Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Habakkuk Sermon Notes

Habakkuk 1:1-2:1, 2:1-14
Sermon Notes
The Power of God
August 30, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         There is a lot to contend with in this little book of Habakkuk, and the time is short today, so we will take two weeks to do so. This is an excellent book to study on many issues. Today, I want to put some questions before you and we will look at some answers today as we have time and more next week.
         The book opens with a dialogue between Habakkuk and God. Some have described Habakkuk as a philosopher. He is asking hard questions about present eveil and seeking answers from God.
         This book is set probably after the Fall of Nineveh in 612. Remember that Nahum had predicted judgment upon Assyria and Nineveh because they had attacked God’s people. Now, Habakkuk sees evil growing in Israel and he wonders when God will act and take care of it. God answers but Habakkuk does not like His answer.
         God is going to use the Chaldeans to bring justice and chastisement to Israel.  The Chaldeans defeated Nineveh in 612 BC. Nebuchaddnezzer’s father, Nabopallasar, was involved in the army that destroyed Nineveh. This book is probably delivered in the decade following. Nebuchadnezzer also defeated Pharoah-neco in a great battle at Charcemesh in 605 B.C. Thus, the Chaldeans were now the new power. So, a date shortly after this rise to ascendency is likely.
1.   Does God take notice of the wicked and bring justice to the evil?

Habbukuk’s Complaint
Hab. 1:2-4 2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!  3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.  4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
Violence is happening around Habakkuk and God is not delivering His people. There is violence, theft, strife and contention in the land. The law is slack, justice is not carried out. The wicked seem to have the upper hand over the righteous.
2.   Does God judge on a curve? Are the relatively righteous, righteous? Can I be counted righteous because there are wickeder men than me? Are there sins that are worse than other sins? Yes but all fall short of the glory of God.
         Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

3.   Is it just for God to judge wicked men by using wickeder men?

God’s Answer
Hab. 1:5   Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.  6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.  7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.  8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.  9 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.  10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.  11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
god- little g. Nebuchadnezzer will think his foreign gods gave him victory but God will humble him, too.

Habukkuk’s Follow Up Complaint
Hab. 1:12   Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.  13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?  14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?  15 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.  16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.  17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?
Hab. 2:1   I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
Since God is going to judge wickedness with more wickedness, Habukkuk has some questions for God. He is nervous about God’s response but waits to see what God will say.

Yes, both deserve hell. However, God is working out salvation for His people. It would be unkind of Him to let His people continue in their sin.

4.   What is God’s standard for determining who is righteous and who is wicked? The just shall live by their faith. We, who are justified in Christ, are not righteous. Righteousness is relative. But those who fall short are all relatively wicked. What shall we do? Have faith in the crucified Jesus.

God’s Response
         Hab. 2:2-4 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.  3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.  4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
         The Lord weighs this all in the balance. Man is not saved by his relative righteousness but rather by putting his trust in the Lord. Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. We are justified by faith and not works.

5.   What is God’s long-term game plan?
Hab. 2:14  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

His long-term plan is to save the world. He does this through His people. Israel was supposed to be the priests and kings of the Earth. They failed. But Jesus sits on the throne of His father David forever. Thus, the eternal priesthood, will, in fact, accomplish this goal.

Hab. 3: 17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

         The power of God is having faith in Him for the just shall live by faith. It is our faith that overcomes the world.
         Through faith the knowledge of the Lord is as the water that covers the sea.
         Rom. 1:16-17   For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

         Gal. 3:6   Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.  10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.  12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.  13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:  14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
         Heb. 10:34-39 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.  35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.  36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.  37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.  38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Justified by Faith

Dear Saints, we have been justified by faith and we know that if we had to be justified by our works then every mouth in this room and throughout the entire world would be stopped because all the world is guilty before God.
The law gave us knowledge of our sins but now the righteousness of God outside of the law is manifested, as was told ahead of time by the law and the prophets. The righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ has been revealed to all and upon all them that believe in Jesus. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God but we have been justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

         Therefore, you stand before Him, justified in the risen Jesus. No longer an alien outside of the promises, but sons and daughters invited into the Holy of Holies, into Heaven itself where all the promises of Jesus Christ are yea and amen.

Forgiveness for Confessors

It is good for us to gather each Lord’s Day in the beauty of holiness. God’s holiness reminds us of our sins. We confess corporately but we should also confess individually. God’s forgiveness is for confessors. I do not ask you to confess sins that you have not committed but we all have besetting sins we struggle against. Are you hot headed and being quick to anger got you into trouble again this week? Confess that. Are you timid and fear kept you from acting this week? Confess that? Are you overly talkative and you talked your way into sin again this week? Confess that.

         And having confessed and received God’s forgiveness and His answer for a transformed life through the power of the Holy Spirit, rise up in the beauty of holiness clean, without spot or wrinkle, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, blameless in the eyes of Your Heavenly Father. But woe to those who kneel in their bodies but stand in their hearts.


O Lord God in Heaven, You are our Shepherd. We shall not want. You make us lie down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters. You restore our souls and lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.  Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us. Your rod and Your staff comfort us. You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. You anoint our heads with oil. Our cups are overflowing. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Amen.