Sermon #15481                               Miscellaneous Notes


     Title:                         “WOE UNTO THEM


     Text:           Amos 6:1

     Reading:    Amos 5:21 - 6:6

     Subject:      False Security

     Date:          Sunday Morning―November 16, 2003

     Tape #        X-88a



Blessed, indeed, is that sinner, saved by God’s free and sovereign grace, washed in the blood of Christ, born of his Spirit, robed in his righteousness, who, wearing the garments of his salvation, taking the cup of God’s salvation, and calling upon the name of the Lord, can sing with the joyful confidence of true faith and assurance –


“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!

Heir of salvation! Purchase of God!

Born of His Spirit! Washed in His blood!


1.    There is an assurance, a confidence, a security, an ease of heart and soul, which is both desirable and honoring to God.


Assurance and a sense of security in Christ, confidence in the grace of God, is something every believer ought to seek and enjoy. Nothing is more blessed than the assurance of God’s salvation. Believers ought to be people who live in the blessed ease of assured pardon. It is a great blessing to be at ease in Zion, if we are truly born of God.


·       Does not our Savior say, — “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest?”


·       This is God’s promise to the believing sinner. — “His soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the earth?” — Psalm 25:13.


·       It is written of God’s church, — “Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation?” — Isaiah 33:20.— “Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid!” -- Jeremiah 46:27


·       The Lord God tells us plainly that as we – “Stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, ye shall find rest for your souls.” – Jeremiah 6:16


To have perfect quietness in Christ is indeed a privilege which only belongs to God’s elect, and to them only by faith in Christ. “We that have believed do enter into rest (Heb. 4:5). We have ceased from our own works as God did from his. Believers have found in the finished work of Christ enough to give their souls rest.


·       The faithfulness and power of God is enough support for the future, whatever troubles it may bring.


·       The precious blood of Christ is sufficient atonement for the past and future, too, whatever our sins may have been, are now, or shall yet be.


·       Communion and fellowship with God our Father and with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, is our abundant joy for the present, whatever may be our trials, our difficulties, our troubles, or our fears.


2.    It is truly a blessed thing to be at ease in Zion; so good a thing that it is denied to the wicked.


“The wicked are like the troubled sea which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” Of the wicked it may be said, “Thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest; but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind.” —Deuteronomy 28:65.


Let me emphasize this – Seek peace. Seek assurance. Seek the blessed rest of faith in Christ. Assurance is a blessed, blessed thing. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest.” The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Our Lord Jesus is the King of Salem, and the Prince of Peace. It is written, the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” —Isaiah 32:17. That sinner who has obtained the righteousness of God in Christ by divine imputation, righteousness which puts him in good standing with the holy Lord God and meets all the demands of both God almighty and his own conscience has reason to be at ease in Zion. In the world we shall have tribulation, but in Christ we have peace, “the peace of God that passeth understanding.”


3.    But there is a peace, an ease of heart, a quietness of soul, a sense of spiritual security that is a curse, a security that is likely to end in eternal ruin.


It is the peace of the five foolish virgins, the peace of the hypocrite, the ease and security of religion without Christ. I want to speak to you, as plainly as I possibly can, about that peace, that ease, that security which deludes and deceives the hypocrite. That is the ease spoken of in our text.


Amos 6:1  "Woe to them that are at ease (secure) in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!"


The text says, Woe to them that are at ease in Zion.” That is my message to you today. They desire the day of the Lord, look forward to it with confidence, and boast of that confidence. But God says to such presumptuous arrogance―“Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord!” (Amos 5:18).


(Isa 28:14-22)  "Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. {15} Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: {16} Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. {17} Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. {18} And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. {19} From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. {20} For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. {21} For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. {22} Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth."


The ease spoken of by God’s prophet Amos is a carnal ease, a fleshly security. It is not the confidence of a person who is pardoned, but the ease of a hardened wretch who has learned to despise the death chamber.


It is not the assurance of one who is on the rock, but the ease of a senseless drunk, whose house is crumbling in an earthquake, falling from its sandy foundations, but he is in such a stupor that he does not know and does not care what is happening.


