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Sermon #1 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Micah

            “Who is a God like unto Thee?

 

      Text:          Micah 1:1

      Subject:   The Distinguishing Greatness of God

      Date:        Sunday Evening — July 10, 2010

      Tape:        Micah #1

      Readings:           Bob Poncer and Bobbie Estes

      Introduction:

 

(Micah 1:1) “The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.”

 

Micah, whose name means, “Who is like God?” was raised up by God to be a prophet to Israel during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea.

 

The prophecy of Micah deals with two subjects. It is both a lamentation of the woeful condition of Israel and a celebration of God’s abundant mercy to sinners who fully deserve His wrath.

 

The people of God were, in Micah’s time, passing through a very painful trial. The nation of Israel was plagued with the incurable wound of empty, meaningless religious ritualism and idolatry. The political leaders of the people were men who devised iniquity and worked evil. The priests were men of hire. And the prophets prophesied for money. Yet, all that they did was done in the name of the Lord.

 

Religious hucksters were in the majority and the people followed them eagerly. With confidence, they said, Is not the Lord among us? None evil can come upon us (3:11). The Word of the Lord was precious in those days. There were only a few who truly spoke as prophets of God. And very few heard them. When the Lord did send a faithful prophet to them, the vast majority of the people said, “prophesy ye not” (2:6).

 

All this caused Micah great pain and much sorrow. But he was a man who knew God. He had a vision of God’s majesty and mercy. He had received a word from the Lord. And with confident joy he spoke of the latter day glory of this Gospel age, when the majesty mercy of God would be revealed in Christ the Messiah.

 

(Micah 7:7-9) “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. (8) Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. (9) I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.”

 

Divisions ― In the Book of Micah, our translators have given us an excellent outline of Micah’s prophesy by the chapter divisions.

 

Chapter 1 ― In chapter one the Lord God gives His witness against the nations, particularly against Samaria, the capital of Israel, the ten Northern Tribes. Because of “the sins of the house of Israel” (1:5) doom was a matter of certainty. The Lord God declared that He would disinherit the nation, because “her wound is incurable” (1:9, 15). Let us be warned (Romans 11:21-22).

 

(Romans 11:21-22) “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. (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.”

 

Chapter 2 ― In chapter two God’s prophet tells the people plainly that the cause of the wrath coming upon them is their own sin. They rose up as enemies against God. ― “Therefore, thus saith the Lord; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks” (v. 3).

 

Chapter 3 ― In the third chapter the Lord God exposes the self-serving princes, hireling prophets, and covetous priests as the men who had led Israel into apostasy and doom. They abhorred righteousness and perverted equity, in the name of God, and brought the people they claimed to serve under the sentence of Divine judgment (vv. 9-12).

 

(Micah 3:9-12) “Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. (10) They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. (11) The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. (12) Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”

 

But Micah, being a faithful man, caring as he did for the souls of men, moves rapidly from announcing God’s wrath upon His enemies to the proclamation of grace and salvation to chosen sinners.

 

Chapter 4 ― In the fourth chapter, he speaks of a better Prince, a better Prophet, a better Priest, and a better Kingdom. This fourth chapter speaks of the coming of Christ and the establishing of His spiritual kingdom, Mt. Zion, the Church of the living God, and the gathering of sinners out of every nation into His kingdom. —— “The Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever” (7). This kingdom shall triumph and prevail over all her enemies (v. 13). The gates of hell can never prevail against it!

 

Chapter 5 ― Chapter five begins with an announcement of our Redeemer’s death at the hands of His enemies, as if to indicate that His death would be the means of Israel’s deliverance and the cause of His exaltation and glory. He Who was to be born at Bethlehem (The House of Bread), Who must be smitten by His enemies, shall stand in glory. —— “And this man shall be the Peace” (v. 5). He will both gather and save His sheep, who have been scattered “among the flocks of goats” (margin v. 8).

 

Chapter 6 ― In chapter six, the Lord God pleads with us to remember His goodness, His wondrous works of grace, “that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord” (v. 5), teaching us that God looks on the heart (vv. 6-8), and calls us to repentance (vv. 9-16).

 

Chapter 7In the midst of the Lord’s rebuke and indignation, Micah cries, “Woe is me!” (7:1). But the hope of Christ’s coming shines like a bright star in the dark sky in the seventh chapter. The prophecy closes with great joy and with eager anticipation of that day when God will cast Israel’s sins into the depths of the sea.

 

(Micah 7:7) “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”

 

(Micah 7:15-17) “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things. (16) The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. (17) They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.”

 

(Micah 7:18-20) “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. (19) He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (20) Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”

 

Prophecies of Christ

 

None of the Old Testament prophets spoke more clearly than Micah of our blessed Savior. When we read Micah’s prophecy, we must not fail to see that this is a prophecy of Christ our Savior and God’s great salvation in Him. Let me just pull out a few jewels from Micah’s magnificent prophecy; and, as I hold them up in the light before you, may God the Holy Spirit allow us gaze upon them with the wonder of faith and joy.

 

·      Our Savior is spoken of in Micah 2:13 as “the Breaker.”

 

The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.” ― Without question, this text of Scripture has specific reference, historically, to the nation of Israel. If you read chapters one and two, you will see that the Lord threatened severe, but just punishment upon them because of their relentless ungodliness, idolatry, and eagerness to follow false prophets rather than those men sent of God who spoke the Word of God plainly.

 

Yet, in wrath our God remembers mercy. He promised those disobedient Jews deliverance, undeserved, merciful deliverance, miraculous deliverance, deliverance which had the unmistakable stamp of divinity upon it. The entire story is a clear picture of God’s free grace in Christ to His elect, the true Israel of God.

 

1.    Like the Jews of old, we have turned aside from our God, His Word, His way, and His worship, and went whoring after other gods, according to our own lusts.

 

2.    The Lord God, in His Word, has threatened a severe, but just and everlasting punishment to be executed upon us for our sin.

 

3.    Yet, in wrath, our God remembers mercy. He has promised that He shall save some of Adam’s fallen race by His almighty, free grace in Christ.

 

4.    That One Who is our Savior and Deliverer, God’s dear Son, our all glorious Christ, is here called The Breaker”. Christ is “the Breaker” and all who are saved by Him are described as “the broken up.” Blessed are those who are broken by Him in mercy, because He is determined not to crush them in His wrath!

 

·      The fourth chapter of Micah describes the kingdom of Christ.

 

The destruction of Israel does not mean that God cast off His people, whom He foreordained unto everlasting salvation (Romans 11:2). Not at all! In fact, the destruction of the physical nation of Israel and of that physical kingdom made way for Christ’s more glorious spiritual and everlasting kingdom, His church.

 

1.    This kingdom of grace is “established in the top of the mountains…exalted above all hills,” in heaven itself (v. 1).

 

2.    This kingdom is made up of God’s elect from many nations. It is in this place, Mt. Zion, where our God teaches us and guides us (v. 2).

 

3.    The church and kingdom of God is a kingdom of peace and security. Here, and here alone, men and women live together in peace, as one, because we walk together in the name of “the Lord our God” (vv. 3-5).

 

4.    This is a kingdom of poor, halting sinners, gathered by Christ, healed by Christ, and ruled by Christ, a tower for sheep, a strong hold for the daughter of Zion, the place built by our God and Savior for His redeemed ones, whom He has delivered (vv. 6-10).

 

5.    Though all the nations of the earth are perpetually gathered against the church and kingdom of our God, the kingdom of our God, the church of His elect, shall prevail over Babylon. Indeed, our God has consecrated all the substance of Babylon and the whole earth to the glory of Christ our King (vv. 11-13).

 

(Micah 4:11-13) “Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.”

 

·      In chapter 5, verse 1, Micah speaks of Christ’s humiliation and suffering (5:1).

 

(Micah 5:1) “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.”

 

Our blessed Savior came here to be smitten by the rod of His enemies, and smitten by the sword of justice as our Substitute, that He might give to us such a kingdom of grace and glory, of righteousness and everlasting salvation as is described in chapter four.

 

·      Micah 5:2 declares our Savior’s Incarnation.

 

(Micah 5:2) “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

 

1.    Here is the exact place of His birth. ― “Bethlehem.” —— There was another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulon (Joshua 19:15).

2.    Here is His eternal pre-existence. ― “He shall come forth.”

3.    Here is the Deity of this Man Micah has been describing as the Man of peace, our Savior. ― “Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

 

·      Then, Micah speaks of the majesty of Christ in His glorious exaltation (5:4).

 

(Micah 5:4) “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

God’s Distinguishing Greatness

 

Though the people were turned aside unto vanity, Micah’s heart was fixed upon God’s promised Deliverer. He said, —— “Therefore I will look unto the Lord: I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me” (7:7). With the eye of faith fixed upon Christ, believing the promises of God, Micah’s heart began to swell with joy, gratitude, praise, and expectation. Unable to contain himself, the prophet of God raises his voice in exultation, closing his prophecy with a declaration of our God’s distinctive greatness as God. What is it that distinguishes the true and living God from all the imaginary gods of men? Read Micah 7:18-20, and see.

 

(Micah 7:18-20) “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”

 

O fallen sons of Adam, did you catch that phrase? Here is the thing that distinguishes our God as God“He delighteth in mercy!” Clap your hands and rejoice before Him, with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

 

This good news is pure Gospel truth. It should raise a universal shout of “Hallelujah!” The God of heaven, the God whom we have offended, the God in whose hands we are, is a God Who delights in mercy! — “Who is a God like unto thee,” O Lord? Micah not only declares that God is merciful, but that He delights in mercy.

 

I am sure that every attribute of God gives Him pleasure in its exercise. But, here, mercy is singled out by Inspiration as His favorite. And though all the Divine attributes are eternal, mercy was the last to be revealed.

·      His wisdom and power are seen in the creation of the world.

·      His wrath is seen in the damnation of Satan and the angels who fell.

·      His justice is seen in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden when His law was broken.

·      But in mercy He spared their lives, in mercy He promised a Redeemer, in mercy He provided a sacrifice.

 

Spurgeon suggested ― “You might say that, mercy is God’s Benjamin, and He delights most of all in it. It is the son of His right hand. But it might also be called the son of His sorrow, for the mercy of God came to be revealed in the sorrow and death of God’s well-beloved Son.”

 

Who is a God like unto Thee, O Lord? He is gloriously sovereign. He is infinitely just. He is perfectly holy. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, incomprehensible, and eternal. And he delighteth in mercy.” It is the glory of God and the pleasure of God to show mercy to sinners for Christ’s sake.

 

In Christ, for His sake, God delights in mercy. It is His glory and pleasure to be merciful. And God’s mercy is active, operative, and effectual. God’s mercy in Christ is gloriously effectual. Now, watch this. ― Listen to what Micah says God will do for sinners, because “He delighteth in mercy.” —— FOUR THINGS.

 

1.    He will pardon iniquity, because “He delighteth in mercy.”

 

(Zechariah 3:1-5) “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”

 

This word “pardoneth” means that He lifts up sin and takes it away. He lifts sin up off of us and lays it upon Christ, the true Scapegoat Who takes it away.

 

2.    The Lord God passes by the transgression of His elect remnant, because “He delighteth in mercy.”

 

Having put away sin by the sacrifice of His Son, God passes by it, taking no notice of it, as if He did not see it, because He does not see it! — “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel (Numbers 23:21). He will not impute sin to His people nor call them to account for it (Romans 4:8). Through the blood of Christ it is covered, atoned, and washed away.

 

Spurgeon said, “Our sins are so effectually removed that we shall not ultimately suffer any loss or damage through having sinned.” And Spurgeon was right!

 

Because “He delighteth in mercy,” I know that God forgives sin, and that He forgives sin…

·      Positively!

·      Comprehensively!

·      Justly!

·      Irreversibly!

 

3.    God will not retain his just anger against his people, because “He delighteth in mercy” (Isa. 12:1-2).

 

(Isaiah 12:1-2) “And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”

 

God’s anger, wrath, and justice, being fully satisfied in the sufferings and death of Christ, are turned away from His people.

 

4.    God almighty will turn toward us in compassion, because “He delighteth in mercy” (19-20).

 

Micah 7:19-20 “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”

 

  • He will subdue our iniquities by blood and by power.
  • He will cast all our sins into the depth of the sea.
  • He will perform His covenant of mercy and truth toward us (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

 

(Jeremiah 31:31-34) “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

 

“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”

 

God, Who delights in mercy, is willing to be merciful, even to all who call upon Him (Ezekiel 18:31-32; 33:11).

 

Ezekiel 18:31-32 “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”

 

Ezekiel 33:11 “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

 

Why will you die?

 

·      When God is willing to show mercy (Micah 6:2-3)?

 

Micah 6:2-3 “Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. 3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.”

 

·      When Christ is willing to save?

·      When the Gospel proclaims salvation free and unconditional in Christ?

 

The only place to obtain mercy is at the throne of mercy, at the feet of King Jesus, the Son of God. Go to Him, go to Him now, and cry, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

 

Illustration: The Artist and The Beggar

 

Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that thou bidst me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come.

 

Here is a lesson for Gospel preachers If God delights in mercy, let His servants proclaim His mercy. ― Let every word of human merit be accounted as blasphemy; and let the pulpit ring with mercy!

 

Here is a lesson for all who profess faith in Christ If God delights in mercy, see to it that you delight in mercy too (Matthew 6:12, 14-15; Ephesians 4:32 - 5:1).

·      Be merciful to the ignorant.

·      Be merciful to the poor.

·      Be merciful to the guilty.

·      Be merciful to one another.

 

Here is a lesson for you who need mercy If God delights in mercy, you have no reason to fear seeking His mercy. ― There is not one hard, forbidding word in all the Bible to a sinner coming to Christ for mercy. The door is open. The invitation is free. Come to Christ for mercy. Are you willing to have His mercy? If you are, you may! Come, then; sinner, come and welcome to Jesus.

 

Lord, Thou hast won, at length I yield,

My heart by mighty grace compelled.

Surrenders all to Thee.

Against Thy terrors long I strove,

But who can stand against Thy love?

Love conquers even me.

 

If Thou hadst bid Thy thunders roll,

And lightening flash to blast my soul,

I still had stubborn been.

But mercy has my heart subdued,

A bleeding Savior I have viewed,

And now I hate my sin.

 

AMEN.


 

Sermon #2 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         The Incurable Cured

 

      Text:          Micah 1:1-16

      Subject:   The Goodness of God in Judgment

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — July 12, 2010

      Tape:        Micah #2

      Readings:           Merle Hart and David Burge

      Introduction:

 

The title of my message is The Incurable Cured. My text will be Micah 1:1-16. But before we read our text in Micah, I want to lay the foundation of my message before you in…

 

four statements.

 

1.    You will never understand this Book until you understand that the message of this Book is redemption, grace, salvation, and eternal life in Jesus Christ, the sinner’s crucified, risen, exalted Substitute and Savior (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11-14).

 

2.    You will never be able to make any sense out of the history of this world until you understand that history is “His story.” History is the story of God’s providence accomplishing the salvation of His elect scattered among the nations of the world (Ephesians 1:11).

 

3.    You will never be able to make sense out of your own life, your ups and downs, your joys and sorrows, your blessings and burdens, your days of joy and your nights of weeping, and those of your family, until you realize that God works all things together for good to them that love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28-31).

 

4.    You will never be able to make sense out of God’s providential judgments (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, moral decadence, spiritual apostasy, civil unrest, wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilence) until you understand that God judges men and nations for the salvation of His elect, that He might save His chosen out of the people He destroys (Romans 11:1-36).

 

(Romans 11:1-2) “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. —— God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.”

 

(Romans 11:5) “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

 

(Romans 11:7) “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”

 

(Romans 11:11) “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but [rather] through their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”

 

(Romans 11:22) “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness.”

 

(Romans 11:25-27) “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

 

(Romans 11:29-30) “For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.”

 

(Romans 11:32-36) “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”

 

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.”

 

God has done all that He has done, in order to have mercy on His elect in Christ Jesus. He deals with nations the way He does to accomplish His purpose of grace upon His chosen. When we read the newspaper and learn of the rise and fall of political leaders and societies, we may not see how these things have anything to do with God’s eternal covenant of grace for His people, but that is only because we are so shortsighted. Make no mistake, this world exists and spins as it does for the glory of God in the salvation of chosen, redeemed sinners.

 

Did not He say, in Isaiah 43:3For I [am] the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt [for] thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 [Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

 

God used earthly Israel to have mercy on spiritual Israel. He raised up the carnal nation that He might have for Himself “an holy nation.” He cast off the Jews, Abraham’s physical seed because they deserved to be cast off and because He has a chosen, spiritual seed whom He is determined to save, Abraham’s spiritual seed, an elect remnant scattered among the Gentile nations of the world.

 

With that as the background, let’s read Micah 1:1-16 together.

 

(Micah 1:1-16) The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

 

2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.

 

4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, [and] as the waters [that are] poured down a steep place.

 

5 For the transgression of Jacob [is] all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What [is] the transgression of Jacob? [is it] not Samaria? and what [are] the high places of Judah? [are they] not Jerusalem?

 

6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, [and] as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.

 

7 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered [it] of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.”

 

8 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.

 

9 For her wound [is] incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, [even] to Jerusalem.

 

10 Declare ye [it] not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.

 

11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing.

 

12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.

 

13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she [is] the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.

 

14 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib [shall be] a lie to the kings of Israel.

 

15 Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.

 

16 Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.”

 

It is written, “Judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).

 

Proposition: I told you before that the title of my message is The Incurable Cured. The one thing I want you to see is this: —— God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ cures the incurable. He saves sinners who without Him could never be saved!

 

Illustration: The Rich Young Ruler — “Who then can be saved?” — “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible!

 

God will perform the intents of His heart (Jeremiah 30:24). And the intents of His heart are the salvation of His elect and the glory of His own great name in and by Christ Jesus.

 

Let me show you five things in these sixteen verses, and I will send you home with reasons to trust, worship, love, adore, and praise our great God and Savior.

 

1.    God’s Prophet

 

God’s prophet is a man sent with God’s message to His people.

·      A Personal Revelation — “The word of the LORD that came to Micah!

·      A Clear Understanding — “Which he saw!

·      A Present Need — “In the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah!

·      A Specific People — “Concerning Jerusalem and Samaria!

 

(Micah 1:1) “The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.”

 

2.    God’s Witness

 

(Micah 1:2) “Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.”

 

Micah faithfully declared to his generation, and particularly to Israel and Judah, God’s professed people, the church and kingdom of God in his day, that it is God almighty, the holy, triune Jehovah, who bore witness against them. —— Blessed are those sinners to whom God sends a faithful prophet!

 

Micah, as God’s prophet, boldly declared the low estate of God’s Church. He called in the neighboring nations as if to witness it.

  • Gath was one of the chief cities of the Philistines.
  • Aphrah means the land of dust, from its lowness and poverty.
  • Saphir, though beautiful, shall know her shame.
  • And Zaanan, which means a country of flocks, shall also be judged.

 

Micah declared God’s judgment upon all the neighboring nations, as well as upon Israel and Judah. All who are in the earth are sinners, under the wrath and impending judgment of God!

 

O children of God, when we read of such things and tremble for this generation, how blessed it is for us, as we see our God going forth in judgment, to have the chambers of His covenant for our refuge (Isaiah 26:20-21).

 

(Isaiah 26:20-21) “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

 

3.    God’s Wrath

 

In verses 3-8 Micah describes God’s indignation and wrath upon Israel and Judah, indeed upon all the earth, for idolatry.

  • Idolatry is the great crime of humanity in all ages.
  • Idolatry breeds moral decadence (Romans 1).
  • When the Church of God follows the counsel of men rather than the counsel of God she always falls into idolatry!

 

(Micah 1:3-8) “For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. 4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, [and] as the waters [that are] poured down a steep place. 5 For the transgression of Jacob [is] all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What [is] the transgression of Jacob? [is it] not Samaria? and what [are] the high places of Judah? [are they] not Jerusalem? 6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, [and] as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof. 7 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered [it] of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.”

 

Micah’s was crushed! His heart broke for the very people upon whom he pronounced the wrath of the Almighty (v. 8; Romans 9:1-3).

 

(Micah 1:8) “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.”

 

People often object to plain preaching that exposes their depravity and sin, preaching that leaves man stripped, naked, without excuse, doomed and damned without Christ. But you ought to bless God for such a preacher and such preaching. It is by the exposing our sin that sinners are brought to seek the Savior. You will never come to Christ until you need Him.

 

By what means can we be more persuasively convinced that we must have Christ? Without Him we are ruined!

 

Robert Hawker wrote, “When you and I are taught feelingly and experi­mentally what sin is; and that in us, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing; surely it must endear Christ, and induce a sense of our want of Him. Oh! how much will a soul long for Jesus, when led to see that without Him we are lost forever! Hence the Prophet's vision is not confined to Samaria and Jerusalem. All people, yea, all the earth is called upon to the charge.”

 

It is by the conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment that sinners are taught of God to trust the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:7-11).

 

4.    God’s Chosen

 

We hear much about God’s elect and the election of grace. We know that all the elect shall be saved, and only the elect; but who are God’s chosen? Who is that elect remnant God is saving? Read verses 9-14 and you will see them described by God’s prophet Micah.

 

(Micah 1:9-14) “For her wound [is] incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, [even] to Jerusalem. 10 Declare ye [it] not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust. 11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing. 12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem. 13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she [is] the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. 14 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib [shall be] a lie to the kings of Israel.”

 

God’s elect are those people who are made, by the blessed operations of God upon their hearts, by His Spirit and by His Word, to know themselves sinners before God! Are you a sinner?

  • Sinners know that they have an incurable wound (v. 9).
  • Sinners take their place in the dust before God (v. 10).
  • Sinners, like Adam in the Garden, sense their nakedness before God (v. 11).
  • Sinners in the bitterness (Maroth) of painful conviction, look for good, but evil comes down from the Lord (v. 12). — This is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7.
  • Chosen sinners, when called by grace, flee from Lachish, which represents every false way (1 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Revelation 18:4). Lachish was the first of the cities of Judah to embrace and teach idolatry.

 

“When Adam by transgression fell,

And conscious, fled his Maker’s face,

Linked in clandestine league with hell,

He ruined all his future race.

The seeds of evil once brought in,

Increased and filled the world with sin.

 

But lo! The Second Adam came,

The serpent’s subtle head to bruise;

He cancels his malicious claim,

And disappoints his devilish views;

Ransoms poor sinners with His blood,

And brings the sinner back to God.

 

[To understand these things aright,

This grand distinction should be known:

Though all are sinners in God’s sight,

There are but few so in their own.

To such as these our Lord was sent;

They’re only sinners who repent.]

 

[What comfort can a Savior bring

To those who never felt their woe?

A sinner is a sacred thing;

The Holy Ghost hath made him so.

New life from Him we must receive,

Before for sin we rightly grieve.]

 

This faithful saying let us own,

Well worthy ‘tis to be believed,

That Christ into the world came down,

That sinners might by Him be saved.

Sinners are high in His esteem,

And sinners highly value Him.”

—Joseph Hart

 

5.    God’s Determination

 

(Micah 1:15) “Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.”

 

The Glory of Israel is our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s darling Son, our omnipotent Savior! Just when all hope appears to be gone, the God of all grace, the Father of mercy, brings His chosen as a rightful heir to Mareshah (The Head Place, The Crest of the Hill, The Place of Triumph and Dominion).

  • In Christ we are the rightful heirs of the glorious liberty of the sons of God!
  • In Him, we are made to be more than conquerors!
  • Though sinners wounded with an incurable wound, it is God’s determination to cure the incurable wound of His chosen; and, blessed be His name forever, He has done it, He is doing it, and He shall yet do it!

 

(Jeremiah 30:12-17) “For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise [is] incurable, [and] thy wound [is] grievous. 13 [There is] none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. 14 All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; [because] thy sins were increased. 15 Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow [is] incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: [because] thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee. 16 Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. 17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, [saying], This [is] Zion, whom no man seeketh after.”

 

(Jeremiah 30:24) “The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done [it], and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.”

 

When Christ, the Glory of Israel, reveals Himself in His chosen, He presents us with Himself as one with Him, and declares, — “Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given Me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion” (Isaiah 8:18).

 

How are we to respond to such grace? How are we to respond to such wonders? How are we to respond to such judgments? Read verse 16. The only way to respond is with repentance and humility before the throne of God our Sovereign and our Savior (v. 16).

 

(Micah 1:16) “Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.”

 

The shaving of the head was, in ancient times, a display of shame, humility, contrition, and servitude. — “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness!

 

AMEN.


 

Sermon #3 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         God’s Prophet and God’s Word

 

      Text:          Micah 1:1

      Subject:   The Burden of the Word of God

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — August 16, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #3

      Readings:           Bobbie Estes and Larry Brown

      Introduction:

 

I am going to tell you something about preachers that very few people realize, something that very few preachers realize. I hope you will learn this and learn it well.

 

Proposition: All true preachers preach the Word of God.

 

The title of my message is —— God’s Prophet and God’s Word. You will find my text in Micah 1:1.

 

God’s prophets do not just preach about the Word of God. God’s prophets do not merely preach from the Word of God. God’s prophets preach the Word of God. God’s prophets and apostles, pastors and preachers after God’s own heart, those men God gives to His Church to feed His people with knowledge and understanding, come with God’s message as it is set forth in His Word, with God’s authority. —— Read the Book of God. Those preachers of old came before the people to whom they spoke as men sent from God with a message, a message that must be declared.

 

(Micah 1:1) “The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.”

 

Today the hireling minister comes to the pulpit to present a lecture on morality, or to give a sermon on religion, or to insist on the performance of some moral or religious duty, or instruct people in some point of denominational orthodoxy. Preachers today come to share some thoughts and give you something to think about. Micah came with “the word of the LORD!” What a difference! What a blessed day it was when “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John!” —— Where is the man today who comes from God to deliver a message from God to my soul? I want to hear that man! Look at our text again.

 

(Micah 1:1) “The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.”

 

·      Micah declared “the word of the LORD.

·      He preached “the word of the LORD” that was given specifically to him, “the word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite,” to Micah from Moresheth-Gath in Judea.

·      It was “the word of the LORDgiven to him for the day in which he lived, “in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”

·      It was “the word of the LORDwhich Micah “saw,” that which he understood by experience, that which the Lord God taught him personally.

·      The word of the LORD that came to Micah” was God’s word to a specific people. It was both fresh and personal. It was specifically God’s word to and “concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.”

 

In fulfilling the work of the ministry, it is not enough to simply set before men the evidences of Christianity, or to insist upon the performance of religious duties. Those men God sends to His people as pastors according to His heart are messengers from God to men. God’s servants must declare to men the message they have received from Him, by prayer, study, and meditation. We dare not alter or conceal any part of that which we have been commanded to deliver. —— “He that hath My word, let him speak My word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28). We must make known all whole counsel of God. And, having declared God’s message with all plainness and fidelity, we urge men to receive it with all the energy we possess. —— “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11).

 

The Burden of the Word

 

God’s prophets of old referred to the message God gave them to deliver as “The burden of the Lord,” or “The burden of the Word of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:33; 34, 36, 38; Zechariah 9:1; 12:1; Isaiah 13:1-23:1; Malachi 1:1). The word “burden” was frequently used by God’s prophets of old, but it was not used to suggest that God’s Word is a grievous weight. It is a heavy, heavy burden; but it is not a grievous weight (Philippians 3:1; Ephesians 3:8). It is a blessed burden, a burden of great importance and of great consequence, but a blessed burden. — “The Lord’s burden,” Hawker wrote, “brings with it the Lord’s blessing.” Still, this business of preaching the Gospel of Christ is to faithful men a great burden.

 

Those faithful men of old were not triflers. (Thirteen times Isaiah referred to his message from God as “the burden” God had given him.) They did not run from place to place to entertain sinners on their way to hell. God’s prophets of old were men who carried a burden as men sent of God.

 

As it was then, so it is now. Those men who speak as God’s ambassadors to eternity bound sinners, who stand and speak to immortal souls in Christ’s stead, have a burden to bear: — “The burden of the Word of the Lord.” I am often shocked by the levity with which men who profess to be the servants of God speak of their work, and even more so by the way they conduct it. They joke about preaching, joke about their sermons, and joke about their work. Little wonder that this generation looks upon religion in general and preaching in particular as a joke!

 

God’s prophets get their message directly from God Himself, by prayer and study; and that message is weighty, so weighty that it is called “The burden of the Word of the Lord.” —— And I’ll make you this promise: — Any preacher who does not find his ministry a burden here will find it a burden hereafter, a burden that will sink him into the lowest hell!

 

God’s servants are men who take their responsibilities seriously.

·      They do not engage themselves with society, but with study.

·      While others play, they pray.

·      While others seek to please men, they seek to persuade men.

·      While others seek the praise of men they seek the praise of God.

 

God’s servants are men with a message, a message that must be delivered. We are not sent into the world to tickle men’s ears. Ours is an errand of life or death to immortal souls. If God has called me, if God sends me forth to preach the Gospel, I will have something to say which so presses upon me, that I must say it. —— “Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel!” The Word of the Lord is as fire in the bones of His prophet, consuming him. The servants of God must speak the things they have seen and heard.

 

We have a burden to carry that is worth carrying. Our message is truth, solid truth, precious truth, divine truth, eternal truth! It is not froth and foam, phrases and poetry, cute stories and clever sayings, but the weighty of matters that concern heaven and hell, time and eternity. God’s prophets are men who speak with urgency and earnestness. They have to. They speak for God! They dare not speak lightly.

 

God’s servant, the Gospel preacher is a man who bears the weight of eternal realities heaped upon him. He moves with decisiveness and speaks with firmness, as one who carriesThe burden of the Word of the Lord.”

 

Do not misunderstand me. — God’s servants carry the burden the Lord has put upon them willingly and cheerfully. I would not be without it or give it up for all the world. Sometimes, a preacher is tempted, when things are not going right in his eyes, to think about turning away from his work; but it is a thought not to be tolerated. — Yes, I bear a burden, but I am honored, highly honored to bear it (Ephesians 3:8).

 

William Carey, speaking of one of his sons, said, “Poor Felix is shriveled from a missionary to an ambassador.” He was at one time a missionary, a Gospel preacher. When he became a government employee, an ambassador representing the British crown, his father thought it no promotion, but said, “Felix has shriveled into an ambassador.”

 

May God the Holy Spirit give me grace to preach His Word as “The burden of the Word of the Lord.”

 

In the book of Micah God’s Prophet Micah addresses the men and women of Judah and Israel, men and women who wore Jehovah’s name and professed to be His people. He warns them of God’s wrath and impending judgment, judgment they heaped upon themselves by their obstinate sin, rebellion, and idolatry. God’s judgments which fell upon them were warnings to the whole world of that day when God will judge the earth in righteousness by Christ Jesus.

 

For You

 

I realize that I am not preaching to a room full of preachers; but I make no apology for preaching to you about preachers and the work of the Gospel ministry. I am talking to you men and women for whom and to whom God sends His preachers. And the message I have is for you, for you who are dearer to me than any people in this world, my family to whom I have devoted my life. Night and day, I carry the weight of your souls on my heart. And this message was born out of concern for you.

·      In Preparation for Our Conference

·      In Preparation for My Appointed Day of Departure from You

·      For You God may Send Forth to Preach the Gospel

 

Divisions: I want to make for statements to you about God’s prophet and God’s word by His prophet.

1.    God’s prophets are men with a burden, a God given, God imposed burden.

2.    The Word of the Lord is called “The burden of the Word of the LORD” because its message is a weighty message.

3.    God’s servants are men who carry a heavy burden because the consequences of our work are great.

4.    There will soon be a day of accounting before God.

 

Prophet’s Burden

 

First, God’s prophets are men with a burden, a God given, God imposed burden. That burden is “The Word of the Lord!

 

I know that the prophet’s office and the gifts of prophecy have ceased in the Church of God. Those special, supernatural gifts are no longer needed, because we have the complete revelation of God in Holy Scripture. But there is a sense in which God still supplies His Church with prophets. A prophet is something more than a preacher, a teacher, and a theologian. He is a man with a burden upon his heart that must be delivered. He has a message from God that burns like fire in his soul, consuming every other concern. I do not know that I can describe a prophet, but if you ever hear one you will know it. He is a man who cannot be controlled by custom, influenced by favor, bribed with money, or pressured into compromise. He is a man who has seen God, heard from God, and speaks for God with the authority of God.

