Where is our walk with Christ and do people see Christ in us?
This is a story about Amos. He was a common man, sheepherder, a layman; dedicated to serving God and his actions spoke for him. God told Amos to warn the Israelites of judgment coming because of their disobedience, complacency, idol worship, they oppressed the poor, they were hypocritical, and they had no sincere heart for God.
In chapters one - two, Amos announces judgments to fall on nations that came against Israel. God then tells of judgments to come to Judah and Israel. People asked what they had done. They began to sound like the Pharisee in Luke 18. In chapters three - six, Amos gives the reasons why God would bring judgments. The children of Israel had sinful lives; they used religious rituals and traditions to make themselves look good. They were more concerned for their image. Amos mourns for Israel and how God despises Israel’s pride. In chapters seven - nine, Amos tells of the visions of judgment that would happen, of Israel’s destruction, and tells of Israel’s restoration.
But today’s focus is on chapter four. God used different situations to get the Israelites to turn lives back to Him.
In verses 1-5:
Here we see that Israel’s rich ladies were contrasted with the kine (cows) of Bashan, spoiled, smooth, and very much taken care of (Psalm 22:12). These ladies childishly pushed their spouses to persecute the vulnerable to supply their extravagant ways of life. We are to be mindful so as not to want material belongings in such a manner in that we will abuse others and disappoint God to obtain them.
Amos snidely welcomed individuals to sin in Bethel and Gilgal where they loved worshipping idols rather than God. At Bethel, God had restored his pledge to Abraham with Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22). Presently, Bethel was the religious focal point of the Northern Kingdom, and Jeroboam had put a symbol there to deter individuals from going to worship in Jerusalem in the Southern Kingdom (1 Kings 12:26-29).
Gilgal was Israel’s first camping area subsequent to entering the Promised Land (Joshua 4:19). It was here where Joshua restored the Abrahamic covenant and the ceremony of circumcision, and the people commended the Passover (Joshua 5:2-11). Saul was delegated as Israel’s first ruler in Gilgal (1 Samuel 11:15).
The Israelites were saying thanks to God and tithing for the abundance that they had accomplished by mistreating poor people. Being prosperous is not a gift from God. It is great to say thanks to God for any success that we might acquire, however God should likewise be engaged with the cycle prompting that flourishing.
We can see that the people were showing off. They were putting themselves on display and wanted to be seen. They wanted recognition and they were more interested in serving themselves and were not submitted to God’s will. Let me ask this question, can going to church be sinful? It might be if people who claim to be Christians live and act like these people did.
Are people today more concerned with their image or their attitude at a church service or even in their daily Christian lives?
TOO MANY PEOPLE IN TODAY’S SOCIETY USE THE CHURCH AS A SOCIAL CLUB, A SINGLE’S CLUB, OR A DAYCARE CENTER.
A phylactery is a small box containing Hebrew text, Jewish men wore during prayer to keep the law.
In verses 6-11:
Seven warning signs were given to the children of Israel.
In verse six, “cleanliness of teeth” refers to famine/starvation. “Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”
In verses seven – eight, “withholden the rain from you” refers to drought, they had no water. “Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”
In verse nine, “blasting and mildew” refers to blight, a plant disease; “palmerworm” – insects ate the plants. “Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”
In verse ten, “pestilence” – is human disease; “slain with the sword” – war was everywhere. “Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”
In verse eleven, “destruction of cities” – homes, buildings destroyed. “Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”
Have we seen any of this in our lifetime? We can watch any television news station and see this all over the world and some of it is right here in our own country.
In verses 12-13:
Now we see that God would pass judgment and that the people were told to be prepared to meet Him. No matter how God warned the people, through famine, drought, plague, locusts, plagues, or war, they still ignored God. And since they ignored God and did not understand the message, they would have to meet God face to face in the judgment. They had rejected God and refused to obey Him.
People of today…
Regardless of how God cautioned the Israelites through starvation, dry season, scourge, beetles, torment, or war, they actually disregarded him. Since they would not receive the message, they would meet Him up close and personally in judgment. No longer would they disregard God. They would need to confront the One that they dismissed, the One that they would not comply with when he told them to really focus on poor people. One day every one of us will meet God up close and personal, face to face, to be held accountable for what we have accomplished or for what we would not do. Have we paid attention to the Word that instructs us to prepare ourselves to meet him?
TOO MANY PEOPLE OF TODAY ACKNOWLEDGE THE EXISTANCE OF GOD BUT THEY DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
Are the people of the church today just as sinful if they live like the people in this passage of Scripture? What will God have to do with people today to make them get their hearts right with God? What must happen to Christians so that they begin to act and be as Christ wants them to be? Are we a Church of Casual Christianity? Are we Cardboard Cut-out Christians? What will it take to bring us back to God?
Jonah 1:1 – 4:11
The purpose of the book of Jonah is to show the degree of the grace of God, that the message of salvation is for all individuals. This book is not quite the same as the other prophetic books since it recounts the tale of the prophet and does not fixate on his predictions. Indeed, just one verse sums up his message to the individuals of Nineveh (3:4). Jonah is a recorded account. It is additionally referenced by Jesus as an image of his passing and resurrection (Matthew 12:38-42).
