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The Main Thing

Scripture: Micah 6:6-8
Date: 11/03/2007 
It is good for us to stop once in awhile to reflect on what our priorities are in life. This sermon focuses on Micah 6:8. It is the essence of the Christian life in one verse. These points are to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I want to take a moment and welcome everybody who may be visiting here at Sacramento Central. We trust that you sense God’s Spirit here and you can feel as part of God’s family. We know we have some people from Sonora. We sure appreciate the men’s choir that has been singing or chorus, and that has been a real blessing. If you are a member here, you’re welcome too. We’re glad you’re back. I sometimes forget about you. So we’re just delighted that we could come together during this special time. This week has been a little bit interesting. Once every couple of years some of the team of Amazing Facts gets together, leadership, we talk about our vision, our mission, where we’re going and do some strategic planning and that’s a healthy thing to do. Every now and then it is a smart move to sort of recalibrate your compass. I’ve been having some computer problems, and one of the men in our I.T. department said, “Doug, every now and then it’s a good idea to format your hard drive and reinstall the programs. Everything seems to run a little cleaner.” Sometimes as Christians you need to recalibrate your compass and just figure out have we become confused and cluttered in our thinking so that we are forgetting what the priorities are? That’s the purpose of the mission statement. Sometimes you start firing buckshot in every direction and what you really need is a rifle that is more focused. As Christians we look at the millions of words in the Bible and all of the different doctrines and the different debates about different doctrines and we can lose track of what the main thing is.

I don’t remember the first time I saw the statement. It’s very simple but it struck me as very profound and it said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” You’ve all heard that before and that’s really our message today. What is the main thing? In our scripture reading that we had we addressed a verse, and I’ll have you turn there with me in the book of Micah. Matter of fact, this has been one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Because of that, it’s one of the reasons that named one of our children Micah, is because this verse always struck me. I like simple things. It’s saying Lord, here we are. What do You want? That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it? “With what shall I come before the Lord?” Micah chapter six, verse six. “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God?” What does He want? How do I worship Him? What do I bring Him? “Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?” That means in their prime, the young and the healthy. Do I give Him the best calf I have? “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams…” Maybe it’s not a calf. If it’s not one calf, maybe many rams. The highest offering they had was the calf. That’s when they say they brought forth the fatted calf. It was tender, it was prime, it had the most potential. Sometimes the most numerous offerings were the rams. He said is it the quality of my offerings, is it the quantity of my offerings that You want? “…or ten thousand rivers of oil?” Is it the richness, the fatness of the oil? “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression…” Every Jew knew that the firstborn of every man and beast belonged to the Lord. That didn’t mean they were all sacrificed, but it was consecrated to the Lord. If it was a human then they would make an offering for the firstborn. If it was an unclean animal, your firstborn donkey would be consecrated to the Lord except you wouldn’t offer a donkey because it’s an unclean animal so they’d make a donation, thank the Lord for the firstborn. He says what do You want? Do You want the firstborn, “the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” This here is even an illusion of God giving His firstborn.

Then after he makes that statement, that messianic reference, here is the main thing. This one verse is the study of our sermon. Now I don’t often do this. Usually I take a lot of verses and talk about a subject or I’ll take a story and use a lot of verses to expound the story. This is one of the few times I’m going to do an expository message on one verse. Here’s the verse. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Now when we met this week with our leadership team at Amazing Facts and we reviewed our mission statement and we found ourselves getting into sort of manipulating and tweaking every little word because everything means something, and the idea of a good mission statement is you don’t want pages, you don’t even want paragraphs. You want something that is focused, that people can memorize that is sort of like a simple, the marching orders. I was never a boy scout. I had a lot of friends that were boy scouts and I knew that they had sort of a little oath that they said, they would all memorize their creed. Anyone here remember what that was? Any Boy Scouts? Pathfinders have them too, don’t they? Yeah, you remember that. Were you a Boy Scout? What was the creed? Put you on the spot like that; it’s kind of tough, huh? “Be friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent.” That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. And that was sort of the summary of all of those good virtues. Did you remember one? “Be prepared.” Be prepared. That was the summary. Be prepared. The marines and the navy and they all have their creed of their slogan. This verse that we’re looking at today is the essence of the Christian life coalesced into one verse. Now John 3:16 is really the essence of God’s mission. It’s what God does. God so loved. His provision. It’s telling us that He so loved the world, what He does to provide for us. But this verse is unique in that it summarizes what does the Lord want from us? What is our response? Is it the sacrifices? Is it the pilgrimage? What kind of ritual is it? He boils it all down and he gives us the main thing. So we’re going to look at that together.

