The Crew: Susanna: Fellowship, Stanford, Genetic Biology, Palo Alto, CA Luke: Student, USAFA, AFIT, Dayton, OH Frances Brantley: Student, Baylor School, Chattanooga, TN; Daughter and Sister Wendy Williams Brantley: Hook Marketing, CEO; Mom and Wife John Brantley: Clergy, UMC Elder at Rock Spring UMC, oikos:itsahouseholdword, CIO of Hook Marketing. King of Kotimme.com [Clergy, Author, Writer, Seeker and Poet]
Posted in #2017 on August 3, 2019
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these, the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal, there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all! [NRSA]
You have been raised with Christ,
- Seek the things that are above.
- Set your minds on things that are above,
When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death what in you is earthly:
- lustful passion,
- evil desire, and
WARNING: wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.
These are the ways you also once followed when you were living that life.
BUT HOW? WHERE TO START?
But now you must:
- get rid of all such things—
- slander, and
- abusive language from your mouth.
- Do not lie to one another,
- Stripped off the old self with its practices,
- clothed yourselves with the new self,
- being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.
In that renewal, there is no longer divided as the World divides, rather be UNITED IN CHRIST.
WHAT DOES UNITED IN CHRIST MEAN?
- Personal Behaviors and Attitudes
- the opposite of the world’s view of promiscuity – Fidelity, and Trust
- the opposite of me first, or myself above God – Faith and Worship
- the opposite of seeing people as objects for our happiness and power, all created by and for God
- the opposite of evil – God’s Love and Law
- the opposite of greed and idolatry Peace, Joy, Wholeness in God
Things to Deal with, throw away or get away from:
anger. No matter what people do we can’t HATE any away. wrath, Using our influence and resources for selfishness. malice, Intentional Harm (The Qualification of Do no INTENTIONAL harm) slander, Not repaying evil words and thoughts for evil words and thoughts. (Deal with Racism by yielding power not correctness) abusive languagefrom your mouth.
not lieto one another, Some times the truth is unfair, unpopular and even unclear, but lying to make some feel better or ourselves escape or protected cuts at the bonds of fidelity, trust, love, grace, etc.
We have one life to figure our future
- You and I have this life to determine if we will starve in the wilderness or eat God’s manna and trust God to make a way when our ways are dead ends.
- You and I have the breath of this one life, no matter where we have come from, to decide if God’s home is where we want to live.
- You and I have the free will and choice to choose God’s or to choose to rely on ourselves or others to make a way we believe is better. The consequences of choosing the other ways, than God’s way, all end with us being alone and apart from God.
- The Word to the Colossians and to us: We continually make the choice with our thoughts and actions to Trust God or ourselves.
While choosing God’s way, God’s heart, God’s love is simple to start. We have a daily choice of staying in that Grace of choosing another path. God never forces us to choose him not to stay with him.
Go back to the list:
Am I happy, content and whole:
- Because I have money and things enough for eternity? Sincere there is not eternity in my view, I want it all now.
- I’m just doing the best I can and I’m hoping for God to cut me some slack when the final exam comes, or will I recognize the need to call his name when trouble comes?
- I’d rather people all cooperate and get along and stay together even if I have to re-frame what God expects of us.
Why Make it So Hard
We make it hard on ourselves and one another. Jesus offers himself to us daily, the bread of life and the cup of salvation. Eat and Drink from the life that is eternal. Forget the slavery that goes with the fleshpots in back in captivity of some other allegiance.
Prayer: Jesus come into my heart and life right now and make me whole, make me yours, take my whole self- broken, confused and alone, fill me with our love and grace. Set my feet and my heart on you and the things of your kingdom. Have mercy on me, a waster of life and gifts and treasures and make me your own again today. Keep me in your will and change my heart, mind, and soul. Make my life a witness that leads someone else to your heart. Thank you! Praise you. Amen and Amen.
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [NRSV]
1. Father, hallowed be your name. (YOU ARE HOLY)
2. Your kingdom come. (YOU ARE WORTHY)
3. Give us each day our daily bread. (We Trust you)
4. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. (love as you want to be loved)
5. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” ( SAVE US )
Persistence of Prayer: a Parable
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
Practice of praying
“So I say to you,
Ask, and it will be given you;
search, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened for you.
- Verbal, affirm was I need or want
- Enquire/ Study, see how God has answered, learn from past,
- Knock on Doors, ask others and see persistence and promise of prayer:
Promise of Prayer
For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” [NRSV]
DISTRACTED BY MANY
It does not take much to distract me.
2. Recent Study on ADHD from Fox/Reuters 14% boys and 6% girls
3. Article: Fascinating Email Facts and Statistics
Statistics, extrapolations, and counts by the Radicati Group found the following:
- Over half of the world population uses email in 2019.
- The number of worldwide email users is expected to grow to over 4.3 billion by the end of 2023.
