Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to lay groundwork for a study on The Da Vinci Code or other study of cults.
GOD’S PLUMB LINE
June 25, 2006 a.m.
Hillcrest Baptist Church
Purpose: The purpose of this sermon is to lay groundwork for a study on The Da Vinci Code or other study of cults. It is to help members understand the basis for biblical knowledge.
Introduction: One of my first jobs I had after college required me to walk a few blocks downtown to get to the office building. I passed a certain shop every day that had a tripod in the window. A weight hung from it and a sign read “Caution: This point is directly over the Center of the Earth.” Well obviously.
A plumb line is “a cord from which a metal weight is suspended pointing directly to the earth’s center of gravity; used to determine the vertical from a given point” (wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn). Literally a plumb line is used to help determine whether a wall is completely straight or not. If a wall is not built “True to plumb,” disaster can result.
Spiritually speaking it is used to determine whether a behavior or doctrine is correct. If a doctrine or behavior is not true to plumb, disaster can result.
I. God Establishes a Plumb Line in the Old Testament (Amos 7:7-8a)
1. God’s third vision to Amos was of God himself standing on a wall He had built “true to plumb.”
a) He had used the plumb line as a skillful master builder to make sure it was straight.
b) The wall was built correctly and with sturdiness.
2. The wall represented “kingdom of God in Israel, as a firm and well-constructed building” (K&D).
a) It represented God’s purpose in building His kingdom.
b) What God builds is straight and strong.
3. God will lay the plumb line next to Israel’s behavior, and worship and tear down whatever is not straight. God was no longer going to spare what did not measure up.
a) What was crooked or leaning over was to be torn down.
b) You can imagine the danger in building a wall as the layers of brick or rock go up.
c) Just a slight divergence at the beginning and then a little more each time will cause the wall to collapse under its own weight.
In So What’s the Difference, a book on cults, Author Fritz Ridenour writes: “Working under the inspiration of God, Amos referred to this familiar tool to explain that God would measure men and their devotion to Him by His Standards –by His Word- not man’s” (page 3).
1. God has also established a plumb line. It is not subjective. It is not based on our personal ability to understand or our sentimental feelings. We will not be compared to one another to see if our lives measure up to see if we are true to plumb. In the judgment it will not matter whether my life is straighter than yours or your life is straighter than mine. We will be compared to the perfect standard, which is found in Christ. He is the plumb line by which we must measure ourselves.
2. When it comes to God’s word, a standard also exists. We do not pick and choose what doctrines to believe or reject based on how they make us feel. God has given us a standard by which we measure what is true to plumb.
3. We must be diligent to remain true to God’s plumb line so that we do not deviate from the truth. In the words of 1 Tim. 4:16: “Watch your life and doctrine closely”.
II. God Judges by His Plumb Line (Amos 7:8b-9)
1. The “High places were shrines on the hills in the open country. Sanctuaries were temples usually located in cities such as Bethel and Dan. Together the two terms cover all the religious sites in Israel” (NAC 133).
a) God’s judgment will fall on the idolatrous people and practices of Israel.
b) He is no longer going to pass by their false shrines and temples and ignore them.
2. God will destroy the house of Jeroboam.
a) “‘The House of Jeroboam’ refers to the dynasty of Jeroboam which came to an end when Jeroboam’s son and successor Zechariah was assassinated (2 Kings 15:8-10)” (Ibid. 143).
b) Jeroboam became king after Solomon died. When Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, ascended the throne, his subjects, led by Jeroboam, asked him to reduce taxes. Rehoboam sided with his young friends and promised to tax them more. Jeroboam led a revolt and ten tribes pulled away. The kingdom split. To keep people from going to Jerusalem to worship, Jeroboam set up a new system in the northern tribes. He built shrines in Bethel and Dan. He set golden calves there for the people to worship.