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Do Justice, Love Mercy

Steven Grabiner

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Exploring the biblical foundations of generousity

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Steven Grabiner

President, Outpost Centers International

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  • September 14, 2019
    12:00 PM
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You have your Bibles I invite you to turn with me to the book of Micah can tell that's are. My focus this morning and I was talking to somebody earlier this week we're having a conversation they asked what I was preaching about and I told them and they were they said to me you know you're preaching on this topic a lot lately and I said Really And so I went back into my little list I kind of keep a spreadsheet of what I preached on and where I've preached it so that I'm not overly repetitive. And so it's true couple of weeks back we looked at the lesser the poor and then back in. Beginning of June that you 25 guys I a chapter 58 panel 3 sermons so far I don't think it's over doing it I hope you won't either but this passage Micah 66 through 8 particularly verse $81.00 of my mentors preached on it he preached a sabbath on each of the 3 topics do justly love mercy and walk in a humble way with your god and since that time I've never preached on the passage because he did such a great job but this past couple weeks my thoughts have really been drawn to this this verse but before you share that that means share you where with you where I've been last Sabbath I was in outside of the city of param in Russia player Ms in the Urals it's in the kind of a not exactly the middle of Russia but almost and it was the visiting a lifestyle center there the church there sends their greetings to you told them I was going to mention it to you and so they all were waving their hand it was interesting during the morning people were giving Greetings from different places and so p. one person stood up and they said oh we're from Siberia and another person said up well we're talking about talking to people in Moscow now and somebody else said well where from Armenia and actually that was the 1st time I met anybody from Armenia. And so this we had a beautiful amount of fellowship together spiritual food physical food you can see the little hand washing station outside because all the food was served outside and it was a very nice meeting it was their 10 year anniversary of starting a lifestyle center and I was there 10 years ago and the situation was very different little bit like what was being shared this morning from Ebenezer down in Bolivia if you were here for Sabbath school you really missed an intriguing Sabbath school presentation. But over 10 years they've grown tremendously and it was a real privilege to be with them and see how the Lord has blessed actually the picture in this corner of their act praying having a dedication for their new swimming pool which is for their guests to use for hydrotherapy And so I snuck in one morning to go swimming. And it was very very very very cold. And then I had the opportunity to speak with some friends who are in eastern Ukraine this is another lifestyle center the main building looks nice now but there in the part of Ukraine that had been attacked by that there was the conflict there but with Ukraine and with Russia number of years ago and so the population of that region has been greatly decimated many people just left and about 30000 people were killed and their lifestyle center was in one of the battle zones you could see the chip in the. Yeah I recall that the on the side of the door someone help me through the door frame that's a shrapnel shrapnel results of shrapnel coming into the building and blowing it out in the room I was staying in had holes in the wall and holes in the ceiling and I was like is what in the world is that and it's because of the bombing that was near and actually the entire outside of the building was much more pot marked but they moved back there a couple years ago and so now they're really establishing themselves and I was just great to speak with them as well and talk about the work that they're doing and how the Lord is continuing to bless they're hoping to open a restaurant in the town of dentist the rent for the restaurant location 6 or 7 years ago was about $9000.00 a month for this building now they can rent it for $5000.00 a month which kind of shows you how much the economy has come down but again it was a real privilege to be with them and they are just moving forward it's exciting to know that God is doing things all around the world right Bolivia Eastridge Russia and it's a privilege that we can be part of it both through our prayers and our financials support so. Let's go to r r Vers this morning I mean versus morning Whoops sorry he has told you old man what is good and what does the Lord require of you this is a song some of you probably know it right could you sing it let's see if Naomi was here I would tell her to come up and sing it but she's not here yet somebody lead us out. But to do. Justly and to. See through. God. 3 things God wants from us right musing a New American Standard up on the screen to do justice to love kindness mercy and to walk in a humble manner with your God So what does that mean now 1st let's get a little background Micah is a contemporary of the book of contemporary advise I have they are both kind of profits at the same time we get that from chapter one verse verses one and following we know that there are a couple of good kings and bad kings there's King a Has this is a great time of our word a performance for God's people for Israel and yet inwardly there's a real lack and so just as I address a certain of these issues so does the Book of Micah and Couple those words I just want to spend a moment on that where it says to love to love kindness or to love mercy in the King James that's the Hebrew word has said and has said is a very important word in the Hebrew scriptures it most of the time represents God's love to humanity kind of like the New Testament word of God day but to love mercy is just a good it's a very powerful thought it brings to mind all that God does for us and but then the 1st part of the verse 1st part of the phrase is to do justice to do sometimes it's translated judgment to do the right