- The total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will exceed 293 billion in 2019 and is forecast to grow to over 347 billion by the end of 2023.
- DMR has curated these other fascinating tidbits about email:
- The first email system was developed in 1971.
- Each day, the average office worker receives 121 emails.
- The click-through rate for email sent in North America is 3.1%.
- The average click-through rate on desktop computers is 13.3% and, on mobile devices, it’s 12.7%.
- The average amount of overall emails opened on desktop computers is 16%, on mobile devices is 55.6%, and on webmail is 28%.
- The Apple iPhone email client is used most, followed by Gmail.
- The open rate increases by 17% when the subject line is personalized.
- Forty-two percent of Americans admit to checking email in the bathroom, and 50% do so while in bed.
- The average open rate for retail emails is 20.96%, and for political emails is 22.23%.
- The top spam content category in 2017 was healthcare, followed by malware.
- The top reason U.S. internet users unsubscribe from email lists is, “I get too many emails in general.”
- 99Firms has its own curated list that includes the following facts:
- Despite the rise of social messaging apps, 78% of teenagers use email.
- A majority (62.86%) of business professionals prefer email to communicate for business purposes.
- Ninety percent of workers check their personal email at least every few hours.
- Email click rates increase by up to 300% if a video is included.
- The best times to send email are 10:00 AM or between 8:00 PM and midnight; the best days are Thursday and Sunday.
- Funny top 10:TOP 10 REASONS PEOPLE DON’T RESPOND TO YOUR TEXTS
 The person really doesn’t like you.
 They are getting back at you for ignoring one of their text messages.
 They find your text message dialogue really boring and are on social media looking for something better to distract themselves with.
 They are playing mind games with you, full well knowing that by keeping you waiting for a response will cause you bitter frustration and they get a kick out of it.
 They are lazy and don’t respect you enough to respond to you.
 Very rarely, but some times, their battery dies. This is usually an excuse……go back to reason number 5.
 Some people work for a living, get off their back! They are WORKING… smarten up, the world doesn’t revolve around you.
 They just installed the new iOS and lost all their contacts (yes, even your precious contact info). They don’t recognize your number and are worried that your text might be from that person they gave their number to the night before.
 They are upset with you and decide to be passive aggressive with you instead of facing the problem head on up in a mature forward thinking fashion.
… and finally… did you actually check to see if you pressed send after you finished writing your emotionally charged message? This is the worst feeling ever and really makes you look at yourself as a super self-centered individual, realizing that you are the only one to blame for getting all upset over nothing.
- 50% of the world has an email account. 86% USA 17% read more than 3 second/per.
- 97% who have cel phone carry them with them. 62% ignore half of their text
- How long before we begin speaking in response? 200 milliseconds
THE NEED FOR ONE THING
The one thing is being connected to God. We do this in many ways, but its the one thing.
Mary is choosing to focus and listen
Martha is choose to control, prepare, define, assume, look from martha’s perspective and not Jesus’s
CHOOSING The BETTER PART
The better part are the choices we make to be
- unplugged from TV and politics,
- unplugged from working when we need Sabbath Rest.
- setting down the technology and to-do lists and listening to God so that we don’t miss God in our presence, in our homes, in our daily moments.
Action: moving toward God through worship, service, and devotion
This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said, “Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.’ ” And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ “Now, therefore, hear the word of the Lord. You say, “Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’ Therefore thus says the Lord: “Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parceled out by line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’ “ [NRSV]
Amos the Unlikely
The first verse of this book identifies the author as “Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa” (1:1). Much has been made of the fact that Amos was a shepherd—a man more comfortable among the company of sheep than of people—an unsophisticated fellow, amazed and dazed by urban excess—a redneck, with a desire to tell the truth, even when his life is at risk.
Amos had a humble start, but he was authorized and equipped for the job because the Lord called him. It was Yahweh who took Amos from his flocks. It was Yahweh who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel”.
When and Where?
The first verse of this book also tells us when Amos served as a prophet. It was “in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake” (1:1). Uzziah and Jeroboam ruled in the eighth century B.C., and scholars believe that Amos had a relatively short ministry in the middle of that century—around 760-755 B.C.
At that time, the Jewish people were divided into the tribes of the northern kingdom (Israel) and the two tribes of the southern kingdom (Judah). It was the time between the end of Solomon’s reign (c. 930 B.C.) and the fall of the northern kingdom (c. 721 B.C.). Amos makes a place in our faith history as we read about his faithfulness today.
Only a few years after Amos’ prophecies, the Assyrians forced the ten tribes of Israel into exile in Assyria. Unlike the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom (Judah), the ten tribes of Israel never returned to their homeland in any organized way. Instead, they were assimilated and disappeared as a people.
The Jeroboam mentioned in the text was successful militarily, but “he did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: he didn’t depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, with which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 14:24).
