Responding to Our Knowledge of God - Justice

Faith Church July 14, 2007 Micah 6:8

 

Introduction:

1.  We’re continuing our new series today in our Worship Service:  Reaching New Heights in Our Knowledge of God!

- our goal is to further APPLY the subject to our lives as an ABF, so we’ve entitle our ABF study: Responding to Our Knowledge of God

2.  Remember the words if Daniel: 

  • Daniel 11:32 "…but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”

- Christianity is a religion of action . . . we are to be doing what God wants us to do!

- the topic this morning is a bit challenging because it involves ‘consequences’ of choices (good consequences for good choices, and bad for bad choices)

- this ties in with Paul’s words:

  • Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death

know’ = knowledge based on personal experience (because of the interaction/relationship)

- not just an intellectual knowledge, but a PRACTICAL knowledge of God (a life of obedience, a attitude of hope, and high motivation for future service to demonstrate that faith in God and what you truly believe about Him!)

4.  We’re studying the topic of GOD’S JUSTICE!  Keep in mind the purpose of our study:

*  The purpose of our study:

1) to glorify God by with our praise of worship of Who He is

2) to put that knowledge into ACTION! – especially the way we respond when God demonstrates His particular attribute (either in a way that we understand, or in a way we don’t understand . . . but still have to walk by faith!)

Input: Why is the concept of God’s justice hard to understand at times?

  • Our ability to think/reason and understand ‘fairness’ is cursed by sin
  • It implies accountability for our choices – especially hard for bad choices
  • Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

- there is no greater example of justice than God Himself!

I.  Reaching New Heights in Our Knowledge of God’s JUSTICE!

justice =            (1) the principle of ideal of moral righteousness

(2) the upholding of what is right and lawful, fair treatment or punishment in accordance with honor, standards, or law

(3) the quality of being fair or impartial

- because God is holy, He does not have the ability to make a mistake

* One of our goals in this study is to learn more about God . . . and His JUSTICE so we will understand that He is JUST and fair – even if that justice doesn’t occur on our time-table!!  

1)  exercising our faith in a God Who is just!

2)  proclaiming this truth of God’s justice to others

3)  modeling this confidence in our God who is perfectly just!

- each week, we’re going to be asking a set of questions for you to consider in the context of the specific aspect of God that is being presented in the Worship Service!

II.  Responding to Our Knowledge of God’s Justice!

Q: Do you really believe that God is just?

- think about the words of Isaiah:

  • Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
  • What other passages communicate this attribute of God? [various answers]
  • Deuteronomy 10:18 "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.
  • Job 8:3 "Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?
  • Job 34:12 "Surely, God will not act wickedly, And the Almighty will not pervert justice.
  • Psalm 25:9 He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
  • Psalm 33:5 He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.
  • Psalm 37:28 For the LORD loves justice And does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
  • Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.
  • Psalm 111:7 The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure.
  • Psalm 146:7 Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free.
  • Luke 18:7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?
  • What impact should this attribute have in the following areas: [various answers]
  • Temptation to sin:

- God in His grace allows me to choose, but the consequences are up to a JUST God!

- I should evaluate the pleasure of the sin with the consequences I may face

- Typically, we think about the consequences, we usually don’t sin (not always – because sometimes we can be foolish and do it anyway – but then later regret our choice!)

  • Facing Trials (suffering, illness, disappointments)

- While God may not be on my time schedule, He is just and will work out all things for good to them who love God (Rom. 8:28-29)

- In the end, what is right and just will prevail – maybe I need to be patient and see God at work in my life and in the circumstance

- Not that every illness is God’s specific punishment for a particular sin, but it is a result of the curse of sin and part of God’s justice for Adam’s choice in Gen. 3

Note: God even warned Adam of His justice – “eat, and you will surely . . . DIE!”

Q:  Do we trust God to be just and fair? (or we do we think: I DON’T DESERVE THIS!]

  • Conflicts with people:

- God is big enough to carry out the justice that someone deserves for their sin – that’s not my place

- Consider Romans 12:14-21 – NOT returning evil for evil (that’s God’s part) – we are to return GOOD for EVIL – an element of justice is ‘vengeance’ and that’s not my job!!!

- I need to make sure I’m not the ‘offending’ party lest I face God’s justice!

- When conflicts may be unresolved, for whatever reason, in the end, we all stand before God and give an account to a holy and JUST God (He will make the final call!)

  • Prayer Life:

- trusting God to do the right thing at the right time in a fair manner – ‘fair’ being defined by God’s terms, not ours!

  • What are some examples in the Scripture of God demonstrating His justice?

- mention the Flood, OT examples of Israel wondering in the wilderness due to their choices; God bringing judgment on other nations because of their sin)

- NT examples of consequences of choices (Ex: Ananias & Sapphira who lied – and DIED!)

  • Acts 5:1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property…
  • In what ways does our church emphasize/model this quality? [various answers]

- the practice of church discipline – REVIEW Matt. 18 (3 steps) and Gal. 6, I Cor. 5 – turning a person over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh

  • In what ways do we as a church need to GROW in the way we emphasize/model this attribute? [various answers]

- ensuring that we are keeping each other accountable for various areas of growth in our lives – ask more questions of each other

  • How can you emphasize this attribute to your family (spouse, children) and friends?

- follow through on the discipline of our children (but in a reasonable manner – that demonstrates justice, but also grace and mercy!)

- use current situations in the community (paper, TV) to teach about God’s justice

* Note: Even when people do things and seem to ‘get away with it’ – NOT IN END because God is just and the Great White Throne and the Judgment Seat of Christ as ahead!

  • How can we help each other grow in this quality?

- mutual accountability – remind each other of God’s future judgment of our lives/ministry

- when we are put in a position to be involved in the justice process, seek out godly advice or counsel to make sure your final decision is balanced

  • What causes you to doubt God’s just?

- He doesn’t respond in a way that we think is just!

Note: but have you noticed that usually when God is dealing out justice to ANOTHER PERSON – when it come to us, we really want grace and mercy more than justice!

  • KEY QUESTION:  What impact should this attribute have on the following?
  • Outreach:  a HUGE motivation to share the Gospel – God’s justice is demonstrated either at the cross or an eternity in hell!
  • Praise/Worship: Gratitude for His justice and fairness
  • Discipleship/Growth: - helping others to see the consequences of our choices and yet He will always be fair in what He doesn’t
  • Serving (use of gifts/abilities):  If I got what I deserved, I would be DEAD! So serve with joy and thankfulness, being kind to others and motivating them to serve!
  • One another ministry (Building Meaningful Relationships): being willing to hold each other accountable for decisions/growth, etc.

Conclusion:

Q: Are you acknowledging God’s justice in the world and in the future?

Q:  In what ways does your knowledge of God’s justice truly impact your actions/choices/thoughts?

Key Passage:  Micah 6:8

  • Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

Faith Church