BRANSON – Chaos, conflict, and confusion in the United States today parallel the state of Israel recorded in 2 Chronicles 15:3-6 according to Tony Evans, nationally known pastor, and author. He is the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas and president of The Urban Alternative.
“We are looking at the devolution of a nation,” Evans told those attending the annual meeting. “It doesn’t matter if we throw social, government or religious solutions at it, we must get to the root of the problem.”
“We can see the conditions in Scripture,” he continued. “There was no peace. There was conflict with themselves, in the family and with others. The conflict was causing disintegration. Chaos and calamity were everywhere.”
Evans thought verse six might surprise some, “For God troubled them with every kind of distress.”
“If God is the problem,” he said, “It doesn’t matter who we elect, what laws are passed or what programs we initiate. Only God is the resolution to the pain facing the nation. All that we are experiencing in the news, all the chaos is the passive wrath of God.”
Evans looked at the Scripture for the answers to what caused the problem for Israel and what brought them back to God.
“First,” he said, “Israel was without any true God. If it is not the true God, then it is false. We are looking at contemporary idolatry, which is a person, place, or thing that we look to for our source. We want our God to be a discount God and to fit into our idea of God.”
The second problem Evans saw in the Scripture was “no teaching priests.”
“The church failed because the priests and God were not saying the same thing,” he said. “Humanism in the pulpit leads to a decline of people and the culture. Much of the problems today lies in the lap of the church. When there is mist in the pulpit, it leads to fog in the church.”
“To fix issues we must look at Scripture,” Evans continued. “If there is a problem, look to see what God says and pray for obedience. His Word brings about transformation.”
The third problem stated in Israel was no law. “There was no fixed standard,” Evans said. “In this post-modern time everything is relative. Evangelicals have become secular. We need Kingdom people. We need to be embassies for heaven.”
Evans pointed to Galatians 2:20 for our identity. “We need to be a visual reflection of Him. When we encounter inconvenient twists and turns, we need to turn to Him.”
The challenge to Missouri Baptists came in two illustrations. The first came as Evans pointed to the terrorists who caused the 9-11 tragedy. “Nineteen men came over here and knocked us to our knees in the name of the wrong god. What can we as a body of believers tethered to the Kingdom of God do?”
“It can’t be business as usual,” Evans cautioned, “We all need to be sanctified by the Lord.”
Evans closed with a touching story of a young newlywed couple traveling on a foggy road. They hit an 18-wheeler head on.
“As the young man looked at his unconscious, bleeding wife,” Evans said, “he knew she was going to die if he didn’t get help. He looked up the hill and saw a sign for a doctor’s office. He picked her up and took her to the door. An old man answered and said, ‘I’m sorry son, I haven’t practiced for years.’”
Evans said, “The young man looked at the old doctor and said, ‘You have two choices, you can save her or take down your sign.’”
Evans challenged Missouri Baptists, “Don’t put up your sign if there is emptiness in your house. The nation is showing up bleeding with racism, political messes, and economic dilemmas. Show them we belong to God or take down the sign.”
Evans also joined Missouri Baptist Convention President Jon Nelson in a discussion of the gospel and racial issues following the annual meeting.