We tend to think of Amos as a northern prophet, because his prophecy was directed primarily toward the northern kingdom (Israel)—but he was from Tekoa, a few miles south of Jerusalem in the southern kingdom (Judah)—and, as we will see in 6:1, he addressed both “those who are at ease in Zion” (the capital of the southern kingdom) and “those who are secure on the mountain of Samaria” (the capital of the northern kingdom).
Amos spoke against misplaced allegiance and religious arrogance. He warned the people of an upcoming military disaster that would reflect God’s judgment.
AMOS 7:7-9. THE PLUMB LINE
“Thus he showed me” (v. 7a). As is clear from verse 6, it is the Lord God who showed Amos a vision. The Plumb Line is the third in a series of five visions:
• The first vision (7:1-3) was a vision of locusts.
• The second vision (7:4-6) was a vision of fire.
• Now we have the third vision, a vision of a plumb line (7:7-9).
• The fourth vision (8:1-3) will be a vision of a basket of summer fruit.
• The fifth vision (9:1-4) will be of thresholds shaking and shattering on the heads of the people—and people being killed by the sword—a vision of inescapable judgment.
“the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand” (v. 7b). A plumb line is a string with a weight (known as a plumb-bob) attached. When the user holds a plumb line by the string, the plumb-bob at the bottom will point with great exactness to the earth’s center of gravity. People use plumb lines, even today, to determine whether a wall is perfectly straight, i.e., exactly perpendicular to the horizon. In other words, a plumb line enables the user to test the straightness of a wall. A plumb line hung from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa would confirm what our eyes already know. But the plumb line is more for noticing the small errors that lead to big mistakes.
A crooked wall can be difficult to correct. In many cases, an out-of-plumb wall must be torn down and rebuilt if it is ever to be right.
A Test of the Wall? Is sound for its intended purpose?
Now Amos sees Yahweh standing beside a wall with a plumb line in his hand. Yahweh’s purpose is to test the wall to see if it is straight or not—usable or not. We sense, of course, that Yahweh is concerned with something more than a wall. The next verse will make clear the real nature of his concern.
“Yahweh said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel’” (v. 8a). Now Yahweh explains the meaning of the plumb line metaphor. Israel (the northern kingdom) is the wall that is being tested.
While the next verse will make it clear that Yahweh has pronounced the people of Israel guilty and plans to execute judgment against them—nevertheless, in this verse, he calls them “my people.” God is not pleased with this.. It is a broken-hearted Lord who has tried and tried to bring these people to faithfulness, but who is finally having to admit that it just didn’t work.
“I will not again pass by them any more” (v. 8b). The northern kingdom (Israel) has been in existence for nearly two centuries—since the end of Solomon’s reign and the division of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms. With regard to the northern kingdom, there have been ups and downs, but mostly downs. Yahweh has given them opportunity after opportunity to repent and mend their ways, but they have failed to do so. Now Yahweh has decided not to “pass by them” any further—not to shower grace upon grace any longer. The time has come to put an end to their corruption, once and for all.
“The high places of Isaac will be desolate, the sanctuaries of Israel will be laid waste” (v. 9a). The high places were sacred sites dedicated to the worship of pagan gods. Old Testament references to high places are uniformly negative (Leviticus 26:30; Numbers 33:52; 2 Samuel 1:19; 1 Kings 3:2-3; 12:31-32; 13:2, 32-33; 14:23, etc.), because worship at the high places was inconsistent with the worship of Yahweh.
The “high places of Israel” were temples established by Jeroboam I in Bethel (in the far south of Israel, just a few miles north of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah) and Dan (in the far north of Israel). Jeroboam I feared that, if his people were to continue going to Jerusalem to worship, they would soon form loyalties to Judah (where Jerusalem was located) and overthrow Jeroboam in favor of Rehoboam, the king of Judah. “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Look and see your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ He set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. This thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan” (1 Kings 12:28-30).
“and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (v. 9b). Yahweh will bring a violent end to the house of Jeroboam. This will come to pass when Shallum, son of Jabesh, conspires against Zechariah, the son of Jeroboam II, strikes him down and assumes the throne (1 Kings 15:8-10).
After the first two visions, Amos begged for mercy (7:2, 5), and in each of those instances, Yahweh relented (7:3, 6). However, in this third vision, Amos makes no such plea and Yahweh shows no signs of relenting. Presumably, Amos has seen the righteousness of Yahweh’s judgment and no longer has the heart to protest Israel’s punishment.
When Others Revile You.. AMOS HAS CONSPIRED AGAINST YOU
10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel,
saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel.
The land is not able to bear all his words.
11 For Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword,
and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.’”
“Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words’” (v. 10). Amaziah is the priest of Bethel—one of the “high places of Israel” established by Jeroboam I (see comments on v. 9a above).
