Here comes the prophet Amos. He's there in the marketplace calling out to anyone who will hear. He's preaching, warning, announcing. Amos has a message from God. It is a message to God's own people.
He calls them the children of Israel. He calls them the whole family... the whole lot of them. All the 12 tribes of Israel.
He's got a word for his whole church. He's got a word for all his people. He's got a word for me. He's got a word for you.
Pay attention. Listen up. Open your ears, your heart, your mind. Hear this word.
Now, as I've been preparing this message, actually, I've had a really hard time. But I have this picture in my head and I want to show it to you.
There's a fierce storm outside. Lightning. Wind. Rain. Thunder. The lightning is striking the Earth. It's getting closer and closer.
Where do you want to be?
You want to be in that house. You want to get inside that house. And once you're inside, stay inside.
There's the image. We'll come back.
Because all of Amos is a warning. It is a warning to people who know everything, have everything, and need nothing. But they are so far from God, and they won't admit it.
So Amos starts preaching some pretty harsh stuff. God is coming to visit you for all your iniquities (bad sins).
But before we get into that...
Do not miss the profound love, and the amazing Grace, here in the middle of this warning. There are five reminders of grace buried here about God's relationship with his people. Let's dig them out.
God's people are a Chosen People. He is speaking to Israel by name. God specifically says that the people of Israel are his chosen ones (1 Chronicles 16:13). God chose the group. Today that choice applies to everybody who believes in Jesus. When you believe, you become part of the chosen people of God. God looks at you and says Yes! I choose you! I want you. Come on in. That's what I want for you today. Come out from the storm. Come into the house. You are chosen from this.
God's people are his Adopted Children. God calls them his family. If you have Jesus, that's what you are. And so was Israel. God declared, "Israel is my son, my firstborn (Exodus 4:22). And he says the same thing about you. There is no such thing as a fatherless believer in Jesus. Come out from the raging storm and get into the house of grace.
God's people are Redeemed People. God brought them up out of Egypt and he set them free. Same thing here. When you believe in Jesus, God redeems you. That means he opens up the prison doors and says, Be free. What prison doors? You tell me: loneliness, depression, despair, anger, addiction, partying, porn, violence, greed, isolation, fear of getting close, fear, anxiety... be free. Be free. Be free. You have a redeemer. Be free.
God's people are his Intimate Friends. "You... have I known." This knowing is the deepest possible communion in love and oneness. When you receive Jesus, God becomes your best friend. He'll never betray you. He knows you. He knows all about you. He sees everything. And you know what? He still loves you and wants your company. If you have Jesus Christ, if you get saved, then God is not only your Father, and not only your Savior, he's actually your best friend too. That's the invitation I'm putting out there today.
God's people are his Exclusive Treasure. "You only have I known." There's that word only. There is something we have that nobody else has. This does not make us feel superior; it just makes us grateful. Going back to the house in the storm, there's an only factor. There's an exclusivity factor. Only those inside the house are safe from the storm. I am talking to a lot of people today, both in the room and online. But my message is the same: only those inside the house of salvation are safe from the storm of judgment. God says, You only have I known. You only have I loved in this deepest possible way. You only have I saved.
Won't you become one of the "ONLYs" today?