Prepare to Meet Your God Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on Prepare to Meet Your God Part 1 He will be reading out of Amos 4:1-13.

Have you found yourself being so focused on your own needs that you have forgotten about others? That you’ve lost your passion for souls to come to Christ? That you’ve lost your passion to reach out to others?

I am glad Jesus didn’t treat me that way. This is Pastor Mike Sanders. Thank you for tuning in to Hope Worth Having Today, and we’re looking forward to teaching and learning the Word of God together.

We’re going to be in Amos chapter 4, and we’re going to be learning about preparing to meet our God. What an incredible statement that comes right out of the book of Amos. Prepare to meet your God, and I hope that this message will speak to each of our hearts, and that each and every one of us will be ready to know God and to meet Him someday.

Let’s get our Bible and let’s begin our study. I surrender all should certainly be the theme of our heart this week. As we are striving to serve the Lord, it always begins with full surrender to Him, that each day as we arise, that we acknowledge that God is our Savior and Lord, and we surrender our life to Him.

We surrender to His will, whatever that might be, the good, the tough, the victorious, the triumphant. We surrender it all to Jesus Christ. And as we go through our day moment by moment, dealing with all the different experiences that we have, grateful, full of joy, but fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ, recognizing He is the author, all that is good in our life.

and the reason that we surrender all is because we stand on holy ground. We stand in His presence. When we think and reflect about the Old Testament, we recognize that God gave His people a place in which they could safely meet with Him.

They were allowed to come into the presence of God through the work of the priest. But in the New Testament, God has given us a person in whom we can come to meet, and that person is Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us Jesus Himself said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Please understand, no one meets with the Father except through the Lord Jesus Christ. And so in the Old Testament, they came to the temple in the presence of God, that God had prepared a unique place for them to experience His presence, to experience His power, to experience the grace and the forgiveness that was only found in a relationship with Him.

Jesus came and He fulfilled the law. He fulfilled all the requirements that the law had given. And now in the New Testament, the age of grace that you and I are living in, often sometimes referred to as the age of the church, we have a person.

So it doesn’t matter what place we are at, we always have the person of Christ in which we can meet and experience the presence, the power, the grace and the forgiveness of God. And so you can be driving down the road and through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you can experience the power of God and you can have a very powerful experience in meeting with God.

The Bible reminds us that all who believe in Jesus Christ will one day gladly meet Christ physically with their loved ones at the rapture in the air. The Scripture says in 1 Thessalonians 4 .17, 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.

Now that is going to be a glorious and majestic day. I want you to consider this morning what that moment might be like when your loved ones rise out of that grave who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and we are assured in this text and God never will.

and God doesn’t break promises, he always shoots straight with us, but he tells us that we will be caught up together with them. That is those who love Jesus, those who we love, those who we miss even in this time.

And because of their faith in Jesus Christ, then we are gonna be caught up together with them, and then we are all going to meet the Lord in the air. We meet him spiritually on this earth. Through Jesus Christ.

But we will one day physically meet Jesus. And the Bible says that when we see him, we shall be like him. We don’t fully understand all that that means to us. All scholars have debated and questioned and considered and speculated what all that might be.

But whatever it is, I guarantee you that it’s more and better than anything that we are experiencing here on this earth. We have the glorious promise that even now we can meet with God, and one day we will meet with Christ in the air.

But there is also the solemn warning to each and every heart to meet God outside of Jesus Christ will be a tragic experience. The Hebrew writer said that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Spurgeon reflecting on this very thought that there are no more joyous words under heaven than these in some aspects, but there are none more solemn out of hell in others. Prepare to meet thy God. That is our text this morning in Amos chapter 4 verses 1 through 13.

We call your attention to verse 12 in which Amos said, therefore thus will I do to you O Israel, because I will do this to you. Prepare to meet your God. Amos’ ministry in Israel centered around the capital city of Samaria and the national temple at Bethel.

You remember that as we have been studying the book of Amos that it is a nation that is divided. There is a northern and there is a southern kingdom. It is in the northern kingdom that Amos’ ministry begins and is completed.

It is a short ministry. He is plucked if you will by God from the fields. of farming into the temple of ministry. And God is calling him to give a message to the nation of Israel. And when we come to Amos chapter 4, we see that this message is simply this, prepare to meet God.

The theme that has been woven throughout the book of Amos has been one of judgment. And it is God judging a nation, a people who have turned their backs upon him. You will see in our chapter today that God has been sending warning messages to his people for years, and yet they would not respond.

These messages were designed to awaken the heart of his people and to lead them to full repentance. As we examine our texts this morning in chapter four, you will see many times that God is calling his people to come back to him.

And you may consider in your own heart, why is it that they would not come back to God. But before you and I become upset with the nation of Israel, let us remember that the message is not just for Israel, but it’s for us.

And that God is calling each one of us back to him. You know in life sometimes you can learn what to do by watching others, but also in life you can learn what not to do by watching others. Because sometimes people fail to be what they should be and they don’t measure up to the expectations that God has or even the hopes that we have in our hearts.

