søndag 24. februar 2013

Amos 1:1-2:5 The God of Justice

Amos 1:1-2:5

What kind of God do you want to worship? In today’s post-modern society we can design our own God to whatever works for us. So, what kind of God do you want? In our “God supermarket” you have Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, New Age spiritualism, and Humanism, which normally carries with it Scientifism, feminism and materialism, and, of course, the choose-your-own Christianity. Want a socially active Jesus – here’s your church. Want a lovey-dovey Jesus – here’s your church. Want an angry Jesus, whipping you and telling you to do better – here’s your church. Or if Jesus is too scary, how about his mother? Here’s your church.

The God of the Bible is none of those. He is not an idol you can put back in the cupboard. He is not a God who you can placate (calm down, sooth) by being a good boy or good girl, or attending a few religious meetings. He is not the Force who is great to have when life is good or when you need some help (“Use the Force, Luke”) – but then you can turn off when you want to do something a little bit shabby. He is not the God who is disinterested, the God who does not care about what is going on in the world. He is the God who is there. He is the God who speaks. And he is the God who demands a response.

Am 1:1–2 (NLT) This message was given to Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa in Judah. He received this message in visions two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, was king of Israel. 2 This is what he saw and heard: “The LORD’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem! The lush pastures of the shepherds will dry up; the grass on Mount Carmel will wither and die.”

It is a message of warning, a message of judgement. A message that our God is a God of justice, and will not let injustice go unpunished.

I only have 2 points tonight:

1. The unjust nations

2. The just God.

1. The unjust nations

Damascus (Syria), Gaza (Philistines), Tyre, Ammon, and Moab – these were the nations surrounding ancient Israel. And all have sinned again and again: treating people as crops to be mowed down (threshed), or sold into slavery for profit, or disposed of as rubbish, pregnant women murdered, and even the bones of the dead are dishonored. Things we know are wrong, but we do it anyway. These nations were treating each other badly, hating each other and being hated in return. And God says I will not let them go unpunished!

What will he do? I will send down fire on their walls…, and [their] fortresses will be destroyed… I will destroy the king, and the people will go as captives.

God is not watching us from a distance. He is not the grandfather on the throne, looking down on us with a kind but confused expression. He is the KING on the throne. With all authority on Heaven and earth. He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He spoke the universe and everything in it into existence.

And, crucially, He made men and women, human beings, in his own image. Every one of us is valuable, whether we are an unborn baby or 101 years old. We have an innate (in-built) value. We are God’s children, the pinnacle of God’s creation. We are eternal beings, different from the rest of creation in that we are spiritual as well as physical.

The writer C.S. Lewis, in his sermon “The Weight of Glory” says this about us: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship; or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare…
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”

Can you see why it is right to be outraged when people treat people badly? Why Christians have always been at the forefront of social change, whether it’s William Wilberforce trying to stop the slave trade, Florence Nightingale serving in the Crimean war and founding nursing, John Howard reforming prisons to better care for the prisoners, George Müller who cared for over 10 000 orphans, or Martin Luther opposing the Pope selling “God’s” forgiveness (“indulgences”) in order to build a really big church.

It is a natural outworking of the gospel. Because we are loved and accepted by God, we will love and accept others – however “low” or “high” in society they may be.

So Amos warns of God’s righteous judgement on the cruelty of the nations surrounding Israel. What they did was evil. From chapter 1:

Damascus beat down my people in Gilead as grain is threshed with iron sledges. Literally rode them over with a big threshing machine as if they were nothing but crops to be harvested. Like driving a combine harvester into a crowd of people.
Gaza sent whole villages into exile, selling them as slaves to Edom; along with Tyre, who broke their treaty of brotherhood with Israel, selling whole villages as slaves to Edom. The people of Edom have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They chased down their relatives, the Israelites, with swords, showing them no mercy. In their rage, they slashed them continually and were unrelenting in their anger. Gaza, Tyre, and Edom raided villages in Israel and carried off everyone, men, women and children, and sold them as slaves - just like the evil African slave trade in the 1800’s. The Ammonites ripped open pregnant women with their swords. Wanton cruelty in war. Killing simply for the evil pleasure of killing. And Moab? Well they desecrated the bones of Edom’s king, burning them to ashes.

