because of religious background, have been throttling that spirit. I would say let go. If you really want to make this commitment, don’t be too respectable.
Last night, I think, I forget when it was, Ruth and I were praying about this and she did something that she very seldom does, she leaned over and put her head on my chest. We were both trying to pray and couldn’t get any words out. I understood then this is groanings that cannot be uttered, you can’t say them but they’re inside you. They’re painful. But don’t try to utter them because they cannot be uttered. But there’s other things you can utter.
So, if you have heard what I’ve said, and you’re moved to respond, then think it over and if you really want to do it, get out of your seat, come forward somewhere, there’s plenty of space, and kneel. If you’re not satisfied with kneeling, prostrate yourself. Please don’t do this if you’re not making a real commitment because God will hold it against you. There’s an angel that records and you can’t say before the angel, “It was a mistake, I really didn’t mean it.” But you see, there is enough intercessory potential in this congregation to make a significant difference.
There’s plenty of space, you can go all around the room. It’s all sanctified by the presence of the Lord. Who is it that said where the Lord is is holy ground. This is holy ground because the Lord is here.
Now, just cry out to God. I’ve got no program. He wants to hear your voice. I think He wants to see your tears. Say, “Lord, we’ve failed our nation. We’ve been living in comfort, having a good time and enjoying our meetings, and singing our choruses and the nation has been going down hill and we’ve done very, very little about it. Lord, we’re sorry. We repent. Change our hearts. Take away that hardness, that selfishness, that self-centeredness, that self-love. Lord, deliver us from it we pray. In Jesus’ name.”
Lord, pour out your Spirit upon these people here this morning. In the name of Jesus. Release the Spirit of grace and supplications on Your people here this morning, Lord. May no one go out of this room who has kneeled and remains unchanged. Pour out Your Spirit, Lord. Pour out Your Spirit, Lord.
Some are here sick because they haven’t lived worthily. Lord, as they repent, we pray you heal them. In the name of Jesus. In the name of Jesus. Oh, Lord, let your healing grace and mercy come to us in our desperate need. In Jesus’ name. Glory to Your name, Lord Jesus. Glory to Your name. Glory to Your name, Lord Jesus. Oh, Lord Jesus, have mercy. Have mercy. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive us. Our self-centeredness, our materialism, our self-indulgence, our prayerlessness. Forgive us Lord, we pray. Have mercy, Lord. Have mercy on this nation, once so great, once a shining example of your mercy and your grace. Forgive the American people Lord. Have mercy. Send the great move of Your Spirit, Lord, across this nation. Return repentance to the church and to the nation. Lord, we’ve done so many things but not repented. Grant a real deep spirit of repentance. Let it begin here this morning. Let those who’ve been here go back with a heart change that speaks of repentance. Amen.