thing. So you have the motive mercy and you have the action doing justice and we could ask the question what does it mean to do justice and another friend of mine and I were talking this weekend to do just if you want to do justice to something you do it well but here Mike is trying to bring out a very different point for us he's telling us to do justice but what does that mean what does it mean to do justice and why should we do justice those are 2 questions I want to explore with you this morning what I think through with us this morning and 1st of all we think about what does it mean to do justice I want to use a couple of examples for us. And really kind of asked the question what is justice and if you watch the maybe not democratic Democratic debate this week like anybody it's a couple of people right you don't have to I watched for a little bit and I was like Oh enough of this. But there are issues in society and in her church that we take different sides on could you give me some examples what somebody said it abortion Ok So abortion abortion is very polarized issue in our society right. And different people have different views of that clearly some would say abortion should be completely legal some would say no it should be legal up until birth but I want to get into the nitty gritty of our positions on that but both sides would claim that they are trying to follow justice in that debate how so well on one side the side that would support let's say the woman's right there saying well to the individual right for a person to make a decision. And so that person has the right thing to do to choose for themselves that's a justice parameter here with me like mad at me but that's Ok let's go on the other side and and think those people that would say no life starts at conception and abortion shouldn't happen are arguing from a different angle of justice there and arguing for the angle of justice for the community or for the weak do you see my point both sides are arguing for justice but they're coming at it from different perspectives and there's lots of examples we could think about this there is a gentleman from Harvard who wrote a book called justice what's the right thing to do and he has basic tenant is we don't agree on what justice is but these are 3 main views of justice he says Justice could either be seen as maximizing the welfare of the greatest good the community that's one view of justice another view of justice is respecting freedom another view of justice is promoting virtue so let's use a different illustration extent of abortion rights another big topic Oh immigration what was there were gun control Ok. Let's take on control let's leave immigration momentarily. Because immigration is going to come more into the later part of the sermon Let's talk about gun control so those individuals who say there should be you know we shouldn't change any of our laws concerning gun control are focusing on one aspect freedom they're saying we're respecting freedom and it's our right and it currently is and 2nd Amendment to have that those individuals that say they should be greater restrictions are emphasizing what maximizing the good of the welfare now. On the op the other illustration abortion people swap sides do you follow that some individuals would say no we need to respect freedom and a woman has the right to choose up until the child is born that's respecting freedom but those individuals that say no all life restarts at birth they're focusing on welfare but when it comes to gun control we swap sides or we swap emphasis are you tracking with me yes good. So the point there simply is we don't have a united idea of what justice is I believe the Bible does and that's what I want to drive to is what does Micah mean when he says do justice and one of the reasons for this now we can think of lots of other illustrations on this. So illustration we just had a hurricane in the Bahamas and when there's hurricanes there comes lack of supplies and what happens to the prices the prices go up why do the prices go up by their scarcity and so you need it and so the prices go up right so that's maximizing that's respecting freedom it's mine law supply and demand I'm going to raise the price but it's not maximizing welfare and so we can argue different parts of this and most of the times when we are in a conversation that we're disagreeing with someone about an issue that's because we're taking different points of view of justice. But justice is really important in scriptures and one of the main things in the scriptures that are brought out is this there's a scholar by the name of Nicholas Walsh just off and he turned this phrase the quartet of the vulnerable and one of the overarching themes in scriptures when we think about doing justice is taking care of these 4 classes of people widows fatherless or orphans immigrants Sojourners strangers and the poor and so when when my car says there's 3 things God wants from you the 1st is to do justice the biblical thought the whole he break thought is take care of these 4 groups of people now in order to do that each one of those other 3 Freedom maximizing welfare focusing on Virtue those all have to be somewhat restricted in some way and we're going to try to flesh that out as we kind of go through together. Now again the it's hard for us in our society to realize how radical the biblical model is so if you go back in history to go in the in the history of the Hebrew writers the profits or early terms of early Christianity these for the quartet of the vulnerable are always marginalized why that's not rhetorical Why would that group be marginalized Ok well you know and to speak for them it's true they have a hard time providing for themselves Ok so those are all good reasons they're perilous but. Who's important in society the wealthy the people at the top of the power are the ones that are important in society in other words the kings were important in society and the rulers are important in society and rich people are important in society because they're being blessed by God This is a common thinking not from a Biblical point of view but this is what society taught that that you were very tribalistic you was your group and somebody outside your group they really didn't come into it and your group was stratified and those people at the top of the group those are the ones that are important but God says that's