“This is not the calm of a soul at peace with God, but the ease of a madman, who, because he has hidden his sin from his own eyes, thinks he has concealed it from God. It is the ease and peace of one who has grown callous, hardened, brutalized, stupid, sullen, and careless, who has begun a sleep which God grant may soon be broken, or else it will surely bring him where he shall make his bed in hell.”                 C.H. Spurgeon


I do not doubt, for a moment, that there are some in this congregation who are deluded by the curse of carnal security, secure and at ease in Zion, who have absolutely no knowledge of Zion's God. I shall therefore speak as plainly as I can for your souls’ sakes. May God the Holy Spirit enable me by his grace and power to speak to your heart by his Word.


Ephesians 5:14  "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."


If you will look at verses 1-6 of this chapter again, you will see that the Lord God identifies five specific things which gave these men and women a sense of security and ease among his people, though they knew him not. Indeed, these are the very things that fill the hearts of men and women with a false ease and false security in religion.




Amos 6:1  "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!"


You come to the house of God week after week, and leave as you came, in proud presumption. Because you are religious, you presume that you are righteous. Because you walk in the company of God’s saints, you presume that you are a saint. You say to yourself, “My mountain standeth firm; I shall never be moved.”




Verse 3 describes the procrastinator. — “Ye that put far away the evil day.” Some of you are secure, though you have no faith in Christ, and you know that you are lost, because you convince yourself that your life is long, eternity is a long way off, and judgment will not come upon you for a long, long time. You intend to repent. You intend to come to Christ; but not right away.


Many times, like Felix, you have trembled and been alarmed by the preaching of the gospel. Many times, like him, you have said, — “Go thy way for this time, when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee.”


Procrastination is a snare by which Satan has taken many to hell. Every time the Word of God pricks your heart, he says, “Wait, wait. There’s no hurry. God is gracious. He will be merciful whenever you choose to call on him. Then, when you are in the jaws of hell, the old serpent will hiss and torment your soul, as he says, “Too late. Too late. It’s too late for you o be saved now!”




Look at verse 3 again. -- “They cause the seat of violence to come near.”


Many who find their place in the assembly of the God’s saints on Sunday, spend their lives walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners, and sitting in the seat of the scornful.


Here you are this morning, singing the songs of Zion; but where were you last night? What were you doing? I do not doubt that you want God’s salvation, but not his Son. You would love to imagine that Christ is your Savior; but you refuse to bow to him as your sovereign. You bring the violence of hell into your own home every day, and into the house of God on Sunday. By your pretense of religion, you deceive yourself, dishonor the name of Christ, and lead all who are influenced by you into ungodliness. Yet, you are secure and at ease in Zion, convinced, by some hellish delusion, that you are a child of God!




Amos 6:4 describes those of whom the apostle speaks, when he says, “Whose god is their belly.” These are men and women who are, indeed, ”lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”  They are self-serving, self-indulgent worldlings, who wear the name of Christ, but only his name. They know nothing of his character, "That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall."


There is nothing at all wrong with sleeping on ivory beds, eating lambs out of large flocks, or calves from a countless herd. Wealth is no more sinful than poverty. It would be fool-hearty for a man to sleep on the floor who has a comfortable bed, or to eat molded bread when his barns are full.


The sin described in this verse is the sin of living for the riches and pleasures of this world. Multitudes are at ease among God’s saints, secure in Zion, though they live only for themselves. You know your own name. You may refuse to own it; but you know it.


·       You do not live for Christ, but for the world.

·       You do not live to serve, but o be served.

·       You do not seek the welfare of others, but your own happiness.


The most extravagant, self-indulgent, self-serving people I know, think they are the most sacrificial, and the most ill-served. Such people seem to be fairly equally scattered among both the rich and the poor, and all between. Extravagance, self-love, worldliness, and self-indulgence are multicultural, politically correct sins. They know nothing of social rank, race, or region.


Two things will almost always be manifest among self-serving men and women, who are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, and live only to gratify their pleasures. Look at verses five and six…


Amos 6:5-6  "That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; 6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments.”


1.    Such people live to have fun. They think life is a big party, thrown in their honor. They utterly disregard any and all people and responsibilities, when those people and responsibilities interfere with their little song and dance (v. 5).


2.    They lavish upon themselves everything they can, which might give them a little pleasure, or temporary gratification (v. 6).


Do the words of God’s prophet describe you? You are at ease in Zion; but you have no more concern for the Word of God, the truth of God, the will of God and the glory God than you do for the size of a Chinaman’s dog!




