an expository sermon on Amos 5:18-6:14 preached by Pastor Jordan Atkinson on October 6, 2019
Due to unforeseen technical difficulties, the last ten minutes of the sermon are unavailable on audio. Pastor Jordan’s sermon notes for the missing audio are below:
Because the elites in Samaria and Jerusalem were complacent about their sin, God decrees that they will “be the first of those who go into exile” (Amos 6:7). God will bring their rebellious revelry to an end! And that’s exactly what happened. Both Israel (2 Kgs 15:29-30; 17:6) and Judah (2 Kgs 24:1-2, 10-15; 25:2, 6-12) went into exile in multiple stages. In both cases, the kings and nobles were among those exiled in the first wave of foreign conquests. God’s word of judgment came to pass historically, so we can be sure it will come to pass in the end, as well!
We Christians should heed the warning of God’s judgment against the complacency of the elites in Israel and Judah. One of the repeated themes of the Book of Hebrews is the need for us Christians to persevere in the faith, not to apostatize and abandon the Lord we claim. Have you ever thought about the first way that the author of Hebrews describes apostasy? He first warns us to beware of drifting away from the gospel we have heard and not to neglect our great salvation (Heb 2:1-4). Apostasy at first is not the outright rejection of Christ; it does not begin when you walk out of church and never return. Apostasy begins with complacency, with drifting in the sea of life without being truly anchored in Christ by faith and with neglecting the means of grace God has provided (e.g., Bible reading, prayer, congregational worship and fellowship). Similarly, Peter commands us to be diligent to confirm our calling and election, based on the truth that God has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3-11)!
Finally, God commands us in this text to let justice roll down like waters because otherwise God’s wrath will roll over you (Amos 6:8-14). God swears to destroy Samaria (v. 8). Whole households will die (vv. 9-10). All houses, whether great or small, will be destroyed (v. 11).
God continues by berating Israel for the absurdity of their complacent injustice (vv. 12-13). Horses can’t run on rocks. You can’t plow a rocky mountainside with oxen to harvest grain or some other crop. Nevertheless, Israel has committed an equal (if not worse) folly: they have perverted justice. Furthermore, they are rejoicing over their recent military conquests of Lo-debar and Karnaim from Syria. As they rejoice over their capture of Lo-debar, they rejoice literally over “nothing,” as that is the meaning of the town’s name. And that boasting is especially foolish because Israel itself will be conquered by a foreign army (v. 14). All of Israel will be oppressed, even its expanded territory over Jeroboam II (cf. 2 Kgs 14:25).
Again, if you are not a Christian, you must see the tsunami of God’s wrath that threatens to consume you if you remain unrepentant in your sin. Repent and believe in the gospel! Don’t rejoice over nothing the way Israel did. Don’t foolishly remain in your sin the way Israel did. Repent! Go to the cross of Jesus and his empty tomb. Cry out to him for forgiveness of your sin and for eternal life! The glorious gospel promise is that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom 10:13). If you will confess Jesus’ Lordship (divine authority) over your life personally, if you will believe that God raised him from the dead because he had accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for your personal sin in your place, then you will be saved (Rom 10:9-10).