Sun Am Worship Running from a Lion, into a bear and then bitten by a snake
Text: Amos 5: 18-19 (King James Version)
"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."
The Fields are white and the laborers are
2. C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;
Amos 5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
Amos 5:19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
Amos 5:20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
God calls on everyone to reject the idea that they can
justify themselves by their own good works. That's what everyone who has yet to
come to Christ is doing - seeking to justify themselves in the sight of God, in
the sight of others or in their own sight.
Religion leads to the "comparison game." I compare myself to others to prove my worth (Luke 18:11). Whether it's an atheist, comparing himself to "religious hypocrites," or the "good old boy" who justifies himself by saying he'll never darken the church door because "most of those folks in church on Sunday are with me in the bar with me on Friday," or the church goer who points out the sins of non-church goers - religion, justifying oneself, always leads to the comparison game because deep down, we know everything isn't right and so we point to those we think are worse than us. Religion is a dead-end road.
Consider the text God's warning to anyone who's 'playing
Church!' I ought to just finish right there with that one statement, for the
text says it all. Amos, here, is
dealing with those who like to try to fool people by acting holy.
One thing about it brothers and sisters... you can fool man, but you can't fool God! Man is easy to fool because man's assessment and evaluation of people is based on what man sees 'outwardly.' In other words, man's view and purview of humanity is based on what man is capable of seeing with his natural eye. But Amos is letting us know that there is an 'unseen eye' that sees all we do and an 'unseen ear' that hears all we say. That unseen eye and that unseen ear belongs to God... and God sees stuff and knows stuff about you that nobody else knows.
I tell people all the time... don't be too quick to judge folk based on "what you think you know" about them, because you really don't know them! Truth of the matter is... some people are good - "real good" -at being one thing around you, but something else behind closed doors.
Matter of fact, you'd probably be surprised to learn
some of the stuff the person sitting right next to you does when they're out of
your eyesight. You ought to turn and look at them today and say, "I wonder what you do when you know I
can't see you!"
But you see, that's man's limitation. Man only looks at the outward appearance. But God has the power to look through man's physical and skeletal structure to see what state man's heart is in and likewise, what state man's soul is in!
Amos apparently had issues with a few folk here. Evidently there were some people - some so-called church members - who were going around talking about how glorious it will be when the Lord comes. There are people today doing that. I've heard them stand on Sunday's (in various churches) and 'Testi-lie' ... I mean 'Testify.' Talkin' 'bout: "Saints... if you miss me from singing or preaching down here, and you can't find me no where... come on up to the city called glory and I'll be waiting up there!" It sounds good! And when they say it, they sound so convincing! But my brothers and sisters, the proof is in the pudding and the spice is in the cake! There's no sense in you telling me to look for you in glory if you can't get along with folk right down here! There's no sense in saying "I love the Lord, He heard my cry and pitied my every groan. Long as I live and trouble rise, I'll hasten to His throne" ...
if every time I hear your name mentioned it's involved
in some kind of ungodly mess!
I need to drop some money in the meter right here and park for a minute to tell anybody who's playing church... you better stop it and get serious about this thing because time is winding down! I don't know when He's coming, but this one thing I am sure of: "It's just a matter of time!"
And so, Amos is trying to warn Israel that destruction is approaching! Look at what he says in verses 16 & 17: "... there shall be wailing in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skillful of lamentation to wailing." In other words, Amos telling us that God's Judgment and devastation will be so complete throughout the land that there will be sorrow on every street!
Travelers on the highway will see it every place they go! Farmers and vineyard workers will find the burden of sorrow more pressing than the care of their crops, and it will lead them to mourn! The only ones who will profit from this judgment will be the professional mourners.
Yes... you see, back in the bible days, they had
professional mourners. These pro-mourners would go around crying for folk for a
fee. If you died and nobody cared, your family could hire these people to come
and cry at your funeral. Well... the word says that when the Judgment of God
comes... the only people who profit from will be those who make a living from
being professional mourners. And all of this will happen because Jehovah Himself will pass through the
land in judgment as He has promised. Tell somebody, "He's coming... just as he
promised." And he's coming
Talk to an insurance agent about an "Act of God" and
he'll tell you it means a catastrophic destruction of lives and/or
When Peter speaks of Noah's flood, he's saying: God's done it before.. he'll do it again -- count on it!
In other words, it doesn't matter whether or not you think He's coming again in judgment -- He Is! AND PEOPLE IGNORE THAT AT THEIR OWN PERIL.
III. Could it be that most people have seen and heard of the loving side of God that they cannot accept the judging side of God?
The world scoffs at these things, just as they did in
Noah's day, but no one will be laughing on the day when millions, suddenly
Hebrews 9:27 "..but after this the judgment.."
On any Sunday afternoon in the fall, you can be watching an NFL football game and as they scan the stands you see someone hold up a John 3:16 sign. And we all know what that says:
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
And that is very much a side of God that we need to know. But the Bible tells us that is indeed one side of God and I am very thankful for that side of God but there is also another side of God.
Maybe we forget Genesis 7:1 where God rescued Noah and his family but then proceeded to destroy all living creatures with a flood.
Maybe we forget that God rescued righteous Lot and his family and then proceeded to rain down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah.
Maybe we forget that God released the waves, which were
held back so the Israelites could cross the Red Sea upon dry land, upon the
advancing Egyptian army destroying them all.
Maybe we forget that Ananias and Sapphira died because
they lied to the Holy Spirit of God.
I can see how
if you don't have the whole picture of God that you might think it is OK for the
deadline to come and not be prepared because you feel that God will just love
you into heaven. The only problem is that you are seriously
Right now, God is still striving with rebellious mankind..
..calling/convicting/convincing/saving sinners..but there's coming a day very soon when God's patience will give way to God's wrath..and there will be an avalanche of God's judgment poured down upon the world which rejects Christ.
IThess 4:16-17, "For the Lord himself shall descend from
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
It will be a judgment so terrible, so severe, so beyond comprehension, that God will not allow His True Church to go through it!
In Revelation 4:1, the church disappears! And is not
seen again until ch. 19, when we find the church returning with Christ to earth
at the battle of Armageddon!
To use radio language, we would say that in Revelation 4:1, the church goes "off the air". Why does the church go off the air in Revelation 4:1? I'll tell you why, because the church goes "in the air" in Revelation 4:1!! This verse is a picture of the rapture of the church! We can only imagine that glorious ride! Are you excited about making that trip? Are you watching for Him? Or are you not real sure?
6 Reasons for a Pre-tribulation Rapture:
1. Not one time is the church mentioned in a Bible text discussing the tribulation
2. In all the writings of Paul, the church is never mentioned in connection with the tribulation or wrath to come.
3. The church has already been judged at Calvary [the purpose of tribulation is judgment!]
4. The pictures of Enoch/Lot, etc. [all Bible types picture pre-tribulation]
5. Reelation 19 pictures the church in Heaven during the tribulation.
6. The coming of Christ for His saints is always pictured as sudden and unexpected [imminent]
I realize we all live under the pressure of having to
meet deadlines. We have the pressure of paying our bills by no later than the
due date in order to avoid an additional financial penalty. We have the pressure
of buying or renewing our car tags on time in order to avoid an expensive ticket
by one our fine state troopers. And we all have the pressure of filing and
paying our taxes on time in order to avoid the knock of our friendly I.R. S.
agent on our door with papers seizing our possessions.
I could go on and on telling you more deadlines we each face every day of our life. The truth is deadlines are just a part of life. But the greatest deadline we all must face is this.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they will die.."
I. We All know of life's greatest deadline but only a few are ready when the deadline arrives.
IV. Could it be that most people overlook this deadline
because it only occurs once in their life?
Hebrews 9:27 "..for men to die once.."
Matthew 7:14 "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
The passage of Scripture from Ecclesiastes tells me that there is not a single boy, girl, man or woman in this room tonight, who having their right senses, doesn't know that one day they will face death. So 100% of us know that we are going to face death.
Then I am a little confused by the second Scripture. One hundred percent of the people know about the deadline and yet I am told in this Scripture by Jesus Himself that only a few are prepared for when the deadline arrives.
So here is the picture. There is a deadline. The greatest of all deadlines. We know how to be prepared for deadlines because life is full of deadlines that we all meet day in and day out. But for some reason the greatest deadline in the world we fail to ready for. It doesn't make sense; and I want to know why?
II. Could it be that most people are not prepared because we don't know the appointed time?
Hebrews 9:27 "..it is appointed.."
The electricity bill is due on a certain date of the month; my cell phone bill is due on a certain day of the month, and the water bill is due on a certain day of the month.
We know the dates that they are due. This thing called death, life greatest deadline, I know it is an appointed time but the problem is that God knows when it is but I don't know when it is.
So I am thinking to myself; if God wants to get more
people prepared for life's greatest deadline, He is going to have to start
telling us the date and time of our death. If we know the date and time it seems
like more people would be prepared except..
However, as I read my Scriptures, there is a passage
that makes me believe that even knowing the date and time would not change a
Luke 16:27-31 "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
If someone rising from the dead won't get me ready for the appointed time; how would just knowing the appointed time get me ready. It wouldn't.
Even though it is my life's greatest deadline because it only occurs once I am so busy living life- meeting the other deadlines of life- that I forget about the greatest deadline.
Life's greatest deadline requires me to ask myself
life's biggest question. Are you really prepared to meet God?
Are you living your life today like life's greatest deadline really means something to you?
One day, an ambitious university student was talking
with a wise older uncle. "Joe," the uncle asked, "tell me what you plan to do
after you graduate from college."
