November 6, 2023

How does the Godly Man Live in a Godless Nation?

A Saint in a Sinful Culture

Amos 5:1-17
Derived from the transcript of Craig Trierweiler

Guidlines for the Godly

How does the Godly man live in a godless nation? How do saints live in a culture that is sinful? In Amos, verse 13, 14, and 15, he gets very practical, giving actionable steps. They are guidelines for the godly.

One: Know When to Stay Silent

Both positions, silence and action, require obedience to God. It's a tough balance.

Guideline number one: Know when to stay silent. Verse 13: “Therefore he who is prudent (wise or discerning) will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.”

We know from the expanse of Scripture that believers are not to remain silent all the time. In fact, keep in mind, Amos has been sent to speak. In fact, the Lion roars. There's a time to speak. So don't take chapter five, verse 13 to be this unilateral statement that you're to keep silent all the time. But let’s at least address the passage. There is a holy balance that believers need to have. And what a word for our culture today. What a word for the godly today. That though there are times that we speak up, there are times when we have got to shut up. Why? “For it's an evil time.”

We keep this holy balance where sometimes we step into situations and we need to speak up to advocate for truth and justice. But there's also a recognition that there are other times where perhaps speaking up will do more harm than good. And so we we have this holy tension.

I love the irony! You've heard of “pleading the pleading the Fifth,” right? Well, from now on, I want you to think of the fifth chapter of Amos. Plead the fifth – “I plead Amos five.” Where you don't have to angrily post on everything. You don't have to vent about everything. You don't need to speak up about everything. Not every hill is worth fighting for. Therefore, let the prudent – those who are wise and discerning in the midst of a very corrupt generation – let those who are prudent keep silent, for it is an evil time. 

I ran this idea past our pastors this week and each of them gave just wonderful response is about this this delicate balance. I share with you Pastor Christian’s responce: 

“There are situations where we have no control, no sway, no influence. I think we remain silent on things when God is not placed influence or power within our reach. And when He has given us some direction over the outcome, we seek him and act in obedience.

Both positions, silence and action, require obedience to God. It's a tough balance.

When it comes to your life, when you consider taking action or consider staying silent, here's my recommendations:

Who are you speaking to? Ponder your attitude, your heart attitude. Why are you speaking up before you hit that email, before you post that thing? Why is it that you're speaking up? Check your attitude and also your authority. What gives you the right to speak? Do you have the right to speak? These are all very practical things. 

Two: Practice what You Profess

Guideline number two: practice what you profess. Take a look verse 14. “Seek good and not evil that you may live. And so the Lord, the God of hosts will be with you.” What's the last phrase? It’s, “as you have said (as you claim)?” I love that!

What Amos is saying is, “Hey, guys, you as a nation who claim that God is on your side, live like it! Then he'll be with you as you claim.” Boy, does that ring a bell for this nation we live in today. I could imagine Amos coming into the culture in which we live and say, “Hey, you guys, you guys have that motto, don't you? That motto is that we are one nation under God. That's a great motto. But listen, why don't you live like it? Because then God will be with you, as you have said. By the way, all of you sports fans who love to gather together, maybe the seventh inning stretch and sing God Bless America. I love that song,” Amos would say, “but how about this? How about you live like it? And then God will bless America, as you have said. All of you who have dollar bills in your pocket, you have that wonderful motto on there that says, In God We Trust. Amos would say, America, I love that you trust in God. Why don't you live like it? And then God will be with you. As you have said.”

Practice what you profess. Then God will be with you, as you have said. 

Three: Resolve to do right

Guideline number three: resolve to do right. Amos summarizes the trifecta of personal obedience between you and the Lord. “Hate evil, love good, established justice in the gate” (that would be, “in the courts.”) Here’s the thing, he's talking to you personally. He's not talking about you going out and hating evil in the world. He's talking about you and your relationship with the Lord, hating evil in your life.

Micah would say, “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” Jesus would come along and summarize the law as “love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” This verse is Amos’ summary in regards to what it looks like to follow the Lord.

What does it look like to seek God? When it comes to evil in your life you don't remain neutral with it and you certainly don't actively engage in it. Rather you hate it. Remember, the culture loves sin and hates the truth. But here, Amos says, “Believer, you want to live godly in a godless culture? Hate evil. Not out there. Yes, of course, out there. But listen – you, your participation. Hate it. And don't just hate. Love good! Pursue it! Do it, act on it, love it, treasure it! 

What about the third thing he says, “Uphold justice?” That is, do what's right. Be the type of people where everything that you do is right and good, so that if anything were to be brought into the court system against you, you could clearly say that there would be no evidence against you and that your life upholds the goodness of God's laws.

Live the guidelines, embrace the promise.

At the end of verse 15, after he says, “Hate evil, love good, uphold justice,” he says, “it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” That smells of hope. Amos is coming into the culture saying to the godly, “listen, live the guidelines, embrace the promise.” What is the promise? It just may be that this God of mercy will look upon remnant (that is, “the few”) who are faithful and righteous and will respond with grace, with mercy.

Is that not the character of our God to respond with favor to His people who live in the ways that are right, who seek him with all of their hearts? Live the guidelines, embrace the promise. This is the message of Amos, live The guidelines, embrace the promise.