Monday, February 22, 2021

A COUNTRY PREACHER PREACHING IN THE CITY

 A COUNTRY PREACHER PREACHING IN THE CITY

Amos 7:14-15

The affluent people of Israel were enjoying their life of luxury and prosperity. They had become careless, complacent, mistreating poor people, and selling them into servitude. Before long, Israel would be vanquished by Assyria, and the rich would become slaves. Then in walks a God called man from a small country town, prophesying judgment, and preaching repentance.


The Prophet Amos

Amos was a common country man, a sheepherder, and a sycamore tree gardener. He was undoubtedly content with tending to his flock and working in the sycamore orchard. This type of sycamore was of the fig variety, a common food staple in the area. (Amos 1:1, 7:14). He originated from working with long haired sheep to the very much prepped goats of the city. He originated from a position of agriculture to a position in culture.


I can imagine the high society people looking down their noses at the country preacher, because I see it in churches today. It is a shame that some churches will not hear a preacher if he does not have a plethora of letters behind his name.


This was during the time of Jeroboam II, king of Israel, and Uzziah, king of Judah. He answered the call from God to deliver a message to the surrounding nations of Judah and to Israel and Judah as well. He was a courageous spiritual statesman, not a priest or politician. In a sense you could say he was a traveling minister.


The Prophecy of Amos

In Chapters 1 & 2, he gives announcements for the surrounding nations, each start with ‘Thus saith the Lord’. He states punishment for the transgressions of Damascus, Gaza, Tyrus, Edom, Ammon, Moab, then to Judah and Israel.


In Chapters 3-6, he gives the reasons why God would bring the judgments to the children of Israel. Amos grieves for Israel and how God detests Israel's pride. The three discourses begin with ‘Hear this word’.


In Chapters 7-9, there are five visions. The motivation behind the visons is to strengthen the truth that the anticipated judgment could not be turned away.


The Preaching of Amos

Amos’ preaching announced the coming judgment as ‘The Lord will roar from Zion’ (Amos 1:2) and ‘The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord hath spoken, who can but prophesy (Amos 3:8). As a lion roars its warning, there is no escaping from God.


Amos saw the union of justice and righteousness in the daily life, which was a burden to him that Israel did not see or have. He understood the sovereignty of God and viewed God dealing out punishment according to disobedience. Amos preached that the Day of the Lord would be a day of darkness and not the unconditional guarantee of security to God’s elect as the Israelites believed.


Amos also preached that privilege indicates responsibility. As God’s chosen, the Israelites assumed that their prosperity meant having God’s favor, but they were accountable for their inward as well as their outward actions. Amos' most annihilating judgment was focused on the hard negligence for the rights and necessities of others, as the persecuted poor.


But hope was to come. ‘Seek ye me, and ye shall live’ (Amos 5:4), ‘seek the Lord, and ye shall live’ (Amos 5:6), repentance and deliverance was still there (Amos 5:15), and restoration (Amos 9:11-12).


The hope that Amos preached of was fulfilled in Christ. What applied back then still applies today.

FAILING TO DO WHAT WE ARE TOLD

 FAILING TO DO WHAT WE ARE TOLD

Judges 1:1-36

The book of Judges is a book about heroes, some men, and some women. Although they were not perfect, coming from different backgrounds, they were submissive to God. It is a book about sin and what happens to those who fall into sin. The book is divided into three sections.


• 1:1 – 3:4 tells how Israel failed with its military, its incomplete conquest of the land, and the religious rebellion of the people.

• 3:5 – 16:31 tells of six periods of punishment of Israel and the rescue by the judges.

• 17:1 – 21:25 tells of Israel’s moral failure, the tribe of Dan’s acceptance of idolatry, and the tribe of Benjamin war.


During the previous years, Joshua had led the children of Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan, after the death of Moses. The nation had promised to obey and worship the Lord. The time had come that Joshua and the elders had died and were buried. God had instructed the Israelites to clear the land of its inhabitants, but they failed to do so.