Sin runs amuck throughout our society. We can pick up any newspaper and read the numerous stories of murders, child abuse, terrorism, sexual sins (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9), pornography; the world is full of hatred, violence, and evil. Can we not see that God’s judgment is coming? What if God called us to begin preaching about the sin and the judgment to come?
This assignment was given to Jonah. This book is about that story.
God calls Jonah to do a job, preach unto the citizens of Nineveh regarding their sin, that they should repent and turn to God or face destruction. Jonah knew of God’s mercy and grace and knew that God had the capacity to heal and forgive, but Jonah hated the Assyrians and wanted vengeance to put upon them. Jonah sinned and ran in the opposite direction from God. How many of us have been given a task from God yet we decided to run from that task?
Jonah makes it to the seaport and hops aboard a ship. A vast storm approaches and the sailors, superstitious as they are, cast lots to determine who the culprit is. The lot falls upon Jonah. The sailors are afraid and ask what is to be done. Jonah tells them to cast him into the sea so that they would be spared. They did just that, and in doing so, they began to believe on God. Jonah was then swallowed by a great fish, and there he remained for three days and nights.
The Explanation and Importance of Jonah
Albeit the prophet attempted to flee from God, but God was in charge. By controlling the turbulent oceans and an extraordinary fish, God showed his outright, yet cherishing direction. Rather than running from God, we should confide in him with our past, present, and future life. Denying God rapidly prompts calamity and tragedy. Saying yes brings a new comprehension of God and his intention on the planet.
God's News to all the Earth:
God had given Jonah a reason and a motive, to lecture the incomparable Assyrian city of Nineveh. Jonah abhorred Nineveh; thus, he reacted with outrage and impassion. Jonah still could not seem to comprehend that God cherishes all individuals. Through Jonah, God helped Israel to remember their purpose.
We should not restrict our attention to only our own people. God calls his people to announce his adoration in words and activities to the entire world. He wants us to be his ministers at any place that we are at, and at any place that he sends us to.
At the point when the hesitant minister went to Nineveh, there was an incredible reaction. Individuals apologized and went to God. This was a strong reproach to Israel who thought themselves better but would not react to God's message. God will pardon every one of the people who abandon their wrongdoing.
God does not respect those who are playacting or who are impostors. He wants the true commitment of every individual. It is not to the point of sharing the honors of Christianity; we should request that God pardon us and to eliminate our transgression. Declining to apologize is equivalent to cherishing our wrongdoing.
God's message of affection and absolution was not for the Jews alone. God cherishes each individual of the world. The Assyrians did not merit it, however God saved them when they repented. In his benevolence, God did not dismiss Jonah for cutting short his main goal. God has incredible love, tolerance, and pardoning.
God adores every one of us even though when we fall short. In any case, he additionally adores others, including those not of our societal gathering, foundation, race, or category. When we acknowledge his affection, we should likewise learn how to acknowledge those whom he adores. If we love God first and foremost, then it is a lot more straightforward to cherish others.
The Punishing Rod Part 3
Here Habakkuk’s prayer is like a psalm in which he is asking for God to remember mercy in his wrath as he revives his works. Habakkuk offers praise for the past deliverances of God when he brought salvation to his people and the wicked received judgment. Habakkuk gives his profession of faith. He trembled at what he heard but he still expressed his faith in God. And although trouble would come, he would still rejoice in the Lord’s provided strength.
This is faith glorying in assurance.
Habakkuk’s Prayer: 3:1-13
Habakkuk commended God for addressing his inquiries. The evil will not continually win; God is in charge, and he can be totally trusted to justify the individuals who are dedicated to him. We should discreetly sit tight for him to act (3:16).
Habakkuk realized that God planned to discipline Judah and that it was not going to be a charming encounter. In any case, he acknowledged God's will, requesting help and kindness. Habakkuk did not request to get away from the discipline yet acknowledged the truth that Judah needed to learn something with an example. God actually chastises his children, in love, so as to bring them back to him (Hebrews 12:5-6). We ought to acknowledge his discipline readily, and request that he assist us with transforming and growing.
In verses 3-16, Habakkuk paints the image of God conveying his people out of Egypt in the sensational Exodus (Exodus 14). God's magnificent power is not confined to making grand miracles; he additionally utilizes it to execute uprightness and equity. It is not sufficient to be awed by God's power. We really want discipline to figure out how to comply and live for him.
The failure of the crops and the death of the livestock would pulverize Judah. Yet, Habakkuk asserted that even in the midst of starvation, he would in any case celebrate in the Lord. Habakkuk's sentiments were not constrained by what was happening around him however, his conviction in God's ability invigorated him. When nothing seems right, and when inconveniences are beyond what we can bear, we should recall that God provides strength to us. We should remove our eyes from our hardships and look to God.
God will give his believers surefooted certainty through troublesome times. They will run like deer across the harsh and hazardous landscapes. At the appropriate time, God will bring justice and free the universe of all evil. Meanwhile, God's children need to live in the strength of his Spirit and be assured about his definitive triumph over evil.