·      Isaiah was such a man (Isaiah 6:1-11).

·      Jeremiah was such a man (Jeremiah 8:18-9:1; 20:8-11).

·      Ezekiel was such a man (Ezekiel 3:1-3, 10-11, 14).

·      The Apostle Paul was such a man (Romans 1:16-17).

 

Like Elijah before the prophets of Baal, the prophet of God when he is in the Spirit of God fears nothing and no one but God, and is motivated by nothing but the glory of God (1 Kings 18:21-40).

 

The man who speaks for God is a man who carries in his heart and soul a heavy, heavy load — “The burden of the Word of the Lord!

  • He speaks for God, as His ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:2021).
  • He speaks to eternity bound men and women.
  • He knows that his message is a matter of eternal consequence to his hearers (2 Corinthians 2:14-17).

 

Gospel preaching is carrying a burden, because the Gospel we preach is the Word of the Lord. It is God’s Word! If that which I preach is only of man, I might preach as I please, and there is no burden about it; but if this Book is divinely inspired, — if Jehovah is the only God, — if Jesus Christ is God incarnate, — if there is no salvation except through His precious blood, — then there is a great solemnity about that which the servant of God is called to preach. That makes this business of preaching a weighty matter upon the shoulders of a mere man. Modern religion is child’s play. Current theology is a trifle as light as air. But the truth of God is more weighty than gold!

 

·      A Gospel preacher realizes that he is responsible to faithfully declare God’s Word. I am responsible to faithfully expound to immortal souls the meaning and message of Holy Scripture.

 

·      The Gospel preacher understands that he must seek, must have, and must deliver God’s message to those who hear him (Isaiah 40:1-2; Jeremiah 23:28). — In 2nd Samuel 18 we are told that Ahimaaz out ran Cushi, but he had nothing to tell. — He ran without being sent!

 

(Jeremiah 23:28) “The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.”

 

·      Gospel preachers know that the Word of the Lord is the instrument by which God does His work among men. — This Book holds the gold, silver and precious stones with which the Church of God is built (1 Corinthians 3). — The Gold of Christ’s Person! — The Silver of His Atonement, of His Blood! — The Precious Stones of His Accomplishments!

 

(1 Corinthians 3:9-15) “We are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

 

“11 ¶ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;[1] 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.[2] 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

 

(Jeremiah 23:29) “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

 

But why is the Word of the Lord a burden to His servant? — Let me try to answer that question. — Why is the Word of the Lord a burden to His servant?

 

The Word of the Lord is a burden to His servant in the reception of it. I do not think any man can ever preach the Gospel aright until he has had it borne into his own soul with the overwhelming energy of God the Holy Spirit.

·      You cannot preach conviction of sin unless you have experienced it.

·      You cannot preach repentance unless you have been turned to God.

·      You cannot preach faith in Christ unless you exercise it.

·      You cannot preach redemption until you experience deliverance by the power of Christ’s blood.

You may talk about these things, but there will be no power in the talk unless what is said has been experimentally proved in your own soul.

 

It is easy to tell when a man speaks what he has made his own, or when he merely parrots forth secondhand information. God says to his prophet, “Son of man, eat this roll” (Ezekiel 3:1-3). — You have to eat it before you can hand it out to others. True preaching is the bursting forth of a well bubbling up from the great depths of the soul. It is the outflow of that which God the Holy Spirit has put within. If Christ has not made a well within, there can be no outflow to others.

 

The Word of God is a burden in the delivery of it, as well as in the reception of it. It is no trifle, it no easy thing to stand before eternity bound sinners and deliver a message which you believe you have received from God! He that finds it easy work to preach, will find it hard work to give an account of his preaching at the last great day.

 

I know that most preachers lament the fact that they do not have larger congregations. They engage in denominational politics, and move from one place to another, until they have landed a church large enough and respectable enough in the eyes of men to match their own high opinions of themselves. For my part, I find that I have the responsibility of preaching to as many as I want to give an account for in the last day. — Whenever the Lord God increases the area of our influence, He increases our responsibilities.

 

When we have preached the message, the Gospel becomes a greater burden still. — It is a burden in the study, a burden in the closet, a burden in the pulpit, a burden in the heart, and a burden in the life of every faithful man!

 

Weighty Message

 

Second, the Word of the Lord is called “The burden of the Word of the LORD” because its message is a weighty message. — “Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2). The message of this Book is all about eternal realities.

·      The Eternal God!

·      His Eternal Salvation!

·      Eternal Life!

·      Eternal Heaven!

·      Eternal Death!

·      Eternal Hell!

 

“There is a dreadful, dreadful hell

And everlasting pains,

Where sinners must with devils dwell

In darkness, fire, and chains.”

 

It is the responsibility of the faithful pastor, my responsibility and every preacher’s responsibility, to discover, expose, and rebuke sin. —— (The Nature of Men and The Heart of Men — Not Mere Acts of Evil!) It is the preacher’s responsibility, by the direction of God the Holy Spirit, to find and press hard the matter that his audience needs to hear. — I try, by the direction of God’s Spirit, to find your point of rebellion and press it hard, until you bow to Christ.

·      Christ and the Samaritan Woman

·      Harry Simms at Antioch

·      The Gospel Issues at Stake — Election — Redemption — Righteousness — Regeneration — Will-worship — Law and Grace!

 

If men are offended by the truth of God, it is my responsibility to offend them.

 

Illustration: Bob Lipps and Limited Atonement

 

Every true preacher of the Gospel is careless about man’s esteem, and speaks God’s Word faithfully. At the place where God’s glory is at stake, at the point at which men rebel against His right to be God, there we must be found bold and faithful!

·      Divine Sovereignty

·      Total Depravity

·      Unconditional Election

·      Limited Atonement

·      Irresistible Grace

·      Infallible Preservation

 

The Word of the Lord, the doctrine of the Gospel is purposefully designed to bring all human pride down into the dust, to destroy the glory of man. — “Christ is all” (1 Corinthians 1:17-31).

·      Every thought of Human Merit and Righteousness!

·      Every high thought of Intellectual Arrogance!

·      Every thought of Distinction among Men!

·      T.-U.-L.-I.-P. — The offense of the cross has not ceased (Galatians 5:11).

 

(1 Corinthians 1:17-31) “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (20) Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (21) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (22) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (23) But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD.”

 

You can mark this down:Every man who speaks for God has the same message. All God’s prophets carry the same burden. They may deliver it in different forms, with different styles, and in different language. But all God’s prophets preach the same thing. They all see eye to eye (Isaiah 52:7-8).

 

(Isaiah 52:7-8) “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”

 

Our message is twofold. It is a message of judgment and a message of grace. God’s prophet is a messenger of judgment. When Micah delivered the Word of God to men he faithfully warned them of God’s sure, impending, and righteous judgment. Will you hear me? This world and everything in it is marked for destruction. There is a day coming when God will destroy the earth, because it has been defiled by sin. And as this earth is under the sentence of condemnation, so are you. The wrath of God is upon you. — “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!

  • God’s wrath is universal.
  • God’s wrath is just.
  • God’s wrath is sure.
  • God’s wrath is eternal.
  • God’s wrath is irresistible.

 

But blessed be God, our message does not end there! God’s prophet is also a messenger of mercy, grace, and salvation! (Read Micah 7:18-20).

 

(Micah 7:18-20) “Who [is] a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth [in] mercy. 19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, [and] the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”

 

You do not have to die!

  • There is a Way to God!
  • There is a Pillar of Hope — The Gospel of Christ!
  • There is a Throne of Grace!
  • There is a Savior for sinners! — Christ is a Great Savior! He will Save all who come to God by Him!

 

Weighty Consequences

 

Third, God’s servants are men who carry a heavy burden because the consequences of our work are great. When I think of the weighty, weighty consequences of preaching the Gospel, I cannot tell you what a burden it is to carry in my soul, — “The burden of the Word of the LORD” (Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:7-19; 2 Corinthians 2:15-17; 3:5).

 

Illustration: Christmas Evans — Lord God, I’ve gone into that pulpit by myself for the last time.

 

(Ezekiel 3:17-21) “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. (18) When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (19) Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (20) Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (21) Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”

 

(Ezekiel 33:7-19) “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. (8) When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (9) Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (10) Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? (11) Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (12) Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. (13) When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. (14) Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; (15) If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. (16) None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. (17) Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. (18) When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. (19) But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.”

 

(2 Corinthians 2:15-17) “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? (17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

 

(2 Corinthians 3:5) “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

 

An Accounting

 

Fourth, the preaching of the Gospel is called carrying “the burden of the Word of the LORD” because all who truly preach the Gospel know that there will soon be a day of accounting before God. Soon you and I must give account before God!

 

(Hebrews 13:7) “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

 

(Hebrews 13:17) “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

 

·      Those who preach, but do not preach the Gospel must give account (1 Corinthians 9:16; Ezekiel 3: 17-21; 33:7-19).

·      Those who preach the Gospel faithfully must give account to God for all who have heard their message, and all who could have heard it.

·      You who hear me, all who hear God’s servants, must give account before God!

 

Pray for faithful your pastor. Pray for God’s servants everywhere. Pray for those men who are coming here to preach the Gospel to us in just a couple of weeks. We have to bear the burden of the Lord; but there was one, the Head of all prophets, the great Lord of all true Gospel preachers, who bore a far heavier burden. — “He his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.”

 

We, as a congregation, have this great trust given to us, — “the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to our trust” (1 Timothy 1:11; 6:20; 2 Corinthians 4:7).

 

(1 Timothy 6:20) “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:”

 

(2 Corinthians 4:7) “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

 

Whenever you get weary of the burden, look to the Lord Jesus as He bows beneath His cross, and again take up the burden of “the Word of the LORD” cheerfully, and follow after the Savior.

 

(Matthew 28:18-20) “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #4[i]Micah Series

 

      Title:         Expecting Good, Finding Evil

                                                     or

                        Disappointing Providence

 

      Text:          Micah 1:1-12

      Subject:   Disappointing Providence

      Introduction:

 

Open your Bible to the 1st chapter of Micah’s prophecy. The title of my message is Expecting Good, Finding Evil or Disappointing Providence. The scene before us reminds me a little of a scene in one of the episodes of Leave it to Beaver. The two brothers, Wally and Beaver are misbehaving, both equally at fault. But when Dad arrives he ignores Beaver and heads straight for Wally, saying something like, “I saw what you did!”

Beaver breathes a quiet sigh of relief, thinking Dad was unaware of his part in the fiasco. His relief melts away when Ward suddenly turns to him and says, “And now for you, young man!”

 

The Southern Kingdom of Judah must have felt great relief when God miraculously delivered Jerusalem from Sennacherib, king of Assyria (2 Kings 18:13-19). This happened a good twenty years after Israel and its capital, Samaria, had fallen to Assyria.

 

Judah’s Punishment

 

But God had a message of judgment for Judah as well. Judah’s sins must also be punished. One of the prophets charged with delivering that message was Micah. He served as a prophet during the reigns of three kings: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.

 

Jotham was basically a good king, although he failed to remove Judah’s “high places” where God’s covenant people practiced idolatry (2 Kings 15:35). God would take care of those evil places Himself when He came in judgment (Micah 1:1-3).

 

(Micah 1:1-3) “The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. 2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. 3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.”

 

Jotham’s son Ahaz was a horribly wicked man. He inherited a kingdom that was strong both militarily and politically. But Ahaz greatly corrupted the people, adopting the evil worship practices of the northern kingdom.

 

Ahaz’s son Hezekiah was one of Judah’s greatest kings. He turned the nation back to worshipping and serving the Lord God.

 

Although Micah prophesied primarily to Judah, his frequent references to Israel show that God had given Micah a word of warning for the entire nation. In fact, as we just read in verse 2, Micah calls for all the earth to hearken to his message, declaring that God Himself, from His lofty, holy temple is witness against all who despise His name and go a whoring after other gods.

 

Understand this: Children of God, the Book of God is written specifically to you. Whenever you read the Scriptures, read the Word of God as God’s Word to you. Never read the Scriptures as a mere historic narrative of things past or a mere prophecy of things to come. Always read the Book of God in the present tense, as a message from God directly to you. — “Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

 

God’s Fury

 

The judgment against Judah and Jerusalem, like the judgment of God against all the earth, was to be a thorough display of God’s fury and wrath. Nothing infuriates the God of heaven like idolatry (v. 4).

 

(Micah 1:4) “And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.”

 

Divine Justice

 

Read on Micah 1:5.

 

God’s anger and fury, His holy wrath is a matter of absolute justice. God must and shall punish sin because He is good, because He loves righteousness (Psalm 11:4-7).

 

(Psalms 11:4-7) “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.”

 

Hear, all ye people; hearken O earth! — God will punish all iniquity. He will punish sin. He will give a right and just retribution for every transgression, either in you or in Christ, the sinner’s Substitute.

·      If you go to hell, it will be altogether your fault, “for the wages of sin is death!” — Eternal death in hell is the just payment you have earned by your sin.

·      If you are saved, if you go to heaven, it will be altogether a matter of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ, His Son. — “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Alright, let’s pick up our reading in Micah 1:5. Here Micah shows us that God’s judgment was fully deserved.

 

(Micah 1:5-7) “For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? 6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof. 7 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.”

 

Great Lamentation

 

Though the wrath of God is fully deserved by all upon whom it comes, it is a matter of great sorrow to God’s prophet (vv. 8-11).

 

(Micah 1:8-11) “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls. 9 For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem. 10 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust. 11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing.”

 

Micah wailed in his soul for Judah. He says, “Declare it not in Gath!” — Don’t tell the Philistines that God is about to destroy Judah. He calls for the house of Aphrah (in the tribe of Benjamin) to roll in the dust in mourning for Israel and Judah (Romans 9:1-5; 10:1).

 

(Romans 9:1-5) “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”

 

(Romans 10:1) “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”

 

Disappointing Providence

 

Now, look at verse 12. Here Micah speaks of a place called “Maroth.” But Maroth is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. Some think it is the same as Ramoth; but I see no basis for that. Rather, Maroth refers to all in the land of Judah who grieved, like Micah himself, over the sad state of affairs in their land and among God’s covenant people, those in the kingdom of God who grieved for the low condition they were in and for the evils befalling them.

 

Maroth” does not refer to any specific place, but to bitterness and grieving. In fact, the word “Maroth” means, “rough places,” “bitterness,” or “bitter spring.”

 

(Micah 1:12) “For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.”

 

The inhabitant of Maroth, while expecting and anticipating good, experienced bitter disappointment. The people of Judah and Jerusalem expected to be preserved and protected when the Assyrians invaded the land. They expected that deliverance would come to them from some quarter or other. It appears that they placed some sort of reliance upon the Philistines. Possibly, they had some hope that the king of Egypt would come up to attack Sennacherib. Evidently, they looked for help anywhere except to God; and, consequently, as no good came to them from the men upon whom they relied, trial and overwhelming distress came upon them from the hand of God. Jehovah was angered by their trust in men, and their lack of faith in Him. Therefore He punished their unbelief by their total overthrow. The Assyrian swept over them, and did not stop until they reached the gate of Jerusalem, where Hezekiah’s faith in God made the enemy pause and retreat. You can read about Sennacherib’s invasion and Hezekiah’s prayer against him in Isaiah 36 and 37.

 

What bitterness and disappointment came to the inhabitants of Judah! They had expected to escape the Assyrian’s madness. They thought they had protected themselves by making league with God’s enemies. They looked for good; but God sent evil. — O Holy Spirit, teach us the message these words of yours were written to convey to us.

 

(Micah 1:12) “For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.”

 

Proposition: It often happens that God sends evil when we expect good. He sends temporal and temporary evil that He may bring us spiritual and everlasting good.

 

Divisions: I want to show you three things from our text.

1.    In the initial experience of God’s saving grace, when poor, lost sinners expect good God sends evil.

2.    In the matter of spiritual growth, when we look for good God sends evil.

3.    In the affairs of providence, when we look for good God sends evil.

 

Saving Grace

 

First, I want you to see that in the initial experience of God’s saving grace, when poor, lost sinners expect good God sends evil. Let me repeat what I have told you countless times…

·      God always strips before He clothes.

·      He always empties before He fills.

·      He always makes hungry before He satisfies.

·      He always lays low before He lifts up.

·      The Lord always abases before He exalts.

·      He always wounds before He heals.

·      He always kills before He makes alive.

 

The Lord Jesus always heals all who have need of healing; but He never heals until He makes you know that you have need of healing.

·      Isaiah (Isaiah 6)

·      The Woman at the Well (John 4)

·      Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9)

 

(Psalms 107:1-43) “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. 4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. 5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. 7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

 

“10 ¶ Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; 11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: 12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. 13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. 15 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.”

 

“17 ¶ Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. 18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. 19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. 20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. 21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.”

 

“23 ¶ They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. 25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. 29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. 31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.”

 

“33 ¶ He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; 34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. 35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. 36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; 37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. 38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease. 39 Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. 40 He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. 41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. 42 The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. 43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”

 

Illustration: Whitefield’s Counsel to the House Maid

 

To understand God’s truth aright,

This grand distinction must be known:

Though all are sinners in God’s sight,

There are but few so in their own.

To such as these our Lord was sent;

They’re only sinners who repent.

 

What comfort can a Savior bring

To those who never felt their woe?

A sinner is a sacred thing;

The Holy Ghost hath made him so.

New life from Christ we must receive,

Before for sin we rightly grieve.]

 

Spiritual Growth

 

In our first experience of grace, when we expect good God sends evil. Second, in the matter of spiritual growth, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord our God wisely and graciously sends evil when we expect good.

 

Who among us cannot relate Newton’s old hymn?

                                                                                                   

I asked the Lord that I might grow

In faith, and love, and every grace;

Might more of His salvation know,

And seek more earnestly His face.

 

`Twas He Who taught me thus to pray,

And He, I trust, has answered prayer;

But it has been in such a way

As almost drove me to despair.

 

I hoped that in some favored hour,

At once He’d answer my request;

And, by His love’s constraining power,

Subdue my sins and give me rest.

 

Instead of this, He made me feel

The hidden evils of my heart,

And let the angry powers of hell

Assault my soul in every part.

 

Yea, more, with His own hand He seemed

Intent to aggravate my woe;

Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,

Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

 

“Lord, why is this?” I trembling cried;

“Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?”

“`Tis in this way,” the Lord replied,

“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

 

“These inward trials I employ,

From self and pride to set thee free;

And break thy schemes of earthly joy,

That thou mayest seek thine all in Me.”

 

Those words describe what many of us have experienced. Realizing that, you will understand how very unfit I feel myself to be to instruct anyone in the matter of spiritual growth. —— But this I know: —— when we begin to look for good in ourselves, the Lord will always send evil.

·      Peter’s Fall

·      Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

 

(2 Corinthians 12:1-10) “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

 

(Romans 7:14-21) “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”

 

Disappointing Providence

 

1st, In the initial experience of God’s saving grace, when poor, lost sinners expect good God sends evil. — 2nd, In the matter of spiritual growth, when we look for good God sends evil. And, third, in the affairs of providence, when we look for good God sends evil.

 

(Micah 1:12) “For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.”

 

The Assyrian invader was the rod of God’s anger. He had subdued and ravaged Israel, and now entered the kingdom of Judah. The inhabitants of Maroth waited carefully for good, fully expecting to be kept from the ravaging invader; “but evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem.” Let me call your attention to four things about the experience of disappointing providences, and I will be done.

 

1st. What sad, troubling disappointments we experience in this world! I speak now, particularly to you who are God’s own sons and daughters. What sad, troubling disappointments we experience in this world! Like the inhabitants of Maroth, we wait carefully for good, but in vain. Evil comes.

 

 

Is such disappointment a strange or an unusual thing? What is there in life that is not uncertain, and does not expose the vanity of any hope that is resting upon it?

·      Is it property?

·      Is it wealth?

·      Is it health?

·      Is it children?

·      Is it friends?

 

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, saith the preacher. All is vanity and vexation of spirit!” The sooner we learn that fact the better! — Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils! Does not all history, all the observation of our lives, and all our day by day experience tell us the same?

 

Expect nothing from this world, and you will rarely be disappointed! Everything on earth is earthly. That means it is temporary and vanishing, unstable and unsure. The way to avoid the surprise and the anguish of disappointment is to recognize that fact and live accordingly.

 

Make Christ your Hope. Trust in Him, and you will not be disappointed. Look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen, set your heart not on things on the earth but on things in heaven, and you will never find your heart disappointed (Colossians 3:1-3).

 

(Colossians 3:1-3) “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

 

Christ will not deceive us. He cannot fail us. You will find all creatures are broken reeds. He is the Rock of Ages. — “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” You will never be disappointed

·      Of any hope placed in Him.

·      Of any confidence in His promises.

Trusting Christ, we have every reason to live upon the tiptoe of faith, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life!

·      Expecting grace sufficient as our days demand!

·      Grace to keep us!

·      Grace to serve Him!

·      Grace to die!

·      Resurrection Glory!

·      Everlasting Blessedness!

 

2nd. I will, the Lord willing, come back to this again. But, second, we should not fail to observe that the source of the evil we experience in this world is our God, our Heavenly Father, our great Savior. — Micah says, “Evil came down from the Lord.” This may, at first glance, seem strange. We are assured that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” But “let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for he cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” And that is certainly true. But Micah is not speaking of sin. He is talking about evil events, the evil of suffering, and the evil things we experience in this world: trials, sorrows, afflictions, hunger, war, famine, sickness, disease, bereavement, etc.

 

What calamity is there that Holy Scripture does not ascribed to God?

·      Is it a storm at sea? — “He breaketh the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.”

·      Is it barrenness of soil? — “He turneth a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.”

·      Is it the loss of friends? — “Lover and friend hast thou put far from me.”

·      Shall there be evil in the city and the Lord hath not done it?

 

War is the evil spoken of here in Micah 1:12. We usually connect war more with the follies and passions of men, greed, pride, ambition, and other like evil passions. But Micah declares by the Spirit of inspiration that the hand of God caused this evil. He “created the waster to destroy” (Isaiah 54:16). — “Out of Him came forth the corner, out of Him the nail, out of Him the battle bow, out of Him every oppressor together” (Zechariah 10:4). It was the Lord God who sent Sennacherib to invade Judah. And it is the Lord our God who sends every evil we experience in this world. Let us never view our sufferings, public or private, apart from God our Father. The instruments by which He sends evil could have no power at all against us, except it was given them from above.

·      David understood that the Lord sent Shemei to curse him, that He might do him good.

·      The Chaldeans and the Sabeans spoiled Job; but, says he, “the Lord hath taken away.”

·      Aaron bowed in silence when God killed his rebel sons.

·      When the Lord killed his sons, Eli said, “It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good!” — God give me such grace and such patience of faith!

 

The evils He sends are the fruits of sin. We deserve them. Yet they are the means by which our God corrects our sin; and we need them. We have no right to complain; and we have no reason to complain (2 Corinthians 4:17).

 

(2 Corinthians 4:17) “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

 

Yes, our afflictions are light compared to

  • What we deserve.
  • What many of our brothers and sisters have and do endure.
  • What our Savior endured for us.
  • The glory that shall be revealed in us.

 

3rd. Now, notice the time of deliverance that is specified by our Prophet. Though God saved His people, He permitted Sennacherib and the Assyrians to come to the very gate of Jerusalem. He could just as easily have stopped them a hundred miles away. But the evil came down from the Lord “unto the gate of Jerusalem.”

 

There, at “the gate of Jerusalem,” Hezekiah conquered Sennacherib upon his knees. There the Lord God put His hook into his nose and His bridle into his jaws, and drew him back. There the Angel of the Lord slew in his camp in one night more than 184,000 Assyrians, showing us not only that God can deliver in the midst of the greatest difficulties, but also that He frequently does not interpose until the evil has reached its extremity

·      Thus Peter was not released from prison until a few hours before his appointed execution.

·      Abraham had bound Isaac, seized the knife, and stretched out his hand, before the voice of the Lord cried, “Stop.”

 

God’s delay is not abandonment. He is only waiting to be gracious. At His own appointed time He will appear to our joy, display His glory, and draw forth our praise. In the mean time let our minds be kept in perfect peace, being stayed upon Jehovah. It is often darkest just before the break of day. “In the mount it shall be seen."

 

4th. One last thing. For all our bitter experiences and disappointing providences, there is one effectual sweetener: — The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

I remember another place called “Marah,” “bitter.” You can read about it in Exodus 15:22-27.

 

(Exodus 15:22-27) “So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. 27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.”

 

The children of Israel had just before sung the song of salvation, on the borders of the Red Sea. They had that great sight fresh in their minds. They had been redeemed and all their enemies were swallowed up in the sea. They were now on the march toward the Promised Land. Three days they have travelled into the wilderness, and found no water. When they came to Marah, though water was there in abundance, it was bitter and they could not drink it. They murmured against Moses; and Moses cried unto the Lord. When he did, the Lord showed him a tree, which when cast into the waters made them sweet.

 

When bitterness seems to overtake your soul, when bitterness sours your heart, when bitterness makes your spirit angry with God, behold the tree on which died the Son of God, bow down before your crucified Savior, cast that tree into your bitterness, and see how sweet your waters are made!

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #5 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Evil came down from the Lord.

 

      Text:          Micah 1:1-16

      Subject:   The Problem of Evil

      Date:        Tuesday Evening—September 13, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #5

      Readings:           Larry Criss and Merle Hart

      Introduction:                                           

 

Let’s begin tonight by reading the 1st chapter of Micah’s prophecy together.

 

Micah 1:1-16 1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.

4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.

5 For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?

6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.

7 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.

8 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.

9 For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.

10 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.

11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing.

12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.

13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.

14 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.

15 Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.

16 Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.

 

Universal Message

 

The singular object of Micah and of all prophecy was to prepare the way of the Lord. By the writings of His prophets the Lord God prepared His Church for the coming of Christ. Here He does so by showing the universal depravity of our race. God the Holy Spirit graciously brings sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ by convincing us of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8).

 

Micah calls for all the people of the earth to hear his message (v. 2). He does so because he wrote his prophecy for Israel and Judah; and he wrote it for you and me. His purpose is to show us our sin and how fully we deserve God’s judgment and wrath.

 

In this first chapter Micah was inspired of God to write about of the low condition of God’s Church, those who are called by His name and profess themselves His. Not only did the Prophet of God openly assert and reprove the sins of Israel and Judah, he called for all the neighboring nations to witness it. Gath and Aphrah, Saphir and Zanaan were called as witnesses against Israel and Judah; and in doing so they were compelled to bear witness against themselves. Micah warned all of the evil that was to come upon them from the Lord, and asserted that all the evil that was coming would be the just judgment of God upon them

 

Have you heard what Micah says to you? Have we heard God’s word to us by Micah?

·      The Church of God today, those who are profess to be God’s people and call themselves by His name, is in its lowest state in history. Idolatry and ungodliness run rampant in the temple of God!

  • Because of our sin the judgment of God has fallen upon us, evil has come down upon us from the Lord. — For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

 

Refuge

 

When the Lord God goes forth in judgment, let us run into the chambers of His covenant and take refuge in the Judge of all the earth Who must do right, the Lord Jesus Christ our dear Savior (Isaiah 26:20-21; Proverbs 18:10; Lamentations 3:21-26).

 

(Isaiah 26:20-21) “20 ¶ Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

 

(Proverbs 18:10) “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

 

(Lamentations 3:21-26) “21 ¶ This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”

 

By showing us the poverty of our nature, God the Holy Spirit uses the pen of His servant Micah to show us our need of Christ. As Robert Hawker wrote…

 

“By what more persuasive and powerful means can the Lord Jesus be recommended to our hearts, than by showing us our misery and ruin out of Christ? When you and I are taught feelingly and experi­mentally what sin is; and that in us, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing, surely it must endear Christ.”

 

Evil from the Lord

 

Now, let me focus your attention on one statement in verse 12. Do you recall the first point Bro. Frank Hall made in his message to us Sunday night. He said, “All evil ultimately results in the glory of God and the salvation of His elect.” This whole chapter is about judgment, the evil consequences of disobedience to God, rebellion against Him, idolatry, and ungodliness. Then, in verse 12 we read…

 

“For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.”

 

Evil came down from the Lord.What a statement! Can that be so? Here, in Micah 1:12, God the Holy Spirit asserts that —Evil came down from the Lord. In this day of base idolatry in which men everywhere vainly imagine that God really has no control over the world, that Satan is somehow a competitor with the Almighty, and that many things happen because God Almighty is incapable of accomplishing His will, Micah’s statement seems out of place. — But even a casual reading of the Word of God shows that Micah’s assertion was understood by God’s servants in days gone by. — Evil came down from the Lord.

 

Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: (6) That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. (7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

 

Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

 

Psalm 76:10 – “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”

 

Amos 3:6Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”

 

The question is often raised, “How did sin and evil arise in God’s creation?” If God is absolutely sovereign, absolutely holy, and absolutely good, if He created all things good, how is it that pride was found in Lucifer’s heart? How were the fallen angels led to rebel against His throne? How was Adam seduced to sin?

 

I frankly acknowledge that I am in waters way over my head. And when I am done preaching there will be more questions unanswered than answered. But I want to address this issue head on, as plainly as possible, for the glory of our God and the comfort of all who trust Him, taking refuge beneath the shadow of His wings. Augustus Toplady wrote…

 

“The origin of evil…is the most difficult question, perhaps, and the most mysterious part of the Divine conduct that ever presented itself to human investigation. Clouds and darkness are the seat of its residence; though wisdom, goodness, and justice, were certainly (in a manner unknown to us) the motives to its permission.”

 

Two Facts Revealed

 

The existence of evil is a problem which vexes our minds continually. We must, whenever considering such a subject, at once, as Toplady put it, “clip the wings of curiosity.” Knowing that God is not the author of sin, and that He never tempts any to evil (James 1:13-17), knowing that nothing comes to pass without His all-wise decree, the matter cannot be resolved in a more God honoring way than to use the words of our Lord as the expression of submissive faith,“Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

 

We bow before God in reverent submission, and confess, “Lord, we are darkness. You are light. We are ignorance. You are Wisdom. We are but creatures. You are our Creator. We see nothing, know nothing, and understand nothing. You see all things, know all things, and understand all things perfectly.” Before Him of whom are all things, we acknowledge our utter ignorance. We are, ought to be, and must be content to wait until our souls are freed from the influence of evil in the world above to know the mind and purpose of God in permitting the evil which here perplexes our minds. Still, two things we know by divine revelation.

           

1.    All things are of God!”

 

That is Bible language (2 Corinthians 5:18). Everything God does, or permits others to do, is to show forth the greatness of His glory (Romans 11:33-36; Ephesians 1:11-12; Revelation 5:13).

 

(Romans 11:33-36) “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.”

 

(Ephesians 1:11-12) “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

 

(Revelation 5:13) “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

 

Reading those passages as they stand in the Book of God, it seems obvious to me that the Lord God intends for us to understand that the perfections of God could not have been so gloriously revealed as they are now revealed to us in Christ, had evil never been permitted to enter the universe. God all-wise permits sin and evil so that He may use it and overrule it to His own praise (Psalm 76:10).

·      Had sin never been permitted, how could the justice of God be known in punishing it?

·      Had evil never existed, how could the wisdom of God be seen overruling it?

·      Had there never been any wickedness in God’s creation, how could the power of God be revealed in subduing it?

·      Had there been no fall by the first Adam there could have been no redemption by the last Adam.

·      Had sin never entered the world, how could the goodness of God be made manifest in pardoning and forgiving it?

 

2.    All things work together for the eternal good of God’s elect.

 

Without question, all evil in the world is included in the “all things” which work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28-30).

 

(Romans 8:28-30) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

 

The presence of sin in God’s universe is either according to God’s will, or contrary to it. It is here either because He wills it, or because He is unable to prevent it.

 

The fact is, the fall of our father Adam, and the entrance of sin into the world by him, was one of the countless links of providence essential to Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection as our Substitute for the redemption of our souls.

 

To suggest (as many ignorantly do) that the fall was not purposed by God, is to assert that the incarnation, birth, life, death, resurrection, and glory of Christ, and the salvation of His people by virtue of His obedience as our Substitute are all, from beginning to end, the result of chance, luck, or blind fate. That, of course, is as absurd as it is blasphemous.

 

Proposition: All evil in God’s creation exists by the will and purpose of God for the everlasting glory of His own great name and the eternal good of His elect.

 

Let me show you three things plainly and clearly asserted in the Word of God, and I will wrap this up.

