Abide with God John 15

John 15:5  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

When it comes to our lives we tend to let the urgency of the moment distract us from what is really important. We do this because we think that anything we do is going to depend solely on our productivity with our passion and perseverance. Although I believe we should be passionate and persevere to see results I think we have a tendency to think that the results of our work are solely our doing. I agree that we reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7) but I also believe there is something more to our Christian walk than hard work.

Some versions of the Bible say abide and some versions say remain but both convey the message that Jesus wants us to adhere to and that is our strength and guidance comes from God and not of our own doing. Meriam Webster’s dictionary has several meanings of abide but the one that I think is fitting for this passage is, “to continue in place.” The Idea of abiding with God is to be in a place with God as you rest in the fact that He is in control. The idea of the Vine is that the branches only can grow and produce fruit as long as they are connected to the Vine. Israel was known as a vine (Jeremiah 2:21) , although an imperfect one, and Jesus ties in that He is the ultimate vine that we need in order to produce lasting fruit that He longs to see in our lives. Branches have no life in and of themselves and are dependent on the vine in order to do anything but so many times we think it is by our own effort and ability that we forget who we really are dependent on. We need to learn what it means to abide in Christ and what we must do that will produce eternal fruit with our lives.

Abide in His Strength

If you look at our nation and the world you realize that the problems we are seeing are because of spiritual problems. Church attendance is down, young adults are walking away from the faith, the largest religious organization outside of Baptist and Catholics are called “Nones” because they have no affiliation with any denomination or church.  Part of the problem we are facing is because we have taught that Christianity is behavior modification instead of life transformation and each week we have given everyone a list of things they should and should not do.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

“I no longer live but Christ lives through me” If you are like me when I became a Christian (Christ follower) I thought I had to go and earn my keep or prove myself worthy to be on “God’s team”. I tried and tried not to sin and to do the things that church asked me to do the problem was I kept failing and I would grow discouraged and tired. I had to learn (and I am still learning) that I am a branch and it is Jesus power and Holiness that lives through me. For those of you who have a works mentality of Christianity this is going to be difficult for you to understand since you think that you are to go out and charge the gates of Hell with a squirt gun. We have to realize that the Christian life is not for us to live but for Christ (The Vine) to live through us (the branches). This idea that we can produce our own fruit is because we believe it is about our own activity and works. My friend Brent in his book living for another explains the life of a branch lived in a vine this way.

“It needs to be said here that his fruit is produced naturally. Like breath, we only expel what is put in us. We breathe in the things of God and expel the things of God. The old saying goes, “Trees don’t grunt to grow! I am certain you’ve never seen a tree grunt to pass and apple! The roots go deep and the fruit comes naturally. A plastic fruit factory is loud and hectic and smells bad. But a vineyard is quiet and peaceful. When we try to produce our own “plastic” fruit, we become louder, more hectic, and sooner or later our lives stink.” Brent Gambrell, Living for Another, PG. 39)

Many Churches and Christian  are loud and hectic as they are producing fake fruit thinking they are doing what God commanded them to do. We have separated time with God with activity for God and it is a common mistake we all can make over and over again. It “FEELS” productive to be busy, tired or burned out doing ministry but is that really what God called us to? Yes there will be times when your energy will be zapped as you minister to others (Luke 8:46) but that is even more reason we cannot rely on our own strength or resources.

I am for spiritual disciplines, as we will talk about in a moment, but when we think it is about our working harder or doing better than we miss out on the greatest relationship we can have which is with Jesus Christ as He works in and through us to accomplish His will. We have become religious leaders who are busy doing acts of righteousness by our own power and for our own glory while missing out on Jesus.

“The focus of the Bible is not on the question, “What would Jesus do?” but on, “What has Jesus done?” (Michael Horton, Putting Amazing back into Grace, Pg 14)

Christianity is the story of what Christ has done not what I am doing and when we get this backwards we become the religious leaders instead of serving out of a love relationship with God.  You cannot make God happy by your works because your greatest works are still gross to Him (Isaiah 64:6) and this is what the religious leaders of Jesus day could not understand. They thought all their rules and all their sacrifices would be accepted by God but they failed to realize that even our best efforts are tainted by sin. We have to get this right or we are going to find ourselves burned out and frustrated and useless as we work tirelessly to serve Him. We have to learn to abide with Him if we are going to see Him do things in and through us that no one but Him can get the credit.

Abide with Him Daily

Abide means to Continue in a Place and so many times our time with God gets pushed out by things that seem more productive and more of a priority than Him. We may not ever say that in our churches but the fact remains we allow other things to take precedence over God every day. One of the reasons we do not take time to sit with God is because we start with the wrong view of God. We do not see God in light of how He has made us acceptable to Himself by dying on the cross for us and therefore we have become a friend of God.

John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Do you have people in your life that it is easy to hang out with and talk to? Many Christians have a faulty view of God and therefore they do not spend time with Him on a daily basis and pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) as if He went with them throughout their day. The only way that you can become more like Christ is to spend time with Him because it is His life that is lived through you but if you see God as a taskmaster asking you to do the impossible for Him then you will not want to spend all day abiding with Him.  When we understand God’s Love, His Grace and the friendship we can have with Him then we realize that our service to Him is not as a servant but in a love relationship.

A) Abide by Listening to His Word

Going to church is important. I say that right away because our culture has changed thinking they do not need to be in a church. We have taken the phrase “a personal relationship with God” to mean we are to live the Christian walk on our own. We need each other but we need each other to share Gods word together.

“We do not seem to appreciate the extent to which we ourselves are seduced by the idols of our own culture and require in-depth, continuous, dedicated deprogramming by faithful teachers. … the church’s ministry needs to prepare us for real life in the adult world. (Michael Horton, Putting Amazing back into Grace, Pg 21-22)

Acts 2:42  And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

The only way we can make sure we are not straying into the deceitful ways of the world is to stay in God’s word and with other brothers and sisters in Christ who can help guide us in ways to make sure we are not twisting God’s word to say what we want it to say.

B) Abide by Reading His Word

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say read your Bible? Some people say things like, “I don’t understand it all, or  I fall behind and give up, or I know I should but it’s difficult to understand”. When you look at reading the Bible as a chore instead of a letter from a friend it can become difficult and there are some difficult things for us to understand. In fact there are many things we may not understand this side of Heaven but that should not keep us from reading it and understanding what we can understand.


2 Peter 3:15-16 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

People only complain about the Bible being difficult to understand even though there are many things in this life we do not understand. Did you understand  every subject in school growing up? Were you allowed to quit? No we pushed ourselves to understand what we could and sometimes (not all the time) we understand those things later as we grew and matured as adults. The same is true with God’s word it is simple enough for us to get the basic concepts down but some things we will not understand until we grow and maturity. We are also a very distracted people and just like physical exercise we need to train our brains.

They say if you really wanted to you could read the entire Bible in 72 Hours. They say if you read for 15 minutes a day you would read the entire Bible in a year. This may or may not be true for all of us but those numbers are probably pretty close to being true. Before the reformation it was the priest who had the Bible and they would tell people what it said and what to think. Martin Luther fought for the average person to read their Bibles and after the reformation people would take their lunch times and time with family to read the Bible together. I’m afraid that we have gone back to just waiting for someone to read the Bible to us and tell us what to think even though we have Bibles that we can read on our own.

Hebrews 5:12 -13  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

If we are going to have the faith that we need to walk in this world then we have to be reading Gods word on our own. Just like when you start a subject at school you may not get it all right away but you will eventually as you continue in it. The good news for Christians is that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us (John 16:13) kind of like having a tutor who is available at all times.

I would encourage you to read your Bibles on your own by having a reading plan and by setting a consistent time of the day that you will read.

C) Abide by Memorizing His Word

Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart,  that I might not sin against you.

Some versions say hidden but stored is better because it means you have abundance. What is the Word of God in the arsenal of Spiritual warfare?  Ephesians 6:17 says that the sword is God’s word. Some of you will not leave your house without your gun but you do not take a more important weapon with you which is God’s word. If you are struggle loving someone get a passage of scripture that talks about forgiving. If you are struggling with fear memorize a passage of scripture that deals with that. Whatever you are dealing with then memorize scripture about that so that you can be ready when the enemy attacks. The old adage goes “when do you need a fire extinguisher? When you need one” the same is true for the Bible verses you need because you never know when the enemy will attack.

Some of you might say that you do not have a good memory. You can memorize what you work on so do not buy into the excuses that you do not have a good memory. Can you remember your phone number or your Address? Then you can memorize scripture.

Memorization will help you minister to others as well. Remember we do not exist for ourselves and the verse you memorize by just be the word from God that someone needs.

D) Abide by Meditating on His Word

When we think of meditating we many times think of yoga practices of emptying one’s mind. We are never called to empty our minds and I would encourage you to never do it. Christian meditation is thinking about Gods word not thinking about nothing.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Meditation is more like pondering and slowing down to think about what you just heard or read. I would encourage you to write down and think about something from your reading.  Sometimes I forget what my time with God was about so I jot a note on a piece of paper and review it throughout the day. That is meditation, thinking and remembering what God has said.

If we are going to Abide, continue in place with Jesus, we need to Listen, Read, memorize and meditate on the word of God. If you spend time with Jesus (The Vine) you will see Him do things in and through you (The Branch) that can only be explained by a supernatural working of God. Many people get confused about what God will do through you but we know in scripture the fruit that He said He would produce through us.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

This is the fruit you will gain when Christ works through your life.  In this crazy mixed up world I wish I could demonstrate these entire all the time and I can as long as Christ lives through me and not by my own power. Our world needs to see Christ working through us and in order for us to be the salt and light to the world we need to be a people that learns to abide (remain) with Him.



Posted in Listen, Encourage and Live the Word, What We Believe | Leave a comment

Amos 9:11-15 The Point of No Return: Hope

We all wish for God to make things right and fix the evil that is in the world.  We all see it and we are frustrated that God is allowing it to continue but our hope is that one day He will make all things new.

When we hope for something we sometimes think of things we want to happen but we are not sure they will. “I hope I get the job promotion” or “I hope I make the team” is not the kind of hope we are talking about. Hope means more than just wishful thinking especially since God is involved. Hope means to expect with confidence. Because all the prophecies of the Bible have been true so far we can trust what it says about the future. When we hope someone does something we base it on their character and on their previous actions. With God our Hope is different because we know God is perfect, He does not lie and everything He has promised He has fulfilled.

At the end of all the warnings that the prophet Amos was giving God wanted to give Hope to those who were living faithfully among those who had a form of spiritual life but who were rebelling against God. The prophets would always have a message of hope mixed in with their announcements of judgement to remind the faithful that God sees and to encourage them in their righteous living. Judgment is always supposed to lead to a changed lifestyle but it is something that offers hope since God will right all the wrongs and judge people for what they did. Today we are going to see the hope of the righteous people and so we can find hope in a world that seems to ignore the pleas of God to come to Him for salvation

 Amos 9:11-15 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.13 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. 14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, band they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them, says the Lord your God.


Our Hope is in the future

“In that day “This section is in first person reemphasizing the fact that God Himself is making the promise of all things being renewed. Because God is the one making the promise our trust in the promise is assured.  We are to look past our present situation knowing that one day God will renew the world back to His original design and remove evil and sin forever. Everything in our world is allowed to happen for a time but the day we look forward to is coming for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

“Today may be terrible, and tomorrow may bring more sorrow than any one person should have to bear, but there is hope because God exists and has a plan to bring this world to a wonderful end.” (The NIV Application Commentary, Gary Smith, PG 416)

If you are lacking hope and your world seems to be dark there is hope that is on the horizon when God makes all things new. The book of Amos ends with a promise so that people lift their heads and focus on the future and not on the pain and suffering they will be experiencing.

Our Hope is not in the Temporary

“The booth of David” The booth of David was a way of showing that the kingdom they thought was so great was really just temporary like the booths they would set up for shelter in the desert. The Davidic Kingdom, the greatest kingdom in their mind, is compared to a temporary booth. This is not our best life now and we are to not see the world we are living in as anything but a temporary situation.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

We are to keep our eyes on the future that we have been promised and by doing so we will experience the hope that the world without Jesus cannot.  Our bodies are temporary housing just like the booths that were made of sticks and palm branches they will one day wither away but one day all things will be made new. Our situations, no matter how good or bad they are temporary and will not compare to the glory of God and what He has planned for those who put their trust in Him.


“When the plowman will overtake the reaper “

For a farmer to hear that the plowman will overtake the reaper was an insane statement.  When things are renewed there will be no lack of food and the harvest will be so plentiful that they will not even be done reaping the fruit before it is time to plant again. There will be so much wine that it will literally be running down the hillside. These are unheard of statements whether literal or not the fact remains that God will take the temporary struggles and make them seem like nothing when the new day arrives. Our hope is not in this world and how long it last  but in our God who has saved us for all eternity to experience a new world that is beyond our comprehension.


1 Timothy 4:10  For to this end we toil and strive,[b] because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Are you setting your hope on the temporal or the eternal? Jesus is the savior for all but only those who believe in Him will be saved and ushered into this wonderful new world that will be awesome because the presence of God will be there like never before.

Hope is for those who have His name.

“All the nations that are called by my name. “ To be called by God’s name meant He had ownership of them and they submitted to Him. “What” God is going to do is just as important as the “Who” God is going to do it for. We sometimes have a tendency to get focused on what God is going to do and we forget that not everyone has that hope because they have not placed their salvation in Jesus Christ. We have to make sure that our focus is not just on our destiny but also on the destiny of others and the hope they can have in Jesus Christ.

The disciples quoted this passage of scripture in Acts 15:16-18 when discussing the Gentiles being a part of the church because they knew that it was always Gods plan to include all people into His kingdom and not just the Israelites. They knew that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord can be saved. (Acts 16:31)  The Hope that God promised to the people may have persuaded some people in Amos day to join the righteous and walk away from the sinful practices of the people of that day.


Jeremiah 15:16 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts

When a child is adopted they take the name of the family who is adopting them. When we trust in the work of Jesus then we are put into the family of God not because we have earned it but because we were chosen by God and we accepted His calling.

“Never again to be uprooted “The promise of eternity goes beyond anything we can imagine because many cannot fathom that once we are in the family of God they are in it forever. Because we still believe that our acceptance with God is based on whether we are good or bad  and not the work of Jesus Christ some falsely teach that you can lose your salvation. My children are my children even when they mess up and they have my name so they will always be my children.

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

One of the beautiful promises that we have of belonging to Christ is that we are His eternally based on His work and not our own behavior.  Amos promise to them was a Hope that they never again have to worry about their enemies, disease, sickness, pain and struggle because they belonged to God. There is a hope that goes beyond this world and all of its troubles but only for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

John 16:33  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus never promised us a pain free life but He wanted us to stay focused on the hope that we have because He overcame the world.  God wanted His faithful servants to be encouraged that there was Hope beyond this world and no matter what trials or heart ache they faced that they could have hope because a day is coming when all things will be made new.

Where have you placed your hope? Are you placing your hope in God or in the circumstances of this world?  Have you placed your hope in your finances, in relationships and even status? All those things will one day pass away. Are you placing your hope in your own works for salvation and acceptance with God? There is only one way to come to God and that is through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6; Acts 16:31)

Your hope is guaranteed because Christ rose from the dead and He not only defeated Sin He defeated death which is how He overcame the world.

Posted in Amos, Old Testament | Leave a comment

Amos 9:1-10 The Point of No Return: Judgment

God is fed up, which means He is filled up with the sins of the Israelites and He has told them through the prophet Amos that they have reached a point of No return God said He would not forget their sins in Amos 8:7 and this means that they cannot be in relationship with God because we have to have our sins forgiven in order to be in His presence. Because their sins will not be forgiven they will mourn which also means to regret. The presence of God  is what they will never experience for all of eternity but God is giving them what they really wanted since they ignored the presence of God on earth.