really totally wrong and we need to learn to do justice and what However we're going to interpret it at a base foundation it means taking care of these 4 groups of. People the widows the fatherless the orphans rather immigrant strangers and the poor and why because they have no one to speak for themselves they're the ones that are in the greatest need and so if we think about this you know there in the Hebrew economy in the Old Testament. There's lots of scriptures that talk about how important this is from God's viewpoint so let's look at a couple of passages together and mention that Micah and I desire were contemporaries Let's go back 2 eyes I a chapter one not going to read all of these just a few of them but Chapter one. And in our one we could jump back to verse 10 where God calls his people Sodom and Gomorra and then in verse 11 they continue to offer sacrifices and God says you know just stop this worthless offerings verse 14 I hate your new moons. It's very graphic I hate it when you pray I'm not going to listen to your prayers verses 16 and 17 washed yourselves make yourselves clean remove the evil of your deeds from my sight cease to do evil learn to do good see justice judgement reproof the ruthless defend the orphan plead for the widow and then there's this call come together and let's reason together but notice the point here the the emphasis here is that God saying you have this great outward form just like you saying it about Mica But there's one thing the essential thing you're missing and that is to do justice to do what's right to take care of the quartet of the vulnerable. Let's look at Proverbs 31 go back a few books Proverbs 31 verses 89 open your mouth for the mute the one that cannot speak for the rights of all the unfortunate open your mouth judge righteously the fender rights of the afflicted and needy and this again is this manger drum be your outstrips share. Both from both the Hebrew Scriptures and from the The New Testament as well. Do the right thing do justly and doing justly means above everything else taking care of those in greatest need. So in the Hebrew Scripture there are lots of different ways in which God ensured that this happened now I recognize clearly we live in a very different time than the agrarian society of the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures right and we don't live under a theocracy we all recognize that as well but let's think about this for a little bit here are 4 things that God instituted that had a purpose that would help make sure that the society did justice 1st one here and recollect the Bible verses but cleaning of the fields you remember the story right if a person is harvesting their field and they drop something or they don't get it in the 1st past what are they supposed to do they leave it there why do they leave it there so that the poor could come and actually will look at a verse later on in Deuteronomy it indicates that that belongs to the poor and actually they weren't supposed to harvest the corners of their field and the jubilee year I should have had these in different order the jubilee year was at the end of 49 years what would happen to all property. If you would if you owned property it would go back to the original owner now that's our very interesting thought right. Everybody had a portion of land all the families divided all their land and if they had some bad circumstances and ne had to sell it at the end of 49 years it goes back to the original owner. The Jubilee year if you had a servant that worked with you for kind of like an indentured servant they call them slaves but they're more like indentured servants every 7th year they'd be set free now let's think about the harvesting the gleaning aspect momentarily right so if you're you're a farmer and you're growing wheat barley grapes whatever it is and you harvest those what would you do with your harvest what would you do with it you would sell your harvest right and when you sold your harvest you would get money so this is a way that you're increasing your financial gain but God says you know it's good for you to think through how you can increase your financial situation but I'm going to put a limit on it and I'm going to say you have to restrict what you could get so that somebody else's benefit Now that's a very radical idea. Let me give you an illustration then years ago I worked in Zambia Your most of you know that we lived in the country of Zambia and while we were there there was a drought and so we worked with the World Food Program we had to deliver 50000. 250000 pounds of food to people throughout this drought period and in Zambia people eat. We would call it like Palencia. But they take corn meal they mealie meal and they cook it really really thick those of you that have been to Zambia you know and you eat roll it in your hand and you make this ball and it's called and she money eat that all the time if you haven't had and she made for breakfast and lunch and supper you haven't eaten and so this is their staple food during the drought most of the farmers were not able to grow corn and so the mewling you know the maize flour became more expensive and we had a mill and so we would take corn and we would grind it maize grind it make this mealie meal and then we would sell it and normally you know it might sell for let's just say it would sell for $3.00 a bag but the price had gone up much higher than that $2025.00 a bag and we had a lot of corn and I was the director of the organization and so we kept raising the price why well because supply and demand right and so the price kept going up and the institution not me personally don't get any wrong ideas I wasn't making all this money but the organisation was but we came to a point where we decided we are not raising the price anymore why do justice we were making quite enough profit and the law of gleaning indicated to me that it's not a bad thing to restrict your profit. For the good of a wider community that's in need now somebody else may not agree with that but I think that's an application for us do justice what do we do how can we take what the God gave to the Hebrew people and learn to apply it into our lives now most of us don't think anybody here own Zwolle mart right and if you do. You know but if somebody did all Wal-Mart would that be a question for them to think like our right should we restrict profit so that we could benefit people. What about in our personal lives what do we personally doing to do justice in a way that helps the quartet of the vulnerable now I'm really appreciate what we're doing as a church and I look forward to us doing more things as a church but what can we do individually there was a preacher his name was John Chrysostom and actually what it means in English would be John golden Now he was a very very eloquent preacher and 3rd 30400 fairy elegant very you know his or his sermons are still around and he had a sermon on wealth and poverty and this is what he said I beg you remember this without fail that not to share your own wealth with the poor is what now would you agree with that yes or no. Not to share your wealth with the poor is what would you agree with that yes or no not quite sure that's Ok and differ deprivation of their means of life we do not possess our own wealth but what but there is no that is very radical thought that what we have is not just ours. But we hold it in trust and again the law of gleaning when they were able to come and glean the property really do that belonged to the poor and so he is arguing the saying look we need to help people now again this was very unusual in his day as well because most people did not have a biblical world view of the value of individuals. Let me give you a couple of examples this is Aristotle the great philosopher Aristotle and he wrote this Aristotle argued that there should be slaves by the way but notice is his justification for slavery he is for he is a slave by what by nature who is capable of blowing into another which is also why he belongs to another I don't know if you get the logic in that if you're a slave it's because you were made to be a slave that's what he said certain people non Greeks primarily all the barbarians you know Jews non Greeks. People from the Slavic region which is where we get the word slave from whoever else is non Greek by nature you all deserve to be slaves and the evidence of that is that you are slaves so that's his thinking more recently overwhelmed Wendell Holmes who was a Supreme Court justice he said this when one thinks coldly I see no reason for attributing to man of significance different in kind from that which belongs to a baboons or to a grain of sand. Do you get the thinking there. What is he saying really if you take God out of the picture what's the difference between a man and a Baboo so there's no real rationale for doing justice Fortunately I believe most of us believe in the Scriptures here and that gives us a rationale and I want to share 3 with you 3 rationale for doing justice and the 1st of all of course is that we are all made in the image of God Genesis 12627 John 316 God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life there are no ordinary people in this world every person we meet is formed in the image of God and because of that they deserve care and respect no matter what they are formed in the image of God And so I again stairs start all in against Dr Holmes and against many other individuals who would say no every person has value and they don't have value simply because I assign value to them why I think you have value you have value because you're you're there you have value because you're made in the image of God and that image may get marred and circumstances may may bring you into poverty or your life may go upside down and a host of things may happen but you are in the image of God and to do justice means to recognize that that every person is in the image of God and should be treated accordingly. C. s. Lewis tells us that there are no ordinary people and he says this you have never talked to a mere mortal and by that he means that every one of us has an eternal destiny everyone is going to have an eternal destiny either with God or without God And so because we all have this eternal destiny before us we are all very valuable Do we look at each other that way do we look at the quartet of the vulnerable that way as also bearing the image of God The 2nd reason. Sorry. Sorry for the all the old quotes this morning but as my reading this week Lactantius was another early church writer. He knew Constantine the Great but he says this because we are all brothers God teaches us never to do evil to one another but only good giving aid to those who are oppressed and experiencing hardship and giving food to the hungry this is one of the great claims that in the 1st 3 centuries if you read about early Christianity in history that this is what Christianity was known for is going beyond their balance and recognizing taking in the Hebrew thought everyone's created in the image of God Therefore we need to help everyone. Second major thought here is that God owns everything and so let's go to the text in Deuteronomy Deuteronomy Chapter 24 I mentioned this earlier you're on to me 24 in another place in Deuteronomy Duterte God tells us that he is the one that gives us the ability to get wealth right so go really owns everything and he gives it to us simply as stewards so Deuteronomy $24.00. Let's start in verse 14 Deuteronomy $24.00 in verse 14 you will not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy whether he is one of your country men or are one of the aliens that would be an immigrant in our day someone that's outside of our tribe someone that's come from someplace else who is in the land in your towns don't misunderstand me I'm not focusing on immigration policy but I am focusing on how As Christians we should he handle we should relate to the quartet of the vulnerable then he goes on you so given your wages on this day before the sunsets for he is poor and says his heart on it many people in that day would only have food have enough money to buy food for that day so this was very very practical verse 17 you shall not pervert justice the justice to the alien someone with outside your tribe or the orphan or take a widow's garment or pledge but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there therefore I am commanding to you this thing breast 19 the law of the gleaning when you reap your harvest in the field and you have forgotten the sheaf in the field you shall not go back to it why it shall be for the Alien and actually in the Hebrew there is just the letter the law made which is like r l And it simply says it to the alien to the orphan to the widow and the idea of their Is it belongs to them it's not