First of all, let’s start at the beginning. He has shown you. God is telling us what He wants, and he said it’s not a mystery. It’s not something that you’re going to have to have a degree in rocket science to understand. It’s not that complicated. I become exasperated sometimes when I do evangelistic meetings and you present the simple gospel to people and they come out and they start to debate with you and they say, “Well there are some books in the Bible that seem to be missing.” And “How do we know these things were translated accurately?” They want to complicate what is really a very simple message and they say, “Well, it’s still mysterious, it’s difficult. Who can really know?” Mark Twain used to love to say, “Most people are bothered by the passage of scriptures they don’t understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” He has shown you. You know. You can’t stand before the Lord and say, “I didn’t know.”

Most of us know what God wants. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Well, Pastor Doug, that sounds like you’re contradicting yourself. Here it says they don’t know. You have to keep reading. He says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge...” They knew, and they rejected it. Because they’ve rejected knowledge, “I also will reject you from being a priest for Me; Because you have forgotten” (they knew) “the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” It’s not what we don’t understand; it’s what we do understand. Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” He’s saying all men he has shown it to, not just the nation of Israel or not just the church, but people know what God wants. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” “He has shown thee, O man…”

He has told us what He wants. We can’t come to church week to week and say I’m not ready to make a commitment because I’m not really sure what God wants. Yes, you know what He wants. He wants you. It’s like that old country love song. It dates back before Willie Nelson, but he did it again. All He wants is you, nothing else will do. Not just the part, he wants all of your heart. All he wants is all of you. All he wants is you. But I’ve never sung that before. That’s not true. Sorry. That’s a simple message, right? That’s what the Lord wants. Deuteronomy 30:11, Moses, at the end of his life, this is what he says to the children of Israel. In case they were thinking, “You know, we just don’t have enough encyclopedia of scripture on our shelf to really understand what the Lord wants.” Deuteronomy 30:11, Moses said, “For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you…” You can’t say it’s too complicated, it’s too deep, nor can you say it’s afar off, we can’t reach it. “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.”

He has shown you… Keep in mind when Moses says this to the children of Israel, what was the most prominent feature of their camp? Got the twelve tribes organized into their clusters and they’re all organized in a square with at the middle of their parade grounds was the sanctuary, right? And in the sanctuary there was a courtyard and there was the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place and above it the Shekina Glory was glowing at night and almost like the wick of that candle in the Holy of Holies was a box. I believe the Shekina Glory came up right from the Holy of Holies and in that box was the word of God. So when Moses said, Don’t make excuses that you don’t know what God’s word is, it’s right here in your midst. You’ve heard him speak those same ten words from the mountaintop. You know He wrote it with His own finger in stone so don’t act like you don’t know what he wants. He has shown you what He wants. Most of us know. Even people who cannot recite the Ten Commandments know that it’s wrong to steal. Even people who have not memorized all Ten Commandments know adultery is wrong. The word is not far away. He has shown you. By the way, when it says, “He has shown thee, O man…” That’s the inclusive word. It means mankind. This is not just for men. He has shown the human race. What’s the next part of our verse? He has shown you what is good.

You know Solomon when he had his dream and he prayed and he said, “Lord,” when God said, “What do you want?” He said, “Lord, give therefore Your servant an understanding heart.” By the way, 1 Kings 3:9, “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.” I want to know what is good. Well, God says He has shown you what is good. He revealed it to Solomon. He gave him that wisdom. Matter of fact, Solomon had so much going for him. I mean, he had a lot of good things about him especially when he was young, but he went right ahead and did the very things that God said don’t do. God said don’t multiply horses. Then it goes on to say Solomon multiplied horses. It said don’t multiply riches then he multiplied riches. And of course worst of all it said, don’t multiply wives, and he went and did that. Then what happened? His wives drew him away. His money made him proud. His army, the size of all the horses in his army, he began to trust in that instead of God. He knew what to do. When he prayed that God would help him know the difference between good and evil, most of us know what God wants. The Holy Spirit guides us. Ecclesiastes 2:26, by the way, written by Solomon. “For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail…” God gives blessings to all those that are good in His sight. We know what God wants us to do. You remember Luke 18:18, a rich young ruler came to Jesus and he said, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I might have eternal life?” This was a diversionary tactic. He knew. He wasn’t seeking first God’s kingdom. He was seeking first earthly treasure.

Jesus answered him and He said, “Only God is good.” He has shown you what is good. 1 Corinthians 13:13 In that great simple passage Paul summarizes in that chapter of love what is the best thing, what is good? Love is good. “And now abide faith, hope, love,” they’re all good, “these three; but the greatest of these is love.” You notice what I did to you? You didn’t even catch it. I quoted where Jesus said only God is good, and then it said the greatest of these is love, and doesn’t the Bible say “God is love.” “He has shown thee, O man, what is good…” God is good. God is love. Love is good. Most people know. What are the two great commandments? Love the Lord. Love your neighbor. This love relationship, this is where most of our problems come in. These two love relationships. This love relationship and this love relationship. And I think in order for you to have this love relationship right, you’ll have to have these love relationships right. That works both ways. In order for these love relationships to be at their best, this love relationship needs to be right. He has shown you what is good. God is good. God is love, love is good. It’s the greatest. It’s not that complicated.

And what does the Lord require? That’s very important. We’re still moving through our verse. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require…” Now that’s the bottom line. What does the Lord want? Lord, what do you want me to do? Paul struck down on the road to Damascus and still trembling. Jesus appears to him and he finally says, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Lord, what do You want? That really should be the cry of every heart. Lord, what is Your will? What do You want for me to do? Is that your question? Do you seek to find that out? I think that ought to be the most important thing. Well, probably do what we did at Amazing Facts this week, and our whole church ought to take a retreat for about four days and just get together and say, “Alright, what is the main thing?” I guess we do it every week, don’t we? Talk about what is our mission statement. Do you know what our mission statement is? “He has shown thee, O man, what is good…” That’s a good mission statement, but there’s a lot of them in the Bible. Another good mission statement is go into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature, make disciples of all nations and baptize. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; what does the Lord require…” You notice it doesn’t say, “What does the Lord suggest?

What does the Lord recommend?” Is there a difference between a requirement and a recommendation? You bet there is. It is recommended before a pilot flies that he files a flight plan. It is not a requirement. Now a requirement is something that you can be penalized for not obeying. There are recommendations and there are requirements. The Ten Commandments are not ten suggestions. They’re not ten recommendations. They would be ten requirements. When you read the information on the box that has the nutritional values, they’ve got your minimum daily requirements for vitamins. I guess somebody did some research to find out you just have to have x amount of cc’s of vitamin C per day or you’re going to get scurvy or something. If you don’t have enough vitamin B12 there actually are people suffer a lot of side effects from that. Most of us get enough vitamin C, but some people don’t get enough potassium or B12 or some of these things and you can suffer from that.

You get your minimum vitamin requirements. Alright, Lord, what is the minimum basic requirement? What is the basics that You want from us? I don’t think we ought to shoot for the minimum, but we ought to make sure we don’t get below it because it’s a requirement. See the difference? Don’t get below that requirement. Deuteronomy 10:12 Moses again is telling us, “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee…” He answers our question. “…but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart… To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” You must do it or you’re unhealthy; it’s a minimum requirement. Let me read that again. Deuteronomy 10, verse 12, “fear the Lord… walk in all His ways… love Him,” and serve Him. You notice it doesn’t say serve Him and love Him? Before you can serve Him you’ve got to do what? It says love Him and serve Him. You know it even says that in the Ten Commandments. It’s understood all through the Bible, you can’t obey God if you don’t love Him. Right in the Ten Commandments it says “showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Him and keep His commandments…” Love Him. Love first, and then we do it because we love Him. That’s what the Lord requires of us.

