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!

Š      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!

Š      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.

 

Š      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!

 

Š      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.

 

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

 

Š      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.”

 

Š      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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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