 

God’s Purpose and Decree

 

1stThe evil that is in God’s universe is here by God’s purpose, design, and sovereign decree. I know religious infidels, people who imagine that they are smarter, wiser, and holier than God, hoot and holler, and get all bent out of shape, when they hear anything like that; but that is just the way it is.

 

It does not matter whether we talk about moral evil, social evil, physical evil, or evil under any other name, either it is here by accident or by purpose.Either God rules evil or He is ruled by evil. There is no alternative. The Book of God tells us plainly that our God is God in control, absolute control of all things.

·      The Cussing of Shemei

·      The Evil Spirit from the Lord upon Saul

·      The Fall of Lucifer (Isaiah 14:24-27)

 

(Isaiah 14:24) The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand:

 

(Isaiah 14:26-27) This [is] the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this [is] the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul [it]? and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

 

Hear the Word of God!

 

(Isaiah 45:7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

 

(Genesis 2:17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

God did not say to Adam, “If you eat.” He said, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” The fall of our father Adam was by divine design.

 

God’s purpose of grace is hinted and pictured in the creation, ruin, and recreation of the world (Genesis 1:1-3).

 

(Genesis 1:1-3) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was (became) without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 

Adam’s fall as the federal head of all men was designed by God to be a type and picture, as well as a preparation for, the redemption of God’s elect by Christ, our Federal Head and Covenant Surety (Romans 5:12, 18-19).

 

(Romans 5:12) Wherefore[3], as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

 

(Romans 5:18-19) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 

·      Adam knew what he was doing, when he plunged into sin. – So did our Savior.

·      He did it because of his love for his wife. – So did Christ!

·      He did it as a representative man. – So did Son of God.

 

Under God’s Control

 

2nd All sin and evil in the universe is under God’s total, absolute control and serving His wise and holy purpose of grace in Christ (Psalm 76:10).

 

(Psalms 76:10) Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.

 

Let’s see if this is not obvious, by just a casual glance at some of the facts revealed in Scripture which are most commonly known to men. I am going to point out some horribly evil acts performed by men. These are acts for which the people involved were each personally responsible. Yet, they are things wisely ordained, ruled, and overruled by our heavenly Father for the salvation of His people and the glory of His dear Son as our Savior. — Eight Things

 

1.    Adam’s fall opened the way to Christ’s redemption and glory and our salvation in and by Him!

2.    Lot’s incest gave us Ruth, the Moabite grandmother of our Savior.

3.    Joseph’s brothers’ betrayal of him set him on the throne of Egypt to save his people.

4.    David’s sin in the matter of Uriah, gave us Solomon, through whom Christ came into the world.

5.    Judas’ kiss of betrayal was God’s means of delivering his Son into the hands of the Jews.

6.    Pilate’s weakness delivered our Savior over to the will of reprobate men.

7.    It was by the will of God-hating rebels that the Lord of glory was crucified upon the cursed tree as our Substitute, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23).

 

There is no greater display of God’s total sovereignty over even the wicked deeds of men than in the actions of reprobate men, religious men, politically powerful men, and drunks, harlots, and thieves, in crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me show you (Mark 14:1-2).

 

Mark 14:1-2 “After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. (2) But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.”

 

In these two verses of Inspiration the Holy Spirit shows us that the Lord our God is the God who can be trusted. Here is a glaring contrast between the God of the Bible and the gods of men. The gods of religion want to do things, desire to do things, and try to do things, but are unable to accomplish them because of the works of the devil and the wills of men. The God of the Bible, the only true God, our God and heavenly Father never wants to do, desires to do, or tries to do anything except what He does. He is a God in whom we can be confident, a God Who can be trusted implicitly, because He always has His way and does as He will.

 

In these first two verses of Mark 14, we have a very clear example of God’s total sovereignty and omnipotent power to accomplish His will. He who truly is God over all and blessed forever always has his way. Here we see our great God disappointing the plans and designs of wicked men, overruling their wills and decisions to accomplish His own eternal purpose of grace in predestination. Our Lord’s enemies did not want His death to be a public spectacle. Repeatedly, they tried to stone Him to death, throw Him off a cliff, or in some other way murder Him without the common people being aware of what they had done. Mark’s tells us “The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.” But that was not what God had purposed. Therefore, in His wise and adorable providence, He simply overruled their schemes. God defeated their counsel and performed His own.

 

It was the purpose of God from eternity that the Lord Jesus Christ must be lifted up upon the cursed tree and crucified as a cursed man as our Substitute. There was no way possible for God to be both just and the Justifier of chosen sinners except by His own dear Son dying in our room and stead as our Substitute. His justice must be satisfied. Else, He could not forgive sin. Christ alone, the God-man Mediator, could satisfy the justice of God for us.

 

Yet, in order to fulfil the Scriptures, our Savior must die “according to the Scriptures.” You will recall that our Savior often said, with reference to His sin-atoning death at Calvary, — “The Scriptures must be fulfilled” (v. 49). In other words, the Lord Jesus must be betrayed by His own familiar friend for thirty pieces of silver, crucified by the hands of Gentiles at the insistence of the Jews, without a single bone in His body being broken, yet having His heart pierced. He must be numbered with transgressors in His death, mocked, beaten, spit upon, and stripped in public humiliation. And the soldiers who crucified Him must cast lots to see which one would get His garment.

 

All these things were prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures. But “the chief priests and scribes sought how they might take him by craft and put him to death.” That presented no problem to God Almighty! His counsel stood firm. His purpose was fulfilled. God’s will always prevails. His purpose was accomplished by these very men (Acts 2:23). Christ was crucified at Calvary exactly as God had purposed from eternity.

 

“Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”The chief priests and scribes thought they would put an end to Christ’s kingdom by killing Him; but they were actually instruments in God’s hands for the erection and building of His kingdom. When they did, with vile hearts, have the Lord Jesus crucified, they thought they would vilify Him and make Him a laughing stock; but God used them to make His name glorious. The Jews thought they would scare His disciples into silence by killing our Master; but God used their wicked deeds to embolden His disciples in preaching the Gospel.

 

I want you to understand that our God is in control of this world, absolutely in control of it (Psalm 76:10). That God, and that God alone, Who is in absolute, total control of the entire universe, we can and should trust with implicit confidence in all things and with all things. The Word of God, the promises of God, the prophecies of Holy Scripture are all utterly meaningless unless our God is the God Who rules everything, whose will is always performed, whose purpose stands fast, whose very thoughts are irresistible!

 

Here is the basis of our faith and the foundation of our comfort. Our God is in control, as fully in control of Satan, the demons of hell, and the thoughts and deeds of wicked men as He is of the angels about His throne. We live in a world of woe. We are often tossed to and fro in this world, confused and perplexed by many things. Let us ever rest ourselves in our God. — “All things are of God.” All things are ordered by our heavenly Father for our good. All things are arranged by God’s infinite wisdom and omnipotent arm for His glory. Nothing is beyond His dominion.

 

Look to Calvary and laugh at those will worshippers who vainly imagine that the events of this world are ordered not by the will of almighty God but by the wills of puny men! I often hear preachers and others say, “God will never interfere with the will of man.” The Book of God gives the lie to that notion. It was the will of these men that Christ be put to death secretly. But God willed that He be crucified in due time for the ungodly. Consider this and think. — God would not allow these wicked men to kill His Son when they wanted to, the way they wanted to, or in the place they wanted. However, He did permit them to kill His Son exactly according to the malice of their hearts, having ordained it from eternity. And He used their sinful malice to accomplish His purpose of grace in the redemption of His people, exactly as He had purposed from eternity. Read carefully those things written in Acts 2:22-23, 4:27-28, and 13:28-30.

 

Acts 2:22-23 “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: (23) Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

 

Acts 4:27-28 “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, (28) For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”

 

Acts 13:28-30 “And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. (29) And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. (30) But God raised him from the dead:”

 

If the god you trust can be controlled, hindered, or even influenced by you, by Satan, or by all the powers of earth and hell, then the god you trust is no God at all, and you are an idolater. Our God is not a spectator or even a competitor in this world. He is the Ruler of it. Salvation is knowing Him, the only true and living God as He is revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ His Son, the God-man, our Savior (John 17:3). He who is our God is the God, the only God you can trust.

 

8.    It was the rejection of the Gospel by the Jews which has sent the Gospel to the Gentiles (Romans 9-11).

 

I see murder, rape, adultery, abortion, drunkenness, envy, jealousy, greed, racism, pornography, war, idolatry, homosexuality, incest, fornication, the abandonment of families by selfish, self-loving men and women, the murder of children by their parents, and the murder of parents by their children as horrible, horrible evils. These are the evils that perplex most people. But I have to deal with a far greater problem, with far more confusing and greater evils than these.

 

The evil that is in me is far more disturbing than the evil around me. Yet, this, too, is according to God’s purpose and is under God’s control. Were it His purpose to do so, God almighty could destroy the influence of sin and eradicate it from His people as easily now as He shall when He takes us to glory. But He has not chosen to do so. The Lord has fixed it so that as long as we are in this world, His people will have to struggle and fight with sin, sin within. As long as we are here, we are a people at war with ourselves (Romans 7:14-23). And this is best. God has arranged things this way for good reasons.

·      To make us humble.

·      To teach us to be kind, gracious, and forgiving.

·      To keep us looking to Christ.

·      To keep us aware that salvation is by grace alone.

·      To wean us of this world.

 

God’s Glory and Our Salvation

 

3rd All the evil that is in us and all the evil there is in God’s creation will, in the end, redound to the everlasting praise of our great God and result in the everlasting salvation and happiness of His people. I do not pretend to know the details of how He will do it; but this I do know — OUR GOD WILL PUT ALL CHRIST’S ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET AND WIPE ALL TEARS FROM OUR EYES.

 

When all things that must be have been there will be no regrets in the world of the redeemed. Everything shall give praise to our God and yield everlasting happiness to our hearts. Christ shall be triumphant at last. Satan, the demons of hell, wicked men, and all evil shall prove the goodness of our God as surely as songs of the heavenly angels.

·      Christ shall make the evil good by His blood atonement

·      He shall turn the evil to good by His omnipotent grace.

·      Our God shall turn the evil to good in the day called the “restitution of all things.”

 

Acts 3:19-21 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

 

Revelation 4:9-11 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

 

Revelation 5:11-14 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

 

Revelation 19:1-6 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous [are] his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

 

Revelation 21:1-4 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

 

Soon God our Savior shall wipe the slime of the serpent from His creation; and “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your heels!

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #6[ii]Micah Series

 

      Title:         Judgment and Mercy

 

      Text:          Micah 2:1-13

      Subject:   Judgment and Mercy

      Introduction:

 

My subject is Judgment and Mercy. He who is our God is “the God of judgment” (Isaiah 30:18) and God whose “mercy endureth forever” (Psalm 136:2). He is the Judge of all the earth who must do right (Genesis 18:25) and “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 1:10) by whom we are saved. He who is our God is both the Lord God Who pours out His indignation and wrath upon the ungodly (Psalm 69:24) and “the God of Peace” (Hebrews 13:20) by whom we are redeemed.

 

In the first chapter of his prophecy, God’s prophet Micah denounced the idolatry and sins of his people and told both Samaria and Jerusalem of the sure judgment of God that would befall them because of their idolatry and sins. In the second chapter Micah continues to expose and reprove the sins of Israel and Judah, those favored men and women who were “named the house of Jacob” (Micah 2:7).

·      God’s Covenant People!

·      Those to Whom God Gave His Law!

·      The People to Whom God sent His Prophets!

·      The People who had God’s Temple, God’s Altar, God’s Priests, and God’s Ordinances!

·      But a People who had Abandoned the Lord God and the Worship of God, and had Substituted Idolatry for the Worship of the Triune God, still calling it the Worship of Jehovah!

 

Let’s read Micah 2:1-13 together.

 

Proposition: Here Micah declares both the reason for God’s judgment against the sins of Israel and Judah and the certainty of God’s salvation for His chosen, covenant people.

 

(Micah 2:1-13) “Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and take [them] by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. 3 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time [is] evil.”

 

4 In that day shall [one] take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, [and] say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed [it] from me! turning away he hath divided our fields. 5 Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.”

 

6 ¶ Prophesy ye not, [say they to them that] prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, [that] they shall not take shame.”

 

7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? [are] these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? 8 Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. 9 The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.”

 

10 Arise ye, and depart; for this is not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

11 If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, [saying], I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.”

 

12I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of [the multitude of] men. 13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.”

 

Divisions: In these thirteen verses of Inspiration God the Holy Spirit shows us four things, four matters of great importance revealed in Holy Scripture that we ought to lay to heart.

1.    The judgment of God is always just (vv. 1-3).

2.    Faithful men and women, while bowing to the justice of God, truly lament the evil men and women bring upon themselves by sin (vv. 4-6).

3.    The Lord God graciously calls sinners who deserve His wrath to Christ and to salvation in and by Him through the preaching of the Gospel (vv. 7-11).

4.    The God of all grace assures us of the complete restoration and salvation of His chosen by Christ Jesus (vv. 12-13).

 

Just Judgment

 

The first thing we learn from Micah in this chapter is the fact that the judgment of God is always just (vv. 1-3).

 

1 ¶ Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and take [them] by violence; and houses, and take [them] away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. 3 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time [is] evil.” (Micah 2:1-3)

                                           

When men devise iniquity God devises judgment. When men practice evil God gives evil. When men walk in haughtiness God brings them down.

 

We recognize the fact that God has, from eternity ordained all things. We do not apologize for asserting what God asserts in this Book.

  • There are some who are vessels of mercy who shall be saved, prepared by God for glory (Romans 9:23).
  • And there are some who are vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction (Romans 9:22).

 

God is the Potter. We are the clay. He can do with us what He will; and He always does. Election, reprobation, and predestination are things plainly revealed in Holy Scripture (Jeremiah 18:1-6).

 

1 ¶ The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [it]. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay [is] in the potter’s hand, so [are] ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

 

Yes, God is absolutely sovereign. Yet, throughout the Book of God, Divine judgment is always set before us as a matter of justice, absolute, strict, unbending justice (Jeremiah 18:7-22).

 

7 [At what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy [it]; 8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And [at what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant [it]; 10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”

 

11 ¶ Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. 12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. 13 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. 14 Will [a man] leave the snow of Lebanon [which cometh] from the rock of the field? [or] shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? 15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways [from] the ancient paths, to walk in paths, [in] a way not cast up; 16 To make their land desolate, [and] a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. 17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.”

 

18Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words. 19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. 20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, [and] to turn away thy wrath from them. 21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their [blood] by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and [be] widows; and let their men be put to death; [let] their young men [be] slain by the sword in battle. 22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.” (Jeremiah 18:7-22)

 

God’s sovereignty, God’s decrees of election and reprobation, God’s unalterable, eternal purpose do not diminish our responsibility. If you go to hell, it will be your own fault alone. — “The wages of sin is death!

 

Salvation is God’s gift! Eternal life is God’s gift! Heaven is God’s gift! There are no degrees of reward in heaven because heavenly glory is the gift of God to His chosen, earned and purchased for us by the obedience and blood, by the righteousness and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. But there are degrees of punishment in hell, because eternal death in hell is something you earn by your willful rebellion against God and your willful transgressions. — Divine judgment is God’s strict retribution against sin (Proverbs 1:23-33).

 

23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:23-33)

 

Great Lamentation

 

First, Divine judgment is always just. Second, Micah shows us that faithful men and women, while bowing to the justice of God, truly lament the evil men and women bring upon themselves by rebellion, unbelief, and sin (vv. 4-6). — God’s prophet calls this “a doleful lamentation,” a very painful lamentation (Romans 9:1-3; 10:1).

 

4 In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields. 5 Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD. 6 ¶ Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.” (Micah 2:4-6)

 

Those who will not hear God’s prophets heap to themselves teachers having itching ears. Those who persecute and imprison and slaughter God’s prophets hire for themselves fake prophets and call them God’s prophets. Still, God’s prophets, like Micah, pour out their hearts in great, “doleful lamentation” for the souls of men (Micah 1:8).

 

“Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.” (Micah 1:8)

 

Read what Paul says of Israel, against whom he spoke exactly the same message as Micah had declared hundreds of years before.

 

(Romans 9:1-3) “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”

 

(Romans 10:1) “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”

 

I sometimes I hear men preach who do not appear to have any real burden upon their hearts. Their doctrine is orthodox. They are well prepared. And they have unquestionable ability. But they do not seem to really care whether people believe or do not believe, whether their hearers are saved or damned. They just come before men and lay out the facts. The Prophet Micah was not such a man. The Apostle Paul was not such a man. Those men had a message from the heart of God, which they had experienced in their own hearts. They were men with fire in their souls. And they delivered their message to the hearts of immortal souls, as men who could not endure the thought of men and women perishing without Christ. Knowing the terror of the Lord, they persuaded sinners to flee to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

 

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

 

Paul reveals his heart’s emotions in his Epistle to the Romans. — “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (9:1-3).

 

Paul the Apostle was moved to record those words by the same Spirit who moved Moses the prophet to say to the Lord, If Thou wilt not forgive their sin, “blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written” (Exodus 32:32).

 

Most of the commentators I have read try very hard to make passages like these say what they do not say. They cannot understand orthodox men making such statements. I am confident that Moses, Micah, and Paul meant exactly what they said! They loved the people to whom they preached. Yes, they spoke extravagantly. But love speaks extravagantly! Love does not speak in calculated terms, without feeling. Love, when it is bursting to make itself known, will often speak beyond pure rationality.

 

Of course, in more sober moments, no man would give up Christ for another, or exchange his own soul’s salvation for another’s. And every believer knows that such a ransom could never be accepted by God. But a genuine love for the souls of men and an earnest desire for their salvation, for the glory of Christ, compelled these men of God to speak beyond mere rationality. They spoke as dying men to dying men! —— God make me such a preacher! Men with aching hearts are likely to hear men whose hearts ache for them.

 

God’s Call

 

Third, God the Holy Spirit shows us by His prophet Micah that the Lord God graciously calls sinners who deserve His wrath to Christ and to salvation in and by Him through the preaching of the Gospel (vv. 7-11).

 

7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? 8 Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. 9 The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever. 10 Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. 11 If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.” (Micah 2:7-11)

 

These people, “named the house of Jacob,” called God’s chosen, covenant people, were weary of God’s true prophets, and would not hear them (2:6); but they loved religion and fondly embraced their false prophets. Those false prophets promised them peace and happiness, prosperity and security.

 

Those prophets “walking in the spirit and falsehood,” pretend to walk in the Spirit and boldly promise pleasing things in God’s name. But they “do lie.” They lie, against God and lie to their hearers. —— Go to a funeral sometime and listen to one of them!

  • They promise wine in abundance and strong drink unfailing, though God has declared judgment and wrath and desolation.
  • They promise heaven, though God has promised hell!
  • They promise life, though God has promised death.

 

Such false prophets are both the choice of men and the just and dreadful judgment from God upon men (1 Kings 22:6,10-12, with 1 Kings 22:34; Ezekiel 13:3,10; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

 

Such sinners, doomed to unparalleled misery by God for their sins, and pulling it upon themselves by their obstinate impenitence and willful blindness, the Lord God calls to Christ and salvation in Him by His rich, free grace. Though unworthy, degenerate, and fallen, still Jacob is reminded of his name, and called to repentance Look at verse 10.

 

“Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.” (Micah 2:10)

 

There was no rest for Israel and Judah in the Land of Canaan; and there is no rest for our souls in this world.

  • Not in the Secular World.
  • Not in the Religious World.

Our Rest is in Christ and in His everlasting salvation in the glory of the world to come (Psalm 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:3-9).

 

(Psalms 116:7) “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.”

 

(Isaiah 28:12) “This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”

 

(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

(Hebrews 4:3-9) “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

 

Up to verse 7 everything in Micah’s prophecy has been judgment, justice, fury, and wrath. Now Micah begins to lift up mercy’s Banner. Mercy’s Banner is Christ Jesus the Lord. —— “To Him shall the gathering of the people be!

 

(Isaiah 11:10-12) “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

 

Assured Restoration

 

First, Micah tells us that God’s judgment is just (vv. 1-3). — Second, faithful men lament the evil that men bring upon themselves by sin (vv. 4-6). — Third, God calls sinners to Christ and His salvation by the Gospel (vv. 7-11). — And, fourth, in verses 12-13, the God of all grace assures us of the complete restoration and salvation of His chosen by Christ Jesus.

 

12 ¶ I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. 13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.” (Micah 2:12-13)

 

How rich is the grace of our God! How abundant! How free! Here Lord God sweetly promises Christ and His salvation to His people. The gathering of the people to Christ by God is here assured. Mark the words He uses. He says, “all of thee,” — “all of Jacob!” As Moses said to Pharaoh (Exodus 10:26), “Not an hoof shall be left behind!

 

Bozrah was a place well known for its cattle. It is used here to symbolize what a great multitude the remnant of Israel is, what a great multitude God’s elect is! Christ’s fold is a fold of many sheep, a great multitude which no man can number (Revelation 7:9).

 

The Breaker

 

(Micah 2:13) “The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.”

 

When prophesying of His coming, Micah, writing by inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, called the Lord Jesus Christ “The Breaker.” Has He broken you? You will never know Him as your Savior until you know Him as the Breaker.

 

The almighty Breaker of men is God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He came up as the Breaker from everlasting. In the council of peace, the divine decree was broken open and the Son of God stood forth as the Surety of God’s elect. He it was who alone was found worthy to take the book of God’s eternal purpose out of the hand of Him that sat upon the throne. Christ alone, as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, is worthy and able to loose the seals of the book, break it open, and fulfill its decrees.

 

It was this same Holy One, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when He found it written of Him in the volume of His Father’s book (The Book of His Decrees and The Book of Inspiration) that He should fulfill the law of the Lord for chosen sinners, cried out, — “Lo, I come. I delight to do thy will, O God.”

 

In the fulness of time our all-glorious Christ came up as a Breaker in this world to break down the wall of separation between God and His chosen people, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and to open, by His precious shed blood, a new and living way, by which sinners might draw near to God with full assurance of acceptance, upon the basis of pardoned sin. Our Lord Jesus, by His one great sacrifice, forever put away all the sins of His people, forever silenced the accusations of Satan, forever freed us from the curse and penalty of God’s holy law, and forever justified and sanctified every sinner for whom He bled and died upon the cursed tree. This great work He did by Himself alone, when He who knew no sin was made sin for us!

 

After He lay in the grave for three days, the almighty Breaker came forth from the dead, bursting asunder the bars of death. Triumphant over death, hell, and the grave, He proved Himself to be the Breaker spoken of by the prophet Micah, passing through the gate before us as our great Head, Representative, Lord, and King. It was not possible that death could hold Him. His holy soul must not and could not see corruption. Therefore the almighty Breaker broke through all the obstacles before Him as our Representative, ascended up on high, led captivity captive, and entered into heaven having obtained eternal redemption for us! There He sat down upon His throne, took possession of heaven as our Forerunner, and ever lives to make intercession for us according to the will of God.

 

At the appointed time, in “the time of love” appointed by God the Father for the regeneration, effectual calling, and conversion of our souls, the Lord Jesus, by His sovereign Holy Spirit, came as the almighty Breaker in all the glorious force and power of His irresistible grace into our hearts. He did not stand outside our hearts’ doors and meekly knock, hoping and pleading that we might, by the mere exercise of our wills, let Him in. Had He done so, we would yet be without life before God. This almighty, saving, gracious, effectual Breaker broke into our hearts and took possession of our souls. When He came in, He brought His welcome with Him, causing us to cry, “Come in! Come in Lord Jesus! Come, reign in me forever.” Oh, may this great, saving Breaker break into your soul this very hour by His all-saving power and grace!

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #7 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Arise ye, and depart!

                                                or

                        The Lord’s Final Call to His Chosen

 

      Text:          Micah 2:10

      Subject:   Death and Eternal Rest

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — October 11, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #7

      Readings:           Merle Hart and Bob Duff

      Introduction:

 

The second chapter of Micah’s prophecy begins with a stern word of Divine judgment upon Judah and Israel, the people named “the house of Jacob” (v. 7). They were reckoned to be the people of God. They professed that they were the people of God. They were very religious, zealous in their religious practices, and zealous in promoting and defending their religion. The children of Israel were, in their day, the outward, visible church and kingdom of God. But all of this was just a name. They were “named the house of Jacob.” But that was all, just a name.

 

The Lord God had dealt with the nation in such displays of favor and goodness that it is almost impossible to imagine that they had so fallen, that they had so miserably forsaken God, His worship, and His ways that they turned upon Jehovah as their enemy. He says, “My people is risen up as an enemy” (V. 8). What nation under heaven had been so enriched, so taught, and so protected? To whom else had God been so favorable? To Israel and Judah alone God revealed Himself. To Israel and Judah alone the Lord sent His prophets. In Israel and Judah alone the Triune Jehovah established His worship.

 

We ought to be astonished by their apostasy from God and the idolatry they eagerly embraced. We ought to be astonished by their treachery and ungodliness, as it is described by Micah and Israel’s other faithful prophets. Why are we not thus astonished? I think it must be in part because that which we see in Israel’s history we see in our own! Like Israel and Judah, it must be said of our own nation and people, a nation and people who have been favored of God as no other, “from their children have ye taken away my glory forever” (v. 9). That is God’s charge against every false prophet, against every father and mother who abandons the Gospel of His glory, and against every teacher, judge, and political leader who seeks to turn this generation against God as an enemy. — “From their children have ye taken away my glory forever!

 

God’s Remnant

 

Yet, our great, glorious, and gracious God has still reserved among such stout hearted rebels and base idolaters an elect remnant to whom He is and ever will be gracious.

·      Chosen in Everlasting Love

·      God’s Covenant People

·      Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb

·      Kept by Grace

·      A People Who Must and Shall be Saved

 

These chosen ones, God’s elect remnant, He calls to Himself. Look at verse 10. Right in the middle of this prophecy of judgment and doom, the Lord God issues a call to His chosen. It is a call that seems, at first, to be out of context.

 

(Micah 2:10) “Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

This call seems to be out of context because the passage is talking about judgment. Micah is talking about Israel and Judah being overthrown and carried away into Babylon. Obviously, the Lord God was not mocking or speaking with a sarcastic sneer. Oh. No! This is God’s call to His own elect remnant. This is the Lord’s call to you and me. The title of my message is, — Arise ye, and departor The Lord’s Final Call to His Chosen.

 

(Micah 2:10) “Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

Not Straitened

 

Though unworthy, degenerate, and fallen, Jacob is reminded of his name, and called upon to remember, “the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened,” limited, or confined. Blessed reminder! When my heart is straitened in prayer; the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened. God my Savior still lives! He yet appears as a Lamb slain in the midst of the throne, and ever makes as intercession for His people as our mighty Advocate and High Priest in Heaven!

 

(Micah 2:10) “Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

Hawker suggests that this “is a blessed verse, suitable to be read with every chapter in the Old Testament and the New.”

 

The Gospel Call

 

This may be viewed as the call of God the Spirit to every chosen, blood bought sinner. He comes at the appointed time of love and, by the preaching of the Gospel, calls sinners to Christ by effectual, irresistible, omnipotent grace.

·      He calls out of darkness into light.

·      He calls you out of this world of pollution into the purity of His grace.

·      He calls you out of the land of destruction into Christ, into His salvation!

·      He calls sinners into the sweet and blessed rest of His grace (Matthew 11:28-30).

 

“Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

God’s Final Call

 

We might well apply this call to sinners as God’s Gospel call; but really this is God’s final call to His saints by which He calls us at last out of this world and up to Himself and into eternal blessedness with Christ in Heaven. The hour is rapidly approaching when the message will come to you and me, as it comes to all — “Arise, and depart from the home in which you dwell, from the city in which you live, from your family and friends. Arise, and depart. You must now take your last journey.”

 

What do we know of that journey? I like to think about it. What know we of the country to which we are bound? I sure like to think about that. Don’t you? Yes, there is a black and stormy river called “Death.” Our God calls us to cross it, promising to be with us. And after death, then what? What world of wonders will open upon our astonished sight! What scenes of glory will be unfolded before our eyes! None have ever returned from the grave to tell us.

·      Lazarus returned here briefly, but never spoke a word about the glory of that land!

·      Paul returned briefly as well; but he told us that the things he saw and heard were things beyond the expression of words!

 

Still, we know enough of our heavenly home to make us welcome our summons with joy and gladness when it comes. The journey of death may be dark, but we may embark on the journey fearlessly, knowing that the Lord our God is with us as we walk through the death’s dark valley. Therefore we need fear no evil. We shall be departing from all we have known and loved here; but we shall be going to our Father’s house — to our Father’s home, where our Lord Jesus is — to that royal “city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.”

 

This will be God’s final call to my soul and my last journey. It will be the longest I’ve ever made, but it will take the least amount of time. I will close my eyes and awake with Christ in Heaven! There we shall dwell forever with Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. We shall forever live in the midst of His people, in the presence of God.

 

O children of God, meditate much on Heaven. Such meditation will help you to press on and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country. This world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss!

 

(Micah 2:10) “Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

“Prepare us, Lord, by grace Divine,

For Thy bright courts on high;

Then bid our spirits rise, and join

The chorus of the sky.”

 

Do not to look for that in the law which can only be found in the Gospel. — Do not to look for that in yourself which is only to be found in Christ. — Do not to look for that in the creature which is only to be found in the Creator. — And do not to look for that on earth which is only to be found in Heaven.

 

(Micah 2:10) “Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

The present state of existence is not our rest. This present evil world was never intended or designed to be our rest. It is not fit to be our rest. If we are believers, if Christ is our Lord, we have relinquished this world as our rest and have chosen another. Yet, who does not need this exhortation? Our souls naturally cleave unto the dust. Many, like Reuben and Gad, prefer an inheritance on this side Jordan. And even the godly themselves, who have not their portion in this life; but have said, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness,” even these need to have their pure minds stirred up, by way of remembrance. — “My people,” says God, “have forgotten their resting-place” (Jeremiah 50:6). He therefore, who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants, sends them this message, — “Arise ye, and depart ; for this is not your rest.” Here are five messengers by which the Lord God sends this call to His chosen.

 

His Word

 

The first is His Word. We should read and hear the Word of God for this very purpose. It meets at the point of our need. When we cry, “Who will show us any good?” God meets us in His Word and says, “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21).

 

Our Lord Jesus, in His Word, forbids us to lay up treasures on earth. He commands us to seek those things that are above. This Book warns us never to make the flesh our arm. It proclaims the grandeur of the soul. And it sets before us that which alone is worthy of our heart’s affection and ambition (Colossians 3:1-3).

 

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

 

It is this Book, the Word of God, that leads us into all truth, ever placing us at the foot of the Cross, by which the world is crucified unto us and we unto the world (Galatians 6:14).

 

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

 

The Rod

 

The Lord’s second messenger, by which He calls our hearts homeward, is the rod of affliction. God speaks by the rod, as well as by the Word. While He chastens us with His hand, He teaches us by His Word. Has He not, many times, by the events of providence, plainly addressed your soul? — “Ye have compassed this mountain long enough; turn, and take your journey” (Deuteronomy 2:3). Has He not, by the repeated frustrations of our plans, plainly said to us, “Let it suffice thee: speak no more unto me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:26).

 

He turns our way upside down. He destroys our plans. He breaks our hearts with adversity and trial. He lays us low with sickness or sorrow. Bereaved of cherished friends and dearest loved ones, we are laid low, by the hand of our heavenly Father.

 

Then, in the midst the wreck of everything dear to us, a voice, comes from Heaven and says, “What hast thou here?” (Judges 18:3) — “What doest thou here?” (1 Kings 19:13) — Yes, our heavenly Father sends trials to make Heaven and Christ and eternity more attractive and more glorious to our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 1 Peter 1:3-9).

 

(2 Corinthians 4:17-18) “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

 

(1 Peter 1:3-9) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

 

“6 ¶ Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9)

 

It is not the path of peace, the flowers of favor, or the sweets of satisfaction in this world that allure us to Heaven, but losses, distresses, sorrows, bitterness, and grief. Whatever my Father uses to wean me of this world, is gracious and good! — Home is dearest when we are most alone and sorrowful in a strange place.

