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The Gospel According to Amos

Again, Read Amos 9:8b-15

HOPE! Part 2 of 3

Two more days until we celebrate Jesus’ coming! Amos is really helping us see how significant this coming, and the establishment of Jesus’ new Kingdom on earth, truly is.

In verse 8b, the ray of hope peeps in at the conclusion of Amos’ prophecies of judgment on Israel. The Gospel! … Do you see it? The house of Jacob will not be utterly destroyed!

Okay, that’s great … for the house of Jacob. But that ain’t me, is it?

God never has, isn’t now, and never will be dealing with Israel strictly in terms of their national interests. No, since the call of Abraham, this whole “chosen-nation thing” has had everything to do with the whole planet, not just the Jews. Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3). Sometimes called “The Great Commission of the Old Testament”, this call and promise encourages Abraham to rise above his ethnic and familial ties, and go on a mission that will (don’t miss this!) bless “all the families of the earth”!

God’s relentless mission to redeem for Himself a people now plays itself out in His word to Israel through Amos, in two Ways:

 “For behold, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the earth” (v. 9). God is dealing with Israel, but is not doing so privately. Their judgment is not intended to go unseen by the watching world. They are being shaken “among all the nations”. As Abraham was a blessing to Canaan … as the Israelites were a blessing to Egypt … as the Ark of the Covenant was a blessing to the house of Obed-Edom … as the people Judea would be a blessing even to Babylon, while in Exile … and, of course, as the Messiah Jesus would come to bless all mankind, they have this in common: All were shaken among the nations. God has always paraded His suffering people around the world, as a testimony of His grace and truth to all, and as a means of His blessing to the world through their sacrifice.

“In that day I will raise up the booth of David … that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name” (v.11-12). When was the booth of David raised up? When Jesus, of the line of David, came to establish His Kingdom. This Kingdom, though, is far bigger, wider and inclusive than the political nation of Israel, and the ethnic clan of the Jews. It will even include “the remnant of Edom”, now “called by My name”. (Edom … remember “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated”? Here, we have Esau’s tribe being included in the new Davidic people.) Not only the Edomites, but “all the nations” who are called. Jesus’ command that the gospel be preached to the four corners of the earth displays that His Messianic Kingdom is, literally, for all the nations.

When Jesus comes, He will be born into a lost people, Israel. One people among many lost peoples in a lost world. He will come to save them … and us. Now, we, too, will be a part of the people of God. Now, we, too will be shaken among the nations for the glory of God and the blessing of mankind. And we will be the ones who will receive an amazing inheritance when we return! (That’s the finale…see you tomorrow!).

– EO

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Advent 2015, Amos

 

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Blessed to Bless: 3rd Wednesday of Advent – 14.12.17

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 8.27.04 AMI have the privilege of preaching tonight at our church for a Wednesday night Advent service. The text I was given is Isaiah 61, the beginning of which reads, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” It will be my honor to remind the church that the favor of the Lord continues to be dispensed through the church, which will remain the case until Jesus’ second advent, when He comes again to bring about the final redemption of all things.

This reality – that while we wait for the final consummation, we are actively blessing the world – lines up nicely with Martin Luther’s commentary on 1 Peter 3:9-10. First, the text from Peter (who also quotes King David):

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.”

im-not-arguing-im-just-explaining-why-im-rightprotestIn a world full of evil, we live righteously. In a world for of enflamed vitriol, we speak words of kindness and blessing. In a world full of fractious arguments and warfare, we serve as peacemakers. In a world full of indescribable evils, we seek good, lovely days.

We do this because we know and believe something that the world does not. We know that God is good, and that He is in control. Those who aren’t born again by the Spirit of God will not and cannot escape the bondage of sin. We should not expect people to behave well – exactly the opposite! So, how should we respond when people behave badly? Luther says it this way:

Preaching-347x280You have no reason to revile, but to bless. You have received a blessing from God, not only for yourselves, but also that you may be a blessing to those who are still held by the curse. In other words you are to pray for them that they also may also come to faith through your doctrine, patience and exemplary manner of living … you have more cause to pray for your enemies and to have compassion on them than to be angry with them, and the like.”

Luther soberly adds, “O Lord God! How few such Christians there are!”

This Advent, I hope we are all struck once again at the mission God has given us, which we must carry out faithfully until Christ returns. Our best preparation for His second advent is to be fully engaged in the blessings of the first.! “As the Father has sent me, so also I send you” says Jesus in John 20:21 … to proclaim the favor of the Lord on those who would believe! To bring healing to the broken, and compassion on those bound by the curse! Might the “peace on earth, good will toward men” that we all long for during this season pour out of the Church, draw people to Christ, and help prepare them for eternity, too!

Oh…and when we do this, we receive a blessing, too!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Advent 2014

 

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