Amos: Prophet Of Justice, Pt. 21

(Part 21 of 21)

Amos 9:7-8… God is saying to sinful people, “When you came out of Egypt and when you settled in Canaan, you were a redeemed people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood. Now you have lowered yourself to pre-redemption days. You are a lowered people.” Jeremiah 13:23 teaches, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” (KJV) In other words, the inability to change one’s skin was a symbol of Israel’s inability to change their evil ways. Note Amos 9:8“Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth.” The sinful kingdom was the ten tribes of Israel; Judah was spared. Verse 9 teaches that the ten tribes were scattered over all nations. There is no record of them ever coming back under Ezra or Nehemiah. Judah went into Babylonian captivity and came back. On earth, God chastens to make us sons. It is here on earth that we must learn obedience. “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

V. 9… Note the first hint of restoration… Israel was sifted as grain in a sieve. Israel was the chaff; Judah was the seed that was saved. True seed always survives. When God judges, the true seed is protected. Note v. 10… Israel said, “The evil [judgment] shall not overtake nor prevent us” (KJV). No matter how good things look or how successful a nation is temporarily, God says, “All the sinners of My people will die by the sword” (v. 10). Those are strong words from God.

Amos 9:11-15: “I will restore the fallen house of David” (v. 11, KJV) Restoration of the tabernacle of David… There is something more here than the restoration of Davidic worship and praise. He is looking at the Davidic covenant as seen in Psalm 89:20-37 and 2 Samuel 7:11-16. The Lord told David that He would make him a house. He was talking of Christ the Messiah coming, and through Him, the church. Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). In Luke 1:30-33, the angel is talking about Christ; the prophecy says, “The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (v. 32, KJV). The church is the continuation of the house of David. God promised restoration in Acts 3:21; however, the restoration is as the prophets have said. People today try to restore things that the prophets never said. God is only going to restore what He said through the prophets. Present-day Israel is in the land of Palestine because God said it would be. But the real truth is that their restoration is in the house of David through Christ and in the church. The Davidic covenant brought David’s house to Christ and the church is in that house. We are “in Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-22). Note also that the ruins of the fallen are rebuilt, but now in Christ.

V. 12… God’s will is going to be done in every nation… God isn’t worried about Communism, or Islam, or America’s wealth, or China’s billion people. The church will have dominion over the economic systems, financial systems, health systems, agricultural systems, political systems, etc. Revelation 15:4 says, “For all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (KJV). Zechariah 14:17 teaches that if there is no worship, there will be no rain. In the book of Revelation, the nations that saw God’s judgments decided that they would worship.

What happens in the day of restoration…

A) The government will be upon the shoulders of Christ (Isaiah 9:6) and His seed. Theocracy returns; i.e., God rules, Jesus reigns. All will be ruled by His voice (not a democratic voice). This is New Testament truth. The Holy Spirit was given for this very purpose. And yet, we still do our own thing.

B) The church will return to its calling of manifesting God’s glory in all the earth. The church is His body. God gave three bodies, the flesh that will die (2 Corinthians 5:1-10), the resurrection body that never dies (John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:22), and the church which is His body on earth that carries out the will of God.

C) In the day of restoration, the gifts and callings of God will glorify the Lord like they are supposed to. Today, man is exalted and man grandstands.

D) Psalm 23… David says, “He restoreth my soul.” We surely need this. David knew that the spirit part of us is the part that touches God and the part of us that God touches. When the spirit is right, everything else will be right.

E) The land begins to produce as God meant it to be (Amos 9:13-15). Never-ending planting and sowing.

In the book of Amos, only Judah survived… God roared, examined, reasoned, sorrowed, reproved, repented, judged, and restored. He wanted Israel to know that they were to be a people separated to Him. He wanted them to know that sin, unless repented of, brings judgment and death. He wanted them to know that He sends mercy, correction, and grace before He sends judgment. Thank God for the seven pictures of God that Amos portrays. Our nation needs to learn the lessons that are seen in the book of Amos. I don’t know just what kind of judgment America will face. In the Old Testament, God always raised up a hard and cruel nation to judge sin.

Will America return to God? Can the tide of evil be stopped?