That last one might seem a bit out of place – not quite the same as brutally murdering unborn babies and their mothers - until you learn that the people of Moab and of Edom both (wrongly) believed that you could not be raised to eternal life if your body was destroyed – so for them to burn someone’s bones was a real act of hatred: they were trying to stop that person being resurrected, wishing for his or hers eternal death. Moab and Edom hated each other so much that they would haul out their king and burn his bones to ashes. This was all-out vengeful war.

So, what kind of God do you want? A Buddha who simply says life is suffering, matter is not important, rise above these acts, they mean nothing. Myanmar (Burma) is a Buddhist country – currently murdering whole villages of the minority Karen people (and others). Is this truly the Path of Enlightenment?
Or the current God of Norway which is atheism and secularism, where people are just random collections of cells, blind DNA reaching out into the void. “Give life your own meaning” is the message of humanism. Well, the Ammonites gave their life meaning by ripping pregnant women in half. How do you argue against that from a humanistic point of view? It’s just my opinion vs. yours.

How can we be satisfied with a worldview that allows such blatant injustice? When we read these words, we become angry, saddened, grieved. Why? Because we’re random DNA? Because we just need to “rise above” suffering and not let it touch us? Because the Life Force is blind and powerless? Because it’s their truth, equally valid? No!

We need the God of the Bible, the Only True God, who roars his anger at such blatant injustice. The nations are unjust.

2. The just God.

13 This is what the Lord says: “The people of Ammon have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! When they attacked Gilead to extend their borders, they ripped open pregnant women with their swords. 14 So I will send down fire on the walls of Rabbah, and all its fortresses will be destroyed. The battle will come upon them with shouts, like a whirlwind in a mighty storm. 15 And their king and his princes will go into exile together,” says the Lord.

We live in an evil world. In Myanmar, genocide. In Sudan, warlords are continually attacking each other, while villages are burned, men: father, brothers, husbands, have to run for their lives or risk being forced to become soldiers. In Eritrea churches are shut down and people have to run for their lives. In the US and Australia last year gunmen entered schools and gunned down children and teachers. In India a woman on a bus is gang-raped for 2½ hours. In Norway 2604 cases of family violence were registered in 2011 alone. In Kristin’s class a young girl and her mother had to be placed in protective custody for a few months due to the threat of violence. An evil world.

The great news of Amos is that God sees all this and will bring them to justice. We rejoice when we read those words “they will not go unpunished”. Myanmar has sinned again and again and I will not let them go unpunished. The Sudanese warlords have sinned again and again and I will not let them go unpunished. Norway has sinned again and again and I will not let them go unpunished.

These nations probably thought that they were getting away with what they were doing. But God’s warning is stark. In 732BC, Damascus was wiped out. In 734BC Gaza was no more, followed by Ashdod in 711BC and Ekron in 701 BC. Tyre and Edom were swallowed up by Assyria; Moab and the Ammonites simply disappear from history.

And what about us? What do we think we’re getting away with, that God doesn’t notice?

In preparing this I had a great difficulty in knowing how to apply it. Because this is written to Israelites in 770BC, into their context, their understanding. We can’t just use it to trumpet today’s social causes! When we’re reading the Bible we first need to understand what it meant for the original hearers. And the further away we are from them (particularly before Jesus is fully revealed, like now) the harder we need to work at understanding it. I am not Amos, and you are not from Israel, Damascus, Gaza or Ammon!

So how do we understand this? What should we take away from this?

Well, there are two timeless applications, because they teach us about the character of God, and so are just as relevant to us in 2013 as it was to the Middle Easterners in 770BC!

The first timeless application is this:
God is a just God.

As we’ve read “they have sinned again and again”. God is warning that his patience is running out and he will judge. He cannot not judge evil acts. It is part of his character – just like He’s made it part of ours. We cannot help getting angry at slavery, and cruelty in war, and murder of the helpless. And when we do, we reflect his good character, his good justice. God is a just God.