In the first half of chapter one, it continues the story from the book of Joshua of the Israelites conquest of Canaan, the land promised to their ancestors. God had given them the ability to overcome and conquer many of the enemies. The political and military challenges they were able to face, but the spiritual issues they had a problem with. The lifestyle of the Canaanites was too appealing to them.

• Genesis 12:7

• Exodus 3:16


If we endeavor to address life's difficulties just with human application, we will see that they are too overwhelming, and we will not be able to resist. We must be in line with God’s will, following His direction in every decision we make. Just like what the Israelites faced, we are living in a ‘me first, anything goes society’. The life of a Christian and the life of the world cannot coexist.

• Matthew 6:24


The land of Canaan had many city-states. Each city had its own government, laws, etc., and the Israelites had to conquer each city-state individually. The main problem for Israel was the country’s religious practices. In the book of Joshua, when the Israelites initially entered the Promised Land, the twelve tribes worked together swiftly to conquer the land. Now that the 12 tribes had divided up the land, each tribe was responsible to remove any remaining enemy from its own region.

• Joshua 1 – 12

• Joshua 13 – 24


Some tribes were successful while others were not. Some became fearful, weary, undisciplined, or began doing their own thing. Their faith had wavered. We must live by faith daily. Our faith in God must be in every aspect of our lives, not just at or during church services.

• 1 Corinthians 2:5

• Proverbs 3:5-6


All the inhabitants of the land were to be cleared from the land, but the tribes failed to do this. God had given the Israelites instructions to deliver judgment to the wicked people of Canaan, earlier during Abraham’s time. But eventually, the Israelites became wicked and had to be punished.

• Genesis 15:16

• 2 Kings 17, 25

• Jeremiah 6:18-19

• Ezekiel 8


Each tribe was unsuccessful in driving out the Canaanites. Some reasons might be that they had grown tired of fighting, they lacked discipline, they were afraid of the enemy, they died spiritually from the temptations of the land that they could not handle.

How much of this sounds like Christians today? We can see it throughout our society. Christians, in general, have given in to the world’s temptations, its greed, its sinful desires and pleasures. We have put everything between ourselves and serving God the way we should. You can see it in the idolatry and hatred in our nation. We need to repent, get our hearts right with God. Stand and face the enemy, not by our own strength but by the strength of our Lord and Savior.

• Ephesians 6:10-12

• Deuteronomy 31:6

• Psalm 27

• 1 Chronicles 28:20

• Philippians 4:13

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Testing

Scripture test - 1 John 2:5

Sin test - 1 John 3:6-7

Saint’s test – 1 John 3:14

Put to the test – 1 John 4:1

Saturday, February 20, 2021

GRAB YOUR BATTLE RATTLE

 GRAB YOUR BATTLE RATTLE

Ephesians 6:10-18

You cannot stand against the enemy without your battle rattle. You must be wearing the whole armor of God. The battle is not a natural one, therefore natural weapons are ineffective. Spiritual battles are fought with spiritual weapons. The armor has a purpose, our responsibility is to put it on.

In the Christian life we fight against "principalities and powers", the incredible fiendish powers of fallen heavenly messengers headed by Satan (1 Peter 5:8). To withstand their assaults, we should rely upon God's strength and utilize each piece of his defensive armor. Paul is not just giving his advice to the church, yet to everyone inside the church. The entire body should be equipped. As we fight against "the rulers of the darkness of this world", battle in the strength of the church, whose force comes from the Holy Spirit.


Verse 10

Here we have the two angles united: human undertaking coincided with the Lord's movement. We are to be strong, however in the Lord’s strength. The strength of the Lord's obviously alludes to his Spirit. Not by your own strength for man is weak and frail. Sometimes we tend to give in spiritually, but by God’s strength we can overcome.


Verse 11

‘Put on’ indicates an action we must take. It is not like an athletic uniform we put on for the game. We must have all our issued gear, if we forget one piece, we will be vulnerable to the enemy. As soldiers always do, we should periodically check our gear. The enemy uses underhanded tactics to slip us up and can use our goodness against us.


