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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

Option #1: "What Does God Want From You?"
Micah 6:1-8
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

Introduction: About the only familiarity most Christians have with the Book of Micah occurs at Christmastime. It was in Micah’s book that Herod’s scribes looked to answer the question of the Wise Men: "Where is He who is born to be King of the Jews?" Micah’s book answered: "Out of you (Bethlehem) will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, of ancient times" (5:2). This God from eternity was also described as "a Savior who is Christ, the Lord." Now we are in a position to answer the question in today’s Old Testament Reading: WHAT DOES GOD WANT FROM YOU?


  I. He desires for us to plead guilty of our sins--Mic 6:2, 11-14

    A. Greed--v11

    B. Violence and lying--v12

    C. This ill-gotten gain will not satisfy and will be lost--v14

    D. We are summoned to plead guilty to our sins--Rom. 1:18-32


 II. God's acts of past love summon us to trust and serve Him--vv3-5

    A. The greatest OT parables reminds of God’s faithfulness--Isa 5:3-4

    B. God's Son was found guilty though He had done no wrong--John 19:4-6


III. God wants you to respond with living sacrifices of thankful love--text, vv6-8

    A. Not with Old Covenant sacrifices--6:6-7a

    B. Not with pagan Sacrifices--v6:7b

    C. But with living sacrifices of love--6:8; Rom 12:1-2; Deut 10:12-13; 1 Sam 15:22; Eccl 12:13-14; Hos 6:6; Titus 2:11-14; re : humility: Isa 57:15; 1 Pet. 5:5-6


Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Old Testament: Thou art to walk humbly with thy God; hatsnea, to humble thyself to walk. This implies to acknowledge thy iniquity, and submit to be saved by his free mercy, as thou hast already found that no kind of offering or sacrifice can avail. Without this humiliation of soul, there never was, there never can be, any walking with God; for without his mercy no soul can be saved; and he must be Thy God before thou can walk with him. Many, when they hear the nature of sin pointed out and the way of salvation made plain through the blood of the Lamb, have shut their eyes both against sin and the proper sacrifice for it, and parried all exhortation, threatening, etc., with this text: "God requires nothing of us but to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him." Now I ask any man, Art thou willing to stand or fall by this text? And it would cost me neither much time nor much pains to show that on this ground no soul of man can be saved. Nor does God say that this doing justly, etc., shall merit eternal glory. He well knows that no fallen soul can act thus without especial assistance from him, and that it is only the regenerate man, the man who has found redemption through the blood of the cross, and has God for His God, that can thus act and walk. Salvation is of the mere mercy of God alone; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

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Jesus told a story in a different connection that I want to borrow today. He said: (Mat 12:11) "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?" The Bible tells us in another place that this is just what God did for us. If you were to read Psalm 40, this is what you would find: (Psa 40:2) He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

We all know this time of the year what it means to "get stuck." It won’t be too long and we could well be stuck in the mud, not snow! Here’s the point of us being "stuck." WE NEED HELP! There are people out there stuck in the mud of sin and don’t know it. They think they don’t need God’s help. They don’t think they need a Savior. Some of them take part of today’s Old Testament reading and think they can keep God’s commands well enough to earn a spot in eternal life.

Well, I've got news for you: you’re not going anywhere if you’re STUCK! You need the kind of help that Jesus said was given to the sheep who fill into a pit. He was lifted out. You need the kind of help that the Psalm writer said God gave him: He lifted me out of the pit of mud and gave me a place to stand on the rock.

Whatever you do, for as long as you live, wherever you go, let God help you. After all, we couldn’t get out of the pit of sin by ourselves. We were in such bad shape, God had to send His very own Son to be our Savior. Let God help you in this life--and not just when you get stuck. Reach out for His help everyday until He takes you out of this valley of tears and sorrow to the heavenly home.

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 Option #2: "God Loves And Uses Morons!"
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
The Point: God often chooses to use humble and ordinary things and people to display His love for and purpose for His people in the world.

The Problem: We often consider ourselves unqualified and useless in God's Kingdom and/or preclude others from service because of their seemed inadequacy(ies).

The Promise: God the Father made us good at Creation; pronounced us good, bad though we were, via Christ's death and resurrection; and empowers us to reflect His goodness in this world.
 1.sophos {sof-os'}, v26: wise; skilled, expert: of artificers; wise, skilled in letters, cultivated, learned; of the Greek philosophers and orators; of Jewish theologians; of Christian teachers; forming the best plans and using the best means for their execution. (Blue Letter Bible)
 2.dunatos {doo-nat-os'}, v26: able, powerful, mighty, strong; mighty in wealth and influence; strong in soul; to bear calamities and trials with fortitude and patience; strong in Christian virtue; to be able (to do something); mighty, excelling in something; having power for something. (Ibid)
 3. eugenes {yoog-en'-ace}, v26: well-born, of a noble family; noble-minded. (Ibid)
 4. moros {mo-ros'}, v27: foolish; impious, godless. (Ibid)
 5.kataischuno {kat-ahee-skhoo'-no}, v27: to dishonour, disgrace; to put to shame, make ashamed; to be ashamed, blush with shame; one is said to be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived. (Ibid)
 6.Wisdom doesn't have to do with "getting smart"; God's wisdom is received in and through the person of Jesus. (David Guzik)
 7. Of course the ultimate example of God using foolish, weak, lowly, despised things is the cross.
 8. God doesn't make junk, but He sure uses it!
 9.Our structures and stances are usually not cruciform but elevations of the high and mighty, partly because we are bent on giving and receiving honours and rewards according to a value system which ultimately crucified Jesus. (William Loader)
10.A prideful Christian is perhaps the world’s most dangerous citizen. (Ronald Goetz)
11.In Greek culture "moros" is the one who is dull-witted, though the term is used in a variety of contexts from animal husbandry to the preparation of food. As regards the human condition, the closest parallels concern the deficiency of intellect or spiritual capacity or the impossibility for some to follow another in reasoning and understanding. (John Alsup)
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