Before we look at the second timeless application, I want us to think a little bit about what this means for us in 2013. What does “God is just” mean? What are things a modern day Amos might target to cause us to see our need to repent and turn to God for forgiveness?

I think one of the most obvious is allowing a person’s value be defined by whether they are wanted or unwanted. If a woman wants her baby, that baby is afforded full protection under law, is considered a human being, and given the full extent of medical help and treatment no matter how young. If her baby is unwanted, that same baby suddenly has no legal rights or status whatsoever, and the medical facilities that previously stood ready to save them now are used to kill them and dispose of their bodies.

Furthermore, we can screen for disabilities, and kill disabled people before they are even born. Yay us.

What do you think Amos’ oracle would have been against Norway in 2013? What would God think of our murdering of the weakest and most helpless in society because they’re burdensome?

(And what if you have aborted your baby? Statistically at least one of us here has. Remember that Jesus came not to condemn, but to save. Seek forgiveness in the arms of Christ. Acknowledge your sin and turn to Him. He died to take away your guilt and pain. Please talk to me or one of the other leaders and we can help you through this.)

Or the great big god of GREED. Materialism, consumerism. Buy, buy, buy because that will make you happy. Get this new thing, this new gadget, these new clothes – that will make you happy. Every picture of shopping is a happy woman with loads of packets. And we don’t care where it is made, how the workers are being treated – just as long as it’s cheap. Isn’t this perilously close to slavery?

Or how we treat our old people, or our children, or our environment, or....

I could say: Stop going on holiday and buying a new car and the best skis and that new camera and instead invest in people. Give to the work of the church. Quit your job and be a mother and look after your kids. Invest in people, not things.

But that’s not enough to satisfy God’s justice. There’s no gospel in that. Those may be good things, but they’re not the right response to a holy God. Becoming slightly less unholy is not enough! Christianity is not a points system, where giving kr1000 to the church gains you 5 points and 50000 points gives you access to Heaven.

Thankfully the second timeless application from Amos chapter 1 is that:
God is merciful.

Notice that Amos is preaching in 770BC – and the first nation to fall was Gaza in 734BC – over 30 YEARS later. They were given 30 years to repent, to change their ways, to ask the Lord God Almighty to forgive them. They could have. Jonah preached to the Ninevites and the whole city repented and were forgiven.

There is mercy for all those who repent (that is, turn away from evil and turn towards God) and accept the mercy of God. That is the only solution for an evil and corrupt people. Education won’t change their hearts – they’ll just find new ways to kill more efficiently. We need God’s mercy to change us from the inside out, to change us from people who so easily go along with slavery and murder and people being exploited, to people who are just and merciful.

How? How could a just God be merciful to such evil and barbaric people? Well, Amos didn’t know – he just had to trust God’s Word that somehow he could do this! His hearers did not know. But we know. “Father, forgive them” cried Jesus on the cross. That forgiveness echoes down throughout the Bible, and as Rom 3:26 says God left the sins committed beforehand (i.e. OT) unpunished and poured that out on Jesus on the Cross – so God is both just, and the one who can forgive, because he himself pays the penalty for our sins. Wow!

Just one more note on God’s mercy. Part of his mercy is allowing a limited amount of evil to take place, which is what we see in our world. And yes, it’s a frightening and sobering thought that this evil we see is limited – Revelation says that only a third of evil has been released. We should not be living in Norway in relative peace and quiet knowing the state of our hearts! Thank God for his mercy in limiting our expression of evil to only that which is necessary to alert us to the fact that we need to repent and turn to him.
If we lived in a paradise, if God did not reveal his anger from Heaven by allowing to sin as we want to (Rom 1:18) – which of us would repent? We would none of us turn to God, none of realising we are in rebellion against him, and we would all die forever. This life is but a fleeting glimpse, God has a bigger picture in mind, and so alerts us to the fact that we are heading for disaster, and eternal disaster.

Amos is a loud and clear warning. God is just. Seek forgiveness before it is too late. A forgiveness that is only found in the death of Jesus.

The nations are unjust.