Another good mission statement is fear the Lord thy God and reverence Him, walk in His ways, love Him and serve Him with all of your heart and all of your soul and keep His commandments. Luke 10:27 remember when the lawyer said to Jesus, What is the greatest of the commandments? And Jesus said, “What do you read in the law?” And he answered his own question. “‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.’” And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’” Jesus said that’s it! Eureka! Bingo! No, He didn’t say bingo. You know what that means. You’ve hit it. That’s the most important thing. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your strength, all of your mind and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said, “You’ve rightly answered. Do this and you’ll live.” Well, I’d say that’s one of the main things.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee…” not just everybody else, but of you? What does He want from you? Not just from the church, it’s not just the collective requirement. You’re not going to fill in one aspect and I’ll fill in another and someone else will fill in a third and collectively it’s teamwork. There’s something, a minimum requirement of everybody. Here it is. We’re going to get into it now. Three big principals. Do justly. Do. I could preach a whole sermon on do. Two letters. Spurgeon used to preach a whole sermon on “the”. I could preach a whole sermon on “do”. The has three letters. I suppose someone could preach a sermon on “I”, one letter, or “a”. Let’s talk about do for a minute.

There’s a lot of discussion these days about just believing, and we play down the doing, but when I read my Bible Jesus makes a big deal about that two letter word. Not everyone that says unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter unto the kingdom, but they that do. The Lord says there was a man that had two sons and he says, go work in my field. And one son says, “I’m going, father,” but he does not go. The other one says, “I’m not going,” but he later repents and he goes. Jesus then asks at conclusion, “Which of the two did” oh, that’s three letters now, right? “the will of his father?” Same principle. It’s the one who went. Not just saying Lord, Lord, but do we do it? When Jesus separates the wise man from the fool, what’s the big difference? The wise man hears these words of Mine and he does them. The foolish man hears these words of Mine and he doesn’t do them. So it does make a difference. God doesn’t just want Christianity to be a philosophy. He wants it to be something that we do something about.

Do what? Do justly. That means do what is right as in “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added…” In other words, doing what is right is act with fairness, act with honesty, act with integrity. You do things differently when you keep the main thing the main thing. You use good judgment. Jesus said, “Don’t judge according to the appearance, but judge a righteous judgment. You do what’s right. It means honesty in our relationships, not giving preferential treatment or being biased, but doing what is just. Someone asked this butcher what happened after he was converted and he said, “Well, before I was converted I used to weigh my thumb.” Some of you remember the days when they had the old-fashioned scales, and the butcher would plop the chicken down on the scale and he’d lean over and he could put his thumb on the scale and add another ounce to it. This butcher said, “After I was converted I don’t weigh my thumb anymore.

I was cheating those people. Now, in fact, what I do is, all my customers, I give them a little extra to compensate for all that time that I weighed my thumb. Now I’m a Christian I don’t weigh my thumb.” Doing justly. Who was it that said, “Dishonesty is dishonesty whether it’s a dime or a dollar”? Doing justly, that means that you’re faithful in little things as well as big things. Doing justly. I love this verse. You want another good bottom line, the scout’s creed for the Christian? Psalm 15:1 “Lord,” What do You require? “…who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” Who is going to be in heaven? Psalm 15, this is good. You should circle it. “He who walks uprightly,” He’s a doer. “And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart…” He does what’s just, you notice, in his heart. “He who does not backbite with his tongue…” He’s not even speaking ill of others.

I like the children’s story today talking about the tongue and how powerful the tongue is. “…Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the Lord…” He seeks out the company of the just; he wants to be just and he finds pleasure in the company of the just, doesn’t look for bad companions. “…he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change…” He’ll make a promise, then after he makes a promise he’ll realize, hey, I’m going to lose money on this deal, but I’ve made a promise. I’ve got to follow my word, and he still keeps his word. He follows through. “He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; e who does not put out his money at usury,” that means he shows mercy on others. He might lend them, but he’s not going to charge them interest. He has the right to charge interest, but he doesn’t.

The Bible says “Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.” He does what’s just regardless of what’s in it for him. “He who does these things…” you notice it’s not who thinks these things; it’s not who believes these things. It’s he who what? Who does these things. “He who does these things shall never be moved.” That means they’re on a good foundation. They’re building on the rock. Doing justly. You know, when raising children you’ve got to keep things simple. Children need simple rules. Sometimes parents, and I’ve done this, Karen has done this where the child will do something wrong and we begin to pontificate and give them all of the reasons that they shouldn’t do this and pretty soon their eyes glaze over and all they do is they see mom and dad going… They don’t hear what you’re saying anymore, right? You’re laughing because, two things, one, you remember your parents doing that. You’re getting a tongue lashing and you’ll hear the first few words and pretty soon it’s just… with noise. Also you’re laughing because you’ve done that too. You begin to lecture them. Pretty soon it’s just… You’ve got to keep it simple, and you start when they’re young.