Habakkuk had asked God for what good reason bad individuals thrive while the good ones suffer. God's response: they do not, not over the long haul. Habakkuk saw his own impediments rather than God's limitless control of the relative multitude of world's situations. God is alive and in charge of the world and its happenings. We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do. In any case, we can be guaranteed that he is God, and he will make the wisest decision. Knowing this gives us certainty and trust in a befuddling world.
The Punishing Rod Part 2
Habakkuk 1:12 – 2:20
Now the prophet asks a second question. How can God allow such a godless nation to be allowed to bring judgment upon His children? Granted Judah has been wicked, but how can God use another wicked nation to punish them? Although this is hard to understand, Habakkuk waits on the Lord.
Second question: 1:12-17
Judah's impending discipline would be on account of the Babylonians. Habakkuk was dismayed that God would utilize a country more insidious than Judah for Judah's discipline. However, the Babylonians did not realize that God was utilizing them to assist Judah with getting back to him, and Babylon's pride in its triumphs would be its downfall. Evil is pointless, and it is never outside God's ability to control. God might utilize whatever surprising instrument that he decides to address or rebuff us.
When we merit correction or discipline, how can we or why do we grumble and complain about what type of "ROD" that God utilizes on us?
This is faith grasping the solution.
Second answer: 2:1-20
The watchmen and the watchtower, frequently utilized by the prophets to show a mentality of assumption (Isaiah 21:8, 11; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17), are images of Habakkuk's disposition of persistently sitting tight and looking for God's reaction. Stone lookouts were based on city walls or bulwarks so watchmen could see individuals (foes or couriers) moving toward their city while they were currently a way off. Watchtowers were additionally raised in grape plantations to assist with watching the maturing grapes. Habakkuk needed to be in the best situation to be able to receive a message from God.
This chapter records God's responses to Habakkuk's inquiries: How long would evil win (1:2-3)? For what reason was Babylon picked to rebuff Judah (1:13)? God said that the judgment, however lethargic, was certain to come about. Despite the fact that God utilized Babylon against Judah, he knew about Babylon's transgressions and that they would be punished in time.
Evil appears to have high ground all over the world. Like Habakkuk, Christians frequently feel furious and debilitated as they see what continues. Habakkuk grumbled overwhelmingly to God about it. God's solution to him is the very response that he would provide for us, "Calm down! Things will work out as I want them to in my timing." It is not a straightforward process in being patient, however it assists us with recollecting that God despises sin significantly more than we do. Discipline of wrongdoing will surely come. As God told Habakkuk, "Do not give up." To confide in God completely is to believe him although we are not sure why such situations happen as they do.
The insidious Babylonians confided in themselves and would fall, yet the righteous live on account of their faith and confidence in God. This verse has motivated innumerable Christians. Paul quotes it in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. The author of Hebrews quotes it in 10:38, not long before the well-known chapter on faith. Also, it is useful to all Christians who should survive troublesome occasions without seeing the result. Christians should believe that God is coordinating everything as per his motivations.
Babylon was a proud nation, it confided in itself and its military strength, and lived to fulfill its own desires to the detriment of its prisoners. Nevertheless, these very sins would ascend to pass judgment upon it, and the hostages it violated would strip and insult Babylon. Justice would come gradually; however, it would come.
Babylon's wealth came from the setbacks of others, and this wealth would transform into useless remains in its grasp. The people in question and their urban areas would shout out against Babylon. Money in itself is not malicious; however God censures the affection for wealth and all detestable methods for securing it (1 Timothy 6:10). We ought to be mindful so as not to crave for wealth in such a way that we lose our hunger for God. Try not to permit money to replace family, companions, or God.
Idolatry might appear to be a transgression that today’s modern individuals need not dread, yet idolatry is not simply doing homage (bowing down) to idols; it is confiding in what one has made, and consequently, in one's own power as maker and sustainer. Assuming that we say that we love God, but then we put our confidence in financial balances, homes, organizations, and associations, then we are idolators. Do we believe God more than we trust what our hands have made?
Idols are not alive nor personhood, and they have no power, for they are vacant lumps of wood or stone. Sanctuaries built for idols are similarly void; for nobody lives there. Nevertheless, the Lord is in his Temple. He is a genuine individual, alive and amazing. He is genuinely and completely God. Idolaters order their deities to save them, yet we who love the living God come to him in quiet adoration, extraordinary regard, and veneration. We recognize that he is in charge and knows what he is doing. Idols stay quiet since they cannot reply. The living God, paradoxically, expresses through his Word. Approach God respectfully and stand by quietly to hear what he has to say.
The last thing to point out is that there are five “woes” that are a warning.
The Punishing Rod Part 1
When Habakkuk was disturbed, he brought his interests straightforwardly to God. In the wake of accepting God's responses, he then, at that point, reacted with a supplication of faith. Habakkuk's model is one that ought to support us as we battle to move from uncertainty to faith. We do not need to be hesitant to pose inquiries of God. The issue is not with God's methodologies; however, it is with our restricted comprehension of him.
