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
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.
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)
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).
“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)
(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.
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.
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.
“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)
“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)
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)
“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.
Š His Way of Grace.
Š His Way of Providence.
Š 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.
“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).
Š The Law of Faith.
Š The Law of Love.
Š 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.
Š In wisdom and justice, Christ Jesus orders and rules all the affairs of this world for the good of His Church.
Š He rebukes and restrains everything and everyone that opposes the interests of His Kingdom.
Š 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.
Š The Gospel of Christ makes peace and slays enmities.
Š The Gospel of Christ reconciles those who are natural enemies.
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)
“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.”
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.
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