What we heard in verses 7-9 were the words that Yahweh spoke to Amos. We have no record of Amos speaking to the people, but verse 10 makes it clear that Amos has been telling people what Yahweh said—warning them of the judgment to come. Amos would have done so, not out of personal pique, but because Yahweh told him, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel” (7:15). His purpose would have been to secure the people’s repentance and, perhaps, to stave off the worst of the judgment which Yahweh is about to impose.
The priest, Amaziah, has become aware that Amos has been preaching to the people, and interprets Amos’ words, not as prophecy, but as sedition against Jeroboam. There is an element of self-interest involved in Amaziah’s report to the king, because it was almost certainly Jeroboam who appointed Amaziah to his priestly position (1 Kings 12:31; 13:33).
Amaziah sends word to Jeroboam concerning Amos’ preaching, slanting his report to portray Amos, not as a prophet, but as a traitor. The fact that Amos came from Judah rather than Israel made this a believable charge.
Amaziah’s report reflects his loyalty to Jeroboam, his desire to curry the king’s favor, and a desire to hang onto his comfortable sinecure in Bethel. But above all, Amaziah’s report makes it clear that his first loyalty is to the king rather than to Yahweh.
“For Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land’” (v. 11). This report is fairly consistent with Yahweh’s words to Amos, but it deviates at two points. First, Yahweh said that it would be the “house of Jeroboam” (7:9) rather than Jeroboam personally who would die by the sword. As noted above, it will be Jeroboam’s son who dies by the sword. Second, this is the first mention of the people going into exile.
Like Scar in the Lion King, Leave and never come back.
YOU SEER, GO, FLEE AWAY!
12 Amaziah also said to Amos, “You seer, go,
flee away into the land of Judah,
and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
13 but don’t prophesy again any more at Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary,
and it is a royal house!”
“Amaziah also said to Amos, “You seer, go, flee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there” (v. 12). The word “seer” is roughly synonymous with “prophet,” although it might have carried a negative connotation.
Amos is from Judah, so Amaziah tells him to go home to Judah and earn his keep there. Amaziah’s assumption that Amos is profiting financially from his prophecy is surely influenced by the fact that Amaziah is profiting from his priesthood. However, Amos isn’t prophesying for profit. He makes his living by serving as “a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees” (v. 14).
“but don’t prophesy again any more at Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a royal house” (v. 13). There is a turf issue here. Bethel and its sanctuary belong to King Jeroboam—and, by extension, to Amaziah, the king’s priest. If there is religious work to be done here, Amaziah considers it his privilege to do it.
Amos Confirming His words is God’s message to God’s people
14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
neither was I a prophet’s son;
but I was a herdsman and a farmer of sycamore figs;
15 and Yahweh took me from following the flock,
and Yahweh said to me, ‘Go,
prophesy to my people Israel.’”
“Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son’” The high priest is trying to make Amos out to be a for-profit, prophet.
“but I was a herdsman, and a farmer of sycamore figs” (v. 14b). Amos goes on to make it clear that he is a simple man who makes his living as a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees.
The Core of a Prophet’s Message: LISTEN TO THE WORD OF YAHWEH!
16 Now therefore listen to the word of Yahweh:
‘You say, Don’t prophesy against Israel,
and don’t preach against the house of Isaac.’
17 Therefore thus says Yahweh:
‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
and your land shall be divided by line;
and you yourself shall die in a land that is unclean,
and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.’”
“Now therefore listen to the word of Yahweh: ‘You say, Don’t prophesy against Israel, and don’t preach against the house of Isaac’” (v. 16). Yahweh told Amos to prophesy (v. 15), but the priest Amaziah tells him not to prophesy.
In doing this, Amaziah is attempting to countermand Yahweh’s commandment. He is presenting Amos with a stark choice—obey the priest or obey Yahweh. From the context, we can see that this is not a difficult choice for Amos. Amos will obey Yahweh.
“Therefore thus says Yahweh: ‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided by line; and you yourself shall die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land’”
- Whereas Amaziah the priest has given his first loyalty to the king rather than to Yahweh—
- and whereas Amaziah the priest has failed to call the people of Israel to faithful service to Yahweh—
- and whereas Amaziah the priest has attempted to countermand Yahweh’s commandment—
- therefore, Yahweh has decreed that these five punishments will follow.
- Amaziah’s wife will become a prostitute. While it is possible that she would suddenly take on a degenerate character, it is more likely that she would become a prostitute once her husband and children were taken from her. Left on her own, she would have few options to support herself. For the wife of a priest to become a prostitute would be a great humiliation for both wife and priest.
- Amaziah’s sons and daughters will die by the sword. While Amos doesn’t provide further details, we know that the Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser, captured a number of Israelite cities and carried their people into exile (2 Kings 15:29). Then, when Hoshea, the last king of the northern kingdom, rebelled against Assyria, Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, besieged Samaria for three years. The city finally fell in 722 B.C., and many of its people were killed and the rest were taken into exile. Amaziah’s sons and daughters could have been killed in any of these conflicts, but most likely died when Samaria fell
- Amaziah’s land will be parceled out when he is exiled.