The word Judgment sounds very negative and for some people on the Day of Judgment it will be a day of regret, pain and sorrow but for some people it will be a day of rejoicing. When a judge makes a verdict someone usually has a favorable ruling and they are happy with the judgement that was given so judgment, although sounding negative does not have to be a negative experience. Amos has another vision from God and although Amos was able to thwart God’s judgment from the people earlier their unwillingness to stop worshiping other gods along with their treatment of people made it where God was done giving them chances. We will all face God one day and that means we will all face judgment. Before we step off this earth we should know what the judgment of God is going to be about.

Read Amos 9:1-6 I saw the Lord standing beside[a] the altar, and he said:“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake, and shatter them on the heads of all the people;[b]and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword; not one of them shall flee away; not one of them shall escape.“If they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; if they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down.If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them. And if they go into captivity before their enemies, there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them; and I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.”The Lord God of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell in it mourn, and all of it rises like the Nile, and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt; who builds his upper chambers in the heavens and founds his vault upon the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth— the Lord is his name.

The Lord gives the judgement

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar” The one standing is the one who is in charge and on the Day of Judgment there will be no question as to who is in charge of the judgments that will be given. The altar was the place where communion with God took place because that is where the sacrifices were made and forgiveness of sins were received. The people would normally look forward to going to the altar of God but what Amos told them would have shocked and in disbelief.  The place where God would meet His people in Grace is now the site of Judgment against them.

Many people tell me they look forward to the day when they will stand before God for their actions but I believe we do not have the proper perspective on the awesomeness of God and just how small we really are. Because we have a low view of God, a high view of ourselves and a lack of understanding of Gods Holiness, we think we will be ready for that day based on our own works and behavior. The story of Christianity is that Christ is the only way we can be prepared to meet God because Jesus is the one who makes us acceptable to God.

You cannot hide from God’s Judgment

“Not one of them shall flee away, not one of them shall escape” Amos let them know that no matter where they went or whatever route they took God would find them. There is not one person who will escape the judgment of God. One of the most beautiful verses about God is that we never leave His presence no matter how dark life gets or what we are going through. All the promises of God to His children are dreadful to those who want to escape Him.

Psalm 139:7-10 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!If I take the wings of the morning  and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (See Also Romans 8:38-39)

The end times talk about a similar scenario as people try and escape Gods Presence and remove themselves from His judgment.


Revelation 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave[d] and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Hebrews 4:13 says that no creature is hidden from His sight and will give an account. God’s judgement is fair and true because God sees and knows all. Every action, every thought and every intention of our heart is seen by God . This is the reason we have to accept the free gift of Jesus Christ for our sins to be forgiven because God not only sees us as others sees us but He sees us for who we really are.

Read Amos 9:7-10 Are you not like the Cushites to me, O people of Israel?” declares the Lord. “Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir? Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground, except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, “declares the Lord.“For behold, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the earth. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.

Judgement because of Evil

Are you not like the Cushite’s to me?” The people thought they had special favor with God but God lets them know that they are just like the evil Cushite’s in His eyes. It would be like God telling you that you are just like Hitler or Charles Manson in His eyes. Israel did have a special relationship with God and it was through them that they were supposed to be the light of the world (Gen 12:1-3) and through them that salvation would come to all people through Jesus Christ. Just because God chose to work through the Israelites did not mean they could live however they wanted and just because God brought them out of Egypt it did not mean that they could ignore His standards. The Israelites were on a covenant relationship with God which gave them promises but it came with conditions. The Blessings of God were because of a fruitful, righteous life and the blessings of God were not promised to those who ignored His ways and His prophets.

God viewed them as evil because of their false worship and their treatment of their fellow man.

Some of what they did we would not see as evil but we are not going by our standards but Gods. We all have a tendency to make what we do not a sin and we all have a tendency to live our own lives and make up our own rules but we are called to live by the rules of God. Do you call evil what God calls evil?

The Righteous will escape God’s Judgment

“As one shakes with a sieve” Many of us long for the world to be different than it is and for evil to be done away with, wars to stop and people allowed to live in peace. Roman 8:22 says that even the earth is groaning and longing for the day God will make all things right again. God’s judgment is not about destroying people it’s about removing evil from this world. Judgment is a positive thing and something we all look forward to when God establishes the earth back to His original design. God will shake out those who do not belong in His Kingdom like a farmer shakes out the wheat.

God’s view of us as people is either as sinners or as saints. In our view we may look the same but God is going to sift out those who belong to Him from those who do not and we may be surprised at who is and who is not in Heaven. Matthew 13:24-30 says the weeds and the wheat are growing next to each other until the harvest and then they will be separated. God is always ready to forgive sin but make no mistake your sins cannot be ignored because either Jesus has to pay for them or you will be held accountable for them. God’s grace makes a relationship with Him possible but a relationship means that there are two mutual parties responding to each other. God has reached out to a dying world and provided a way to be back in a right relationship with Him by coming and dying on the cross for our sins. If you continue to ignore what God has done and the invitation He has given then you will be thrown out of His presence. (Matthew 22:13)

Taking sin lightly, not confessing sins are some indicators that you have not responded to God. We all sin but it is our view of that sin that shows our relationship to God. Many people believe in God but live their lives as if He does not exist. This is exactly what the people in Amos day were doing. They were acknowledging God to a point but lived their lives as if He did not exist.

Romans 4:7-8 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Some are falsely teaching that God accepts everyone as they are but we have to be forgiven in order to be accepted. If God accepted us as we are then there would be no reason for Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus died so that our sins will be forgiven by God and to reject the work of Christ on the cross is to reject that forgiveness that is offered.

2 Corinthians 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The great exchange is that Jesus took our sin and we were given His righteousness. For those who have accepted the gift of Jesus Christ God now sees you as righteous and your name will be written in the book of life. God will no longer see you as evil but perfect because Jesus is perfect.

Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

“What binds these millions of people together is the common view that they will be accepted by God on the basis of their goodness. …What these people lack is the righteousness that God requires for entry into Heaven.” (Your Eternal Reward, Erwin W. Lutzer, PG. 161)

Justice in the United States of America is demonstrated by a blindfolded woman which is to show that no matter who you are you are judged fairly.  Justice with God is with His eyes wide open because God is perfect and He judges based on His own character

Amos gives them warnings to try and get the people to change but they do not realize they are not on good terms with God. God’s warnings are not to be taken lightly and sin is not to be as well.  We all have a tendency to not call certain things in our own lives sins but we are to live by Gods standard and not our own. How will the Day of Judgment be for you? Will it be a dreadful day or a wonderful one? If you accept the free gift of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins then all the sins in your life will not be brought up. (Romans 8:1)

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Amos 8:14The Point of No Return: Eternity

Amos is continuing his speech to the Israelites who could not imagine that God was not going to accept them and their worship. The Israelites did not believe the prophet Amos because they were led astray by their religious leaders who were the ones leading them in false worship and condoning their sinful ways. If there is one thing that many people are led astray about it is the false teachings about the afterlife and what happens to us when we die.

Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, can begin a new life in a new body.

Purgatory is an intermediate state after physical death in which some of those ultimately destined for heaven must first “undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” holding that “certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.”

Universalism is a centuries-old belief that all people will be saved because of God’s unconditional love.

Every religion and even atheism has an answer for what happens to us when we die. Whatever you accept you accept by faith. With all of these beliefs how do we know which one is correct and who do we believe? Some people will claim that we cannot know and so it does not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere about it. The people in Amos day were sincere in their worship but that is why God sent His prophet to them to correct them in their thinking and to show them that there is a true way to worship Him.

Amos 8:14 Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’ they shall fall, and never rise again.”

1)   All Roads do not lead to God

We have been talking about religious pluralism which believes that all the religions teach similar things therefore you just need to pick one because God will accept all of them. The people in Amos day were doing exactly that and Amos was trying to warn them about it and that was worshiping God on their terms instead of accepting His terms of how worship should be done.

To swear was to take an oath in front of the god that one worshiped and it would be the god that you sacrificed for and placed your trust in. Israel’s problem was theological because they thought that they could add other gods to the worship of the true God. They were to swear an oath to God alone (Deuteronomy 6:13) and when they made an oath with these other gods they were looking to them to fulfill something only God can fulfill.

If all roads lead to Heaven then why did Jesus Christ have to die and why did He say He was the only way to God?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I start with the words of Jesus because if we are going to be Christ followers (Christians) then we have to accept the words and teachings of Christ. To say that all religions lead to God is to say that Jesus was not telling us the truth.

Acts 4:11-12 This Jesus[a] is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.[b] 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[c] by which we must be saved.”

The Apostle Peter is saying the same thing in front of the religious leaders that Jesus is the only name given that salvation can be obtained.

1Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Jesus is the one we turn to for our salvation. Either He is the way, the truth and the life or He is a liar and all of His teachings should be disregarded.

2)   The Road you choose will be eternal

They shall fall to never rise again.

Amos let them know that if they sought other gods that those gods could not save them. The concept of being separated from God for all eternity is a struggle that many people do not understand nor are the willing to accept. Jesus tells a story to illustrate the point of what happens in eternity and the fate of two different men.

Luke 16:22-26 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

When Jesus told this story some say it was not a parable because he names the poor man (Lazarus) and the rich man is only known by his deeds. Most parables do not mention any names and if the man was in torment it demonstrates how being nameless means he was forgotten. The man in torment is not looking to get out of his punishment only to have it made a little more bearable.

D.A. Carson says, “Hell is not a place where people are consigned because they were pretty good blokes, but they just didn’t believe the right stuff. They’re consigned there, first and foremost, because they defy their maker and want to be at the center of the universe. Hell is not filled with people who have already repented, only God isn’t gentle enough or good enough to let them out. It’s filled with people who, for all eternity, still want to be the center of the universe and who persist in their God-defying behavior.” (Case for Faith, Lee Strobel, Pg. 193)

There is no indication that those in hell will want out because God gave them what they wanted which is separation from Him. Notice how the rich man thinks he can ask Abraham for something and that he can get the poor man to serve him. He lived a selfish life on earth and in eternity he continues in his selfish ways. He does later say for someone to warn his brothers but he was told that they had Moses and the prophets and that if they did not listen to them then they would not believe if someone rose from the dead.

“A great Chasm has been fixed”

Jesus made it clear that after death a person who did not accept Him would be eternally separated from God and once there you could not leave.

Matthew 25:41 and 46 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

We are eternal beings but where we spend that eternity depends on if we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as payment for our sin. Many people find Hell offensive but as I have said before forgiveness is more offensive. For someone who did horrible things to suffer no consequences of those actions are very offensive but it is what is promised to anyone who puts their faith in Christ. To deny the reality of Hell is to lessen the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf.

“The idea is hard for us humans to take because we do not have the kind of revulsion from sin, evil and wickedness that God has-or that we indeed should have. Even the best of us flirt with sin. We smile and wink at it. We too often forget that one single sin equates to death. “ (The 10 most common objections to Christianity, Alex McFarland, Pg. 168)

Jesus died to fix the problem that existed between us and God and that is we were separated from God because of our sin. Most people do not see themselves separated from God but that is the universal problem that Jesus came to fix. If you put your faith and hope in other religions the Bible tells us that they will not be good enough to earn your salvation. (Acts 11:12 salvation in no one else) If you put your faith and hope in your own works the Bible says that you will never be good enough (Ephesians 2:8-9) But if you put your faith and hope in what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross not only defeating sin but also defeating death then we can have eternity with God. (1 John 5:11-13)

Do you believe that what Jesus Christ did on the cross allows you to have eternal life? Do you think you have been good enough to earn salvation on your own? Eternity is on the line and we will all face it one day so what you know and believe about it now matters. You can deny the reality of eternity, hell and even heaven but whatever you choose you choose by faith. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, came to earth and spoke these things about Hell, Heaven and eternity so that we can know the truth about them. Jesus died for a reason and that was to remove the wrath of God off of us and making us righteous through His actions.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

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Amos 8:11-12 The Point of No Return: The Presence of God

The warning of the coming judgment continues as the prophet Amos tells them more about what they are going to face because they have rejected Gods ways and hardened their hearts. Most people do not see themselves separated from God and many believe that most people will go to Heaven as long as they are trying. To be in God’s presence is what we long for and it is what we are promised for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Amos 8:11- 12 Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.

1)   God’s word cannot be separated from God’s Presence

When they will no longer hear the word of God then it means they will no longer have Gods presence available to them. To receive no word from God means that God presence will not be found. God’s word is foundational for our relationship with Him and God has spoken His words into what we call the Bible. This is important for us to understand especially since false religions are coming into the church and distorting the truth of God. It is the mystics and the eastern religions that believe that words get in the way of experiencing God in His fullness. We are told to empty our minds and just sit in silence but there is no place in scripture that encourages to not dwell on the words of God.

“God acts through his words, the Word is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and therefore the way to have God dynamically active in our lives is through the Bible. To understand the Scripture is not simply to get information about God. If attended to with trust and faith, the Bible is the way to actually hear God speaking and also to meet God Himself.” (Prayer, Timothy Keller, Pg 54)

Do not buy into the lie that you can experience God on a deeper level by clearing your mind and only sitting in silence. You should always worship and pray with your mind engaged Romans 12:2;

1Corinthians 14:14-15  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

A day is coming for those who will not believe when they will no longer be able to hear the word of God either because they have passed from this life or because they have hardened their hearts to the point they no longer can listen. To ignore the words of God is to ignore God Himself.

2)   Our Souls Long for the presence of God.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written,” ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Knowing that God’s word represents God Himself then we know that our hearts long for a relationship with Him. We were created to be in a loving relationship with God and it is the only thing that will satisfy our souls. The people will want the word of God but it will not be able to be found as it says ,  “They shall wander from sea to sea” looking for it.

                If you ever lost a loved one you know the feeling of wanting to have one more conversation with them, one more hug or to just see their face one more time. We long for a day when we can see them again and reunite with them but for those who are not in Christ not only will they not reunite with their loved ones they will also not be in the presence of God.

Many preachers on Television talk about God as if He is a genie who is here to bless you with Health and wealth. We know the things of this world are temporary and they do not fulfill the longing in our hearts but we are being taught that to follow God means that He will give you every desire of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The true desire of our heart is God that is why we should take delight in Him and not in the stuff He gives us. Yes He will provide for our needs but many talk as if God is around to get them every selfish desire they want. If you have ever been used by someone who you thought were your friend then you know what it is like to have someone hang around you selfishly and not for the friendship. When God gave Himself up on the cross He did so to make us be able to be in a right relationship with Him. So the question I have, Is being in the presence of God enough or do you have to have His stuff?

Habakkuk 3:17-18 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

When people tell me that God didn’t (fill in the blank)_______________ so they do not worship Him than that tells me they do not want God they want a genie. The gifts of God have become gods in themselves and they are no longer interested in the one who we truly long for.

Jeremiah 2:13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

My dad’s favorite Hymn was “In the Garden” and it is all about how we have this intimate personal relationship with God. We walk and talk with Him the way He created us to be. Our souls will never be satisfied by the things of this world, although many people try and fill their lives with them, but our souls long for our Creator and our God because He designed us to be in relationship with Him.

Romans 8:15 says we are to have a relationship with God like a son to a father. In Ephesians 5 Paul also likens our relationship with God as to marriage. The presence of God was lost in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned but through Christ it was restored and one day will be restored in its fullness. When you repent and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation we are given His Spirit inside of us (John 14:17) until we get to Heaven when we will see Him face to face. There is no mystical way through silence or chants to get closer to God because God is always with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you so you are as close to Him as you can ever be as one who has trusted in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. (Matthew 28) Just like any relationship the more time you spend with someone the more you get to know them. The more time you spend with God in His word the more you will know Him.

3)   God will remove them from His presence

“They will seek the word of the Lord but they will not find it.

The people chose to ignore the warnings of God and decided they were going to live and worship how they thought was best and they lost the very thing that would have fulfilled them which is God’s presence. The worse part about the judgment of God will be the separation people will have from Him.

We told part of the story last time of the people who were given talents by their master and two of them went and were about their masters business. The third one in the parable Jesus taught tells us about people who deny the presence of God.

Matthew 25: 24- 30 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Notice this guy was not said to do anything evil he just ignored God and lived his own life. We said last time that one of the ways that you know you are in a relationship with God is if you care about the things that God cares about. When you have a relationship with God you will desire to do the things God is doing.