God is just.

søndag 17. februar 2013

Amos: The Lion Roars

Have you ever heard a lion roar? I mean, really roar? Not those videos on youtube which are mostly lions “coughing” or “barking” – I mean a real roar.

I heard one back in 1996 and I will never forget it! We were on the border of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, looking up onto a hill. Up on the hill came a herd of gazelle (deers) running for their lives. Because they were being hunted by lions. We could hear them “barking” to each other – first from this side, then to the other. Exciting! (If you’re not a gazelle!).
Then suddenly this male Lion appeared on the crest of the hill, barking to the other lions. Then he turned toward us – maybe he smelled us or heard us, I don’t know - and paused to look at us. Then he opened his mouth and let out a full-throated roar.
This was the real thing. Lion roars can be heard up to 8 kms away. We were about 500metres away. Between us was a fence, then another fence, then a deep railway cutting with railway track, then another fence, and then another, and THEN the hill upon which he stood. And we were petrified (scared stiff). And then we all took a few steps back towards the car – such was the power just of his roar. In that moment it felt like he would effortlessly run down the hill, smash right through the fences, leap over the cutting, through the other fences, and devour us with one single bite. Such power.

That’s what Amos is trying to get us to feel. God, the Lion of Judah is roaring from Zion! And he’s roaring in fury, in anger, in judgement. And the right response is to be afraid. To run, to hide, to find some shelter from this Almighty, blazing, fury.

Tonight’s talk is another “guide-book” talk – like when you visit a city for the first time, it’s useful to have a guide book telling you about the history, the key spots, the best restaurants, the places to avoid, the best views. This talk is your guidebook to Amos (which I hope you’ve read this week – if not, start this week). So we’re going to look at some of the major themes as follows:

1. Can God keep his promises?

2. Sinful Israel

3. The Lion Roars!

4. The Lion shelters his cubs

1. Can God keep his promises?

Whenever we start a new book, particularly in the Old Testament (the part of the Bible before Jesus was born), it’s worth asking the question “where are we now?” Just like when you visit a new town you’ll grab the map or the GPS and have a look to see where you’ve got to, and where you are going. This is the “map” part of the talk!

So let’s look at the map, and see where we are. Am 1:1 (NLT) This message was given to Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa in Judah. He received this message in visions two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, was king of Israel.

Uzziah and Jeroboam II reigned around 770BC. This was 200 years after the Golden Age of Israel under King David and then his son Solomon. It was about 160 years after the near civil war which split Israel into two: the Northern Kingdom, called, confusingly, just Israel; and the Southern Kingdom, called Judah.
Amos himself is from the Southern Kingdom, Judah, but is sent to prophesy primarily to the Northern Kingdom, Israel, and its king Jeroboam II. Bet they liked that! (no!)

Israel was materially wealthy – they had control of significant trade routes at the time – but spiritually they were in serious trouble. They had had a succession of evil kings, who set up temples and altars to false gods all over the country, and refused to let the people travel to the Temple – because the Temple was in Jerusalem, in the Southern Kingdom of Judah!

That’s the situation at them time. The question any Israelites who loved the Lord God, if there were any, would be asking is “What is happening to God’s promises?”
The people of Israel (and Judah) were called “the people of God”. They were the descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and Jacob (who later was renamed Israel). God’s great promise to Abraham was of a great people, in the land of Canaan, under His good rule, who would bless all the nations of the world.
At this point they are a great people, in the land of Canaan – but disobeying God’s rule, and certainly not blessing the nations. Instead, they are just like all the nations around them, running after wealth and comfort, trampling on the poor and weak, cheating in business, and even worshipping the same false gods!

What is happening to God’s promises? Amos gives us that answer. Israel is on shaky ground. They think that they can give God lip service, being outwardly religious, but their hearts being far from him. They think they can go to the synagogue (Jewish “church”) on a Saturday and be all pious and religious, and then the rest of the week run after money and power and leisure and pay no attention whatsoever to God. “I’ll live my life MY way” was the cry of the Israelite in the time of Amos.

Amos’ message is: God is not fooled. He sees what is in the heart, deep inside – not the mask we pretend to wear. The message of Amos is a warning, loud and long, to turn back to God before his patience runs out.

