The Campus House Podcast is our collection of Sunday teachings, meant to encourage and equip you in your relationship with Jesus. Campus House invites you to listen, dive deeper into the Word, and catch a glimpse of God’s ongoing work in your life and in our ministry.
The prophet Amos was called by God to confront his society over their injustices. God says that when they remove their injustices he will remove his judgment against them. But what does it take to remove social injustice? While Amos calls believers to “seek good, not evil…hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate” (Amos 5:14-15). He calls us to actions and affections that move toward the good. This is further defined in Amos 5:24 as justice and righteousness flowing abundantly and perpetually from our lives. To confront wrongs, set things right, and have right relationships in every area of life — this is social justice. This is the fruit of true religion. It goes somewhere. It follows us out of church and into our everyday lives. In this sermon we consider the very common and very important biblical combination of “justice and righteousness” — what it is, how we should do it, and how we will come to want to do it. We find that God’s call to the just and righteous is to disadvantage themselves in order to advantage others. Then we work to specify how this might take place in our own lives today.
Through the “farmer-turned-prophet” Amos, God rebukes Israel for their pervasive injustice, idolatry, and debauchery - all while continuing to come to “church” with their sacrifices and their songs. They were really pleased with themselves, but God was not pleased with them. He gives Amos the visual of a plumb-line; an external standard by which to measure what is true. Their worship was self-centered, idolatrous, nationalistic, hypocritical, and had no regard for justice. Idolatry had led to moral decay and their distorted view of God had led to injustice.
The picture of a plumb line invites us to think about our own assessment of worship, which is often based on what we “get out of it,” and even our use of phrases like “church-shopping” can reveal a rather consumeristic lens bent towards our own happiness and comfort.
But who is worship for? What does God get out our worship? What is the connection between our vertical “ascribing glory to God” and our horizontal posture of justice and service? What are the potential idols we are tempted to clasp with one hand as we raise the other in worship? Who is God calling us to love, pray for, serve, advocate for in His name?
The prophecy of Amos is about the universal justice of God. God’s call to us is to live out his justice because we live inside his love. Yet for many of us, the link between God’s love and God’s justice is unclear. This is the surprise within the book of Amos: God shows his people that just because he loves them and has given them his gracious favor and salvation, that doesn’t mean he shows them favoritism. Favored, yes, but favoritism — having special privileges compared to others — No. God is fair and just and treats everyone equally. That’s why he loves justice: he not only punishes wrongdoing but works to do give people their rights, especially the oppressed. In the book of Amos, we see that God’s loves is just, hates injustice, has a purpose, and has power. Life with Jesus is one of incredible love and acceptance. It’s also one of incredible demand and discipline. Rather than separating these things, God’s love hold them together. God loves us as we are but never leaves us as we are: he intends to make us just — just like him.
The Holy Spirit said through Zechariah that the meaning of Christmas was to bring light into a dark world and to guide our feet on the path of peace. But how does Christmas guide us into peace? In Luke 2:10-14, the angels sing give glory to God for the peace he has brought to earth, and the way to receive this peace is to receive the good news of great joy, that God, through the infant Jesus, has brought a Savior and salvation into the world. This is our peace. We see that God, at Christmas, brings the gift of his peace and pleasure to humanity through the message of the gospel. This message is good news, not good advice, and therefore declares to us what has already been done for us rather than what we must do for God. Though we are at war with God — for we want to rule instead of him — he uses his rule to bring us into peace and joy. Though there is nothing we must do to get God’s peace, we are called to receive God’s peace through treasuring and pondering Christ and glorifying and praising God for this good news: God has orchestrated his power to bring us his peaceful presence.
Matthew 5:9; Luke 1:78-79; John 14:27; Ephesians 2:13-18; Romans 15:13; Colossians 3:15
Advent is the first season of the Church calendar, and it refers to the coming or arrival of a notable person. For Christians, the arrival of Jesus at Christmas marks the arrival of God himself into our world for the purpose of saving the world. But every year during this season, while our malls and car radios blare “have a holly jolly Christmas,” we are confronted the reality that many people experience great sadness at Christmas time. We are caught between two worlds. On the one hand, Christmas is festive and joyful, but on the other, we are grieved by our losses. Through the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1, we see that God doesn’t remove but rather includes the painful details of life in the Christmas narratives. In fact, grief and pain is exactly why Christmas occurred in the first place. Christ has come “to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” While our grief blinds us to believing in God, Jesus shows us that our grief can also lead us to his grace. Jesus comes to those who are grieving to give us grace and guide us into peace.
Today we explore what it means to become a people of authority. We will see how our authority is based on Jesus's authority. We will also take a look at anxiety and what it means to "cast all our anxiety on Him."
In 1 Peter 5:1-5, Peter urges church leaders and church members to participate in the counterintuitive leadership structure of the Church. Peter calls church leaders to shepherd God’s people, and he calls church members to submit to the leaders. Elders shepherd by organizing their lives to extend the care of God to others, and everybody else responds by deciding to let their lives be the subject of the leader’s care. Peter shows us that there are two ways to lead: (1) the default model of leadership in the world is selfish-leadership which is in done in pride with the desire to be served by others; but (2) the biblical model of leadership is servant-leadership which delivers us from selfish-leadership and frees us to humbly serve others. Though there are many potential pitfalls of leadership — serving out of duty rather than love, out of personal greed rather than sacrificial giving, and using power over others rather than power for others — the humility of Jesus in serving and saving us becomes our example for servant leadership in the church and everywhere.
1 Peter 5:1-5 Ezekiel 8:9-12; 34:1-16; Mark 10:42-44; Luke 7:44-47; John 13:1-8, 12-16; 1 Corinthians 9:9-11, 15-16, 18; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 Peter 2:1-10; 1 John 4:19 Ezekiel 8:9-12; 34:1-16; Mark 10:42-44; Luke 7:44-47; John 13:1-8, 12-16; 1 Corinthians 9:9-11, 15-16, 18; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 Peter 2:1-10; 1 John 4:19
We tend to acquaint suffering with God’s distance, not His intimate presence. Peter reframes it for us; removing shame and fear and bringing the reality of the living hope into a confident humility, a bold steadfastness, a deep and lasting faith. Suffering that is associated with faith in Christ isn’t a surprise, considering that we are following the One called the Suffering Servant, who, because of His suffering, has secured our hope - lifting suffering out of the smallness of bitterness and despair and fear into the wide open expanse of God’s promises, blessing, presence, joy, and spiritual growth.
This passage is meant to be an encouragement for those in the midst of suffering for the name of Jesus: Don’t be surprised or ashamed. Do rejoice and trust. Still, as we think about ‘persecution’ in our context verses 70% of the world, it is easy to go to guilt or complacency, neither of which is helpful. This is where the both/and nature of the Gospel must compel us to BOTH acknowledge and navigate the costs of following Jesus (and the subtleties of being lured to sleep or assimilation so that our distinctiveness gets blurred) AND keep our hearts and minds in tune with what this means for believers in other parts of the world. Over 200 million of our brothers and sisters experience intimidation, discrimination, prison, or outright persecution and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ. Our call is to be informed so that, in our freedom, we can pray, support, and advocate.
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
As followers of Jesus we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and with that gift comes specific spiritual gifts. We find some of the gifts listed in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. In those passages along with these verses in 1 Peter we discover that these gifts are not only for our own individual benefit but are also, and more importantly for the benefit of Christ’s body, the Church. We are each given unique gifts to steward well so that we can share the many forms of God’s grace to others. When we speak and serve, fully depending on God to enable us to do so then God’s amazing love and grace is communicated to those around us and Jesus gets the glory.