 

Worldly Success

 

Third, the Lord sometimes uses worldly success to wean His chosen from this world. This, in some respects, may convince us more of the insufficiency and emptiness of everything here, than even our deprivations. When a man is unable to attain his object, he may still imagine that there is happiness in what he misses, and that he is miserable because he has failed to achieve his desire. But when he has gained the prize and found only bitterness and dissatisfaction, then he sees, as he could not otherwise see, “vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit!” Then he hears God call, “Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest!

 

Foretastes of Heaven

 

The fourth messenger by which God calls us away to Heaven is the foretastes of that better world awaiting us.

·      The Comforts of the Holy Ghost

·      Access to the Throne of Grace

·      The Revelations of God’s Goodness

·      The Revelations of His Glory

·      Sweet Experiences of Communion

·      The Sweet Revivings of Our Souls

 

“While such a scene of sacred joys

Our raptured eyes and souls employs,

Here we could sit and gaze away

A long, an everlasting day!”

 

If the clusters are so good, what shall the vines be like?

 

Death Itself

 

The last sweet messenger by which our God calls us to arise and depart is the experience of dying, the dying of this body. Every approach of death cries — “It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is your salvation nearer than when you believed.” In the light of all we know, it seems surprising that we try to avoid this messenger and God’s message.

 

(Micah 2:10) “Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

Yes, we must cross the swelling Jordan, but the Ark of God is ever before us. We have nothing to fear and everything to rejoice our hearts!

 

(Hebrews 4:9-11) “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. 11 ¶ Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:9-11)

 

There is a rest, a Sabbath, to be obtained. — “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” The glory and bliss of Heaven is compared to many things, but no comparison is sweeter than this. Heaven is an eternal Sabbath! God’s saints in heaven shall observe an uninterrupted, eternal remembrance of redemption. The constant theme of heavenly thought, conversation, and praise shall be our glorious redemption by the blood, grace, and power of Christ. In heaven we shall enjoy perfect consecration to God our Savior. Our affections will not be divided then. Christ will have no rival in our hearts. In that blessed Sabbath we will love our Savior as we ought! And heaven will be blessed, eternal rest. There we shall cease from all our toils, trials, and troubles. I do not mean that we shall cease to serve our Master. By no means! Then we will serve him perfectly. But our service will involve no toil or labor, only joy and satisfaction.

 

Some have already entered into that rest. Hebrews 4:10 refers to Christ; but it also refers to those who have already entered the heavenly Sabbath. Some to whom the Gospel had been preached died in their sins and could not enter into the land of rest because of unbelief. But those who have entered in have ceased from their own works. All their imperfect works, failed efforts, and sinful deeds have ceased! And there are yet some who “must enter therein.” There is yet a remnant who shall enter into heaven.

 

We must labor (strive) to enter into that rest (v. 11). If we would enter into that glorious Sabbath rest in Heaven, we must continue in the faith. We must persevere unto the end of our days trusting Christ alone, keeping the Sabbath of faith. And this, by the grace of God, we shall do if we are His. He which has begun His good work in us will bring us into heaven’s glory at last. And we shall enter into His rest! What a rest Heaven shall be for our souls!

 

(Revelation 21:1-5) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #8 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Christ the Breaker

 

      Text:          Micah 2:112-13

      Subject:   Micah’s Prophecy of Christ the Breaker

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — November 8, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #8

      Readings:           Don Raneri and David Burge

      Introduction:

 

In Micah 2:12-13 we read a very unusual prophecy. Micah, writing by Divine inspiration, declared that the Son of God would come to seek and save His people, to gather His chosen remnant, to save His elect sheep. But Micah describes our great Savior in the performance of His great works of grace as “The Breaker.”

 

(Micah 2:12-13) “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of [the multitude of] men. 13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.”

 

Without question, this portion of Micah’s prophecy had specific reference, historically, to the nation of Israel and the seventy years of Babylonian Captivity. The Lord God, in judgment, dispersed His chosen people among the Gentiles. In chapters one and two, the Lord threatened severe but just punishment upon them because of their relentless ungodliness, idolatry, and eagerness to follow false prophets rather than those men sent of God who spoke the Word of God plainly.

 

Yet, in wrath our God remembers mercy. He promised to some, an elect remnant among those disobedient Jews deliverance, undeserved, merciful deliverance, miraculous deliverance, deliverance which had the unmistakable stamp of Divinity upon it. And the deliverance promised was clearly designed and executed as a picture of something far greater. The entire story is a clear picture of God’s free grace in Christ and the salvation of His elect, the true Israel of God by His free, omnipotent, irresistible grace and power.

 

1.    We all, like the Jews of old turned aside from our God, His Word, His way, and His worship, and went whoring after other gods, according to our own lusts.

 

2.    The Lord God, in His Word, has threatened severe, but just and everlasting punishment to be executed upon us for our sin.

 

3.    Yet, in wrath, our God remembers mercy. He has promised that He shall save some of Adam’s fallen race by His almighty, free grace in Christ.

 

4.    That One who is our Savior and Deliverer, God’s dear Son, our all glorious Christ, is here called — The Breaker.

 

Proposition: Christ is “the Breaker” and all who are saved by Him are described as “the broken up.”

 

Let’s look at this remarkable prophetic description of our Savior and God’s great salvation in and by Him line by line. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher.

 

Salvation Sure

 

First, the Lord God here makes a promise and assures us of its accomplishment. He promises to save all His elect. — “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel!” What a promise! What a blessed assurance. Clearly, this word of promise cannot be applied to the physical nation of Israel. Many of that physical nation died in Babylon. Many others did not return from Babylon, but chose to remain in their land of captivity. So this promise must refer to another group of people and to another deliverance. Indeed it does. Here our God promises that He will save all His elect, all “the Israel of God,” all of Abraham’s spiritual seed, every sinner Christ Jesus came in the fulness of time to save by His blood (Romans 11:26-27; John 10:16).

 

(Romans 11:26-27) “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

 

(John 10:16) “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd.”

 

This sweet promise, — “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel!” — was made for the comfort of the God’s people, in the teethe of the terrible storm about to befall them. It is God’s intent to comfort His saints with this word of assured grace and brace their hearts for the bitter days about to come upon them. Take God’s word to heart my brother, take it to heart my sister. No matter how bleak the day may seem, no matter how dark the times are, no matter how tempestuous the storm, the Lord God says, — “I will surely gather the remnant of Israel, the remnant according to the election of grace!” There is yet a remnant whom the Lord has reserve for Himself. They shall be gathered effectually by the grace of God unto Christ Jesus, their Savior. They shall now seek after Him with all their hearts. They shall be joined to His Church. They shall be united to His family and His people, embracing His Gospel, submitting to His ordinances, and worshipping at His footstool.

 

This is the day of which He spoke. There is “one fold” for the Lord’s sheep. In it you find Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, bond and free, male and female, black and white. And there is “one Shepherd” over them, the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.

 

Read on…

 

I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah.” — Bozrah was place well known for its lush, rich pastures. The Lord God is saying, “When He has gathered His sheep, the Good Shepherd will take good care of them (Psalm 23:1-6). They shall have a good fold and good pastures provided for them, where they shall feed together in the comfort of absolute security and in sweet unity and affection, as sheep of one fold with one Shepherd.”

 

As the flock in the midst of their fold they shall lie down safely and rest quietly (Ezekiel 34:13-14).

 

“And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” (Ezekiel 34:13-14)

 

They shall make great noise by reason [of the multitude] of men.” — “There were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

 

 

(Revelation 14:1-3) “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”

 

THE BREAKER

 

Next, we are told in verse 13 that “The Breaker is come!” This almighty Breaker is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He came up as the Breaker from everlasting. In the council of peace, the Divine decree was broken open and the Son of God stood forth as the Surety of God’s elect. He it was who alone was found worthy to take the book of God’s eternal purpose out of the hand of Him that sat upon the throne. Christ alone, as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, is worthy and able to loose the seals of the book, break it open, and fulfill its decrees.

 

It was this same Holy One, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when He found it written of Him in the volume of His Father’s book (The Book of His Decrees and The Book of Inspiration) that He should fulfill the law of the Lord for chosen sinners, cried out, “Lo, I come. I delight to do thy will, O God.”

 

(Psalms 40:6-10) “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, (8) I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (9) I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. (10) I have not hid 1thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared 2thy faithfulness and 3thy salvation: I have not concealed 4thy lovingkindness and 5thy truth from the great congregation.”

 

In the fulness of time our all-glorious Christ came up as a Breaker in this world. He came into the world to break down the wall of separation between God and His chosen, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and to open, by His precious shed blood, a new and living way by which sinners might draw near to God with full assurance of acceptance upon the basis of pardoned sin (Hebrews 10:19-22).

 

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And [having] an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

 

Our Lord Jesus, by His one great sacrifice, forever put away all the sins of His people, forever silenced the accusations of Satan, forever freed us from the curse and penalty of God’s holy law, and forever justified and sanctified every sinner for whom He bled and died upon the cursed tree. This great work He did by Himself alone, when He who knew no sin was made sin for us.

 

(Romans 8:1-4) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

 

(Galatians 4:4-6) “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

 

(Hebrews 10:5-10) “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (8) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

 

After He lay in the grave for three days, the almighty Breaker came forth from the dead, bursting asunder the bars of death. Triumphant over death, hell, and the grave, He proved Himself to be the Breaker spoken of by the prophet Micah, passing through the gate before us as our great Head, Representative, Lord, and King. — Their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.”

 

It was not possible that death could hold Him. Because He had put away sin, God’s Holy One could not see corruption. His holy soul must not and could not see corruption. Therefore the almighty Breaker broke through all the obstacles before Him as our Representative, ascended up on high, led captivity captive, and entered into heaven, having obtained eternal redemption for us! There He sat down upon His throne, took possession of heaven as our Forerunner, and ever lives to make intercession for us according to the will of God. Thank God for this almighty Breaker, Christ Jesus!

 

(Hebrews 1:1-3) “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”

 

(Hebrews 6:19-20) “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; (20) Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

 

(Hebrews 7:25) “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

 

(Hebrews 9:12) “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

 

(Hebrews 10:11-14) “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

 

At the appointed time, in the day of His great, saving power, Christ Jesus the Breaker, our almighty Savior and King, breaks into the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners and establishes His kingdom in His people, making them His willing subjects.

 

(Psalms 65:4) “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”

 

(Psalms 110:3) “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”

 

At the appointed time, in “the time of love” appointed by God the Father for the birthing, effectual calling, and conversion of our souls, the Lord Jesus, by His sovereign Holy Spirit, came as the almighty Breaker, in all the glorious force and power of His irresistible grace into our hearts.

 

He did not stand outside our hearts’ doors and meekly knock, hoping and pleading that we might, by the mere exercise of our wills, let Him in. Had he done so, we would yet be without life before God. This almighty, saving, gracious, effectual Breaker, broke into our hearts and took possession of our souls.

 

When He came in, He brought his welcome with Him, causing us to cry, “Come in! Come in Lord Jesus! Come, reign in me forever.” Oh, may this great saving Breaker break into your soul this day by His all-saving power and grace!

 

BROKEN UP

 

Third, according to our text (Micah 2:13), the Lord Jesus Christ is the Breaker and all who are saved by his grace are “broken up.” How I pray that God will be pleased this day to send His Word to your heart with such power and grace that you will be altogether “broken up” by His dear Son.

 

Look at Micah 2:13 again. It describes both Christ and His people. Our dear Savior is the Breaker who has come. Then the prophet speaks of God’s elect, saying, “They have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.”

 

The Lord Jesus has, for those sinners saved by His grace, broken down the strongholds of sin and Satan in which we were bound all the days of our lives. He has broken down that wall of hatred and enmity in our hearts against the Lord God and against his Christ with which we were born. In that horrid state of hatred and enmity against God we would have died and perished forever, but for the sovereign grace and goodness of God in sending the Lord Jesus to us as the almighty Breaker who burst open the prison of darkness where we were held as willing captives by Satan. He broke the chains that held us. He brought us out!

 

These things being wrought in us and accomplished for us by His almighty grace, we are described as a people who, in His strength and by His grace, “have broken up, and have passed through the gate” of Satan’s dominion, “and are gone out by it” into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Paul describes exactly the same thing in Colossians 2.

 

(Colossians 2:8-17) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

 

Is that your experience? Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your almighty Breaker? This Breaker is known by these sweet tokens of His saving power and grace. Those who are the objects of His love experience the transforming power of His grace. It is foolish to talk about believing Him, knowing Him, and worshipping Him, until we have experienced the power of His grace. Has your King and Lord thus passed before you? Has He thus passed before me? If He has, let us ever be on the look out for renewed visits of grace from Him. Oh, let this almighty, gracious Breaker come often to break us.

 

God only uses broken things; and none can break us but Christ, the Breaker.

 

(Zechariah 12:10) “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

 

There is no breaking of our souls, no breaking of our hard hearts, except “the King shall pass before” us, “and the Lord on the head of” us. The Lord Jesus Himself is King of Zion, King of saints, Who goes before His people as their King, before His subjects as their Prince, and before His sheep as their Shepherd before His flock. He is the true Jehovah, the Lord our Righteousness. He is at the head and is the Head of His Church, the Captain of our salvation, that is at the head of His armies, His chosen and faithful ones. And they follow and march after Him, at His command (Revelation 17:14; 19:14).

 

(Revelation 17:14) “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.”

 

(Revelation 19:14) “And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”

 

The law may terrify; but it cannot break. Religion may tame us; but it cannot break us. We certainly cannot, even as believers, break ourselves. Only Christ can break us! Let Him, therefore, come often in His capacity as the Breaker to break down those remaining obstacles of doubt, and fear, and unbelief that constantly rise up in our hearts. Come, O Mighty Breaker! Break down all that remains of indwelling corruption and sin within me, by which these doubts and fears of unbelief get such a strong hold upon me.

 

Soon, our glorious Christ shall finally come in all His fulness as the Breaker. He will break through the clouds to judgment. He will break down every remaining evil in creation that keeps us from the perfect and everlasting enjoyment of Him. When He comes again, our mighty Samson will carry away the gates of our prison, the grave, and set all His ransomed prisoners free, free forever! Hasten the day, blessed Savior!

 

(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

 

Come quickly with a glory infinitely surpassing all conception. Come, show Yourself, in the full display of Your sovereignty, power, and grace, as the almighty Breaker!

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #9 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         This time is evil.

 

      Text:          Micah 2:12-4:2

      Subject:   Apostate Religion and the Purpose of God

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — November 15, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #9

      Readings:           Lindsay Campbell and Bobbie Estes

      Introduction:

 

The title of my message tonight is — This time is evil.My text will be Micah 2:12-4:2. It was the peculiar honor of the sons of Issachar that — “they were men that had understanding of the times.”

 

(1 Chronicles 12:32) “And of the children of Issachar, [which were men] that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them [were] two hundred; and all their brethren [were] at their commandment.”

 

If ever there was a day when the Church of God needed such men it is now. — This time is evil. That is what the Lord God declared with regard to this day in which we live by His Prophet Micah. — This time is evil.

 

(Micah 2:3) “Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time [is] evil.”

 

This time is evil.— Without question, we are living in a reprobate age. Ours is a generation under the judgment of God. The spirit of antichrist is so thick in this generation of will-worship religion that you can cut it with a knife! Read the first chapter of Romans and tell me that I am mistaken! The marks of Divine judgment are evident throughout our society: spiritual blindness (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12), moral perversity (Romans 1:27-28), and self-serving chaos and rebellion (Romans 1:29-32). These things are the results of freewill, works religion, religion that debases the character of God and exalts the dignity of man. The more thoroughly convinced men are that salvation depends upon them the more vile they become!

 

We should not be surprised by the things we see happening in our day. I mean specifically that we should not be surprised by the things we see happening in the religious world, in the professed church of God, in our day. Throughout the Book of God the Prophets and Apostles told us plainly what to expect in this age.

 

Proposition: The message of Micah is a message of Divine judgment upon men and women who, professing themselves to be the people of God, are completely given over to idolatry.

 

Let’s read our text together (Micah 2:12-4:2). The chapter divisions are unfortunate. This whole section of Micah, beginning at Micah 2:12 and going through the end of chapter 4, should be read as one chapter.

 

(Micah 2:12-4:2) “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of [the multitude of] men. 13 The Breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their King shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.”

 

3:1 ¶ And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; [Is it] not for you to know judgment? 2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; 3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. 4 Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. 5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. 6 Therefore night [shall be] unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. 7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for [there is] no answer of God.

 

8But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. 9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. 10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, [Is] not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. ——— 12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed [as] a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”

 

4:1But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

 

Divisions: Let me show you five things from this passage of Holy Scripture. May God the Holy Spirit speak by His Word to you who now hear my voice and inscribe upon your hearts the message of His Prophet.

1.    This is God’s message to all nations and all people (Micah 1:1-2).

2.    This time is evil.” This is a day of evil beyond our ability to comprehend it (Micah 2:1-11).

3.    God’s purpose of grace is sure (Micah 2:12-13).

4.    This time is evil” because we live in a day universal apostasy (Micah 3:1-12).

5.    In the midst of this time of Divine judgment and great evil the Lord God shall do a wondrous thing; from the ruins of this apostate generation God shall raise up and establish His house in the top of the mountains. — Revival is sure (Micah 4:1-2).

 

God’s Message

 

First, Micah tells us at the very outset of his prophecy that this is God’s message to all nations and all people (Micah 1:1-2). Be sure you understand this. It is true that Micah, like his companion Isaiah, spoke to God’s people in his day about the evils of that day. He specifically deals with the great evil about to come upon Israel and Judah, the Babylonian Captivity. But it is a great mistake to read this Book with such limitations. This is God’s message to you and me and to this generation.

 

(Micah 1:1-2) “The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. 2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.”

 

Micah declares that God’s judgment is both sure and just. Judgment follows transgression. Sin demands punishment. Iniquity demands retribution. — “The wages of sin is death!” You know that. Your conscience bears me witness.

 

But Micah tells us something that few people understand. — The greatest evil, the vilest form of iniquity, transgression, and sin in this world is idolatry (Micah 1:5-6), for idolatry is the worship of man, the deification of fallen man.

 

(Micah 1:5-6) “For the transgression of Jacob [is] all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What [is] the transgression of Jacob? [is it] not Samaria? and what [are] the high places of Judah? [are they] not Jerusalem? 6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, [and] as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.”

 

Idolatry is the religion of Babel, the religion of Babylon, the worship of the work of your own hands (Deuteronomy 31:29; 2 Kings 22:17; 2 Chronicles 34:25; Jeremiah 1:16; 25:6-7; 25:14; 44:8)

  • Works Religion
  • Will Worship

 

(Deuteronomy 31:29) “For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt [yourselves], and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.”

 

(2 Kings 22:17) “Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.”

 

(2 Chronicles 34:25) “Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.”

 

(Jeremiah 1:16) “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.”

 

(Jeremiah 25:6-7) “And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. 7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.”

 

(Jeremiah 25:14) “For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.”

 

(Jeremiah 44:8) “In that ye provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye be gone to dwell, that ye might cut yourselves off, and that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?”

 

God calls all freewill/works religion Sodomy (Jeremiah 23:13-14).

 

(Jeremiah 23:13-14) “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. 14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.”

 

Yet, even in the midst of this stern word of fully deserved wrath and judgment, the Lord God promised again to send His Son to save His people (Micah 1:15).

 

“Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.” (Micah 1:15)

 

When it appears that there is no possibility of salvation for anyone, Micah tells us that just as David came to the cave of Adullam for refuge, so our Lord Jesus Christ, David’s Son and David’s Lord, He Who is “the Glory of Israel,” He Who is the heir of all things shall arise to save His people. — This is a promise that applies to our Savior’s, “the Glory of Israel,” arising and revealing Himself…

  • In His Incarnation
  • In His Operations of Grace
  • In His Second Advent

 

Perilous Times

 

Second, Micah tells us that “this time is evil.” This is a day of evil beyond our ability to comprehend it (Micah 2:1-11). Paul “perilous times shall come;” and his words have come to pass. Men and women having a form of godliness deny the very Gospel of God. This is clearly what Micah spoke of as well.

 

In this day of wickedness people are engaged in great religious activity; but none bring forth children in the kingdom of God (Micah 2:5).

 

“Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.” (Micah 2:5)

 

Religious idolatry, like Sodomy, is a union that can never bring forth life.

 

Another mark of evil in this evil day is the fact that men and women refuse to hear God’s prophets and choose rather to submit themselves to lying prophets who are drunk with the wine of Babylon (Micah 2:6 and 11).

 

.” (Micah 2:6) “Prophesy ye not, [say they to them that] prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, [that] they shall not take shame

 

(Micah 2:11) “If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, [saying], I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.”

 

The problem is not with God. There is no weakness in the Almighty. The problem, the evil is altogether one sided. It is altogether the product of man. The Spirit of God is not straitened (Micah 2:7).

 

“O [thou that art] named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? [are] these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” (Micah 2:7)

 

Though unworthy, degenerate, and fallen, still Jacob is reminded of his name and called upon to remember that the Spirit of God is not straitened, limited, or confined. How delightful!

·      When my heart is straitened and I cannot pray, the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened! Christ lives still! He still appears as a Lamb slain in the midst of the throne and makes intercession for His people!

·      When I am straitened and cannot preach, the Spirit of God is not straitened and the Word of God is not bound!

 

Here is the evil of this age. Men and women, by the practice of their idolatry, take God’s glory (the very Gospel of God) away from their own children! — “From their children have ye taken away my glory forever” (v. 9).

 

The Lord God calls for us to come out of Babylon’s darkness, abandoning the idolatry of freewill/works religion, and trust Christ alone as our Savior (Micah 2:10; Revelation 18:4; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

 

(Micah 2:10) “Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction.”

 

(Revelation 18:4) “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

 

(2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 7:1 ¶ Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

 

God’s Purpose

 

Now, look at Micah 2:12-13. Here the Lord God assures us by His Prophet that God’s purpose of grace stands sure and will not be altered, frustrated, or defeated. Man’s wickedness does not alter or hinder God!

 

(Micah 2:12-13) “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of [the multitude of] men. 13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.”

 

(Romans 8:28-30) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”

 

“29 ¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

 

(Romans 3:3-4) “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

 

Universal Apostasy

 

Here’s the fourth thing I want you to see. Micah 3 tells us the cause of all the evil we see in the world around us, in the religious world, the political world, the economic world, and the academic, educational world. — This time is evil” because we live in a day universal apostasy (Micah 3:1-12).

 

Those who ought to know judgment and lead sinners to light and salvation in Christ Jesus are themselves instruments of ruin (Micah 3:1).

 

“And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; [Is it] not for you to know judgment?” (Micah 3:1)

 

God sends blind, self-serving prophets, preachers who hate God and abuse the very people they claim to serve, preachers deluded with a strong delusion to lead sinners who love darkness in the way of darkness (Micah 3:2-7; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

 

(Micah 3:2-7) “Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; 3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. 4 Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. 5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. ——— 6 Therefore night [shall be] unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. 7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for [there is] no answer of God.” (Micah 3:2-7)

 

(2 Thessalonians 2:11-14) “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

 

“13 ¶ But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Still, even in this apostate age, God has His witnesses (Micah 3:8). At the time appointed, when and where they are needed, He will raise them up (Revelation 11:11-12).

 

(Micah 3:8) “But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.”

 

Truly, “this time is evil.” The church of this age is an apostate church, lying in ruins, like the temple in Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion. Antichrist seems to have his way everywhere (Micah 3:9-12).

 

“9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. 10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: —— yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, [Is] not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. —— 12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed [as] a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.” (Micah 3:9-12)

 

O Lord God, in these dark days, give your Church pastors like Micah, according to your own heart, filled with your Spirit, to feed your people with knowledge and understanding!

 

Revival Time

 

But, blessed be God, that is not the end of the story. You will remember that one day, as he was walking through the ruins of the temple in Jerusalem, Hilkiah the high priest found the Book of God, dusted it off, read it, and gave the sense of the Book. — “Salvation is of the Lord!” And when he did men and women worshipped God in Zion!

 

Now, here’s the fifth thing Micah tells us in our text. In the midst of this time of Divine judgment and great evil the Lord God shall do a wondrous thing; from the ruins of this apostate generation God shall raise up and establish His house in the top of the mountains. — Revival is sure. — Yes, this is and shall yet be a day of great revival (Micah 4:1-2).

 

As we read verses 1 and 2 of this fourth chapter, understand that this is a prophecy of Christ coming and the establishment of His kingdom in this world in this Gospel day. But it is more than that. This is a promise to God’s Church in this world. This is God’s Word to you and me.

 

(Micah 4:1-2) “But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

 

Look at what God promises in these two verses and go home tonight full of joy and expectation, singing His praises.

 

·      Light shall prevail over darkness. The Church of God shall prevail over Babylon and her idolatries. — “The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains!” Babylon shall fall before us! God’s Church shall be exalted above the hills of idolatry!

 

·      People from all nations shall flow into Zion! — Multitudes shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob.

 

·      He will teach us His ways.” — Christ the Way. — The Way of Grace. — The Way of Faith. — The Strait and Narrow Way.

 

·      We will walk in His paths.

 

(Jeremiah 6:16) “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

 

·      His Gospel shall be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. — “The law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

 

(Romans 11:26-29) “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.”

 

Yes, “this time is evil;” but this time is our time. This is the day the Lord has made for us. Let us faithfully serve Him in it.

 

(Isaiah 55:11) “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.”

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #10 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         In the last days…

 

      Text:          Micah 4:1-5:2

      Subject:   The Blessedness of this Gospel Age

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — December 13, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #10

      Readings:           Bob Duff and Merle Hart

      Introduction:

 

Turn with me to the 4th chapter of Micah’s prophecy. The title of my message tonight is — In the last days...My text will be Micah 4:1-5:2. The third chapter of Micah is all darkness and gloom, judgment and sorrow, delusion and desolation. The chapter ends with Zion plowed as a field and Jerusalem in heaps and the mountain of the house of the Lord as a dark, desolate forest.

 

Many of God’s saints seem to always see nothing else. All they can see is destruction and misery. They always look for dark things. They seem to be incapable of seeing light or of anticipating good. That ought not be the case. Micah’s prophecy does not end in chapter 3. God’s Prophet was inspired to expose the sins of his people and to tell them of the sure judgment of God upon their rebel nation; and he did so faithfully. But he was also inspired to write of another, better day. As surely as God sent the nation into Babylon He would bring her out of Babylon and make her triumphant over Babylon.

 

And Micah goes far beyond the time of Israel’s Babylonian Captivity and her ultimate triumph over Babylon. Micah was inspired of God the Holy Spirit to describe the great blessedness and glory of God’s Church and Kingdom In the last days.We have his message and his description of things “in the last days” in Micah 4:1-5:2.

 

But

 

Notice that chapter 4 begins with the word “But.” That little word “But” is an adversative conjunction. An adversative conjunction is a conjunction that expresses the exact opposite of the thing previously stated.

·      Chapter three was all judgment. Chapter four is all mercy.

·      Chapter three was all darkness and gloom. Chapter four is all light and glory.

·      Chapter 3 is all about our sinfulness. Chapter four is all about God’s forgiveness.

·      Chapter three is all about us. Chapter four is all about Christ!

 

Proposition: “In the last days” the Lord God will gather all His elect out of all the nations of the world into one Body, His Church, Mount Zion, the City of God, and establish it as the Mountain of God in the top of the mountains. — That is to say, God will make all people to see that His Church is His Church and that our God is God alone!

 

Divisions: Let me show you five things in this portion of Holy Scripture.

1.    The last days are described by Micah as a time of great blessedness (vv. 1-2).

2.    The great blessedness of God’s Church and Kingdom is the peace that Christ gives us by His grace (vv. 3-5).

3.    The great blessedness of God’s Church is the constant, super-abounding grace of our God to our poor, needy, sinful souls in Christ Jesus (vv. 6-10).

4.    In the last days” the Church and Kingdom of our God shall be triumphant over all the nations of the earth (vv. 11-13).

5.    All this grace, and blessedness, and glory is sure because “in the last days” our mighty God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Ruler of Israel has come forth, “whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.

 

The Last Days

 

First, the last days are described by Micah as a time of great blessedness (vv. 1-2).

 

“1 ¶ But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:1-2)

 

What are these last days? That question would be redundant, were it not for all the false teaching that prevails in this world of religious foolishness about “prophetic things” and “end time studies.” If men and women would read the Word of God and ignore Hal Lindsay, Dallas Seminary, and the Scofield Notes in their Bibles, they would recognize immediately that “the last days” are the days of this Gospel Age. The last days began with the first advent of our Lord Jesus Christ and shall be concluded when our blessed Savior comes again in power and in great glory. — Micah’s prophecy about “the last days” is a prophecy about this Gospel Age and the wonders of God’s grace performed in this day of grace by Christ Jesus, the Ruler and King of God’s Israel, our dear Savior.

·      It is He of whom Micah speaks in our text (5:2).

 

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

 

·      John declares plainly that we are in the last time (1 John 2:18).

 

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18)

 

Now, look at the blessings of Christ and His Gospel as they are described by Micah hundreds of years before the Lord Jesus Christ ever came into this world.

·      God’s Church shall be built and established by God as His High Mountain, exalted by Him above all the mountains of the earth (Matthew 16:18).

·      Men and women, God’s elect remnant from all nations shall come into God’s Church. — Jew and Gentile!

·      And each one who comes will bid others come with Him into the House of God. — “Ye shall be witnesses unto me!

·      All who are born of God and taught of God know that God’s Church is “the House of the God of Jacob!” — He who is our God is the Savior of sinners, the God of Jacob!

·      God’s people come to God’s House seeking to be taught of God, taught His ways, that we may walk in His paths (Jeremiah 6:16).

 

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

 

God’s Church is God’s School House. God’s Church is the place where God teaches His children by His servants through the preaching of the Gospel (Ephesians 4:8-16). — “For the Law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem!

 

 

Kingdom of Peace

 

Second, the great blessedness of God’s Church and Kingdom is the peace that Christ gives us by His grace (vv. 3-5).

 

“3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it]. 5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:3-5)

 

Peace is established in the earth as God’s Church is established in the earth. Apart from God’s Church, outside the Kingdom of Grace, there is no peace. But here, in Zion, peace reigns, for here the Prince of Peace reigns!

·      In Christ race and nationality are irrelevant.

·      God’s people, rather than warring against each other, help one another. — We beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.

·      Trusting Christ, we sit peacefully under our vine and fig, fearing nothing. — Christ is ours and we are His! — “And none can make them afraid!

·      That is what it is to walk with God. — We walk without fear when we walk by faith (v. 5).

 

“For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:5)

 

These are matters of such great importance that God the Holy Spirit inspired Micah’s fellow Prophet, Isaiah, to give this word of prophecy in almost the exact same words (Isaiah 2:1-4).

 

“1 ¶ The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:1-4)

 

Super-abounding Grace

 

Third, the great blessedness of God’s Church is the constant, super-abounding grace of our God to our poor, needy, sinful souls in Christ Jesus (vv. 6-10).

 

“6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.”

 

What sweet promises these are to the weak and fearful! Halting and the trembling souls, under the thoughts of being cast off are here promised grace sufficient and strength in weakness. Christ is our Strength and our Confidence. He will both plead our cause and undertake our cause!

 

Notice how often that sweet word “I” is mentioned. — “I” the Lord will assemble. — I” will gather. — I” will make her that halted a remnant. All is His work; and when God works who can hinder?

 

What a great and gracious God our God is! He not only blesses obedience and blesses when we follow Him, He promises to bless us when we fall! He blesses by recovering us from our halting and falling! And of all the tokens of grace, that is the most endearing which is manifested over the aboundings of transgression. We have a passage similar to this in Isaiah 43.

 

(Isaiah 43:22-26) “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. 23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. 24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. ————— 25 I, [even] I, [am] he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” (Isaiah 43:22-26)

 

Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds! — Read on.

 

(Micah 4:8-10) “And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? [is there] no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” (Micah 4:6-10)

 

The word “Tower” in verse 8 means “Bethlehem,” the very place where the Jewish shepherds were keeping their flocks by night when the angels announced to them the birth of Christ (Luke 2:8-9). God’s Church is Christ’s flock, and Christ Himself as our Tower of defense (Zechariah 9:12; Ezekiel 34:31).

 

“Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare [that] I will render double unto thee;” (Zechariah 9:12)

 

“And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, [are] men, [and] I [am] your God, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 34:31)

 

These last days and Christ’s Kingdom began when our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2).

