Today’s Reading: Amos 6:1–7:17, Acts 10:1–33, Job 20:12–29
Today’s Theme: The Radical Gospel
The good news of the gospel, the new covenant in Jesus, is radical. It brings people together from every nation, tribe and tongue. We should not neglect the world changing nature, message and power of the gospel and should live our lives in light of it’s very bold, public and truthful claims.
Faith filled, active lives
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the first of the nations, to whom the house of Israel comes! (Amos 6:1, ESV)
We are called to live faith-filled, active lives for the Lord. We should not be relaxed and at ease, this is a sure foothold for the enemy and puts our souls in danger of being dominated by the flesh.
Although we enter into the Lords rest, it is a rest for workers and servants, not for spoilt brats who never lift a finger around the house.
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, (Amos 6:5, ESV)
We should not sing idle, pointless songs. We should enjoy songs, most of which are doxological (glorifying to God and not centred around man), and are theologically sound (derived from and expounding on the truth of the bible).
The Lord GOD has sworn by himself, declares the LORD, the God of hosts: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds, and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.” (Amos 6:8, ESV)
God hates pride in His children. The deceiving thing is that our pride can be in areas where we feel we are strong.
Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood— (Amos 6:12, ESV)
This can be true of us if we take the grace of God for granted. Like Paul said, “should we sin that grace would abound… God forbid”. Paul also says we should not use liberty to give an excuse to the flesh.
God’s grace gives us strength to live for Him. Grace without the fear of God, will always be distorted.
God responds to prayer
When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said, “O Lord GOD, please forgive! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” The LORD relented concerning this: “It shall not be,” said the LORD. (Amos 7:2–3, ESV)
This is an awesome truth that should fill us with hope… Our God responds to prayer. He has the power and the will to respond to our prayers – what an awesome privilege. We can ask God and He actually answers, so much can be changed and directed if we would just pray.
The plumb line
And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them; (Amos 7:8, ESV)
A plumb line is a standard by which a wall’s vertical trueness is tested. The Lord is testing the people by His standard.
God’s plumb-line for us is His word.
But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ (Amos 7:15, ESV)
Amos did not come from a family of prophets, he was a faithful shepherd whom God called to be His prophet and intercessor for Israel.
This is a picture of biblical pastoral ministry today, it should be marked by the anointing to prophesy or proclaim God’s word with boldness, and the boldness and piety to pray for the people, before God.
Give God thanks for our Pastors (Shepherds) today.
The danger of compromise
Therefore thus says the LORD: “ ‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’ ” (Amos 7:17, ESV)
The compromise and rebellion of this priest has cost his family dearly. When we compromise and rebel against God and His word, we risk jeopardising the lives of those around us.
Pray for revelations of Jesus
And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. (Acts 10:4, ESV)
We can pray that those who are seeking to serve God in sincerity, but do not have the truth of the Gospel, will have a vision like this. We know this is happening now in the Islamic world.
Also notice that the method for hearing the Gospel is still from a person, it is still the commission of the church. Often in these cases, the vision opens the door and softens the heart to receive the Gospel from an actual witness.
The gospel is for all peoples
And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” (Acts 10:13, ESV)
While the purpose of this vision was primarily to show Peter that the Gospel was for the Gentile nations, which were once considered unclean, there is still truth in the fact that the Mosaic dietary guidelines no longer needed to be followed, as an issue of religious duty. Although we can still be informed in our eating, by the guidelines set in the OT.
We must remember that although there were health benefits to the OT diet, it was really a shadow of the true reality of sin and righteousness and a sign of faith for the OT saints, now replaced by a new covenant.
The radical gospel
And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” (Acts 10:15, ESV)
This drives home the purpose of the vision and shows us the radical nature of the Gospel. We are unclean people whom God has declared clean, this is just amazing.
As mentioned before, this does signal a clear break with the Covenants of the Law of Moses, but it also signals a major change in Jewish and Gentile relations.
One new people
And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. (Acts 10:28, ESV)
The vision had prepared Peter for this mission and spelled an end to the unbiblical custom of the Jews of that day, to keep themselves separate from the gentiles. God had intended Israel to be a light to the world, but the teaching of the Rabbis against the Gentiles, was counter intuitive, thankfully the life, teaching and redemptive work of Jesus takes care of all that.
In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, we are all one in Christ, this is a radical new way for those of the 1st century.
Do angels have wings?
And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing (Acts 10:30, ESV)
Notice the appearances of Angels in the bible generally do not have wings, they appear as men. Seraphim’s do appear with wings.
Receive the gospel in humility
So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” (Acts 10:33, ESV)
Cornelius, his family and household, are in a humble place, ready to receive the truth of the Gospel.
Let us pray that those who engage in charity work, like Cornelius and members of our own family, will also be humble and teachable so that they can receive the gospel too.
“Because he knew no contentment in his belly, he will not let anything in which he delights escape him. (Job 20:20, ESV)
This whole speech is wrong but this is a part of truth, because those who do not learn to be content will run after every lust and desire and the more they eat of food, sex etc, the less they are satisfied.
This is why we must delight in the Lord and learn to be content, knowing that God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.
Plant the seeds (don’t eat them)
There was nothing left after he had eaten; therefore his prosperity will not endure. (Job 20:21, ESV)
Another true principle; if we use and eat all our money, for example, and hold none back for investment or saving, it is like someone eating seed that was meant to be planted.
Opinions and rebuttals
This is the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God.” (Job 20:29, ESV)
Not true, this is one of the things that we need to remember with Job’s book. There is discussion and opinion recorded with counters and rebuttals, we will hear Job rebuttal this blanket statement and view regarding the ungodly, tomorrow.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 10