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2011 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Amos: Prophet Of Justice, Pt. 5

(Part 5 of 21)

Amos 2:9-3:1-15… The Lord as the Examiner of past performance… The Lord is an Evaluator. The word “evaluate” means “to fix a value or worth upon, to examine and judge, to appraise and give an estimate.” Evaluation is a big thing in today’s job market. Employers very often sit down with their employees and evaluate their job performance. In these verses the Lord looks back on Israel’s history. He reports through the prophet on their performance. It’s God examining an action in order to correct an error and put a person or a nation back on course. The Lord never undervalues nor does He underestimate. Remember that national sin will bring national accountability. Amos was an unspoiled layman sent to a spoiled nation. When people disobey God, God must respond. In this lesson we will see God portrayed as an Examiner. God does look back on history, on the history of every nation, including our nation. Our nation has a great history, a great past performance, and still has, but it has strayed off course. May He extend mercy. We are responsible and accountable for our behavior. Our concepts of God must enlarge to see also that God does not tolerate sin when He gives mercy.

Amos 2:9… God destroyed the Amorites… The word “Amorite” means “of a sayer.” A “sayer” is one who cuts down by words. Amos is prophesying here and reminding the nation of God’s destroying the giants that were in her path to Canaan. God is a destroyer of giants. Giants rise up when there is weak leadership (remember Saul). We cannot defeat giants without the help from God. We must face them, but it’s God who defeats them. Note, “I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath” (KJV). See the story of Joshua 2:10-11; God has destroyed Satan’s power over us. “For sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). The Amorites were the mightiest of the Canaanites. They were the descendants of the fourth son of Canaan. When God destroyed the Amorites He was extending mercy to Israel. Here, God was examining His past mercy to Israel and reminding them of it.

Amos 2:10… God is continuing to remind them of mercy… which was God releasing them from the Egyptian captivity and bondage to bring them into their inheritance. God had trained them for forty years to possess the land of the giants. Jesus delivered us from the world’s bondage and its sins to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13). Before we were born again we were slaves to sin. Just as God enlightened Israel in the wilderness, so He enlightens us. Here God was examining their deliverance. We too have a story to tell of our deliverance.

Amos 2:11-12… God continues His examining of His mercy… God is examining the prophet ministry that He gave them. This too was part of His mercy, In the Old Testament, prophets were used for guidance. Prophets proclaimed the word of God. God raised these prophets to be Nazarites (Numbers 6:1-21; they were to avoid strong drink). The prophetic Nazarites were to be separated as examples of godly separation from the world. They were the visual demonstration of what God had determined for all His people. It is as if God said, “See, this is what I want.” All Israel had to do was read in the Nazarites what God wants to see in the nation. Paul teaches (2 Corinthians 3:2-3) that Christians are God’s epistles for men to read. The prophets came from the sons of Israel… What happened? The nation ruined their separation by giving them strong drink to make them drunk and then they were taunted to “prophesy not.” God was examining the nation’s treatment of prophets. God gave to Israel prophets, but they gave them drink to ruin their separation to God. Many prophets today are drunk on the riches they have accumulated and so they have lost their separation unto God. They didn’t want the word of God coming from the prophets to bring conviction. The people didn’t want their consciences bothered. God is going to examine the standards of separation that He has laid down. He will evaluate the people’s corrupting of His ministers by refusing to live by the word He lays down. Non-drinking Nazarites are a strong condemnation of a “drinking” church. Most churches today are intoxicated by worldliness. You’d be surprised how many people sit in churches and say, “Stop the message… We don’t want to hear what you are saying.” Satan and the world are angry at the true message of God because it condemns them. Psalm 2:3 teaches this: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (KJV). Today, our nation is rejecting the standards of separation.

Amos 2:13… God is pressed… What is it that presses God? “Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves” (KJV). God was letting the nation know what was bothering Him. God is still evaluating. Can you imagine God saying, “You are pressing me.” That’s a powerful examination. The nation was weighing God down. God said to Moses, “I bare you on eagles’ wings” (Exodus 19:4), and “Thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee” (Deuteronomy 1:31). Isaiah 63:9 reads, “He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Now Amos prophesies, “You have pressed Me.” “Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities” (Isaiah 43:24). “Ye have wearied the LORD” (Malachi 2:17). Israel had worn out God’s longsuffering. Nations are “pressing” God a little too far. Many saints, including preachers, are doing the same thing.

