Friday, May 29, 2015

Amos I- Deep Rooted

Sermon Notes
Deep Rooted
May 24, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Today is Pentecost Sunday. I sometimes do occasional sermons for high holy days like Pentecost. Today, I am going to stick to Amos as it ends with the promise of the outpouring of God’s Spirit on His people.
         In order to do that I am going to have to preach Amos sort of backwards with the last first and the first last. But that is a Biblical sentiment and I think it will work well. I will preach the promise first this week and then go back next week with a little more background and march our way through the book with some of the high warning passages.
         As you know, Amos was farmer from the southern regions of Israel in Judea. God called him to proclaim warning to the Northern Kingdom about their apostasy and God’s impending judgment upon them.
         In the opening of the book, God reveals that He will judge the surrounding enemies who attacked His covenant people. He makes His way through several of those enemies. But He does not stop there. God resists those who attack His people but He also brings chastisement upon His own people when they repeatedly disobey Him.
         When God speaks to the surrounding kingdoms, it should be a warning to His people. Do not think yourselves immune to the destruction brought on your enemies. It is I who have done this, says the Lord, and I can pour out the same destruction on you.
         The words of Amos do, in fact, come to pass. The Northern Kingdom refuses to repent and are judged harshly by God. This is consistent with the words of Hosea, when the pending judgment moved from Scattering by God on Jezreel, to No Mercy upon Israel Lo-Ruhammah, to finally, cutting them off so that there were Not His People, No-Ammi.
         We see a similar progressions, or rather, digression, in Amos. God warns that chaos will fall upon the enemies. They will be scattered, mercilessly attacked and finally cut-off.
         These words are no doubt very frightening. When God brings judgment upon a land, many suffer as a result. Even the faithful are caught up in the judgment and must seek God’s favor in the midst of the suffering. But, in some sense, they are also comforting. We now have the ability to look back and see with the eyes of the Spirit, what God has done, how He acts in history, and what He will do for a people that humbles themselves before Him.
         Amos preached in the days of Uzziah and Jeroboam II. He opens his book by reminding us that his ministry began two years before the earthquake. This was another of those catastrophes that the Lord brought upon Israel to cause them to repent. Amos lists many such calamities but the result is always the same, and yet you did not repent.
         When we look at natural catastrophes with a modern mindset, we tend to think of them happening as we name them, completely naturally. They occur because time and chance have acted. The problem with that view is that time and chance do not act. Things do happen in time and sometimes seemingly at random. There are scientific reasons for hurricanes, famines, droughts, tsunamis, tornadoes. And we mistake those scientific explanations of the facts of such events as the cause of those events.
         The Lord God of creation not only created but governs His creation. In the prophets we clearly see His care over creation. This includes natural phenomena but is not limited to it. In addition to the natural order, God also governs the nations. He is Lord of the nations so it makes sense that He uses them to do His bidding.
         One might argue that these things occurred in the Old Order but now the New Order in Jesus Christ is not governed in this way. But Jesus is the undisputed ruler of heaven and earth. In the Old Order, various nations were governed by rebellious demons. In the New Order, Jesus has overthrown them. So, now more than ever, the nations do the bidding of the Lord.
         Of course, nations, like individuals, can be in submission to Jesus or in rebellion to Him. But it does not require submission to Jesus for Him to use His power to govern and use nations. He does as He wills.
         As we think about changing times due to weather changes, drought, famine or due to nation changes, war and economic shifts, we should do our best to see what God is doing in the midst of these things. If we look at it this way, then we see that the solution to much of the hardships is not merely national power, economic stimulus, or the attempt to control the weather. The solution to calamity and the search for living waters is repentance and submission to Jesus. When this happens, the God pours out rivers of life to bless His people.
         In the first 8 chapters of Amos, there is almost nothing but warning of calamity. He calls out the people, the leaders and the priests for various levels of rebellion. He warns them to repent but to no avail.
         The people are in the midst of good times and they refuse to hear the voice of the Lord. As a result, their doom awaits them. Judment falls. Samaria falls. Eventually, Jerusalem falls. There is a famine of the words of God in the land and the people are as a the heathen, without God and without hope.
         But God points to a day in which He will act in such a tremendous way that the perilous times will cease. He will pour out His Spirit and the sons and daughters of ordinary people will be as the prophets of old. They will know the Word of God and will heed His voice.
         We know historically that the times of blessing never arrived on the people of Israel. They went into captivity and returned. They rebuilt their ruined city and ruined temple but it’s glory was Ichabod, the glory had departed. God went silent and the voice of one crying in the wilderness was not heard until John Baptist.
         What do the promises of God in Amos entail?

         Amos 9:11   In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 
         The tabernacle of David is the promised Kingship of David that will never cease. Jesus quotes this promise in the New Testament when He says the Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand.
         Furthermore, this is the context of the quote from Joel but continues on in Peter’s sermon in Acts.
         Acs 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:  21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 
         That was the quote from Joel to note the Day of the Lord. But look where Peter takes argument.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.  25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 
The Messiah is always on the right hand of God, the right hand of power and rule. This is the fulfillment of the eternal reign of the Son of David.

26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:  27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 
29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 
David prophesied of his eternal kingdom but he knew it would not be himself who ruled it. Peter reminds them that they know where David is buried and that he was not resurrected.

30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;  31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 
David was dead but not gone. He was a departed spirit. Peter is arguing for something different here. The resurrection is the human body coming back to life. His flesh did not see the corruption that like David’s flesh did.

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 
There are two things that testify of the eternal reign of Christ. The first is the Resurrection of the dead. The second is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,  35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.  36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
It should be clear to these people at Pentecost that not only the prophecy that Joel spoke but also the glorious restoration in Amos had come upon them.
In the ministry of the Apostles, they were not trying to establish a national Israel. They were not trying to solidify the land taken by David or the Solomonic Kingdom. No doubt, their view included the land of Israel but in a very short time, it was clear that it was not limited to the land of Israel.
As soon as the persecution starts until Saul, the gospel spreads far and wide. The people flee but they take Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the kingdom of God with them wherever they go. The disciples finally get this clearly when the Spirit is poured out on the Gentiles through Peter and the ministry of Paul and Barnabas.
This is important because it helps us interpret those passages in the prophets that seem to point to a land restoration for Israel. That land is now the entire earth, not just a national homeland for Israel. Since Jesus is enthroned as the Lord of the Nations, all nations, all places on Earth, belong to Him.
So, we can interpret these passages the way the disciples interpreted them. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. God’s land is now the whole world.

Amos 9
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. 
This is the promise that God will rule over all the earth. God gave them victory not just over their ancient enemies but over all the earth.  He says the heathen will be called by the name of Yahweh.

13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
What will happen in this era? Abundance of blessing beyond not only what we can imagine but even beyond what is possible. This is beyond the natural order of things and so it must be supernatural.
Plowman shall overtake the reaper- As soon as you plow it is harvest time.
Treader of grapes shall overtake the sower of seed- As soon as you plant the seed, it is time to make wine.

14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 

15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.

No comments: