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The Lord of the Harvest reaps of His Harvest - Amos 8:1-14

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Amos 8:1-14 The Lord of the Harvest reaps of His Harvest INTRO As I travelled throughout the valley this week…do you know what I didn’t see? I didn’t see the fruit trees being pruned, there was no thinning taking place, no spraying, or fertilizing, or even watering..at least to my eyes…none of that to any degree was taking place. Only one thing was. It was harvest time. Bins were dispersed,…ready to be filled with fruit of which the pickers were up picking at the break of day and throughout the day as efficiently as they could. It was harvest time. Not HAMMER TIME….HARVEST TIME…All the labor in cultivating the soil, tending the crop, all the care that goes into a fruitful yield comes to an end at the time of harvest. Growth has reached it’s end. The fruit is mature and ready to pick. It’s harvest time. A wonderful time of year. The first part of September…every year…harvest time. A great time for everyone. The fruit loop is in full swing. Visitors are lining the roadways. The valley is buzzing with exciting activity. It’s harvest time. There is a harvest to come however, that will not be great for everyone. The harvest of souls…..when The Lord of the harvest comes to reap of His harvest. A time of joy and elation for those who belong to the Lord of the Harvest and a time of dread and terror for those who don’t. Our passage in consideration this morning confronts us with just that. The Lord of the harvest comes to reap of His harvest. And there are three things we’ll explore this morning on this topic. The first seen in (Amos 8:1-most of verse 2)…and that is the time of harvest has come…In Israel’s case here during the days of Amos, speaking of God’s Judgement of them…but a foreshadowing of the coming day of the Lord. The Final Judgement. BODY 1) FIRST POINT - (Amos 8:1-most of 2). The Time of Harvest has Come Naturally we would start there right? Much like the season of harvest that is upon us now….that time comes. Not in April, Not in June or July BUT that time…the time of harvest comes for us in the Hood River Valley during the early part of Fall. Usually around the last week of August and the first week of September depending on the year. Similarly, the time of Harvest of souls… God’s Judgement executed…will—come. AMOS, in the passage, is speaking of it to the Nation Israel at this time in their nations history. Leading up to this..warning after warning has been given over a period of time..years even. GOD, The Lord of the Harvest warning His people through the prophet Amos that judgement was coming. The warnings have ceased. The time has come and GOD gives Amos a vision to signify it. (verses 1-2a) “This is what the Lord GOD showed me…showed Amos in a vision: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, The end has come upon my people Israel;”…and we’ll hold up there for the moment. “The end has come upon my people Israel.” Made clear to AMOS in a vision from God. A harvested basket of summer fruit. Pleading warnings have been given with striking words to awaken God’s people…the people Israel…to awaken them to their deplorable state,…but to no avail. Injustice and Unrighteousness remained. They didn’t want to hear these words from AMOS. We heard last week, the prior chapter, chapter 7 Ben preached on…we heard the king say “Away with you!…we don’t want you here Amos. Go preach elsewhere!” This was the nation Israel's state. Hard hearted, obstinate to the truth, deaf to rebuke, set in their ways. Unwilling to repent. “The end has come upon my people Israel.” God says through AMOS. No more warnings, no more pleading with them. Like the time of harvest where all the labor in cultivating the soil, tending the crop, all the care that goes into a fruitful yield comes to an end. So it is for the people Israel. And so it will be at the end of the age as this foreshadows the Day of the Lord when The Lord of the Harvest will come and reap of His Harvest. The Final Day of Judgement. That time will come. (Matthew 25:31-34). “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:41) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” That time will come. Are you ready for it? For take notice of the remainder of (verse 2) backing up a tad…“The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.” “I will never again pass by them.” GOD says the exact same thing through the prophet Amos at the end of (verse 8) in previous chapter, chapter 7…likely one page to the left. What is He eluding to here? I’m convinced,…it’s the time given to repent. Our second point to contemplate together this morning. The Time of Repentance has Passed…from the latter part of (verse 2 thru the end of verse 10) 2) SECOND POINT (Amos 8:2b-10) - The Time of Repentance has Passed All along this time when Amos has been preaching to the people Israel, informing them of their self delusion, their religious hypocrisy, their injustice and unrighteousness, their false security in riches, their oppression, abuse and exploitation of the poor and needy for selfish gain. GOD, through Amos has been spending lengths of time, passing by if you will, passing by with every word spoken to them through Amos making this known to them. This is your state!….judgement is coming!…I assure you!