I know some parents had some very simple rules for their kids. You might try this. Don’t do anything that will hurt someone. Rule number one. Don’t do anything… I see some of you writing this down. You ought to put it up on your mirror. It’s good for you too. Now you’re someone. That means don’t do anything that will hurt yourself too. This is rule one, category a, don’t do anything to hurt someone. That would include yourself so you can always ask yourself, “Will this hurt someone?” Rule number two. Don’t do anything that will hurt something. If it’s going to damage something or break something or wear something out, you’re hurting something, don’t do it. Now you might think coloring on the walls is an improvement, but your parents think that’s actually hurting the walls. Number three, don’t do anything that will hurt Jesus. Now I bet you can’t name some offense that will not fall somewhere in these three categories. Very simple rules. Do what’s just in other words. Don’t do anything that’s going to hurt somebody. Don’t do anything that’s going to hurt something. And don’t do anything that will hurt God. Simple rules.

Alright, so now we’re getting to point two. Remember He has shown you what is good. What does the Lord require of you? He’s got three things He mentions that He requires of you. One is what? Do justly. What’s number one? Do what’s just. You know what that means. Your spirit is going to tell you when you stop doing what’s just. Or if it’s a gray area, it’s like the old Scotsman who was getting ready to get dressed in the morning. He was holding up yesterday’s shirt by the window and sniffing it. His wife called over her shoulder, “If it’s doubtful, it’s dirty.” If it’s doubtful, it’s dirty. So when something is doubtful it’s probably dirty. When in doubt throw it in the laundry. Oh, wait a second. I’ve got to make a correction here for kids that are listening. A lot of kids throw clean clothes in the laundry because they’re too lazy to put them away, right? Yeah, so that’s not an excuse for that. So point number two. We’ve talked about do justly.

Love mercy. Now I could break those two apart and just say love. We could spend a lot of time talking just about love. In this great verse you’ve got love. But you notice it’s saying “love mercy”. Doing justly, catch this. This is a great verse! Doing justly is what I do with myself. Doing justly is my choice about how I’m going to conduct myself. Loving mercy, I don’t show mercy to myself, do I? I’ve decided to be merciful today to myself. That’s not how you show mercy. You’re not really being very merciful. Mercy is done, where? That way. It’s done to others. So when you love mercy, what do you have to love to love mercy? You’ve got to love others. Does that make sense? Are you still with me? So the first part of doing justly is how I will conduct myself. Loving mercy is how I’m going to treat others. It goes beyond treating them with justice because when you give somebody mercy that’s different than justice. You’re giving them something that isn’t required. You’re going beyond the requirement on the side of kindness. That’s one of the bottom lines in the creed of a Christian. Don’t just do what the obligation is.

Go beyond the obligation and do what’s kind, do what’s merciful. A mother came to Napoleon one time pleading for her son who had shown himself a coward on the battlefield twice and the penalty was death. She said, “Your majesty, please show mercy to my son.” He said, “I can’t because justice requires that he die for this offense.” She said, “I’m not asking for justice; I’m asking for mercy.” He said, “He doesn’t deserve mercy.” She said, “If he deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy. Mercy is something you give to someone who doesn’t deserve it.” Mothers become very eloquent when they’re pleading for their children. He said, “Okay. You win. I’ll show him mercy and let him live.” If we deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy, right? What do we want from the Lord? Do you want justice from the Lord? Oh, no. People ask me periodically, “Pastor Doug, how is life treating you?” I say, “Much better than I deserve.” I don’t want what I deserve, and in case you don’t know it, you don’t want what I deserve. You don’t even want what you deserve, even if you think what you deserve is better than what I deserve, you don’t want what you deserve.

