160918 Amos 8:4-7

Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Amos 8:4-7

Theme: The LORD Will Never Forget!

Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, "When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?"-- skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: "I will never forget anything they have done."

Do the words that I just read for you bring you fear or comfort? When we think about the fact that the Lord never forgets and that he demands perfection of us, but sees how time after time we fail to live perfect lives, we have fear. We will have fear as we hear the Lord tell us that all of those sins that he has seen have earned for us eternal damnation to hell. But for us as Christians, there is also a great amount of comfort knowing who it is that says he will never forget. It is the LORD. The loving, compassionate and merciful LORD will never forget what Jesus accomplished while here on this earth. You and I enjoy comfort knowing that our gracious LORD will never forget the forgiveness of all our sins through the blood of our Savior. You and I are able to have comfort as we go about our day-to-day personal lives, as we carry out our congregation's ministry, knowing that the Lord will never forget about us, but that he is watching over us day after day. The readings from God's Word before us this weekend are giving us an opportunity to consider our stewardship, our management, of all the gifts the Lord gives to us. As you use the gifts that the Lord has given to you, remember that the Lord will never forget.

In the reading before us from Amos chapter 8 the Lord tells his people that he has been watching them. He knows that they are not being wise stewards, or managers, of the gifts he has given to them. We read, "Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, 'When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?'-- skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat." Yes, God's people would come to worship, but all the while they were there they were thinking about how they could get more money for themselves. They saw worship as a waste of time. And they couldn't wait to get back to their buying and selling. This type of attitude toward the Lord, toward worship of him, toward the use of the gifts that he gives to his people, this the one and only true God will not tolerate. And so he makes them the promise, "I will never forget anything they have done."

In some of my reading that I did in preparing for this week's sermon I came across this series of questions, questions that I would like each of us to consider our own answer to: 1) "Do we sometimes neglect worship in order to make extra income on overtime pay, so that we can spend it on luxuries for ourselves? 2) Do we occupy our minds with thoughts of making money and paying bills even while our mouths pray and sing hymns? 3) Do we go to church reluctantly or participate in public worship half-heartedly because 'time is money,' and we do not like to spend it feeding our souls on the Word of God?" If we approach worship in this way, if we have this attitude toward money and other material things, the warning from God's Word is that the Lord will never forget.

As we think about our worship life, you and I will confess that at certain times we have had a sinful attitude toward worship. And for this sin we plead for the Lord's forgiveness. Confident of the gracious forgiveness won for us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we gladly and willingly come to worship. We join with David as he writes in Pslam 122, "I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" Why? Because it is here, in worship, that you and I have the opportunity to meet with our Savior-God face to face. Our Father in heaven comes to us in his Word, assuring you and me that he will never forget the forgiveness of sins that his Son won for you and me. In response to the great love of God, you and I raise our hearts and voices in songs, in words of praise and thanks to our gracious, forgiving Lord Jesus. As Paul writes in Ephesians, chapter 5, in worship we "speak to one another with psalm, hymns and spiritual songs. [We] sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." As we gather together to offer our Lord God proper worship and praise we do so remembering the he never forgets, and is pleased with the heartfelt worship and praise you and I offer to him in response to his love and mercy for us.

A service such as ours today also gives you and me the opportunity to think about our use of all the gifts the Lord has given to us. What does the Lord see as he watches your use of the gifts of your time, talents and treasures? Do you ever show disrespect for the Lord by being selfish with your blessings? At times when selfish thoughts begin to creep into your head and mine, and those selfish thoughts lead you and me to selfish actions, it is good for us to return to the cross of our Savior Jesus and to remember his unselfish love for you and me. The Lord Jesus gave up everything, including his very life, so that you and I enjoy the forgiveness of all our sins. The rich reward of heaven is yours and mine only because our loving Savior was willing to pay the price demanded for your sins, my sins and the sins of the whole world. In response to this great love of our Savior, you and I look for ways to use all our gifts to give him the praise and glory he alone deserves. As we say in one of the prayers found in our hymnal, "Lord Jesus, take all that we have, our bodies and minds, our time and skills, our ministries and offerings, and use them to your glory. We give ourselves to you that we may serve you in whatever way is pleasing in your sight.

In just a few weeks, we will begin the Capital Campaign for our ministry expansion here at St. Matthew's. This will be an opportunity for each one of us to come up with a plan on how you personally can give back to your Lord your very best in support of the ministry taking place in our congregation now and in the future. Rather than seeing this as just another way the Church is trying to get into your wallet, see it as an opportunity to give all thanks and praise to your loving and gracious Savior-God. In response to the love of Jesus who won for you the forgiveness of all of your sins and made heaven your home, as you give back to him your very best, rejoice that the loving and forgiving Lord will never forget! Amen.

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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