- Amaziah will die in an unclean land—Assyria.
- Israel will go into exile in Assyria.
These five punishments, taken together, cut off all possibility of hope for Amaziah. Because he gave his first loyalty to the king and opposed the word of Yahweh, he will lose everything—family, property, status, and finally, his life. Once the Lord executes these judgments, Amaziah will know nothing but slavery, poverty, loneliness, and humiliation.
Today we turn to an 8th century BC prophet named Amos. Amos was a shepherd tending sheep in southern Judah. He was also concerned for the poor in his community and he tended a sycamore tree, which yields an inferior type of fig which was part of the diet of the poorest people at that time. But Amos saw something that disturbed him very much. So he went to Israel with a desire to confront the king.
The Lord gave Amos three visions of what could happen to Israel.
- In the first vision the Lord was sending locusts, just as their later crops began to sprout. This would devastate their food supply starving the people and destroying the nation. But Amos prayed that the people of Israel would be spared, and the Lord relented.
- In the second vision Amos saw the Lord covering the land with fire that would evaporate the oceans and devour the land. And again Amos prayed for Israel and the Lord relented.
- In the third vision Amos saw the Lord judging Israel and sentencing King Jeroboam to death. After this vision of judgment Amos did not pray and the Lord did not relent. Why?
Bethel is a Hebrew word which means “the house of God”. It was a place where God comes close to earth to interact with his people. In other words Bethel was a holy place, a location set aside for God’s use, a sanctuary.
We are told that Bethel was first discovered by the patriarch Jacob. He was fleeing from his brother Esau and one night as the sun was setting he found an ancient shrine and used one of the stones as a pillow. That night he had a remarkable dream that the Lord had come near with a great promise. When Jacob woke up he thought that this place was somehow a gateway to heaven. It was a place where God had come near to his people. So he called it Bethel, the house of God.
Today we are worshiping in a Bethel. This is a sacred place, through worship, we come close to God. That makes this spot holy, set aside for God’s purposes, a sanctuary.
Centuries later Amos went to the same spot where Jacob had encountered God, the holy place, the sanctuary, called Bethel. And there he delivered to the priest of Bethel the frightening message of God’s judgment. But rather than praying to God in this sacred space the priest, Amaziah, prayed to his king accusing Amos of treason. And then Amaziah told Amos to leave because prophets were not welcome in the King’s sanctuary. So what had been a sacred house of God had been turned into a possession of the King, and this was the reason God had condemned the King and his kingdom to death and destruction.
The sin of Jeroboam and his priest was the sin of idolatry. Rather than worshiping God in God’s house they were worshiping other gods. Of course the priest, Amaziah would deny this. If we could ask him he would argue that the proper worship of the Lord, the God of Israel, was taking place at Bethel. But Amos knew differently. The nation was worshiping not God but the kingdom’s power and prosperity. The people knew the commandments of God to care for the poor and the needy, but they spent their money on ivory furniture imported from Africa, polished stone homes that glistened in the sunlight, and gourmet beef from the cows of Bashan. They knew that their faith should be in the Lord, but they were more confident in the strength of their armies and the alliances they had made with neighboring countries. They put their trust in money and power rather than in the God who had protected them in times past. And they were doing these things, worshiping other gods, worshiping money and power, right there in Bethel, God’s house.
God sent an unlikely person, a poor shepherd from somewhere down south. He had no qualification as a seer or prophet. But he knew the word of God. And he saw the decay that was happening in his society. He realized that the idolatry of money and power would lead to the nation’s destruction. So Amos traveled north to God’s house, Bethel, with a message of judgment. This holy place, set aside for God’s use, would be given over to the enemies of Israel. Their women would be violated, their children killed, and a remnant would be carried into exile, all because they had stopped worshiping God in God’s house.
Posted in #2019 on July 6, 2019
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you. All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name.” Selah. Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There we rejoiced in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations– let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah. Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip. [NRSV]
Selah: A side note on the word
This Psalm contains two of the seventy-four occurrences of this this word through the whole collection of Psalms. The exact meaning and purpose of ‘selah’ are not certain, but the educated guess is some earlier Hebrew instruction to the choir or those who played instruments in worship.
One tradition holds that some musical selection was played to emphasis and set apart the words for dramatic impact. Another was that the choir or congregation would speak or recite a memory verse of the day, season or tradition of those who were worshipping. For example, if we joined the choir and sang the first seven words of Fanny Crosby’s ‘Amazing Grace’ every time someone said the word ‘grace’ it would draw the congregation together in the worship when those points of emphasis were noted.