What we want is mercy. Now if we want mercy then what should we be willing to give? Like that man who the unmerciful debtor, he’s asking the king to forgive him this ten thousand talents that he squandered. The king shows mercy to him, forgives him. He goes out and finds a fellow servant that owes him forty-two pence, the difference between fifty-two million dollars and forty-two dollars, he accepts the mercy for the fifty-two million dollars, but he won’t pass on the mercy for the forty-two. Part of our Christian creed is that we show mercy to others. I went to have a professional photo taken and after I got done looking at the picture… you know periodically at Amazing Facts I’ve got to go get a series of pictures taken. For a while there I was showing pictures that were so old I still had hair. People said, “Doug, that’s not honest. You need to go get some updated pictures.” So you go and you sit in for a photo session. I remember looking one time at the picture and saying, “I don’t know if this really does me justice.” He said, “Doug, you don’t want justice. You want mercy.” Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh. Actually I think he said, “With a face like yours you don’t want justice, you want mercy.” He was a friend. They’ll be honest with you. “Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy.” Matthew 9:13, Jesus said, “But go out and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

What does God want from us? Mercy. Matter of fact, if you’re going to err in your relationships with your friends and your family or others that you may work with, if you were going to err and go too far on the side of justice or too far on the side of mercy, which side would God prefer that you err on? I think He would prefer that you go a little too far on the side of mercy. You know one reason I believe that? How many of you know the story of King David, that man after God’s own heart? God told David, “You’re to be king.” He’d been anointed as king. He’d done nothing wrong to Saul. Saul was just demon possessed and out of his mind and he was hunting down David to kill him. Providentially God put Saul in David’s hands at least two times where David could kill him. All the soldiers around him said, “This is obviously an act of God. Now you can have justice for what he has done to you, chasing you out of your land.” You know what David said? “No, he’s the king and God has chosen him as king and I’m going let God take him out. I’m not going to assume that role of being vengeful. Vengeance belongs to the Lord.

He’ll either get old and die or he’ll fall in battle or he’ll get sick, but my hand will not be against him. I’m going to show him mercy.” I’m paraphrasing. God loved what David did because God could take Saul out anytime He wanted. David said, “Look, I’m going to try first to win Saul through mercy.” And after David had an opportunity to kill Saul (twice this happened), he then shouted across the mountains and said, “King Saul, my lord the king…” humbled himself before the king, and said, “Here I’ve got a piece of your robe. I’ve got your spear that was at your side. I had a chance to kill you. I want you to know I had the chance, but I’ve shown you mercy. I hope you’ll have mercy on me. Will you stop chasing me down?” God loved David because he did that. I think God would have understood if David had killed Saul. I mean, self defense. He’s trying to kill me. But he didn’t take that approach. He erred on the side of mercy. Did David end up getting the throne? David didn’t need to kill Saul; he killed himself. Saul killed himself. So if you’re going to make a mistake… sometimes you say, “Look. Boy, I’ve bent over backwards to help that person.

I’ve gone the second mile. I’m not going any further. Well, you’re never going to be… God will not be angry with you if you go just a little further, will He, if you err on the side of mercy, forgiving them a little more, being patient a little more? How often did Jesus say to Peter you should forgive? Seventy times seven which is sort of the Hebrew equivalent of seven was the cycle of time. It was a circle. Seventy times seven was just saying God’s mercy endures forever. Just go as far as you can go. Love mercy. Don’t just tolerate it, but live it out. 2 Samuel 22:26, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless…” If you ever want to appreciate God’s mercy, then let Him pass it on through you to someone else. Be merciful to others and you’ll never better understand God’s mercy for you. To the merciful He shows Himself mercy. “Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy.” Matthew 23:23, I think this is a reference that Jesus is making to Micah, to our verse. This is one of the examples where I think Jesus is making a reference to this Old Testament passage. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters…” Can I translate weightier matters?

You’re not keeping the main thing the main thing. It’s good to pay tithe, and it’s wonderful you’re paying tithe on your herb garden. That’s wonderful. I think you could probably take care of your whole herb garden, just put one pumpkin in the plate when it goes by. Say, “Hopefully that will cover all of the herbs.” I’m not counting out my parsley and chives, rosemary, parsley, and thyme, to quote Simon and Garfunkel. That was sort of extreme, but He’s not condemning them for being precise in their tithe, but He said you’re forgetting “the weightier matters.” Notice what Jesus said, “…justice and mercy and faith.” The first two are the very same two that you find in Micah. Do justly, love mercy, and faith? That means faith in God. That would be the last one. I think Christ is quoting that there.

