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Sermons on Micah
Fourth in the series - God forgives not because we are good enough, but because He is good enough.
Swimming in the Incomparable Grace of our Incomparable God. The God whose gospel brings repentance, the God whose gospel removes sin.
Because of her disobedience to God Israel will be judged, but she will also receive salvation after a period of waiting. Now we, as God's people, wait for final salvation in the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Because of her disobedience to God, Israel will be judged, but she will receive salvation after a period of waiting. Now we, as God's people, wait for final salvation in the second coming of Jesus Christ.
How do you feel doing something with someone standing there with a check list ready to mark down everything you do wrong? Have you ever known someone who is critical, who has a critical spirit, who notices everything and is quick to point it out, especially the bad things, the mistakes, the failures, or just the things they don’t like or don’t approve of? The kind of people about whom it’s said, “they would complain if they were hung with a new rope.” Imagine if this morning in the back three pews there were a bunch of guys in dark suits, senior pastors, denominational officials, seminary professors all from Grand Rapids with check lists: did each member bring their Bible, did we sing out of the gray Psalter Hymnal, did we use the piano or organ, did I use the right liturgy for the baptisms, were the women wearing pants, were the kids behaving right, were the elders wearing ties? That’s what happened to Jesus. The senior pastors and seminary professors from Jerusalem showed up with their check list to do a surprise inspection of this Jesus and His disciples. Their check list was this book called the Mishnah or the oral tradition, the oral laws. I’m serious, when the Pharisees criticized Jesus, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” they were quoting this Mishnah.
We all struggle asking how long God will leave us in our trials. Micah 7 teaches us how to wait patiently for deliverance.
What is your God like? It is not an easy question to answer not because God is unknowable (He is) but because God's qualities and characteristics are so immense in number. I mean, what do you emphasize? His love, mercy, justice, knowledge, knowability...the list goes on and on. I'm sure if we made a list of the attributes of God just from among you here, we would get a cross-section of all the things that God has shown about Himself coupled with all the things that we like to emphasize. For example, out church is named "Sovereign King" and it emphasizes two things: God is the King of all creation and He is Sovereign in rule over that creation allowing no one, not even you, to usurp His authority. Sometimes I wonder though, whether or not the God we worship is the God we communicate. One way or the other, we are always communicating something about God from our lives, our choices, and the way we react to certain things. Unfortunately, what we communicate is not always what we say we believe about God. As Micah mentions, the world watches our lives. When we suffer they wonder, "Where is your God?" But when we can earnestly say, "God is just in all He does," the nations repent in dust. We don't and cannot live perfect lives, but the way we react to sin and imperfections is a powerful testimony as to who God is. So if we say, God is just in all He does, then we need to be able to praise Him in the midst of pain and suffering. If we say God is loving, we better be loving. If we say God is the God of all comfort, we better be comforting. But the world scratches their head when we say, "God is merciful and forgive," but we are slow to forgive. The world scratches their head when we say God is just in all He does, but we only get around to giving Him praise when everything in our lives get better. No matter what we communicate though, God is communicating Himself to the world. Romans 1 makes it clear that by nature itself people know that there is a God. One can just look at the beauty and complexity of the cosmos and know that at least God is creator and He creates beauty. John 13:35 say that the world will know that we are God's disciples if we demonstrate love, so constantly the message of who God is, is communicated to the world. So again I ask, "What is your God like?" This Sunday at Sovereign King, as we close out our study of Micah, the prophet is going to answer that question. He is going to tell us who our God is and what He is like. The challenge for us will be to conform our thoughts, beliefs, and actions to the truths of who He is. Then we trust that God will use those things to bring the nations in.
One of the lessons that should be learned from the economic crisis of 2008 is that the line between those in financial need and those that are not is pretty blurry. As home after home are foreclosed on, it is time to be honest with ourselves. Just because a person can afford to live in $300,000 home, does not mean that they are either doing well financially or that they have made good financial decisions. In fact, the person living in a $500 a month apartment struggling to make ends meet might actually be better off financially than many in upscale suburban neighborhoods. The main difference is that the folks in the nice communities get to walk the fine line of financial ruin in nicer accommodations. Unfortunately, it is easy to dismiss folks who file for bankruptcy or are mired in credit card debt because the temptation is to think they are just getting what they deserved. The thought, "If they had made smart decisions with their money, they wouldn't be in this mess," is easy to think. There is a sense of justice in many people's thoughts and speech that says, "Well, that's what you get if you aren't smart with your money." Now, our temptation if we are no where close to losing our house and if we don't have any credit card debt (or if we are even some where in between) is to look down on folks who make poor financial decisions. And I would say if that is the case, we need to be very careful of falling into the sin of self-righteousness. Yes, we need to obey and be fiscally responsible, but God always judges us on the heart behind our obedience. So, even though we are doing fine financially, we need to ask the question, "What is the heart motive?" Are you financially conservative and responsible because you want to be generous towards God and His kingdom or is financial conservatism just the smartest way to live the lifestyle that you want to live and the added bonus is getting to feel spiritually AND financially superior?