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Plan of God

Plan of God

Jul 21, 2019

Passage: Micah 6:8

Preacher: Michael Grigsby

Series: Walk Humbly

Category: Mission, Obedience

Detail:

Title:Plan of God

Text:Micah 6:8 NLT

 

            Good morning and welcome to RSCC where we believe that it is all about Jesus all of the time! This isn’t just something that I say every Sunday. This really is at the heart of what this church was founded on, what we stand, and the foundation of faith that will carry this church in to the next generations.

 

            The main idea for this series is the fact that God expects believers to care deeply for one another, and for the world around them. When we fail to do so, He will correct us. In the end, his plan will be accomplished—with or without us.

 

Theme Verse: Micah 6:8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” NLT

 

OPENING PRAYER

 

 

 

 

            In order for you to care deeply for someone else you must put that person’s feelings, needs, and even wants before your own. This isn’t just with those who you have known for a long time and you care deeply for them already. This humility we are talking about in this series means that you care deeply for those you do not know, and even for those you do not like.

 

            God is so concerned with how we treat others and represent him that He will do whatever it takes to make sure we treat others as He intends.None of our actions escape the attention of God. If He finds that we have not done what He expects, then He will clean house to make sure it will get done.

 

            An example of this from the Bible that we all know: Jonah (explain).

 

            Micah’s prophecies of God’s judgment would bring a housecleaning in Jerusalem. Kings and leaders will be judged as they have led (Micah 3:1–4, “I said, “Listen, you leaders of Israel! You are supposed to know right from wrong, but you are the very ones who hate good and love evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh from their bones. Yes, you eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin, and break their bones. You chop them up like meat for the cooking pot. Then you beg the Lord for help in times of trouble! Do you really expect him to answer? After all the evil you have done, he won’t even look at you!” NLT).

 

            Micah prepares the leaders by stressing that just as the people they have led have been suffering greatly, so too will the leaders. Micah describes the leader’s attitude as one that has sought to utterly destroy the people. Just as the people have suffered and Israel’s leaders have hidden their faces, so God will hide his face from the leaders when they cry out.

           

            Our actions will always have a consequence. How we treat others will be returned to us by God. This is not to be understood as Karma or the concept of yin and yang balancing out life. Rather, God is the exacter of judgment (consequences) for when we do wrong.

 

            There is an awesome quote from C.S. Lewis that describes what our choices to do us, and maybe would help us to understand the distain God has for those who chose to ignore their fellow man. C.S. Lewis, “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature...”

 

            Sometimes the most difficult punishment we can face is to suffer just as those we have hurt have suffered. I want you to do me a favor and think of the worst thing you have done to someone else, and just imagine how much you hurt them. Now, imagine having to suffer the same pain. Its very uncomfortable isn’t it!

 

            A person who has lost a loved one to violence cries out for justice to be meted against the person who has left this wound in their lives. In addition to his inherently just nature, God’s judgment stems also from the way those being abused are impacting him. God feels the pain and suffering of His people.

 

            While we’d certainly argue that God’s emotional status is balanced and cannot be altered by our actions, it is biblical to argue that—as a relational being—He is impacted by our choices, especially in how they affect other people. The punishment of the leaders and religious authorities has as much to do with retribution as it does with giving dignity back to those who have been hurt by them.

 

            Look at Micah 3:5–8, “This is what the Lord says: “You false prophets are leading my people astray! You promise peace for those who give you food, but you declare war on those who refuse to feed you. Now the night will close around you, cutting off all your visions. Darkness will cover you, putting an end to your predictions. The sun will set for you prophets, and your day will come to an end. Then you seers will be put to shame, and you fortune-tellers will be disgraced. And you will cover your faces because there is no answer from God.” But as for me, I am filled with power— with the Spirit of the Lord. I am filled with justice and strength to boldly declare Israel’s sin and rebellion.” NLT.

 

 

            Because of their transgressions, all of Israel’s leaders (royal and priestly) are being sifted by God. Micah 3:9–12, ”Listen to me, you leaders of Israel! You hate justice and twist all that is right. 10 You are building Jerusalem on a foundation of murder and corruption. 11 You rulers make decisions based on bribes; you priests teach God’s laws only for a price; you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim to depend on the Lord. “No harm can come to us,” you say, “for the Lord is here among us.” 12 Because of you, Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field; Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins! A thicket will grow on the heights where the Temple now stands.” NLT.

