Text: Amos 6:1-7

Introduction:

German Christian philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian martyr during the time of the holocaust. In his infamous work entitled The Cost of Discipleship he said, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” In a word, he called for a Christian living without complacency.

Background:

The Israelites both from the Northern and Southern kingdoms thought that they were experiencing the Golden Age of their time (780-740 BCE). This flourishing life that they have was the same terminal illness of their nation that bound them to cease to exist after several decades. They did not listen to what Amos told them. Amos proclaiming the oracles from God as a revelation was indeed true.

The fulfillment of the oracle happened when Assyrians conquered Israel in 722 BCE; “In 745 B.C. Tiglath-pileser III would ascend the throne of Assyria, and hardly more than 20 years later, in 722, the northern kingdom of Israel would cease to exist. (ESV Study Bible)”

Main Idea: What is complacency? Is it a sin?

“Merriam-Webster as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” sha̓ănān – at ease, be secure, “undisturbed, without anxiety”– sometimes “over-security” which reflects arrogance or laziness.” There is a danger that is about to come and yet you are not doing anything.

Is it a sin? Yes, the sin of pride. (This is somehow the same with the parable of the talents who just hid the master’s entrusted treasures since he thought it would be better to just secure it rather than use it.)

The dangers of complacency

  • Verse 3, Complacency is Fatalistic = “bahala na” – fine line indifference.
  • Verse 4, Complacency is Laziness = slothfulness (2 Thess. 3:10)
  • Verse 5, Complacency is Distorted Contentment = lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22)
  • Verse 6, Complacency is Entitlement, declaring that you do not need God anymore. (Rev 2:1-7)
  • Verse 7, Complacency leads you to perish, be punished, disciplined. (Read fulfillment of the oracle)

How do we overcome complacency?

  • Admit Your Mistake/ Sin (Psalm 32:5)
  • Believe in Christ (Rom 10:9)
  • Confess Your Sins (1 John 1:9)
  • Devote Yourselves in Prayer (Col. 4:2)
  • Examine Yourselves: Every so often we need to do as Paul instructed the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 13:5. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves does not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless you fail the test.” 
    • Even while being professing believers, we can’t assume we’re always in the right. We should continuously search our own hearts to make sure we’re operating from a place of faith, love, and godliness.

Conclusion:

The Gospel (Good News) in Amos

But the same God who disciplines and warns us about our complacency is the same God who has a plan to restore, a plan to redeem and revive us. In Amos 9, “God restores” by (1) keeping those who are faithful and (2) preserving the lineage of Jesus—the incarnation, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fear not since God has a plan to restore us. However, if we are to remain complacent in our spiritual lives, then expect great trials, discipline, and emptying from God. To overcome this complacency, in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 10, 2022

 

 

Text: Titus 2:1-8

A Sound Christian Living (Full Sermon Manuscript)

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Background:

One of Paul’s main concerns was the false teachers teaching a different gospel. Either they are teaching a false doctrine or mixing their doctrine with their former mystical or traditional superstitions. Titus was assigned to Crete to oversee the churches in different towns. He was told to assign elders to advance and support the expansion of the kingdom of God.

Main Idea:

Many say doctrine is sooooo important—yet they do not live in accordance with what they believe. Others say doctrine is not important as long as we show our love to one another. But according to our passage: (Main point) Right Doctrine leads to Right Behavior.

Right doctrine and right behavior correlate with one another. Each is important. Each one is vital to Christianity. The next question is how to achieve these goals?

Reading the verses from 2 focuses on men. Verses 3-5, focuses on women. Lastly, verses 6-8, points to the younger generation. Here, we see that churches during that time were already a mixed-age congregation. There are adult men, adult women, young adults, and young people.

Fathers, as stated, you are to model self-control, love, steadfastness, and sound faith. Can we see these in your life? If yes, praise God. If not, strive harder. We need you to model these qualities so we can learn and conform to these teachings.

Mothers, older women, as stated, you are called to model Christian living. Not just in actions, but also with your words. Not slanderers, but the truths about Christ. Teach them to love as well. Love your family so they will also love their family in the future.

Also, young people, youth listen. Respect the adults. Honor your parents. As stated, learn from these people. They may be a well-spring of wisdom coming to the fount of Christ. There are many things that you can learn from them. Practical life lessons. Do not just spend time playing and doing social media. Start scheduling sessions with the adults. You can talk to them personally. Learn from their mistakes and failures.

Amidst this fallen world, let us exemplify integrity, dignity, sound speech, and model good works. Why? Because if we cannot see any difference from people who live outside Christianity with us, then nothing is attractive with our relationship with the Lord.

Application:

Live a sound Christian life. Meaning, do not say that you believe this, then you live your life in a different way. If you are kind here in our church, you should also be kind outside. If you are generous with your friends, then you should also be generous when it comes to your tithes and offerings.

Do not live a double life. Who or what you are in your home should also be who or what you are with your friends, workplace, or even here at the church. Again, you are not a secret agent who needs to hide your identity. You do not have multiple identities. If you are a Christian, your identity is in Christ.

Do not hide your weaknesses, vices, and hidden sins. It will and will later manifest. We are all wretched and corrupted. Indeed, the church is a hospital for sick people. Yet likewise, you go to hospitals to get well. Christ does not want us to stay sick, let us be well in the Spirit. Live a sound life.

 

Ptr John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
September 19, 2021

*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.