Then we go to point three. First of all, do justly. Love and love mercy, loving your neighbor. Then finally walking humbly with your God. Now I’m going to bear this out a little bit because there’s a lot there. First of all, walking with God. Not even talking yet about walking humbly, just walking with God. Your walk represents the direction of your life and it represents how you use your time from day to day. That’s your walk. If you lay in bed all day long that’s your walk. You don’t have to walk to have a walk. Everybody has got a walk. Your walk is how you live your life. It’s an allegory or a metaphor for that. I want to walk like Enoch walked. How did Enoch walk? Well, it says in Genesis chapter five, “Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him.”

It’s like it tells us the hundred and forty-four thousand, they follow the lamb wherever he goes. Are they in the kingdom? Yeah. I’m talking about Revelation places them there, right? So they’re going to be saved. And the twelve apostles, the ones who walked with Jesus, they’re the ones who are going to be among the redeemed. Ultimately their names are going to be on the twelve foundations in the New Jerusalem. So do you walk with Him here? The Bible says Noah walked with God. He was a just man. Genesis 6:9, “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” “Blessed is the man,” Psalm 1, your first Psalm. Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…” What does walking with God mean? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. You don’t walk with the ungodly. “…Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.” So what does it mean to walk with God? Can two people go in the same destination if… Can they walk together if they’re not going to the same destination? Does God keep His own law? So if you’re walking with Jesus and it says “all of My Father’s commandments I have kept” that means you’re following the Lord.

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” So this person who is keeping the main thing the main thing, he walks with God. He finds out, Lord, what do You want? What’s Your will? And that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve kind of summarized this in five or six points. To walk with God first of all you’ve got to be going the same direction. If you’re not going in the same direction, you might walk with Him a little ways. If you’re forty-five degrees off, you’re going to keep getting further and further apart, but if you’re going to the same point on the horizon, you’re going to stay together, right? So you’ve got to be going to the same place in the same direction. B, you need to be going the same pace.

When you’re walking with God, He’s got a speed at which he’s going to lead you. If you run ahead you’re not together anymore. If you lag behind you’re not together. You may be going in the same direction and still not be walking together because one is a mile ahead of the other. You can’t really say you’re walking together anymore, can you? So you not only need to be going in the same direction, you need to be going the same pace. You need to be going to the same destination. You need to be going with the same purpose. Why are you going? Have you ever thought that there are a lot of people who want to go to heaven and they’re walking with God with different motives than Jesus has? Shouldn’t we have the same motive for walking with God that God has for walking with us? Have you seen people get married before and they’ve got different ulterior motives for the marriage?

If their marriages are I love this person; I want to make this person happy, and they both have that one goal, they’re going to have a happy marriage. If there are ulterior motives other than that, if their purpose is not the same, you’ve got problems. In your walk with the Lord, if you’re doing it because of what’s in it for you, that’s not God’s motive. Love must be the motive for others. A love that goes out. So you’ve got to do it with the same purpose. Finally you’ve got to be doing it under the same power. The power of God’s Spirit, that would certainly be the driving dynamo of the Lord, must be the same power that drives you. Same direction, same pace, same destination, same purpose and the same power. That’s how you determine if you’re walking with somebody.

Now it doesn’t just say walk with God. It tells us how to walk with Him. “…walk humbly with thy God.” You know what that would mean? In Hebrew the word humble there in this verse, Micah 6:8, it means to humble thyself to walk with God. In other words, walking humbly with God means you begin the walk by a humbling of yourself, repenting of your sins. You’re not walking with God because you think you’re worthy. You’re walking with God because you humbled yourself. That’s what makes us worthy to walk with God. We’re not walking with God because we think we’re better than others who are walking with God. We walk with Him because we’re thankful that we can be found worthy by Christ’s virtue and merit, not by our own. Psalm 25:9 “The meek will he guide in judgment…”

That means in rightness. “…and the meek will he teach his way.” The humble will learn. I heard about this village in Africa where a man was given a medal because he was considered the most humble man in the village, but then he made the mistake of wearing the medal and they took it away from him. The interesting thing about Christian humility is once you think you’ve achieved it, you’ve probably lost it at that moment. “Praise the Lord! I’m now humble!” I mean, as soon as you say that, you’re proud of your humility, right? And you’ve lost it. 1 Peter 5:5 “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Oh, I don’t know about you, but I need grace. Do you need grace? Who gets the grace? The humble. In your walk with God are you going to fall down? Yeah. But if you’re walking humbly He’ll pick you back up. You get grace. If you’re walking with arrogance with God, you’re going to fall a lot. Well, you’re not even up yet. But if you want to be able to continue walking with God, you need to do it humbly.