And how is it that we process that when people fail us or disappoint us or discourage us because they’re not what they should be? Well friends, it’s not to fold up and quit and give up and cry, but it is to say lesson learned.

That’s how I won’t respond. And when you look at Amos chapter four, the frustration of God’s people not responding to them is a lesson to us of how not to respond to God. So this week I have inverted the message, if you will, and I want to share with you how we can learn from the people of Israel of how to prepare to meet our God.

And the first thing if you’re following along is we have to be compassionate to others because the nation of Israel had not done that. I want you to come with me in verse 1 of chapter 4 of Amos. Hear this word.

You will go out through broken walls. each one straight ahead of her and you will be cast into harm and says the Lord. What was the sin that would bring judgment upon these people, God’s people? It was simply this, they failed to care about others.

They had become so self -absorbed about what they wanted. They had forgotten the needs of other people and particularly the poor. Now again, I want you to note there that he makes a very strong statement here in this passage of verse 1 right at the beginning.

He says, hear this word, you cows of Bashan. Now I don’t know that I would assume most of us would not want to be called a cow, but that’s exactly what the prophet did. And it wasn’t that he was so much labeling a derogatory statement upon the people as much as he was comparing them because in the fields of Bashan was a very fertile ground and the farmers would have their livestock out there and they would graze and there was plenty for them to eat and there was plenty of food for them.

And of course, the cows had become very fattened and they were just indulging in everything that was available to them as they were feasting. And if you’ve ever seen a cow, that just kind of reminded me when I was last year.

I haven’t had too much this year, thank God. But I was driving the bus for the school to help them out. We would drive past the cows and I would tell the kids to wait Leave it to cows and yell, eat more chicken.

But one thing I noticed is that cows didn’t care that we waved at them, nor did they take note that we were talking to them. They were just doing their thing. And that is the image that the prophet wants us to understand, is that God’s people have been enjoying the fertile blessings of God, and they have been enjoying the blessings of God providing every particular need that they have forgotten the needs of others.

We’ve said this to you before, and we remind you again that we are blessed to be a blessing. We are not blessed to indulge ourselves. We are not blessed so that we… can continue to build bigger and bigger and bigger barns.

God is not against you enjoying the blessings He has provided for you, but as long as we are cognizant of the needs of others and that we are aware that God has more interested us being a conduit of His blessings than just a receptor of His blessings and holding on to His blessings and trying to get everything we can and hold on to all that we have received.

Friends, we are called to step out and to remember those in need. We see here if we jump back to chapter 2 that the people of God had exploited the poor. Chapter 2, verse 6, Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of Israel and for four, I will not turn away its punishment because they sell the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals.

They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor and pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go into the same girl to defile my holy name. We see these outrageous behaviors.

Now listen, we’re not talking about unbelievers. We’re talking about these are the people of God who have so spiraled out of control in their behavior and they have rejected a God and they are not ready to meet God.

But for us, church, let us learn how to meet our God by being just the opposite, living our lives compassionate towards others. Galatians 2, chapter 3, verse 6, Again, the apostle when reflecting about his commission of Barnabas and him to go to the mission field, that the apostles said that they desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I was eager to do.

How do we express compassion to the poor? I think first of all it begins with prayer, that you and I begin to pray for those that are needy among us. We’re not just talking about financially. It could be needy in other areas.

Jesus taught us to be poor in spirit. That is that we are to acknowledge our spiritual bankruptcy before him. And there are many who are spiritually poor, who are spiritually bankrupt, but they have not come to grips with that reality yet.

We need to pray for those who are needy among us when it comes to health and it comes to emotional needs. But we are always praying. This is how we express our compassion. Prayer is not just a ritual.

It’s not just something that we go through to make ourselves feel good before God, but rather it is an important part of our ministry and that we recognize that God works in prayer and through prayer to other people.

And nothing of eternal significance happens apart from God’s people praying. If you want to see a spiritual awakening in the hearts of your family members, it begins with prayer. If you want to see God reach out and help the needy, it begins with prayer.

Let us not be guilty of self -indulgence. How else can we be compassionate? I think we need to ask the Lord for a passion for the needy. Did you hear what the apostle said? I was eager to do that when the apostles commissioned Paul and Barnabas to go to the mission field.

They said, as you’re going out there, don’t forget the poor. Don’t forget those who are needy. Don’t overlook them. Paul said, man, I was eager to do that. Are you eager? Are you passionate? Have you found yourself being so focused on your own needs or wants that you have forgotten about others?

That you’ve lost your passion for souls to come to Christ? That you’ve lost your passion to help your fellow man? That you’ve lost your passion to reach out to God? out to others, we can become cynical.

We can become so critical of others. We can say to people, well, you made your bed and you lie in it. I am glad Jesus didn’t treat me that way. I’m glad that when I was a mess, that Jesus reached down and showed grace to me mercy and he lifted me up out of that mess and he set my feet on a solid rock and put within my heart a hope and a strength to continue to live for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, my friends, we understand that people make choices and they make decisions that can be very detrimental. But we have this responsibility to remember the poor and being passionate about it. I think we have to have a plan.