We draw attention to this only because in this passage the word SELAH is offered in two places. First at the words: “Sing Praises to your Name” and secondly “let the rebellions not exalt themselves,” so I this case, a moment of pause and emphasis refer to a reversal: Stand up when you say Praise, and Sit down to express contrition, humility and reverence. In this way it is the emphasis of the crowd standing and sitting for the camp song: “Praise Ye The Lord!” and the response “Halleujah!” So wether sitting or standing, singing or listening to music, the SELAH is a note to be attentive, and participate in the reading, hearing and living of God’s word.
God is Great. God is Good. Ps 66
- Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
- sing the glory of his name;
- give to him glorious praise.
- Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
- Because of your great power,
- your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you;
- they sing praises to you,
- sing praises to your name.” Selah.
Come and See What God has done:
- he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
- He turned the sea into dry land;
- they passed through the river on foot.
- There we rejoiced in him,
- who rules by his might forever,
- whose eyes keep watch on the nations–
- let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah.
Bless our God,
- O peoples,
- let the sound of his praise be heard,
- who has kept us among the living,
- and has not let our feet slip.
What about those of us who’ve slipped?
The Psalms are a great resource for learning how to praise God. They are filled with joy and sadness, frustration and peace, devotion and disobedience.
Psalm 66 is primarily about praise God, but what about those who are not praising God?
When you see and hear other people who are speaking hate, greed, pride, rage, selfishness, temptation, or any other witness of sin and evil: What do we say to help our brother or sister find their words and actions are leading away from God, harm to themselves, others or all of the above?
The answer is in the Psalm itself.
First, There are two pauses for reflection, Selah, Selah and some help from the choir, praise team or congregation.
Our cue is to draw on more resources than our selves. Our tendency when confronting evil, sin, or any division is to remain silent and unattached, OR we try to fight fire-with-fire. Ps 66 draws us to draw on our resources, AND
Second, we begin to focus on God’s goodness, greatness and story. My story is one of selfishness, emptiness, loneliness, greed, disappointment, anxiety, fear and frustration. But that is the story that is simply MY story.
When the story of how God has worked in my life and how God is working in my life, the story becomes God’s might works and power through me.
The Big Shift Leads to the Fall
From the beginning, when we twist God’s words, seek to rely on our own ideas, our own identity, our own correctness, our best interest, we quickly move away from God.
God doesn’t slip, we are the ones who fall away.
God is ready to claim us back when we repent, when we admit our lack of trust, when we affirm we don’t know it all, when we don’t know what is best. When find our joy and happiness in God we find what it means to be whole, loved, and complete.
The Power of Sin is greater than all I have, and it will never Give me what God has for me.
The greatest Grace and work God has done for me is to give himself on the cross and conquer sin and death and share that gift with me. It is the mighty work that we sing and shout and retell to a broken and searching world.
We come to the table today to be made whole, to start fresh, to ask God to be the mighty leader, healer, builder, who comes to restore, lead, make whole, and create in us the right and goodness God desires for us to know.
In this heart and state we have Great Good News of God’s work through us for a hurting world. “While we were yet sinner, Christ died for us.” Even when we were running away from God, God runs out to meet us with love and Grace. Give yourself to anew to Christ today!
Join us the Lord’s table.
Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. [NRSV]
What Mantle Are you leaving?
Elijah is leaving the work to Elisha.
- “It will take two of me to equal one of you.”
vs. Passing the Torch
- Money and possessions are valuable
- How to use these resources is most valuable.
What is a
- The touch-point of the witness of faithfulness.
What to hand
on to the next generation?
- Letters, stories, photos. or songs
- Art, crafts, textiles, or garments.
- Tokens, Tools, Table, or
Samples of Mantles that have shaped me and my faith:
- Pocket Watch – Story of Family and Generations of faith
- Cheese Biscuit Recipe – love of cooking and feeding people
- Guitar – love of music and craftsmanship
- Round Kitchen Table – Everyone has a place at a round table
- Bible – Treasure of knowledge
- 6oz Coke – Less is More
What is we leave nothing?
The next generation will have to start fresh with our mistakes and their own.
Not assuming that the next generation will figure out what our mantle means, we have to attach the meaning and lesson to the token itself.
Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you. s20190623
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”– for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. [NRSV]
This is a long story in comparison to the parables of Jesus
The wild and crazy guy, let’s call him Steve (1980s ref)
Is known by the towns people as the wild, crazy, possessed dangerous beast outside of town.
This beast was somewhat under the spell of many demons. And Jesus comes to set him free. By showing love for the unloved man he becomes Jesus’s disciple and follower.
The towns folks had been afraid of the beast. They had tried to chain him but he was stronger than thief restraints.
His condition has been explained away by some that he suffered from mental illness. But that negates Jesus’s conversations with the host of demons in the store.
There is a clear message that evil was not removed from the world but certainly the man was now free from the power of evil because of Jesus.