Verse 12

We are not fighting natural physical forces but demonic forces. These who are not "flesh and blood" are demons over whom Satan has control. they are not simple dreams; they are genuine. We face a ground-breaking armed force whose objective is to crush Christ's church. At the point when we trust in Christ and join his congregation, these creatures become our adversaries, and they attempt with everything to dismiss us from Christ and back to sin. Although we are guaranteed of triumph, we should take part in the battle until Christ comes, since Satan is continually engaging against all who are on the Lord's side.

The enemy uses evil troops in different areas of our lives (non-believers in government, music, movies, etc. He could be using someone in the congregation right now, (who is this guy, I wish he would hurry up, what’s for lunch, wonder what the score is). We need spiritual power to overcome Satan, and God has given that in his Holy Spirit inside us and his armor encompassing us. If we feel debilitate, we are to recall Jesus' words to Peter: “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).


Verse 13

Christians need all the battle rattle gear (whole armor). It is not like choosing what shirt to wear with what pants, should I wear this with that, do I wear a tie, or what shoes go with that outfit. We cannot pick and choose what part of gear we will take for the day. It takes all the gear, all the armor. You will not see a fireman running into a burning building without full protective gear. You will not see a medical team heading into surgery without their PPE (personal protective equipment). All means all.


Verse 14

These two verses indicate something we should have already done as a believer (having). In ancient times, the girdle around the loins held the other parts of the uniform in place. If the girdle were lost, the rest of the armor could be lost. If people do not know Jesus, they’ have already lost everything.

·         Psalms 119:151 – thy commandments are truth.

·         John 8:32 – and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

·         John 14:6 – I am the truth.

·         John 14:17 – Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.

·         Romans 3:4 – God is truth.

·         Colossians 1:5 – the Gospel is truth.

·         Romans 5:18 – therefore as by the offence of (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

·         Philippians 3:9 – not having mine own righteousness, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

We should cover the heart. The righteousness of Christ protects your spiritual vital organs from Satan’s attacks.


Verse 15

Shoes are needed for conflict and for traversing treacherous ground. These shoes are designed for warfare. Without a pair of shoes, you can only walk or run so far. Your feet are exposed to the elements. Are our shoes for running or walking? Are the stylish and just look good? Having our feet shod indicates a readiness to advance into the spiritual realm.

·         Romans 10:15 – and how shall they preach, except they be sent, as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.

 

A shield is for defense, it is for protection. In some cultures, a shield covered soldiers from head to foot. The shield would be held in front of the soldier to stop or block a frontal attack.

 

The Shield of faith – there are different types of faith – saving faith, gift of faith, fruit of faith.

·         Psalms 3:3 – but thou, o Lord art a shield for me.

When our lives turn to despair:

·         Romans 1:17 – the just shall live by faith.

·         Romans 10:17 – so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

·         1 Thessalonians 5:8 – putting on the breastplate of faith and love.

·         Hebrews 12:2 – looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.


Verse 17

These verses indicate things we are to do in the present (take). The helmet protects our minds, a regenerated mind, a transformed and a renewed mind. An undisciplined mind makes the Christian warrior easy prey to sinful deceptions. Satan will try to make us doubt God’s saving work. Salvation represents the past, the present, and the future. We have been saved from guilt and the penalty of past sin. We are being saved from the power of sin in the present. The hope of salvation refers to salvation in the future tense.

·         1 Thessalonians 5:8 – and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

·         1 Peter 1:13 – wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.

We are to be prepared, live with self-control, and set our hope on Christ’s return.

 

The sword is the offensive weapon, Word of God.

·         Hebrews 4:12 – for the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


Verses 11, 13, 14

Notice how these verses all point to standing still. We are not to waiver, we are not run, we are not to hide, and we are to turn our backs. We are to stand facing the enemy.