This is faith grappling with a problem.
First question: 1:1-4
Habakkuk lived in Judah during the rule of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36-24:5). He had prophesied between the fall of Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) in 612 B.C. and Judah’s invasion in 589 B.C. With Assyria in confusion, Babylon was turning into the predominant politically influential nation. This book records the exchange with God concerning the inquiries, "For what reason does God regularly appear to be apathetic with the evil that is happening? And for what reason do the those that are evil appeared to go unpunished? While other prophetic books carried God's Word to the individuals, this book carried the individuals' inquiries to God.
Habakkuk was disheartened and distraught by the defilement and corruption that he saw around him. Accordingly, he spilled his guts out to God, in other words, Habakkuk cried out. Today bad the rampant injustice is as yet uncontrolled, but we ought not allow our anxiety to make us question God or go against him. All things being equal, we ought to consider the message that God provided for Habakkuk and perceive God's long-range big picture of his plans. We ought to understand that what God is doing is correct, regardless of whether we comprehend the reason as to why he functions as he does.
First answer: 1:5-11
God reacts to Habakkuk's various forms of feedback by expressing that he will yet do staggering demonstrations that will extol himself. At the point when conditions around us become practically terrible, we keep thinking about whether God has failed to remember us. Yet, recall, that he is in charge. God has an arrangement and will pass judgment on criminals in his time. Assuming we are really modest, we will actually want to acknowledge his responses and anticipate his planning.
God told the occupants of Jerusalem that they would be shocked at what he was going to do. Individuals would see a progression of unimaginable occasions. First of all, their own autonomous and prosperous realm, Judah, would become a vassal country. Furthermore, Egypt, a country that had been a politically influential nation for quite a long time, would be squashed practically overnight. Thirdly, Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, would be totally scoured that the individuals would fail to remember where it had been. Then finally, the Chaldeans (Babylonians) would ascend into control. However, these words were without a doubt dumbfounding, and the people saw them come to fruition during their lifetime.
The Chaldeans (Babylonians), who lived northwest of the Persian Gulf, made a quick ascent to controlling the known world around 630 B.C. They started to champion themselves against the Assyrian Empire, and by 605 B.C. They had vanquished Assyria to turn into the most grounded force to be reckoned with. Yet, they were just about as underhanded and wicked as the Assyrians, for they wanted to gather hostages (1:9), they were pleased with their fighting strategies (1:10), and they confided in their godlike objects and military strength (1:11).
Babylon was glad for its military may, its procedures, its armed forces, and its weapons. Without really considering humankind, the armed forces got back wealth, goods, slaves, and recognition from the countries that they looted. Such is the embodiment of worshipful admiration, asking the divine beings that we make to assist us with getting all that we need. The substance of Christianity is asking the God who made all of us, to assist us with giving everything that we can in support of him. The objective of excessive admiration is self-wonder, the point of Christianity is God's greatness.
Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34
What is salt used for and for what is it good for?
In Matthew 5:13, assuming a seasoning has no flavor, it has no worth. On the off chance that Christians put forth no attempt to influence their general surroundings, they are of little worth to God. If we are like the world in an excessive amount, then we have become useless. Christians ought not mix in with every other person. However, we should influence them in a positive manner, similarly as a seasoning draws out the best flavor in food.
In Mark 9:50, Jesus utilized salt to represent three characteristics that ought to be found in Christians. In the first place, we ought to recollect God's faithfulness, similarly as salt when utilized with a sacrifice reviewed God's covenant (Leviticus 2:13). Second, we should have an effect in the flavor of the world that we live in, similarly as salt changes meat's flavor (Matthew 5:13). Furthermore, we ought to counteract the ethical rottenness that is in the public eye, similarly as salt preserves food from going bad. At the point when we lose this longing to salt the earth with the adoration and message of God, we become futile to him.
In Luke 14:34, salt can lose its flavor. At the point when it gets wet and afterward dries, nothing remains except for a boring buildup. Numerous Christians mix into the world and stay away from the expense of defending Christ. However, Jesus says that if Christians lose their unmistakable saltiness, they become useless. Similarly, just as salt flavors food and can preserve it, we are to save the positive qualities on the earth, assist with holding it back from ruining, and rejuvenate new flavor. This requires us to plan, to be a willing sacrifice, and have an unswerving obligation to Christ's Kingdom. Being salty is difficult, however on the off chance that Christians fall through in their work, they neglect to present Christ to the world.
To treat or to prepare for use, to give more flavor.
Spiritual saltiness - Do not blend in.
You add salt to enhance the flavor of food. We are the salt that God uses to lead a hungry people to food. But if we are not ‘salty’ enough we are of no-good use. We have become worthless. If we begin to become unsalted then we need to get back in the Word. If a person has an injury or an illness, it may require intravenous (IV) fluids of sodium chloride to aid in his recovery. If Christians suffer a similar spiritual ordeal, they may need a spiritual IV.
1 Peter 3:15, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
To clean from imperfection.
