Summary: The need of repentance from sin
Intro: We’ve been reading in the minor prophets this week. Most of what we’ve read this week has been God’s messages of judgment for sin. Has there ever been a time in your life when you deserved judgment, but you were shown mercy? I can remember being 17 - one night I had been roller skating with some teens in my youth group. I was taking some kids home, and about 11:45 one girl asked, “What time is it?” I said it was 10:45. She said, “Oh, I’ve got to be home by 11.” I started going a little faster to get her home in time. Now, my lesson today is not that it’s right to break the law if you have a good reason. In fact, God helped remind me of that fact. After a few minutes, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a flashing red light.
Officer Hillbish, I still remember his name, pulled me over and gave me a ticket. I remember dropping the kids off, and going home. My dad was waiting in the kitchen for me. I thought I’d try to lessen the blow by saying, “Dad, what would you say if I told you I wrecked the car?” He said, “You didn’t, did you.” I said, “No, what would you say if I told you I got a speeding ticket?” He said, “Let me see it.” I pulled it out and handed it to him. He took it, and said, “It’s your baby, you’ll have to take care of it, and tore it up in pieces.” Then he said, Officer Hillbish called and said his speedometer hadn’t been certified in the last 30 days, and you’re off the hook. Just drive more careful next time!
Let’s look at Amos 7. Read 7:1-6
I. Often God’s mercy withholds judgment from coming to us.
We see God had prepared some great judgment for his people: plagues of locusts, and devastation by fire. Yet, in each case, the mercy of God withheld judgment from coming. As Ronda and I were driving along this week we saw a sign that said, “Some people sow wild oats then pray for a crop failure.”
Often God’s mercy withholds the judgment that we really deserve. Romans 2:4 Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?
God put up with the idolatry of his people for years and years, ptiently trying to call them to repentance. Yet they did not listen. They failed to respond to his mercy.
II. There comes a day when God gives the judgment that is due for our sin.
Read Amos 7:6-9
God told Amos that even though he had been patient, the judgment for sin was coming. The vision of one with a plumb line is given to show that God will determine very clearly that which is out of line.
I had some experiences this past week with keeping things in line. We needed a fence for our dog, Bobby. After pricing new fence, I decided that 100 feet of used fence that I found in the Peddler’s Post would be sufficient. I got the fence cleaned up, bought the 4x4’s, and dug the holes. I learned a lot about keeping things in line. It is not only important to make sure the hole is dug at the right spot, but you have to make sure the posts are level both ways. [**illustrate]
You can have a top in line, but the bottom can be out of line. You can be perfectly lined up, but be too short or too tall. Don’t look to closely at our fence, or you’ll see the mistakes. The fence can look great until you pull a straight line: then you see how far out of line it is. Then you know where the changes need to be.
How much like the plumb line is the word of God for our lives. We can think we’re doing just fine. We haven’t hurt or killed anyone, we try to do good to our fellow man, we don’t smoke or chew or go with girls who do. Yet, when we look into the word of God, we see ourselves as we really are.
James 1:22-26 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.