Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - The Divine Imperative

Tony Evans - The Divine Imperative

Tony Evans - The Divine Imperative

We're living in a world out of balance. People are tilting to one side or another. They're tilting to cultural sides. They're tilting to racial sides. They're tilting to political sides. They're tilting to gender sides. They're tilting, and we're watching the disaster of lack of balance so that people are not able to live their lives in a straight line, because they're being pulled to one side or the other, and their equilibrium becomes challenged. Christians face this challenge of balance as well. On one side, there are Christians who are so heavenly minded that they're no earthly good. They will talk about the glories of the life to come while experiencing disaster in the life that is.

On the other hand, there are those Christians who are so earthly minded that they are no heavenly good. They become so secularized, they become so culturized, they become so worldly that heaven has no use for them. When the balance perspective is to be so heavenly minded that you bring good to Earth, because you're operating from eternity translating it back into time. The question that I would like to speak to today is this issue of balance, because we're all being pulled on all kinds of levels with all kinds of forces trying to pull us and get us off of our walk so that we we keep our balance in life. God capsulizes this concept of balance in one verse, a very well-known verse in scripture, and in light of what's happening in our lives and what's happening in our society today, I thought it would be helpful for you and me to understand how we are to have this life of biblically-based balance. And I call it the Divine Imperative.

In Micah chapter 6 verse 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". Let me read it again. "And 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". Micah is a book of complaint. In theology we call it a covenantal lawsuit, where God makes his formal legal complaint against his people. His people were playing church and trying to bribe God with religion. That's why he leads up to these verses summarized in verse 6 and 7, "With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams and in 10,000 rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? What shall I give God that's gonna satisfy him"?

That's when he comes in verse 8, this is what God is asking for. He says this is what the Lord requires, demands; therefore, it's an imperative. An imperative is not a request, an imperative is a demand. This is what I want from you. Give me this, and I can accept your religion. Give me this, and I can receive your tithes. Give me this, and I can embrace your worship, but do all of that and don't give me this, then I leave hungry, because you didn't give me what I asked for. And he asked for three things. And this is a summary of the whole Bible in a sense, but these are the three things he wants from you and me as a prerequisite to worship he can receive. And so I want to go over these three things with you today, and if we can embrace them in our lives, our families, our churches, and in our society, then we can see God show up. We refuse them, and you'll just carry on with religion as usual, without seeing the God that you had religion about show up.

First of all, he says, "I want you to do justice". First thing in this balance is I want you to do justice. Please notice, justice is something you do, it's not merely something you discuss. It's more than having a commission. It's more than having a workshop or a seminar. It's something you do. The question is: What is it? And how does it work? The problem of justice, a term that comes up in our society quite a bit, is a question of fairness, of what's fair, what's right. But there's a problem, because we don't all view fairness the same way. What I believe is fair to me, you may not believe is fair to you. Let me give you the biblical definition, the Greek word for justice means that which is right. It means the prescribed right way. Biblical justice is the equitable and impartial application of the rule of God's moral law in society. Biblical justice is the equitable and impartial application of God's moral law in society. Justice always starts with what God declares a matter to be.

Please don't lose sight of James chapter 4 verse 12, which says there is only one law giver, and that one law giver by which right and wrong is to be determined is God. Only one lawgiver, the Bible says. So any other rules anybody makes in order for it to be just must be consistent with the one lawgiver who gives all the rules. Once folk make their own rules and become their own lawgiver, unrooted in the one lawgiver who exists, you will have chaos and a whole bunch of people saying not fair. Because they're not starting with a central base for the law. God wants to be the one lawgiver for your life. He wants to be the one lawgiver for your family. He wants to be the one lawgiver for your church, and he wants to be the one lawgiver even for government, which is why Romans 13 says that government officials are to be ministers of God based on what God says is good or evil, right and wrong.

So even government officials, God says, "I am the one lawgiver for government". So the moment they start making laws that is not consistent with my laws, then you're gonna have chaos in society, 'cause folks gonna make up their own laws that's inconsistent with the king, his kingdom, and how he's made history to work. But he says to his people, "I want you to do justice. I want you to be equitable and impartial in the application of my laws in history". That's why justice is normally coupled in the Bible with righteousness. You will find the two twins side by side, they are twins. Psalm 89:14, "From his throne comes justice and righteousness". Jeremiah, chapter 18 verse 19, "To follow the Lord in righteousness and justice".

Deuteronomy 32 verses 3 and 4, "Righteousness and justice together". Why? Because you can't be just if you don't know what's right. You can never be just if there is not a right standard by which you're measuring the decision. So the two must always go together. And God is always right, perfectly right, never wrong about any subject matter. Injustice is the refusal to equitably and impartially apply God's moral law in society. He says, "But you, I need more than your church attendance, I need more than your religion, I need you to do justice". Because brothers and sisters, justice is the cornerstone to freedom. You cannot have legitimate freedom as it was meant to be without just boundaries. We want fairness in economics. We don't want people to cheat us. We want fairness in relationships. We want fairness, we want fairness, we want fairness, we want fairness, and God says, "Then you want my standard if you want fairness. And within that standard I give you flexibility, but you can't just make up your own rules and expect order". He says, "I want you to do justice".

