Sunday, November 3, 2013

How do Prophets earn their Living? (Amos 7)

I was asked to preach from Amos 7-8 today. Preached I did for 50 minutes, one of my longer sermons to date in Singapore. In the context of what I had gone through in the last two days, I can only thank the Lord for his grace and mercy, again anointing me for the ministry of the Word for the building up of Christ's church. I did not prepare powerpoint as I felt that would be too restricted and once there are slides you need to follow through. Today as I saw the time running out on me, I cut short my sermon and skipped two major points. I spoke about Amos as intercessor and prophet. We need men and women that can move the heart of God so much so that God's mind is changed from wrath to mercy and from judgement to favour. I spoke about how the locust plague could devastate crops and harvests in a matter of minutes and hours over hundreds hectares of land. I spoke about the plumbline and how as a builder uses a plumbline to ensure that the wall or structure is vertical and straight, God has measured the house of Israel and found the whole edifice crooked and ripe for destruction. Jeroboam the king will fall by the sword and Israel will go into exile. Then came the key passage of Amos 7 where Amaziah confronted Amos, a contest between a priest and a prophet. Here we see what and who is a prophet - one that speaks only what he hears from the Lord, no more and no less. I referred to 1 Kings 22 where all the prophets agreed as one voice and Micaiah was put under pressure to speak the same thing, Micaiah, being the true prophet of the Lord spoke only what he heard the Lord said to him. The false prophets and priests like Amaziah served the king and the State. They earned their living from the largess of the State under the King. A prophet is no man's employee, least of all any State puppet or lackey. A prophet is the mouthpiece of the Lord for he speaks only of what the Lord speaks. He cares not for human approval or applause for the prophetic Word can only elicit a hostile reaction from those who care only for their stomachs and do not seek to exalt the Lord.

A true prophet today will only speak what Scripture says for what Scripture says is what God has spoken and still speaks by His Spirit through his prophets to His people, the church today. Next I spent about 20 minutes looking at the four key passages on how God's servants earn their living - Luke 10:7; 1 Cor 9; Gal 6:6; 1 Tim 5:17. I challenged the church to look out for the welfare of God's servants. Or who would want to commit their lives in God's service for the church if they can't earn their keep to feed their families. I spoke of how everyone could appreciate good education, skill and expertise. I used the example that a specialist doctor could charge $100.00 for 10 minutes' consultation and we rightly thank him for his skill and expertise. I spoke about how ironic it is that some Christian institutions require PhDs from world-class Universities but yet pay their lecturers a pittance. No soldier goes to warfare on his own expense. Today my travel expenses were paid by the church's honourarium with a bit extra left-over. I am a soldier of the Lord. I engage in battle against rulers and principalities in heavenly places with spiritual weapons of faith and prayers. I sought heaven's powers and not the arms of the flesh. I got up before 5am and sought the Lord and worshipped Him. For 2 hours I waited upon the Lord until He put every word that He wanted spoken in my mouth. By the time I ascended the pulpit I looked at my notes once or twice but the rest was flowing with the Holy Spirit, borne along by the wind of God's fiery breath, the Spirit who inspired His prophets like Amos and today also inspired me to speak a word in season to his church.

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