For the people were forgetting that God is the King. That he is sovereign, in control. He created the world with a word, and sustains it with his breath. So powerful is he. They thought that God depended on them, that somehow they had power over God – that because he had promised to bless the world through Israel that they were safe, no matter how they treated him. They thought he was a pussycat, to be toyed with. But he is a lion, the Lion, and his roar of anger is heard loud and long.

Foolish people, presuming on the kindness of God. Do you really think he, the Mighty God, is dependent on you? He will blow you away with a blast from his nostrils, he will bring up the Assyrian armies from the north and utterly wipe you out. 5:24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

We know that that is what happened. Israel was stubborn and refused to listen, ignoring God, and doing evil. So God did what he said he would do. In 722BC, only 50 years after Amos’ warning of judgement, God acted. The Assyrian army swept into the Northern Kingdom and utterly destroyed it. The people were carried off into captivity, never to return.

What of God’s promise? How would the Lord bless the world through the people of Israel if they were sinful and evil.

Ah, we get a little hint of that in the end. Am 9:11 (NLT) “In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory.”

The Lord will do something, not the people. He will restore the house of David. “House of David” is a reference to descendant of King David, and to the great promise made to David: that one of his descendants would be a good king, a great king, a perfect king – a King who would rule forever.
God always keeps his promises. His plan to bless the world through his king, King Jesus, the Christ, is still on track. God keeps his promises, and sinful people can no more stop his promises than a fly on the tracks can stop a freight train! God does what he says he will do, whether in judgement or salvation. God keeps his promises.

2. Sinful Israel

But what were Israel doing that was so bad? Why was God going to judge them? Well, for example Am 2:6–8 (NLT) This is what the LORD says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sell honourable people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. 7 They trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name. 8 At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of their gods, they drink wine bought with unjust fines.

They were sexually immoral, engaging in the slave trade, oppressing the weak, taking clothes from the poor as security and then wearing those clothes to church! They were extorting money (unjust fines) – making up reasons to demand money from people. They were using their strength for evil.

The women are no better. Am 4:1 (NLT) Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!”

Drunk, lazy women, abusing their husbands, refusing to look after their children, abandoning the home and responsibility for a life of luxury.

But they were very religious, very pious, outwardly “good” people. Am 4:4–5 (NLT) “Go ahead and offer sacrifices to the idols at Bethel. Keep on disobeying at Gilgal. Offer sacrifices each morning, and bring your tithes every three days. 5 Present your bread made with yeast as an offering of thanksgiving. Then give your extra voluntary offerings so you can brag about it everywhere! This is the kind of thing you Israelites love to do,” says the Sovereign LORD.

Making a big show of being religious or morally good. Giving generously and making everybody knows about how much you’re giving. Playing the part of the “good” Christian.

It’s easy to sit here and condemn the Israelites – and rightly so. We should be disgusted with their behaviour! But didn’t you notice some of their actions seemed, well, uncomfortably familiar? A bit too close to the way we live in Norway in 2013?

For example, don’t we too live for leisure – choosing the TV or Internet or sport or hunting or anything else instead of serving our Lord? Isn’t that the great god we worship: leisure. The freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want.
No longer do we value hard work, serving our family, serving our church, our community. Nope! Now our dreams are sitting on a beach doing nothing. Being a fat cow, calling “bring us our drinks”. Our goals are “watch all the Oscar-nominated movies” instead of well, anything else!

Now leisure has its place – we are not machines who can keep on going and going without rest. In fact, the Lord made a day to rest, to relax, to stop work and to focus on Him. Today! The 7th day. So rest is good. And in fact, the end goal of salvation is that everlasting Day of Rest, when we are going to be with God forever. But we’re not going to be sitting on our backsides for all eternity. No! We will be working with Him, creating, building, caring for the new Creation. And we can find glimpses of that true rest even here on earth. In working hard at your marriage, putting your sins to death, setting aside your selfishness, and serving your spouse: and you have a restful, joyful marriage. Work hard at your job and you have the satisfaction of a job well done. Spend time with your children and build that relationship – and you will have children who know you and love you. That desire for leisure, for rest – that’s a good desire, a God-given desire. We’re just looking in all the wrong places to satisfy that desire.

