Every year in our Seeking Justice series we focus in on some of the major social justice issues in our culture and talk about how followers of Jesus should respond. This year we will be highlighting various themes relating to seeking justice. In this first sermon we will be talking about what we should do to seek justice even in a culture that is far from God.
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Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Isaiah 1:17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
“We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable. This kind of life reflects the character of God. It consists of a broad range of activities, from simple fair and honest dealings with people in daily life, to regular, radically generous giving of your time and resources, to activism that seeks to end particular forms of injustice, violence, and oppression.” – Tim Keller
Social Justice: The impartial and proportional treatment of each person as a necessary condition of their human dignity
Timeline of Events in Israel:
- 722 Northern Kingdom (Israel) conquered by Assyria
- 605 Babylon conquers Egypt and Assyria gaining control of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) as well
- 588-586 Judah rebels, the temple is destroyed, Jewish exiles taken from Jerusalem to Babylon
- 538 Jews are allowed to return to Jerusalem
4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
3 takeaways for us
- We should care
- We should do something
- We should pray
1 Peter 2:11–16 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
Hebrews 13:14 (NLT) 14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
Leviticus 26:3, 6 3 “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them… 6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land.
Leviticus 26:14-15, 17 14 “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant… 17 I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you!