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
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.”
Š Micah declared “the word of the LORD.”
Š 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.
Š It was “the word of the LORD” given to him for the day in which he lived, “in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”
Š It was “the word of the LORD” which Micah “saw,” that which he understood by experience, that which the Lord God taught him personally.
Š “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.
Š They do not engage themselves with society, but with study.
Š While others play, they pray.
Š While others seek to please men, they seek to persuade men.
Š 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 carries “The 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.
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.
Š In Preparation for Our Conference
Š In Preparation for My Appointed Day of Departure from You
Š 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.
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.
Š Isaiah was such a man (Isaiah 6:1-11).
Š Jeremiah was such a man (Jeremiah 8:18-9:1; 20:8-11).
Š Ezekiel was such a man (Ezekiel 3:1-3, 10-11, 14).
Š 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!”
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!
Š 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.
Š 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.”
Š 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; 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. 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.
Š You cannot preach conviction of sin unless you have experienced it.
Š You cannot preach repentance unless you have been turned to God.
Š You cannot preach faith in Christ unless you exercise it.
Š 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!
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.
Š The Eternal God!
Š His Eternal Salvation!
Š Eternal Life!
Š Eternal Heaven!
Š Eternal Death!
Š 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.
Š Christ and the Samaritan Woman
Š Harry Simms at Antioch
Š 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!
Š Divine Sovereignty
Š Total Depravity
Š Unconditional Election
Š Limited Atonement
Š Irresistible Grace
Š 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).
Š Every thought of Human Merit and Righteousness!
Š Every high thought of Intellectual Arrogance!
Š Every thought of Distinction among Men!
Š 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!”
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!
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.”
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.”
Š Those who preach, but do not preach the Gospel must give account (1 Corinthians 9:16; Ezekiel 3: 17-21; 33:7-19).
Š 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.
Š 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.”
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 Wood, hay, and stubble are all the things men employ to make things happen, things other than the preaching of the Gospel. This is called “the hires” of idolatry and “the hire of an harlot” in Micah 1:7. — “All the hires thereof shall be burned with fire!” This hire of a harlot, these hires of idolatry, refer to costly garments and ornaments with which the heathen adorn and beautify their idols.
 (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20) “For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 20 For ye are our glory and joy.”