Summary: One cannot stand in the middle of the road when it comes to faith. You are either on one side or the other. There is great pressure today to conform and compromise our values, but we shall see from this passage that this is not possible.
THE CRISIS OF CONFORMITY
Scripture Reading: Amos 6:1 - 6:14
Responsive Reading: 2 Kings 17:1 - 17:23
I want to begin my sermon today by asking for your help.
I’ve been looking for a street in Fredericton and Nackawic, but I haven’t been successful.
What I want you to do is help me look for it.
Now, I could tell you a lot about this street, but I don’t have to.
You see, you know all about it allready.
In fact, you’re probably all searching for it too.
But I don’t believe any of you have found it yet.
Several times we think we may be close, only to reach another dead end.
Also we are not alone in our search.
In fact in every community of every nation of the world, people are looking for this street.
I think they all had the same results.
Peurhaps because the street has no street signs.
But then, it doesn’t need signs as it has no road.
Mind you, it needs no road as there are no houses on it.
Quite a riddle isn’t it.
I want you to help me to find a street that has:
a) no street sign
b) no road
c) no houses
It is a street that is completely finished and needs nothing.
It is a street that we are all looking for, and one that we all know its name.
It is a street that we share with the Israelites of Amos’ time.
They too thought they had found it, but were mistaken.
It is one that the church today think they have found.
The church today is in for a terrible awakening.
That street which we all seek, is easy street.
It’s the street where there are no worries.
Where there are no troubles in your life.
Easy street is the street you live on when you "have arrived".
The Israelites felt that they were on easy street.
They were God’s chosen people.
He would not let them down or judge them.
They could do whatever they want and get away with it, because of formalized worship.
The church today seeks the same relationship today, and with the same formalized worship.
Our youth worship is in many ways entertainment.
The church of today seeks to "worship" God, but her actions deceive herself.
Do we worship God by allowing same sex marriages?
Do we worship God by denying Jesus deity?
Do we worship God when we "sugarcoat" the gospel and say that God is only a God of love and would not see anyone go to hell.
Do we worship God when our worship is not designed on the basis of God’s truth, but to make the people feel good?
The church today is like Israel was then.
They are as animals about to be slautered.
The animal has no concept that it is about to lose it’s life.
It continues to carry on as if everything is normal, and then walks calmly into the slautherhouse to meet it’s doom.
My friends, the church of today needs a wake up call, if it is to see revival.
The church of today as well as Israel then face a crisis of conformity.
Now there is nothing wrong with a church or people enjoying the ease that comes as a reward for dedicated and faithful labor.
The real problem then is how Israel earned this life of ease.
They reached their life of ease through idolatry, and social injustice.
Their life of ease would lead them to a terrible judgment.
The first words of the chapter are words of upcoming doom to the people who are at ease.
Why was this?
Matthew Henry Commentary provides this description of Israel’s pride, security, and sensuality for which they would be judged:
1. They were vainly conceited of their own dignities, and thought those would secure them from the judgements threatened and be their defence against the wrath of both God and man.
2. They persisted in their wicked courses upon a presumption that they would never be called to an account for them. (read verse 3)
3. They indulged themselves in all manner of sensual pleasures and delights. Their dignities they felt would justify them in their sensuality; the gains of their oppression and violence, they thought, would bear the charge of it, and they put the evil day at a distance, that they might give them no disturbance in it.
4. They had no concern at all for the interests of the church of God, and of the nation, that were sinking and going into decay.
This chapter contains little good news for Israel’s leaders.
It is to their leaders that this message is delivered.
The leaders of the church today would be wise to heed the message of Amos today.