Then especially beautiful is the part that says finally, Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart These, O God, You will not despise.” If you’re walking with God humbly that means you’re walking because your heart has been broken. You have been broken at the foot of the cross, and you are so thankful that you have any privilege to walk with God that you’re doing it humbly. Now woven into that last part of the verse… Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God. You know that’s really beautiful when you think about it. The very fact it says with God. What? We get to be with God? What’s the purpose of the plan of salvation? We’ve been separated from God by our sins. He wants to be with us.

Isn’t that wonderful to think about? Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them...’” What’s the ultimate goal when we get to heaven? That we’re with each other. So if you want to be with Him then there, we must be willing to walk with Him here now that we walk humbly with our God. You’ve got two choices. You can live a life with God or without Him. I’ve already tried living without Him and it goes nowhere. Well, it goes down. So I want to live with Him and that means walking with Him. Walk humbly with thy God.

Now in summary, notice what’s in these verses. The three main points are, say them with me, do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. The do is what you do. The love is what you do with others. The walk is with God. The great commandment, love the Lord your God, love your neighbor as you love yourself. You’ve heard me say before the key to joy is Jesus, others, you. These three individuals are in the key vision statement for the Christian. It’s in this verse. You live justly, for others love mercy, and then have God your focus. Walk with God. Live for His glory. Worship Him. You, your neighbor and God is all summed up in this. You know what I love about this verse: it says for God seeks not what you have but who you are, not your substance but your spirit.

He’s not looking for your house, but He wants your heart. This wonderful verse encapsulates what does the Lord want from us? He wants you. He wants your heart and if He has your heart, you’ll say, “Lord, by Your grace, I’m going to seek first Your kingdom. I’m going to do justly. I’m going to love my neighbor. I’m going to show mercy and kindness. I’m going to live a life that’s not separated from You. I’m going to walk with You like Enoch, and Enoch must have had some kind of walk because he never even died. Enoch is where you want to be. Amen? So if you can walk with God the way Enoch walked with God then you’re home free.

Now we’ve made a little change in the way we’re going to conclude this. How many of you know that there’s a song that actually summarizes this verse? I’m going to see if Pastor Steve will come out here. We’re going to put that song up on the screen. The whole song is this verse. Yeah, let’s bring that out. Thank you very much. The song is this verse. “He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Now do you know why I want you to sing this? We’re not going to do the closing hymn. How many of you men in the choir know this song, and the chorus? Why don’t you come up here with us? Make Steve and I sound much better. Come on. Don’t be afraid. We’re sort of a friendly church. I’m taking your word that you know it; that you don’t know some elaborate version. Alright, we’re going to go through it a couple of times. If you know it, you’re welcome to sing with us. It’s a short song, so we’ll probably do it three or four or more times. The idea is you’re going to be humming this all day long. I want to impress this vision statement on your minds? Alright. I’ll do it slow first. Okay? Are you going to join me?

He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Are you ready to join the choir? Let’s all stand. You’ll sing better. Take a deep breath. We’ll do this two more times, okay?

He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Are you going to remember this verse? Are you going to do it? Alright, that’s our prayer. Let’s bow our heads together.

Loving Father in heaven, Lord, sometimes it’s easier to quote it, to sing it, than to do it. I pray that Your word will come alive in our hearts, that this simple power of this verse, what it is You require of us, to do justly, to live honest lives of integrity, to love mercy, to show compassion and kindness for those around us, and to walk with the mind and the spirit of Christ humbly in Your presence. Help us, Lord, to really exemplify these things in our lives. This is what it means to be Christians. I pray that this can be our mission statement. Bless each person. Guide us with Your Spirit that we might live this kind of life and walk this kind of walk so that we might ultimately be with You through eternity. This is our prayer in Christ’s name. Amen.

Thank you. You may be seated. Thank you very much. Sounds good. Are you guys going to sing something as we leave? You’re already up here.

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The Desire of Ages: Gethsemane to Glory by Ellen White

The Desire of Ages: Gethsemane to Glory by Ellen White
God's Promises




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