Verse of the Day

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pastor's Sermon Notes - May 13, 2007

Flee From the Wrath to Come!
Amos 1:3 - 2:16


Review Amos 1:1-2

“...the longest catena of oracles against foreign nations among the Minor Prophets.” [footnote 1]

The form = compound oracle
The primary category = oracles against foreign nations
The incidental category = messenger speech [footnote 2]

There are usually five basic elements in "oracles against foreign nations" [footnote 3]

Amos may have preached this message repeatedly, at various locations over a period of time. [footnote 4]

I. The Inevitability of God’s Judgment

Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of....and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof...

The pattern = N+1 = patterns of sin, not isolated incidents

Matthew 3:7 - But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Luke 3:7 - Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

II. The Justice of God’s Judgment

because they...

Hebrews 10:26-31 - [26] For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, [27] But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. [28] He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: [29] Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? [30] For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [31] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

III. The Awfulness of God’s Judgment

But I will send a fire...which shall devour the palaces...

Deut. 32:22 - For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Hebrews 12:25-29 - [25] See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: [26] Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. [27] And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. [28] Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: [29] For our God is a consuming fire.

“Amos is obviously moving from one compass point to another...” [footnote 5]

Their attention is directed first to Damascus in the north, then to Gaza in the southwest, after this to Tyrus in the northwest, then to Edom in the far southeast, then on to Ammon in the east, and Moab in the southeast...

It was as if they could hear the impacts of God's judgments, off in the distance, one after another, at all these points of the compass, as Amos directed their attention there. It was, in modern terms, as if there were contrails from aircraft criss-crossing the sky overhead as God brings devastation against these foreign nations. [footnote 6]

But, God was not done, as the seventh oracle of judgment, which they may have hoped would be the final one, is pronounced against their fellow tribes in Judah to the immediate south. And, even then, God was not finished. He has surrounded them with judgment, and now He singles them out for special attention, as the real focus of His wrath. They were the last, but they were far from the least of those God announces judgment against through His prophet Amos.

IV. The Impartiality of God’s Judgment

Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;

“Israel, being the most guilty of the group, has become in effect a foreign nation to Yahweh.” [footnote 7]

1 Peter 4:17-18 - [17] For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? [18] And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

1 John 4:17 - Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.


We love to sing the sweet Gospel hymns such as "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound", and "Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life".
And, our love for such songs is understandable.

However, not everything we find in the Word of God drips with such sweetness. There is nothing of that here in this section of the prophecy of Amos.

The greatest men of God throughout history have trembled before Him, and at His Word. They have seen themselves as worms before Him.

Where is your place of refuge and safety?
Do you imagine it to be here at this church?
Or, in the ministry that you are involved in as you serve the Lord?
Do you think your place of refuge is in your devotions, and your acts of worship?
Is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation He gives by grace alone your only place of refuge and safety?

Is there something that you love more than the Lord, that you will cling to as the rich young ruler did with his riches?
Something that prevents you from wholehearted obedience to the Lord?
(Luke 18:18-30)

Or, is your prayer that of the publican in Scripture, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner!"
(Luke 18:13)

Is this your prayer, your cry of desperation to God:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
(Romans 7:24)

Is your answer the answer of the Apostle Paul:
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 7:25)

Jude 1:1-25

[1] Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: [2] Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
[3] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. [4] For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [5] I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. [6] And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. [7] Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. [8] Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. [9] Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. [10] But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. [11] Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. [12] These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; [13] Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. [14] And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, [15] To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. [16] These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
[17] But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; [18] How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. [19] These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. [20] But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, [21] Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. [22] And of some have compassion, making a difference: [23] And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
[24] Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, [25] To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.


1. Douglas K. Stuart, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 31, Hosea-Jonah (Dallas: Word, 1987), pg. 308.

2. Ibid.

3. Op. cit., pp. 308-309.

4. Op. cit., pg. 309.

5. Op. cit., pg. 312.

6. I am indebted to Pastor Maurice Bergeron for this last vivid image, as we stood outdoors at a Bible conference recently, and he pointed up to a sky criss-crossed with jet contrails, and reminded me of what I had mentioned to him from this passage.

7. Douglas K. Stuart, op. cit., pg. 309.

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