Salt is used to clean from imperfection. Just as medical professionals use normal saline (salt water) to clean out a wound, we are to be that salt to the world. We cannot clean the world, but the world should see Christ in us which leads to cleaning. It will and does sting, but it is necessary. Sometimes we Christians need a little cleaning to remove the impurities that we have allowed to come in our lives. In some cases, salt is added to water to make it able to drink.
James 4:8, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
To reserve for exclusive use, to save from harm.
Preserves are good on a nice hot buttered biscuit, especially homemade preserves. Have you ever opened up a jar and found that wax ring on the top? That was placed there to preserve the fruit. With that thought in mind, Christ puts that salt or wax around us to preserve us for an exclusive use, to reach the world. Unfortunately, some Christians ‘wax’ are a little thin and the preserves do not last.
Meat that is hung in a smokehouse has a layer of salt on it as a preservative. It acts as a barrier. God always places that barrier of saltiness around us to preserve us now and for future service. However, like the meat in a smokehouse, that barrier can wear thin if we do not continually apply the salt (keep in the Word).
Isaiah 49:8, Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
To provoke displeasure, impatience.
Put salt in a wound and what happens? Salty Christians always sing, worship & praise the Lord wherever they are or regardless of circumstances. Salty Christians study the Word, and they witness. Sinners do not like that; it irritates their lifestyle. That means the Holy Spirit is convicting their hearts.
Some churches and Christians have lost their saltiness, they soothe rather than irritate. Their saltiness has become watered down. They have turned the church into a social club, a place for people to network. Instead of winning souls, Christians have become politically correct. Christians have set aside their differences form the world (their Christian life) and they do not want to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings. They want to get together and do good works, show how good they are, and increase their societal standing.
2 Timothy 4:2, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (Whether it is convenient or not.)
Types of salt:
Salt may come in different forms, but it is still salt.
Rock salt melts ice (cold heart).
Table salt is used in food preparation (prepared heart).
Epsom salt, although not a true salt, is used for health reasons (condition of the heart).
Substitute salt is not healthy because it contains chemicals that can cause other health problems.
Seasoned salt is a blend of salt, herbs, and spices.
What does it mean to be good for nothing? Are we of little worth? Are we useless?
If I am not doing good, then I must be doing wrong, I must be counterproductive. If I am not drawing people to Christ, I must be pushing them away. If I am not showing the right way, then I must be showing them the wrong way.
How will we stand before God with nothing to show for our salvation? We do not work for our salvation. It is a free gift from God; but we must work after receiving the gift. Has our spiritual saltiness gotten wet? How salty are we?
Today’s sermon is about Jesus calling four fishermen to follow him. We can find this story also in Mark 1:16-20.
Jesus advised Peter and Andrew to leave their fishing business and become “fishers of men.” That means they were to help other people to find God. Jesus was calling them from their useful business to be spiritually useful. How many of us have heard the call and answered? We as a whole need to be fishing for lost souls. Assuming that we are practicing the teachings of Christ's and offering the Gospel with others, the Holy Spirit will actually be able to attract everyone around us to Christ, similar to an angler who uses nets to maneuver fish into his boat.
These men definitely knew Jesus. He had conversed with Peter and Andrew already (John 1:40-42) and had been preaching in the area nearby. At the point when Jesus called them, they realized what sort of man he was, and they were motivated to follow him. They were not in a mesmerizing daze (hypnotized) when they followed Jesus, yet they were completely persuaded that their lives would change for all eternity when they started to follow after him.
James and his sibling John, alongside Peter and Andrew, were the disciples that Jesus called to work with him first. Jesus' call inspired these men to get up and relinquish their jobs right away. They did not concoct any reasons or excuses concerning why it was anything but a suitable time to do as he called. They left immediately and followed him. Jesus calls every one of us to follow him. When Jesus calls to us serve him, we should do as the disciples did and do it without a moment's delay.
Look at what they did when they were called. Did they ask permission from anyone to go? Did they stop to ask their spouses if they could go? That is if they had wives. Did they ask the local rabbi at the synagogue for permission to go into the ministry? Then again, why did they go? These guys undoubtedly had good paying jobs, or their work was enough to keep them comfortable. I doubt that they had a union to deal with.
So, as a Christian, we should ask ourselves a couple of questions. First, what type of fisherman are we? Secondly, we could ask ourselves, what type of fish are we fishing for? Any fisherman can tell us that fishing takes practice. We have to learn the style of fishing that we want to do and learn the type of fish that we want to go after.
Types of Fishing:
The following are a few types of fishing.
There is Fly fishing. This type of fishing uses a lightweight lure. It is called an artificial fly. It acts like the real thing, but it is fake. Fly fishing skims surface. Then there is Bass fishing. You can see a lot of people out on a lake in their boats. They cast their lines and then they sit there and wait around for something to happen. Many bass fishermen may use a bobber, a floating device that is attached to the line. It sits on top of the water so the fisherman can just watch and see if anything bites.