2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from[a] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

 “That is why it is a travesty to picture God casting people into a pit who are crying, “I’m sorry! Let me out.” … All God does in the end with people is give them what they most want, including freedom from himself.” (The Reason for God, Pg 82, Tim Keller)

4)   Heaven is about the Presence of God.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.

If you are not satisfied with or if you do not want to be in the presence of God now then you will not enjoy Heaven. 1 John 3:2 says that we will see God as He is and 2 Corinthians 3:18 says we will see God face to face. That will be a miserable experience for anyone who does not want His presence. Those who put their hope and trust in the work of Jesus Christ will experience the presence of God for all eternity just like Adam and Eve did before they sinned.

When we read the Bible we experience Gods presence because Gods word and Gods presence are not separated. Our souls long for the presence of God so if you are finding yourself wandering from place to place looking for fulfillment I can tell you it will not happen apart from Christ and His word.

God will not force you to be in His presence but He does long for you to be with Him for eternity. Heaven is going to be Heavenly because we will see God face to face in a sinless state and enjoy Him forever.


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Amos 8:8-10 The Point Of No Return: Mourning

If there is one thing we all look forward to is an “Happily Ever After” scenario when we die. Our world seems to be filled with so much pain and sorrow and we just want some relief from it and so we long for a day when all the pain and sorrow will be no more. Disney has made a lot of money on movies with happy endings because they know that there is something in each one of us that really does long for that day we can live happily ever after. I think we like those movies because there is something in all of us that knows the world is not right and we want it to be what it once was. Christianity explains why the world is not right and does not ignore the fact that there is evil in the world. Evolution cannot explain why there is evil and cannot label anything evil because they have nothing to base right and or wrong against.

Unfortunately the people were promised in Amos day by God that they would not experience a Happy Ever After. God’s promises are beautiful but He also gives us warning throughout Scripture that not everyone will have a Rest in Peace and He explains what we must do to live eternally with Him.

 Amos 8:8-9 Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?” “And on that day,” declares the Lord God, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.

The Whole Land Will Mourn

This is known as a judgment passage and there are many like it in the Bible. (Isaiah 24:1-7; Jeremiah 4:27-28; Joel 2:1; 10)  Jesus Gave His own judgment passage which is the ultimate judgement passage when He returns

Matthew 24:29-31 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

When Jesus returns not everyone will rejoice but many will mourn which can mean have regret. Amos gives a description to the people of his day that is similar to what Jesus said which will be a time of fear and darkness.

“In that Day” (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20) points to a time in the future For the people of Amos day it was a day that God’s punishment would fall on them from an army that would attack but for many it will be the day they die and stand before God. The land will tremble because of fear (Exodus 19:16) or because of the Lords presence (Psalm 97:4-5; Isaiah 24:4). Tremble does not necessarily mean an earthquake but an earthquake did take place 2 years after Amos warning. Notice that Gods warning was prior to the event giving people more time to repent although it seemed unlikely that they would because of their hardened heart.

Darkness is a symbol of judgment (Joel 3:15; Revelation 6:12; 8:12) A Solar eclipse did take place but the symbolism of darkness is always in conjunction with Gods judgment

Matthew 8:11-12 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (See Also: Matthew 13: 40-43; 49-50; 22:13; 25; 30; 2 Peter 2:17)

Sackcloth a rough garment people wore to demonstrate they were mourning and Shaving the head was another sign of mourning. (Isaiah 22:12)  The Joyous feast would turn into a funeral service.

Amos uses the Nile River as an illustration because it would rise and fall consistently and although it was viewed as a good thing for the growing of crops it was something that the farmers could count on. God’s Judgement will happen and water is used as a judgment of God just like He did in the days of Noah. The mourning would be wide spread as God’s judgment would come against a people who were rebellious and unrepentant.

Amos then says it will be like the Death of Only Son.  Grieving the loss of a child is painful but your only son represented the fact that you had no future (family name) and no one to care for your needs as you got older.


What does all the symbolism that Amos gave them mean? It means that a future date is set when those who have rebelled against God will be filled with fear at His presence as they mourn His judgment being cast into utter darkness that will leave them with no future hope.

 Amos 8:10 I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.

The Judgment that is coming to the people is coming directly from God and it is coming because they will not turn from their sins back to God.  The judgment they receive will be of their choosing and will be just because God judges fairly. The people of Amos day will experience grief that they have never experienced due to God’s judgment upon them for the way they have treated other people and ignored His call to repent from their worship of false Idols. Instead of the joy they could have experienced they would have mourning. Instead of the happily ever after it would be eternal pain. The People in Amos day were deceiving themselves by what they believed and the Day of Judgment was going to come upon them as a surprise even though God was trying to warn them through the prophet Amos.


If these things were not going to come true then why would God say them?

Jesus, Paul and the Book of Revelation talk about the punishment of those who do not give their lives to Christ and they paint a very ugly and uncomfortable picture of their eternal destiny. Whether it was the people in Amos day, the people in Jesus day, or even people in our day, why do we ignore the warnings of God?  Even as Christians we tend to not want to talk about this topic but the reality is the Bible talks about it and we cannot ignore it. Because we believe that the Bible is God’s revealed word to us then we have to accept the teachings that are difficult.

There is Good News

God did more than warn us about the dangers of Hell; He provided a way for us to escape it. The problem is we think we deserve Heaven because we see ourselves as good people when in fact we deserve Hell because our best actions are repulsive to God.(Isaiah 64:6)  For those of us who have repented and given our lives to God our experience when we stand before God will be different than those who never trusted Jesus for their salvation.


Matthew 25:14-23 For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[d] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Notice the first two guys were about their Masters business because His business became their business.  One of the ways you can be sure that you are a Christian is to ask yourself do you care about the things that Jesus cares about? Notice how excited the two servants were that their master returned and how they longed to show Him how they built His kingdom. For Christians when we stand before God and give an account for our lives it is going to be a joyous occasion because we will be asked how we used the talents and gifts He gave us and not about our sins. (Romans 8:1) As Christians we will have our happily ever after even though this world is filled with pain and sorrow. (John 16:33)


Revelation 21:4-5 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.

The offer of salvation is still available for you today but there is no guarantee when that offer will no longer be available to you because none of us know when we will face eternity.  The topic of Hell should move us to compassion toward anyone who does not know or who has not accepted the free gift of salvation offered through Jesus Christ.  We can push the thoughts of Hell to the side of our minds and busy ourselves with trivial things but the reality is if we believe the Bible then we have to take Hell seriously and the souls of those we love and know. A day of mourning waits those who do not trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross but a day of rejoicing awaits those of us who have accepted the free gift of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)



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Amos 8:7 The Point of No Return: Sins are not forgiven

God is sharing with His prophet Amos what He is going to do because His people have chosen to reject His ways by mixing in other gods with their worship of Him along with their mistreatment of other people by stealing from them.  God has reached His limit on patience and now He is going to judge the people for their constant rebellion.

A point of no return with God is not something that gets discussed and is not a popular stance but God reveals in His word that there will come a time when people will no longer be able to seek forgiveness of their sins. Religious pluralism which says any way you worship is correct was rampant in Amos day just like it is in our day. According to Robert Bellah’s book “Habits of the Heart” he says that 80% of Americans agree with the statement ‘an individual should arrive at his or her own religious beliefs independent of any church or synagogue.” Although this is popular in our own time it is not what God has said at any time and we must accept the God that is revealed and not a God of our own making.

One of the most important questions we must all answer is “What happens to us when we die?” Universalism is the belief that Jesus died on the cross for all mankind and therefore all people make it into Heaven no matter if they accepted or rejected Him on earth. This is being taught by popular so called Christian authors by twisting the word of God to make it say what they want it to say.

Another question we must ask is, “If everyone goes to Heaven then what about God’s justice?”

We are going to take the next few blogs and talk about “The point of No return” as we look at what God says to those who continue to rebel against Him. We are going to look at what happens to those who reach the point of no return and what the Bible says about their destinies. Hell is not an easy topic and there are many who disagree with what the Bible says about Hell, but we must look at it since eternity is at stake for those who ignore the Bibles teachings about it.

