Recovering Our Lost Influence

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R. Loren Sandford

R. Loren Sandford

Editor’s Note: The following word was first published on May 26 as a Prophetic Moments bulletin by R. Loren Sandford, pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, Colorado (newsongfellowship.org). A full version of this message as preached may be viewed via streaming video at http://media.newsongfellowship.org/090517as.

R Loren Sandford
Recently I’ve heard prophecies that America has just two to three months to turn things around before the judgment comes. Those voices have it wrong. The two to three months applies to a period of time concerning which the Lord spoke to me at the end of last year, and the judgment is not on America, but on the church in this country.

After Obama’s election I believe the Lord told me that we would see six months of delusory hope, followed by a whirlwind. Caught up in the whirlwind I saw a flurry of papers representing accelerating change. I suspect the papers represent a flurry of legislation. We will see the effect of it two to three months from now.

I don’t see judgment falling on the nation yet but rather on the church—God’s people—and it has only just begun. 1 Peter 4:17 clearly indicates that judgment begins with the house of God.

The first stage of judgment—already in motion—is that we have lost both our power as a voting block and our cultural influence. We have lost these things (1) because we have presented ourselves to the nation in the religious spirit rather than the Spirit of Christ and (2) because our integrity in high places has been badly compromised.

The second stage of judgment on the church in days to come is that the culture of this nation will continue in the direction it has been choosing to take for the last 40 years. The judgment is that we can do nothing to stop this slide into lawlessness and immorality because we’ve sacrificed our moral authority.

Where the world is concerned, we’ll begin to see an economic recovery take hold at mid-year. The signs are already beginning to surface and will take a long time to have full effect, but we will see the beginning. Morality, however, will continue its downward spiral, and in many cases, legislation will back it up.

At the root of our loss of influence politically and culturally is the spirit of the Pharisees, the religious spirit. The Bible teaches us that Jesus invites righteousness, the grace that leads to repentance, while the religious spirit tries to force behavior. Jesus demolishes walls and builds bridges while the religious spirit creates a chasm between those who think themselves righteous and those the righteous judge to be defiled. Hatred results.

The Pharisees called people to repent, but the only motivator they could offer was condemnation—and condemnation presents too great an obstacle for anyone to overcome. For example, in Luke 19 the Pharisees grumbled against Jesus because He honored Zacchaeus, the sinner, by going to stay at his house. Condemnation never motivated anyone to repent and change, but love and honor do. In response to the honor Jesus offered him, Zacchaeus gave away half his wealth and restored four times to those he had cheated. Honor and grace lead to repentance.

Remember the power of the Republican party just four and eight years ago? Do you remember how that party was widely viewed as the party of evangelical Christians? Do you recall the power both Republicans and evangelicals wielded in every election? Today many are singing death songs over the Republican party and over evangelical Christian influence in general. I’m not saying that one party is better than the other. I’m saying that any political party left to itself without a balancing influence is a bad thing.

We can’t pray in the schools. Islam and the New Age can be taught in the classroom but not Christianity. State after state approves gay marriage. The Ten Commandments get removed from the statehouse lawn. But that’s not the fault of the unbelievers, nor can we lay that at the door of Barack Obama. We might cry, “Bad Democrats! Bad liberals!” as if it were their fault, but it isn’t. Nor can it be blamed on unbelievers. Neither the liberal left nor the devil did this to us. Don’t blame them. We Christians did it to ourselves.

For years I have warned that if we didn’t change our language, our approach and our heart, we would see just what we are now seeing. Matthew 23:25-28 proclaims, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. … Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (NKJV).

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