 

I want you to see clearly what our God asserts here about His wise and gracious purpose in all things. — “Thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies!” The only reason Babylon existed was that it might serve as an instrument of good to God’s chosen. Israel could never have known God as they did after their Babylonian Captivity had they never known the bitterness of that horrible bondage. —— So it is with us and the Fall of our father Adam.

 

Gloriously Triumphant

 

Fourth, “in the last days” the Church and Kingdom of our God shall be triumphant over all the nations of the earth (vv. 11-13).

 

“11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.” (Micah 4:11-13)

 

The Church is the envy of the world. Therefore, God’s Kingdom of Peace is constantly under attack by the world. But there is no cause for alarm When Christ’s enemies and ours seem to triumph their boasting is but momentary. Our Lord is, by all that they do, hastening their destruction. ——— When Babylon’s king profaned the holy vessels of the sanctuary to the insult of God’s Israel and the blasphemy of God’s name, that same night he was slain by the God he mocked (Daniel 5:2-30).

 

Robert Hawker wrote, “What holy triumphs await the Church in the end. It is not enough that Jesus will drive out all the enemies of His people before them; but He will bring all their enemies under them. Satan shall not only be bruised, but bruised under the feet of the poor timid followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The song hath been already sung in heaven, in the assurance of those events; and ere long, the same song shall be sung by all the redeemed upon earth. ‘Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night; and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb’ (Revelation 12:10-11).”

 

God Incarnate

 

Fifth, all this grace, and blessedness, and glory is sure because “in the last days” our mighty God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Ruler of Israel has come forth, “whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting” (5:1-2).

 

“1 ¶ Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:1-2)

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #11 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         The Glory of God’s Church

 

      Text:          Micah 4:1-5

      Subject:   The Glories of God’s Church

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — December 20, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #11

      Readings:           Bob Poncer and Allen Kibby

                        Psalm 102:1-27

      Introduction:

 

The title of my message is The Glory of God’s Church. Our text will be Micah 4:1-5. David sang, “Thou shalt arise, [and] have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.” Then he sang, “When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory” (Psalms 102:13 and 16). In our text God’s Prophet Micah tells us when that time is, that “set time” when God will favor Zion and tells what those things are by which the Lord God favors Zion.

 

(Micah 4:1-5) “But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it]. 5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.”

 

This prophetic word by which Micah describes the glory of God’s Church is so important that God the Holy Spirit gives it to us by both Micah. You will find this message in almost the exact same words in the 2nd chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 2:1-5).

 

“1 ¶ The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” (Isaiah 2:1-5)

 

 

Well might we sing with John Newton…

 

“Glorious things of thee are spoken,

Zion, city of our God!

He, whose Word cannot be broken,

Form’d thee for His own abode:

On the Rock of ages founded,

What can shake thy sure repose?

With salvation’s walls surrounded,

Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

 

See! the streams of living waters,

Springing from eternal love,

Well supply thy sons and daughters,

And all fear of want remove.

Who can faint while such a river

Ever flows their thirst to assuage?

Grace, which, like the Lord, the Giver,

Never fails from age to age.

 

Round each habitation hov’ring,

See the cloud and fire appear!

For a glory and a cov’ring,

Showing that the Lord is near;

Thus deriving, from their banner,

Light by night and shade by day,

Safe they feed upon the manna

Which He gives them when they pray.

 

Bless’d inhabitants of Zion,

Wash’d in the Redeemer’s blood!

Jesus, Whom their souls rely on,

Makes them kings and priests to God.

`Tis His love His people raises

Over self to reign as kings,

And as priests, His solemn praises

Each for a thank-off’ring brings.

 

Savior, if of Zion’s city

I through grace a member am,

Let the world deride or pity,

I will glory in Thy name:

Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,

All his boasted pomp and show:

Solid joys and lasting treasure,

None but Zion’s children know.”

 

 

Proposition: Our text is a prophecy of the Gospel Age in which we now live and of the great glory, excellence, and benefit of the Gospel Church, which is Zion, the spiritual Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Last Days

 

Micah begins by telling us that his message concerns “the last days” (v. 1). It is a prophecy about the glory of Zion, the glory of God’s Church, in the last days. — “In the last days it shall come to pass.” Here is something that will help you to understand the Old Testament prophets: — Whenever the last days are mentioned the reference is to this Gospel Age in which we now live. — “This is the last time” (I John 2:18).

 

The last days began with the coming of Christ and the dissolution of Judaism and the Mosaic economy (Habakkuk 2:3; Hebrews 1:2).

 

God “hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:2)

 

There is no future day of grace to come, tribulation period, or millennial age, in which men will be saved by their works, or by a return to Jewish worship! There is no grace but that which is to be found in Christ, that which is revealed and proclaimed by the Gospel. When Christ comes the second time, “then cometh the end (1 Corinthians 15:24).

 

Notice that Micah’s message in chapter for begins with the word “But.” He is drawing a stark contrast between that which was present and that which was to come. Chapter 3 ends with Zion, the Church of God, as a plowed field, Jerusalem in heaps, and the mountain of the Lord’s house as in the high place of a dark forest. But the Lord God promised to visit His people in the latter day and gather them as the sheep of Bozrah (Micah 2:12). Micah chapter 4 opens with that same promise. In these last days the Lord God will build again Zion. His Church shall flourish! His Kingdom shall prosper! — See Isaiah 54:1-5.

 

(Isaiah 54:1-5 ) “Sing, O barren, thou [that] didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou [that] didst not travail with child: for more [are] the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. 2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; 3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. 4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. 5 For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isaiah 54:1-5)

 

Seven Distinctives

 

In these five verses Micah shows us the great glory of the Gospel Age, the spiritual kingdom of Christ, the glory of Zion, by pointing out seven things that characterize the Church and people of God, seven distintives showing the great benefits and blessings of this Gospel Age.

 

An Established Church

 

In the Old Testament everything was temporary. The law, the ordinances, the tabernacle, the temple, the priesthood, everything was temporary. But in this Gospel Day everything is permanent, fixed, established. Micah begins by telling us that God’s Church is established, fixed, permanent! Our Lord Jesus Christ is building His Church and establishing His Kingdom in this world. The Church of God is here called — “The mountain of the house of the Lord established in the top of the mountains.” What does this mean?

 

The Church is the House of God (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Matthew 18:20).

  • It is built by the Lord Himself (Matthew 16:18).
  • He dwells here.
  • He will beautify, glorify, and exalt it.
  • The materials of this house are lively stones, true believers, built upon Christ, the Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11, Ephesians 2:19-22).

 

“19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

 

  • The only Door of entrance into the House and Kingdom of God is Christ himself, Who is the Master over His own House (John 10:9; 3:5-7).

 

(John 10:9) “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

 

(John 3:5-7) “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

 

The kingdom of Christ and the Gospel of it is to be openly preached and professed. The church of God is “established,” prepared and fixed, “in the top of the mountains,” in clear view and hearing of all. This is no secret society with secret orders.

  • Our Lord compared His Church to a city set upon a hill, which cannot be hid (Matthew 5:14).
  • Christ Himself spoke openly to all the world (John 18:20).
  • The Gospel preached by the Apostles was not done in a corner (Acts 26:26).

That which was everywhere spoken against had been everywhere spoken of. — The message we preach is a banner to be lifted up, a standard to be held high. It is not something to be hid. Let the whole world hear and every man know the wonderful works of our God (Matthew 28:18-20).

 

Micah is also telling us that the Church and Kingdom of God is firmly fixed, immovable, and sure to prevail, like the majestic mountains.

  • It is built upon the Rock, Christ Jesus.
  • The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

John Gill puts it this way: — The church of God is immovable, “being secured in the everlasting and electing love of God, and in the unalterable covenant of grace, founded on the Rock, Christ, and guarded by the mighty power of God.”

 

And Micah here declares that the Church and Kingdom of God shall be exalted above all the hills of the earth. The truth of God shall prevail. The kingdom of Christ shall be exalted.

  • Exalted above Mt. Sinai and the earthly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:18-24)

 

“18 ¶ For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which [voice] they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, [that] Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18-24)

 

  • Exalted above all the religions of antichrist (Revelation 11:11-12)

 

“11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” (Revelation 11:11-12)

 

  • Exalted in the esteem of chosen, redeemed, and called sinners.

 

  • Exalted above all the creation of God (Revelation 21).

 

A Universal Church

 

There is much talk about the “Roman Catholic Church. But there is no such thing as a Roman Catholic Church. The world “Catholic” means “universal;” and the church of Rome is not universal. But Micah tells us that the second distinctive of God’s Church is that it is a universal church “People shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come” (vv. 1-2). In Isaiah’s prophecy, speaking of the very same thing, Isaiah says, “And all nations shall flow into it” (Isaiah 2:2).

 

Yes, the Church of God is universal. It was never our Lord’s intention that His Kingdom be limited to the Jewish nation alone. From the beginning He was determined to have a Church made up of men and women out of every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue for the praise of His name. The Church of God is a universal Family, a universal Kingdom, and a universal Body.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ has broken down every wall of partition that naturally separates men and women from one another in this world (Ephesians 2:11-18; Colossians 3:11).

 

“11 ¶ Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

 

“14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Ephesians 2:11-18)

 

In God’s Church, in God’s Family, in God’s Kingdom — “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11)

 

  • The Door of God’s Church is open to all.
  • All who enter in enter in upon the same grounds: — Sinners in Need of Grace.
  • All who enter in by Christ the Door are equals.
  • And all who enter in are brethren.

 

People shall flow unto it!” — “All nations (all nationalities) shall flow into it!Like streams of water from the four corners of the earth, God gathers His elect into His Kingdom by His almighty grace. Yet, no one is forced in. All who come, come willingly. They flow into Zion upon the river of grace. To Christ shall the gathering of the people be (Psalm 110:3; Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 60:1-5).

 

(Psalms 110:3) “Thy people [shall be] willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” (Psalms 110:3)

 

(Genesis 49:10) “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].” (Genesis 49:10)

 

(Isaiah 60:1-5) “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at [thy] side. 5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” (Isaiah 60:1-5)

 

Note: When I speak of the Church universal, I do not in anyway lessen the importance of the local assembly. But one great aspect of the Church’s glory is its universality.

 

A United Church

 

The third glory of God’s Church in this Gospel Age is the fact that it is a united Church (v. 2).

 

“And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:2)

 

With those words Micah describes the mutual love, encouragement, help, and assistance God’s people give to one another.

 

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalms 122:1)

 

Here is Evangelism at its best. Every redeemed soul says to his neighbor, “Come ye, let us go up to the house of God.”

 

Here is the primary object of public worship. “He will teach us of his ways.” In Gospel Churches sinners are taught of God by the preaching of the Gospel, by the faithful exposition of Holy Scripture. Yes, God Himself, God the Holy Ghost is our Teacher. He teaches us of His ways.

·      His Way of Grace.

·      His Way of Providence.

·      His Way of Obedience.

 

Here is the resolution of every heaven-born soul, the determination of every God-taught person. — “We will walk in His paths.” — If He will show us His way, by His grace, we will walk in His paths.

 

That church is truly united in Christ which is united in seeking the salvation of God’s elect, seeking the instruction of God the Holy Spirit, and seeking obedience to the will of God.

 

A Mighty Weapon

 

The fourth great distinctive of God’s Church in this Gospel Day is the weapon by which we wage war with our enemies. Ours is a mighty weapon indeed.

  • Not the Sword!
  • Not Scholasticism!
  • Not History!
  • Not a Creed!

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Our mighty weapon is the Gospel we preach! — For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem(v. 3).

 

The means by which God saves His people, teaches them His ways, and leads them in His paths is the preaching of the Gospel. The power of the Church is not its size, it wealth, its talents, or its pastor, but the Gospel of the grace of God which we preach (Romans 1:15-16).

 

“15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:15-16)

 

The Gospel of Christ is the law of His Kingdom (1 John 3:23; Romans 3:31).

·    The Law of Faith.

·    The Law of Love.

·    The Fulfilling of the Law.

 

The Gospel of Christ is the Word of God by which chosen, redeemed sinners are saved and born into His kingdom (1 Peter 1:23-25). This is the rod of His strength sent out of Zion into all the world (Psalm 110:2).

 

(Psalms 110:2) “The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.”

 

(1 Peter 1:23-25) “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

 

“24 ¶ For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

 

Christ our Head

 

The next great distinctive of God Church is the fact that Christ is the Head of His Church, not the pope, not some earthly monarch, not the pastor, but Christ Himself. Micah saw Christ exalted as Head over all things for His church (Ephesians 1:21-23). “And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off” (v. 3).

 

(Ephesians 1:21-23) “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

 

He whose word goes forth out of Zion shall by that word subdue His enemies to Himself and rule them.

·      In wisdom and justice, Christ Jesus orders and rules all the affairs of this world for the good of His Church.

·      He rebukes and restrains everything and everyone that opposes the interests of His Kingdom.

·      And by His Spirit, He makes His enemies to be His servants, converting many by His almighty grace (John 16:8-13).

 

“8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:8-13)

 

A Church at Peace

 

Look at Micah 4:3-4 and learn this too. — God’s Church is a Church at peace!

 

(Micah 4:3) “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

 

Here Micah describes the great peace that comes upon men and women by the Gospel, when the Prince of Peace rules among them. — “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

 

This is not a dreamy-eyed prophecy of some Utopian millennial age. This is a prophecy of that which is experienced right now in the Kingdom of God.

·    The Gospel of Christ makes peace and slays enmities.

·    The Gospel of Christ reconciles those who are natural enemies.

 

             Illustration: Cherokee!

                                    Jamaica!

                                    Mexico!

 

The Gospel of Christ makes men peaceable, softens their hearts, and sweetens their spirits. The love of Christ, when it is shed abroad in the hearts of heaven-born sinners, constrains them to love one another (John 13:34-35).

 

“34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

 

A Confident Church

 

God’s Church is a confident Church. We have no confidence in ourselves and no confidence in the flesh; but we have confidence in God our Savior (Micah 4:4-5).

 

“4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it]. 5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:4-5)

 

  • We have no reason for fear, ever!
  • We will walk in the name of the Lord!

 

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5). — The prophet of God issues a call to all the house of Jacob, those men and women who are chosen, redeemed, saved, and kept by the grace of God. Whatever others may do, in the light of what our God has done for us, “Let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

  • Walk circumspectly as the children of light.
  • Walk humbly in the light of His grace.
  • Walk peaceably in the light of His peace.

 

Glorious things of thee are spoken,

Zion, city of our God!

He, whose Word cannot be broken,

Form’d thee for His own abode:

On the Rock of ages founded,

What can shake thy sure repose?

With salvation’s walls surrounded,

Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #12 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Halt, Driven Out and Afflicted

 

      Text:          Micah 4:6-8

      Subject:   The Incarnation and Birth of Christ

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — December 27, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #12

      Readings:           Don Raneri and David Burge

      Introduction:

 

Our text tonight is Micah 4:6-8. Halt, Driven Out and Afflicted. — That is the title of my message. Halt, Driven Out and Afflicted — Those words very accurately describe God’s people in this world. Halt, Driven Out and Afflicted — Those words describe God’s Church in every generation (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

 

(1 Corinthians 1:26-31) “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

 

Halt, Driven Out and Afflicted — Those words very accurately describe how God’s people look upon themselves.

 

(Psalms 40:17) “I [am] poor and needy; [yet] the Lord thinketh upon me: thou [art] my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.”

 

(Psalms 69:29) “I [am] poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.”

 

(Psalms 70:5) “I [am] poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou [art] my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.”

 

(Psalms 86:1) “Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I [am] poor and needy.”

 

(Psalms 109:22) “I [am] poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.”

 

Proposition: The God of all grace promises salvation to the halt, the driven out and the afflicted.

 

(Micah 4:6-8) “In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. 8 ¶ And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”

 

Ezekiel 34:11-17

 

There is a similar promise given by the mouth of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 34.

 

(Ezekiel 34:11-17) “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. 17 ¶ And [as for] you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.”

 

Yes, the Lord God declares that He will destroy the fat and the strong; but He promises grace and salvation to the halt, the driven out and the afflicted. — Most of Joseph’s Harts most excellent hymns are almost altogether unknown in this religious age. They speak of things this generation cannot understand. Here’s one of his best…

 

“When Adam by transgression fell,

And conscious, fled his Maker’s face,

Linked in clandestine league with hell,

He ruined all his future race.

The seeds of evil once brought in,

Increased and filled the world with sin.

 

But lo! The Second Adam came,

The serpent’s subtle head to bruise;

He cancels his malicious claim,

And disappoints his devilish views;

Ransoms poor sinners with His blood,

And brings the sinner back to God.

 

[To understand these things aright,

This grand distinction should be known:

Though all are sinners in God’s sight,

There are but few so in their own.

To such as these our Lord was sent;

They’re only sinners who repent.]

 

[What comfort can a Savior bring

To those who never felt their woe?

A sinner is a sacred thing;

The Holy Ghost hath made him so.

New life from Him we must receive,

Before for sin we rightly grieve.]

 

This faithful saying let us own,

Well worthy ‘tis to be believed,

That Christ into the world came down,

That sinners might by Him be saved.

Sinners are high in His esteem,

And sinners highly value Him.”

 

I repeat again the one thing I want you to get from this message: — The God of Heaven promises grace and salvation to the halt, the driven out and the afflicted. May He Who inspired His servant Micah to write out this magnificent prophecy of grace now inscribe His Word upon our hearts, for Christ’s sake.

 

Divisions: If the Lord will enable to do so I want to show you three things from these three verses.

1.    The Objects of Grace

2.    The Grace Promised

3.    The Tower of Grace

May God the Holy Spirit speak now to your heart by His Word through these stammering lips of clay.

 

The Objects of Grace

 

First, those sinners who are the objects of God’s mercy, love and grace are described in verse 6. — “In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted” (Micah 4:6).

Halteth

 

Those sinners to whom Jehovah is wed, those who are the objects of His grace, those Christ came to save are here called — “Her that halteth.” You will recall what the Angel of the Lord did to Jacob when he wrestled with him and compelled him to acknowledge “I am Jacob.” — “And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as He wrestled with him” (Genesis 32:25). As a result, Jacob “halted upon his thigh” the rest of his life. So it is with God’s elect.

·      Smitten in Holy Spirit Conviction in the Process of Conversion

·      Smitten in Holy Spirit Conviction in the Constant Experience of Grace.

·      I am black, but comely” (Song of Solomon 1:5).

·      What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies” (Song of Solomon 6:13).

·      Romans 7

·      Galatians 5

 

The halt are those who limp along, without strength, incapable of walking in a straight path or walking uprightly. The halt, the lame live in constant pain. That’s me!

 

(Psalms 38:15-22) “15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, [Hear me], lest [otherwise] they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify [themselves] against me. 17 For I [am] ready to halt, and my sorrow [is] continually before me. 18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.”

 

“21 Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.”

 

Driven Out

 

The Lord God promises, “I will assemble her that halteth!” Next, God’s chosen are described as those who are “her that is driven out.” The God of all grace declares, “I will gather her that is driven out.” The holy Lord God never gathers any He has not first driven out. — “He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel” (Psalm 147:2). Yes, the Lord God has “devised means that His banished be not expelled from Him” (2 Samuel 14:14).

·      Banished in the Fall

·      Banished from the Womb

·      Banished in Conviction

·      Banished in Experience

 

“Where is the blessedness I knew,

When first I saw the Lord?

Where is the soul refreshing view

Of Jesus and His Word?

 

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!

How sweet their memory still!

But they have left an aching void

The world can never fill.”

                  —William Cowper

 

————————————

 

“How tedious and tasteless the hours

When Jesus I no longer see;

Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flowers,

Have all lost their sweetness to me;

The midsummer sun shines but dim,

The fields strive in vain to look gay.

But when I am happy in Him,

December’s as pleasant as May.

 

His Name yields the richest perfume,

And sweeter than music His voice;

His presence disperses my gloom,

And makes all within me rejoice.

I should, were He always thus nigh,

Have nothing to wish or to fear;

No mortal as happy as I,

My summer would last all the year.

 

Content with beholding His face,

My all to His pleasure resigned,

No changes of season or place

Would make any change in my mind:

While blessed with a sense of His love,

A palace a toy would appear;

All prisons would palaces prove,

If Jesus would dwell with me there.

 

Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine,

If Thou art my sun and my song,

Say, why do I languish and pine?

And why are my winters so long?

O drive these dark clouds from the sky,

Thy soul cheering presence restore;

Or take me to Thee up on high,

Where winter and clouds are no more.”

 —                   —John Newton

 

Afflicted

 

Then, the Lord says, “and her that I have afflicted!” Yes, our afflictions, children of God, are afflictions wherewith our heavenly Father has afflicted us.

·         Physically Afflicted

·         Mentally Afflicted

·         Spiritually Afflicted

 

Illustrations: The afflicted child is sure to get  the most tender care!

     The vine that is pruned bears fruit.

 

“`Tis my happiness below

Not to live without the cross

But the 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

Which would else o’erspread the soil:

Trials make the promise sweet;

Trials give new fife to prayer;

Trials bring me to His feet,

Lay me low, and keep me there.

 

Did I meet no trials here,

No chastisement by the way,

Might I not, with reason, fear

I should prove a cast-away?

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

 

God’s elect are the halt, the driven out and the afflicted. If you can find your place among them you will find His grace and find His grace sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:1-10).

 

(2 Corinthians 12:9-10) “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

 

The Grace Promised

 

Look at the grace God promises to perform for the halt, the driven out and the afflicted (vv. 6-7).

 

(Micah 4:6-7) “In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.”

 

What sweet promises these are to the weak and fearful! Halting and the trembling souls, under the thoughts of being cast off are here promised grace sufficient and strength in weakness. Christ is our Strength and our Confidence. He will both plead our cause and undertake our cause!

 

Notice how often that sweet word “I” is mentioned. — “I” the Lord will assemble. — I” will gather. — I” will make her that halted a remnant. All is His work; and when God works who can hinder?

 

What a great and gracious God our God is! He not only blesses obedience and blesses when we follow Him, He promises to bless us when we fall! He blesses by recovering us from our halting and falling! And of all the tokens of grace, that is the most endearing which is manifested over the aboundings of transgression. We have a passage similar to this in Isaiah 43.

 

(Isaiah 43:22-26) “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. 23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. 24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. ————— 25 I, [even] I, [am] he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” (Isaiah 43:22-26)

 

Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds! — God our Savior says, “I will assemble her that halteth, and gather her that s driven out, and her that I have afflicted.

·      Gather My Sheep into Their Fold

·      Assemble My People in Gospel Churches

 

God declares that He will make (make manifest that) “her that halted” is His remnant according to the election of grace.

 

Then He declares “I will make her that was cast far off a strong nation” (Ephesians 2:11-22).

 

(Ephesians 2:11-22) “Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

 

“14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:11-22)

 

 

Go back to our text — Micah 4:7. Here’s the next sweet promise of grace that our great God says He will perform for His chosen. — “The Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even forever!

·      The Lord shall reign over all things for them.

·      The Lord shall reign over them by His grace.

·      The Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion, in His Church by the Gospel.

·      The Lord shall reign over them forever!

 

The Tower of Grace

 

What great, magnificent promises! But can we rely upon them? Are they sure? Let’s see. In verse 8 Micah speaks of the Tower of the flock as the Stronghold into which the daughter of Zion flees, the Stronghold of God’s Kingdom. That Tower, that Stronghold is Christ our Savior.

 

(Micah 4:8) “And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”

 

(Psalms 18:2) “The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.”

 

(Proverbs 18:10) “The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

 

(Zechariah 9:12) “Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare [that] I will render double unto thee.”

 

Application

 

Poor, tried, halt, afflicted, limping soul, the Good Shepherd has not forgotten you. He will gather all His sheep, and they shall pass again “under the hands of Him that telleth them” (Jeremiah 33:13). There shall not be one missing.

·      At the Appointed Time of Love

·      When Storms of Darkness Arise

·      At Our Appointed Departure Time

·      At the Resurrection

 

Here is good news for sinners. The Lord Jesus Christ saves sinners! — The Halt! — The Driven Out! — The Afflicted!

 

Sinners Jesus will receive!

Sound this word of grace to all

Who the Heavenly pathway leave,

All who linger, all who fall!

 

Christ receiveth sinful men,

Even me with all my sin;

Purged from every spot and stain,

Heav’n with Him I’ll enter in!

 

The fat and the strong He will destroy and feed with judgment!

 

(Ezekiel 34:11-17) “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. 17 ¶ And [as for] you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.”

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #13 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         No King, No Counselor and A Helpless Spirit

 

      Text:          Micah 2:7 and 4:9

      Subject:   The Incarnation and Birth of Christ

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — January 3, 2012

      Tape:        Micah #13

      Readings:           Allen Kibby and Rex Bartley

      Introduction:

 

No King, No Counselor and A Helpless Spirit — Those words pretty well describe the professed church of this age. With regard to most religious people, though they have a god, their god is king over nothing. Though they use the name “Jesus” like a good luck charm, the Jesus they worship is not a counselor they trust. When they need a counselor they go talk to their preacher, or their priest, or their shrink. Though they profess to live in the spirit, walk in the spirit, and profess to be led by the spirit, the spirit they talk about is powerless, helpless and useless.

 

Sad as those facts are here is a fact that is far, far sadder. — God’s true church, those who truly are God’s people often act as if we had No King, No Counselor and A Helpless Spirit.

·      How we fret and worry, as though our God were not King!

·      How we murmur and complain, as if Christ were not our Counselor!

·      How full of care and fear we are, as if the Spirit of God were helpless and straitened!

 

That was exactly the state the church of God was in in Micah’s day, fretting and worrying, murmuring and complaining, bowed down under the weight of care and fear. As Micah exposed, rebuked and reproved this great evil in God’s church in his day, I am here to expose, rebuke and reprove your unbelief and mine.

 

Proposition: If we trust the God of Glory, the one true and living God, if we believe God, we should be free of fear and free of care in this world.

 

The title of my message is — No King, No Counselor and A Helpless Spirit. Our texts will be Micah 2:7 and 4:9. Let’s begin in Micah 4:9. The Lord God had just promised his people great grace and sure salvation (Micah 4:1-8).

 

(Micah 4:1-8) “But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it]. 5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. 6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. 8 ¶ And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:1-8)

 

Though God himself had spoken these wonderful, full promises of grace and salvation, by the mouth of his servant Micah, though the Lord God made these great promises of revival and refreshing from the presence of the Lord, though it was God himself, ever faithful and ever true, who declared his great purpose of grace, the children of Israel were full of sorrow and heaviness.

·      They could not rejoice because they did not believe God.

·      They could not believe God because they judged God’s goodness and God’s intentions by their circumstances, not by his Word.

What a mistake! — How sad! — How dishonoring to our God! Yet, we are horribly guilty of this same evil. Are we not? How commonly we judge God’s goodness and his intentions by the things we see and experience! How often we judge God’s designs by our circumstances! And that is horribly evil! That is exactly the evil addressed in our texts.

 

(Micah 4:9) “Now why dost thou cry out aloud? [is there] no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.”

 

Back up to chapter 2, at verse 7, and you will see that this evil was a matter of constant concern to God’s prophet. It was something God’s church struggled with incessantly. And so it is to this day.

 

(Micah 2:7) “O [thou that art] named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? [are] these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?”

 

Divisions: Let’s look at these two verses of stern reproof line by line, asking God the Holy Spirit to teach us the lessons he has written for us in this portion of Holy Scripture.

1.    There are many who are named the children of God who are not; let us be certain we are not among them.

2.    The Spirit of God is not helpless; let us not behave as though he were.

3.    Our God is King; and we ought to act like people who trust him.

4.    Christ our Savior is our great Counselor; let us follow his counsel.

5.    Our souls’ pangs and longings are the pains of birth; and the fruit will cause the pain to be forgotten.

 

Be warned

 

First, let us be warned. — There are many who are named the children of God who are not; let us be certain we are not among them. — O thou that art named the house of Jacob.”

 

Multitudes profess faith who have no faith. It is not for me to judge who does and who does not believe God; and it is not for you to do so. In fact, it is horribly evil for you and me to ever presume that we have the ability to make such a judgment, ever! We look only on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart. Our Lord Jesus has told us plainly and repeatedly that we cannot distinguish tares from wheat or goats from sheep. That is not our business. We are to receive any and all who profess to believe God without doubtful disputations (Romans 14:1).

 

Yet, we are to judge ourselves. This we are all loathe to do; but it must be done. If we will judge ourselves, we shall not be judged and condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:31; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

 

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

 

Many who are called by the name of the house of Jacob are really of the house of Esau.

·      They have a name that they live, but are dead (Revelation 3:1).

·      They are called Jews and make their boast of God, but they are Jews outwardly, not inwardly (Romans 2:17).

·      You may have a form of religious knowledge and rest in your law works, and yet neither know God nor rest in Christ Romans 2:20).

·      Multitudes have a form of godliness who deny the power of it (2 Timothy 3:3).

 

An empty title will give empty comfort when the hand of death is on your brow. Old Dives called Abraham his father, Judas was called Christ’s friend and the Pharisees were called righteous by all who knew them; but they are all in hell. A name is nothing, if all you have is a name. Both Dan and Ephraim were named of the house of Jacob; but both are excluded from the roll of the twelve tribes of God’s elect in Revelation 7:4-8. — “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure!

 

(2 Peter 1:3-11) “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

 

“5 ¶ And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-11)

 

Be sure that Christ is yours. Trust him. Oh, may God give you grace to trust him!

 

God the Spirit

 

Second, God the Holy Spirit is not helpless; let us not behave as though he were. — Is the Spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?

 

The word translated “straitened” in verse 7 means “shortened,” “discouraged,” “vexed,” “constrained” or “limited.” How often we act like the heathen around us, as if God the Spirit is helpless!

·      Has he no power to save?

·      Is he incapable of accomplishing his will?

·      Is he not able to do as he pleases?

You know better. — Don’t you?

 

I am talking about God, God the Holy Spirit, not some weepy, namby-pamby, insipid Pentecostal influence!

·      He is not straightened. He straightens!

·      He is not constrained. He constrains!

·      He is not helpless. He is omnipotent!

·      The fulfilment of his Word is his doing!

·      The accomplishment of God’s promises is his work!

·      His Word will accomplish good, everlasting good for God’s elect, for all who walk uprightly, for all who, being taught and led by the Spirit, trust Christ (Romans 8:1-25; 2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1).

 

(Romans 8:1-25) “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

 

“10 ¶ And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

 

“17 ¶ And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it].”

 

(2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1) “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. 5:1 ¶ For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

 

God our King

 

Third, our God is King; and we ought to act like people who trust him. — Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? Micah asks, “Why do you howl and cry as if there were no king in Israel, as if God your King were not King indeed?”

 

Illustration: Katie Luther — “God is dead!”[4]

 

Will you hear me, my brother? Will you hear me, my sister? Will you hear me, my heart? — God our God is King! Don’t you think it is high time for us to start acting like he is! — “What do you mean, pastor?” — Don’t you think it is high time for you and me to start…

·      Believing God’s Word?

·      Trusting God’s providence?

·      Expecting God to perform his promises?

·      Anticipating the accomplishment of God’s purposes?

·      Taking our burdens to the throne of grace?

·      Casting our care upon the Lord our King, who cares for us?

 

(Psalms 5:2) “Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.”

 

(Psalms 44:4) “Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.”

 

(Psalms 47:6-7) “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God [is] the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”

 

(Psalms 74:12) “God [is] my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”

 

(Psalms 95:3) “The LORD [is] a great God, and a great King above all gods.”

 

(Psalms 145:1) “I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.”

 

(Isaiah 44:1-2) “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.”

 

(Isaiah 44:6) “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God.”

 

(Isaiah 44:8) “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared [it]? ye [are] even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, [there is] no God; I know not [any].”

 

(Isaiah 44:21-26) “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. 23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done [it]: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. 24 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise [men] backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof.” (Isaiah 44:21-26)

 

Christ our Counselor

 

Fourth, Christ our Savior is our great Counselor; let us follow his counsel. — Is thy counsellor perished? No! No! — A thousand times, “No!” Blessed be his name, our mighty Counselor, he who once died for our sins upon the cursed tree, can never die!

 

(Isaiah 9:6-7) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

 

Christ Jesus stood as our Counselor in the Covenant of Grace before the worlds were made; and he is our Counselor today. He gives Counsel to His people in this world by his Spirit and by his Word. Hear his counsel. — “It is I, be not afraid!