Next there is Trout fishing. Now this type of fishing looks exciting. The fishermen may get out into the water and hunt for fish. They can look really busy. There is Spearfishing. This involves impaling the fish with a straight pointed object. These fishermen are jabbing at the fish trying to catch one. Or there is a Casting Net type of fishing. Here the fishermen use a net that they throw out into the water and try to catch fish. Sometimes the load is too heavy, and the fishermen cannot pull the net in. If the net is broken, the fish will get away.
Types of Fish:
Now let us look at some diverse types of fish. Are some Christians like this?
There are some questions that we need to ask ourselves as we go about our daily Christian life. Have we examined our spiritual “boats” and our spiritual “tackle boxes?” Are we using the right line, bait, etc.?
And as the title of this sermon suggests, have we become keepers of aquariums? That means are we swiping fish from other fishbowls (other churches), and not reaching out for lost souls? Are souls not being saved because our nets are torn?
We may not have ability to “fish” in the natural sense, but the question is, are we willing to go fishing for lost souls? Do we have a willingness to serve in whatever capacity that God calls us to do? What have we been called to do? We are to let our light shine, the light of Jesus, before everyone that we come in contact with (Matthew 5:16). We are to be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are told in Matthew 28:19 to go and teach. We are to go into the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15).
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. With no unique preparation, schooling, or childhood upbringing, Amos submitted to God's call to go and prophesy unto Israel. Compliance is the trial of a devoted worker of God.
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 went from a position of agriculture to a position in culture. But God called him to serve anyway. It was not Amos’ ability that God was looking at, it was his availability, it was Amos’ willingness to serve.
I can imagine the high society people looking down their noses at the country preacher, because it can be seen 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, or if he does not come from a specific type of background.
This was during the time of Jeroboam II, king of Israel, and Uzziah, king of Judah when 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 Pretending of Amaziah:
Amaziah was the chief priest in Bethel. He was supposed to be representing Israel’s spiritual side. But instead of being concerned about listening to God’s message, he was more concerned for his stately position, the prestige, the authority, and the money. Those were all that Amaziah was worried about, not the people’s spiritual welfare. So soon as this bogus priest had under the pretense of kinship toward Amos, he offered guidance, and implied his goal to utilize his power to make Amos stop prophesying if he did not do it intentionally. Amos offers him a prompt strong response and outshoots the court pontiff with his own bow.
The Prophecy of Amos:
In chapters one and two, 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 three through six, 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 seven through nine, there are five visions. The motivation behind the visons is to strengthen the truth that the anticipated judgment could not be turned away.
The Person of Amos:
“I was no prophet.” Not initially, or by progression, or by study, nor by any human assignment or arrangement, as many have been.
“Neither was I a prophet's son.” My dad was no prophet, nor was I reared up in the school of the prophets, for example (2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7, 15; 4:38; 6:1). Although you call me a soothsayer, regardless of whether jokingly or seriously, it matters not, however I guarantee you that I am not such by artisanship, or for a work.
“But I was an herdsman.” By rearing, decision, and occupation I was, and I still am a herder and have my interests in or close to Tekoa in Judah, on which I can live. Even though I prophesy without payment or compensation, I required not to do the prophet’s work for my bread.
“And a gatherer of sycamore fruit.” The tree and the fruit are known by one name. Palestine flourished with both; and the fruit, though not large, was sweet and useful for nourishment for man or cattle. Amos had and could still live on this type of work, and he would be content.
Amos reminds Amaziah that he did not prepare to be a prophet and that he is called of God to prophesy. He was a herder in terms of professional career and made his living that way. God sent him to prophesy. If Amaziah does not acknowledge the message, he is actually conflicting with God.
Amos’ answer was straightforward and showed proof that he was a simple man. He was not making prophetic proclamations just to be heard by others. He tells Amaziah that he was there because the Lord put him there. Are we where we are supposed to be? Are we doing what we are supposed to do be doing?
Amos gives a portrayal of a shepherd, to which he was. And while in this position, the Lord called him and took him to be a prophet. He did not seek after it, nor did he take this honor to himself. His mission was a divine calling, and he did not enter this work with worthwhile perspectives. In other words, he was not doing it for the money.
In comparable manner, God took David and made him ruler of Israel. God took Elisha from the furrow and made him a prophet. Furthermore, Christ took a few of his followers who were fishers and made them fishers of men, or priests of the word. Thus, their calling showed up clearer and manifested itself in their life.
“And the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.” What Amos did, complied to the order of God, and he performed his responsibility. What these two verses, announce is an adequate vindication of himself, his character, and his conduct.
Amos was not an expert prophet. It is intriguing that those that ought to have been speaking against the transgression in the land, had disobeyed their duties and obligations. God called an unknown man and sent him with a message to these individuals. He was not impacted by power or position. He expressed the Words that God had put in his mouth.
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 were 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.
We are to be just as sure of our calling if we are to go out into the ministry. If there is any doubt in someone’s mind, then he or she should hold off until confidence of the calling sets in. If God has called any of us into the ministry, then we ought not to let anything hinder us in accomplishing that task. Amos had doubts, which sounds like a lot of Christians today.