"Oh, I guess I'll start my career," said Joe.
"That sounds prudent," said the uncle. "What then?"
"I guess," said Joe, "I'll get married and have a family."
"That's wonderful," said the old man. "What then?"
"Well," replied Joe, "I guess I'll make my fortune."
"Good for you," said the uncle. "What then?"
"Then," said Joe, "I'll buy a country home and retire."
"That sounds inviting," said the uncle. "What then?"
"Well, I suppose," said Joe, "that one day I'll die."
"That's true," said the uncle. "What then?"
I'm gonna leave you alone in a minute, but the writer
says that the land of Israel shall be put in mourning, true mourning, that all
places shall be filled with lamentation for the calamities coming upon them. I
think we're seeing that in our land today. Look at our cities these days, and
just about every place you cast your eye there is wailing in the streets, on
main streets. On side streets. On highways and byways. Everyday, you hear about
another person being murdered, mugged, raped, or robbed. It's not safe to walk
the streets alone at nights. Nowadays, when you go out, you almost have to carry
mace or pepper spray, or a stick or something to protect yourself in case you're
But not only are our streets in a bad way. Our homes are
in a bad way. Children are rising up against their parents. Parents are killing
their children. Husbands and wives are living in the same house, but there's no
love in there!
Our schools are in trouble. Metal Detectors now stand as sentinels at the school house door. Police officers patrol school hallways. Drug sniffing dogs are being brought in to sniff lockers that once held only books and homework! I tell you, it's a mess!
But you know, as sad as it is for me to say this... I can understand the condition of the world because sin is so prevalent in the world these days. I'm not trying to justify it, but I can't understand it. You expect people in the world to be unruly and ungodly, because worldly people are basically plastic. But when it comes to the church... (God's house) you don't expect to find fakes and phonies in the house of the Lord. God's house is supposed to be made up of regenerated folk, who are becoming sanctified folk, who are on their way to become glorified folk. Regeneration means: you have turned from sin, and turned to Christ. Sanctified means: You're still not what you ought to be, but you're not what you used to be... and everyday you're getting better and becoming more like Christ. And then, Glorified is the state you become after Christ returns in the rapture... when we see Him as He is and become like Him!
Those are the people you expect to find in the church. But we find today that there are C-Z Christians... they look like diamonds. They sparkle like diamonds. But they have no worth. They just here to look cute and try to fool somebody!
We've got some Knock-off Christians. They look like good church folk They carry a bible. They wear a cross.
they have on a robe, but they're not the real deal... and you can tell it by the
fruit they bear! These are the kinds of
people Amos is writing to. The ones who were going around saying, "I'll be glad when the Lord comes." But I
hear Amos say, "Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord..." They say that
they wish it would come because they don't believe it will ever come; nor will
they believe it unless they see it!
And because they don't believe it... they don't fear it. And if they do believe it, they're doing nothing to get ready for it. And because they're not doing anything to get ready for it... when it happens it's going to blow their minds, because it won't be a day of glory for them... it will be a day of darkness! In other words, Amos is trying to tell us... only those in a right relationship with God will survive to enjoy the benefits of the Day of the Lord. And... you might even escape most of the devastation I talked about a few minutes ago, but none of us will escape the judgment of God!
That's what he means when he says, it will be like a picture of a man who escapes from a lion and while doing so, he runs into a bear. He gets away from the bear and makes it to the safety of his house only to relax in his home and in his exhaustion leans against the wall, only to be bitten by a snake! The old folk used to say it like this: You gonna run to the rock to hide your face, but the rock will cry out... no hiding place! You gonna run to the oceans and run to the rivers, only to find the water boiling.
I'm closing here now, but...
-What you gonna do... when Jesus comes back on a cloud (just like He said He would?)
-What you gonna do... when all of the demons are loose and there are no chains on evil?
-What you gonna do... when time rolls up like a scrolls and the moon drips away in blood?
Somebody's who's been playing church is gonna run to the church for real this time and cry out, "Have mercy on me Lord!" But I say, why wait until it happens? Get right with God and do it now! For when He comes... He'll separate the Wheat from the Tare!
When He comes... He'll separate the Real from the Fake! When he comes... He'll separate the Saints from the Aints!
Yes... soon and very soon...
...the last temptation will have been registered...
...the last hill will have been climbed....
...the last valley will have been crossed...
...the last sacrifice will have been made...
...the last criticism will have been heard...
...the last crime will have been witnessed...
...and the last heart will have been broken!
I don't know about you, but I don't want to miss it!
I don't want to escape the lion, and escape the bear, only to die of a snake bite. But I was hear Him say "Well done, thy good and faithful servant!"
Well done... you were real about this thing!
Well done... you tried to love everybody!
Well done... you prayed for those who despitefully used you!
Well done... you've been faithful over a few things!
Come on up! Enter thou into the joy of the Lord, prepared for you before the foundations of the world!