…you will not escape it. REPENT! Passing by you could say like one of us would pass by someone who is blind to the fact that they are in a very bad place…on a beeline towards definite peril that awaits them and they have no awareness of it…we would pass by and give them warning that it’s coming…this is ahead, this awaits “look,… it’s approaching, there is no way you’ll be spared…no way you’ll escape unless you ACT now. The opportunity is now…If you act now…it can be evaded BUT you must ACT now if you are to change the course. Now is the time to act. GOD The Holy Spirit through various authors of scripture makes that very appeal. (2 Corinthians 6:2, Hebrews 3:7, 4:7, Psalm 95:7) “If you hear His voice, Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” The time will come where though you want to….you won’t be able to. Now is the time to repent. This has been what God has been saying through Amos and they remained obstinate, unwilling to change course….unwilling to repent. Don’t be like them. There will be a day when the time of repentance…the time to be able to repent,..will pass. JESUS is speaking of that time when he says “many will come to Him saying Lord Lord..” whom he will not let into his Kingdom. Let’s look at that chilling account. It’s in. (Matthew 7:18-24) “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire - That’s judgment - the eternal fire judgement. Thrown into the fire Jesus says…Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. NOW Here it is “Not everyone who says to me..says to Jesus, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day, Harvest day…the day of Judgement, many…not few but many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ The people had time to repent and they didn’t. Times up..though they would want to they can no longer….in the very next Chapter, chapter 9…in the opening verse…AMOS sees God give command to STRIKE!….Judgement is happening! The time to repent has passed. (verse 3) “The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” declares the Lord GOD. “So many dead bodies!” “They are thrown everywhere!” “Silence!” Horror stricken now are the people Israel, all that is lifted in voice in the temple is wailings of sorrow and grief instead of song…so much so that there is even a cry out for silence! due to the deafening outcry of unbearable heart ache. Like, “I can’t take it anymore!” The wailings and anguish outcry of soul by those who do not know Christ will be so great that even the sound of them will be in want of escape. On that Judgement day. The day The Lord of the Harvest comes to reap of His Harvest. God calls out their fruitless deeds in (verses 4-6) - read The people here were not concerned about the things of God, they were all wrapped up in the cares, the riches and the pleasures of this life. They held the attitude equivalent in our day of…. “Man, when is church service going to be over with….I’m putting my church time in but boy…I can’t wait till it’s over so I can go play and/or work for profit.” That’s the attitude here God is calling out. NOW I’m not downing work or play…in it’s proper place fulfilled to the glory of God…BUT do you see the attitude of heart GOD is addressing here? The Sabbath, the Festivals they observed were only a matter of formalities…that’s all. It wasn’t a part of who they were. There was no sincere interest in the things of God but only in the cares, the riches and the pleasures of this life at all cost….even to the oppression of the poor and needy. And GOD sees it plainly…He is not fooled. (verse 7). “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” HE is not fooled, HE sees it all, HE doesn’t forget it and HE will rightly judge it all.…to the farthest reaches. Being God, Supreme Judge of all…Shall He not? Which is the rhetorical question He Himself asks in (verse 8). “Shall not the land tremble on….this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?” Which flooded every year. GOD’S Judgement, like the yearly Nile flood and the flood in the days of Noah, covers all. None will escape God’s Judgement that comes…………… un-expectantly. (Verse 9) “And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.” The Lord of the Harvest “will come at an hour you do not expect.” And none will escape His dreadful Judgement. (Matthew 24:44, Luke 12:40). For those who know Him as Lord and Savior,…we are to be ready, eagerly waiting patiently his return while we faithfully serve Him in laboring for His Kingdom. Those who don’t know him as Lord and Savior…now is the time to repent, now is the favorable time; Behold, now is the day of salvation.” The time will come when though you want to you won’t be able to. Now is the time to repent. Don’t be of those many,….those many who come to JESUS saying Lord Lord whom Jesus declares to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ The Same words spoken in (Matthew 25:41) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Don’t discover yourself to be one of them. Coming to Jesus, calling Him Lord even….thinking that they are in His Kingdom when they are in fact NOT. How can we be certain that we are not of those many?, you ask. I recall Jesus’s words from that very passage in (Matthew 7) “Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” The fruit, what is seen in a person’s life that reveals the condition of their heart. That which discloses their hidden nature within. The fruit of our lips and deeds. And so, as a means to answer that question of - HOW can we be certain that we are not of those who come to Jesus saying Lord Lord whom JESUS sends away saying I never knew you. HOW can we be certain we are not one of the many? I offer three chief measures to examine oneself by. The A…B…C’s of Christian fruit you could say. Not Apples, Berries and Cherries. But ABC’s of Christian Fruit. A. Appetite for God’s Word A is Appetite for God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-6) turn there?.. Do you have an appetite for God’s Word? B. Brotherhood…Do you love the brethren? Do you love the people of God…the Church…fellow born again believers and obedient followers of CHRIST. I’ll put it this way - Do you sense a kinship with them that is not of this world? (1 John 3:9-10, 17; 4:20,21). Turn there… C. Charity. (John 13:35) “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love (charity/love..the highest form of love) love for one another.”..