“WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE?”          By Pastor YAU

Text: Micah 6:6-9                                                 July 5, 2009.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   Celebration of a nation: My family and I came to America before Christmas of 1975. I began attending seminary in Ft. Worth, TX in January of 1976. My family came to join me from Miami, FL in June. Then we were being engulfed in the huge celebration of the Bicentennial of the founding of this nation. The City of Ft. Worth, just as countless towns and cities across the country had done so much in preparation for that big day. The city was decorated with patriotic symbols, flags, banners, parades, concerts and special events. Being new visitors to this country, we didn’t quite understand the background of the celebration, but were amazed by the spirit of the nation.

2)   The spirit of a nation: The reason that every nation on earth has a date to celebrate the founding of their nation is simple: to remember those who struggled and won the right to be a people and a country and the spirit and purpose of their independence. The spirit and purpose of a nation were incorporated into their constitutions that serve as a guiding light for generations to come. It is very important for all citizens of a country to know their constitution, to understand the spirit and purpose of their founding fathers when they found their nation and to share the privileges and duties of their nation.

 

BIBLICAL TEACHINGS ON NATIONS:

1)    All nations derived from God: “I kneel before the Father from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:14-15) To derive a name from God means to be given names by God. Paul was talking about the supreme origin of nations they all derive their names and existence from God the Father because God is the Creator of all. Including those nations who do not worship Jehovah as their God, God still holds their names and directs their future.

2)    All powers come from God: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1) Paul told the Christians in the Roman Empire that did not worship Jehovah God. He urged them to submit themselves to the anti-God authority because God has given authority to that government. Christians have our civic duties to earthly authorities so long as not violates the law of God. Fulfilling civic duties is important to all Christians.

3)    All authorities judged by God: “He (God) will judge between nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.” (Isaiah 2:4) Prophet Isaiah tried to comfort the Israelis in exile thinking that God didn’t see the oppression and cruelty of the atheist nations. He told them God would judge those nations and people who did evil and injustice. We can take comfort that God is always in charge of civic governments and those who hold authority. In time, God will remove evil governments from power and make them pay for the evil and injustice they have done.

4)    All authority given to Christ: “Then Jesus came to them and said: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) Never in human history any government been given all the authority on earth, much less the authority in heaven, except our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord supercedes all human authorities in the past, the present and the future. We are citizens of His Kingdom from the foundation of the earth to the end of time. Our hope rests only in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you still feel uncertain, read the Book of Revelation and you will see the ultimate triumph Christ will achieve over all evil on earth.

 

WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE? (Micah 6:6-9)

1)    All people are to do good: “He (God) has showed you, O men, what is good.” (Micah 6:8a) God has installed His Spirit of right and wrong in every heart of men. When a man chooses to do evil, to walk away from the spirit of God, be it a government official or a citizen, he has violated the law of goodness in his heart. Often times, men choose to do evil in the eyes of God because of evil desires, personal gain and rejection of the authority of God. God will hold these people accountable and make them pay for their sin.

2)    All people are accountable: “And what does the Lord require of you?” (6:8b) ‘Require” means “demand.” God did not make a suggestion that all men should do good. He demanded that all men must do good because to do good is God’s law. We have seen and heard in recent years that men and women claim their right to choose whatever they see fit. But God demands that all men and women must do good and not evil in His eyes. For those who violate this law, God will hold them accountable both in this life and the life to come. They will face the consequence of their sins.

3)    All have duties to others: “To act justly and to love mercy.” (6:8c)This is about our duties to others, family, friends, people around us, the born and the unborn. Justice and mercy are the core nature of God. It is because of the absence of justice and mercy, we have so much trouble in the family, the society and among the nations. Be it on personal, national or international level, there won’t be conflicts, wars, weapons or killing if all of us practice justice and mercy of God. The problem we have now is not more laws, police, arm forces or weapons. The ultimate solution to all conflicts is we all believe in God and seek to follow His justice and mercy in all areas of our life.

4)    All have duties to God: “And to walk humbly with God.” (6:8d) To walk with God means to believe in God, to trust His wisdom and leadership in our life, to submit to His will with faith and to follow His direction with reverence and respect. Here are 2 important words in this phrase: to walk humbly. It all begins from a humble heart in us to walk, to obey and to follow God. If we do not have a humble heart, we don’t want to walk with God. Regardless of what you think we may have achieved, we need to be humble before God. When we are humble before God, we will seek His will and His way in all our decision making process. We see so many people, national leaders and ordinary citizens, who choose not to walk with God is because they think they know better than God.

 

WHAT SHALL WE DO NOW?

1)   Be thankful to God: “Sacrifice thank offerings to God.” (Psalm 50:14) America is far from being a perfect country in many ways. But America is a better country compared to other countries. As Christians and citizens of this country, enjoying so much in so many ways, we need to give thanks to God and to those who help to keep our country safe and strong.

2)   Pray for the nations: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7) If we truly believe that God is the ultimate sustaining power of all nations, we need to pray for our nations and all the leaders and citizens. This is the best thing we Christians can give back to the nation. Ask God for direction and protection of our nation.

3)   Fulfilling civic duties: “And I answered the king: If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where I can rebuild it.” (Nehemiah 2:5)Nehemiah did more than just prayed for his country, he asked the king to allow him to rebuild his country. Christians are to do our best to render our service and duties to the country we enjoy all the freedom, prosperity and privileges. Observe and obey the law of the land. Pay your fair shares of taxes. Participate in community events and services. Register and vote in elections and building a patriotic spirit of this nation. This is our country and the country of our children and their children.

4)   God’s Kingdom on earth: “Make disciples of all nations.” (Matt 28:19) I don’t mean we can change this world so it will become the kingdom of God on earth some day. What I mean is that the best thing we can do for our nation is to spread the gospel of salvation so lives will be changed and saved into the Kingdom of God. We have the opportunity here and now. Do not pursue temporary things of this world because our true citizenship is in heaven where God is the eternal King of all.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Time to celebrate: The Israelis are good in celebration. They celebrated days of freedom, time of harvest and festival of the temple. God loves to see His people enjoy His mercy and abundant grace. We need to remember that God has provided us with all the good things of life here in this country. It is very important to acknowledge God when we celebrate good times.

2)    Time of give: No one should take anything for granted. As we enjoy and celebrate good life and prosperity, we also need to know that we also have responsibilities to fulfill, to share our part of the city and the nation. We need to contribute our share to make this nation a better place for all people: the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the born and the unborn. Citizenship demands self-giving and sacrifice. We need to be both the givers and the receivers. Care and protect the poor, the needy, the vulnerable and the unborn are some of our duties.

3)    Time to prepare: All of us know that this world is never meant to last forever. While we enjoy all the good things of this world, we are to be well prepared when the world or your life on earth comes to an end. We all need to prepare a place where we can go when our earthly journey takes a big turn. Turn to Jesus to forgive your sins. Ask Him to give you eternal life. Invite Him to enter your heart and be the Lord of your life. To celebrate a good life on earth is good. But to celebrate an eternal life in heaven is much better.