 

            They have used violence to build the city (v. 10) and have cheated others to get ahead (v. 11). Now, the prophet proclaims that their disobedience will render Jerusalem unsafe (v. 12). Perhaps the greatest point to be made here is that our sins will catch up to us.

 

            Again, Micah’s declaration is directed to those who were responsible to watch over the sheep in their care. At different times in Israel’s history, the leaders have been both warned and punished for their unwillingness to care for the well being of the nation. While this passage speaks directly to the people of Micah’s day, the principle still holds true.

 

 

 

            The way a nation is led will ultimately determine where its people go. God did not simply destroy Samaria and Jerusalem; He sent the Assyrians. The way God tends to rectify sin or disobedience always points back to his character and what He expects from his children.

 

            Side note, had God chosen to simply wipe out both cities, it could have made his ultimate plan of global restoration and reconciliation near to impossible. When God sought to separate Israel from Egypt, He sent plagues (Exodus 7–12). When He punished them for their wickedness, He would send armies and nations to separate or sift Israel, sending them into exile.

 

            We must be willing to accept that our choices often explain our circumstances. Certainly, we do not control everything, and we shouldn’t blame all hardship on poor choices, however, the basic one-to-one interactions we are responsible for allow us to make choices that best impact others and ourselves. We can all agree right?

 

            Truthfully the presence of choice creates a dilemma for us: What do we choose and what is chosen for us? A good take on this comes from the movie The Adjustment Bureau. David Norris, played by Matt Damon, stumbles upon a secret organization that control circumstances and situations to give the impression of free will.

 

            While the clip I am about show you doesn’t necessarily reflect the existence of a benevolent God, it does address the real potential of absolute, unfettered free will: https://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-adjustment-bureau/free-will.

 

            You and I should be able to look at the world around us and ask the honest questions of what God wants us to do. As we read this passage in Micah, we are reminded that the leaders were not oblivious to God’s expectations; they simply were unwilling to fulfill them.

 

            However, if they had been willing to truly look around, they could have found a reward greater than what they had amassed. Giving people back their dignity is essential in governing the way God intends.

 

            While the people of Micah’s day may not have been able to see it, Christians must not be so blind to that reality. The Gospel of Jesus changes everything—especially how we see things.

 

            Owen Strachan explains how Chuck Colson, a leading advisor for the Nixon Administration implicated in corruption and facing jail time, had a personal crisis and came to faith in Jesus as a result. Following his time in prison, Colson determined to spend his life serving inmates in the name of Jesus. While making plans, a research assistant gave him some information about the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century activist and member of British Parliament, William Wilberforce.

            Wilberforce felt it was his calling to eliminate slave trade from the British way of life. Wilberforce’s passion for his calling resonated with Colson, and so he set his life forward to fulfill God’s calling. It was the Gospel that transformed them both.

 

            Just as both Colson and Wilberforce understood that the platforms they possessed called them to answer the problems people were facing, we too are called to let the Gospel transform us to see others transformed. You have been rescued so that you can rescue others.

 

             Owen Strachan, “Faith in Christ bestows on us a convictional inheritance. We don’t fashion our own understanding of righteousness, justice, fairness, and mercy as believers. Though some issues loom larger than others, we recognize that our ethics and convictions are God’s. This witness will influence others. Our belief in human dignity, our pursuit of our neighbor’s good, and our desire to live a holy life will speak a powerful word to our non-Christian friends. As they see us living virtuously, exhibiting genuine care for the weak and the suffering, they will witness apologetics made flesh.”

 

            I want to share one last quote with you as we begin to wrap up this morning, and its from one of my favorite preachers; Billy Graham, “It’s the Holy Spirits job to convict. Its God’s job to judge, and it’s my job to love.”

 

 

The 4 P’s of Jesus followers

  1. Purpose:Matthew 22:37-40, “37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” NLT
  2. Perspective:1 John 4:19, “19 We love each other because he loved us first.” NLT
  3. Prayer:Hebrews 13:3, “Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” NLT
  4. Persistence:Galatians 6:9-10, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” NLT

 

CLOSING PRAYER