Category Archives: Marvin Robinson

“Only Justice”

Date: December 10, 2017

Title:“Only Justice”

Texts: Amos 5:23-24; Jeremiah 9:23-24

Rev. Marvin  Robinson, M.Div.

Purpose: Justice results when the people of God actually practice worship inSpirit and in Truth.

Frederick Douglassgave a speech on July 5, 1852 entitled, “The Meaning of July 4 for the Negro”.  In that speech he praised the work of the founders of this government but he eventually began to speak concerning its hypocrisy concerning its attitudes towards slavery. As far as the slave was concerned, Douglass said, “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us [blacks]…this Fourth of July is yours, not mine”. He added, “(to the slave) your 4th of July is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license [for enslaving blacks] . . . your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery.”

In this message I will talk about Israel’s worship and the role God had for Amos; I will talk about the nature of justice and what is going on in our nation today, looking not at “they” but “we”; and, finally, a discussion of how we can begin to practice God’s justice on an individual level.

In our text this morning we read how Israel’s worship and practices were hypocritical, done only for show, having a form of religion but denying its power in their lives.Though outwardly displaying worship of God, inwardly their hearts were in opposition to Him. How? Look at the previous verses such as: v22, “Even though you bring me burnt offeringsand grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.“

A burnt offering symbolized a person’s complete consecration and devotion to God; yet God rejected Israel’s offering. The grain offering symbolized the fruit of one’s labor offered to God and yet this offering was also rejected (this is reminiscent of Cain’s offering that God rejected and the reason is because what was in Cain’s heart did not match the outward expression of his offering (Genesis 4:7).  Through the prophet Amos God was commanding His people to repent and turn back to Him.

But let justice well up like water, righteousness like an unfailing stream” (Tanakh).The image that comes to mind is an ongoing, widening and flowing stream that sweeps along everything it comes into contact with.   Someone once described justice as truth in action.Justice is a characteristic of God and justice results when the people of God actually worship in spirit and in truth because they truly know God. “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.”(Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Our country professes to be a Christian nation (and there is much good in this country), but by what standards are we living? It’s not to be found in the wisdom of the establishment of this country, it’s not found in the riches and might that God has blessed this country with; nor is it found in what we may call “bootleg Christianity”; it professes to worship God outwardly but only when it is convenient. It preaches “God is love” yet Sundays are the most segregated time in America in some places of worship no matter the race.Such Christianity is not good news but fake news. God would condemn us as He did Israel through Amos and calls upon us to repent as a nation. God’s prophets spoke to the times they lived in and now we must proclaim God’s words and speak to the times in which we find ourselves living in.

What are we to do?  Let’s begin with practicing justice. Justice (mishpat) is an attribute of God and anyone who claims to worship God must practice it as He does. In Jeremiah 22:3God speaks to Israel and says through the prophet, “This is what the LORD says: Do what is justand right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow,and do not shed innocent bloodin this place.”And again, we are told, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And whatdoestheLORDrequireofyou? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

These times, saints, call out for justice. We do wrong as a nation when we create laws to punish innocent immigrants (did not God say to Israel in the wilderness, “You shall show kindness to the alien in your midst, for you were aliens in Egypt” ?-Exodus 22:21). God’s word and justice has not changed because He does not change. And the shedding of innocent blood such as that in abortions causes our nation to be held accountable to God. Nor is it a question of pointing fingers: individual responsibility is what matters to God (“All have sinned…there is no one righteous…we will all give an account to God”).

And what about mercy and compassion?Is it compassion or mercy to tell people who protest against what is wrong in our country to,“Get over it, it’s in the past”?  Tell the Jews to get over the Holocaust– because it’s in the past. Tell the American Indians to get over the genocide of their people and the taking of their landand broken treaties –because it’s in the past. Tell African-Americans to get over slavery and tell America to get over Pearl Harbor and 9/11 because it’s all in the past. Get over it? We cannot “get over it” because it’s the past that has shaped our present times. Reconciliation means that we accept the truth, no matter how painful it is (and it is). We have been reconciled to God because we accepted the painful truth of our sinful condition; but healing came as a result.If we would truly seek to practice God’s justice we would also seek reconciliation, first of all with God and then with our neighbor.

Finally, God told Israel, “Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you”(Deut. 16:20). As we consider what is going on in our nation today can we honestly say that we worship God? Do we demonstrate God’s love to those we see or do we deny Him whom we cannot see? Let us not get comfortable and ignore what is going on around us, saints. We willbe judged as individuals and as a nation. Thomas Jefferson put it this way: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just”.

“But let justice well up like water and righteousness like an unfailing stream.”

A Man Named Job-Message By Rev. Marvin Robinson MDiv May 28, 2017

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Job-Marvin Robinson

TEXT- Job 1: 1-9

INTRODUCTION

This is the first in a series of messages on Job.
What I am about to share with you is not a pity party but something I believe God wants me to share with you. When I was asked by the men to do a retreat on Job (and recently at prayer meeting), my thought was, “No. I’ve lived Job! I’m sick of Job! I can’t get away from that old man!” And yet here I am, preaching on Job. A while ago I underwent a time of testing that made no sense whatsoever to me. And I do not ever want to go through such a time as that again, Lord willing. No matter how much I prayed to God or spoke with some people nothing would change. The worst part was that in the beginning of it all I was praying when I began to be very afraid, even terrified , at what I was feeling—and I pulled back from God. But God was determined that I go through that testing and engineered my circumstances to make sure that I came back running to Him, placing myself in His hands. I wanted to die and have it all done with; I did nothing wrong yet everything would happen to me as if I were being punished. I would work and not get paid and was falsely accused of things by people who I considered friends: “Maybe he doesn’t want to work… you brought this on yourself….”, and those I thought would stand with me disappeared. As I spoke with the LORD I remember saying out loud, “Lord, all of this happened all of a sudden, out of nowhere…” and then I paused and said out loud, “Job!”
This morning we’ll talk about the personages in this first chapter of Job and in the following messages we will come to understand that our faith will be put to the test in order to mature us in our faith.Job is us, saints.

BODY

We first encounter Job as a man of prosperity with sons and daughters and great wealth, and we may even go so far as to say that he was a patriarch in the sense of being like Abraham, richly blessed by God because he reverenced God.Now Job begins like a fairy tale, a “once upon a time” beginning. But Job is no fairy tale. Job was a real person. These three men –Noah, Daniel and Job-were commended by God because of their faith and reverence for God (Ezekiel 14:12-14 ff.)Noah is known for his obedience to God when God told him to build the ark before God sent the flood upon the earth; Daniel is known for his prayers, study and practice of God’s word. Although suffering comes to mind as being our first thought about Job, what also comes to mind is that he spoke from what he had experienced in his walk with God rather than what he had only heard about God.However, his main problem was that he trusted in his own righteousness.

But prior to this, we witness a scene in the spiritual dimension where the Sovereign God and Creator of the universe is holding court. Satan shows up and God asks him if he took notice of God’s servant Job. What made Job so special to God? God calls Job his servant (meaning that he has a special purpose for Job); he fears God and is blameless and upright (this does not mean that Job, as we shall find out, is by no means perfect, that is, mature in his faith). His faith will be put to the test. But tested by whom?

I. God
1. His name: Elohim: meaning: the self-existing One who transcends all things. i.e., he fills all things but cannot Himself be contained, as Solomon said, “Heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you”- 2 Chron. 6:18).
2. In Hebrew, plural forms are written with the ending –im, yet God is one. He is the one God, the Creator, who has revealed Himself in the Scriptures as F,S,HS)
3. He tells Satan what the outcome of Job’s test will be (“no one like him”-God is bragging about his servant, Job! Wouldn’t you want God to brag about you, who are also His servants?)

II. Satan
1. Tries to be like God but is only a creature created by God and he is therefore inferior to God. He is inferior to mankind because God has exalted humankind over him and that is why he hates everyone who believes in Jesus: he wants what God has already given us in Christ.
a. He tried to get Jesus, who is God revealed in flesh, to worship him, i.e., to lie prostrate before him, to have God submit Himself to him!
b. He wanted to kill Job but God commanded him to spare his life;
2. He must give an account to God of his activities so he is therefore under God’s authority;
3. Since he is under God’s power and authority he is limited to what he is able to do to the people of God.

CONCLUSION

Satan asked God, “Does Job fear God for nothing?’
God expects total obedience, total submission and total reliance from those He has chosen. It’s the Garden all over again, saints: Satan questioning God’s motives and accusing God through His creation, in this case, Job. And he accuses those who believe in Jesus. “If we truly feared God we would…” worship Him; practiceour professed faith; tell others about Him. And if we truly feared God, God promises to …” protect us (ps. 1:6, 91:1-2)and bless us (ps. 1:1-3, 91: 14-16); Sudden disaster could not change Job’s attitude toward God; his possessions were lost; his family came under attack and finally Job himself was attacked in his body. Who would not question why God allowed such things to occur? But Job’s faith remained solid towards God.
What is the accuser saying to God about you? Do you fear God for nothing?.Someone told me that as I went on in my walk with the Lord that I would undergo some strange happenings-and I laughed. But I stopped laughing a long time ago. Job is us, saints.My prayer is that through these messages we may all draw closer to God -not just in our heads but in our life experience- to mature us in our faith and ultimately to make us more like Christ
Let’s pray.

