Israel was at the height of their prosperity under Jeroboam II.
Then Amos spoke.
The angst and surprise for Israel to hear this prophetic word would have blindsided them like if you woke up to find your obituary tweeted out on Twitter. That is exactly the angst that Israel had. God was saying, This is death. You may be prospering economically. You may be prospering financially. But injustice is your king because you have forsaken your God.
Take a moment to read Amos 5:1-6. Verses 1 through 3 set up the context. This is a dirge. God is giving a prophetic lament for the nation of Israel, and the angst that we hear is for those who have died. In the midst of the height of this prosperity, God is bringing a realistic call to lament and a call to live with the posture of lamenting.
And that posture is what we see in verses 4, 5 and 6.
May God allow your hearts to leverage the milestones of your life as momentum builders, as you live on mission for His glory by pouring into and laboring alongside us millennials.
The first thing we see in Amos 5:4 is milestones are for remembering, not resting.
You create milestones to mark the journey as you continue marching on (Amos 5:4).
And we hear this cry in this simple command: “Seek Me and live.” To seek literally means to search somebody out in order to make a request. The problem with my generation – millennials – is entitlement.
We’ve become our own spiritual advisors, our own sociologists, our own pathologists because we have this angst. We don’t want to sit and listen, because sometimes we have reached out and the older generations couldn’t look past our clothes, our hair or our language.
My generation needs to hear that old story – the gospel. There is an evil system in this world. You are born dead in sin. Anyone who commits a sin is a slave to sin. You can do nothing of good works to chip away at your sin debt. You need to consider yourself guilty to accept the plea bargain God is offering.
What we need to hear from you is the gospel communicated in our heart language. This is where you have to say to the millennials, “Are you guilty of all these charges or not?”
Then stand back and let the Holy Spirit work. Teach my generation to break the addiction of sin, and to walk and pursue righteousness and things of God. Teach what progressive sanctification looks like, moment-by-moment indwelling of the Spirit of God to break the addiction of sin.
If people want to be discipled, they need to find you. Gangs and fraternities shouldn’t have a hold on discipleship. The church is the foretaste of what the city of God looks like. Don’t let this be a milestone. Remember, reflect and keep on moving.
God says Bethel, Gilgal and Beersheba are places where people encountered God. Beersheba is a place where people had an experience, but did not follow up with obedience (Amos 5:5).
Many churches start out healthy with solid discipleship, but over the course of time they begin to stray. God has departed, but the people haven’t noticed. What idols are preventing you from having authentic discipleship with my generation?
Are you investing your resources in traditions or teaching my generation to walk in spiritual victory? That’s what you have to wrestle with.
The weaponry we have, according to Paul in Ephesians 6:17, is the Word of God. We need to teach millennials to memorize the Word of God and, in the moment of spiritual battle, to quote the Word of God.
The perfect model was Christ Himself. In Matthew 4 after 40 days of fasting, on all three occasions of temptation He said, “It is written…” This is the tangible model that you must pass on to my generation. We are wrestling with addictions. We need you to walk us through present tense in your walk with God. One of the biggest issues I had when I first came to faith was that so many preachers talked about their wrestle with sin in past tense.
We need you to not expedite your struggle with what sin used to look like to show what it still looks like today. We need that because you are giving us hope of life outside of sexual addictions. You can stay faithful to your spouse. You can rebound spiritually even if you had a divorce – we are not damaged goods, because our Savior can take our brokenness and make it into something beautiful.
That’s what we need to hear and see. We need the hope you tangibly express every day. We live among hopelessness. Every day is lament. All we know is death. What we don’t know is life. We have to start living like we have eternal life.
Finally in Amos 5:6, milestones recalibrate our heart to proclaim the risen Lord.
Amos is now speaking out prophetically. We talk about grace and justice. God is both just and the justifier. The finished work of Jesus has rightfully and holistically handled the wrath of God, so that we have peace of God and peace with God through the perfect work of Christ. Because of that reality, we can express God’s plan of redemption while crying out, “Seek Him and live.”
Without a relationship with Christ, there is no good work on behalf of God. Yet through Christ, sinners become saints.
God has set you up – to live out a balance of grace and justice. We need you to have a presence among my generation so that you can gain our hearts and our ears. Therefore, give a presentation of plea bargaining that God is offering.
He has served as an urban church planter and pastor in Kansas City, Missouri, a national coordinator of urban student ministries at the North American Mission Board and executive director at ReachLife Ministries, the non-profit ministry of Reach Records.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Calvary Bible College, his master’s degree in Christian studies from Calvary Theological Seminary and is currently working on his Ph.D. in applied theology with a North American missions emphasis at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has authored G.O.S.P.E.L., DNA: Foundations of the Faith and Bound to Be Free: Escaping Performance to be Captured by Grace. He and his wife, Elicia, of 13 years are co-authoring a book on marriage. D.A. and Elicia have two daughters, Izabelle and Lola, and one son, D.A. Jr. (aka Duce).
This article is based on his talk at Creating Options Together™ Conference 2016, a training event for Cru’s inner city ministry. You can listen to his whole message here, and enjoy further media content from the Creating Options Together Conference here. Want to learn more about Cru's inner city ministry? Click here.
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