 

In the 6th chapter of Mark’s Gospel we find the Lord’s disciples in the midst of a terrible storm, in the middle of a dark, dark night. They were toiling hard with trouble, but everything appeared to be contrary to them. In those circumstances, our all-glorious, ever-gracious Savior came to his troubled friends, walking upon the sea that caused them so much trouble. As he approached their little, storm tossed boat, he said, — “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” Then, “he went up unto them into the ship, and the wind ceased (Mark 6:45-51).

 

This is written in the Book of God for you and me, “that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Remember, it was the Lord Jesus who sent his friends into the storm, who sent them away from himself (Mark 6:45-46). He seems to have done so specifically that he might come to them when they desperately needed him, speak these words to them and make himself known to them in a way that was not otherwise possible. Surely, that is the case with us in all our trials. Listen, then, to the voice of your tender, omnipotent Savior in the midst of your storm. ― “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”

·      It is I” who raised the tempest in your soul and will control it.

·      It is I” who sent your affliction and will be with you in it.

·      It is I” who kindled the furnace and will watch the flames and bring you through it.

·      It is I” who formed your burden, who carved your cross and who will strengthen you to bear it.

·      It is I” who mixed your cup of grief and will enable you to drink it with meek submission to your Father's will.

·      It is I” who took from you your strength and health, your peace and tranquility.

·      It is I” who made the light darkness about you and raised the contrary winds.

·      It is I” who have done all these things, not against you but for you, not to hurt you but to do you good.

 

I make the clouds my chariot, and clothe myself with the tempest as with a garment. The night hour is my time of coming to you. The dark, surging waves and billows are the pavement upon which I walk. Take courage! ― “It is I”. Don't be afraid. ― “It is I,” your Friend, your Brother, your God, your Savior! I am causing all the circumstances of your life to work together for your good. ― “It is I” who brought this storm that assails you. Your affliction did not spring out of the ground, but came down from above — a heaven sent blessing disguised as an angel of light clad in a robe of darkness. William Cowper’s hymn describes God’s ways so well. We need often to be reminded that, as Cowper put it…

 

“God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.”

 

Deep, in unfathomable mines

Of never failing skill,

He treasures up His bright designs,

And works His sovereign will.

 

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,

The clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and will break

In blessings on your head.

 

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace.

Behind the frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

 

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour.

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower!”

 

I have sent all in love! ― “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” ― “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:4, 40) This trail will not be forever. It will not always cast you down. ― “It is I” who ordered, arranged and control it. In every stormy wind, in every dark night, in every lonely hour, in every rising fear, may God the Holy Spirit give you grace (and give me grace) to hear our Savior’s voice, saying, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”

 

Blessed be his name forever, the Lord Jesus Christ is our Counselor at the Throne of God in Heaven.

 

(1 John 2:1-2) “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.”

 

Birth Pangs

 

Fifth, our souls’ pangs and longings are the pains of birth; and the fruit will cause the pain to be forgotten. This is Micah’s inspired explanation for our heartaches and troubles in this world. — For pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.”

·      A woman in travail is a woman in great pain. So is God’s church in this world.

·      A woman goes into travail that she may bring forth new life. So God’s church (John 16:20-22).

 

(John 16:20-22) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

 

·      The pangs of a woman in travail do not last very long. So it is with the pangs of God’s church in this vale of tears (2 Corinthians 4:17).

·      The sorrows and pangs of travail are forgotten as soon as the child is born. So the pangs and sorrows, the disappointments and frustrations of this mortal life shall be forever forgotten as soon as we enter into eternal life with Christ in Glory!

 

(Romans 8:17-18) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Amen.


Sermon #14 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Blessed Bethlehem!

 

      Text:          Micah 5:1-3

      Subject:   The Incarnation and Birth of Christ

      Date:        Sunday Morning — December 25, 2011

      Tape:        Micah #14

      Readings:           Luke 2:1-20

 

Introduction

 

More than four hundred years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born at Bethlehem God’s Prophet Micah specified the very place His birth, not merely by its name but also by distinguishing it specifically as Bethlehem Ephratah. Turn with me to Micah 5:2 and read it for yourself. There was another place in Israel called Bethlehem; but that Bethlehem was one of the cities in the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15). Our Lord Jesus did not spring from the tribe of Zebulun, but from the tribe of Judah. He is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” So, to make his prophecy distinct and precise, Micah was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to tell us that the Christ, the Sent One of God, would come into this world at a city in Judah, Bethlehem Ephratah.

 

(Micah 5:2) “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.”

 

The title of my message is — Blessed Bethlehem! That is the title of my message; but my subject is the One born at Bethlehem Ephratah more than two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.

 

Proposition: God sent His Son into the world through the womb of a virgin, the Seed a woman, so that He might make Him a sinless Man, a man who had no sin, knew no sin and did no sin, that He might make that sinless Man sin for us, and that He might make us the righteousness of God in Him. — That is the message of Micah 5:1-3.

 

(Micah 5:1-3) “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”

 

God sent His Son into the world through the womb of a virgin, the Seed a woman, so that He might make Him a sinless Man, a man who had no sin, knew no sin and did no sin, that He might make that sinless Man sin for us, and that He might make us the righteousness of God in Him.

 

Divisions: I am going to spend the bulk of my time in verse 2; but I want you to see this marvellous prophecy in its context. So let me call your attention to three things in these three verses. First Micah tells us about the sacrifice of Christ at Jerusalem, then about the incarnation and birth of Christ at Bethlehem, and then about the results of our Savior’s life and death as our Substitute.

1.    In verse 1 Micah declares that the Judge of Israel must be smitten with a rod upon the cheek.

2.    Then we read in verse 2 that the Sent One of God must be born in Bethlehem Ephratah.

3.    In the 3rd verse of Micah 5 God’s Prophet assures us that the result of these things shall be the salvation of Israel.

 

The Smitten Judge

 

First, in verse 1, Micah declares that the Judge of Israel must be smitten with a rod upon the cheek. — “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (Micah 5:1).

 

Without question Micah’s prophetic eye is here looking beyond the Assyrian monarch’s invasion and the Jews’ Babylonian captivity. He is looking to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation of God’s Israel by Him. Micah 5:1 must be read, as it stands, in connection with the last verses of Micah 4.

 

(Micah 4:11-5:1) “Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.”

 

Don’t stop there. Read on…

 

(Micah 5:1) “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.”

 

In verse 13 of chapter 4 God’s Church is promised triumph over all her enemies. Here God’s Prophet calls for Zion to rally, to gather herself in troops against her enemies. It is as though he had said, “Laugh them to scorn. The gates of hell shall not prevail against us. We may be taken captive for a while; but Zion shall triumph and glory over her enemies at last. Babylon shall be crushed beneath our feet! There is a Babe to be born at Bethlehem, God in our flesh, Who shall conquer and make us more than conquerors over you! God is with us (Isaiah 8:9-10). Jehovah our Judge, Jehovah our King shall save us (Isaiah 33:22; Psalm 33:7.”

 

(Isaiah 8:9-10) “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God [is] with us.”

 

(Isaiah 33:22) “For the LORD [is] our judge, the LORD [is] our lawgiver, the LORD [is] our king; he will save us.”

 

(Psalms 32:7) “Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.”

 

In order to accomplish this great salvation He Who is the Judge of Israel, Jehovah our King, must be smitten for us. — “They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek!

 

(Isaiah 50:6) “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”

 

(Lamentations 3:30) “He giveth [his] cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.”

 

(Matthew 26:67) “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote [him] with the palms of their hands.”

 

(Matthew 27:30) “And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.”

 

Our blessed Lord Jesus, Who was smitten of men with a rod was smitten of God with the sword of justice as our Substitute when He who knew no sin was made sin for us. But He could not die as a Man upon the cursed tree, under the wrath of God as One made a curse for us, until He came into this world in our flesh. So…

 

The Sent One of God

 

Second, we read in verse 2 that the Sent One of God must be born in Bethlehem Ephratah. — “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). There is much more in this magnificent verse of Inspiration than I can state in this brief space of time; but I do want to call your attention to four things in this second verse of Micah 5.

 

1.    The Place

 

First, Micah identified the place of our Savior’s birth as Bethlehem Ephratah, a tiny little village in Judah. No place on earth could have been more suitable.

 

In Bethlehem Rachel gave birth to Benjamin and died. Before she died, she called the name of her infant son Benoni, “The son of sorrow.” But his father, Jacob, called him Benjamin, “The son of the right hand.” — Christ was truly “the man of sorrows” and “the Son of the Father's right hand” (Genesis 35:18).

 

In Bethlehem Ruth met Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer, who redeemed her from poverty! The Lord Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer, came to earth at Bethlehem to redeem us.

 

In Bethlehem David was born, chosen of God to be king over Israel. Our blessed Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords was born in Bethlehem. — “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, Christ the Lord!

 

Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” What a fitting name for the birthplace of Him Who is “The Bread of Life!” — “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

 

Bethlehem was “little among the thousands of Judah.” — Our Lord always comes to the “little ones,” not to Hebron's high hills nor to Jerusalem's royal palaces, but to the little villages to be the Savior of the poor and needy. In Zechariah we read that the Man on the red horse stood among the myrtle trees. The myrtle trees grow at the bottom of the hill; and the Man on the red horse always rides there. He does not ride upon the mountain tops, but in the valley, among the myrtle trees. He rides among the broken, the humble in heart, the contrite ones. — “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word” (Isaiah 66:2).

 

Ephratah means “fruitfulness.” — All our fruitfulness comes to us from Him Who is God our Savior, Mary’s Son and Mary’s Lord, born at Bethlehem! — He says, “From Me is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14:8).

 

Divine Providence

 

Once more, we have before us a marvelous display of God’s sovereign, absolute rule of all things in providence to accomplish the good purpose of His grace toward chosen sinners. — Our Savior was not born in Nazareth of Galilee, where Mary and Joseph resided. Instead, He was born at Bethlehem.

 

He who orders all things in heaven, earth and hell, turns the hearts of kings whithersoever he will. — “The king's heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). It was the Lord God who caused Augustus to make a decree and begin enforcing it at precisely the time when Mary’s pregnancy had come to full term.

 

Neither Augustus nor Cyrenius had any idea what they were doing, or why. I have no doubt at all, being typical politicians, they acted only upon the unprincipled principle of expediency. What they were actually doing was carrying forth the eternal designs of our God for the salvation of His people and the glory of His own great name. Like the king of Assyria, they meant it not so, neither did their hearts think so, but they were performing the work of the Lord (Isaiah 10:5-12).

 

(Isaiah 10:5-12) “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but [it is] in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. 8 For he saith, [Are] not my princes altogether kings? 9 [Is] not Calno as Carchemish? [is] not Hamath as Arpad? [is] not Samaria as Damascus? 10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; 11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? 12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, [that] when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.”

 

So it was with this act of the first Roman emperor. It was an act which laid the foundation for the Kingdom of God, before which all the kingdoms of this world must soon bow and crumble.

 

Our God graciously and wisely rules and over rules all things, the good and the evil, for the accomplishment of His will.

 

(Psalms 76:10) “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”

 

·      Adam’s Fall

·      Lot’s Incest

·      Elimelech’s Move

·      David and Bathsheba

·      Judas’ Betrayal

 

Our heavenly Father’s providential rule of the universe ought to quieten our hearts, while we sail through the troubled waters of this world. — If we believe God, we should never be greatly disturbed by the affairs of this world, or the conduct of earthly rulers. We ought to regard all things as the will of God. We should look upon every action of every political ruler as the oracle of God. It mattered not whither Shemei cussed David or praised David, God blessed him! Let us learn to regard all men and all devils, too, as creatures of God Almighty, created to serve His purpose, without the ability to think, wiggle, or move, except by the will of God (Ecclesiastes 5:8).

 

(Ecclesiastes 5:8) “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for [he that is] higher than the highest regardeth; and [there be] higher than they.”

 

2.    God’s Sent One

 

Micah describes the incarnation and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as the advent of God’s Sent One. — “Out of thee shall He come forth unto Me.Let us never fail to see and rejoice in the workings of the Triune Jehovah in the salvation of our souls.

·      Planned by the Father (Ephesians 1:3-6)

·      Purchased by the Son (Ephesians 1:7-12)

·      Performed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14)

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ came here as the Sent One of the Triune God.

·      Sent by Divine Decree (Romans 8:28-31)

·      Sent as Jehovah’s Servant (Isaiah 42:4)

·      Sent on a Divine Mission (Matthew 1:21)

·      Sent by Jehovah’s Love!

 

Jehovah sent Him! Think on that! — Let your soul get hold of it. In every period of His life realize that He suffered what Jehovah willed. Every step of His life was marked with the approval of the great I AM. Let every thought that you have of Christ be connected with the eternal, ever-blessed God. — “He shall come forth unto Me,” says our God!

 

3.    Sent to Rule

 

Next Micah tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ was sent here “to be Ruler in Israel.” In Matthew 2:2 we read that our Lord Jesus Christ was “born King,” not born to be a king, but “born King!” Many men have been born to be kings; but no mere man was ever born king. He Who is God our King was born King, born to be Ruler in Israel.

·      Our Savior was our Mediator King from everlasting.

·      The Apostles bowed before Him, and owned Him as their King while He walked in their midst.

·      All the seed of Israel bow to Him as their King in conversion. — He rules over all Israel. — Any who do not bow to Him as their King are not of Israel.

·      Jesus Christ is King in His Kingdom, in the Church of the living God.

·      Christ is King over all the universe.

·      Soon all the universe shall acknowledge Him as King (Philippians 2:8-11).

 

4.    His Goings

 

Notice the last line of verse 2. — There we are told that our Savior’s “goings forth [have been] of old, from everlasting!

 

·      Of old He went forth as our Covenant Head in election, “according as He hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world.”

 

“Christ be My first elect, He said,

Then chose our souls in Christ our Head.”

 

He had goings forth for His people, as their Representative before the Throne, even before we were begotten in the world. It was from everlasting that His mighty fingers grasped the pen, the stylus of ages, and wrote His own name, the name of the eternal Son of God and signed the compact with His Father, that He would pay blood for blood, wound for wound, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of His people. It was from everlasting that He gave Himself up, without a murmuring word, that from the crown of His head to the sole of His foot He might sweat blood, that He might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, suffer the pain of death, and the agonies of the cross. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting.

 

Pause, my soul, and wonder! His delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Without any pause He thinks of us from everlasting to everlasting. He set His affection upon us from everlasting! — Imagine that!

  • Has He been from everlasting about my salvation, and will He not accomplish it?
  • Has He from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will He lose me now?
  • Has He had me in His hand, as His precious jewel, and will He now let me slip between His precious fingers?
  • Did He choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep scooped out, and will He lose me now?
  • Impossible!

 

“My name from the palms of His hands

Eternity cannot erase;

Impressed on His heart it remains,

In marks of indelible grace.”

 

I am sure He would not love me so long, and then leave off loving me. If He intended to be tired of me, He would have been tired of me long before now. If He had not loved me with a love as deep as hell and as unutterable as the grave, if He had not given His whole heart to me, I am sure He would have turned from me long ago.

 

He knew what I would be, and He has had long time enough to consider of it; but I am His choice, and that is the end of the matter! Unworthy as I am, it is not mine to grumble, if He is content with me. And, blessed be His holy name forever, He is content with me!

“His love in times past forbids me to think.

He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink.

 

Since “His goings forth were of old from everlasting,” They will be “to everlasting.” There is much more to be said about this; but I must move one. Look at verse 3.

 

The Salvation of Israel

 

Third, in the 3rd verse of Micah 5 God’s Prophet assures us that the result of these things shall be the salvation of Israel. — “Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel” (Micah 5:3).

 

Israel shall be cast off and given up until the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in. Then, at last, “all Israel shall be saved.

 

(Romans 11:25-29) “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.”

 

All Israel shall be saved.— Who is that talking about? Who shall be saved?

·      Every chosen sinner!

·      Every redeemed sinner!

·      Every called sinner!

·      Every sinner who comes to Christ!

 

Satan roars against those who are coming to Christ. He roars, “You are not elected.” But the fact that you come proves the liar of hell a liar again. The Lord Jesus says, “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out!

  • Coming is proof of drawing.
  • The call of God is proof of redemption and election.

 

Yes, the remnant shall return and “all Israel shall be saved,” because Christ Who was born at Bethlehem died at Calvary in the place of poor, needy sinners.

 

Jesus, my Savior, to Bethlehem came,

Laid in a manger so lowly He came;

O it was wonderful, blest be His name,

Seeking for me, seeking for me,

To Bethlehem He came!

 

Jesus, my Savior, on Calvary's tree

Paid the great debt and my soul He set free;

O it is wonderful! — How can it be?

Dying for me, dying for me,

Dying for me on Calvary's tree!

 

Jesus, my Savior, Who bought me with blood,

While I was wand’ring in darkness from God,

Graciously called me and saved my poor soul,

Graciously called, graciously called,

Graciously brought me home to my God!

 

Jesus, my Savior, shall come from on high.

Sweet is the promise as weary years fly:

O I shall see Him descend from the sky,

Coming for me, coming for me!

Coming for me, for me;

Soon I shall see Him coming for me!

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #15 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Blessed Bondage and Sure Deliverance

 

      Text:          Micah 4:10

      Subject:   The Incarnation and Birth of Christ

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — January 10, 2012

      Tape:        Micah #15

      Readings:           Bob Poncer & David Burge

      Introduction:

 

Turn with me to Micah 4:10. The title of my message is — Blessed Bondage and Sure Deliverance. Here is my text…

 

(Micah 4:10) “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”

 

Here is God’s promise of mercy, love, and grace to his chosen, covenant people

 

(Micah 4:10) “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”

 

You might think, “Bro. Don, if that’s a promise of God’s mercy, love, and grace, what are God’s threats of anger, wrath, and judgment?” It looks more like a threat than a promise that God would send his people to Babylon, but there they were to be delivered and redeemed. We must be brought into captivity before we are set free. We must feel the weight of the iron bondage of sin and Satan before we are brought out into “the glorious liberty of the sons of God” wherewith Christ makes his people free.

 

Proposition: Our text is a declaration of the fact that in the experience of God’s saving grace God makes us sinners before he declares us to be saints, he puts us into bondage before he gives us liberty. — You can’t be delivered from Babylon until God puts you into Babylon.

 

(Micah 4:10) “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”

 

I do not suggest, or even think, that all who are born of God experience grace in the same way. They don’t. In many, many ways, the experience of grace is the same; but in many ways it is different.

·      Some experience God’s saving grace like the Gadarene demoniac, out of whom the powers of hell are cast instantaneously.

·      Others are like the pitiful soul who, coming to the Savior, was thrown and torn violently.

·      Sometimes the Lord Jesus gives full sight to his blind ones all at once.

·      Sometimes he causes his blind ones to see just a little at a time. — “I see men as trees, walking” (Mark 8:24).

 

The old writers used to speak of “sensible sinners,” or “awakened sinners,” and “seeking sinners.” L. R. Shelton used to talk about “lost sinners.” I realize that we can make too much of this, but there is a difference between sinners and sinners. Joseph Hart put it like this…

 

“Though all are sinners in God’s sight,

There are but few so in their own.

To such as these our Lord was sent;

They’re only sinners who repent.]

 

What comfort can a Savior bring

To those who never felt their woe?

A sinner is a sacred thing;

The Holy Ghost hath made him so.

 

[To sinners Jesus comes in grace

And gives life, liberty, and peace.]

Sinners are high in His esteem,

And sinners highly value Him.”

 

Divisions: Let’s read our text one more time. Then I want to make four statements from it.

 

(Micah 4:10) “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”

 

1.    If God ever brings you into travail of soul, he will bring forth life in you.

2.    If ever the God of all grace causes you to be isolated from him, alone, helpless, and hopeless, he will bring you into a life of sweet communion with him.

3.    If the Lord Jesus Christ ever puts you in Babylon, there he will deliver you.

4.    If God the Holy Spirit ever puts you into the hand of your soul’s enemies, from their hands he will redeem you.

 

Travail

 

First, if ever God brings you into travail of soul, he will bring forth life in you. — In the last phrase of verse 9 the Micah said, “pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.”Then he writes in verse 10, “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail.” The language is imperative. The prophet of God says to all God’s elect, to every chosen daughter of Zion, “You must be in pain. You must labor to bring forth, like a woman in travail.”

 

Salvation is according to God’s sovereign purpose. Salvation is of the Lord! How we rejoice to hear it! How we rejoice to declare it! — “Salvation is of the Lord!” Sinners are saved by…

·      God’s Everlasting Covenant and Sovereign Decree!

·      Divine, Unconditional Election and Predestination!

·      Christ’s Particular and Effectual Redemption and Blood Atonement!

·      The Omnipotent Power and Irresistible Grace of God the Holy Spirit!

 

You understand that. Don’t you? We are what folks call “Sovereign Gracers,” “Predestinarians,” “Calvinists,” and whatever term they think makes us look ugly and evil. The mud slung at me by will-worship Arminians, I take to be adornments. Yes, I am a Sovereign Gracer. I am a Predestinarian! I make no apology.

 

Now, I’ve said all that to say this: If ever God saves you by his grace, you will seek his grace, you will choose to be saved, you will pray for his mercy, you will seek his Son, you will seek him. All who are saved by God’s sovereign will are made willing in the day of his power. No sinner has ever been saved who was not willing to be saved. Let’s see if that is not what God teaches in this Book.

 

(Psalms 65:4) “Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple.”

 

(Psalms 110:3) “Thy people [shall be] willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”

 

(Jeremiah 29:11-14) “11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”

 

(Ezekiel 36:23-38) “23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.”

 

“25 ¶ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them]. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. 31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that [were] not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I [this], saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. 33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause [you] to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities [are become] fenced, [and] are inhabited. 36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined [places, and] plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken [it], and I will do [it]. 37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet [for] this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do [it] for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.”

 

If ever God brings you into travail of soul, he will bring forth life in you. — “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail!” (Lamentations 3:1-58)

 

(Lamentations 3:1-33) “I [am] the man [that] hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2 He hath led me, and brought [me into] darkness, but not [into] light. 3 Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand [against me] all the day. 4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. 5 He hath builded against me, and compassed [me] with gall and travail. 6 He hath set me in dark places, as [they that be] dead of old. 7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. 8 Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. 9 He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. 10 He [was] unto me [as] a bear lying in wait, [and as] a lion in secret places. 11 He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. 12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. 14 I was a derision to all my people; [and] their song all the day. 15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. 16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. 17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. 18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: 19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul hath [them] still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.”

 

“21 ¶ This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 [It is of] the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD [is] my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD [is] good unto them that wait for him, to the soul [that] seeketh him. 26 [It is] good that [a man] should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 [It is] good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne [it] upon him. 29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30 He giveth [his] cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”

 

(Lamentations 3:55-58) “I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. 56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 Thou drewest near in the day [that] I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.”

 

If ever God the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin, you will find it the most bitter thing in the world; and that conviction that sweetly forces you into the arms of Christ will prove to be the sweetest thing in all the world to your soul. If ever God brings you into travail of soul, he will bring forth life in you. Blessed are they who are commanded by God the Holy Spirit, — “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail!

 

Isolation

 

Second, if ever the God of all grace causes you to be isolated from him, alone, helpless, and hopeless, he will bring you into a life of sweet communion with him. — “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field.” Blessed are they who find themselves cast off from God, shut out from the covenants of promise, and without hope! When you have nothing, you will find everything in Christ. As long as you have anything of your own, you will not have Christ. But if God brings you to nothing, you will find Christ to be everything to your soul.

 

(Hosea 2:6-14) “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. 7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find [them]: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then [was it] better with me than now. 8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, [which] they prepared for Baal. 9 Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax [given] to cover her nakedness. 10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. 11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. 12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These [are] my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. 13 And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD. 14 ¶ Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”

 

Babylon

 

Third, if the Lord Jesus Christ ever puts you in Babylon, there he will deliver you. — “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon..”

 

Babylon is used throughout the Word of God to represent false religion and the bondage of it. And here God’s prophet declares this to be God’s promise to every daughter of Zion, — “Thou shalt go [even] to Babylon.” That is to say, in the day of grace and salvation the Lord God will destroy your refuge of lies and make you see that it is a refuge of lies.

·      The righteousness you think is your glory, he will make filthy rags upon you.

·      Your religious works, by which you vainly imagine that you distinguish yourself from others, he will cause you to loathe as a whited sepulchre full of dead men’s bones.

·      Your law works by which you foolishly imagine you have been liberated, he will make bondage to your soul.

 

(Romans 7:9-12) “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me]. 12 Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”

 

Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul” (Jeremiah 51:6).

 

Redemption

 

Fourth, if God the Holy Spirit ever puts you into the hand of your soul’s enemies, from their hands he will redeem you. — “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” — The word “delivered” here means “snatched away, rescued, recovered, saved.” — The word “redeemed” refers specifically to a kinsman redeemer. It means “ransomed and brought back by a kinsman’s purchase”

 

In the fullness of time, the Lord Jesus comes by his Spirit to set his covenant prisoners, “prisoners of hope,” free, and sends forth his covenant “prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water” by the omnipotent power and efficacious grace of his Holy Spirit (Isaiah 61:1-3).

 

(Isaiah 61:1-3) “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (3) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”

 

“Long my imprisoned sprit lay,

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

 

Still the small inward voice I hear,

That whispers all my sins forgiven;

Still the atoning blood is near,

That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.

I feel the life His wounds impart;

I feel the Savior in my heart.

 

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness Divine,

Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

 

The Son of God sets captive sinners free and sends forth his prisoners out of their prison by giving them life and creating faith in them. Believing him, we are made consciously aware of the super-abounding grace and covenant privileges bestowed upon us from eternity.

 

The Lord God says, “By the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.”The blood of the covenant here is declared to be the cause of deliverance. — Without this covenanted blood-shedding the prisoners could never be set free. The blood goes in, the prisoner goes out. The blood touches his chain, and it falls off. The blood drops on the prison-bar, and the gate flies open. It is blood that does it all.

 

It is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ that is the essential thing in God’s salvation. Everything hangs upon the blood. No grace can come to sinners, except the blood be shed. — “Without shedding of blood is no remission.The Lord God says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you!” And when I see the precious blood of Christ, I see in it all the covenant and all the promises of God fulfilled.

 

“Oh, how sweet to view the flowing

Of His sin-atoning blood

By Divine assurance knowing

He hath made my peace with God!’

 

Thus it is that God can “be just and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

 

The blood of Christ is the seal of the covenant. Speaking after the manner of men (How else can I speak of these things?), until the blood was shed, the covenant was not ratified. It was like a will that could not be in force, that could not be executed, because he who wrote the will had not yet died. That is exactly how God the Holy Spirit speaks of the blood and the covenant (Hebrews 9:14-18).

 

(Hebrews 9:14-18) “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (16) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (17) For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (18) Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.”

 

Christ himself, when he was made sin for us, was shut up in the prison of the tomb for three days; but it was the very same blood of the covenant that sent us out of the prison that sent him out. — “The God of peace brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20). Now, the covenant is ratified and validated. The Testator has died, and all his inheritance shall be bestowed upon his heirs! He lives again and reins on high, to make certain that his will is enforced and executed exactly as he intended from eternity. Let me tell you a few things about this covenant blood.

 

1. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, removes the necessity for imprisonment. The blood has made the satisfaction. It has met the claims of divine justice and satisfied the offended God. It has taken away our sins and our guilt. The necessity for the imprisonment no longer exists. The law consents to; no, the law demands the release of all for whom Christ’s blood was shed at Calvary!

 

2. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, makes it right for God to deliver. Deliverance must be the work of righteousness, not merely of grace, not merely of omnipotence, but of righteousness. It was righteousness that sent the sinner to prison, and barred the door. It is righteousness that brings him out. And this righteousness was brought in by the blood of the covenant. It is now as unrighteous to hold the captive, as before it would have been unrighteous to release him.

 

3. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, opens the prison-door. The door is locked, barred, and guarded. No skill can open it, no force can remove the bar, no money can bribe the guards. It cannot be opened by earthquake, or fire, or force of any kind. — No, not even the force of omnipotent sovereignty can open the prison! Only the blood of the covenant, the great blood-shedding of the Lamb of God rolls away the stone and forces the prison-gates fly open.

 

4. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, makes it safe for the prisoner to come out and walk at liberty. As at the City of Refuge, the avenger stands without, watching. He has a right to be there. He has a right to seize the prisoner, and to take vengeance. But the death of the High Priest removes the avenger, the blood silences his claims and stops him. Covenant-blood brings the prisoner out, and the sight of the blood bids the avenger flee. That avenger was the executioner of guilt, and the guilt is gone. The blood has removed that which gave him power. He sees the blood, and withdraws his hand.

 

5. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, reconciles to God. It is the blood of propitiation, the blood of atonement. It removes the ground of separation, and brings nigh those that were afar off. The blood removes the righteous necessity of separation, and makes nearness a thing of which the law approves, and in which God delights. It is reconciling blood.

 

6. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, redeems. — “Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” The blood is the ransom money. It was necessary that the sinner, sold and imprisoned, should be redeemed (bought back) at a price that would satisfy law and justice.

 

7. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, cleanses. We are washed from our sins in covenant-blood. Our robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb. All that sin had done the blood undoes. All its pollution this blood washes away. It is purifying blood. As such, it fits us for worship, for drawing near to God.

 

8. The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, pacifies. It comes into contact with the sinner’s conscience, and removes guilt. It takes away terror. The soul is at peace, and is kept in peace by this blood. — Christ Jesus, our Lord, “has made peace by the blood of his cross.”

 

The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, is as efficacious as ever. It has lost none of its power. Age does not change it. Repeated use does not weaken its efficacy. It can still do all it once did for the sinner. Its potency is Divine.

 

The blood of Christ, this covenant blood, is as sufficient, as suitable, as free, as near as ever. He whose blood it is comes to us, and displays it in all its fullness and power in the gospel as that which “cleanseth us from all sin.Take it as it is presented, and all the benefits of this covenant-blood are yours. Though you may be the most unworthy of the unworthy, looking to Christ, you will find yourself reckoned by God clean every whit, a forgiven sinner, a delivered prisoner, “saved by the blood of the crucified One!”

 

“Oh, precious fountain that saves from sin,

I am so glad I have entered in;

There Jesus saves me and keeps me clean--

Glory to His Name!

 

Come to this fountain so rich and sweet,

Cast thy poor soul at the Savior’s feet,

Plunge in today, and be made complete--

Glory to His Name!”

 

(Micah 4:10) “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #16 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Christ the Glory-man

 

      Text:          Micah 4:10

      Subject:   The Incarnation and Birth of Christ

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — January 17, 2012

      Tape:        Micah #16

      Readings:           Darin Duff and Larry Brown

      Introduction:

 

The title of my message is Christ the Glory-man. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the man who came from Glory that he might win Glory for us, ascended back to Glory, and will soon bring us to Glory. This great Glory-man is the Man in whom the glory of God is revealed to the everlasting salvation of his people. We read about him in Micah chapter 5. — Christ the Glory-man — Micah 5:1-15.

 

When we read the fifth chapter of Micah’s prophecy, it is obvious that the prophet of God is still addressing the Babylonian Captivity to which the children of Israel must be subjected for seventy years and then delivered by the man appointed of God. Yet, reading this fifth chapter of Micah, it is equally obvious that Micah was inspired of God to write about something far more significant than the Jews’ captivity in Babylon for seventy years and their deliverance by Cyrus.

·      Micah here speaks not merely of Israel, the physical nation, but of “the Israel of God,” God’s church, that “holy nation” of which Christ is King.

·      The prophet is not merely talking about a deliverer. He is talking about Jehovah-Jesus, the Deliverer come out of Zion.

·      He is not merely telling us that Nimrod shall be destroyed and spoiled. He is telling us that Satan shall be destroyed and spoiled.

 

Proposition: Micah’s prophecy in these fifteen verses is all about our Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory-man and the salvation he accomplishes for and in chosen, redeemed sinners by the omnipotent mercy and grace of his Spirit.

 

Smitten Judge

 

First Micah tells us that Christ our great Judge, “the Judge of Israel,” the Judge of all the earth, he before whom all worlds shall be judged, was to be smitten with a rod.

 

Micah 5:1Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.”

