Seek Good and Not Evil

Amos 5:4-5 ESV

For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel:

“Seek me and live;
but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter into Gilgal
or cross over to Beersheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
and Bethel shall come to nothing.”

If we are going to be followers of Jesus Christ we need to be those who are seeking after the Lord and who are not going after the gods of this world. For, these places mentioned here are symbolic of places of idolatrous worship. We are to seek (pursue, go after, aim for) the Lord in all that we are and do and say.

And an idol is anything to which we give our hearts, minds, souls, emotions, passions, desires, thinking, time, and efforts in place of God or above and beyond any kind of passion or desire we might have for our Lord.

An idol of worship can be our government, our politicians, our nation, our freedoms, our military, or the news media, or Big Pharma, or the medical profession. An idol can also be pride, self, self-pleasure, entertainment, knowledge, possessions, stature, money, prestige, popularity, physical appearance, financial security, a job, or sinful addictions, etc.

God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit – is to be our only God and the only one to whom we give our hearts, minds, and souls. He is the ONLY ONE to whom we should pledge (vow) our allegiance (fidelity) with hand (deeds, obedience) over heart (passion, desire). He is the ONLY ONE to whom we should be singing songs of worship and adoration.

And if he truly is our only God, and the only one to whom we are giving our worship, our hearts, our minds, and our souls, then it should show. It should be evident by the words that we speak and by the things that we do, especially by the things that we do to show love to others. There should be evidence that says that God is our only God, and there is no other.

Instead of talking about all the junk of this world we should be talking about Jesus and of our relationship with him, and we should be sharing his gospel message, but we must first of all be living what we preach.

Amos 5:10,12 ESV

“They hate him who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor him who speaks the truth.”

“For I know how many are your transgressions
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and turn aside the needy in the gate.”

This is so true of today’s modern church in America who have largely gone the way of the world and who have adopted the cheap grace gospel. They are preaching a message which says, “Stay in your own lane,” for they don’t want anyone confronting anyone else with their sin for they don’t want to offend anyone with the truth of the gospel.

So, they despise, they detest, and they denounce those of us who are still teaching the gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught. They accuse us falsely of teaching “works-based salvation,” and of being self-righteous or hyper religious or hateful or prideful or of being legalistic. And they vilify us by speaking out against us and what we are doing.

Thus, they also discard and reject us because they don’t want to hear what we have to say because we are teaching the truth of the gospel and they are following after a diluted and adulterated gospel which makes no requirements of them for forsaking their sinful lifestyles or for walks of obedience to the Lord or for living holy lives pleasing to God.

They don’t want to hear the truth for they want to be able to claim that they are forgiven of all sin and that heaven is their eternal destiny but that they can go on living in deliberate and habitual sin without guilt and without the fear of punishment. Anything contrary to the lies which they have adopted is an offense to them for it tells them that they are doing wrong.

And so they like the lie that says that all sins are forgiven and thus they can keep on sinning. And they prefer the lie that says that God can no longer see when they sin but that when he looks at them that all he can see is Jesus, and so he delights in them, even while they are vegging out on porn in direct defiance to God and to his moral standards.

Thus, the large majority of what is called “church” in America today is indistinguishable between them and the world, for they are not living separate from the world but they are embracing the world. Thus, a large number of them are still living in sin or they have gone back to living in sin, and they are engaged in all manner of evil – in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, extramarital affairs, homosexual relations, lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating, abusing, tricking, and defying God’s moral laws.

And largely not much at all is being done within the church to correct all of this moral depravity and this idea that they can be saved from their sins and have heaven secured them while they continue in habitual and deliberate sin against God and against their fellow humans, and which includes the abuse that they heap upon those who are still following the Lord in obedience.

Amos 5:14-15 ESV

“Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”

But this is not just Old Covenant teaching. There is nothing in what is quoted here, in its foundational truths, that is not repeated for us in the New Testament under the New Covenant. For, Jesus didn’t die that horrible death for us on that cross just so we could now go on living in sin guilt free and without the fear of punishment.

Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our lives. For when we believe in Jesus our old self is put to death so we would no longer live under sin’s control as slaves of sin, but so we would now be slaves of righteousness.

So, we are to seek after good and not evil. We should be studying the Scriptures (in context) and learning what they say and then we should be putting them into practice in our lives, i.e. the instructions which are written to Christians. And we should be walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.

And we should hate evil instead of engaging in evil and instead of being entertained by evil. For our Lord called us out of the world to be his holy people, to live lives which are pleasing to him, no longer living in sin but now walking by faith in his holiness in his power and strength, according to the will of God, and according to the teachings of Scripture.

And we are to be lovers of what is good, but “good” as defined by God not by other humans. For this has to do with what is good in the eyes of God, i.e. what is righteous, holy, honest, morally pure, upright, godly, faithful, loving, kind, obedient, and submissive to Jesus as Lord of our lives.

And we are to do this so that we will live. And that is because if we walk according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, and if we make sin our practice and righteousness is not what we practice, and if we walk in the darkness (wickedness) and not in the light (righteousness) and if we sow to please the flesh and not the Spirit then we don’t have eternal life with God.

So, if you want to be saved from your sins and have eternal life with God you must deny self, die daily with Christ to sin and to self, and follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. For this is what faith is, for it comes from God, and is gifted to us by God, and it is persuaded by God, thus it will submit to Jesus as Lord and forsake sin and walk in obedience to him.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

Mary, Did You Know?

Songwriters: Greene Lee Rufus / Lowry Mark Alan

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re
Holding is the great, I Am

Mary, did you know?

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