Text: Amos 6:1-7
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.
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.
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