Support this ministry by using the companies and products you see on this blog


Monday, May 23, 2022

The Call of God

Photo Credit America's Keswick Retreat Center

This is the manuscript for the third sermon in a thirteen-sermon series "The Doctrine of God".

1 Samuel 3:10 NIV The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

God still calls and speaks to people. God calls us even now. In the sermon we will consider several pointed questions.

When does God call?
Why does God call?
Who does God call?
Where does God call?
What answer does God get when He calls?
God is calling you as an individual. What will you do about it? What will your response be?

Listen to an audio recording of the sermon by clicking on the YouTube link at the end of the manuscript.

You can watch a video recording of the entire service on the Christ Church YouTube Channel  https://youtu.be/jOmK_cRp9fI


Scripture Reading: 

1 Samuel 3:1‭-‬14 NIV The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ”

Text:

1 Samuel 3:10 NIV The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Introduction


Awakened from sleep, Samuel heard someone calling his name. Thinking that the aged priest Eli had called, Samuel ran quickly to his bedside, but Eli had not called. After the third time this happened, Eli realized that the voice must be the voice of God. He told Samuel to listen well and, if the voice came again, to say,“Speak, for your servant is listening.”

When the voice came the fourth time, Samuel, said what Eli told him to say. The message he received from God was not a pleasant one. Eli’s blasphemous sons were about to be punished, and so was Eli because he had not stopped them.

God still calls and speaks to people. God calls us even now. Let's consider several pointed questions.

  1. When does God call?

  2. Why does God call?

  3. Who does God call?

  4. Where does God call?

  5. What answer does God get when He calls?

 I. When does God call?


A. God calls when our hearts are impressionable and, easily influenced.


This is true in the time of childhood, especially so when a child has been nurtured in the things of God. This was true of the boy Samuel, who had been nurtured by the High Priest Eli. God calls in a time of sickness, which teaches us our weaknesses and our dependence on Him. God calls in a time of sorrow or grief. God calls in a time of disappointment and defeat.


B. God calls when we realize that have reached the end of our rope. 


Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NIV Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.


Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


God’s plans for you are to take away the pain of the past, revise the purpose in the present, and give you confidence about your future.  With this renewed confidence you can start to live the life that God has planned for you, the life He has called you to.


C. God calls when we seek his face. 

We know that it was God—not us—who took the initiative to bring about our salvation. 

Romans 5:10 NIV For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Ephesians 2:8‭-‬9 NIV For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Yes God did take the initiative yet the Bible encourages us to approach God, to call on his name, to seek his face. 

Psalm 27:8 AMPC You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].

Joel 2:32 NIV And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.

Acts 2:21 NIV And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Those who seek God’s face will hear God’s call to them.

II. Why does God call?


A. God calls to offer us salvation. 


Christians are referred to in the New Testament as “the called”.  


We are  “called to belong Jesus Christ”


Romans 1:6 NIV And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.


We are "called according to his purpose” 


Romans 8:28 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


We are “called to be His holy people”.


1 Corinthians 1:2 NIV To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:


The meaning of all this is that God took the initiative in our salvation.


John 3:16‭-‬17 NIV 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.


1 John 4:10 NIV This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


We are to call on the name of the Lord because he first called us and guess what happens when we call on the name of the Lord


Romans 10:13 NIV for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


B. God calls to judge and discipline us. 


God’s call often comes as his response to human wickedness and sin, to announce his discipline and judgment. When God called Samuel in the night, he gave him a message of judgment on Eli and all his house.


1 Samuel 3:12‭-‬13 NIV At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.


Do we think God will be soft and sentimental about our sins, and fail to judge and discipline us because of our sins? No! 


He judges and disciplines us because He loves us.


Hebrews 12:4‭-‬6 NIV In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”


C. God calls to humble us, and to remind us of his sovereignty. 


Whether you want to believe it or not God's sovereignty is a fact. The nature of this universe does not change to suit our whims. God is in charge whether we realize it or not. 

Remember something that I said last week; God supports what is right and opposes what is wrong. Although it looks like it sometimes, the world is not in  a moral chaos where any kind of conduct is indiscriminately accepted. The God who governs the world examines, weighs, and judges the motives and actions of mankind, is not swayed by wealth, prestige, or position.


