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.

Š      Chosen in Everlasting Love

Š      God’s Covenant People

Š      Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb

Š      Kept by Grace

Š      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.

Š      He calls out of darkness into light.

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

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

Š      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.

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

Š      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.

Š      The Comforts of the Holy Ghost

Š      Access to the Throne of Grace

Š      The Revelations of God’s Goodness

Š      The Revelations of His Glory

Š      Sweet Experiences of Communion

Š      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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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