…which certainly ties right in with B…brotherhood, but above all it’s a love for God…for the things of God. Does God captivate your heart and mind? Do you let God know how much you love Him and hear from His Word how much He loves you. Are those conversations taking place? Is that expressed in your prayers? Where does this love come from? (Galatians 5:22-23). “But the fruit (there’s that word again) the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, (it’s the first one listed and rightly so. But the fruit of the Spirit is love/charity) it’s also…joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;……” “They will know we are christians by our love”…a fruit of the Spirit of Christ within us powerfully working His grace in making us into a new humanity,…bearing the likeness of Him in our love…love for the Father and our neighbor….along with the expressions of the fruit of His Spirit in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Consider these ABC’s of christian fruit to be assured you are in the faith. I bring to your attention The parable of the sower and the seed. Remember in (Luke 8:4-8 & Matthew 13:3-9). The sower went out and sowed seed, some fell along the path, some on the rock, some among thorns and some in good soil. If your understanding of that parable has been anything other than the last hearer in the story, the one whom would be the good soil the seed fell into as being the one and only one who is saved…if that has not been your understanding, your understanding has been wrong. The first three are not genuine believers. The third one..the one choked is right in line with Matthew 7. The cares, the riches and pleasures of this life choke them and their fruit does not mature. And don’t miss this beloved. There fruit does not mature. You see, they have apparent fruit in their lives. They look like christians, act like christians, say and believe they are christians BUT they are not. Is it not startling to you when Jesus says.. “Many will come to me in that day and say ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’…do you hear the false confidence portrayed by them? They carry this presumed attitude that they were in like Flynn….and notice this,…JESUS doesn’t say “Oh know you didn’t.” He doesn’t deny their claim of works in his name but rather goes right on to the fact that he never knew them. ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ JESUS doesn’t deny they had done works in His name. He doesn’t correct them in what they testify to. They had works indeed but it was dead works, false works from a false faith. JESUS says in essence, “I know all you’ve done, done in my name even…Look right at me…I - never knew - you.” I never knew you. Contrast them with the one whom (Psalm 1) speaks of….who delights in the Law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. Take notice of the fruit spoken of in this (Psalm). “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Yields it’s fruit…FRUIT that is specific for that branch…christian, there is specific fruit God is working to bring about to maturity in your life for His glory that is no one others. It’s solely yours to bear for God’s pleasure, His glory and your Joy. The Christians fruit, our fruit together compliment one another and work together much like a fruit salad bowl is a delicacy to enjoy in all it’s varieties….but each Fruit is distinct. Each Fruit is yielded in it’s season…when it’s mature and ready to pick. NO one goes out and pick’s hard green blackberries to enjoy…no way. Or any other unripe fruit a tree or vine would bear. You wait till it’s fully ripe, till it’s fully mature to pick. So it is with the fruit in our lives that we bear for God. Throughout the seasons of life we have fruit the Lord of the Harvest is at work pruning, fertilizing, watering, caring for till the time it’s ready to be picked. At it’s season. Strawberries tend to be the first berry then Raspberries, Blue berries, Black berries and so on with even a variety amongst themselves of the season they are picked. Same with pears and apples…we live in the valley…we know this well church. Do you Remember what the seed that fell on good soil did? (Luke 8:15). “As for that (that seed that fell) in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with… patience.” With Patience. Because the thing is…the Lord of the Harvest is the one who determines when it’s mature and ready to pick. The branch doesn’t do that. It’s bearing it and yielding it to be picked but the branch doesn’t pick the fruit… the harvester does. So it is with the Lord of the Harvest. It is He who knows when its ready to be picked and He doesn’t pick it early or late BUT in it’s season…in it’s proper time. Our part…the branches…bear it…bear the fruit with patience as we wait upon Him who supplies everything required for us to yield it at all. Hold fast to the word of God in an honest and good heart which simply means to TRUST and OBEY…Trust and Obey the Word of God that will yield abundant fruit in your life for God. And Christ Jesus ends this parable by saying… “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” Or in other words. He who has faith,….He who has faith understand and act on these words. For those who are Christ’s are those who both “hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21). Such are those of faith who are “obedient to the faith” (Romans 16)…the “faith that comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) In this present age, I never grow tired of hearing the testimony of when that day occurred. When faith came alive in your soul. A young brother in the faith recently shared with me his account of it and it came from the very parable of the sower and the seed we were just speaking of earlier. He shared about how on this particular occasion, while reading through that parable he’s read before and heard others read as well. But on this particular occasion…while reading through the story Jesus told of the