Deuteronomy 10:17 NIV For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of Lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.


Romans 2:10‭-‬11 NIV but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.


D. God calls to enlist us in service and to assign us tasks. 

We’ve talked about and had sermons on spiritual gifts, and the fact that every single believer has at least one.  We aren’t going to spend a lot of time today but I do want us to go to one of the scriptures about spiritual gifts which tells us why God gives them.

Ephesians 4:11‭-‬13 NIV So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

That’s not all the spiritual gifts of course (you can find more complete lists in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and 28-30, and 1 Peter 4:11) the purpose of the gifts is to enable and equip the church to execute on the Great Commission.


Matthew 28:16‭-‬20 NIV Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

God’s call to does not come only on apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He also calls ordinary people like you and me into his service to do ordinary tasks—and sometimes extraordinary tasks. If God has called you to serve him, and He has, if God has assigned you some task,  and He has, that job may get done without you, but your failure to do what was assigned to you will spoil his plan for you, because nobody else can do what God had intended for you to do.

God put you on this world for a reason, because it’s a better place with you in it.

III. Who does God call?


A. God calls nations and leaders of nations. 


There is no more striking illustration of the fact of God’s sovereign rule in history than in the references to Cyrus, king of Persia. In Isaiah 44–45, Israel is in captivity, but their captors, the Babylonians, have fallen before Cyrus and the Persian Empire. It is God’s purpose, we learn in these chapters, to use Cyrus as an instrument to restore the Jews to their own land. He even referred to Cyrus as “my anointed.”


Isaiah 45:1 NIV “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:


God had previously used Nebuchadnezzar to punish Isreal.


Jeremiah 27:6‭-‬7 NIV Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him.


The point is that God is sovereign and can call and use anyone He chooses.


B. God calls churches to do his will. 


Acts 13:1‭-‬2 NIV Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”


This call came to a church.


He calls churches today to do His will.  He called Christ Church in 1979 to lead a prayer march.  He has called Christ Church to a ministry to the homeless of this neighborhood, and to support ministries throughout the world. 


C. God calls individuals to do his will. 

God’s point of contact is the individual. Nations, institutions, and churches are all made up of individuals. When he has something he wants done, he calls on an individual.

Ephesians 2:8‭-‬10 NIV For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 IV. Where does God call?

A. God calls us right where we are. 


God called Paul on the road to Damascus. 


Acts 9:3‭-‬6‭ NIV As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 


He called Isaiah in the temple as he wondered about what would happen in Judah after King Uzziah’s death.


Isaiah 6:1‭, ‬8 NIV In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 

‬8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”


B. God calls us in the course of our daily work or activities. 


He called Amos from following the flock as a shepherd and being a gardener . 


Amos 7:14‭-‬15 NIV Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’


He called Elisha from behind a plow. 


1 Kings 19:19‭-‬21 NIV So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.


Every Christian, no matter who they are or what they do, are called to minister to others.


2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.


Matthew 28:19‭-‬20 NIV Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


You could be a nurse, teacher, a business owner, an entertainer, a dog groomer, an athlete, retired, or some crazy combination of these, and you would still have the call by God to serve those around you and tell others about Jesus.


C. God calls us even when we are trying to run away. 

Elijah, after a great victory, got scared and tried to run away, but God found him in a cave

1 Kings 19:‬9 NIV There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God called Jonah, who ran from his call, but God’s voice found him and brought him back to his task.   We all know the story of Jonah who ended up in the belly of a whale, or large fish, and when he realized the consequence of his running he did what God called him to do. 

Jonah 3:1‭-‬5 NIV Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

We may try to hide from God, but we cannot escape him.  You can run but you can’t hide.  

V. What responses does God receive when he calls?


Every person must answer for himself or herself.


A. We may ignore his call. 

Through our conscience, God’s call is constantly breaking in, calling us to follow him, to serve him, to honor him, to worship him; and so often we ignore him.


B. We may stubbornly and deliberately reject his call. 


The result of rejecting God’s call is often similar to the rich young ruler who came to Jesus, considered his terms of discipleship and rejected them. Here’s what we read


Mark 10:17‭-‬22 NIV As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.