yours yes it's in your field but doesn't belong to you it belongs to them. And that's what God say you leave it here because it is there. And when you reach your olive trees same thing you go over it you leave it in the grapes and so on and so forth and so for the question for us is since God only knows everything and God has so clearly shown his interest in this quarter the vulnerable Why how do we relate to that today what do we do how do we do justice love mercy and walk in a humble manner with God 3rd reason is this it's really a response to God's grace the gospel teaches us that we've all been saved through His grace and that and none of us have pulled ourselves up through our own bootstraps in the process of salvation we are all totally dependent on what God has done for us. Deuteronomy Chapter 5 verses 12 to 15 is the Sabbath commandment in the book of Deuteronomy Let's turn there just go back a few chapters tutor on me Chapter 5. Starts in verse 12 you're all familiar with the Sabbath commemorate 6 days your show Labor verse 13 Do all your work 7 days the Sabbath of the larger God in it you shouldn't do any work or your son or your main server so and so forth. Why what's the reason given verse 15 what's the reason given you are a slave and I rescued you and the rescue of the redemption through from Egypt of course is very emblematic of the redemption from sin you all were slaves we all were slaves were all slaves to sin and God rescued us and therefore we owe it to others to reflect the same grace to them. We've all been weak we've all made mistakes we've all fallen we all haven't learned through one instruction we all continually need God's grace and because of this we need to learn to do justice to love mercy and to walk with humility before our God Why what's the reason there's a great Biblical reasons were made in the image of God God's own is everything and really it's a response to God's grace in fact and this is what hit me most this week my lack of interest in the core Ted of the vulnerable is an indication of my lack of appreciation of the Gospel the more fully we appreciate the gospel the more interested and concerned we're going to be for others and there's no separation here between preaching the gospel preparing people for Jesus' 2nd Coming and preaching prophetic events and showing what God's grace does to people in their practical life there are 2 sides of the same coin and so God's calling each one of us is calling me to a deeper appreciation of what he's done for me and you that we might also share with other people. A couple of Bible verses that just bring out that thought a lack of concern for justice is a sign that our own hearts need to be drawn closer to God let's go back to the book of Isaiah and Chapter 50. As I 58 verses 2 through 4 this evidence is what I was just saying. We seek God daily we want to know his way is like a nation that's done the right thing yet God says we're doing it all wrong if it's not so transforming us. And we realize that everybody is our brother and sister because they are created in the image of God and that God owns everything whatever we have we simply hold it in trust for others let's talk about motivation. Motivation for giving often times when we hear appeals for giving We have a picture like this right heart wrenching. Little girl and I don't know anything about her I just got a picture off the Internet. She could be continually happy but really you know the best motivation for taking care of the vulnerable is because it brings us closer to Jesus and that's what the end of Chapter $58.00 tells us that that being involved in ministering to others brings us closer to the heart of God because that's what God's like he he loves each one of us he's created each one of us he's formed each one of us he tried to put a system in it to minimize pain and suffering in this world this fall in world and somehow he needs to get our minds thinking the way his mind thinks so as I Chapter 50 same chapter the promises at the end verse 11 and following in the Lord will guide you continually as we embrace ministry toward those that are in greater need the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places. And give strains to your bones and you'll be like a ward garden and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail you know the rich spiritual experience is going to grow you'll be called the repair the breach versus 13 and 14 you're going to really delight in the Sabbath you're going to find pleasure in God verse 14 you're going to delight in the Lord and he's going to make you ride on the high places of the Earth this is the motivation a closer walk with Jesus Christ for following these principles so God's asked us to do at least in this tax in the book of Malik that the book of Micah he's asked us to do 3 things what are they do justice love mercy and to walk in you military walk in humility that's like Lord I realize I'm not living up to all my privileges evidents grace in my life that I might reflect your grace more fully to other people do justice we're what way can we do justice in our in our communities in the people we meet are there some mental opinions that need to change in each one of us love mercy loving kindness motivation for doing justice to want that closer walk with Jesus Christ if you want to learn to do justice even if it means reordering some of your opinions in life and reordering some of your prior art us and reordering how we handle our finances and how we look at other people this is God's great call to us now. In a sense might be preaching to the choir here this church is very generous it's very giving but I believe God has a deeper work for each one of us and another level that he wants to bring us to in experiencing his concern for the quartet of the most vulnerable you want to walk in that journey 3 things he's calling us to do justice love mercy and walk in humility to pray together Father in heaven thank you for the great thought and concern you have for each of us thank you for the rescue transformation you long to do for us Father truly teach us how to walk humbly with you to love mercy and to do justice in our daily lives reorder our thinking so that it's in harmony with yours in Jesus name in. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more service leader visit w.w.w. audio verse or.

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