Verse 18

How would anyone be able to pray constantly? One approach to pray continually is to make snappy, brief petitions our constant reaction to each circumstance we meet for the duration of the day. Another path is to put our lives around God's directions and lessons with the goal that our life turns into a supplication, a prayer. We do not need to disengage from others and from day-by-day work to pray continually. We can make prayer our everyday routine and our life a prayer while experiencing in a world that needs God's impact.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

are we guilty of...

The sin of disobedience to command, 
The sin of lack of love for Christ, 
The sin of not following Jesus, 
The sin of not abiding in Christ, 
The sin of dishonest in sacred trust, 
The sin of folly of shortsighted fool, 
The sin of blood guilt by not winning souls. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

When a Sinner Arrives in Hell:

 

- He’ll Look - Luke 16:23

- He’ll Lament - Luke 16:24

- He’ll be Lost forever - Luke 16:26 

Are we guilty of the following?

The Sin of disobedience to command,

The Sin of lack of love for Christ,

The Sin of not following Jesus,

The Sin of not abiding in Christ,

The Sin of dishonesty in sacred trust,

The Sin of folly of a shortsighted fool,

The Sin of blood guilt by not winning souls.

Friday, February 12, 2021

If All Christians...

If all sleeping Christians got woke up,

If all lukewarm Christians got fired up,

If all disgruntled Christians got sweetened up,

If all discouraged Christians got cheered up,

If all depressed Christians looked up,

If all estranged Christians make up,

If all gossiping Christians shut up,

Then there might be a revival in the church.

 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Is Christ's sufferings worth the pain?

Romans 8:17-18, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


·   There is a cost for being identified to Jesus. Alongside the extraordinary fortunes, Paul specifies the enduring that Christians should confront. The first-century believers faced financial and social mistreatment, and some confronted death. In numerous parts of the world today, Christians face pressures similarly as extreme as those looked by Christ's first followers. Indeed, even in nations where Christianity is endured or empowered, Christians should not get careless. To live as Jesus did, serving others, surrendering one's own privileges, or opposing pressing factors to adjust to the world, we ought to consistently anticipate a cost. Nothing we endure can contrast with the extraordinary value Jesus paid to save us.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

More Thoughts

1.      Snack bar sermon spiced with humor.

2.      Math of the Cross – added to heaven, subtracted from hell, divided from the world, and multiplied treasures.

3.      Do we have a routine ritual or righteous reverence?

4.      Christians use live ammo on each other but charge hell with water pistols. 

5.      The purpose behind the problem is to be transformed by trouble.

6.      Look at the world – distressed, Look at self – depressed, Look at Jesus – be in rest.

7.      Trouble produces patience, Patience produces character.

8.      Many people become bitter instead of better during trouble.

9.      Do not ask for comfort, asked to be conformed.

10.  Trials help us to grow and rely on God.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Contentment

Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” 

Contentment is not a natural disposition nor is it an automatic response. It is a skill that is to be learned and it will take time to learn it. We may not like the circumstances that we are going through and at times we may begin to wonder why we are going through them. We must learn to find joy through Christ regardless of our situation.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Continued thoughts

 1.      Three things to have for a good revival – look at the Master, look at the Man, look at the Message.

 2.      Some churches/Christians have – activity without action, motion without movement, promotions without progress, and programs without power.

 3.      Although outward form remains, the living creature has vacated the shell.

 4.      Planted/fertilized in the wrong season, attempted to harvest before fully developed.

 5.      Decisions determine destiny.

 6.      Focus on opportunities, not obstacles; Focus on greatness of God, not the task; Focus on God’s abilities, not your inabilities.

 7.      The reason worship fails to occur in the pew is because it fails to occur in the daily routine of living.

 8.      Praise and worship are not a mass function but an individual one.

 9.      Worship is a result of lifestyle.

 10.  Are we fishing for compliments or fishing for men?

A COUNTRY PREACHER PREACHING IN THE CITY

  A COUNTRY PREACHER PREACHING IN THE CITY Amos 7:14-15 The affluent people of Israel were enjoying their life of luxury and prosperity. The...