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Justice

Amos: Let Justice Roll  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Theme: God's Justice is His Mercy shared with the Powerless Purpose: examine our lives for ways in which we contribute to injustice. Gospel Connection: God's Calling by Grace is to Reflect His Grace. Mission Connection: Justice is about Making, Growing, Serving as it Honors God.

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Amos 2:6–16 NIV
This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name. They lie down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge. In the house of their god they drink wine taken as fines. “Yet I destroyed the Amorites before them, though they were tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks. I destroyed their fruit above and their roots below. I brought you up out of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness to give you the land of the Amorites. “I also raised up prophets from among your children and Nazirites from among your youths. Is this not true, people of Israel?” declares the Lord. “But you made the Nazirites drink wine and commanded the prophets not to prophesy. “Now then, I will crush you as a cart crushes when loaded with grain. The swift will not escape, the strong will not muster their strength, and the warrior will not save his life. The archer will not stand his ground, the fleet-footed soldier will not get away, and the horseman will not save his life. Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day,” declares the Lord.
Introduction: What do these things have in Common? #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Youth Marches for Gun Control, Occupy Wall Street. These are all cries for Justice.
What is Biblical Justice and How can Amos speak to us about Justice?
Before We answer the second question, I want to look at how Amos sets up his main message to Israel. He begins by communicating that...

God Hold’s All Nations Accountable for Injustice.

Biblical Justice Defined by Discipleship Essentials:
“Biblical Justice means lifting the bonds of oppression, identifying with the cause of the poor and meeting the needs of the downtrodden. In Essence it is standing up for those who can not stand up for themselves.”
Chapter 1:3-2:5: Have a map showing the Nations surrounding Israel that were to be judged.
http://www.icr.org/article/scientific-scriptural-impact-amos-earthquake
For Three Transgressions and for Four - Damascus, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab - 1 transgression listed as an example, and they all revolve around the cruelty of these nations towards Israel/Judah
Change with Judah - God holds Judah accountable for rejecting God’s law and for false idols leading them astray
Insight - God holds all people accountable, and for what they know. The people of God are held accountable for what they do with their privilige. All people are held accountable for innate morality common to humans - Argument against atheism and subjective morality.
Zephaniah - All people will be held accountable.
Perspective 1: No one, nor no nation is immune to God’s Accountability,
Perspective 2: Question was Amos setting Israel Up? turning the tables on them? or was he saying, Look you are not alone?
Perspective 3: He let them know that His Nation has issues, None of us are perfect. - So for our Church, our Nation we should not take a prideful position but a humble position
Perspective 4: God’s people = With more privilege, More responsibility because we are called to honor God’s name before all of the nations.
With the Middle East = Supporting Israel but not to the point of justifying any injustices, and supporting palistinians, but not to the point of justifying injustices.
The Church must be take a posture of humility and not defensiveness around issues of Justice - God may be speaking to us warning us that we are not honoring His Name, and if we turn a blind eye to injustices we may find ourselves fighting against the God we love.
Another Reason we are called to live justly is because...

God’s Justice is His Mercy to Us.

So if Justice is Standing up for the those who can not stand up for themselves. Then God has done this for us.
He did this for Israel. - He reminds Israel of His justice towards them - We are going to use this press (Olive Press) as an example.
God reviews the Justice he a gave to Israel.
They were powerless in Egypt. They were slaves in Egypt and there was nothing they could do and the work was oppressive - It pressed down on them. God lifted their burden in essence by Judging Egypts Oppression. God stood up for the Powerless - Them.
God is a God who lifts burdens - Have a press - Olive press?
The Amorites and all living in the promised land were also oppressive people. Sacrificing their Children to their gods, and their sin had come to completion. God lifted the oppression of that land and gave the land to Israel.
He reminds the Israelites that they were onc
He gave them signs of
Christ Lifted the burden and the oppression of Sin off us when he died on the Cross and made us into a people by his Grace Mercy. We were powerless because of sin, and God stood up for us.
He Called Israel to Bear His Name and He calls us to bear his name. God wants to be known by His Character - He is different than all of the Other god’s, he shows mercy he fights for the powerless, the poor, the widow, the orphan. Our freedom in Christ and our calling is the same as Israel’s in that we were made free from our burdens in order to proclaim God as the one who frees.
In essence Amos is saying, when Israel does not live justly, and we do not, we give God a bad name, we mis-represent him, and it is a sign of hypocricy and a slap in the face of the God who lifted our burdens.
This freedom is
This freedom is

God’s Justice is His Mercy Shared with the Powerless.

According to Amos Israel was engaging in these practices.
The unnecessary foreclosure on small loans by money lenders - Technically legal, but deprives legally innocent/guiltless debtors of the possibility of clearing their debts. If the debtor could not pay the called loan, then their land was confiscated and they would be tied up in court proceedings they can not afford even to the point of selling their least sandals and going into slavery.
Crushing the Powerless to the Ground - Perhaps literal or metaphoric. - Turning aside the way of the destitute - Refers Generally to doing what you can to keep the powerless powerless.
Clothing in pledge - The Wealthy could legally (according to Leviticus) collect the last thing a debtor owns (Shirt off their back), but they were to return their cloak at night so that they would at least be warm at night - Here they are keeping them and then wearing them to worship.
A fine for breaking the law might be paid in wine and if so it would go to the state. Here the judge is keeping it himself and bringing it to worship.

6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

Sexual Abuse - Referring to abusing most likely a female servant in their household. - This is strictly forbidden in Leviticus
Leviticus strictly
So, God expects those who have received his Justice to give it to others. To fight for the powerless. This involves not just obeying the law of our land, but most importantly obeying the will of God. because as we see you could also act unjustly by manipulation of the law as well.
Belhar Confession
1. Jesus tells the parable of the unmerciful servant in . He shows the hypocrisy of believers who are unwilling to show the same mercy that God shows to them.
2. In 2016, Barna Group did research into attitudes surrounding Black Lives Matter and racial justice. In the article, Brooke Hempell, vice president of research, is quoted as saying, “More than any other segment of the population, white evangelical Christians demonstrate a blindness to the struggle of their African American brothers and sisters” (“Black Lives Matter and Racial Tension in America,” Barna Group, May 5, 2016, https://www.barna.com/research/black-lives-matter-and-racial-tension-in-america/). Could this be a modern-day example of God’s people being insensitive to matters of justice?
Conclusion: The first thing I think we should do when we hear that someone feels oppressed, or claims there is injustice, is to do what God asks Israel to do in the book of Amos. Listen, identify with, and look to see if there is anyone way that we can stand with those who can not stand up for themselves.
Reference the Reformed Confessions: The Reformed Confessions are statements of faith written to clarify the Gospel at times when the Church was in crisis. Heidelberg Chatechism: Q&A 62-64, 86, 91 Belgic Confession: Articles 24, 28-29 Canonos of Dort: Head V, Article 12 Belhar Confession: Article 4
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