Amos 2:14-16… When you press God you have no strength… and no courage, no weapon to war against the devil with. You do have fear and trembling when you stand before God in the day of evaluation because you cannot escape the truth. God will examine the treatment you gave Him when He extended mercy. God gave victory; Israel replaced it with things that bring defeat. God says, “The mighty shall flee away naked” (v. 16, KJV). Even the strongest nations that abandon God will fall swiftly. Sin is weakening our nation. When the Assyrians took the ten tribes captive they went naked into captivity. The Bible says, “Your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). It always does.

(To be continued…)

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2011 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Go Thou And Do Likewise

Luke 10:30-37… In the story of the Good Samaritan, we find a great example of servanthood, the servanthood that God requires from all of us. In this story we find a man on his way to Jericho who was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. The Levite came along and did not want to get involved, so he crossed the road and went on by. The priest came by and saw the hurt man. He didn’t want to get involved either, so he too crossed over to the other side of the road. If you want to be involved with Jesus, and if you want to be part of His work, you must get involved with those who hurt.

Luke tells us that the Samaritan went to the wounded man when others only passed by. First, we see him bending. He stopped and humbled himself with compassion to help the wounded man. Second, we see him mending. He bound up the wounds and poured on oil and wine. Third, we see the Samaritan tending. He took care of him by taking him to an inn. Fourth, we see the Samaritan spending. He took from his own pocket enough funds to cover the cost. When there was a need, money was not withheld. Fifth, we find the Samaritan lending. “He took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him” (v. 35, KJV).

The Samaritan had a heart to serve… Judgment comes to those whose hearts are not tender towards those who hurt. The Samaritan was doing the will of God by bending, mending, tending, spending, and lending. Jesus summed up the story with the words, “Go and do likewise.”

(This short message was gleaned from a Harvest Church bulletin by Pastor Ed Chidester, Charlotte NC.)

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2011 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Called To Be Saints

Romans 1:7…To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV).

WE ARE CALLED TO BE SAINTS (Romans 1:1-7)… The word “called” is used three times by Paul, each time with a slightly different usage. In verse one, the word “called” means “called by a supernatural act of God.” In verse six the word “called” means “an invitation to the unbeliever to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” In verse seven, the word “called” means “divinely selected to be holy and separated and consecrated for the Lord’s use.” The word “saint” refers to any believer baptized in Christ. The word “saint” also refers to a born-again Christian called to be part of a holy calling, a ministry (2 Timothy 1:9). The words “saint/saints” are used sixty-one times in the New Testament, thus highlighting the importance of our identity as an important truth. One example of the saint’s ministry is described in Galatians 6:1-18. (Please open your Bible as you read.)

Verse 1… A saint is a brother or sister that is responsive to the Spirit for the purpose of restoring hope in those who are having problems. The word “spiritual” in this verse means “responsive to the Spirit.” Many people have serious problems, and they need your help.

Verse 2… A saint is a burden-bearer, one who helps others when their load is too heavy. When you help someone with a burden, you are fulfilling a law of Christ by showing love and compassion and kindness. The love of Christ in you teaches them to bear their own burden. So many folks have no knowledge of how to bear burdens. They need to be taught.

Verses 3-4… A saint is a builder. “But let every man prove his own work” (v. 4, KJV). “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead” (James 2:17). If someone is in trouble, a saint should be there to help them. Too many saints take the attitude “I’ll pray about it” and then do nothing. If you have faith in Christ, witness, testify, build up, and help!

Verse 6… A saint is a communicator. If you are in touch with God and you hear from Him by the Spirit, pass that word to the hurting man or woman. Sow good things into their lives and God will make it grow. No one can live without communication.

Verse 9… A saint is a benefactor. The phrase “well-doing” in this verse means more than doing things well. Paul writes to Titus and says that we are saved to do good works (Titus 2:14, 3:1,8,14). Every day there are necessary things to do, and every day the Holy Spirit will show us what we need to do.

Verse 10… A saint is given opportunities to do good. The Holy Spirit will direct you in your ministry for the day. It doesn’t have to be in the pulpit or in some foreign field. The New Testament teaches that “[Jesus] went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38, KJV). Praise God for what He has done. You are a new creation, you have a new lifestyle, and you have new goals. But many saints in the Ephesian church returned to their old unredeemed ways (Ephesians 4:17-24). Paul told them, “You didn’t learn that from Christ. If you learned anything from Christ, you learned about separation from the world and about putting on righteousness” (vv. 20-24). The word “walk” means “to walk worthy in doctrine and practice”; that is, if you are a Spirit-filled believer, walk like you are Spirit-filled.

Verse 17… A saint is one who bears the marks of Christ’s sufferings; i.e., the marks of the Lord Jesus will be upon you. To us, Jesus is a joy, but others will not see Him that way. Christ suffered because He did the will of His Father. We are saints. We too will suffer for doing the will of God. The word “marks” as used in this verse can refer to a stigma. A stigma is a token of disgrace, shame, and reproach. Some people will hate you because you love Jesus, whom they hate. Keep lifting up Jesus. Keep shining for Jesus. Keep a joyful spirit. Remember Paul–he served the Lord (Acts 20:19). Serving the Lord faithfully helps you overcome the social stigma of being a believer.

How can you start to practice being a saint? First, though contact. Develop friendships with others around you at home, work, when shopping. Meet people. Second, though caring. Look for an opportunity to show that you care. Don’t preach. People are hurting, and it’s not preaching that they need. It’s your compassion and love and understanding that they need. Third, through your witness. This follows caring. Look for an opportunity to present the gospel message. “Jesus cares about you.” Share how Jesus can help them. Fourth, through equipping them. If you have led them to Christ, now lead them to follow Christ, starting with the milk of the Word and not with the book of Revelation. Encourage them to find a solid church home. Help them to discover their talents and gifts.

There are a lot of damaged people in the society around you. God will hear their cries, and He may send you to help them. God sends saints, the ones responsive to His will. (If God sends you to someone or somewhere, there is a reason and a purpose. If you go when He doesn’t send you, you will run into problems and possibly end up being the problem.) Amazing miracles happen when you “seize the moment” and reach out and touch someone. Churches grow when saints do their ministries. The purpose for this lesson is that you may catch the joy of healing the hurts of others. Ecclesiastes 5:20 says, “God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart” (NKJV).

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2011 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Philanthropic In Spirit

Galatians 5:22-24… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (KJV). I want to dwell on the word “goodness” in this exhortation. As used in this verse, the word “goodness” means goodness in the sense of being good to someone, or being philanthropic, generous, or charitable with finances. It is the Holy Spirit who plants this urge in your heart. Acts 10:38 tells us that this fruit of the Spirit operated mightily in Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Notice the words “doing good.” This phrase also means “to be philanthropic.” Most people who use this scripture focus on the miraculous healing work of Jesus. Doing miracles is a good work, but this verse also teaches that Jesus also was a benefactor, a philanthropic, one who assisted those who were in need financially. Jesus did charitable works. Luke 8:3 tells of people with great financial resources giving to Jesus, who in turn supported others (John 12:5). Jesus had an outreach ministry that ministered to the needy. Jesus didn’t just do supernatural works; He used His resources under the direction of the Holy Spirit to assist people in the natural realm. Jesus cared for the poor. Goodness is a character feature of God; it’s part of His righteous nature, so of course that is true of Jesus.

When the Holy Spirit tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness, He is letting us know that we too ought to be philanthropic in nature. Our resources help in changing lives. The Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22 was shifting our focus away from ourselves to see the needs of those hurting. The fruit of the Spirit that is called goodness is that supernatural urge in a person that reaches beyond himself or herself to meet the natural needs of those around them. When a believer is walking in the Spirit, their eyes are opened to see the needs of humanity. We used to sing a chorus called “Oh, God Is Good.” Goodness is part of God’s nature. It is part of His kindness that amid the chaos that is all around us, we can count on Him. God is unfailingly reliable; He is the One we can count on. Psalm 23:6 tells us that when we make the Lord our Shepherd, goodness follows us all the days of our lives. The word “goodness” also means “kindness,” or “to be well-favored and prosperous.” God is philanthropic in His Spirit and we should be too.

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

A Flipside To Your Favorite Verses

Jeremiah 9:3… “And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD” (KJV)Notice the phrase “they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth.” The word “truth,” as used here, means “firmness, moral fidelity, stability, faithfulness.” The dictionary gives the meaning as “faithful, fidelity, sincerity in action, character, utterance.” The word “valiant” refers to being strong with prevailing power. Many Christians are unfaithful to the word that God says, and they have no prevailing power in their lives to resist sin. The Bible is full of promises, and every promise is yours. But often people claim promises without looking at the content of those promises, so they never receive the fulfillment of those promises. There are flip sides to most of the promises, and we want to look at some of them.

Matthew 5:6… Jesus promised that if you hunger and thirst after righteousness you shall be filled. The flip side is that if you do not hunger after righteousness you will remain empty. Many never hunger for righteousness.

Matthew 5:7… Jesus said that you will be blessed and receive mercy if you are merciful. The word “merciful” means “compassionate.” The word “mercy” means “compassion, blessing given by divine favor.” This is a great promise. I need divine favor in my life, and I need the power that comes by the Holy Spirit. The flip side is, if I am not compassionate, if I am hard-hearted and unmerciful, I will not receive mercy from God.

John 8:31-32… “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (KJV). Christians claim the last part of these verses often, but they are missing the full truth. Notice, IF you continue in my Word, then you are my disciples. The flip side is that if you do not continue in the Word, you are not Jesus’ disciple. Notice also, “AND ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The Christian does not automatically know the truth. It takes time and requires study. A disciple studies, obeys, listens, and follows. It is true that the saved or born-again person is legally free, but if he does not continue in the Word, he does not live in his freedom. Christians must obey and continue in His Word. As truth is revealed to them by the Spirit and they live that truth, acting upon it, then they are made free. The word “to make free” means “to liberate.”

Romans 11:22… “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (KJV). Notice the word “if.” The Lord has nothing but goodness for you, only if you continue in His goodness. The word goodness means “usefulness, moral excellence in character.” The flip side is that if you do not continue in the goodness of God, you will be cut off. Paul was using Israel as an example in this chapter. God cut off Israel so that the church could be grafted in. Israel was cut off because of unbelief. There is a lot of unbelief among Christians. Paul said in verse 25 that he doesn’t want us to be ignorant in this matter so that we will not be conceited and be cut off as well.

The promises in the scriptures are wonderful. God is for us, not against us. But the Christian has the responsibility to grow, to continue to seek after righteousness. There is a flipside…

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Compassion, Pt. 2

(Part 2 of 2)

Matthew 14:14-21… Jesus saw the sick and the hungry and was moved with compassion. Divine love rose up and He met their needs. He healed their sick and fed over five thousand men, women, and children.

Luke 7:11-16… Jesus saw the sorrow of the widow who was following the casket of her dead son. He was moved with compassion, or intense divine love. Jesus cared about her sorrow and raised up the son who had died. Jesus cares about your sorrows too.

Matthew 5:7… “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (KJV). The word “merciful” means “compassionate in both word and deed.” It is the will of God; it is part of His constitution for the kingdom of God. It is His will that the saints exercise compassion, intense divine love.

1 John 3:17-18… When we shut down our spirit of compassion towards people in need, God’s love does not abide in us.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15… The love of Christ constrained Paul. The word “constrain” means “to take hold of one.” Compassion had taken a hold of Paul, the divine compassion of God.

Hosea 6:11… “O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee” (KJV). There is a harvest appointed for you. This was a prophetic word for Israel after they returned to the Lord and the anointing of the latter rain came. The Lord desired mercy (compassion) from them because their cities and people had become deplorable.

Joel 3:18… “All the rivers of Judah shall flow” (KJV). This is prophetic for our day and time. The prophet was teaching of the ripened harvest.

Jeremiah 22:1-3… The prophet speaks to the leaders of Judah, “Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place” (v. 3, KJV). Later, he indicted them for their failure to do this, saying to them that their eyes and heart were used for their own covetousness. The Lord wants His people to start seeing the multitudes with compassion. He wants us to be vessels of His divine love. Ask God for compassion.

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved