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This Is What God Is Saying To His Church

Sep 24, 2019

This is the sort of thing God would say to his people today.

You may be thinking that my title sounds a bit presumptuous: ‘Bill, you are going to tell us what God’s word is for the 21st century church in Australia and the West?’ Well no, not exactly. What I am going to do is tell you what God did clearly say to his people in the book of Amos, and how we might apply those words to our own situation today.

And let me preface this by making this important point: Lots of Christians want to ‘hear’ from God. Well, I can tell you that there is one primary way that God speaks to his people, and if you ignore this means, then you can forget about hearing from God.

God mainly speaks to us through his Word. Yes, he can communicate with us in other ways, but overwhelmingly it is through the study of Scripture that we hear from God and ascertain his will for us. If you are not reading his Word on a daily basis, you are telling God you are not really interested in him and what he has to say.

You are telling him you don’t really love him. Just think of a young couple madly in love: they want to always be with each other, and talk to one another. This should be true of all Christians: we clearly have left our first love if we do not care to hear from God on a regular basis.

I say all this because I just finished my morning reading and things were flying off the pages. As I read through Amos 4-6, I was amazed at how much jumped out at me, and how relevant it all seemed to contemporary Australia and the West. Let me go over a few of these passages. The first is Amos 4:6-9

I gave you empty stomachs in every city
    and lack of bread in every town,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“I also withheld rain from you
    when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
    but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
    another had none and dried up.
People staggered from town to town for water
    but did not get enough to drink,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
    destroying them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

As most folks know, many large parts of Australia are experiencing extreme drought right now. Groups like the Canberra Declaration have called for a month of prayer, fasting and repentance: canberradeclaration.org.au/prayer-for-rain/

As the text above makes clear, it was God back then who was withholding the rains and allowing suffering in the land. It was because of the sins of his own people. Scripture speaks in these terms constantly, making a clear connection between the weather we experience and the spiritual state of a nation. I list just some of those many passages here: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/02/03/god-providence-and-natural-disaster/

I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, so I cannot say with certainty that this current drought in Australia is the direct judgment of God, but given all that Scripture teaches about these matters, it certainly could be.

The next four passages can be applied to all Australian and Western churches, as I will explain in a moment. The four texts are these:

Amos 5:10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
    and detest the one who tells the truth.

Amos 5:15 Hate evil, love good;
    maintain justice in the courts.

Amos 5:23-24 Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Amos 6:1,6 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
    and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria… you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.

Let me highlight one representative church. I am not picking on this one, as all churches can be included here. But since this is Australia’s biggest and most influential church, let me speak about Hillsong in Sydney for a little while. And let me repeat what I have said before about this church:

I am no fan of those who only detest Hillsong, who always condemn it, and who think it can do no right. But neither am I a fan of those who only love Hillsong, who always praise it, and who think it can do no wrong. The truth is, like all churches, it is a mixed bag. It has good and bad points, and both should be recognised. With that proviso in place, let me continue.

As you know, NSW is in the middle of a massive debate over some very contentious abortion legislation. I fully believe that every single church in the state should be speaking out on this issue, speaking prophetically and standing up for life. If there was ever the need for a ‘thus sayeth the Lord’ sort of word from our pulpits, this would be it.

Yet overwhelmingly, most churches are not saying a word, or are offering us just weak and watered down platitudes and suggestions. The latter was true of Hillsong. On August 7 pastor Brian Houston did – to his credit – put out a quite brief (240 word) statement on this legislation.

Regrettably it was not quite a ‘thus sayeth the Lord’ word, that’s for sure. Members were reminded of the need for prayer, and then they were told this: “In addition, if you feel inclined to do something, urgently write and share your concerns with your local state MP as they will be the ones deciding which way to vote on this bill in the coming days.” hillsong.com/collected/blog/2019/08/every-life-is-irrevocably-precious-to-god/

Um, is that it? “If you feel inclined”? Really? One might as well have said about the mugging of an old lady taking place just outside the church walls: ‘Pray about it, and if you feel so inclined, maybe intervene and try to save the woman from being killed.’

Why do I suspect that Amos and all the other prophets, along with Jesus and the disciples, would cringe at such a namby-pamby, limp-wristed approach to the most important moral issue of our day? Amos would be thundering from the pulpit, letting the people know in no uncertain terms that they must stand up and be counted here. There can be no straddling the fence.

Ezekiel would be railing against the apathetic parishioners, telling them that they have blood on their hands if they do not speak out on this. Jesus might even be flinging over tables again, concerned that the love of wealth and riches has taken priority over the slaughter of the unborn.

And all the verses from Amos that I offered above come into play here. Most believers today detest those who tell the truth and seek to uphold justice – especially for the unborn. There are very few Christians today who not only seek to do good, but also hate evil. (BTW, Paul says the exact same thing in Romans 12:9: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”)

And what about God saying, ‘away with the noise of your songs’? So many churches today are all about the music, the entertainment, the rock concerts. What does God think about all this, when the vitally important matters are left ignored, or given such superficial treatment? God hates the shedding of innocent blood, but most believers today just want to be entertained.

Finally, we are complacent and apathetic. We are at ease in Sydney and Melbourne and Chicago and London when all around us great evil is taking place, darkness is descending on our lands, and our children are being murdered in the wombs. Incredibly, most Christians just do not give a rip.

It seems to me that if Amos were here today, the words that he wrote 2 ½ millennia ago would be the very same words he would speak today. And he would speak them to Christians in Sydney, in Australia, and in the West. There would be no polite suggestions, but virile words of rebuke.

There would be no thought of compromise with evil, there would be no talk of having your best life now, and there would be no emphasis on the entertainment and celebrity culture. Instead there would be a clear and powerful “Thus sayeth the Lord,” denouncing the sins and wickedness not just of pagan Australia, but of Christian Australia.

God have mercy on all of us.

[1446 words]

10 Responses to This Is What God Is Saying To His Church

  • Great timely post Bill… one of the things called to do by the people of God is identified in Isaiah chapter 1 …come now let us reason together …deal with sin..And relieve the oppressed and correct the oppressor …And in particular the issue of Abortion can be applied to this scripture

  • Good morning Bill, what a compelling article!!! 50 years ago when I was completing my lay preachers certificate, Amos was the O.T. Book we had to study. I’ve never forgotten what Amos had to say, and that 40 years after his prophecy, Israel was invaded and ceased to exist. Unfortunately Bill, I’m a bit more pessimistic on the future of Australia. In particular my mind keeps drawing back to Amos 8:1-3, and the vision of “The Bowl of Summer Fruit”. The election of SCOMO has brought our nation a bit of precious time, but that is all that was achieved. As always Bill keep warning and keep dishing it out. Blessings, Kel.

  • I’m so glad to be back in touch with your messages. My computer failed and I had to buy a new one and start all over so it took a while but that the Lord I’m back in touch again!

  • Thanks Bill for this challenging – as always, post! I for one, as a Christian for over 50 years, and having been to Bible College for three years earlier on, recognize that I need to be in the Word much more than I am. I am thankful to the Lord that He has led my wife and I to a Spirit-filled church with a no-compromise pastor, who stands firmly on the Word of God, and is not afraid to stand for Biblical truth – but in a spirit of love for people and a deep desire to see those in spiritual bondage set free.
    Our pastor, like you is an ex-pat American – from Houston Texas, with a heart for the nations, as well as Australia, starting in Tasmania where we live. The Lord bless you and your family.
    You may not be a prophet in the sense of the five-fold ministry calling, but I believe you are a modern-day watchman sounding a much needed trumpet call to the church to wake up and become all that the Lord has purposed us to be! Peter.

  • Many thanks Stephen, Kelvin, Roberta and Peter!

  • Great post Bill, so true on many levels in what is going on in the churches now. So much apathy and folks not wanting to get involved in any ways though it would never affect them. Yes we do have blood on our hands and sadly Australia has got on the bandwagon of evil.

  • Thank you, Bill, for another much-needed message about the sad state of so-called Christian nations. It very well may be that Christians of the 1970s thought individuals who had abortions were just heading toward their own extinction because they eventually would die off and leave no offspring, However, the evil has grown, and foolish women have bragged openly about their “choices.”

    Personally I believe abortion is just a symptom of the rampant selfishness and greed that have taken over western civilization. People are so carried away with getting what they want that there is no concept of an innocent being. It is beyond tragic because the lack of a belief in innocence is what fueled Nazi Germany; Anyone who did not fit into a certain mold or was considered inferior or a burden or inconvenience to the leadership was eliminated by a culture of death. If there is no innocence, then there can be no crime and no concept of anyone’s being hurt or treated unfairly because the “perpetrators” are just “expressing themselves” or “doing their own thing.” The current scene is the end result of the utilitarianism and cruelty of the 1940s and the lawlessness and lack of respect of the 1970s because God has been left out of the picture. Truly, there is a need for world-wide revival and for Christian principles to be seen again in morals of individuals and laws of the governments.

  • Our tank is empty and I am watching my vegetable gardens slowly perish and it grieves me.
    But my husband and I just finished reading through the minor prophets a few months back and I haven’t been able to bring myself to pray for rain since then- We are not a nation that deserves rain!! I have been crying out for repentance to be given to us, and for God to replace the hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. Beginning with God’s people.

  • Just some minor points: it is “saith” not “sayeth”, and I would suggest to you that it is not “pagan” but “infidel”, as paganism described classical idolatry, while infidelity describes modern day godlessness.

  • Amos tells us that the famine in the land is not meat or drink but of hearing the word of God.

    Prophets who directly spoke the word of God can no longer be found in the land and, I wonder, is it because we’ve killed them all in the womb?

    Scripture tells us that

    Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:
    and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
    As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
    so are children of the youth.
    Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
    they shall not be ashamed,
    but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

    And

    Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength
    because of thine enemies,
    that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

    In Old Testament times prophets, and teams of prophets, were plentiful and a normal part of society. The New Testament doesn’t even explain the existence of a Prophetic ministry because it was an accepted normal reality for God to use men and women in those times to cry out “thus saith The Lord….”

    We surely need a restoration of the ministry where men and women without political, military or any worldly power sweep into the land with a direct word from God, anointing kings, deposing governments: compelling people and governments to yield to Jesus and build the Kingdom of God. Think Jonathon Edwards.

    Notice, in Amos, how the famine came upon the land…..

    Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God,
    that I will send a famine in the land,
    not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the Lord

    Is Australia labouring because someone is killing the prophets of God in the womb? If Christians accept persecution and fight for the lives of the unborn, will God restore the Prophetic ministry to our land?

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