sower and the seed and the different ground it fell on…he shared how it gripped his heart like never before and awakened him to believe and follow after Christ…it awakened faith. The fear of God came alive in him for the first time in a real way and it is marked as the day he became a christian. Those are the best stories I never grow tired of hearing…(Psalm 87:3,4,6) captures the excitement of those testimonies with heavenly words “Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. “Among those who know me… ‘This one was born here, they say….” The LORD records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah On that day this young man read the sower and the seed parable in (Matthew 7) ‘This one was born here. Born again to a new life in Christ. But there is a day when that will be no more. When saving faith will no longer be given. The time the Gospel message is no longer offered. Our 3rd and final point. 3) THIRD POINT (Amos 8:11-12) - The Time of the Gospel message Ends “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ.” The day will come when the offer of salvation…the gospel message of Jesus Christ will no longer be extended. I find (verses 11-12) in Amos 8 of which God lays the heaviest and sorest judgement upon the people Israel…though the people Israel would search to dizzying measures to hear from God a message…some instruction, some guidance from above for help…none will be given, no word of hope during this time of Judgement but only abandonment of them to the ruin promised for their sin. All this providing a foretaste of that day…the Final day the Lord of the Harvest will come and reap of His Harvest, I find those verses (verses 11-12) as one of the saddest passages in the Bible. read Though one would come from the farthest reaches of the earth to seek the Word of the Lord, they will not find it. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ.” There will no more be hearing the Word of Christ by whose name you may be saved because He will be harvesting. The time of the gospel message ends. The time for the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ comes to an end. The Lord of the Harvest - JESUS CHRIST - will be reaping of His Harvest and those who do not belong to Him, those whom He does not know He will gather to be burned… “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur…along with the devil who had deceived them……..there they will be tormented day and night forever and ever….in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” (Revelations 14:10, 20:10) There will no more be hearing the Word of Christ by whose name you may be saved….the time for the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ will be no more. The time of the gospel message ends. Therefore now, YES, we’ve returned there… Therefore NOW, while that time exists….If there is doubt in your mind and heart at all as to whether you are truly a Christian..don’t let that run idle…understand friend…that is not a bad question to ask. Am I truly a believer. Would Christ say to me… “I never knew you…depart from me you worker of lawlessness.” Is that what Jesus would say to me? This is not a bad question to ask. It’s dangerous to merely presume he wouldn’t. If you have doubt in your heart as to whether you are truly born again….Ask that question to yourself and keep seeking the Lord till you are certain…because you want to be certain and you can be certain. Don’t assume. My greatest concern for you is not your physical well being but the well being of your immortal soul. That you would be rooted deep in the faith and love of Jesus Christ and on the heels of that….fully assured of your salvation in Him which, christian…is attainable. Because with that assurance comes POWER in your life and testimony lived for Him to His glory and your joy. If doubt resides in your heart pursue Him till it’s put to rest and then keep pursuing him that the joy of that assurance would only intensify and expand. I’m going to ask for something now that we haven’t done here before and perhaps may not again. It’s not a practice here and nor will it be but I’m compelled to provide an opportunity for some acknowledged exposure. I invite everyone to bow your head and close your eyes. My eyes alone will remain open as I look upon the assembly. But everyone else, please close your eyes and keep them closed. ALLOW a space here for a gentle nudge. At this time, with all eyes closed, I offer an opportunity to step towards removing any doubt. If that doubt is there and this question rightly applies to you. “Am I truly saved?” I invite you to acknowledge that now by lifting up your hand. Lift it that I may see it. I’m not one to linger long in silence…you know this about me…so if your heart is being tugged on right now…now is the time to act. Simply raise your hand to acknowledge that. Regardless if hands are raised….pray for them before eyes are opened and heads lifted back up. CONCLUSION (Amos 8:13-14) The Lord of the Harvest will come to reap of his Harvest. For those who with patience bear fruit pleasing to him….that day will be a glorious union with the one you know by faith now. For those who do not know JESUS…the closing verses (verses 13-14) make it clear…strength and beauty pictured by the lovely virgins and the young men will faint and fail as will also all false gods. They all fail and never rise again. No aide will they provide to lift or spare the ruin that will befall you who do not belong to Christ. Now is the favorable time; Behold, now is the day of salvation.” Repent and turn to Christ to be saved. ? Let’s pray. - PRAY Thank you that you do return to take us home. That that day will come. Assurance Not presume upon your grace Seek your presence daily that assurance would abide strong. COMMUNION Benediction (Matthew 7:24) “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
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