LIFE CHURCH LINCOLN
Why Kingdom Justice Matters.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
This month we have been looking at modern day slavery, one of several topics we are going to look at through out the year. But ahead of
next week’s interview with Hope for Justice, I want to take a little step back and look again at why we are doing this series at all.
So here’s the thing, justice is crucial to understanding Gods heart. Time and time again God speaks and acts in a way that demonstrates an earnest desire for His people to act in a way that brings justice. I recently finished reading through some of the Old Testament major prophets, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and there is a theme throughout all of them. God’s heart is grieved by Israel, as they have consistently wandered away from His teaching, sought after idols and, perverted justice for those around them. They neglected the vulnerable and oppressed and turned a blind eye to those who sought justice. So important is this mandate for God’s people that God speaks through His prophets and says that He doesn’t desire their sacrifices and offerings, He can’t hear their worship in the temple, because it is drowned out by the cries of those they have oppressed and silenced.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with
your God.” Micah 6:8.
"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are
all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18.
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6.
It is this last verse I want to link into in this post, as it is brought into direct context for us by Jesus when He cites it in Matthew 12:7
when he says that if they had but understood this passage from Hosea then they would not have condemned the innocent.
As Christians we seek to live a life wholly surrendered to God, with no part of our life not denied in order to pick up our cross and follow our Lord Jesus. So it is because of this that in this coming season it is so important that we (Church with a big “C”) start seeing the gospel in a holistic sense. Our faith is bigger than Sunday mornings, bigger than prayer meetings, bigger even than being happy to talk to others about Jesus! It is a whole of life shift, our priorities totally surrendered to Him, to align with His
That means it should be impossible for us to know Jesus and not feel a burden for the poor, for those bound in the chains of modern day slavery, for the unborn and the orphan and widow. We can’t compartmentalise Jesus! We also can’t delegate it to governments and authorities, Jesus charges us as believers with this responsibility, and I think prophetically we are moving into a season where more than ever this will be an expression of the church. Not to embrace social action as the gospel, or in isolation. Any charity or person can do that.
Our mandate is to be so in love and surrendered to Jesus that our proclamation of the gospel overflows into acts of service and a heart for justice, that we couldn’t help but feed the poor, pray and war in the spirit against the principalities and powers that have holds on our communities and nations, breaking chains of poverty, addiction and pain. To be there when those chains are broken to lift people out of poverty and suffering with a burning love and compassion that communicates the heart of our Heavenly Father and leads people to Jesus.
So how do apply this to our topic this month of modern day slavery? Well let’s go back to that first verse from Isaiah. “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” In our local context of Birchwood, modern day slavery is not as over and obvious as it might have been 200 years ago or is today in other parts of the country.
As mentioned earlier in the month during a live stream I did, one of our primary weapons against it is prayer. I brought to mind that our war is not against flesh and blood, but against cosmic powers of darkness that rule wherever the Kingdom of God is not declared. This is the reason why slavery continues (albeit in different forms) even after it was abolished in 1833, because the agenda behind slavery is demonic, it twists mans perception of others and seeks to rob people of the image of God that they bear through enslaving them. We war against this through knowing our own identity in Jesus and rebuking spirits of fear and control that manifest themselves in slavery today.
But we can do more than this. Isaiah 1:17 opens with the imperative that we need to “Learn to do right; SEEK JUSTICE”. The latter part of the verse is the ‘how to’ of that imperative, and the part I think is appropriate is the “take up the cause of the fatherless”. We might better understand this phrase through a more modern lens of charity.
Have you ever been pitched to by a charity and been asked to ‘support our cause’? This is part of what we are called to do, we remember and uplift the vulnerable and oppressed when we take up their cause. We fight on their behalf when they can’t fight for themselves.
This is one of the most practical things we can do in seeking to do justice and love our neighbour, support a charity that does that exact thing! Give money, get involved, use your voice to promote the cause so that it is not forgotten. Make sure we are not contributing to the noise that drowns out their cries. How beautiful and fragrant our worship would be if the voices we used to worship God were also used to speak up for those who can’t, to declare Jesus as the answer and then live out His love and grace to those who don’t yet know it.
Next week on the 23rd of February, I will be interviewing a special guest from Hope for Justice; a charity that campaigns to end modern day slavery and also actively works to rescue people out of it. So if you are unsure of how to get involved and start taking up the cause of those living in modern day slavery, firstly, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Secondly, listen in to next weeks livestream and find out more about this amazing charity and how you can get involves and support them.