 

These words describe Zion’s troubles. She was to be brought down to great affliction. Troops of enemies must encompass her. We know, however, this prophecy looked beyond the captivity of the church in Babylon, because the next verse is a promise that in the midst of this trouble the Lord Jesus Christ would come into the world. So the troops here spoken of refer to the Roman government in Judea at the time of our Savior’s incarnation and throughout his earthly life and ministry. They were the men who smote our dear Savior during his mock trial (Matthew 5:39; 27:30).

 

The Incarnation

 

Next Micah tells us about our Savior’s incarnation and virgin birth, naming the specific place of his birth hundreds of years before it came to pass.

 

Micah 5:2 “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

 

Bethlehem means the house of bread. That is where he was born who is the Bread of Life! Bethlehem was “little among the thousands of Judah.” — There the Son of God stooped to become a man, humbled himself, as Jehovah’s Servant, and began that obedience unto death by which he would bring in everlasting righteousness for us (2 Corinthians 8:9). — But his work did not begin at Bethlehem. Look at Micah’s inspired declaration again. — His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting!

 

I will say more about that on another day. For now, I want you to notice that the Lord God says concerning Bethlehem, “out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.

·    He came down from heaven, from the triune Jehovah to Bethlehem.

·    He came out of Bethlehem that he might go up to God as our God-man Mediator, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

·    He ascended back up into heaven to the Lord God, our all-glorious, triune Jehovah, that he might be Ruler in Israel (Acts 2; Philippians 2:5-11; Romans 14:9; John 17:2).

·    He came down from heaven on a mission from Jehovah to save his people.

·    He accomplished his mission.

·    And when his mission was accomplished he made his exodus out of the earth back to Jehovah in heaven.

 

The Appointed Time

 

Third, in verse 3, Micah tells us that there was a set time, an appointed time for all this to be accomplished.

 

Micah 5:3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”

 

The sense of this verse seems to be, that there was to be great trouble in Israel, until this glorious event of Christ’s birth was accomplished. So it was. Yet there is more. — Judah and Jerusalem, Israel must be cast off until the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in (Romans 11:26-27).

·      In due time Christ died for the ungodly!

·      In the fulness of time God sent forth his Son!

·      Behold, thy time was the time of love!

·      The time of Zion’s travail, the time when God’s elect are brought into the travail of birth is, for each of God’s elect, a set time!

 

Our Great Savior

 

Fourth, in verses 4-7 Micah speaks of the greatness and glory of our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Micah 5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

Christ Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, restores, heals, leads, protects, and preserves his sheep. Therefore, his glory is great in God’s salvation unto the ends of the earth (Psalms 21:1-6; 72:8-18).

 

(Psalms 21:1-6) “The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. 4 He asked life of thee, [and] thou gavest [it] him, [even] length of days for ever and ever. 5 His glory [is] great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. 6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.”

 

(Psalms 72:8-18) “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. 9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. 10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. 11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. 12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper. 13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. 14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. 15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; [and] daily shall he be praised. 16 There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and [they] of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. 17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and [men] shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. 18 ¶ Blessed [be] the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.”

 

Principal Men

 

Micah 5:5-6 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. (6) And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

 

Yes, Christ the Glory-man, the God-man, whose goings forth are from everlasting, is the One who is our Peace! Christ alone is our peace. He made our peace with the blood of his cross. And he and he alone, is this peace against every Assyrian, that is, every enemy from without, or from within.

 

These seven shepherds, I presume are the angels of the churches, God’s faithful servants, gospel preachers, faithful pastors in every age. They are called “principal men” because they are Jehovah’s servants, God’s messengers to his elect, the ascension gifts of Christ to his people, by whom the word of his grace comes to sinners. By these shepherds the Lord God fetches his sheep from the land of Nimrod, from the land of their captivity!

 

The eighth Man, the eighth Shepherd, I must presume refers to that Man who is God our Savior, this Glory-man by whom all this work of grace is accomplished.

 

God’s Remnant

 

Micah 5:7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.”

 

Notice here how God inspired Micah to speak of his people. They are called a “remnant. So they always are a “little flockof God’s choosing (Romans 9:27; Isaiah 10:21-22; Luke 12:32). This remnant distinguished from the world around them by Divine blessings, as Gideon’s fleece from the dry ground (Judges 6:36-38).

 

Now, watch this: — God’s elect, though a remnant,as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men!

·    They are a vast multitude!

·    Their salvation is God’s work alone!

·    It does not wait upon man!

 

Like dew on the ground, the work of God the Holy Ghost upon the soul is unknown, unnoticed, unperceived by the world. In fact, the very receiver of his work is for a time a stranger to the Lord’s work within him. The blessing of God’s salvation is ours before we have any consciousness of it!

 

And as the dew comes down in abundance on the earth, so the grace of God the Spirit comes down in great abundance on the chosen sinner!

 

The promise to the Lord Jesus was, that from the womb of the morning he should have the dew of his youth (Psalm 110:3). Multitudes of souls have been and shall be given to Christ, as innumerable as the dew-drops of the morning, multitudes like the pouring rain that refreshes the whole earth.

 

Micah 5:8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.”

 

Here Micah simply adopts another figure to tell the same thing. In verse 7 Jacob’s remnant is passive in receiving blessings from the Lord. Here they are very active, going forth in the Lord’s strength to the Lord’s cause. Acting under the name and authority of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, “the worm Jacob is enabled to thresh the mountains” (Isaiah 41:14).

 

Micah 5:9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.”

 

·      This is speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, our all-victorious Savior’s accomplishments at Calvary.

·      This is speaking the triumph of all God’s elect (Romans 16:20).

·      But, primarily, this is talking about our great Savior’s work of grace in us by his Holy Spirit as it is described in the next verses. — Omnipotent Grace! — Irresistible Mercy! — Conquering Love!

 

Blessed Destruction

 

Fifth, in verse 10-15 Micah describes God’s great work of grace in saving poor sinners as a destructive work. — Blessed destruction this is!

 

Micah 5:10-15 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: (11) And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: (12) And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: (13) Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. (14) And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. (15) And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

 

The remnant of Jacob shall be stripped of all false confidences in themselves and secured from all deceitful errors. The Lord Christ who undertakes for them will keep us from all evil and shall beat down all our spiritual foes. This is all the work of God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory-man, who...

·    Came down from Glory.

·    To perform the great work of redemption for God’s glory, revealing God’s glory.

·    That he might return to Glory.

·    And brings us up to Glory!

 

Jeremiah 32:37-41 — “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #17 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Now shall he be great!

 

      Text:          Micah 5:4

      Subject:   The Greatness of Christ our Savior

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — February 7, 2012

      Tape:        Micah #17

      Readings:           Bob Duff and Don Raneri

      Introduction:

 

(Micah 5:1-4) “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

Now shall he be great! That is my subject. — Now shall he be great!

·      Now” — Now, since he has come into the world, God in our nature!

·      Now” — Now, since the Ruler and Judge, the King of Israel has been smitten for the sins of his people!

·      Now” — Now, since he has with his own blood entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us!

·      Now” — Now, since he reigns in the majesty of the name of Jehovah, his God and our God, — “Now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth

 

My subject is too big for me. — Now shall he be great!All I can hope to do is declare the fact of Christ’s greatness. Explanation is beyond me. The primary thing spoken of in the 5th chapter of Micah is not Nimrod, or Babylon, or the Assyrian, but Christ the Glory-man, and the glorious greatness of that Glory-man, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gabriel’s Announcement

 

Micah’s announcement concerning our Lord Jesus Christ’s incarnation for the saving of his people is much like the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary. It was no ordinary birth announcement. It was not the announcement of the birth of a mere man, but the announcement of the incarnation of God! Like Micah, Gabriel was sent to proclaim that God the Son would take our humanity into union with himself and enter into this sin cursed world to save his people from their sins (Luke 1:31-33).

 

Luke 1:31-33 “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

 

Glorious Humanity

 

Gabriel said, “He shall be great!Micah said, “Now shall he be great!David sang, “His glory shall be great in thy salvation!Strictly speaking, these words refer to our Lord’s sacred humanity. It was the humanity of Christ that was conceived in Mary’s virgin womb. It was our Lord’s humanity that came forth at Bethlehem Ephratah. The angel Gabriel spoke these words to Mary about the man child that would be born of her. They refer to the manhood of “that holy thing” which must be formed in her womb and born of her by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was only the manhood of Christ (not his Godhead) that was born of her. It was said to Mary, concerning our Savior as a man, “He shall be great.Now shall he be great!” Strictly speaking, those words must be applied to the glorious humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

They do not, strictly speaking, refer to our Savior’s eternal, unalterable deity as God the Son, the second person of the Triune God. Oh, what a great, great stoop our Lord Jesus made when he became a man! When God took on himself and into union with himself our humanity, the stoop he made was unspeakable, indeed! Yet, having assumed our nature, having come into this world as a man, our Savior stooped very low, lower than any man, before he was made great. He who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven stooped to be made the lowest.

 

(2 Corinthians 8:9) “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

 

(Philippians 2:1-11) “If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind. 3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; 11 And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

At his first appearance, as far as mortal eyes could see, there was nothing great about him. What could be more ordinary than a little baby nursing at its mother’s breast? Reading the accounts given of his life in this world, we would never call such a man as Jesus of Nazareth great. It came to pass exactly as Isaiah prophesied…

 

Isaiah 53:3 “He (was) despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

 

Indeed, Jesus of Nazareth was so poor as a man that he had no place to lay his head. He was so despised by men that he became the song of drunks. He was rejected as a mad-man and a wine-bibber, and as one possessed of the devil. So low was the man Christ Jesus in the esteem of men that he was crucified as a malefactor, a common criminal, a thief, and a murderer.

 

During his days upon the earth our Lord’s enemies could not find words base and vile enough to express their contempt for him. Never was a man brought so low as the man Christ Jesus in his temptations, in his trial, in his condemnation, in his sufferings, and in his death. In order to redeem sinful worms such as we are, he stooped so low that he cried…

 

Psalms 22:6-8 “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”

 

Who thought he was great when he was covered with the sweat of his blood, when he was sold for the price of a slave, or when the soldiers came to arrest him like a common felon? —— Who thought he was great when they bound him and led him away to the judgment hall as a foul criminal who deserved to die? —— Who arose to declare his greatness when they blindfolded him, stripped him naked, spit in his face, and derided him? —— Who considered him great when they beat him, led him through the streets of Jerusalem carrying his cross, and hung him up on Golgotha’s hill to die between two thieves? —— Who thought he was great when even his kinsman and his disciples denied him, abandoned him, and fled from him?

 

How he humbled himself! A sword pierced through his mother’s heart when she saw her holy Son hanging in agony and shame upon the cursed tree. When she knew that he was dead and buried in a borrowed tomb, I suspect Mary must have painfully wondered to herself, — “What did Gabriel mean when he said, ‘He shall be great?’ Who was ever made so vile? The angel of God told me, ‘He shall be called the Son of the Highest;’ but he is brought down in humiliation to death and reputed by all as an abhorrently wicked man.”

 

Before our blessed Christ could be exalted as the great One, he had to humble himself, make himself of no reputation, and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He could not be exalted as Jehovah’s Great One until he had accomplished all that was committed to his hands as Jehovah’s Righteous Servant.

Infinite Deity

 

Having said all that, I must hasten to add this — Though our text speaks distinctly of our Savior’s humanity, his deity is not excluded.

 

He who on earth as man was known,

And bore our sins and pains,

Now seated on the eternal throne,

The God of glory reigns!

           

Yes, that very man who was despised and rejected of men sits in glory upon his Father’s throne. As a man he is anointed King of kings and Lord of lords. As a man he has been lifted up from the depths of the grave to the high throne of heaven. The God-man our Savior reigns King forever in righteousness and total sovereignty over all things! This is what Peter testified before the Jews, Stephen confessed before his murderers, and all the apostles preached everywhere.

 

Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

 

Acts 7:55-56 Stephen, “being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

 

Romans 14:9 “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

 

Let us rejoice in this fact. There is a man in glory! There is One in heaven who wears our nature, who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Yet, we must never attempt to separate the humanity of Christ from his divinity. We must understand that Jesus Christ our Lord is both God and man in one glorious Person. We must never separate his manhood from his Godhead. And we must never separate his Godhead from his manhood. Jesus Christ is the God-man. He is the Man-God. Jesus is Jehovah! Jesus is God! He is God in our nature!

 

Reading the New Testament, there seems to me to be a deliberate, total disregard for the rigid theological distinctions men make between the humanity of Christ and the divinity of Christ. Godhead and manhood are so thoroughly united in the Person of Christ that they simply cannot and must not be separated.

 

For example – In Acts 20:28 when exhorting the Ephesian elders, Paul tells us that it is the responsibility of every gospel preacher to “feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.

 

We know that God is Spirit. Being pure Spirit, he has no body or blood. Therefore, “learned and brilliant theologians” might conclude that Paul was confusing the two natures of Christ. Rather than reading the text as it stands, they would “improve” it, and make it read – “Feed the church of God which the man Christ Jesus purchased with his blood as a man.”

 

The Holy Spirit made no mistake. He stated things exactly right. Paul wrote with infallible accuracy, by divine inspiration. He chose his words with inerrant precision. Why did he say what he did in Acts 20:28? He wanted us to understand that the two natures are perfectly and inseparably united in the God-man, Christ Jesus.

 

He who is our Savior is both “God our Savior” and “the man Christ Jesus.All the acts of either deity or humanity performed by him were the acts of one Person. Therefore, we do not hesitate to sing Watts’ old hymn as Watts originally wrote it –

 

“Well might the sun in darkness hide,

And shut its glories I,

When God the mighty Maker died,

For man, the creature’s sin!”

 

When the Holy Spirit speaks of Christ in Holy Scripture, he speaks to men and women of understanding, to people who know and rejoice in the truth of our Savior’s indivisible Person as the God-man, Man-God, our Mediator. The Word of God simply does not use the kind of “brilliant confusion” you find in confessions of faith and theology books to describe our Redeemer. When men write about the God-man, they talk about the “hypostatic union” of God and man in Christ. When the Holy Spirit talks about the union of manhood and Godhead in the God-man, he does so in plain, easy to understand language — God was manifest in the flesh!The Word was made flesh!

 

You will, therefore, forgive me, if I choose not to use the language of theologians, as I endeavor to preach Christ to you. I want you to see our Lord Jesus Christ in all the glory of his Godhead and in all the glory of his manhood. I want you to see how that Micah’s promise is fulfilled in the God-man, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: — “Now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth!

 

Proposition: The Lord Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer, is exalted with greatness, both by the power of God at his ascension and in the hearts of all who know him.

 

God the Father says, concerning his dear Son, “Now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth! And all who are redeemed by his precious blood and saved by his grace gladly confess, “Now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth!

 

If I had the wisdom of God’s prophet Micah, the eloquence of Gabriel, and the space of eternity, I could not begin to describe the greatness of our Savior. But this I can tell you, this fact is made more and more real to my soul every day – HE IS GREAT. There is none to rival the Son of God in greatness! Look at our Savior from any position, from any direction, in any of his characters, in any of his works, and you will see that he is great.

 

His Incarnation

 

The child born from Mary’s virgin womb was and is God the Son given in human flesh (v. 31).

 

Luke 1:31 “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”

 

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

 

·      “God was manifest in the flesh!”

·      Immanuel is God with us!

·      Only the incarnate God could save us.

 

Divine Commission

 

This great, incarnate God came into this world as our Mediator and covenant Surety on a specific mission to save his people from their sins (v. 31 — “Thou shalt call his name Jesus”).

 

Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

 

As Joshua did for Israel what Moses never could, so the Lord Jesus Christ, our Joshua, did what the law could never do. — He brought us to God!

 

Romans 8:1-4 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

 

It is written of this man Jesus, who is God the Son in human flesh, “Now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth!

 

In His Person

 

Christ is great in his magnificent person. Here is God and man in one person, fully God and fully man, yet completely one! There is none like him. He is the great God, the great Man, the great King, the great Mediator between God and man, our Great High Priest, and our great Savior. God took man into union with himself in Christ, because there was no other way for God to save us from our sins. God could not suffer, and man could not satisfy; but the God-man both suffered and satisfied all that was required for the salvation of God's elect.

 

In His Propitiation

 

Our blessed Savior is great in his propitiation. Having brought in an everlasting righteousness for us, the Son of God suffered the wrath of God as our Substitute. When he was made to be sin for us, God drew forth the sword of his justice and buried it in his Son! Now, there is no wrath left in God to be propitiated for us. He says, “Fury is not in me!” Having punished our sins to the full satisfaction of justice, God will never charge his elect with sin (Romans 4:8; 8:1, 34; 1 John 2:12).

 

In His Pre-eminence

 

Our mighty Redeemer is great in his pre-eminence. God has made his Son to be Head over all things and has given him pre-eminence in all things and over all things. Christ has all power, all dominion, all authority, and all honor. He is to have all the praise of all his people for all things. The Lamb upon the throne is worthy of praise from all who are about the throne. The triune God has so arranged the affairs of the universe that Christ shall be praised forever by all things.

·      All creation shall praise him as Creator (Revelation 4:11).

·      All rational creatures shall praise him as their rightful Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).

·      All angels and men, both righteous and wicked, shall render praise to Christ the Judge in the last day (Acts 17:31).

·      And all God's elect shall praise Christ alone for the whole of their salvation forever (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). Yes, Jesus Christ is the great God and our great Savior.

 

Fivefold Greatness

 

If you will turn to Luke 1, in verse 32 and 33, we are given a fivefold declaration of our Savior’s greatness.

 

Luke 1:32-33 “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

 

1.    “He shall be great.”

 

                  Great in all his offices!

                  Greater than all who went before him!

                  Greater than all who came after him!

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great God.

 

Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

 

Revelation 19:17 “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God.”

 

Jesus Christ is called the great Savior (Titus 2:13).

 

Psalms 21:5 “His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.”

 

·      Great in His Covenant Engagements!

·      Great in His Representative Obedience!

·      Great in His Substitutionary Sacrifice!

·      Great in His Triumphant Resurrection!

·      Great in His Priestly Intercession!

·      Great in His Unceasing Advocacy!

·      Great in His Grace to Sinners!

 

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the great Shepherd of his sheep (Hebrews 13:20).

 

Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

 

·      The Good Shepherd laid down his life for his sheep.

·      The Great Shepherd obtained eternal redemption for his sheep in his resurrection glory.

·      The Chief Shepherd is coming again to gather all his sheep into the heavenly fold.

 

How can we be sure of all these things? Many reasons might be given, but none better than his…

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great King.

 

Psalms 47:2 “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.”

 

Psalms 48:2 “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”

 

Psalms 95:3 “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”

 

Malachi 1:14 “But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.”

 

Matthew 5:35 “Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.”

 

2.    He “shall be called the Son of the Highest.”

 

·      By His Father!

·      By His People!

·      By His Enemies!

 

3.    “The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.”

 

Psalms 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

 

John 17:2 “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”

 

Romans 14:9 “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

 

4.    “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever.”

 

5.    “And of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

 

All the kingdoms of this world have been and are designed of God only for the building of the kingdom of our God and his Christ. The kingdoms of this world are only the scaffolding by which our God builds his kingdom. Like Nineveh, Babylon, Egypt, Tyre, Carthage, Rome, and the Soviet Union, all the nations and empires of this world shall perish and all men shall be made to bow before this great and glorious King, who alone shall reign forever!

 

Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

Daniel 7:14 “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

 

Daniel 7:27 “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

 

Application

 

If you would be saved, if you would live forever, you must bow to this great King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

·      Bow to His Righteousness.

·      Bow to His Rule.

 

Soon all creation will see and acknowledge the greatness of God our Savior. May God make you to see it and rejoice in it now.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ is great in mercy.

·      Soon, he shall appear in all the glory of his greatness. — To Save His People! — To Judge His Enemies!

  • Let us publish his greatness everywhere.

 

Now, turn back to Micah. Read the opening verses of chapter five again. And I will send you home with just one more thought for your soul’s meditation. It is our Savior’s greatness that is our peace.

 

(Micah 5:1-5) “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5 And this [man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.”

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #18 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         This Man shall be the Peace!

 

      Text:          Micah 5:4-5

      Subject:   Christ our Peace

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — February 14, 2012

      Tape:        Micah #18

      Readings:           Lindsay Campbell and Allen Kibby

      Introduction:

 

(Micah 5:1-5) “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.”

 

But before our Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge of Israel, could be smitten by men, the Son of God must come into the world in human flesh, Immanuel, God in our flesh. So we read in verse 2…

 

Verse 2 “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.”

 

The Lord Jesus came forth from his mother’s womb that he might ascend in human flesh to the throne of heaven as the Ruler in Israel, having accomplished the redemption of his people by the sacrifice of himself. — “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” (Romans 14:9)

 

Verses 3-4 “Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

Now look at verse 5…

 

5 “And this [man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.”

 

This Man shall be the Peace! That is my subject. — This Man shall be the Peace!— Clearly this refers to the Man spoken of at the end of verse 4. — “Now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth.The prophecy is about our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was to be born in Bethlehem to die at Calvary and to be the Ruler in Israel.

·      It is he who stands and feeds his people.

·      He is the great God, our Savior, great unto the ends of the earth!

·      And he is our Peace (Zechariah 9:10; Ephesians 2:14).

One of the ancient Jewish rabbis wrote, “When you see a Persian horse bound in the land of Israel, look for the feet of the Messiah.”

 

(Zechariah 9:10) “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”

 

(Ephesians 2:14) “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”

 

Christ is our Peace. He is the cause and author of peace between Jew and Gentile. In him Noah’s prophecy is fulfilled. — “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Genesis 9:27).

 

And it is Christ who made peace between God and men by the blood of his cross. He speaks peace and gives peace to men by his Holy Spirit, when he gives us the blessed gift of life and faith in the new birth and conversion. It is Christ who is the author of peace in his churches. His Kingdom is a kingdom of peace. And this Man, who is our Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ is the God of peace, our Savior and Sanctifier, by whom Satan shall be bruised under our feet shortly (Romans 16:20).

 

And he secures our peace even in the midst of our enemies. Micah says, “And this [Man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land.” — The Assyrian represents any powerful enemy of God’s Church and people. Particularly, the Assyrian represents Satan and his principalities and powers, indeed all the powers of darkness, of evil, and of hell. Christ our Peace Maker engaged our foes and conquered them when he made peace for us by his sufferings and death. — “Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).

 

Now watch this. — “And this [Man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces.

  • When Satan attempts by his influence to tread in our palaces, in gospel churches, Christ is our Peace.
  • When Christ treads in our palaces, when the Lord Jesus walks in the midst of his churches (Revelation 1), he is our Peace.

 

Read on…

 

And this [man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.” — We raise against the Assyrian, against Satan, against all the forces of antichrist, “seven shepherds and eight principal men.These seven shepherds, I presume, are the angels of the churches, God’s faithful servants, gospel preachers, faithful pastors in every age. They are called “principal men” because they are Jehovah’s servants, God’s messengers to his elect, the ascension gifts of Christ to his people, by whom the Word of his grace comes to sinners. By these shepherds the Lord God fetches his sheep from the land of Nimrod, from the land of their captivity! — Seven is the number of completion and perfection. God always supplies his churches with the pastors needed for them (Jeremiah 3:15).

 

The eighth Man, the eighth Shepherd, I must presume, refers to this Man who is Peace, this great Man, the God-man by whom all the work of grace is accomplished, our Lord Jesus Christ, treading in our palaces!

 

(Matthew 16:18) “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

 

Now, let me talk to you a little while about him of whom Micah speaks. — “This Man shall be the Peace.” What man is this but the Glory-man, the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus? When all enemies oppose my soul, when all hell is set against me, still he is my Peace, and I have peace by the blood of his cross! Yes, O my soul, Christ Jesus the Lord is the wonderful Man, who alone could make Peace for me. “For as it was by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.” And none but one in our own nature could do it; for the right of redemption belonged only to the near kinsman (Leviticus 25:25). None but our ever-blessed Christ, the God-man, God in our flesh could atone, could bleed, could die, and rise again, that he might be the Judge, both of the dead and living.

 

Oh precious Lord Jesus, how well suited you are and were by the union of your two natures, as God and man, and God-man, both in one, to be our glorious Mediator and Savior, Jehovah-tzidkenu, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! Yes, precious Lord, God has declared it, and my soul shall evermore rejoice in the blessed truth…

 

Proposition: This man, Christ Jesus, shall be my Peace, my Glory, my Salvation, my Refuge, and my Joy when the Assyrian shall come into our land! — Christ is our Peace.

 

The peace Christ gives is three-fold: There is peace with God, — peace within ourselves from God, —and peace with one another. In all three forms, Christ is our Peace. He has not only made peace, he is our Peace. He not only gives peace, he is our peace. Micah said, “This Man shall be the Peace!

 

Peace with God

 

Christ is our peace with God. When God made man at first there was perfect love and friendship between them. God was at peace with man; and man was at peace with God. They had sweet fellowship and communion with one another, walking together in the garden. But when Adam sinned, immediately, the quarrel began. Eating the forbidden fruit broke the peace, and there has been a quarrel between God and man ever since.

 

·      A mutual quarrel. God an enemy to man; man an enemy to God. — “Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.” (Zechariah 11:8)

 

·      A universal quarrel. It is true of all the children of Adam, without exception, one as well as another. All are by nature “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). The heart of man is enmity against God (Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21).

 

(Colossians 1:20-22) “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

 

On God’s part the quarrel is righteous and just. He has every reason to be angry with fallen, sinful man. The holy Lord God has every reason to be offended with us.

  • We violate his law.
  • We rebel against his Word.
  • We resist and oppose his will.
  • We murmur against his providence.
  • Fallen men despise his gospel, despise his son, and despise him.

 

God has every reason to be angry with man. What is sin, but the attempt of man to rape God, rob him of his glory, throw him off his throne, and murder him. When Pilate delivered Jesus to the will of the people, an angry, God-hating mob murdered the Son of God, and threw a hellish party, reveling in their hatred of the Almighty! John Bunyan once said, “Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power [and] the contempt of his love!”

 

God has every reason to be angry with man. Sin is high treason against the throne of heaven, treason against the crown and dignity of God as God. It defies him, despises him, and denies him. — Pharaoh.

 

(Exodus 5:2) “And Pharaoh said, Who [is] the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.”

 

God has every reason to be angry with man; and he will show you his anger, if you do not bow to him, trusting his Son. He will show you his anger, if you refuse to be reconciled to him by Christ Jesus (Leviticus 26:19-30).

 

“19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. 21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. 22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your [high] ways shall be desolate. 23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; 24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. 25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of [my] covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26 [And] when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver [you] your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. 27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. 30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.” (Leviticus 26:19-30)

 

On your part, this quarrel with God is utterly unreasonable (Jeremiah 2:4-5; John 10:32). What is the cause of your enmity against God? Why do you so despise him? Why do you persist in your warfare against him?

 

(Jeremiah 2:4-5) “Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: 5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

 

(John 10:32) “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?”

 

If you persist in your rebellion, if you refuse to trust the Lord Jesus, if you will not have Christ to rule over you, he will forever punish you in hell; and the feud between you and God will be an endless state of misery and torment for your soul. In hell you will go on forever hating, and cursing, and blaspheming God; and God will go on forever hating, and plaguing, and punishing you to all eternity!

 

The only one who can end the quarrel is Christ. — “This Man shall be the Peace! He interposed to take up the quarrel; and he has taken it up upon terms agreed upon in the everlasting covenant.

  • He is the Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).
  • He is the Daysman (Job 9:33).
  • The God-man stepped in to make peace between God and man.

 

He made peace for his people with God by his obedience and death in the place of his people, by his precious blood, by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

 

“17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

 

And it is Christ who alone can bring you peace. He who dealt with God for his people, securing peace for our souls, must deal with you in almighty, irresistible, free, sovereign, saving grace, if ever you have peace with God. — If ever you have peace with God, you must be conquered by this Man, who is God our Savior.

 

(Psalms 110:3) “Thy people [shall be] willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”

 

(Colossians 1:21) “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled”

 

(Ephesians 2:1-22) “And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

 

“4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

 

“11 ¶ Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

 

“14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:1-22)

 

If you would have peace with God, you must bow to Christ. And, be sure you hear this, he is willing to have peace. He is willing to receive you, his enemies in peace, so willing that he calls sinners to take hold of his grace and find peace in him (Isaiah 27:4-5; Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2).

 

(Isaiah 27:4-5) “Fury [is] not in me: who would set the briers [and] thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, [that] he may make peace with me; [and] he shall make peace with me.”

 

(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”

 

(2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2) “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

 

“6:1 ¶ We then, [as] workers together [with him], beseech [you] also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)”

 

Peace with One Another

 

When Micah says, “This Man shall be the Peace,” he is telling us that Christ is our Peace with God; and he is telling us that Christ gives us peace with one another. He is our Peace when the Assyrian comes into our land. Christ causes redeemed sinners to dwell together in peace. He causes Japheth to dwell in the tents of Shem. In Christ “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ [is] all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

 

(Ephesians 2:13-14) “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us].”

 

We expect no peace with the wicked. The seed of the serpent, of the bond-woman, will hate and persecute the seed of the woman, the free woman as long as time shall stand. Fire and water will sooner be reconciled. But God’s people live together in peace. Our blessed Savior left his church a legacy of peace (John 14), pressed us to walk together in peace (John 15 and 16), and prayed that we might forever enjoy peace with one another in him (John 17).

 

(Ephesians 4:1-3) “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 ¶ With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

 

(Ephesians 4:4-7) “[There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

 

(Ephesians 4:29-5:2) “29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

 

“5:1 ¶ Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

 

(Philippians 2:1-7) “If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind. 3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”

 

The only means of peace between fallen, sinful men and women in this world is Jesus Christ, his blood, his grace, and his Spirit. — “This Man shall be the Peace!

 

Oh, may God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, give us more and more grace to knit and join us together in peace, in brotherly love, which is the bond of perfectness!

 

Peace in Ourselves

 

When Micah says, “This Man shall be the Peace,” he means that Christ alone gives us peace with God and that Christ is our Peace with one another in this world. And when the prophet wrote, “This Man shall be the Peace,” he was telling us that Christ alone is our Peace within ourselves. Christ alone is the Peace in our hearts. He is Peace in our consciences, giving believing sinners inward, sedate, composure and ease. Philip Henry wrote, “When all is clear between us and heaven, how can it be but there must be joy in the Holy Ghost, peace, quietness?”

  • Peace with God’s Purpose
  • Peace with God’s Providence
  • Peace by Propitiation

 

(Philippians 4:4-9) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

 

(Micah 5:4-5) “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5 And this [man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.”

 

This Man shall be the Peace!

 

Dear saints, beloved of God,

The objects of His choice,

Proclaim your Savior’s grace abroad,

And in His name rejoice.

 

Though once, with God you strove,

Jesus has bought your peace,

Receives you in the arms of love,

And bids your terrors cease.

 

‘Tis Jesus reconciles

Offending man to God,

‘Tis through Him God the Father smiles,

And seals my peace with blood.

 

A peace that cheers my heart,

Lifts me above the earth,

Bids all my doubts and fears depart,

And proves my heavenly birth.

 

This peace, by Jesus given,

Is found by faith alone;

The prelude and the pledge of heaven,

Where all His charms are known.

 

This Man shall be the Peace!Oh, may God give you faith in him, and peace, the peace of God that passeth understanding!

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #19 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         Christ our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector

 

      Text:          Micah 5:1-4

      Subject:   Promised Blessings of Grace

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — February 21, 2012

      Tape:        Micah #19

      Readings:           David Burge and Merle Hart

      Introduction:

 

Open your Bibles to the 5th chapter of Micah. The more I study this passage, the bigger and richer it gets. This is a chapter full of promised blessings of grace to be bestowed upon God’s elect in Christ Jesus. The title of my message is — Christ our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector. My text will be Micah 5:1-4. — Christ our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector.

 

Micah spoke for God as his prophet in a dark, dark day. God sent his prophet to declare his mind and will to his covenant people Israel, and to declare indignation against all who opposed Zion and her God. Error, heresy, and idolatry were rampant on every side. The worship of God was perverted. The truth of God had fallen in the streets, and his glorious sovereignty was hated and repudiated, even by the men who should have been proclaiming it.

 

As it is in our day, so it was in Micah’s day. With impudent hypocrisy, multitudes professed to be worshippers and followers of Jehovah, who were nothing but crass idolaters and followers of witchcraft and superstition. Prophets and priests alike, men who should have been God’s mouth to his people, were self-serving and deceitful men (Jeremiah 5:30-31).