The Revised Standard Version says he went away sorrowful


Mark 10:22 RSV At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.


So rejecting God’s call on your life can and often will result in pain and sorrow.  I can attest to that from my own life.  I deliberately rejected God's gifts and call on my life for a long time and there were times when my life and the life of my family was not a pretty picture. 


C. We can ignore or reject God’s call or we can accept it. 

We can say like Isaiah “Here I am; send me” 

 Conclusion

Let me make this matter very personal for everybody here today and those watching and or listening on Facebook or YouTube.  

To my Christian friends, those of you who are believers, God is calling you as an individual. What will you do about it? What will your response be?

Unsaved friend, God is calling you. He is calling now. Don’t turn him away. Instead, hear his voice and respond to him and do now.  

Sermon Audio



Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Justice of God

 


This is the manuscript for the second in a thirteen-sermon series "The Doctrine of God"

“Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25 NIV).

God is just. But what significance does this tremendous fact, that God is just, have for our lives?
The justice of God does at least four things for us:

The justice of God assures.
The justice of God implies.
The justice of God requires.
The justice of God warns.
Listen to an audio recording of the sermon by clicking on the YouTube link at the end of the manuscript.

You can watch a video recording of the entire service on the Christ Church YouTube Channel  https://youtu.be/jOmK_cRp9fI


Scripture Reading: 

Genesis 18:22‭-‬33 NIV  The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Text: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25 NIV).

Introduction


During the Great Depression back in 1938 Richard Whitney, who was president of the New York Stock Exchange at the time, was sentenced to only five years in Sing Sing prison on conviction of a $225,000 embezzlement count, with a parole possible in three and one-half years.  Because this was during the Great Depression, there was a lot of resentment all over the United States for what was thought to be a very light sentence. 

That resentment was illustrated by a St. Louis judge when a young man was convicted in court of stealing two dollars from a gas station. The judge said upon sentencing that young man, “Richard Whitney got five years for stealing $225,000, “That would be $45,000 a year, $120 a day, or $5 an hour. You stole $2. That would be twenty-four minutes. That is your sentence.” 

The key to this story is the word justice.

The basic meaning of the word just is “straight” or “right.” 

After God revealed to Abraham his intention of destroying Sodom, Abraham asked God if He would spare the whole city for the sake of the righteous in it. 

Genesis 18:23‭-‬25 NIV Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

Abraham asked the question based on his faith in the justice of God. It was a fair question, and a just God welcomed it, just as he welcomes our honest questions today.  We believe from what we have read in the scriptures and what we have experienced that God is just. 

Psalms 89:14 NIV Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

We believe that God is just. But what significance does this tremendous fact, that God is just,  have for our lives? 

The justice of God does at least four things for us.

  1. The justice of God assures.

  2. The justice of God implies.

  3. The justice of God requires.

  4. The justice of God warns.

I. The justice of God assures.


A. The justice of God assures us that  it makes sense to pray 


Abraham’s prayer or request was based on his faith that God is a righteous and just God. 

The appeal to God’s justice and His mercy, in prayer, is the foundation of things. So that when we are face-to-face with problems that are too much for us we can take them to God in prayer with the assurance that He will be just and merciful.


An example of that is in one of Jesus' parables 


Luke 11:5‭-‬13 NIV Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”


B. The justice of God assures us that our world rests solidly on a moral foundation. 


God supports what is right and opposes what is wrong. Although it looks like it sometimes, the world is not in  a moral chaos where any kind of conduct is indiscriminately accepted. The God who governs the world examines, weighs, and judges the motives and actions of mankind, is not swayed by wealth, prestige, or position.


Deuteronomy 10:17 NIV For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of Lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.


Romans 2:5‭-‬11 NIV But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.


C. The justice of God assures us that the end result will be right and good. 


In the end the right will prevail, because is on the side of the right. 


Psalms 94:12‭-‬15 NIV Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.


Sometimes there seems to be confusion between good and evil in the world; we don’t understand God’s ways and if we are honest, we grow impatient with him. 


Still we can find refuge in the sure belief that God will do what is right in the end.   


Psalms 37:35‭-‬40 NIV I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.