Amos 8:7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Your Sins will no longer be forgiven.

I will not forget any of their deeds”

This will be such a sad day that the singing will turn into a funeral and joy into mourning. It will be a sad day for sure for those who think they have time to give their lives to God yet find that there is no longer an opportunity to turn to Him. They will be invaded by an army and every one of them will be affected and most of them killed with those who remain left to bury the bodies.

Many people know that God is loving, patient and kind showing mercy to those who do not deserve it but it is because of those attributes of God that many ignore God and just think that everyone will be accepted by Him.

Romans 2:4-5 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

The good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins is some of the most wonderful news sinners can hear knowing that by their own actions they cannot be in a right standing with God.

Jeremiah 31:34 “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

The people looked forward to receiving the forgiveness of God and all of their sacrificial systems were based on the promise of God forgiving their sins. Jesus met every one of the sacrifices that were commanded in the Old Testament so that now we no longer offer sacrifices for our sins but we only give our lives to Him knowing He met perfectly what the law required.

What Amos tells them is the opposite of the good news of Christ which is not what they expected. The Choice has always been repentance or rebellion and God offers complete forgiveness of all your sins but only while you are alive or while your heart is not so hardened toward Him that you can hear His call to you. When you reject Gods offer of salvation you reject the opportunity of the forgiveness of sins which is needed to be in the presence of God. Because they chose not to repent (change their ways) God is now going to hold them accountable for all the sins that they have done. The problem was the people were claiming the promises of God without the conditions of God.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

To confess our sins means that we realize we are bankrupt on our own and by our own works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The Bible says if you break one commandment you break them all (James 2:10) but we live in a culture who believes that their good outweigh their bad and that many of the things they are doing are not even sins. Repenting is admitting that we have things in our life that offend God and we are surrendering our lives to Him by obeying what He says. (Luke 9:20)

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob” which is Gods way of saying that He is judging people based off His own character or it could mean that it is their pride that keeps them from repenting.  Timothy Keller in his book “The Reason for God” says a woman came up to him after a service and told him that a God that judges people is offensive. He asked her why she is not offended by the idea of a forgiving God. Keller goes onto explain that in America we like a forgiving God but in other cultures they like a God of judgement. Which God should we be more offended by; a God that judges or a God that forgives? A forgiving God should offend us more than a judging God because by accepting Jesus Christ a person is relinquished of the punishment they deserve for the wrongs they have done. We think a God that Judges cannot be a God of love but the Reason that God judges is because God loves. When God sees how sin and evil hurt people it is His love that compels Him to judge it correctly and punish it accordingly. People who want to accept Jesus on their own terms in their own way are missing out on the forgiveness He is offering or the punishment they will experience. God does not force people to love Him but offers them a choice to be in a relationship with Him but that relationship can only come by accepting the punishment that Jesus paid on the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

People do not see that they are separated from God because of sin but that is the assignment we have been given as Christ followers is to bring people back into a right relationship with God by explaining what Jesus Christ did on the cross on our behalf. For those who say that Christ already reconciled every person back to God I want to know why would we be given the ministry of reconciliation if everyone is already reconciled.


Acts 17:30-31  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

In order for your sins to be forgiven you have to ask for forgiveness but the Bible uses a word called repentance. It is more than saying you are sorry or that you messed up it means a change of mind leading to a change in actions. We have to remember these were church going Torah believing people. I say that because I am concerned that many church goers are going to be shocked in eternity when they think they will be going to Heaven when in reality they will not have their sins forgiven.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (See Also Ecclesiastes 12:14; Revelation 20:12-15)

The people in Amos day thought they were good with God but they weren’t because they were living for themselves and not for God. Many people in our culture think they are good with God because they do not see their sins as that big of a deal or they do not believe that what they are doing is wrong.

John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.

Christianity is a personal relationship with God and He is the only God to step on the earth for His people and live, suffer and die. He is a God who went to great lengths to reconcile a broken relationship by providing the way through Jesus (John 14:6)

The contrast to what God said to the people of Amos day and what we can have as people that put our faith in trust in God is amazing. Look at these two verses and see the difference that repenting and giving your life to Jesus will do.

Amos 8:7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a]

What is the difference between Amos 8:7 and Romans 8:1? The difference is when we accept what Jesus Christ has done we will stand before God without one sin being brought up from our lives. This is why the prostitutes and the tax collectors found what Jesus was saying as good news because they knew that there was nothing they could do to make up for the evil they had done. In Romans 8 the Apostle Paul is talking about not being condemned even though in Chapter 7 of Romans he talks about the sins he fights within his flesh. We are accepted and not condemned not because of our acts but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. When we accept the free gift of Jesus Christ by repenting to Him by faith we are totally forgiven of all sins.

Psalm 103:10-13 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Hebrews 9:27-28  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

There are so many promises in the Bible for those who turn to God for salvation and repent from their sins and unfortunately there are many promises for those who do not. We cannot allow religious pluralism taint our view of God and see what He says about how we receive forgiveness of our sins. We all will face eternity one day and the question of where will we spend eternity is too important to ignore. Do the claims of Jesus Christ sound too good to be true? In a world that says you have to earn your way to Heaven by doing good things it does but the Bible tells us that Jesus died so that our sins will be taken care of.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We become what He was because He became what we were.


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Amos 8:1-6 When God is Fed Up

Many people cannot believe that God would reach a point in His patience with people that He would finally be done. God’s patience with His people has run out because they continued to ignore His warnings and repent of their actions.

“A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness.” (The Attributes of God, Arthur W. Pink, Pg 82)

We must accept the God who has been revealed to us and not the one we would like Him to be. God has revealed Himself to us through His scriptures and although there are things we may not like that does not change the fact that this is who God is. God will show Amos that His patience has run out with Israel because they have not repented of their ways and God’s wrath will soon follow.

Read Amos 8:1-3 This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, “The end[a] has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.The songs of the temple[b] shall become wailings[c] in that day,” declares the Lord God.“So many dead bodies! ”They are thrown everywhere! “Silence!

“I will spare them no longer”

The vision that is shown to Amos is that of summer fruit. Just like fruit has an expiration date so does God’s patience. Fruit also in the Hebrew language sounds similar to the word end. We know that God is a patient God not wanting anyone to perish (1 Peter 3:9)  but we see here that God has reached a point of no return with this rebellious people. God has given them time to repent and to change but they have decided that the way they are living is good and even acceptable to Him.

Although we like a God who demonstrates love and patients, we also want a God who is Just and righteous, because that means that God is going to deal with those who for their own gain have hurt others. A God who did not punish sin would not be a just God. A time is coming when people will no longer be able to repent and turn to God and it is on that day that there will be a day of mourning and not joy. They will be wiped out from an invading army and everyone present will be affected.

Many people like to say the phrase “Rest in Peace” when someone passes from this life, but for those who do not accept the free gift of salvation from Jesus there death will not be a time of peace. None of us knows when our last day on this planet will be because none of us know for sure when we will face eternity.

Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

What makes this situation unique is that these people are still alive and yet God is saying that He is done with them and will no longer spare them or walk in their presence. They have reached a point of no return with God not because they have already passed away but because they have hardened their hearts to the point that they will no longer respond to God. This goes against what most of us have been taught about God because we teach that you can always turn to God even if it is your last breathe, which is true, but not if you become so calloused toward Him that you will not reach out.

Hebrews 3:15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

The people that Amos was dealing with had a form of spirituality but they had created a religion and a god of their own making and ignored what the true God had desired. Because their religious leaders were leading them astray they no longer desired to reach out to God. Each time you reject the claims of Christ your heart becomes hardened and insensitive to the call of God back to Him. Eventually you will become so hard hearted that you will lose your love for God and then for His creation. Sometimes we wonder why people do the things they do when they do evil and horrendous acts toward others. We question God in these times but the reality is Christianity has an answer for why people act the way they do. Our society teaches that people are basically good but the Bible teaches the opposite saying that inside of us lurks evil that if allowed to grow will lead to all different acts of evil. We have a problem in our hearts, a sickness or disease that is only going to get worse unless we allow God to change us.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Mark 10:18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

Jesus tells us only God is good and that we have a problem called sin that is a terminal disease that is destroying us and God’s creation. We are not good people that need to be better we are sick people that need a heart transplant. Until we get a new heart by God our evil nature will rise to the top and we will eventually do evil we never thought we would do.

Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Because of this disease called sin there are two specific sins God will point out to Amos that he is to report back to the people in trying to get them to see the errors of their ways.

Amos 8:4-7 Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain. And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel[d] great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?” The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds


Because of this disease called sin there are two specific sins God will point out to Amos that he is to report back to the people in trying to get them to see the errors of their ways. There are several things that made God reach a point that He said enough is enough and I will no longer give them more chances.

1)   God was Fed Up with the Treatment of Others

“Trample the Needy” Instead of helping their fellow man they treated them poorly, harshly and unjustly. As followers of God we believe every human being is a special creation of God no matter their financial status, their abilities or their color.

Matthew 22:37-39 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Because the religious leaders were always looking to get out of doing things they wanted to know who their neighbor was and Jesus told them the story of the good Samaritan. We are seeing a devaluing of people in our own country because of abortion which says that they are not a human and evolution which says that animals and people are equal. We know that in the end times people will continue to harden their hearts toward God and then their love for others will become less. Because of technology and education the generation that is coming up is already known to be less empathetic for others. Their motto is “If it does not affect me then it does not matter”. The people were stealing from others to get rich and they did not care what it did to anyone else as long as it benefited themselves. They were using false measurements to steal from others and weighted shekels to tip the scale in their direction. When those they were stealing from could no longer pay they sold their children into slavery in order to cover the debts that were brought on because of unethical business practices.

How we treat others is important to God and that means no matter their color or financial status we have a responsibility to them as human beings.

2)   God was Fed Up with half- hearted worship

“When will this be over with?” is what they said about the times of worship. Have you ever found yourself showing up for church just so you could mark it off your to do list? The people were carrying out the religious activity but God saw that their hearts were not into it because they hated losing out on making a profit by not being able to work. We pause to worship God because He deserves our praise and trust in Him to provide for our needs. The people were going through the motions (even though they were adding other gods to it) but their hearts were somewhere else. Matthew 6:21 Jesus said where your treasure is that is where your heart is and people were more into making money rather than worshiping the God who gave them the ability to make it. What you are most concerned about tells the condition of your heart. How often we come to church and cannot give God our attention because we have to look at emails, text and social media instead of surrendering ourselves fully to Him for an hour or so.

1 Chronicles 16:8-12 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! 11 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered,

We are to come to worship and praise God for all that He has done and remember Him but too many times we come to worship out of habit or guilt and lose the true meaning of why we show up.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:7-9 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;in vain do they worship me,” Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who was not really paying attention? When we show up to worship are we not really engaging with God and are we distracted by other things we have deemed more important?

Our priority should always be to give God our full attention but by doing so then we should also care for those around us. We should see each person we come into contact with as a precious human being that has dignity and not someone we can take advantage of or someone who we think we are better than because of our race or our financial status.

God was fed up and done with them because of their treatment of worship and their treatment of people. We need to learn from the people Amos was addressing and evaluate our own hearts so that we can make sure our hearts have not become hardened to the things of God.


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Amos 7:7 -17 The Plumb Line

God has given Amos two visions about destruction and Amos prayed that God’s judgment would be delayed for the sake of the people. God gives Amos another vision while He is praying and it is a vision of God holding a plumb line.  A plumb Line was an instrument used when building and was the ultimate test that something was being built straight. A wall that was not straight would be torn down because it would not last.

We have building codes so people do not later buy houses that are unfit or dangerous to live in. We have standardized testing in our schools so that we know that people have to have a certain amount of knowledge to graduate. Our entire world has standards or plumb lines that we use in order to judge someone or something to make sure it is correct whether it be measuring devices for weight or for length. We are not allowed to come up with our own standard for what we think is acceptable we have to go by certain measurements and codes or there would be chaos.

In our society just like in Amos day people were coming up with their own system of following God. They thought it was acceptable but Amos was going to show them that their standard was not measuring up.

Read Amos 7:7-9 This is what he showed me: behold, 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, “Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them; 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.”

1)   God Holds the Plumb Line

“I am setting a Plumb Line” Many people today and in Amos day thought that being good enough would be alright with God but God Judges us according to His standards not our own. God is the one who sets the Plumb Line and His plumb line calls us to be perfect as He is perfect. Most people when it comes to God they think that if their lives are good enough or the fact that they are trying will be acceptable to God. Most people treat God as if He is going to alright with any amount of effort or work but the Bible tells us that God has a standard we all have to meet and that standard is Holy.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

The people in Amos day were worshiping God along with other gods from other religions thinking it was acceptable to God. They were not concerned about the standards that God set and so they made up their own standards thinking that God would accept them.  God was putting Israel to the test because they think that the way they have been living and worshiping were straight but God is getting ready to show them that their ways were crooked.

We have to make sure that we are not creating a god in our own image and that we are not allowing false theologies (study of God) to sneak in. We must go by what God has revealed in His Word or we will be straying from the Plumb Line.

2)   The Plumb Line is Rejected

Read Amos 7:10-17 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 thus Amos has said, “‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.’” 12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was[a] no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. 15 But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore hear the word of the Lord. “You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’17 Therefore thus says the Lord: “‘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 up with a measuring line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”

Notice the first person to reject the word of God was the religious leader. In Amos day and in ours it is the religious leaders who begin twisting the standards of God and making up their own standards leading people astray. The religious leader then trumps up charges against Amos accusing him of treason saying that he is conspiring against the King. When someone cannot discredit your words they will try and discredit you. Amaziah (the religious leader) was committed to the King and Amos was committed to God. Amaziah did not want to lose his position of power the King gave him and Amos gave up his position to be obedient to God. Amaziah then calls him a seer (a person who has dreams or visions) as opposed as a prophet (one who speaks the words of God). Amaziah was calling Amos a person who was hired for money to speak certain things. Amos then goes on the defensive and lets him know that he had no intention of being a prophet but that God called him out of being a herdsman because no one was speaking the truth anymore.  Amaziah was wrong to stop Gods word from being spoken to God’s people and God judgment upon Amaziah and his family was disastrous.


James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness

As much as this passage is a warning to those who claim to speak for God it is also a warning that every religious leader does not need to be trusted. Prophecy or preaching has a root meaning in the word “drip”. Heaven Drip rain (Judges 5:4) Mountains drip wine (Amos 9:13) Words of Counsel (Job 29:22) Words of Love; Song of Solomon 4:11;5:13) and words of enticement (Proverbs 5:3) Preaching was to be pleasant but Amaziah uses prophecy or preaching in a negative term.

2 Corinthians 2:15-16  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

The Gospel is good news only to those who want to accept it by faith that Jesus took our penalty of sin and made us clean. People that believe they can earn salvation by their own works do not think they need it and therefore do not like it because their pride has taught them that they are acceptable to God on their own terms.

“Do not preach against …. The Land is not able to Bear all his words.”

Both God and Amaziah told Amos to go but Amaziah told him to go somewhere else (Judah) and God told him to go to His people Israel and speak the truth. This is not just an argument about where Amos can preach but a spiritual battle about accepting the word of God as true. Our culture does not want to hear the truth so they tell us to keep it in our churches and so they tell us to go back to our churches or homes.  You will be faced with a choice to make between who you are going to listen to and if you will allow the world to cause you to be silent. The good news of Christ is not always taken as such and people will try and silence you from speaking it.

Acts 5:27-29 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men

The temptation in our society is to no offend anyone but if we speak the truth then people are going to be offended. Amaziah never denies that Amos is a prophet he just tries to discredit him and he does not deny that Amos is speaking  a word from God but he does outwardly reject it. The people could not hear any more of Amos words because they could not handle them or hold up under the weight of them because they were convicted by them.

“It is the Kings Sanctuary” (vs13)

The real issue is that they had their system of doing things and the priest called the Temple the Kings Sanctuary.  It was a state Temple and therefore no one could speak negatively against the King when it should have been a temple to worship God.

3)   Jesus is the Plumb Line

When we stand before God there is only one measurement that will line up with Gods standards and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus met all the requirements that God required and only through Jesus Christ can we stand to be measured by God

A) Jesus was Sinless and we receive His sinless life.

Romans 8:1 -4 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Can anyone say like Jesus (John 15:10) that they have obeyed all of God’s Laws? See Also John 15:10 and Romans 5:19

B) Jesus paid the penalty for sins so we do not have to.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

C) Jesus was buried and Rose again so we can be as well.

Colossians 2:12-14 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

We will fail the judgment of God if we do not accept Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. The plumb Line is perfect and will show any discrepancies and flaws and if they are found then judgment will occur and what we have built up will be torn down and lost. This is the good news of Jesus Christ (Gospel) that because of Christ we measure up to God’s plumb line and Jesus made us acceptable to God.  We do not get to pick and choose how we want the wall built or what kind of God we want to follow. There is a standard and it is impossible to be met by us and had to be met by Jesus Christ. God will take out the plumb line and see if we measure up and for many they will try and justify their crooked ways but for others they will point to the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Have you accepted the free gift of Jesus Christ and what He has done of the cross or do you think your actions and your good works will be accepted by God?

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.


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Amos 7:1-6 Standing in the Gap

Amos was not a prophet by trade but just a man who God had called to go and speak out against the Children of Israel because they were worshiping other gods along with their worship of Him. The prophet Amos is continuing to plead with the people about God’s judgement that is coming but they were not heading his warnings. While Amos was going around and preaching the truth about God, God gave Amos some visions of the future and we will talk about two of those visions today.  These visions were what God was going to do and Amos was able to see with clarity the judgement that was coming upon the people. Each vision was a dialogue between God and His prophet which shows the relational aspect of God with anyone who will seek Him.

Visions were taken seriously because they believed them to be from God or from other gods and visions were given by God to show His intentions for what is going to take place. We have been given visions in the Bible and specifically in the book of Revelation that tells us what God intends to do at some point in the future. We need to take these visions seriously because all the predictions that the Bible has talked about so far have come true. Many of the Bibles prophecies were not generic but specific even naming places and names before they existed which just reaffirms that the visions we have been given in the Bible can be trusted to come true.

Read Amos 7:1-6 This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings. When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said, “O Lord God, please forgive! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!”The Lord relented concerning this: “It shall not be,” said the Lord.This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said, “O Lord God, please cease! How can Jacob stand?  He is so small!” The Lord relented concerning this: “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.

                Amos stood in the gap between the rebellious people and a Holy and righteous God. The people did not know that Amos was doing that on their behalf and as we will find out it did not even change their actions but none the less he stood in the gap pleading with God on their behalf. We need to be people who stand in the gap for others as we pray for them even when they are rebelling against God.

To be people who stand in the gap we have to:

1)   Have the vision from God.

The first vision God showed Amos was that a bunch of locust were going to come and destroy the landscape. It was the timing of the locust that made it worse because it would devastate the harvest right before dry season which would mean there would be no grazing or hay for the animals. The King already had his share so this would have devastated the farmer, the little guy, and Amos being a rancher could see the devastation that would take place.

The second vision was of fire. Fire is a symbol of a great drought and the “great deep” is in reference to the subterranean springs. We have been given the vision of the future in God’s word and if we are going to stand in the gap between rebellious people and God then we need to be in the word of God. The people in Amos day were believing lies about God by worshiping several gods while worshiping the true God and many in our nation our mixing many religions together thinking that it is acceptable to God.

To be people who stand in the gap we have to:

2)   Heart for the people

To forgive is to pardon (Isaiah 55:7) but there is no confessing of sin among the people only a prophet begging with God to forgive. Some believe here it was more a plea of patience that God would give them more time. Amos says, I beg you to stop, how can they survive?” because He saw God’s punishment as being so devastating that it would kill them. Israel thought of themselves as an indestructible nation but Amos saw them as the weak and vulnerable nation that they really were.

To stand in the gap means to  intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences; to act as a go between for hostile parties

The problem again is that the people thought they were on good terms with God and that the religious activities they were giving to Him were acceptable. Many people in our world believe that all forms for worship are acceptable but God only accepts worship that comes through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)

Amos was begging God for mercy even though the people deserved His wrath. Many Christians know the truth but they do not have a love and concern for the people they are to be sharing the truth with. Some people treat rebellious people as if they are begging for God’s judgement to come when we should be begging God to withhold His judgement in the hopes that they repent and turn to God through Jesus.  Amos knew that God was merciful (refrain from enforcement) and graceful (undeserved favor) so he was pleading with God not because the people had changed but because of who God is.

Exodus 34:6  The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

What Amos prayed was similar to what Jesus prayed as he prayed for those who were crucifying Him. It is the same prayer we should pray for others as we see them separated from God because of their sins.

Luke 23:33-34 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Some people cannot see that the way they are living is in rebellion to God and they really do not see their actions as being wrong. These are the very people we need to stand in the gap before God for as we beg for His patience and mercy.

2 Corinthians 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God

Because of Amos standing in the gap on their behalf God withheld His judgement giving the people more time to repent of their actions. God’s judgment was withheld not because of the people but because a prophet that stood in the gap for them

Does the vision that God has revealed about the future of mankind move you to compassion for them?  What is your attitude toward the very people who are crucifying you? Are you standing in the gap for people even though they do not know how much they are hurting you are others? We are called to stand in the gap for people not because they deserve it but because that is what Jesus did for us.


To be people who stand in the gap we have to:

3)   Pray

The Lord Relented (He eased up on His judgement). Twice God stopped judgement because of the prayer of His prophet. God changed His plan to destroy Israel’s plant life with Locust and send a drought so devastating lives would be lost because Amos prayed.  Hebrew word “Niham with” al” means “to allow oneself a change of heart regarding something. Because Amos stood in the gap the plagues were stopped before they even started. This is a difficult paradox we face when we pray to God because we know that God does not change (Malachi 3:6) and that He is all knowing but He seems to be the one who changes His mind. (Hosea 11:8)  In his book “Knowing the Unknowable God” James R. Lucas goes through all the paradoxes in the Bible. A Paradox is just two truths that are equally true but seem to be in conflict with each other. There are many things we will not understand this side of Heaven so we take the truths of God and we trust that with God they all come together.


  • Psalm 115:3 says God does what He pleases
  • We do believe that God hears our prayers (Psalm 143:1)
  • Romans 8:34 says that Jesus is interceding for us.
  • Romans 8:26 says the spirit is interceding for us.


Prayer is based on the fact that God wants a relationship with His people and although we may not be able to fully grasp how God can know all things and yet seemingly change His mind we pray in faith trusting Him.

“If Abraham interceded for the few righteous people in the ungodly cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:22-33), if Moses interceded for the sinful Israelites who worshiped the golden calf just a few days after they had seen the glory of God on top of Mount Sinai (Exodus 32), if Amos interceded for the pagan Israelites who worshiped the golden calf at the temple in Bethel (Amos 7:1-6), if Moses interceded for the wicked people of Israel after their rebellion against him (Numbers 14:10-25), if Jesus interceded for the Roman soldiers crucifying Him (Luke 23:34), and if Paul repeatedly interceded for the Jewish people who were not saved (Romans 9:1-5; 10:1) it seems only reasonable to conclude that God expects believers to intercede for his mercy on the wicked today.” (The NIV Application Commentary, By Gary V. Smith, Pg 360)

God takes no pleasure in the punishment of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23) Do You? God does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9) and wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and our desires should be the same as Gods. Our prayer lives should be less about our wants and needs and about the souls of those who will be separated from God for all eternity if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

We need to be the ones who stand in the gap for people not because they deserve it but because none of us deserve God’s grace and mercy.

Daniel 9:20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God,

When is the last time you went to God for the sins of our nation? If we are going to be people that stand in the gap then we have to take not only our sins but the sins of others to God and plead with Him for mercy and forgiveness. We are called as followers of Christ to stand in the Gap between God and those who are lost without Him. Many people do not see that they are separated from God and therefore they do not see the gap that is uncross able without Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[a] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Who do you need to stand in the gap for? Who is in your life that you need to take before God ?



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