This is where the story begins to be about Jesus for us as well.
Once we have given Christ the evil that controls, tempts and taunts us over to God we become a new person, even though evil remains a threat near by.
The pigs, known to be unclean, in Jewish food guide are the requested target of the demons. Now deviled ham on the run. Evil Long’s to be at home in what is ungodly and unclean.
Just as the prodigal son recognizes his place is with the father and not the pigs, so the man who was possessed by evil is also restored through God’s work in Jesus Christ.
The response of having been at the feet of Jesus is:
Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
As we come to the table to for communion we eat what is not a boy clean but bread and cup that give new life.
The power of this whole store is in what happens after the man is man new, restored, made clean or whole:
He wants to stay in the easy comfort of Jesus feet, but is challenged to
1. Return home
2. Remember what God ha done in your life
3. Tell everyone how much God has done for you
Here is the place of homework.
When we leave this place of familiarity and comfort of worship we go into a world where evil continues to thrive and we are charged to tell the world what God ha done for us personally.
What has God done for me lately?
God has heard prayers for healing
God has heard prayer Sid frustration and doubt answering we hope and blessing
God has heard prayers of worry and uncertainty and is bringing hope and peace
God has heard cries of loss and division and is opening doors of restoring and making us knew
God has heard prayers from the lonely and answered with friendships, covenants and new partnerships
God continues to set us free
God continues to call out evil
God continues to restore us to faithful, even in a evil time
God calls his people to trust his power and grace to overcome sin, fear, anger, greed, lust, shame, and more
Our homework is to leave ready to tell everyone what Hod ha done for you
Practice – what is one thing God has done for you this year?
Not just a decade ago, or a couple of millennial ago, but what has God doing lately
If nothing comes to mind, then maybe you are feeling chained up, possessed by something or someone else. Today is a day to ask Jesus to break those things that keep us divided, afraid, alone, lost in sin. Today is a day of freedom, renewal and proclaiming God’s News For the world to see and hear.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the LORD said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
Scattered by our own sin and pride
Gathered to worship and praise in the Holy Spirit
Why? God desires we be united in spirit.
The things that divide us:
- All the things that divide us are physically
- It is spiritually we find ourselves one in Christ is in the Holy Spirit
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. [NRSV]
Some of the most stern words of John’s Revelation of Christ.
First a contextual note:
When this was records, and biblical scholars give a range of dates around 90-100 AD which would make the closing admonition concerning “the book” related to the specific book of John’s Revelation and not referring to the Bible as a whole. Even though many people read this it is more like the conclusion of Daniel’s vision, except Daniel’s vision was sealed and John’s remains unsealed. Which means it is for both the church then and the church today.
Secondly, This vision if from John who is a religious prisoner, held on the island of Patmos, and is not likely to be the same as the author of John’s Gospel, as he would be recorded as such and the difference in age, 70-80 years, makes it most unlikely to be the same person. This is also confirmed in the difference of vocabulary and style of the author of the John’s Gospel.
We are reading the end of the story. It is the finial scene in the grand pageant of “The Apocalypse of Jesus” is a better name than the “The Revelation to John of Patmos”. This, finally, brings the need to learn a non-biblical word, Apocalypse. Websters: “the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.” calamity, cataclysm, catastrophe, debacle (also débâcle), disaster, tragedy
After the Apocalypse: At the end of this letter, this collection of visions is the final bookend of the cataclysm and catastrophe between ‘now’ and Christ’s return, during his remaking of heaven and earth as well as after.
We began with a warning to individual churches, the bookend with a final warning to all church, all living to be in Christ. We look in the rear view mirror at the revealed sights, portents, visions and accounts of heaven and are left with final words.
Again these final words are the most stern.
- 1. A call for baptism – be washing
- 2. Drink – for all who thirst
- 3. Do these because there will be those who don’t.
The stern part in revealed in those who are outside heaven. So many verses and repetitive images of Christ at the center and the multitude of those around the throne, but these final verse look outside the gate, and find a motley crew.
Those on the wrong side of Good and Evil:
- 1. Dogs and –
- a. Not a statement about animals in heaven,
- b. Is a statement about fall teachers. Jesus parables and teaching refer to those who lead others
- astray are like dogs and would be better to wear millstone necklaces.
- 2. Sorcerers and
- a. Those who search for power other than the power and workings of God and the Holy Spirit
- 3. Fornicators and
- a. Those who prefer to trample fidelity, trust and seek to satisfy physical needs OVER spiritual health.
- 4. Murderers and
- a. Those who do not value life, nor the work to find community with God’s children.
- 5. Idolaters, and
- a. Those who place wealth and possessions above God. Or those who identify themselves by
- what they have rather than whose they are.
- The One we don’t like on the list – (The catch all that might include the rest of us.)
- 6. Everyone who loves and practices falsehood
- a. Those who do not find truth in God. This is the most encompassing one.
