Good morning! Come with me on a little adventure. I’m trying something a little different with the SMP: a Bible Study on the Book of Amos. One of the things that triggered this was a news article about a group called Freedom From Religion, who are trying to get a cross removed from a war memorial that has been there for 91 years. I remember seeing this group in an interview a few years ago: I can’t remember when. The group was started by a woman who belonged to a religion that was forcing her to do this, that, and the other thing. She should use her group to get others out of a works religion, and get them into a KJV Bible believing church. A church where they believe Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Unfortunately many confuse God with the church in their priorities. Your priorities should start with God. He should be your number one priority. Your second priority is that of your family, and because you love your family, and want a good house with food on the table, and clothes on their backs; your job should be in here somewhere. Your third priority is your church. Fourth: everything else.
Romans 14:1 thru 15:7 (and I promise we will get to Amos) tells us that, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
One day we will all give account to God. This is a call to personal holiness. In 1Peter, chapter 1, Peter quotes Leviticus 11:44: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (Romans 14:1-15:7)
And Peter knew this is personal between him and the Lord. Jesus told Peter, straight out, the way it is. John 21:20-22 tells us, “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
Don’t worry about the other guy, you follow what God says in His Holy Word.
In the Book of Amos, time had run out. The nations did not listen or care to do what the only true and living God said to do. God’s people were about to be judged for turning their backs on God. The nations that surrounded Israel and Judah were about to be judged for what they did to God’s people. The nations of Syria, Palestine, Edom, Ammon, and Moab hurt God’s people. They were threshed by the Syrians. Threshing is a process in which the chafe and the grain is removed from the stalk. Then the grain is separated from the chafe. God’s people were torn apart by the Syrians. God’s people were sold as slaves by the Palestinians. Edom, the descendants of Esua, had no pity on their brother, Israel, and fought with God’s people. God’s people were attacked by the Ammonites. They ripped up the pregnant women (genocide) to enlarge their borders. It did not matter to them that they attacked the children of Abraham, their father’s uncle. Moab was going to be punished for attacking the other son of Abraham: Isaac’s son Esau. God is a righteous God, and wrong is wrong, whether it is delivered by the hand of an enemy, or the hand of a friend. And God’s people, Israel and Judah, turned their backs on the God who loved them, who chose them to be His bride, who led them out of captivity. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Scarey.
Did you ever play chess? The best players are always thinking several moves ahead. Amos was giving these people a vision of what was going to happen to them. God gave them a peek at what was going to be a few moves ahead. They could either repent, change their mind about the direction they were going, or just keep going further and further away from God. Remember that the wages of sin is death, even for a Christian. But God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Your life is between you and God. He purchased you with His blood. Maybe the time has come for some self examination, and a life that reflects a closer walk with God.
Let me encourage you to read the Book of Amos this week. But before you do, ask God to open your eyes to being holy; and to keep you from falling. And when you do fall, remember 1John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Peace (Isaiah 43:5-12)
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