I am just a … this or just a that. I am not a … this nor am I a that. I have no special talent or gift that I know of. I may or may not have a biblical degree so what does that matter? It is not what you are that matters. It is what God can make you to be. He does not ask for our ability. He asks for our availability. He asks for a willing vessel. He will give us what we need to accomplish the task that he has set before us, either by ourselves or with the help of other like-minded Christians.
God calls all into the ministry in some form or fashion. We all can witness in one way or another. In the book of Joshua, God used Rahab, a harlot, to aid the men in accomplishing their tasks. She ended up being in the lineage of David. (Joshua 2:1, 2:3, 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25)
Jeremiah 1:7, But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Ezekiel 2:3-4, And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God.
Are we truly obeying God's Word?
How Are We to Know the Truth?
2 John 1:1-13
The emphasis of Second John chapter 2 is on the basics of following Christ, of truth and love, and to warn against false teachers. We are not to just read the Word of God, but we are to obey it as well. When a believer knows how to walk in the truth, he or she should know how to act, should know what to do, is willing to learn, and is determined to do so.
The “elder” is John, one of twelve disciples. He also is the author of the Gospel of John, the three epistles, and the book of Revelation. This letter was composed soon after First John to caution about the false teachers. The welcome, “unto the elect lady and her children” could allude to a particular lady, or to a church congregation whose. Whichever is the case, the identity is not generally known. The fact of the matter is, is that the truth is regarding Jesus Christ, and not the lies of the false teachers.
When we have accepted the truth, we have accepted Jesus and then we know that Christ abides in us (John 8:32, 14:16-17; 2 Corinthians 4:7-10; 1 John 1:8, 3:18). Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Mercy is the kindness of God. Peace is what binds us together, it is the church body’s well-being, and it is the stability within the body of Christ.
The level of love that believers ought to have for each other is a common New Testament theme (John 13:34, 15:12; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 1:22). However, love for one's neighbor is an old order that initially showed up in the third book of Moses (Leviticus 19:18).
We can show love in numerous ways: by staying away from bias and segregation, by tolerating individuals, by listening to others, by providing aid to others, by giving and serving others, and by declining to pass judgment on others (John 14:15, 15:10, 15:14; Romans 13:8; 1 John 2:7, 4:7-12). Yet, simply realizing God’s order is not sufficient. We should incorporate it into our lives.
Does the church walk in truth? Does the church keep God’s commandments? Is the church “daily walking close to thee?”
John saw the church in harmony, spirit, and in truth. Do we? How many of us have had these thoughts pop into our minds: Her hair looks different; He did not shave, the nerve of him; He is in jeans, her dress is cut too low, or her dress is way too short; why are those grownups wearing shorts to a church service. we are to keep our eyes on Christ.
“I beseech thee.” – This is John saying that we need to pay attention. We need to listen and hear closely. We had this commandment from the beginning. (Leviticus 19:18; John 13:34) It is one thing to say that we love our neighbor, but do we really do it, and do we show it?
In John's time, numerous bogus instructors instructed that the matter was abhorrent and that the spirit was good. Along these lines, they contemplated that Jesus could not have been both God and man (1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18, 26). Therefore, John cautioned against this sort of instruction. There are many false teachers who advance a comprehension of Jesus that is not scriptural. This is erroneous teaching that they contort the truth and subvert the establishments of the Christian faith. They might utilize the right words yet change the implications. The manner in which our instructors live today depict much regarding what they hold to be true with respect to Christ.
The “full reward” to which John alludes to is not that of salvation but the prizes of faithful servitude (Philippians 3:14, 4:1). All who esteem truth and relentlessly fortify themselves to it win their "full award." The people who live only for themselves and legitimize it by showing bogus principles will lose that prize.
Since the fall of man, Satan has been set on deceiving as many people as possible. He has led countless people astray, pretending to be something that he is not. John was warning that not only would false teachers come from outside the church but could come from inside the church as well. (1 John 4:1)
False teachers twist the truth, they make it sound good, but then they deny the power of the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers are led further away from the Truth by false teachers, and they may refuse God outrightly. We are to examine ourselves (Matthew 7:3). How have we served God? Have we done what we should do?
False teachers say, “look at me, look at me,” when they should be saying “look to Jesus, look to Jesus,” (Matthew 7:21-23). Do we abide in the doctrine of Christ? (John 8:31, 15:7; 1 John 2:23-24) Some refuse to accept the virgin birth, the resurrection, and the ascension. They add to or take away from the scriptures.
John trained the believers not to give accommodation to any false teachers. They were to not do anything that would support the blasphemers in their proliferation of lies. Also, assuming that any believers welcomed them in, it would show that they were endorsing what the false teachers said and did (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11; Titus 3:10). It might appear to be inconsiderate to dismiss individuals, regardless of whether they are showing sin, yet how much better to be dedicated to God than to simply be polite to individuals. John is not sentencing neighborliness to unbelievers, but instead the supporting of the people who are devoted to contradicting the genuine lessons of God. John adds that an individual who upholds a false teacher in any capacity shares that educators' mischievous work.
False instruction is serious, and we dare not ignore it. It is significant to the point that John composed this letter particularly to caution against it. There are such countless false teachers in our present day that we may be enticed to trifle with them. We ought to understand the perils they present and effectively decline to give apostasies any traction.