Justice is what you do. Injustice, which he condemns, he says, when you are unjust over and over again because you illegitimately oppress people, limiting their potential, and robbing them of their freedom, because of injustice. You're not applying equitably the rules. And that's evil, he says. It would be the job, as I said last time of the church to be the thermostat for society, and society is the thermometer reading the influence of the church. So if the society's thermometer is reading chaos it's 'cause that's the thermostat set by the church. We are the influencers. We're supposed to bring God's point of view, the conscience of the culture. Our job is not to parrot the society. We're not parakeets. That's the world telling us what to say, and we mouthing it. Our job is to deliver to the society what the one lawgiver has to say about any subject.

There is no subject that sits out of divine jurisdiction, none, no subject, no category, 'cause there's only one lawgiver. But when you don't believe there's only one lawgiver, you go to a whole lot of different folk for different laws. The equitable and impartial application of God's moral law and society based on his word, that is the criteria. He says, "You do justice, but secondly, I want you to love kindness". 'Cause see, as you're walking on this tightrope, if you're only concerned about justice, you can develop a hard heart. You can develop a coldness about you. He says, "I want you to love kindness". The Hebrew word for kindness, hesed, has to do with the compassion of God. Bible says his lovingkindness endures forever. See, God's got two sides to him. He's not a one-sided God. He doesn't just lean to justice, he balances it with mercy. First of all, God's kindness is to be shown to those whom life has not been good to.

In Zachariah, just a few pages over, chapter 7, Zachariah says in verse 8, "Then the word of the Lord came to Zachariah saying, 'Thus has the Lord of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor, and do not devise evil in your heart against one another.'" Don't do that. He says remove injustice against those who are oppressed, Psalm 82:1-4. What he says is those who are of the downtrodden, the poor, the oppressed, he says show them mercy. So mercy is given on one hand to those people who life has hurt and who are not rebelling. That's just the reality of the atmosphere of evil that has affected them when you're guilty. But there's another need for compassion and not justice. When you're guilty. Repentance for wrong done that requires a just response opens up the possibility for mercy.

Where there is no repentance, you're blocking the possibility for mercy. But where there has been an infraction and justice demands it, God is the one who decides the consequence, but you open yourself up for mercy if there's repentance, but let me tell you how else you open up yourself for mercy. If God looks at your record and sees that you've shown mercy. Luke 6:36 says God will be merciful to the one who's shown mercy. So if you are a justice person, everything's about justice, and it gets to your turn. And trust me, in life, it will get to your turn. And it gets to your turn and you cry out for mercy, and God looks at the record, and he sees you've just been a law and order person. You've just been a justice person. You have shown no mercy. You close the door on your own request. Don't get me wrong, don't give up justice, there is a standard, but don't give up mercy, 'cause God has a heart, and so should his people. We don't have to choose between the two. There's a responsible way to have both. Mercy can be easily misused. Mercy and justice have to be balanced.

Like in Matthew 18:23 to 35, a man was given mercy by the king, but he refused to show mercy, and he said now you lock that man up, because he wasn't willing to give to somebody else what he was asking from me without compromising justice. In Luke 10, the story of the good samaritan, A lawyer comes and says, "Well, what's the first good, great law"? Love your Lord, love your neighbor. He said, "But who's my neighbor"? He gives them the story of the good samaritan, that your neighbor is the person whose needs you see, whose compassion you feel, and whose needs you're able to address at some level. And then he says, well, now you go out and do likewise. You go do it. You show mercy, holding on to justice. We must understand both the content and the scope of the Gospel. The Gospel's content is faith in the finished work of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a substitute for our sins. God took out his justice on Christ so he could show mercy to us.

So God couldn't compromise his justice, bam, he had to deal with sin. But in dealing with the sin, it opened up the door so he could show the mercy. The content of the Gospel is the good news of Christ, but the scope of the Gospel, he says, is that the poor would hear good news. He said oppressed people would be set free. He said the good news of the Gospel is that people's lives become improved when they embrace the gloriousness of the content of Jesus Christ and see God had worked through his people. Lives become better, people become freer, they become more responsible all because the good news affects more than heaven, it's designed to change history. So we're not doing a good job of giving how good the news really is. So he says, "I want you to show mercy". And then finally, he says, "I want you to walk humbly with your God".

What does it mean to walk humbly with your God? First of all, notice the order of the sentence, it's walk humbly with your God, not ask God to walk with you. You are walking with him, which means you gotta know where he's going. You can't walk with him and you going someplace that he's not going. Amos 3:3 says, "Can two walk together unless they be agreed"? God wants us to share life with. He wants us to do life with him. The reason why a lot of our prayers are boring even to God, even to God. We start praying, and God say, "Well, here's what he gonna say". 'Cause it never changes, and the reason why it never changes because we're not doing life with God. 'Cause if we were doing life with God, he'd be hearing about the good, bad, and ugly. He'd be hearing about the struggles, the stresses, the sins, the circumstances, the problems with the kids, the problem with the maid, the problems on the job, he'd be hearing details.

We finish prayers in one minute 'cause it's the same conversation. It's not bringing all of our lives and unveiling them. It's not exposure to him. Walking with God is a matter of faith. By faith Enoch walked with God. It is believing and trusting that God hears me expose myself to him, good, bad, and ugly, and we are friends. Jesus says he is our friend. We are his friends, Jesus said. And then he said, "If you do what I say". God says, "I want you to walk humbly, or know your place, 'cause I'm still God. So we're gonna be besties, but know your place". To be humble doesn't mean to denigrate yourself. To be humble means submitting to divine authority. It means no matter what anybody else says about you, you better be small in your own eyes. No matter what news clippings you get, you better be small in your own eyes, recognizing that you have somebody over you.
Are you Human?:*