II. The justice of God implies.


The justice of God implies that He will judge the wicked, the sinful, and the rebellious. 


Every sin has consequences 


Romans 6:23 NIV For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


This is true because a God of justice rules at all times and under all circumstances.


Deuteronomy 32:3‭-‬4 NIV I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.


2. The justice of God implies his acquittal of the innocent and the oppressed. 


If He doesn't oppose the evil that destroys us then He wouldn't be for us.


When Amos wrote;


Amos 5:24 NIV But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!


He was saying that God is active and not passive in dispensing justice. 


Here is what Paul says about God being for us.  


Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NIV For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


3. The justice of God implies his eternal correction of earthly injustice.


We have the promise that one day all accounts will be balanced, all discrepancies made right. And the final sentence will be served forever.  It could never be right that Elijah and Jezebel, Herod Antipas and John the Baptist, Paul and Nero, Billy Graham and Hitler, or you and Putin, be judged the same. They will not be because, God is just.


Revelation 22:12‭-‬13 NIV “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.


2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 


III. The justice of God assures, it implies and, the justice of God requires something. 


The justice of God requires a cross.  


The justice of God requires that sin be punished and that it be punished by death.  


Ezekiel 18:4 NIV For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.


The Scriptures also say that you will reap what you sow.  


Galatians 6:7 NIV Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.


So, if that is the case, how is it possible that any of us, with our corrupt, sinful nature, ever hope to cross the divide that separates us from a holy God? How could God’s justice ever be satisfied so that his mercy could be made possible? 


There was only one way; and that was to provide a substitute to die in our place.


2 Corinthians 5:18‭-‬21 NIV All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Jesus died for our sins on the cross where God reconciled us to himself.


C. The justice of God requires justification by faith as the gift of God. 


Faith is the condition of God’s free gift. 


Romans 3:22‭-‬24 NIV This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.


IV.The justice of God assures, it implies the requires, and the justice of God warns.


A. The justice of God warns us that we are not to doubt God’s character. 


Even though in our hearts we are committed to God’s justice, our experiences and observations often cause us to ask questions. God welcomes honest inquiry. 


Jeremiah 12:1 NIV You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?

 

This question has been asked thousands of years and has caused great saints of God to have negative feelings and doubts about the justice of God in their hearts.  But we shouldn't do this because we know that God love us and the justice of God does not pit love and justice against each other. 


With God they are one and the same thing. Too often we have viewed love as soft and naive sentiment, and justice as a hard-nosed demand for punishment. This contradicts the spirit of the New Testament. Jesus was never more just than when he forgave the adulterous woman, never more loving than when he drove the money changers from the temple. With God love and justice are one.


C.  We should really be asking God for mercy and  not justice. 


A man once told Billy Graham, “When I get to heaven, all that I will ask is justice.” Billy Graham replied, “My friend, if all you get is justice, then you will go to hell. You won’t need justice. You will need mercy.”  


 Conclusion

For God to be just means that he is consistent, virtuous, innocent, and right. And since his justness is part of his immutable nature (meaning it cannot change), then he is always right and just in whatever he does.

In fact, God’s justice shines a bright light on his love, grace, and mercy in a way that nothing else could because not only is God just, but he is our justifier — meaning he alone has the power and ability to make us righteous before him. 

Romans 3:23‭-‬26 NIV for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

If we could pick only one passage from the Old Testament to answer the question, who is God? it would be hard to improve upon.

Exodus 34:6‭-‬7 NKJV And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

God is revealing himself to Moses, causing his glory to pass by Moses, who God has put in a cleft in the rock.

Exodus 34:6–7 is not a one-off description, it's not just a passing comment. It goes to the very center of who God is. 

“Merciful and gracious.” These are the first words out of God’s own mouth after proclaiming his name. The very first words after saying I am the Lord He said merciful and gracious. 

Two words Jesus used to describe Himself were gentle and lowly.

Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NKJV Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jesus said He was gentle and lowly in heart and God the Father, described Himself as merciful and gracious. 

Any study of the justice of God will always cause us to rejoice because of His grace. God is a God of justice, but he is also a God of mercy and grace.


Sermon Audio