Just like Israel.

And just like Israel, the Lord will not put up with our laziness, greed, our selfishness, our abuse of women and children, and our empty religion.

3. The Lion Roars!

Am 8:11–14 (NLT) “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD. 12 People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it. 13 Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the LORD’s word. 14 And those who swear by the shameful idols of Samaria— who take oaths in the name of the god of Dan and make vows in the name of the god of Beersheba— they will all fall down, never to rise again.”

Am 9:9–10 (NLT) “For I will give the command and will shake Israel along with the other nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, yet not one true kernel will be lost. 10 But all the sinners will die by the sword— all those who say, ‘Nothing bad will happen to us.’

“Wake up!” is the message of Amos. We live in the world’s most privileged country. We are rich and powerful, although small. We live in leisure, are moral, are generally “good” people. We pretty much have everything we need or even want. We are Israel in 770BC.
And we are being judged like Israel in 770BC. There is a famine in our land of hearing the word of the Lord. The gospel is shouted down, laughed at, mocked. Pastors are afraid to preach, and so they dull down their message to something socially acceptable. Many who are pastors are not even Christians! People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.

Our friends and neighbours ignore the Lord, saying “Nothing bad will happen to us”. Even many who go to church are simply angering the Lord because they mock him with their empty religion. Many of us have come across “Christians” like this. Who are very religious but without an ounce of grace. Maybe we were even like that before? Many who claim to follow Jesus but don’t know him. It is a desperate situation.

Israel will be shaken. The sinners will die by the sword. Justice will roll down like waters…

The Lion is roaring. What can we do? Is there any hope?

Well, yes. Because who is not afraid when a Lion is roaring? The roar strikes fear into everyone except – the Lions cubs, his family. His roar is a roar of power, of protection, of provision, of comfort.

4. The Lion shelters his cubs

Many have said that there is very little comfort to be found in Amos. In fact, a few commentators have argued that the last few verses of Amos, chapter 9:11-15 are written by a different person because they are a vision of hope and not judgement.

Well, I think they’ve misunderstood Amos. That the book exists is hope in itself! God is warning the people of the consequences of their actions. When the signpost says “Collapsed road ahead” what do you do? You turn back, of course! You change direction. If you carry on the way you were going, you crash! The warning is an act of mercy, saving you from a crash. Amos is God’s warning. Israel, you are heading for disaster. Norway, you are heading for disaster.

We also find a beautiful picture of God’s mercy in chapter 7. Am 7:1–6 (NLT) The Sovereign LORD showed me a vision. I saw him preparing to send a vast swarm of locusts over the land. This was after the king’s share had been harvested from the fields and as the main crop was coming up. 2 In my vision the locusts ate every green plant in sight. Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” 3 So the LORD relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said.

What’s going on here? Remember that Jesus tells us that the Old Testament is about Him, the whole Bible looks forward to and finds its fulfilment in Him. This little encounter between God and Amos is a picture of what Jesus does for us. It is a picture of the Trinity at work, God the Father pronouncing right judgement, and Jesus the Son pleading for us on the basis of his blood. Ro 8:34 (NLT) Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honour at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honour at God’s right hand - that is the hope of Amos’s message. Jesus is the King of the restored house of David in 9:11, the one who is powerful enough to bring about a new creation, where the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested, and there is such abundance that the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine!

Friends, you are either a lion cub – or you are prey. You are either in perfect safety – or grave danger. The warning of Amos is clear. God is not fooled by outward religion. He is not blind to our sins, our lies and cheating, our laziness and our greed, our disregard for Him and our ignoring Him.

His roar rings out! What will you do?

søndag 10. februar 2013

Audio recording: Following Jesus (Part 2)

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As usual, don't worry about the automatic virus waring (Google can't scan big files.) If you need more help see this post.

søndag 3. februar 2013

Audio recording: Following Jesus (part 1)

Download link here
As usual, don't worry about the automatic virus waring (Google can't scan big files.) If you need more help see this post.