Summary: This is a sermon given to launch a missions-month at a church in Toronto.
Sermon for Wellspring Missionary Church – Missions Month Launch – What Does God Want from You?
I’m really pleased to be able to share with you today from the Word of God. I have some history with Wellspring. I’ve led worship here a few times, my ordination was formalized here. My son was baptised here.
I’ve always considered Wellspring the ‘mothership’ of the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. As a church you are in a unique position to impact this city for the gospel. When Wellspring starts talking about mission, good things are going to happen, because…the world is at your doorstep.
I know you have leadership here that is passionate about the gospel being lived and expressed in this community. The harvest is great, my friends. And God is preparing this body to bring the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus to the hurting world around you.
God is preparing you, through worship, through teaching and through your fellowship to love the community to Jesus, one person at a time.
Now I love the prophets in the Old Testament. You’ve got your major prophets [play major chord arpeggio on piano] and you’ve got your minor prophets [play minor arpeggio on piano]. Your major ones are Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah. Closely connected in spirit, you’ve got Micah. Micah writes like Isaiah. Micah is referred to by Jeremiah as having radically altered, through his prophesy, the direction of God’s people from a bad direction to a good one.
What you get with Micah is what with get with all of the Old Testament prophets. You get a lot of passion, you get a lot of stark contrasts. You get a lot of dark and a lot of light. You get a blunt assessment, not at all candy-coated, of the human condition.
If you’ve read through the book of Micah it is one huge rollercoaster experience. I read it in one sitting as I was preparing this week for this message, and after reading it I needed a day just to let it sit in my spirit.
Now Micah’s world was very different from our own world. Let’s give Micah his due by setting him in his historical context.
A lot was going on in the bigger world around the time he wrote this. In fact, Micah was writing in the period of the founding of Rome. It was around the time that the first Olympics were held (776 BC). Homer’s Iliad was news, fresh off the press. The Mayan dynasties were being founded.
Those are some of the things that we know were happening in the broader world around the time of Micah.
Closer to home, Micah, who was active about 300 years after King David, during the reigns of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam II, king of Israel; closer to home Micah was watching the communities around him with a close eye, a razor-sharp mind, and a deep devotion to God.
Micah was watching during a time when a period of relative peace and prosperity was beginning to wane. This was largely due to the rise of the nation of Assyria. Assyria’s growing power was a huge threat to the kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
At the same time, trade and commerce had been flourishing, BUT, this was done largely at the expense of small landowners and peasants, who lost their land to the greed of the wealthy classes.
Rich landowners bribed judges to look the other was OR to look favorably on illegal land acquisitions, which resulted in a rapid disappearance of small farmers.
Those who lost their land, lost everything, and they drifted from the countryside to the cities, which led to overcrowding in the major population centers.
Micah began to speak out against the fact that Israel had abandoned many aspects of the Old Testament covenant in favor of Baal-worship and other Pagan practices. They tried to blend the worship of the one true God with idolatry. That’s never a good idea.
The prophet Jeremiah, writing about 140 after Micah wrote his book speaks in Jeremiah 26:18–20 of Micah’s effect on the king, and that he and the king not only were able to meet, but also that Micah’s message was able to bring the king to repentance.
So we know that Micah wasn’t a reed blowing in the wind. He wasn’t a misfit on a rant. He was a prophet. He spoke the Words of God. He was a fellow with the gift of prophesy and with a profound love for and concern for and identification with the nation of Israel.
And out of that love and concern he spoke. Numbering himself among the people, he spoke and wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and so he spoke and wrote God’s words to the people.