If we who are His children will humbly turn and pray,

            Seek His holy face and mend our evil way,

            Then God will hear from Heaven and forgive us of our sins,

            He’ll heal our sickly land and those who live within.

            But America the Beautiful if you don’t, then you will see,

            A sad, but Holy God withdraw His hand from thee.

 

Early in our nation’s history, we were "one nation under God" and God blessed our nation.

Today, sin is rampant in our land and though we still are blessed, we are experiencing the reproach mentioned in Proverbs 14:34. We have many plagues in our land:

            -Plagues of Drugs. (Cocaine, Meth, Ecstasy, etc.)

            -Plagues of Diseases. (Aids, Antibiotic resistent strains of bacteria, West Nile Virus, etc."

            -Plagues of Destruction. (Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, Hurricane’s & Tsunami’s etc.)

            -Plagues of Demonism. (Rise in witchcraft, demonism, and Satan worship.)

            -Plagues of Disobedience. (Over 2 million people are incarcerated–more than any other nation,
              I believe it is because we are becoming a lawless society.)

We could go on! 

I believe these are just the early warning signs and will only intensify and magnify in days to come. Yet, in all that has befallen our nation in recent years, God doesn’t seem to be getting our attention. As a nation, we seem to be rebelling more and more.

How does righteousness exalt a nation?

How is sin a reproach to any people?

Webster’s Definition of Righteousness:

Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion.

Webster’s Definition of Reproach:

-Shame; infamy; disgrace.

-The Object of contempt, scorn or derision.

-That which is the cause of shame or disgrace.

The book of Proverbs has many comparisons and contrasts in its verses. Chapter 14 and verse 34 compares righteousness to sin. I want to look at and contrast some sharp differences between these two words. "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."

#1) RIGHTEOUSNESS IS A REFLECTION OF GOD, WHILE SIN IS A REFLECTION OF SATAN.

A) Righteousness is a reflection of God:

1 Peter 1:13-16,

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."

We are commanded by God to live a holy life in obedience to Him!

Psalm 145:17–"The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works."

Psalm 45:7–"Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

1 John 3:7–"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous."

B) Sin Is A Reflection Of Satan.

John 8:44,

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

In the Jewish mind, sons were believed to be an exact likeness of the father.

1 John 3:7-8,

"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."

Who is your father? Who are you behaving and acting like? My son Dominick says that he says things and does things like I did. I hope that’s good. Sometimes we not only physically look like our parents, but we talk and act like them as well. The way we behave and act as Christians tells the world who our Father is and it also tells the world who the unbelievers are by acting like their father the devil.

#2) RIGHTEOUSNESS IS AN EXALTATION OF GOD, WHILE SIN IS AN EXALTATION OF SELF.

 A. Righteousness Is An Exaltation Of God.

Matthew 5:16–"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Living holy and righteously brings glory to God and not to ourselves.

We don’t live a holy life in order to get to heaven but because we are going to heaven.

Paul explains it like this in II Corinthians 5:14-15,

"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again." Paul was saying that his motivation for living holy is the love of Christ and for all Christ had done for him.

 B. Sin Is An Exaltation Of Self. Look what Satan did. He had an "I" problem!

Isaiah 14:12-15,

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."

Lucifer’s sin was pride and thinking that he was equal to God. Living in sin lets the whole world know that you are living for yourself and have no fear of a Holy God.

#3) RIGHTEOUSNESS BRINGS THE BLESSINGS OF GOD, WHILE SIN BRINGS THE CURSE OF GOD.

  1. Righteousness Brings The Blessings Of God.

Psalm 1:1-3,

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

America has been greatly blessed by God. I believe, the greatest nation on the face of the earth in spite of all of her faults. And it is mainly because of her Judeo-Christian roots. God has His hand of blessing on us. Hopefully that will not change, because once God removes His hand of blessing from us we are in trouble.

B.  Sin Brings The Curse Of God.

Romans 1:18–"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

John 3:36- "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

Romans 6:23- "The wages of sin is death."

James 1:15- "Sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

We think that when we sin that we can somehow get away with it and then there are no consequences. God’s principle is that we will reap what we sow. There are always negative consequences for sin.

#4)  RIGHTEOUSNESS BRINGS THE RESPECT OF NATIONS, WHILE SIN BRINGS THE REPROACH OF NATIONS.

A.  Righteousness Brings The Respect Of Nations.

Deuteronomy 28:10–"And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee."

Many times Israel was feared by the nations around her in the Old Testament because they obeyed God and followed His commands.

In Joshua chapter five and verse one, the nation of Israel is about to attack Jericho and listen to what the people are thinking about them,

"And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel."

Many of the problems that we face in life could be avoided if we will obey God and live righteously! God will fight for us and cause even our enemies to fear and respect us.

B.  Sin Brings The Reproach Of Nations.        

Psalm 79:4–"We are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us."

Once again, whenever Israel sinned and turned away from God, they became weak and easily defeated by their enemies. We must understand that as a nation and as individual believers, that our strength comes from the Lord. Sin causes us to lose the blessing and protection of an almighty God.

#5)  RIGHTEOUSNESS IS PLEASING TO GOD, WHILE SIN IS AN ABOMINATION TO GOD.

A.  Righteousness Is Pleasing To God.

1 John 3:22–"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight."

More important than having favor with people or other nations is that we want to please our God.

B.  Sin Is An Abomination To God.

Deuteronomy 25:16–"For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God." The word abomination is the strongest word that God uses for hate. God hates sin. He loves the sinner but he hates sin. We need to hate the things that God hates.

Proverbs 6:16-19 gives a list of some of the things that God hates,

"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

#6)  RIGHTEOUSNESS BRINGS A MAN CLOSER TO GOD, WHILE SIN SEPARATES MAN FROM GOD.

A.  Righteousness Brings A Man Closer To God.

James 4:7-8--"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."

I don’t know about you, but I want God to be close to me. Give into the devil and he will stick around and not give up on you but resist the devil, cause him to flee and then draw near to God and He will be near to you. That’s what all of us should want.

B.  Sin Separates Man From God.

Isaiah 59:1-2--"Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."

We need the presence of God in our lives daily. Sin causes separation and distance between us and God. It effects our relationship to Him and to everyone around us.

So, what can we do?

Max Jukes lived in New York. He did not believe in Christ or in Christian training. He refused to take his children to church, even when they asked to go. He has had 1,026 descendants; 300 were sent to prison for an average term of thirteen years; 190 were public prostitutes; 680 were admitted alcoholics. His family, thus far, has cost the state in excess of $420,000. They made no contribution to society

Jonathan Edwards lived in the same state, at the same time as Jukes. He loved the Lord and saw that his children were in church every Sunday, as he served the Lord to the best of his ability. He has had 929 descendants, and of these 430 were ministers; 86 became university professors; 13 became university presidents; 75 authored good books; 7 were elected to the United States Congress. One was vice president of his nation. His family never cost the state one cent but has contributed immeasurably to the life of plenty in this land today.

Make your decision today. How are your descendants going to turn out?

-If you’re not saved today, the Bible says that we are sinners and need to have the righteousness of God imputed to our sinful accounts. His perfection is put in place of our imperfection. The Bible says that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is nothing that we can do to become righteous, all of our righteousnesses are as "filthy rags" in God’s sight and we must come and trust Christ and be made the righteousness of God in Him.

-If you are a believer today 1 Peter 4:17 says –"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God." How are we living in the world for the testimony of Christ? Are we being the salt and light that we should be in this dark world?

Maybe you’re concerned for our great nation and you want to come and pray for America today. Whatever your need, you come this morning.