- b. This is not about isolated behaviors nor events, but the daily practices.
- c. Do we love the comfort of routine over the challenge to mature in faith?
- (I’ve already figured that out and I’m done having my foundation rattled or threatened.
- d. Don’t question my faith or faithfulness I’m right and I know it.
- e. as well as, those who say: Go along with the crowd, with logic, with
The plumb line measure
- If we value our stuff more than God’s call to come,
- If we want every physical comfort over God’s love
- If we value our lives more than anyone else
- If we want our will, power, authority, idea, ahead of God,
- If we love fitting in with the crowd for convenience
- If we lead others astray by our actions and words or our in-action and silence.
These are the reasons that we don’t place Jesus on the throne of our lives daily and eternally.
What we do now is what we will do in heaven.
Our only hope
remains in Jesus Christ.
Finally, these parting words are the invitation to “Come”
I believe that after all is said and done in the rapture, through the judgment, through the new heaven and earth, we are stubborn folks. (We prove this here on earth, why will that be different in heaven?)
I believe with all my heart that God’s grace remains open, the gates are open, and the father runs out to the end of the road and meets us to welcome the prodigal home, but some siblings, some people, some of us will question, doubt and disagree with God and will “REMAIN OUTSIDE the HOUSE” (LK 15:11-32)
Hear the call today,
- “COME” to Jesus,
- come to hope,
- come to grace,
- come to find your thirst quenched
- come to find you heart at peace
- come to find life from your grief
- come to find forgiveness from your sin
- come to find fellowship with God’s children
- come to find home in the heart of God.
God is waiting and they questions is why do we live 1 second without him first in our heart and mind?
We believe we have more second to spare.
I tell you
There is no need to
- be outside,
- out of hope
- out of help
- out of reach
- out of sorts
- out of line
- out of love
- nor out of time.
Prayer of confession and a prayer of acceptance and reaffirmation
This is what we need and this is what we share:
- Who is among us that needs to reaffirm today?
- Who is will we see, meet, experience TODAY that needs to hear that invitation to COME
- Who will God place in our lives this week to share this joy and life
- Who will not be with us in a short time, in the blink of an eye?
The urgency is not in the second coming, the urgency is in all the seconds we live without God creating hope in this world through us.
The second and minutes, hours and day, weeks and years of seconds
The Christ is not on the throne of our hearts
The seconds and decades we struggle with the power and guide of the Holy Spirit.
The invitation is for us.. COME
- Come the faith
- Come the throne
- Come to the heart
- Come to Christ’s
- Come to the fountain
- Come to the spring
- Come to the river of live and drink, live, and thrive.
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. [NRSV]
Physical images in Heaven:
- A city with no temple
- Gates that are never shut
- River of the water of life
- Tree of life
- Bearing twelve kinds f fruit
- Leaves of healing for the nations
- Throne for the lamb
- Light of the Lord
Features of Heaven
- The gates are never shut
- Heaven s not a gated community
This flies in the face of
- People will bring in the glory of the nations
- Kings will bring their glory into it
Heaven has no place for sin
The proof that we are not in heaven is that sin is plentiful, abundant and rampant.
This is where we pull away from the glorious mystery of thinking about the new heaven that awaits us, knowing it will be far more and far better than out imagining can ever dream.
To be in heaven is to be in God’s presence, fulfilled and yet as fully ourselves.
The brokenness that we live in is the reality of sin
John is shown these glimpses of heaven to wet our appetite for more
When we loose something and find it,
we tell others, “it was in the last place I looked!”
Which begs the question do you keep searching once you have found what was lost?
The power of sin
- We live in a state where we cannot stay “found”,
- We live in the reality of our own sin
- We live in the reality of the effect of the sins of others
- We live in the reality of evil working tempt, test and make sin easier than doing good
So wait until the end?
Paul’s suggestion to sin all we like, because we have grace? No! By no means.
This does not bring glory to God, to others, nor ourselves.
We are witnesses of trusting in a sinful broken world
- Practice trusting a Christ
- Encourage others to trust Grace in Christ, and
- Glorify God for the nations of the world.
Dealing with Sin
Certainly we can blame the devil, the wealthy, the poor, our neighbor and previous generations, anyone one or thing we can blame, but that is not the solution.
Being in God (now and in heaven)
Getting into heaven means necessitates us addressing or sins
The “How To” section
We pretty much expect Jesus to already have taken care of that..and we just need the occasional buster shot, but what if we continue to be
- impatience or
Focus on God’s help doing the opposite to reflect God’s glory by showing
- fidelity and diligence, and
Both lists call for
- Progress, and
Both lists, avoiding the evil and committing to the glorious, require Christ be in the throne, in heaven and in our hearts, minds and soul.
But the truth is that we can only live by these with the help of the holy Spirit and we we only find release from the power of the sin through Christ