KJV Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Daniel 2:20-22 reads, 20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
Galatians 6:7-8 reads, “7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
I. Introduction. A. Introduction 1. Our Founding Fathers were collectively the brightest, wealthiest, and most powerful men of their era. 2. They risked everything they had by declaring their independence from what was, at that time, the greatest military and economic power in the world. 3. Quite frankly, we have not had such intellect, innovation, and “testicular fortitude” at the helm of our country since then, and I believe will never see men of such strong backbone in our government again. 4. Just over 200 years later, England is a shadow of its past world dominance and the United States has fallen so far away from the country our forefathers created for us that they would shed tears of dismay if they could walk among us today. 5. History provides a road map of where the US is heading. 6. Is our demise inevitable? a. No, but ONLY if we study the past and make the difficult, yet proper, decisions to prevent history from repeating itself in our country as it has done with every group of people before us, from every culture imaginable. B. Consider this: 1. About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier: a. ’A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.’ b. ’A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.’ c. ’From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.’ 2. ’The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.’ 3. ’During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence: a. 1. from bondage to spiritual faith; 2. from spiritual faith to great courage; 3. from courage to liberty; 4. from liberty to abundance; 5. from abundance to complacency; 6. from complacency to apathy; 7. from apathy to dependence; 8. from dependence back into bondage. II. America is where in this cycle of nations? A. Doomsayers. 1. There is some truth to the prevailing belief that this nation will fall like every great nation before it. 2. It may be said that the future is bleak for America, but our problem is not ultimately political, economic, or social. 3. No! The decline of this nation is due to spiritual factors. The political, economic, and social problems we encounter are the symptoms of the spiritual deterioration of a nation. 4. Just as there are spiritual principles that influence the life of an individual, so there are political-spiritual principles that govern the life of a nation. 5. Our problem is that we don’t really learn from history. Winston Churchill said, “The one thing we have learned from history is that we don’t learn from history.” 6. Nations rise and nations fall. Every nation has followed this progression from bondage to bondage. The nations of this century will be no different. 7. Christians can point to unusual times when revival has redirected the relentless decline of a civilization. a. In the Old Testament, Jonah saw revival postpone God’s judgment of Nineveh. b. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther and John Calvin saw a Protestant Reformation transform Europe. c. And even in the history of the United States the First and Second Great Awakenings changed individuals and our society. d. But apart from God’s intervention, nations will decline and eventually pass off the scene. B. Decline of Rome. 1. Nations most often fall from within, and this fall is usually due to a decline in the moral and spiritual values in the family. As families go, so goes a nation. 2. In Rome’s first cycle, men ceased to lead their families in worship. Spiritual and moral development became secondary. Their view of God became naturalistic, mathematical, and mechanical. 3. In the second stage, men selfishly neglected care of their wives and children to pursue material wealth, political and military power, and cultural development. 4. The third stage involved a change in men’s sexual values. 5. The fourth stage affected women. The role of women at home and with children lost value and status. Women were neglected and their roles devalued. 6. In the fifth stage, husbands and wives competed against each other for money, home leadership, and the affection of their children. This resulted in hostility and frustration and possible homosexuality in the children. Many marriages ended in separation and divorce. a. Many children were unwanted, aborted, abandoned, molested, and undisciplined. The more undisciplined children became, the more social pressure there was not to have children. 7. In the sixth stage, selfish individualism grew and carried over into society, fragmenting it into smaller and smaller group loyalties. a. Rome was thus weakened by internal conflict. 8. Finally, unbelief in God became more complete, parental authority diminished, and ethical and moral principles disappeared, affecting the economy and government. a. By internal weakness and fragmentation the societies came apart. b. There was no way to save them except by a dictator who arose from within or by barbarians who invaded from without. C. Spiritual Decline of nations 1. The first stage is when people turn from God to idolatry. 2. The second stage is when men and women exchange their natural use of sex for unnatural uses. Here the Apostle Paul says those four sobering words, “God gave them over.” 3. The final stage is judgment. God’s judgment rightly falls upon those who practice idolatry and immorality. 4. The progression from idolatry to sexual perversion to anarchy to judgment is found throughout history. 5. In the times of Noah and Lot, there was the idolatry of greed, there was sexual perversion and promiscuity, there was anarchy and violence, and finally there was judgment. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel there was idolatry, sexual perversion, anarchy (in which each person did what was right in his own eyes), and finally judgment. III. America and the Cycles of the nations. A. The cycles are quite clear. They are easily identified as pertaining to America. Only an internal and moral change, a reformation, a Great Awakening can change the cycles and restore America. B. The cycles themselves. 1. From Bondage to Spiritual Faith—Mayflower (1620) and Great Awakening (1734). 2. From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage—1776. 3. From Great Courage to Liberty—1791, Signing of Constitution. 4. From Liberty to Abundance—1791-1960. 5. From Abundance to Complacency—1960-1980. 6. From Complacency to Apathy—1980-2000. 7. From Apathy to Dependency—2000–? a. Now at step seven, we are dependent on foreign oil to keep our economy from crashing; 70 percent of that oil is coming from countries that want to see America fall. b. We are no longer a producing nation, but a consuming nation. If California would drill for oil they might get out of their mess. Our jobs have been sent to foreign countries. Labels on clothing now read “Made in China, Vietnam, Korea,” etc. c. America swims in debt, the trade imbalance putting billions of American dollars in the hands of the Chinese government. d. If we are on step seven on our way to bondage, what is next? 8. From Dependency to Bondage–????