If we’re going to be compassionate, we not only need to pray and be passionate, but we need to have a plan. I would encourage you to think about ways in which through the church, through your community, maybe even where you are serving and working, how you can do special things, plan out special opportunities to help the poor, to help those who are in need.

So many times we just sit back and we complain about everything around us. I’m more of a guy who says quit the complaining and start doing something about it. Amen. How do you eat an elephant one bite at a time?

The problem may be mammoth. It may seem overwhelming, but let’s just start chipping away at it little by little and let’s see what God will do because Jesus can take a little boy’s lunch and he can multiply it and he can feed thousands of people.

What could God do in your life that if you would surrender your heart to him and say, Lord, I have a burden for these people. I have a burden for these individuals that have particular needs and this burden of mine has prompted me and motivated me to do something about it.

You got to take your passion and turn it into a plan. You’ve got to understand things don’t just happen, but they are organized and they are mobilized and you’ve got to work together to make something happen.

And so friends, we encourage you to be just the opposite, but to be compassionate so that when we stand before God that he will look upon our faith and he will know that we are authentic because our faith has demonstrated the works of compassion to our fellow fellow man.

The second way that we can prepare to meet God is by truly worshiping God. The people of Israel not only failed to care, but they failed to worship God properly. Now look at verse four. Come to Bethel and transgress.

At Gilgall, multiply transgressions. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your ties every three days. Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven. Proclaim and announce the free will offerings for this you love.

You children of Israel says the Lord God. In verse four, Amos is being sarcastic. He’s saying, come on, keep it up. And what you’re going to see is the futility of your religious activity. Go ahead. Come every three days with your offerings.

Go ahead, multiply the transgressions. Bethel and Gilgal were places that were set up by the Northern Kingdom to come and worship God. And they were called to bring their sacrifices every morning, their tithes every three days.

But what you will note, they were failing to worship God properly. Amos recognized the evil of worshiping other gods. You say other gods, yes. Because they were not worshiping the true Yahweh, the true Jehovah, the true God of creation and the Lord of history.

They were worshiping the God of their minds, the God of their hearts, the kind of God that they wanted. And so he points out a few things in verse five that we see how they were misguided in their worship.

First you will note in verse five, their worship had become an exercise of congratulating self. Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, proclaim and announce the free will offerings. They came into the house of the Lord and said, look at me, look at me, look what I’m doing.

Look what I’m giving to God. Please everybody, give your attention to me. I want you to note what I am doing. This my friends bragging about their contribution to God’s work and God’s sacrifice. Ministry.

This is why Jesus told us that when we give, we give in secret. We don’t have to proclaim, and I know through the years people have been upset with Pastor Mike, but yet no one has ever been able to bring a Bible verse to me.

But they get upset that the pastor would say, why do we have to name something after someone? Why? Why do we have to do that, church? If anybody deserves a name, it’s Jesus. Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, I’m not against you honoring your loved ones and showing gratitude for their legacy of faith.

But no one needs to say, I gave this. I want a plaque that says, I gave a coat rack. Now, first of all, I would feel guilty about that. I wouldn’t want to be honored for giving a coat rack. Okay? But second of all, the Bible tells me to give secretly.

The Bible tells me not to brag. What did the people of God do? Why were they not ready to meet their God? Why was Amos hammering down on them? Because when they went into the house of God, they were congratulating themselves, patting themselves on the back.

That a boy. You’re doing a good job. Oh, we like what you gave. Thank you. And what kind of worship is that? That’s a worship that’s all about man. And certainly not about God. The second thing we note in verse five is that their worship ignored the word of God.

Did you catch that in verse five? Offer a sacrifice of Thanksgiving with leaven. Did you know that the Bible teaches in the book of Leviticus that they were to bring offerings of unleavened bread? Because leaven is a picture of sin.

And it is a picture of sin spreading throughout one’s life, spreading throughout the body of Christ, and hear the people of God wanting to do their way. So we’re not going to do what the Bible says. We’re going to do what we want.

How sad. When worship ignores the word of God. But I also want you to know that their worship had become man -centered rather than God -centered. It had glorified man rather than glorifying God. Look at verse five again.

Amos is not holding back anything. He’s bringing the full message of God to the people. For years they have turned their back on God. They have turned their services into a sham. It has been more about man -centered worship than God -centered worship.

They have flaunted their sins before others, and now they have to be ready to meet God. We understand the scriptures teach us that sin or the pleasure of sin is only for a season. And so you today may be running from God.

You may think that you’re enjoying your sin, but there will be a payday someday. And I hope today that you will stop in your tracks and turn around and give your life fully to Jesus Christ and be prepared to meet your God.

I would encourage you to continue to check out our website and you can let us know how God is working in your life. You can tell us about your response to this message. If you just go up into the contact button on the right corner of the website, there you can share with us God’s good work in your heart and just go to HopeworthHaving .com, hit the contact button and send us a message.

of God’s good work in your life. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

Join Our Newsletter

Shopping Cart
Hope Worth Having Logo

website is under construction

The ability to order books from our website will be paused temporarily until our revamp is completed. Thank you for your understanding.

Subscribe to Our News Letter

Daily devotionals directly to your inbox.