 

(Jeremiah 5:30-31) “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love [to have it] so.”

 

When I look around me today, I find the same sad state of affairs. But even in such dark, dark days, God always has a Micah to stand forth in his name and a Jeremiah to proclaim his Word. God never leaves himself without a witness; and his witnesses are faithful men (Isaiah 52:7-8).

 

(Isaiah 52:7-8) “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”

 

A Remnant

 

In this chapter God’s people are repeatedly described as a remnant (vv. 3, 7, 8): — “The remnant of Jacob!What is a remnant? A remnant is what is left over. A remnant is that which is useless, despised, and thrown away. A remnant is the last piece of cloth on a bolt, or roll. If it is not thrown away, it is always sold at a discount because it not worth much. That is a pretty good description of you and me. God’s elect are looked upon as below the mark, not fit for society, as narrow, crude, crotchety, peculiar? Because of this they are a nuisance and aggravation to all.

 

It was true in Micah’s time and it is true today, that the Church and people of the living God are a poor, needy remnant, a remnant scattered among the nations.

  • An Elect Remnant
  • A Redeemed Remnant
  • A Protected Remnant

Micah tells us that we are God’s remnant. Particularly and distinctly he tells us that we are God’s remnant in Christ’s hands, under Christ’s care, given to Christ, our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector (Micah 5:4).

 

(Micah 5:4) “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

Proposition: How blessed it is to contemplate and feast our souls upon the rich manifestations of the love, mercy, and grace of God in Christ, and to see in the midst of surrounding gloom him who is the Stay and Support, the Portion and Inheritance of his people in all times of danger and distress, dreariness and dissatisfaction! — Thus, God the Holy Spirit inspired Micah to turn the eyes of his people away from the darkness and gloom to Christ our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector.

 

Invading Troops

 

The chapter begins, Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us.” — This refers historically to the Chaldeans who gathered in battle against Zedekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I am sure it also refers to the Romans under Titus Vespasian who finally destroyed Jerusalem and Israel.

 

But this is much more than prophetic history! Experimentally, as we experience God’s Word and the grace of God in his mighty, saving operations upon us and in us, these troops are all the troops hell has at its beck and call against the God’s elect. Who can count the number of these hellish troops? Sins and lusts, temptations and corruptions, passions and tempers, evil thoughts and horrid imaginations, blasphemies and adulteries, anger and wrath, envy and murder, every uncleanness and every wild beast of wickedness! Yet, blessed be God, the Captain of our salvation, the Leader and Commander of the elect remnant, is more than a match for them all, and in him we are more than conquerors, shouting “Victory, victory through the blood of the Lamb! Victory, victory through grace!”

 

Smitten Judge

 

They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.” — Historically, we may see Zedekiah in this; but spiritually, experimentally, and prophetically these words are intended to point us to Christ our Savior. In him Micah’s words were fulfilled literally: “They smote him with the reed.” I realize that I am repeating myself; but as I said when I began, “The more I study this passage, the bigger it gets.” Besides, I can think of nothing better than to point you again to him who loved us and gave himself for us. — Behold him, now, as the Judge, the Discriminator of Israel, smitten. I like that word “Judge” when it refers to our blessed Savior. Listen…

 

(Psalms 68:5) “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.”

 

Here God our Savior is said to be a Judge, not a Husband, of the widow. Without question, he is the Husband of his poor widowed people. But he is the Judge. The precious Christ, the Judge of Israel, the Judge of the widow, knew what it was to be deserted and in solitude to cry, “My heart within me is desolate.” Because of that which he learned in the school of human suffering, he is able fully to discriminate and to supply all the necessities of his suffering people.

 

“When gathering clouds around I view,

When days are dark and friends are few,

On Him I lean Who, not in vain,

Experienced every human pain;

He knows my griefs, allays my fears.

And counts and treasures up my tears!”

 

He is the Judge, and concerning him we have this glorious and indisputable prophecy (v. 2).

 

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

 

He was set up in the covenant as the Substitute, Surety, Safeguard, and Security of all those whom the love of his heart determined to shelter and to save.

 

Spiritual Birth

 

Now watch this…

 

(Micah 5:3) “Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”

 

There is, without question, a prophecy here of the marvellous incarnation of the Son of God. Yet, I am certain that in this third verse there is also a reference to the spiritual birth all God’s elect experience in time, when Divine life is implanted in us and imparted to us by the Spirit of God and the resurrection-power of our Lord Jesus Christ is experienced in the soul. — “Then shall the remnant of his brethren return unto the children of Israel.” — Blessed be God, “to him shall the gathering of the people be.” To him all the scattered remnant shall be gathered at God’s appointed time of love.

  • All the elect shall be born again.
  • All the redeemed shall be made “partakers of the divine nature.”
  • All the chosen shall be brought to Christ and brought to life in and with him in the blessed new creation of grace!

 

Exalted Christ

 

In verse four Micah speaks of the exalted Christ, the great and glorious incarnate God, who having obtained eternal redemption for us with his own blood sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high!

 

(Micah 5:4) “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

Because he stands “in the majesty of his God they” (all his people, all that elect remnant that comes to him) “they shall abide! The scattered ones who are gathered shall, not may, shall abide. Then comes the glorious climax of this precious prophecy concerning Zion’s King and Lord, “for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” In these words we have a glorious description of him whose goings forth have been from everlasting and shall be to everlasting in the salvation, glorification, and blessedness of his people.

 

Our Prince

 

And he shall stand!” — The crucified, risen Christ stands in heaven as our exalted Prince, the Judge and Ruler of Zion. When he was set up as our Head and Representative in the covenant of grace, all heaven was filled with praise. But one looked on with jealous and malignant eyes. That old serpent, the devil, hated the Christ of God and led the rebellious hosts against him. He rushed madly against the Lord’s Anointed, bent on his destruction. — “O Lucifer, son of the morning, how art thou fallen from heaven, for thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the North; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High; yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” — Yes, be assured, my friends, that Satan and all who oppose God’s Christ shall be brought down to hell, brought down to the sides of the pit.

 

But it is our blessed privilege to turn away from this dark picture, and, in grateful adoration, contemplate the glory and the grace of him who is ever the ineffable delight of his Father and the object of his people’s love, joy, and praise. It is God’s Christ that I love to dwell upon.

·      Look at him in the days of his youth here upon earth. He dwelt in seclusion, and sought neither the world’s eye nor favor.

·      Throughout his whole life he manifested the sole desire of his heart, the glorification of the Father in the salvation of his Church, without a single deviation or divergence.

·      Behold the intensity of his desire to meet the hosts of hell, to encounter the rage of Satan, to court damnation, that his people might be delivered from all its pains and penalties, from the guilt and power of sin, and live in the loving embrace of Jehovah forever.

·      He sought the mournful shades of Gethsemane, and learned there how to truly sympathize with his tried and tempted ones.

 

His favored three accompany him, and their wondering ears are startled with the plaintive wail of their Lord’s dejection: — “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” He walked about a stone’s cast from them, seeking the face and smile of his Father, but all is dark. In utter amazement he cries, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (Mark 14:36). But the bitter cup must be drunk to the dregs.

 

In disappointment, distress, desertion, his sinless soul experienced intense dissatisfaction. Oh, who can sound the deep mysteries of his substitutionary and sufferings? All the disappointments, distresses, and sufferings of his people were experienced by him at one time! Our most glorious Christ confessed that he was “a worm and no man.” For us, he endured the hidings of his Father’s face, and endured a horror of great darkness of which the even damned in hell are ignorant. Yet, he went on, determined to suffer all the fury of the wrath of God for us!

 

The “Brother born for adversity” was driven to be mocked, beaten, spit upon, and insulted by the rabble, and finally to Golgotha he was hurried to bear our sins in his on body on the tree, to experience the curse of God and the wrath of God, and thus set his loved ones free from the curse of the law. Yes, Christ was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He was made a curse for us, that we might be blessed. Behold heaven’s Darling, Jehovah’s Delight, the sinner’s Friend, groaning, bleeding, dying, to bring us into the rich experimental possession of his own eternal life.

  • In his death death received its death-blow.
  • In his sufferings all the sins of his people were put away.
  • In his blood every spot of was washed clean from his elect.
  • In him the Father beholds the Delight of his heart, and exclaims: — “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

Three days after the desertion, darkness, and death of Calvary, he was on resurrection-ground, and all the sins of his people gone, destroyed, Satan thwarted, God glorified, and Zion saved. We cannot dwell too much or too long upon these glorious realities. — “He showed himself alive by many infallible proofs,” and then ascended up on high, as it is so beautifully described in that resurrection and ascension Psalm 68.

 

Our Priest

 

Now, having accomplished the salvation of his people, having defeated the devil on his own territory, and having fully glorified the Father; having entered into the Holiest of all to plead for and represent his brethren and take possession of their inheritance for them, we see the glorious fulfillment of this ancient prophecy. — “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.”

 

The heathen may rage, and the people imagine a vain thing, Satan may roar and vent his rage, and the very disciples themselves may stand in doubt of him, yet in resurrection-power and glory, his days are prolonged forever and the pleasure of the Lord prospers in his hand! Yes, at his death his disciples forsook him, and after his resurrection they disbelieved him. — “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered” (Luke 24:41). — Marvellous mystery! There he stands as our all-prevailing Advocate and High Priest!

 

In his resurrection-power, in his ascension-glory, and in his indisputable session at God’s right hand, he stands! Divine decrees remain irrevocable! Divine prophecies are fulfilled! Divine promises are performed! — “He shall stand!This concerns not the posture of his person, but the permanence of his place. What Divine, unerring certainty we have here. There is no fear of failure in any one of Jehovah’s plans or purposes. — “He shall stand,” not fall, stand, and never waver.

 

Our Provider

 

The Lord Jesus, our crucified Christ stands, as our Prince, ruling all things for us. He stands forever as our Priest, making intercession for us! And he stands as our Provider, as our Shepherd to provide for and feed his sheep. Micah refers to him under the implied character of the Shepherd of his people, and expresses his work He shall “feed.” The term is not to be confined to his furnishing his flock with food, but is to be taken as including the discharge of the pastoral office in all its parts…

   causing them to rest,

   leading them,

   restoring them when they go astray,

   healing them when wounded or sick, and

   defending and securing them.

 

We are often tossed to and fro on a rough sea of doubts, fears and uncertainties, and fierce temptations threaten to beat us down, while bitter disappointments break our hearts; but our merciful and faithful Friend at court stands in all the glories of his Godhead, combined with the tender sympathies of his sacred humanity, to feed us with food convenient for us, and bless us with his love. He stands ready to save from every sorrow, and minister to the necessities of his elect and redeemed brethren who are troubled with the temptations, toils, and trials peculiar to their earthly pilgrimage.

 

“In every pang that rends the heart,

The Man of sorrows bears a part;

He sympathizes with the grief,

And brings the suffering saint relief.”

 

When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3), the Father saying to him, “Sit Thou on My right hand until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.” His sitting fully indicates and proves the perfection of his atonement, the efficacy of his sacrifice, and the fullness of his salvation.

 

I would remind you of Stephen, when he was stoned, calling upon God. Oh, blessed be his holy name, every murderous stone, in the decree of our God, was a messenger of mercy to help him out of this cold world of sin and misery. — “But he being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” — Standing ready to receive his poor, persecuted, and despised one to his home and to his heart!

 

O troubled and tried ones,tossed with tempest and not comforted,” whom Satan delights to worry with a malicious glee, he may taunt and insinuate that your hope is the hope of the hypocrite, that your faith is no better than his own, that your love, faint as it is, is all a delusion; still he who from the mountain-top sees your distress will run to your relief and cause you to know his grace and power in the experience of your soul. The day and the night are both alike to him. He will cause his light to shine upon you, and his secret to rest upon your tabernacle, enabling you to rejoice in the blessed fact that the days shall soon be accomplished when, — “Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting Light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended” (Isaiah 60:20).

 

O glorious Prince! O gracious Priest! O precious Provider! O powerful Protector! Yes, he who is God in our flesh, crucified, risen, and exalted, stands forever in heaven as…

 

Our Protector

 

He stands and feeds in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.” — He receives his poor trembling ones and ministers to the necessities of all those his love has saved. This is the Christ I love! This is the Christ to whose arms I fly, and whose loving heart nestles my weary soul. — “He shall stand!

 

“Past suffering now, the tender heart

Of Jesus on His Father’s throne,

In all our sorrows bears a part,

And feels them as He felt His own.”

 

Saul of Tarsus may run in his exceeding madness against the saints of the Most High God; but as he runs toward Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven above the brightness of the sun shone round about him, and he heard a voice speaking unto him, and saying: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Did you notice that “me?” Me in the persons of my people. The Prince, Protector, was looking to the scattered and shattered remnant in Damascus who feared the Lord and worshipped his name, protecting them, while at the same time gathering one of the chosen, redeemed remnant to himself!

 

This glorious Prince is ever the Protector of his own, and sooner or later they are enabled to acknowledge him in the words of the twenty-third Psalm: — “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He stands as the Shepherd of his flock, and, according to Jehovah’s “all fulness” of grace and glory in himself, he feeds and supplies every need. In all the glory of his Godhead he stands and feeds his own with untold satisfaction from his glorious attributes which are all engaged, and blessedly harmonize in their salvation, preservation, nourishment, and glorification.

 

What can withstand him? Hell, devils, deaths, sin, all fly before him as he declares his immutable will: — “My people shall be satisfied with my goodness.”

 

In all the perfections of his Manhood he stands and feeds his poor weak flock with all that he has done for them, and with all that he is to them. He stands in the power of his essential righteousness, and in the perfection of his accomplished righteousness, and feeds us with the blessed knowledge and understanding of our standing in the presence of infinite excellency arrayed in garments of glory and beauty. Yes, he shall stand on the ground of his eternal redemption, on the ground of his finished salvation, on the ground of his perfect and spotless obedience, on the ground of his unwavering faithfulness, on the ground of his unchangeable, everlasting love, and shall feed in the strength of the Lord, and in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

 

If you consult the margin of your Bibles you will find this word “feed” rendered “rule.” He shall feed, and he shall rule. — “He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” What a powerful, potent, and princely Friend this proves our Lord Jesus to be! He watches over, provides for, protects, and rules his flock. By night, when birds, and beasts, and reptiles of prey would assail and devour, our Shepherd-King’s ever-watchful eye is over us for good. Temptation and desertion may be experienced, but he watches and he protects.

 

“When the foe desired to have me,

Jesus said, ‘This sheep is Mine!’

He resigned His life to save me:

Jesus, what a love is Thine!

All resistless is its force,

Nothing can withstand its course.”

 

To the green, fair fields of gospel truth he gently leads.

 

But it may be to some of his own a time of dearth and famine. If so…(Psalms 33:18-19)…

 

(Psalm 33:18-19) “Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.”

 

As assuredly as he stands, and is ever the same, so assuredly shall he provide food convenient for us. He says, “My people shall be satisfied with my goodness.” Satisfaction can be had alone in him. — “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” (Jeremiah 31:14; Psalm 17:15)

 

Do you remember how Paul prayed for the Ephesians saints? — “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). For what does he pray? — “That ye may know!” It was the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ Jesus that cheered Job and gave him sweet encouragement in the midst of all his tribulations.

   I know that I shall be justified” (Job 13:18).

   I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25).

   I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:2).

 

It is a blessed thing, even with Job’s afflictions, to possess such knowledge. Jehovah-Jesus is amongst, in the midst of, his scattered flock, and sweetly whispers to them, “I am among you as he that serveth.” He gives to us his own flesh and his own blood to be spiritually eaten and drunk in our hearts by faith, and by this alone we are strengthened, comforted, and supported with grace sufficient for our souls.

 

Christ is not only my Shepherd, he is my Ruler, my Governor, my King! He whom we hold by the feet and worship.

 

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!’

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown him Lord of all.”

 

(1 Peter 3:22) “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

 

He reigns! He rules! — “He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. As the Representative, Head, and Husband of his Church, Jehovah the Father has…

 

(Ephesians 1:20-22) “…set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church.”

 

When we see Christ on his throne, when our King returns to our souls and returns our souls to himself, then, like Mephibosheth, we can say of the worldling: “Let him take all,” while we look up and say to our God and Savior, “Whom have I in heaven but thee!” O glorious sight! God-wrought faith beholds him high in the heights of glory, standing, feeding, ruling in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. As a glorious Sovereign, “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords!” He rules over all in heaven, and earth, and hell. He rules over all our enemies, mortal, spiritual, and infernal; over all our doubts, fears, and perplexities. The flight of a devil and the flitting of a moth are subject to his sovereign sway.

 

“Keep silence all created things,

And wait your Maker’s nod;

My soul sits trembling while she sings

The honors of her God.

 

Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown,

Hang on His firm decree;

He sits on no precarious throne,

Nor borrows leave to be.”

 

JEHOVAH-JESUS reigns and rules over all things for the good of his people!

   His will is best!

   His providence is good!

   His grace is sufficient!

   He will supply all our need!

 

Whatever I need in this wilderness world he has bound himself by the most sacred and solemn obligations to supply. Am I poor and needy? He is JEHOVAH-JIREH. He will see to all my concerns. He puts his hand of blessing upon my head, and breathes into my heart his own sweet whisper, “Leave that to me.”

 

Do “fightings without fears within” distress you? His name is JEHOVAH-NISSI, the Lord my Banner. JEHOVAH-SHALOM is the Lord my Peace. All that Zion can need, Jehovah will and must be to her.

 

Absolute Security

 

What is the sure and certain result of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector? — “And they shall abide.” O glorious security! Not one shall perish. None can pluck the weakest from his loved embrace. Not all the hosts of hell and earth combined shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

“Zion stands by hills surrounded,

Zion, kept by power Divine,

All her foes shall be confounded,

Though the world in arms combine;

Happy Zion!

What a favored lot is thine!

 

Every human tie may perish,

Friend to friend unfaithful prove,

Mothers cease their own to cherish,

Heaven and earth at last remove,

But no changes

Can attend Jehovah’s love.”

 

“Zion’s Friend in nothing alters,

Though all others may and do,

His is love that never falters,

Always to its object true:

Happy Zion!

Crowned with mercies ever new.

 

In the furnace God may prove thee,

Thence to bring thee forth more bright,

But can never cease to love thee,

Thou art precious in His sight,

God is with thee,

God thine everlasting Light.”

 

Yes! It is gloriously true: “He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God, and they shall abide” on his loving heart, in his affectionate embrace, on his glorious throne, amidst the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds. — “They shall abide,” members of his body, never to be severed from him whom they love because he first loved them. — “They shall abide” as the bride of his heart never to be divorced by him, never allowed to leave him, and ever indulged with the sweet kisses of his mouth.

 

Great

 

What is the sure and certain result of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector? — “For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” As he was great in his condescension, great in his humiliation, and great in his obedience, he is great in his mercy, great in his salvation, great in his resurrection-power, great in his ascension-glories, and great in his triumphs of love over the rebellious hearts of his elect, redeemed, and regenerate people.

 

He is great indeed! The Man of sorrows is now the King of glory. He who made himself of no reputation, and became the least in his Father’s house, is now the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. He who was despised and rejected of men has become great in the affections of his saved ones. — “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). — “Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” (Revelation 15:3)

 

He is our great Prophet, having taught us great necessities with great supplies; great miseries with great mercies; great sins and his own great salvation.

 

He is our great High Priest, having wrought out for us a righteousness great and glorious; a great and gracious deliverance. He is now pleading the greatness of his sufferings, sorrows, and salvation, thus securing great blessings to his tried and tempted ones whom he is bringing to behold his great glory.

 

He is our great and glorious King! Shortly, he will show whose right it is to reign, when his ransomed and glorified people surround his throne with a flood of eternal praise, “HALLELUJAH! FOR THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH!” Christ is our Prince, our Priest, our Provider, our Protector. This Man, this great Man, this great God-man, “And this man shall be the peace” (v. 5). — “Thus shall he deliver us” (v. 6).

 

Amen.


 

Sermon #20 — Micah Series

 

      Title:         “The Remnant of Jacob”

 

      Text:          Micah 5:7-8

      Subject:   God’s Elect Remnant

      Date:        Tuesday Evening — February 28, 2012

      Tape:        Micah #20

      Readings:           Rex Bartley and Larry Brown

      Introduction:

 

I have a very dear friend who is now with the Lord, Bro. Bill Carver. He made his living by selling remnants. He bought remnants from factories at bargain prices, because factories have no use for remnants. He sold those remnants to thrifty housewives at bargain prices, because thrifty housewives will gladly purchase what wealthy people throw away. With men remnants are of no great importance. With men remnants are odd pieces, leftovers, things that must be disposed of. With men remnants are really a nuisance. But my friend looked upon them as very precious things. He only dealt in remnants. Bill Carver travelled all over the country gathering up remnants. What other men regarded as trash was his treasure. He was always looking for remnants. He built his house with remnants. He raised his family on remnants. When they were grown, he put his sons into business with remnants.

 

Did you know that God is like that? He deals with a remnant. He only deals with a remnant. He is always seeking a remnant. Everything he does is for a remnant. He builds his house with a remnant. God looks upon a remnant as the greatest treasure in the world. Indeed, his remnant, “the remnant of Jacob,” is to the triune God the only treasure there is in the world!

 

God’s prophet Micah was inspired of God to describe his people as a remnant, not once but three times in Micah chapter 5 (vv. 3, 7, 8). Micah calls God’s elect “the remnant of Jacob.” That is my subject: — “The Remnant of Jacob.” You have my text before you in Micah 5:7-8.

 

“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. 8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.” (Micah 5:7-8)

 

The Apostle Paul tells us that among the fallen, depraved, lost, condemned ruins of humanity “there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5). And he assures us that the “remnant shall be saved” (Romans 9:27).

 

With men a remnant is something leftover, waste material, material for which there is no plan, purpose, or intended use. With God it is exactly opposite. God’s remnant is the kernel, everything else is husk. God’s remnant is that for which all things were planned and purposed. Without that elect remnant, everything else would be useless.

 

It was true in Micah’s time and it is true today, that the Church and people of the living God are a poor, needy remnant, a remnant scattered among the nations, an elect remnant, a redeemed remnant, a protected remnant, but a remnant still. Micah tells us that we are God’s remnant. Particularly and distinctly he tells us that we are God’s remnant in Christ’s hands, under Christ’s care (Micah 5:4).

 

The God of all grace deals with a remnant. He seeks a remnant. He builds his house with a remnant. His treasure is a remnant.

 

Proposition: “The remnant of Jacob” is Christ’s seed in the earth that shall serve him, the generation accounted to the Lord to serve him (Psalm 22:30), Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. — “The remnant of Jacob” is God’s elect, all those who must and shall be saved by his grace. — “The remnant of Jacob” is the whole Church of God, the whole Israel of God, all who have been, all who are, and all who shall be saved in Christ. — Blessed are they who are included in the number of “the remnant of Jacob”!

 

Remnant Described

 

Let’s look at the description Micah gives of this remnant in verse 7.

 

“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.” (Micah 5:7)

 

God inspired Micah to speak of his people as a “remnant. God’s people are a remnant, a “little flockof God’s choosing (Romans 9:27; Isaiah 10:21-22; Luke 12:32). This remnant is distinguished from the world around it by Divine blessings, as Gideon’s wet fleece was distinguished from the dry ground by the dew of heaven upon it (Judges 6:36-38).

 

We are a remnant; but we are God’s remnant, a remnant in a covenant relationship with God in Christ. As such, this blessed remnant is distinguished and separated from the rest of the world.

 

They are a people that dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations. They are in the midst of the world, but never a part of the world. They are in the midst of many people, but belong to none of them. For though living in the world, they are not of the world, but chosen, redeemed, and called out of the world.

 

This chosen remnant is described here as “a dew from the Lord.” — What a beautiful picture! As the dew is from heaven, so believers in Christ are born from above: not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

This remnant, Micah tells us is “as showers upon the grass.” Remember, my brother, remember my sister, this remnant is you. Micah is describing the Church and people of God. When he says God’s remnant is “as showers upon the grass” he is telling us that as the Lord Jesus is promised to come down as showers upon the mown grass to revive and refresh his people, so his people live in a constant dependence upon him and receive out of his fulness all that we need, while all the earth is empty, barren and dry as stubble to our souls.

 

The dew and the rain are free. They wait not for man, but fall from God and at his appointment. So grace is not dispensed according to our deserving, but according to God’s free bounteous and super-abounding mercy! — “Oh, precious promise, or rather precious cluster of promises, — and all in Jesus!” (Robert Hawker)

 

Micah 5:8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.”

 

Here Micah simply adopts another figure to tell the same thing. In verse 7 Jacob’s remnant is passive in receiving blessings from the Lord. Here they are very active, going forth in the Lord’s strength to the Lord’s cause. Acting under the name and authority of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, “the worm Jacob is enabled to thresh the mountains” (Isaiah 41:14).

 

Divisions: I want to show you five things revealed in the Book of God about “The Remnant of Jacob”.

1.    The remnant of Jacob” is a remnant according to the election of grace.

2.    God’s longsuffering, goodness and mercy to all men is the result of his love for “the remnant of Jacob.”

3.    Everything God does, he does for “the remnant of Jacob”.

4.    The remnant of Jacob” in this world is always small.

5.    This blessed Book is full of good news for “the remnant of Jacob.”

 

An Elect Remnant

 

First, I want you to see that the remnant of Jacob” is a remnant according to the election of grace. God will not save all men. It never was his intention, purpose, design, or desire to save all men. But God has chosen some, a remnant, according to the election of grace. And that elect remnant shall be saved.

 

God, from eternity, has chosen to save some of Adam’s fallen race, which he calls “the remnant of Jacob”. None of us deserve God’s mercy. We all deserve God’s wrath, because we are all sinners. Had it not been for God’s eternal election of some to salvation in Christ for the glory of his name, we would all have perished long ago under the wrath of God (Isaiah 1:2-9).

 

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: [but] Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7 Your country [is] desolate, your cities [are] burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and [it is] desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:2-9)

 

Isaiah tells us that man’s sin is so great and the justice of God is so inflexible and strict that had it not been for God’s election of a remnant we would all be completely destroyed. Thank God for election! This is one of the most blessed themes of Holy Scripture.

  • Election is an act of eternal sovereignty (Ephesians 1:3-6).
  • Election is an act of unconditional grace (Rom. 9:11-13).
  • Election is an act of immutable love (Jeremiah 31:3; Malachi 3:6).
  • Election is grace freely and fully bestowed upon chosen sinners in Christ before the world began!

 

Six Things

 

Look at what Isaiah tells us about God’s elect remnant. — There are many other places in the Bible which speak of “the remnant of Jacob,” revealing God’s purpose of grace toward his elect. But, for the sake of brevity, while we are here in the book of Isaiah, let’s just look at what Isaiah says. He tells us six things about this elect remnant.

 

1.    Though ruined and scattered by the fall, “the remnant of Jacob” shall return to the Lord (Isaiah 10:20-22).

 

“And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 The remnant shall return, [even] the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. 22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, [yet] a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.” (Isaiah 10:20-22)

 

That is exactly what Micah said. — “The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people” (5:7). — “The remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people” (v. 8). — But, this scattered remnant shall return to the Lord (5:3).

 

2.    The remnant of Jacob” shall return, because Christ shall recover that which was lost (Isaiah 11:10-11).

 

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” (Isaiah 11:10-11)

 

3.    Christ is the Way by which “the remnant of Jacob” returns to him (Isaiah 11:16).

 

“And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” (Isaiah 11:16)

 

4.    God’s elect remnant, “the remnant of Jacob” is to be the object of our fervent prayer (Isaiah 37:4).

 

“It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that is left.” (Isaiah 37:4)

 

5.    God’s elect, “the remnant of Jacob,” shall escape the judgment of God (Isaiah 37:31-32).

 

By his almighty grace this remnant, God’s elect, shall take root downward in the earth and bear fruit upward to heaven.

 

“And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: 32 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.” (Isaiah 37:31-32)

 

6. God will preserve and keep his remnant in the midst of all their troubles (Isaiah 46:3-4).

 

“Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne [by me] from the belly, — which are carried from the womb: — 4 And [even] to [your] old age I [am] he; — and [even] to hoar hairs will I carry [you]: — I have made, — and I will bear; — even I will carry, and will deliver [you].” (Isaiah 46:3-4)

 

We see, then, by the Word of God that there is a remnant according to the election of grace, “the remnant of Jacob.

 

God’s Longsuffering

 

Second, let me show you from the Scriptures that God’s longsuffering, goodness and mercy toward fallen men is the result of his love for “the remnant of Jacob. The only thing that keeps God from destroying this world in his wrath is the fact that he has an elect remnant among the fallen sons of Adam whom he is determined to save. — Is that not what we read in Isaiah 1:9?

 

“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:9)

 

God is longsuffering with men because He is not willing for one of His elect to perish (2 Peter 3:9).

·      Lot in Sodom (Genesis 19:22)

·      The End Time (Matthew 24:22)

·      The Seal of God (Revelation 7:2-3)

 

God’s longsuffering with man is no indication that he is not willing to punish sin, or that he is not able to punish sin, or that man does not deserve to be punished. God’s longsuffering with men is for the salvation of his elect. As the Holy Ghost puts tells us in 2nd Peter 3:20, — “the longsuffering of our God is salvation.

 

God’s goodness to men in general is the result of His goodness to His elect remnant, the remnant of Jacob,” in particular. As God blessed Egypt for Joseph’s sake and blessed the house of Obededom because the ark was there, he providentially blesses the men and women of this world for the sake of his elect remnant.

 

If God gives power to Cyrus and riches to a pagan nation he does it for the sake of his elect (Isaiah 45:1-4).

 

“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call [thee] by thy name, [am] the God of Israel. 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” (Isaiah 45:1-4)

 

In a word, God is merciful to men in general because He is merciful to His elect in particular. God spared Adam in the garden that he might save Abel. He spared Adam because in Adam’s loins there was the woman’s Seed and his seed, “the remnant of Jacob.” God gave Manasseh life so that he might raise up Josiah. And God spares many here for a time, and even blesses them with temporal good, that he might be merciful to his elect.

 

Were it not for “the remnant of Jacob” God would have destroyed the world in his wrath long ago, as he did Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s elect are truly the salt of the earth, the preservers of the whole world. As God spared Sodom for Lot’s sake, God spares the world today for his elect’s sake, that they all, all “the remnant of Jacob,” might be saved.

 

All Providence

 

Third, I cannot miss this opportunity to tell you once more that everything God does, he does for “the remnant of Jacob. All providence is for “the remnant of Jacob.All men benefit from God’s goodness to his remnant. His benevolence, rain, sunshine, peace and pestilence, draught, darkness and war come upon all men alike. But they come for and belong to the remnant (1 Corinthians 3:21; Psalm 57:2). — “All things are yours!” — “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth [all things] for me.” — Blessed are they who know and understandall the works of the LORD, that he has done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31). — They go to “their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD has done for Israel his people” (1 Kings 8:66).

  • God chose his Israel.
  • God gave the Law for his Israel.
  • God made atonement for his Israel.
  • God called his Israel.
  • God performs all things for his Israel, his elect, “the remnant of Jacob!
  • And, to top it all off, he promises to save his Israel (Isaiah 46:13).

 

“I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” (Isaiah 46:13)

 

There is a remnant according to the election of grace. — God’s longsuffering, goodness and mercy to all men is the result of his love for his elect remnant, “the remnant of Jacob.” And everything God does, all his wondrous works of providence and grace, are for “the remnant of Jacob.” Now, in the fourth place…

 

Small Remnant

 

Let me remind you that the remnant of Jacob” in this world is always a very small remnant (Isaiah 1:9; 16:14). In the end, it will be a number which no man can number, a great multitude, ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. But at any one time in this world, in any society, in any place, God’s remnant is small. As it is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Only a few go in at the strait gate and walk in the narrow way.

 

(Isaiah 1:9) “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”

 

(Isaiah 16:14) “But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant [shall be] very small [and] feeble.”

 

God has always done His work with a small, feeble remnant.

 

Illustration: Gideon’s Army — 22,000 whittled down to 300 men too scared to stoop down and drink water (Judges 7:5-6).

 

·      In Noah’s day, one man found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

·      In Abraham’s day, one family obtained mercy.

·      In all the ages of the Old Testament, one nation was called.

·      After three years of preaching, our Lord had only 120 who worshipped in his name.

 

Throughout the centuries God has used a small, feeble remnant to build His kingdom