 

“Against The Odds” Sermon Notes by Rev. Marvin Robinson MDiv November 26, 2017

Text: 1 Kings 22:1-7 1 Peter 4:4-7
We should not fear to take a stand for God

Colin Kaepernick took a stand so to speak in his protest against the way minorities are treated in this country. He didn’t march; he didn’t lead any violent protests or demonstrations. He merely knelt during the playing of the national anthem and the country went mad. That madness has been countered by a wave of other kneeling protests in support of Kaepernick’s protest. He was not the first and he will not be the last; those students during the civil rights movement who protested segregated lunch counters; Rosa Parks who refused to surrender her seat; John Brown refused to accept the status quo re: slavery as did James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were murdered for daring to get Blacks to vote in Mississippi. What did these and so many others have in common? They all were willing to risk everything, including their lives, to go against the odds.

In today’s message we will see what happens when the plans of men are overruled by God while He uses one man to stand for Him against the odds; we will also see that as believers in Jesus Christ we also must not fear to go against popular opinion and to stand for God.

We come upon two scenes: one on earth, in the court of King Ahab of Israel, along with his in-law, King Jehoshaphat of Judah, in consultation concerning whether or not Ahab should go to war against the Arameans to recover the lost territory of Ramoth Gilead, the key to entering and invading Israel. If you know anything about Ahab you know that he worshipped Baal, the storm god and who went all out to practice evil.You also remember Elijah’s battle with the false prophets of Baal and how they were destroyed. King Jehoshaphat, on the other hand, worshiped the Sovereign God, the only God, and who trusted God as did his father Asa (who instituted reforms in Judah).

God fought for Judah and Jehoshaphat when three armies came against Judah and it was only because Jehoshaphat trusted in God.
So what in the world was Jehoshaphat doing in an unholy alliance with Ahab? They were allied by marriage of Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram to Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab (who would later massacre all of her grandchildren with the exception of Josiah).Doesn’t scripture speak against being matched with unbelievers?God warned Israel concerning intermarrying with the surrounding nations (not because of race but because of different faiths). Ahab worshipped Baal; Jehoshaphat worshiped Jehovah. It’s like the Mormon belief that Jesus and the Accuser are brothers! Where does your faith lay, saints? Is it the same as other professing Christians? If not, in the Lord’s words, “Come out from among them!”
v.7 Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahab in unity but when Ahab’s prophets all said the same thing, Jehoshaphat ‘s response was something like this: : “Say what? You’ve got to be kidding me! Is there no prophet-a true prophet of the LORD here?”

It’s something that we can all ask today: Are there any prophets of God among us?Some leaders, whether political or religious, push their own agendas just to go along to get along, choosing to be pc rather than obeying JC. The way we can discern what is of God and what is not of God are the Scriptures. I know this goes against popular opinion, but we can only say as Peter and the disciples, “We ought to obey God rather than men”. And we also read this in 1 Peter 4:4-7 re: going with popular opinion/actions.

The prophet Micaiah was asked to go along with the crowd and to speak what Ahab wanted to hear. And this evidently was not the first time Micaiah and Ahab came to blows (read v.16). First there was Elijah and now Micaiah. God never leaves Himself without a witness, saints. And today we are called to be His witnesses. God has said, “You are my witnesses that I am God”.

While all of this was taking place on earth, God was holding court concerning how to bring Ahab to his death. While the false prophets are going through all kinds of chants and flips and splits, God’s court is quietly anticipating God’s decision and the amazing thing is God brings His court into His counsel! Don’t we realize, saints, that whenever we pray we are being invited into God’s counsel?Micaiah reveals to Ahab and Jehoshaphat that God had decreed disaster for Israel but death for Ahab. In a rage, Ahab puts Micaiah into prison only to be released upon Ahab’s return.

We don’t know what happened to Micaiah afterwards but if these onetime people of God had any shred of reverence for God, they let Micaiah go free as a witness to the truth of what God had spoken through the prophet. And if not, he was welcomed into God’s presence with a , “Well done!Micaiah and other prophets stood against the odds yet stood for God.

CONCLUSION “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them”. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Shall we go against the odds, saints? We bend the knee to worship God and to intercede on behalf of our country–OUR –COUNTRY- in agreement with God’s will as revealed to us in the Scriptures. Go against the odds, saints, let’s commit our ways to God and simply bend the knee in prayer like Daniel as we seek God’s will and to practice it because time is running out. Let’s pray.