Preparing our Hearts to Worship
In an effort to help you prepare for the April 22, 2018, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on the God’s Story of Salvation through the Scriptures. I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “Amos and Civic Justice” The main Scriptures for the day are Amos 1-9. The other passages are either referenced in the message or provide additional insight for reflection.
(Pick and choose from the many resources and options, which I have tried to make available for your devotional life.)
From the Scriptures
Please read through Chapter 15 of The Story this week, this is a lightly edited selection of Scriptures from Amos, Hosea and 1-2 Kings that seeks to maintain the broad story line of the Scriptures.
You can read or listen to them here.
You can listen to Chapter 15 of The Story here. (31 minutes)
(If you choose to read all of Amos & Hosea it will take roughly 120 minutes.)
From the Creeds and Confessions
A Contemporary Testimony (various selections)
11. Together, male and female, single and married, young and old—every hue and variety of humanity—we are called to represent God, for the Lord God made us all. Life is God’s gift to us, and we are called to foster the well-being of all the living, protecting from harm the unborn and the weak, the poor and the vulnerable.
22. When Israel spurned God’s love—lusting after other gods, trusting in power and wealth, and hurting the weak—God scattered them among the nations, yet kept a faithful remnant and promised them the Messiah: a prophet to speak good news, a king to crush evil and rule the earth with justice, a priest to be sacrificed for sinners. God promised to forgive their sins and give them a new heart and a new spirit, moving them to walk in his ways.
39. The church is a gathering of forgiven sinners called to be holy. Saved by the patient grace of God, we deal patiently with others and together confess our need for grace and forgiveness. Restored in Christ’s presence, shaped by his life, this new community lives out the ongoing story of God’s reconciling love, announces the new creation, and works for a world of justice and peace.
48. Our work is a calling from God. We work for more than wages and manage for more than profit so that mutual respect and the just use of goods and skills may shape the workplace. While we earn or profit, we love our neighbors by providing useful products and services. In our global economy we advocate meaningful work and fair wages for all. Out of the Lord’s generosity to us, we give freely and gladly of our money and time.
53. We call on all governments to do public justice and to protect the rights and freedoms
of individuals, groups, and institutions so that each may do their tasks. We urge governments and pledge ourselves to safeguard children and the elderly from abuse and exploitation, to bring justice to the poor and oppressed, and to promote the freedom to speak, work, worship, and associate.
54. Followers of the Prince of Peace are called to be peacemakers, promoting harmony and order and restoring what is broken. We call on our governments to work for peace and to restore just relationships. We deplore the spread of weapons in our world and on our streets with the risks they bring and the horrors they threaten. We call on all nations to reduce their arsenals to what is needed in the defense of justice and freedom. We pledge to walk in ways of peace, confessing that our world belongs to God; he is our sure defense.
Belgic Confession Article 36
We believe that our gracious God, because of the depravity of mankind, has appointed kings, princes and magistrates, willing that the world should be governed by certain laws and policies; to the end that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained and all things carried on among them with good order and decency. For this purpose he has invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evildoers, and for the protection of them that do well. And their office is, not only to have regard unto, and watch for the welfare of the civil state; but also that they protect the sacred ministry; and thus may remove and prevent all idolatry and false worship; that the kingdom of antichrist may be thus destroyed and the kingdom of Christ promoted. They must therefore countenance the preaching of the Word of the gospel everywhere, that God may be honoured and worshipped by every one, as he commands in his Word. Moreover, it is the bounden duty of every one, of what state, quality, or condition soever he may be, to subject himself to the magistrates; to pay tribute, to show due honour and respect to them, and to obey them in all things which are not repugnant to the Word of God; to supplicate for them in their prayers, that God may rule and guide them in all their ways, and that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Wherefore we detest the Anabaptists and other seditious people, and in general all those who reject the higher powers and magistrates, and would subvert justice, introduce community of goods, and confound that decency and good order, which God has established among men.
Westminster Confession Chapter 23
Of the Civil Magistrate
- God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, has armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers.
- It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto:in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth;so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion.
- Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; yet he has authority, and it is his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.
- It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates,to honor their persons,to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake.Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted,much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.
From the songs, hymns and spiritual songs of the Church
For Thoughtful Reflection, Prayer, or further Study
Here are some excellent articles or articles that will make you think on the book of Amos. Consider reading one or two of them:
What is the relationship between justice in society and the worship of God among his people?
In what ways can you increase your involvement, concern and care for the poor in our world?
The Sermon will be available online on April 22, 2018 at 12:30 pm.
Disclaimer: Reference to a particular article or website does not constitute endorsement or agreement with everything in that article or on that website.