We are to work to win them to Christ but remain ever vigilant and watchful for the devil’s traps.
Who is a Whosoever?
1 John 5:1-15
When we become a Christian, we become part of God’s family, with other believers as our spiritual siblings, brothers, and sisters. God ascertains who the other relatives are, not us. We are basically called to acknowledge and adore them. We know that if we love God and keep His commandments, then we love the children of God. As we love our earthly family, we should love our spiritual (Christian) family. How well do we treat our kindred relatives?
Jesus never guaranteed that complying with him would be simple and easy. In any case, arduous work can be fulfilling if we value the outcomes. One more method of deciphering the last part of verse three could be this, “His orders are not troublesome.” The challenging work and self-restraint of serving Christ is no weight to the individuals who love him. If our load begins to feel too heavy for us to bear, then we can believe that Christ will assist us with bearing it. Jesus overcame the world; therefore, we can overcome the world because Christ lives in us.
“This is he that came by water and blood” may allude to the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus. However, it does identify the person of God in Christ Jesus, totally human and totally God. As of now, there were false teachings that said that Jesus was God just between the time of his baptism and his death. That is, he was conceived as a human until he was baptized, at which time "the Christ" then plunged upon him. However, it later left him before he died on the cross. Assuming Jesus died just as a man, he was unable to have taken upon himself the wrongdoings of the world, and Christianity would be a vacant religion. Just an act of God could remove the punishment that we merit for our sins and transgressions.
“Bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost” are one spiritual witness. “Bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood” are witness to the world. We receive the witness of man through our ears when we listen. When we listen with our heart, we receive the witness of God, for it is greater. If we have Jesus in our hearts, then we have the witness within us.
In the Gospels, God twice plainly announced that Jesus is His Son, at Jesus’ baptism, and at the time of his transfiguration.
Whosoever has confidence in God’s Son has everlasting life. He is all that we require. We do not have to stand by and wait, because timeless life starts today. We do not have to work for it, since it is now our own. We do not have to stress or worry, since we have been given everlasting life by God himself, and it is ensured.
Certain individuals hope that they will be given everlasting life. John says that we can be certain that we have it. That certainty is founded on God's guarantee that he has given us everlasting life through his Son (John 3:16). This is valid whether we feel that we are near God or far off from him. Everlasting life is not dependent on sentimental feelings. It is based on fact. If we believe in God’s truth, then we have eternal life. God’s truth is his Son, Jesus. Assuming that we may need confirmation to know whether we are a Christian, then we ought to ask ourselves “Have I really dedicated my life to Christ as my Savior and Lord?” If this is so, then we are assured to be one of God’s children.
The emphasis here is on God’s will, not our will. When we speak with God, we are not to demand things that we want, rather we talk with him about what he wants for us. Assuming that we adjust our supplications and prayers to his will, he will tune in. We can be sure that when he listens, he will offer us an unmistakable response. That response may not happen immediately, but it will happen. God said it, Jesus did it, I believe it, just do it, it is done.
Theological commentators vary generally in their considerations concerning what sin is, and regardless of whether the demise that it causes is spiritual or physical. Paul composed that a few Christians had died due to them taking communion disgracefully (1 Corinthians 11:27-30), and Ananias and Sapphira were immediately struck dead when they lied to God (Acts 5:1-11). Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit brings about spiritual death, and the book of Hebrews portrays the spiritual death of the individual who betrays Christ.
John was most likely thinking about the individuals who had left the Christian faith and joined those who were against Christ. By dismissing the sacrifice of Jesus, the only method of salvation, these individuals were putting themselves far from prayer and further from God. Regardless of whether we know what the “sin unto death” is, we have no certain method of knowing whether someone in particular has submitted it. In this way we should keep appealing to God for our friends, family, and Christian siblings. We are to leave judgment to God.
Christians submit sins, obviously, however they request that God pardon them and afterward they keep serving him. God has liberated them from their subjection to Satan, and he continually guards them from Satan’s assaults. The remainder of the world does not have the Christian's opportunity to comply with God. Except if they come to Christ in confidence, their only option is to comply with Satan. There is no center ground, individuals either have a place with God and submit to him, or they live under Satan’s influence.
An idol is anything that substitutes for genuine faith. An idol is whatever denies the full deity and humanity of Christ. An idol is any human thought that professes to be more definitive than the Bible. An idol is any loyalty to anything else that replaces God as the focal point of our lives.
Our opinion on Jesus Christ is integral to our instructing, lecturing, and living. Jesus is simultaneously completely God and completely human. He came to earth to die in our place for our transgressions. Through confidence and faith in him, we can have everlasting life and the ability to do his will. What is our response to the most important question of all time that we might pose, who is Jesus Christ to me?
God called me into the ministry over 20 years ago and I have had the blessed opportunity to preach for a church radio broadcast, served as a Sunday School teacher, served as a youth director along with my wife, as a music director, as an Associate Pastor, and as an Interim Pastor.
Copyright © 2023 Rev. Chris Swanson
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