Summary: What does God want from me? Give away all my money? Live as a hermit? We examine Micah’s answer to the ultimate question: How does God want me to live in the real world? *HANDOUT INCLUDED*
Background: I’m wearing my gym clothes this morning – warm-up pants, jersey, tennis shoes. I had a friend tell me he couldn’t find anything to wear to church. I told him that if he’d come, I’d wear my gym clothes. Here’s the sermon I preached.
A lot of you are wondering why I’m wearing these clothes today.
Well, there are two reasons:
#1 - I told a friend that if they’d come today, I’d wear these clothes.
#2 - The second reason is more complicated. I am sometimes worried that we dress up for church and forget that Jesus isn’t just for Sunday – He’s an everyday God.
I was asked by someone while I was out visiting people yesterday, “Are you a church man? Then why are you wearing gym clothes?”
God is not just a God of Sunday.
God is not just a God of dressing up.
God is not just a God of smiling, shaking hands and saying “How are you?”
God is not just a God of dropping 10% of your check in the offering.
God doesn’t want to be the God of 10% of your paycheck. He wants to be the God of 100% of your heart!
God is the God of every day!
But here’s the question:
What does Jesus really want out of you in the real world? Not just in church on Sunday, but every day of your life? What would it take to make God satisfied with your life?
I want to read a Scripture where someone was struggling with that very question.
The background: This was written in the days when people sacrificed animals to God. We don’t do that now, because Jesus is our sacrifice. But I think you’ll understand.
Mic 6:6 ¶ With what shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Notice the author struggling to decide what he should do to satisfy God. He debates:
- Sacrifice. “...burnt offerings, calves a year old?”
Now, we don’t offer sacrifices any more like they did in these days. But we still have to debate: Does God want me to give him my attendance at church? Will that make him happy? Will it please him if I give 10% of my income to his work?
- Elaborate, extreme sacrifice. “Thousands of rams, 10,000 rivers of oil. . . my firstborn. . .”
The background: It was common for many religions in those days to require your firstborn son to be sacrificed to the “gods” to please them! We don’t do anything so extreme today, but there are those who are extreme in their attempts to please God.
OK, would God be satisfied if I became a hermit, and wore black, scratchy clothes? Would he be satisfied if I took a trip to a holy site, crawling all the way? Would he be pleased if I sold my house, and gave the money all to the poor?
Micah, the author of this Scripture, after examining these possibilities, rejects all of them. But listen to his answer.
Compared to how HARD we might imagine it is to please God, when he finally comes up with his answer, it’s almost TOO simple.
But here’s what he says:
1. Do the right thing. (“that you do justly”)
This word “justly” essentially means “the right thing.” It comes from the word meaning “court verdict.” In other words: Do what’s right.
Now, you’ve got to realize one thing. Doing what’s right doesn’t earn you a single point with God unless your heart is right with him first. Unless your relationship with him is in good shape today (you can’t live off 10-20 years ago), then doing the right thing DOESN’T make God happy with you. Let me show you that from Scripture:
Isa 64:6 ¶ But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
You see, before we can do the right thing, and have it please God, we’ve got to be in a right relationship with Him. The only way that happens is to confess your sins (admit them) and repent of them (be sorry enough to change.)
Then you can start “doing the right thing.” But how do you know what “the right thing” is?
Let me share another Scripture with you: