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Return to God

November 21, 2016

Sermon of the Day: Jesus Came Not to Give Bread, But to Be Bread

 

Amos 4:6-13

“Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
And lack of bread in all your places;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the Lord.

“I also withheld rain from you,
When there were still three months to the harvest.
I made it rain on one city,
I withheld rain from another city.
One part was rained upon,
And where it did not rain the part withered.
So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,
But they were not satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the Lord.

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“I blasted you with blight and mildew.
When your gardens increased,
Your vineyards,
Your fig trees,
And your olive trees,
The locust devoured them;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the Lord.

10 “I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt;
Your young men I killed with a sword,
Along with your captive horses;
I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the Lord.

11 “I overthrew some of you,
As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the Lord.

12 “Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel;
Because I will do this to you,
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

13 For behold,
He who forms mountains,
And creates the wind,
Who declares to man what his thought is,
And makes the morning darkness,
Who treads the high places of the earth—
The Lord God of hosts is His name.

God is speaking to Israel in this chapter. However there is a practical message here for all of us. Although the experiences may be different, the trials may take on different shapes. God has one ultimate goal, that you return to Him.

6: God sent a famine on the land. In their hunger there is no repentance.

7-8: God sent a severe drought on the land and to show His complete sovereignty He allowed rain on one part, just to rule out chance. But yet hard hearts are tough to be satisfied.

9: Then God sends plagues of locusts that devours any thing for sustaining life.

10-11: Sometimes only when life is lost do people return to the Lord. God sent raiding armies throughout the land to sporadically take out towns. Enough death happened to provide the stench of rotting corpses. Yet they were still unwilling to return to God.

I believe through all this there were some that maybe half-heartedly reached out to God. Individuals that were willing to give up some things, but not fully return and surrender to God.

I know it is easy to look at these examples and feel like, those are extreme and how could those people be so stubborn, hard-hearted and unrepentant. However I personally feel that we can be much worse in our culture and society today. God’s grace is just so abundant we take it for granted. We have also learned how to put up a great front in our minds that we continually try to convince ourselves that we are doing okay.

That is where verse 12 comes in, “…Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” Now that is a message for all of us. At the end of our lives we will all stand face to face with the God who forms mountains, creates the wind, declares every thought of man; the Lord God of hosts.

Men there is only one way to stand before God with confidence. In Christ.

When we are in Christ, God will see Christ. I know I don’t want God to see me, my sin, my failure, I need Christ. We are made acceptable on only one condition, Jesus paid the price for our sin. By this payment we have been redeemed. By faith alone we choose to accept that gift and enter into eternal glory with our heavenly Father.

Men, lets evaluate our lives, our hearts and our mouths. Are we ignoring the famine and plagues of our lives? Are we unwilling to repent of certain sinful behaviors? Unwilling to change or give up certain things of this life? Let me close with the verse:

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Luke 9:23-26

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. 

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