Look at the last sentence of verse 6  "but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph."  There are many who are fund in Zion, among the people of God, at ease and secure in religion without Christ, because they know nothing of that affliction of soul which is the common lot of all who walk in Joseph’s steps. Some of you, I doubt not, are at ease, secure in your delusion, secure without Christ, secure because nothing disturbs you.


·       You know nothing of the grief of Holy Spirit conviction.

·       You know nothing of the grief of divine chastisement.

·       You know nothing of the grief of spiritual conflict, the warfare between the flesh and the spirit.


In a word, you are at ease in Zion because God has thus far left you alone and undisturbed!


It is written, — “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, he hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel.” Is that your condition? You never had a great trouble in your life. Oh, you have stumped your toe a time or two, maybe even had a headache, which you elevated into horrid trials, like no one ever endured but you; but you have never had any great torment of mind, no great temptations, or trials, or losses, or crosses.


You comfortably assure yourself of God’s favor, because of your many blessings.” How foolish you are. He is a bastard, not a son, who never feels the father’s rod!


“‘Tis my happiness below Not to live without the cross,

But my Savior’s power to know, Sanctifying every loss.

Trials must and will befall, But with humble faith to see

Love inscribed upon them all -- This is happiness to me.


God in Israel sows the seeds Of affliction, pain, and toil.

These spring up and choke the weeds That would else o’erspread the soil.

Trials make the promise sweet. Trials give new life to prayer.

Trials bring me to his feet, Lay me low and keep me there!


Did I meet no trials here, No chastisements by the way,

Might I not with reason fear I should prove a castaway?

Bastards may escape the rod, Sunk in earthly, vain delight,

But the true born child of God Must not, would not, if he might.”

--William Cowper


Perhaps you think, “Pastor, how could anyone have assurance who does not have faith? How could anyone be secure without Christ? Is it really possible for a lost man to be convinced that he is truly saved?” Indeed it is! There are many today, as there are many described in the Bible, just like those described in our text – SECURE BUT LOST!


A.  Self-righteous men and women are totally ignorant of the spiritual character of God’s holy law.


Romans 7:7  "What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."


 “Like the rest of the Pharisees, (Saul of Tarsus) thought the law only regarded the outward actions, and did not reach to the spirits or souls of men, the inward thoughts and affections of the mind.”         John Gill


Self-righteousness stems from a failure to understand the spiritual character of the law of God. Uncleanness of mind in God’s eyes is as obnoxious as uncleanness of life.


·       An unclean thought is adultery.

·       Anger is murder.

·       Covetousness is theft.

·       Love of self is idolatry.


B.  Many, like Diotrephes and Demas, in the churches and Saul among the Pharisees, find security in the fact that they enjoy the respect and esteem of other religious people.


Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee of the Pharisees! He came behind no one in matters of religious devotion. Read the third chapter of Philippians. This man was a remarkable, highly respected figure in the religious world.


Philippians 3:1-7  Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. (2) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. (3) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: (5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.


C. Many find security and assurance by resting in a false evidence of God’s love and favor.


Almost everyone thinks external reformation is an indication of God’s favor, love, grace, and salvation.


John 8:39-41  "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. (40) But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. (41) Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God."


Note: Evidence based assurance is false assurance. Our assurance of salvation is Christ. It is the assurance of faith  – 1 Corinthians 1:30.


Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


D. Lost men and women strengthen themselves in carnal security by comparing themselves to those who are outwardly more profane and wicked than themselves.


Isaiah 65:1-5  I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. (2) I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; (3) A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; (4) Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; (5) Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.


E.  Lost religionists are absorbed with that love of self which causes a them to overlook his their faults and exaggerate the faults of others.


Matthew 7:3-5  "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (4) Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? (5) Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."


F.  Lost men and women are often found secure and at ease in Zion because they are deceived with a wrong idea of God’s justice.


They do not realize that the law of God demands perfection and that the justice of God requires an infinite atonement for every deviation from God’s holy law.


Through all of these things, the god of this world had blinded their minds, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto him.


How I pray that God will cause you to know that…-- He demands satisfaction! -- He demands perfection! -- And what God demands, God has provided for sinners in the person of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinners’ Substitute!


G. Lost men and women live, and die, and go to hell, with a Bible in their hand and a song on their lips, because they actually presume that they are good enough to meet whatever demands God required!


Illustration: The Rich Young Ruler


Mark 10:17-27  "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible."

1       Sermon #1347 Danville (AM―06/13/99)

        Tape #V-32a

        This message (Danville (AM―11/16/03)

        Tape #X-88a