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The Old Testament prophets were spokesmen for for their generation more than the future.

They were 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 What Is True Religion?

Text

Micah 6:8 (AMP)

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),

And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?

Scripture Reading

Micah 6:6-15 (AMP)

What God Requires of Man

6 With what shall I come before the Lord [to honor Him]

And bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,

With yearling calves?

7 Will the Lord be delighted with thousands of rams,

Or with ten thousand rivers of oil?

Shall I present my firstborn for my acts of rebellion,

The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),

And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?

9 The voice of the Lord shall call to the city [of Jerusalem]—

And it is sound wisdom to heed [solemnly] and fear Your name [with awe-filled reverence];

“Hear, O tribe [the rod of punishment]. Who has appointed its time?

10 “Are there not still treasures gained by wickedness

In the house of the wicked,

And a short (inaccurate) measure [for grain] that is cursed?

11 “Can I [be guiltless and] justify deceptive scales

And a bag of dishonest weights?

12 “For the rich men of the city are full of violence [of every kind];

Her inhabitants speak lies

And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

13 “So also I will make you sick, striking you down,

Desolating and devastating you, because of your sins.

14 “You shall eat, but you will not be satisfied,

And your emptiness shall be among you;

You will [try to] remove [your goods and those you love] for safekeeping

But you will fail to save anything,

And what you do save I shall give to the sword.

15 “You shall sow but you shall not reap;

You shall tread olives, but shall not anoint yourself with oil,

And [you will extract juice from] the grapes, but you shall not drink the wine.

Prayer

Father, even as you have conquered death by the resurrection of your Son, so you have enabled us to conquer death by our relationship to you through Jesus.

Every day that you have made is a reaffirmation of our faith.

And every gift we bring is a reaffirmation of our dedication to your purposes.

Bless those Lord who give and the causes that are supported by our gifts.

Give us greater faith to trust you to provide for our needs.

Make us willing to give you what is yours and you have said is holy unto you.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

The minor prophet Micah preached during the same general period as the major prophet Isaiah.

But Micah began his ministry about ten years after Isaiah heard God’s call in the temple after the death of King Uzziah.

Micah laboured in the small town of Moresheth about forty kilometres southwest of Jerusalem, while Isaiah spent time mostly in the capital city of Jerusalem.

Although these men were contemporaries and not far apart geographically, like Amos and Hosea, they present a contrast of personalities.

Isaiah was an aristocrat, and royal blood likely flowed through his veins.

Micah, with no such heritage, was a man of lowly origin, a son of the soil.

Isaiah was the friend and confidant of royalty, while Micah associated with the poor and never lost the common touch.

Isaiah saw God’s purposes as aligned inseparably with Jerusalem, but Micah had about the same regard for the city as a North Queensland farmer has for Melbourne.

Isaiah was concerned with national and international politics, while Micah was burdened with moral and ethical righteousness.

God had a place for both men.

Micah’s book has three main divisions.

In chapters 1-3, he traced the root and results of sin, concluding with the clear statement in Micah 3:12 (AMP)

12 Therefore, on account of you

Zion shall be plowed like a field,

Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,

And the mountain of the house [of the Lord] shall become like a densely wooded hill.  

In chapters 4 and 5, however, he spoke of God’s goal in history.

In chapter 5, he painted a beautiful image of the coming Messiah, even naming the city in which He would be born.

Micah 5:2 (AMP)

2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Too little to be among the clans of Judah;

From you One shall come forth for Me [who is] to be Ruler in Israel,

His goings forth (appearances) are from long ago,

From ancient days.”

The last two chapters of the book gather the threads and weave them together into a comprehensive summary.

A lot of people believe that the greatest single statement of the Old Testament is found in Micah 6:8 (AMP)

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),

And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?

  1. Act justly

One main emphasis of the Old Testament prophets was on proper treatment of others.

God’s ideal for His country was a society in which every citizen had a good standard of living but no one exploited a neighbour to increase his own wealth.

The laws that Moses established were designed to protect the rights of the underprivileged.

Though slavery was permitted, the Hebrew laws concerning slavery were far more protective of the oppressed than the laws of any of Israel’s neighbours.

The last resort of oppressed people has always been the court of law.

When people feel their rights are being violated, they may appeal to a court and have an unbiased judge make a ruling.

The situation in Israel, however, had become tragic.

Judges were bribed by the rich to render a decision for them against the poor.

The main theme of Amos’s preaching had been the need for justice.

Perhaps the key verse of his entire prophecy was in Amos 5:24 (AMP)

24 “But let justice run down like waters

And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream [flowing abundantly].

Micah picked up on Amos’s theme and made it a major part of his message.

When he spoke of Jerusalem’s coming destruction, he gave one of his principal reasons in Micah 3:11 (AMP)

11 Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe,

Her priests teach for a fee,

And her prophets foretell for money;

Yet they lean on the Lord, saying,

“Is not the Lord among us?

No tragedy or distress will come on us.”

Any nation is about to crumble when its courts become corrupt.

When justice is perverted other iniquities follow quickly.

The core of Jesus ministry was His love for the common people, who heard Him gladly, and He desired that they be treated properly by those who had authority over them.

To act justly is to treat others with honour and integrity.

This is a basic aspect of living for the Lord.

Something I have liked to use is God gives us liberty but doesn’t give us rights as disciples we are slaves to Christ.

2. Love Mercy

Although justice is important, something is needed to temper its severity.

Mercy has been called the benevolence that disposes a person to overlook personal injury or to treat an offender better that they deserve.

Here, however, the word has a much wider range of meaning.

The Hebrew word for “mercy” was a favourite word in Hosea’s vocabulary.

Often the word is translated “lovingkindness”.

We should never think of justice and mercy as opposite.

Rather one involves the other.

Justice is the foundation of God’s throne, but mercy is an inseparable part of His character.

In many ways the term is like the Christian word for “love”.  

I need to stress one thing about mercy, we must love it.

Only then can it become a guiding principal of our lives.

When we love mercy, we stay busy helping those who are burdened.

Mercy supplies our motivation for living.

Mercy is never strained.

Instead, it drops like gentle rain from heaven.

We do not say ‘ I will be merciful.”

Mercy becomes part of our character.

3. Walk humbly with your God.

Where Amos considered religion as ethical, bringing forth justice, and Hosea considered it as emotional, bringing forth love, Micah saw one other characteristic.

A truly religious person is deeply spiritual, walking in fellowship with his creator.

This concept was emphasised in Isaiah’s message to Israel.

He saw God highly exalted, and to him a persons greatest sin was to walk in the pride of his own countenance rather than in humble submission to God.

To become rightly related to God involves repenting our sins after we sense that all is not well with us.

To feel comfortably complacent and satisfied that we are all right with God is like dry rot at the root of our lives.

The only attitude a sinful person can express in the presence of the almighty is humility.

When someone comes before God with this attitude, they Weill find forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

We as a church world wide have said too little about repentance, therefore we are short on humility.

This means we are also short on true fellowship with God.

Micah considered humility a fundamental part of God’s command to humankind.

Conclusion.

What is your answer to God’s appeal?

Surely as we discover these commands, we must look at ourselves and humbly confess that we are sinners.

The purpose of a statement such as Micah 6:8 (AMP) is not to urge us to strive after good works, but to help us see our sinful condition so we can turn to the Saviour, lets read it again,

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),

And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?

Following the new birth experience, these goals, to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, must not be ignored.

God expects the very best from us.

people should be able to look into your face and see the manifest glow of real holiness.

We should all be able to say to people, “I have always tried to help you live more Christlike lives.”

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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