September 28, 2014
Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
Packed with Power, Pneuma, and Uprightness
O God, Beginning and Completion, in Jesus Christ You confirmed Your covenant with us and sealed every promise in His blood. Empower us through Your Holy Spirit to teach all You have commanded, tell all You have done, and live as those who are deeply and eternally loved, for the glory and praise of Your name. Amen.
Have you ever tried to tackle a job you were sure was going to be simple, with a quick fix, only to discover that this problem was way more complex than you imagined and way beyond your capabilities, and the more you worked to correct the problem the more you learned was really wrong? This happens to me way more than my manliness wants me to admit.
What I walk away with, though, is a new, humble understanding that I am not God.
There are powerful people in this world – political leaders from benevolent royals to tyrannical dictators; local civic leaders to mafia dons; economic giants to auto-mechanics and street sweepers; sweet long-time church people to ecclesiastical bullies.
But none of them is God. And, eventually, everyone learns that truth.
This Fall we are looking together at a couple of pieces of Scripture that many might choose to ignore if they didn’t have others to read with. So this Fall, our Sunday mornings will explore God’s Word from a couple Old Testament prophets. This month and next we listen to Micah and we hear this Old Testament man of God warn his people of God’s impending judgment – and we notice how well his warning for Judah and Israel also applies to us in America today!
And while this short book is filled with gloom and doom, Micah is mostly a book of WORSHIP—even the prophet’s name suggests worship. The name “Micah” means “WHO IS LIKE YAHWEH?”. And in the whole book, every chapter talks about how NOTHING or NO ONE compares to GOD! No one is like Him!
But the most obvious characteristic of this book is its claim that this God who is worthy of our worship is a God of JUSTICE, JUDGMENT, and GRACE.
And these judgments are for the RULERS, the RELIGIOUS, and the REGULARS.
So with that backdrop in place, let’s look at the third chapter of Micah, & see what it says about finding the power we need when we are weak. Listen to God’s Word from Micah 3:1-12…. —-
1 Then I said, “Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel. Should you not embrace justice …? …
… 5 This is what the LORD says: “As for the prophets
who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’
if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them….
…8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the LORD,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
9 Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right… 11 Yet they look for the LORD’s support and say,
“Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.”
12 Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
Micah – the Prophet of Almighty God – condemns Israel’s civic and religious leaders; then, reveals the future exaltation of Zion and the Messianic Hope! This second message from Micah follows a similar theme as his first message – it announces God’s condemnation of Israel and gives a glimpse of the future Hope! Micah has much more to say about the Messiah in this second message!
In Micah 3 through Micah 5, we find God’s condemnation of Israel’s leaders!
In 3:1-3, we find the indictment of Israel’s civic leaders, the RULERS, – they hate good and love evil – they consume the people; that is to say, they oppress them! The unjust leaders showed about as much consideration for the people as butchers do for carcasses!
In verse 4, we see the Judgment that is to come upon them – they will cry to the Lord; but, He will not hear them – He will hide His face from them!
In 3:5-7, we find the indictment of Israel’s RELIGIOUS leaders – they are false prophets – they lead God’s people astray! When the false prophets had plenty to eat, they predicted Peace; but if they went hungry, they brought down curses! Because of their actions, they will have no vision – they shall be made ashamed.
In verse 8, we see the contrast between Micah’s own ministry and that of the false prophets: Micah will be full of the Power of the Holy Spirit and of Justice and of Might! What my sermon title calls Packed with Power, Pnuema, and Uprightness! He will declare the transgression and sin of Israel!
In verses 9-11, we find Micah addressing the REGULARS (the rest of us) of Israel and categorizing their sin – they abhor justice and pervert equity (or, fairness) – they build up Jerusalem with bloodshed and iniquity – whether they are judges, priests, or prophets, they do it only for the money, giving the lie to their claim to trust in the Lord God Almighty! Everyone had his price for mammon, his god – much like today, isn’t it?
In verse 12, we see the Judgment that is to come upon Israel for their actions – Zion shall be plowed like a field – Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins!
So who was Micah? A small town follower of God who did what God called him to do. He was a spokes-person for this God who is too awesome to even be described – but he is a REGULAR Joe who speaks what God tells him; he was not a civic leader and he was not one of the religious leaders, he was like any one of you – sort of. What made him different? Verse 8. So let’s look a little closer at verse 8!
8 But as for me, I am filled with POWER, with the SPIRIT of the LORD, and with JUSTICE and MIGHT,
to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
Micah was packed with Power, with Pnuema (that’s the Greek word for “spirit”, we get words like pneumonia from this word) and Uprightness. And with this equipment, he can tackle even the hardest job of declaring his people’s transgressions!
The Holy Spirit convicts, regenerates, baptizes, infills, seals, and comforts us! He leads us into the Almighty Truths of God’s Word! It’s time for true Christian believers to get this same “Power Transfer!” We need the Holy Spirit!
The problem with the effectiveness of many of today’s churches is that we have no Power – the Holy Spirit has been relegated as a thing of the past – in fact, many believe that His Power died out with the deaths of the Apostles! However, nothing can be further from the Truth! The Holy Spirit is Almighty God Himself – and, as such, He does not change and He will never leave or forsake us!
And, in my experience, this is also a major weakness in our personal walks of faith. We forget to rely on the Holy Spirit! In Mark 13:11, Jesus says to His disciples, “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”
When it comes to communication, our world is rapidly becoming increasingly “high-tech!” The popularity of social networks Such as twitter and Facebook, might cause some people to think that the Holy Bible – the written Word of God – is too “old-school” – too “old-fashioned!” The “tech-savvy” people of our current society might feel put off from reading the Holy Bible because there are no sound effects or ingenious graphics between these pages; however, the Truth is this: There is more “High-tech Power” in God’s Word than in any cutting-edge technology or communication tool that our world will ever know!
If you have ever read the Holy Bible – and, if not, I invite you to start today – you surely have sensed the Lord speaking directly to you – there’s a tailor-made message for every one of us there – as God speaks into our lives! He has hard-wired us with His Holy Spirit – Who literally illumines believers’ minds to understand His Word!
Just imagine, if you will, getting a “text-message” directly from the Creator of the entire Universe, telling you exactly what you need at exactly the right moment! No matter how “high-tech” this world may get, we will never experience a more powerful mode of communication than the Word of God and the Holy Spirit!
Finally, know that the Power of God – Holy Spirit Power – is visible in God’s works of Grace – His unmerited favor! When the Word of God is preached or shown to the world by Spirit-filled Christian believers, the Holy Spirit moves the people to repentance and Salvation! So, friends, let the Gospel be preached – let the Holy Spirit be poured out – and, the world will see such Power as to change the social conscience – such Power as to improve social conduct – such Power as to raise the depraved – such Power as to chastise and curb the iniquity of the human race – that we as true Christian believers may revel in it! There is nothing like the Holy Spirit Power to help us experience God’s righteousness – so let Him come; and, indeed, everything will be accomplished for the glory of God!
When our simple little fix-it jobs have got us by the throat, just remember Psalm 121: “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
May God Almighty richly and abundantly bless each and every one of you with His Power, His Holy Pnuema, and His Upright living! Amen.
Dillahunty, George R.; “Micah – the Condemnation and Future Hope”; Freedom Fellowship Church of God; Virginia Beach, VA; March 16, 2009.
Dillahunty, George R.; “Power Up with Holy Ghost Power”; Freedom Fellowship Church of God; Virginia Beach, VA; May 19, 2010.
Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship; Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Grand Rapids, MI; 2012; P. 479.