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The Old Testament prophets were not so much spokesmen for the future as they were for their generation.

They were also the proclaimers of timeless truths about God, humankind, and the critical issues of life.

“The Modern Message of the Minor prophets” is the theme for Sunday mornings for the coming months.

Today we are talking about Privilege Means Responsibility.

Text

Amos 3:2 (AMP)

2 “I have known [chosen, cared for, and loved] only you of all the families of the earth; Therefore I shall punish you for all your wickedness.”

Scripture Reading

Amos 3:1-8 (AMP)

All the Families Are Guilty

3 Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt:

2 “I have known [chosen, cared for, and loved] only you of all the families of the earth; Therefore I shall punish you for all your wickedness.”

3 Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?

4 Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey?

Does a young lion growl from his den if he has not captured something?

5 Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no bait in it?

Does a trap spring up from the ground when it has caught nothing at all? [Of course not! So it is that Israel has earned her impending judgment.]

6 If a trumpet is blown in a city [warning of danger] will not the people tremble?

If a disaster or misfortune occurs in a city has not the Lord caused it?

7 Surely the Lord God does nothing Without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] To His servants the prophets.

8 The lion has roared! Who will not fear?

The Lord God has spoken [to the prophets]! Who can but prophesy?

Prayer

Father, you are both mighty and merciful.

We are grateful that you want only Sins to cease and not sinners.

We are grateful that you have provided redemption through your Son and that you are willing to pour your mercy on us if we will but receive it in repentance and faith.

We worship you now with our gifts.

May we be generous, even as you have been.

forgive us when we are self centred and fail to realise that a Christian’s distinguishing mark is love for others.

Give us grace to take courage for the future and to dedicate not only our money but ourselves to your service.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

Amos was from the southern kingdom, but his ministry was to the northern kingdom.

He came from the desolate country south of Bethlehem.

Amos had two occupations, both humble ones.

He “followed the flock” in Amos 7:15 (AMP)

15 But the Lord took me as I followed the flock and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’

Which indicates he was not a wealthy sheep owner, although he may have been prosperous enough to hire an assistant when he went to Bethel.

He was also ‘ a gatherer of sycamore fruit” in Amos 7:14 (AMP)

14 Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet [by profession], nor am I a prophet’s son; I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs.

Amos, growing up under the discipline of the desert, developed stern convictions.

He did not always have a sweet spirit but preached caustically against sin.

He pointed to the certainty of judgement.

  1. Israel was a privileged nation.

No nation had ever been blessed more abundantly than the people to whom Amos spoke.

From their beginning they had been the object of God’s revelation and love.

God had disciplined His people through natural disasters and had led them to repentance.

Good had revealed His righteousness to them by allowing them to conquer the land inhabited by the Canaanite tribes.

God’s loves reflected in the prophets who had warned them of imminent danger.

God chose Israel, not Assyria with its military might, nor Egypt with its civilisation and culture.

His purpose in choosing Israel was to make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

His ultimate purpose, moreover, was to bring, through the people, redemption to the world by Jesus Christ.

Israel’s position as a highly favoured nation was attained solely by God’s grace.

Israel did not deserve either this position or God’s unique favour.

But God chose this nation, and to be chosen was a great privilege.

2. Some people are chosen today.

Throughout the centuries God has, in His wisdom and sovereignty, given special gifts to certain people.

An Arab Christian once asked “Why did God choose Isaac instead of Ishmael?”

He went on, “Ishmael was, as far as the Bible indicates, a much more desirable person as human attainments go. Yet God chose Isaac.”

The answer given was, “Why did God choose Jacob instead of Esau?

Esau was was probably the likeable of the two boys.

Why did God choose Judah instead of Joseph?”

The question is “Why did God chose me, the sinner that I am and unworthy as I am?”

The answer to these questions rests in the wisdom, sovereignty, and grace of God.

Yes, God chooses to bless some people with unique abilities and opportunities.

Of course, all people have talents, but we must face realistically the fact that some people seem to have more than their share of natural gifts.

Those who live in the world today have privileges and opportunities unheard of a century ago.

The average Australian has a much higher standard of living than a wealthy person who lived only fifty years ago.

Modern conveniences make life easy, and comfortable.

All of us, even those who live modestly, are highly privileged, but some are especially favoured.

3. God expects much from the favoured.

The statement Amos made concerning privilege and responsibility followed a sermon he delivered that is record in the first two chapters of his book.

He had listed six of Israel’s neighbours , Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab.

He outlined the characteristic sin of each and then warned of divine judgement.

He next turned to Judah with a similar message.

Just as Israel was basking in the sunlight of their superiority, Amos warned Judah of the coming judgement in Amos 2:4-5 (AMP)

Judgment on Judah

4 Thus says the Lord,

“For three transgressions of Judah and for four (multiplied delinquencies)

I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it,

Because they have rejected the law of the Lord [the sum of God’s instruction to His people] And have not kept His commandments;

But their lies [and their idols], after which their fathers walked, Caused them to go astray.

5 “So I will send a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction by the Babylonians] upon Judah And it will devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.” 

He then pointed out that the northern kingdom, though more prosperous, was no better than Judah or the surrounding countries.

Judgement was certain because she had abused her privileges.

Whether Amos started a new sermon with the third chapter or completed the same one, we have no way of knowing, and it isn’t important.

We can be sure, however, that what he said about the peril and price of privilege in Amos 3:2 (AMP) applies to both Israel and Judah.

2 “I have known [chosen, cared for, and loved] only you of all the families of the earth; Therefore I shall punish you for all your wickedness.”

God had redeemed all twelve tribes from bondage.

The entire country, though now a divided kingdom, had received blessings from generation to generation.

Therefore God must deal with the two kingdoms based on how they used the good things that had been given to them.

Children who are raised in homes of unusual opportunity have a higher responsibility.

Those who have been saved from deep sin have a great obligation.

Those who have good jobs and a comfortable living standard must recognise God’s hand on them.

Shallow and superficial people abuse privileges.

Mature people recognise the importance of staying humble and grateful to God.

4. Where are you?

Everyone who hears this message today can honestly say, God has been good to me”

Now the penetrating question is “how far along the line of maturity have you come?

Are habits that hurt and even destroy still part of your lifestyle?

Do you cling to things, or do you let things cling to you that keep you from being your best and attaining all that God wants you to have?”

Most people, somewhere in their lifecycle, wake up to life’s meaning.

The tragedy is that so many wait until the opportunity for a full life has slipped away.

When we do this, we have limited time in which to realise our full potential.

Don’t be someone who plays with life and doesn’t wrestle with it.

We must face our troubles sooner and grow up before it becomes too late.

Often if we waste a year, it takes three to five years to get it back.

Where are you?

When a farmer fails to go out and plow and break the ground, sow seeds, and cultivate the plants, he will starve before the season is finished.

The Bible speaks of a pool being stirred by an angel and the need for a person to step into the pool at that time in order to be cured in John 5:4 (AMP)

4 for an angel of the Lord went down into the pool at appointed seasons and stirred up the water; the first one to go in after the water was stirred was healed of his disease.]

With some opportunities, it is now or never.

When we abuse our privilege or fail to use it, tragedy is the result.

Conclusion.

Of course, the greatest tragedy is failing to receive the Saviour when we have the privilege of hearing the Gospel.

I heard years ago someone who supported missionaries say, ‘no person has the right to hear the gospel twice until everyone had heard it once.

Unfortunately, some hear it several times but fail to respond.

We who live where the good news is preached, should beware incase we become hardened and take it for granted.

Privilege means responsibility.

Wise people take advantage of the opportunities of their lifetime during the lifetime of their opportunities.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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