IRVINE, Calif. – Recent social and political events in the U.S. and abroad should be alarming enough for Americans to awaken from their spiritual slumber, preached evangelist Greg Laurie during a midweek church service he called "Hope for America."
"Here on the home front, the family is disintegrating. It's under attack. People want to redefine it. They want to blow it apart," Laurie told his congregants at Harvest Orange County and an online audience Thursday evening. "It's almost like culture has declared war on the family and if you dare to stand up and make the controversial statement that a family is made up of a man and a woman you are accused of being bigoted and that's called hate speech."
He added, "Most of the social ills can be related directly to the breakdown of the family. You name the problem and it's almost always traced back to the breakdown of the family."
During the beginning of his sermon, he then pointed to the "unraveling" of the political climate internationally.
"Islamic terrorism has gone into high gear with Al Qaeda in Iraq now, a whole new group is formed called ISIS … the war on terrorism is not over," he explained. He also mentioned the Russian aggression in the Ukraine, and the tension brought on by the governments of Iran and North Korea.
"I would say all of this is a warning to America. You could say, 'America, this is your wake-up call,'" Laurie said. "I believe America has two choices before us, it is revival or it is judgment. My prayer for America is that we will have at least one more spiritual awakening before that judgment comes."
While referencing Scripture much of the evening, he addressed the dilemma about what Christians should do in such seemingly dire circumstances. He rhetorically asked, "Shall we throw up our hands and just give up?"
"I still happen to believe that the United States of America is still the greatest country on the face of the earth. But we have lost our way in recent days … In many ways our country is facing a moral and spiritual crisis," Laurie said.
He reminded Christians that as the Bible indicates, the world is dark and corrupt. "By its very nature, the world is getting darker. It cannot do anything but get worse. The Bible does tell us that it is going to get worse before it gets better, ultimately before Christ comes back."
He added, "Any person who knows the history of mankind or the history of the past 100 years and thinks that man is evolving upward is deceiving and being deceived, as the Apostle Paul said."
This is not a time for Christians to huddle together or avoid culture out of fear, Laurie said.
"Jesus had not called us to isolate, He has called us to infiltrate. He has not called us to evade, He has called us to invade. It's possible to impact culture without being compromised by it," he explained. "Jesus said He is sending us into the world. It is possible to be in this world, but not be influenced by it."
Laurie said Christians must stand for the truth whether it is popular or not.
"That truth is the Bible. It is the word of God. This is the authority, not what we all agree on, not what we reach consensus about, not what you feel or even what you think," he said. "Our belief is built on what the Scripture teaches on every topic. The Bible says, 'Let God be true and every man a liar.'"
During his sermon, in reference to the Bible, he then asked and answered, "What does this book tell us? Life begins at conception. That means that every child that is conceived has a right to live. What does this book say about marriage? It's between a man and a woman. What does this book say about Jesus? He is the son of God and He is the only way to God, and the only way we can know God and go to heaven is through Jesus Christ. I'm sorry, these are non-negotiables."
He also said that Christians need to use a language that culture understands. "A lot of times we are using cryptic language that no one gets. I don't even know if we get it sometimes. I listen to some Christians talk and I say, 'What on earth are you even talking about?' We have all of this spiritual lingo. I'm not suggesting we do away with all biblical language, but I am suggesting we define it so that people know what the terms mean," he said.
Laurie believes that politics is not the ultimate solution to this country's needs. "I believe the only real and lasting solution for the United States of America is for us to turn back to God. Revival starts with you and me. You notice God doesn't point to government, he points the finger at you and me. We need to pray that we ourselves are humble before God."