Amos 4:6 – “But I have given you clean teeth in your cities, and want of bread in all your places, and yet have you not returned to me, saith the LORD.”
I don’t intend to be humorous in any way by using the title I’ve chosen. I want it to be memorable. So, who was Amos? He was a minor prophet. That means his book was shorter than the major prophets. Amos was probably not popular or invited to speak at many conventions. This message is a little homage to Amos.
Amos had been tending the flocks, but he had the ear of God. And when Amos showed up to prophesy, he smelled like the sheep. I have found through my years of ministry that you can trust a prophet who smells like the flock. It’s prophets that do not smell like the people that concern me. It’s preachers that do not win souls that bother me.
Amos shows up to prophesy when no one was watching. Fruit shows up when no one is watching. It seems no one talks about the bud on the vine and the growing process; they are more interested in the end production of the fruit. Public ministry is the product of private consecration — whether you’re a college student or been preaching for 50 years. I’ve been preaching for 20 years. I know how to shape a sermon, but what I want is a move of the Spirit. Private consecration is more important today than ever before.
So Amos shows up and starts to prophesy destruction. Nobody liked him because he was completely counter-cultural. God had said, “Amos, I have a tall task for you. I want you to preach against the idolatry that has infiltrated my people. Preach reality.” Too many times we want to skirt around our great ailment. We want to teach and preach about demonstration but not about personal consecration. We want to preach about the gifts but not about the fruit. Let’s work people into a lather where they dance and shout but have no substance. Amos was commissioned to call what was wrong, wrong. We are not to speak on our behalf but on behalf of the Spirit. What saith the LORD.
I realize I get a lot of invitations because of my office as youth president. This is not a glamorous office; this is fighting devils and calling hell out for what it is. It is looking into the face of a culture that is telling us that everything under the sun is okay. But if it is wrong, it is wrong. If it is sin, then it is sin. God is not calling us to be glamorized politicians, but if you want to be effective for God, you have got to get locked in a prayer room. Most of ministry is not what you gather unto yourself, but rather it is what you separate yourself from. It is hard to carry the needs of others when you are carrying your own possessions. I have found it hard to carry a cross and my desires simultaneously.
Amos, nobody’s gonna like you. Nobody’s gonna think you’re a great preacher. That’s alright; the Lord will be pleased. If I carry out His will, I will attain His favor.
We are not in this to be popular or for the applause of men, but I’m looking for the nail-scarred applause. We are in this to hear a few words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant….” God is not impressed with my preaching or with yours, but I’ll tell you what catches the eyes of God — if you submit everything to His will, if you have a contrite spirit. I don’t want anything but the will of God. I know it’s going to cost me, but I’ve got to have the will of God!
What’s your message, Amos? “My message is that you all have idols and God is very displeased with you.” Let me tell you something. It is easy to preach about Baal and the idols of their day, but this cell phone is just as much an idol as Baal ever was. We spend more time on these things than they ever spent worshiping Baal.
We’ll complain about an all-night prayer meeting, but we will watch episode after episode after episode of the latest series. So, I’m going to give deliverance to some of you, and I don’t even need a deep word from God. Some of you need to cancel your Netflix subscription. You don’t know which is harder — praying for two hours or going two days without YouTube.
“Oh, Bro. Carson, that’s hard preaching; preach something encouraging.” I am trying to encourage you that if you dispose of all that stuff how much easier it is to please God and do His will. I still believe that what is within you is stronger than what is in the world.
Breaking the Vows
In Amos 2:12, we see what God is so mad about. It says. “But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.” The Lord was saying, “I tried to send you young men of conviction and you said to them, “That will never fly in face of this culture.” They are not finding the temptation of idolatry in the world but the temptation of idolatry in the church. You are giving the young Nazarite wine, and to the young prophets you say, “Shut your mouth.”
It doesn’t matter, as long as you wear the right suit and look the part. You girls, as long as your hair is fixed just right, it doesn’t matter. And we know just how to act, what to do, when to get up and when to shout, “Hey, hey.” I’m going to tell you why there is sin in the church. It is because you won’t let the young people with convictions have those convictions. You won’t let the young people prophesy. So here I am.
It’s All About Conviction
I was elected to the office, but I was put here by God. As youth president, I say to you, I want you to prophesy, “Thus saith the Lord.” I know that feeling conviction is counter-cultural, but we are the counter culture. Let this resonate in your mind and spirit. We are pilgrims; this world is not our home. This is temporary. We love the sinner but hate the sin. We are never going to think gay pride is okay. We are concerned with ratings more than content. It’s a PG-13, so I’m safe. Never mind that they are fornicating all through the movie. A young person told me recently, “I don’t even hear the cuss words.” That doesn’t mean you have arrived but rather you have been demoted! If you are not troubled by sin that infiltrates your eyes, your mind, and eventually your spirit, you’d better listen to me.
You’ve got to push away the wine. You’ve got a Nazarite vow. You’ve got a kingdom covenant that these things shall not come into your eyes, your ears, because they are the gateway to the soul.
You say I can’t prophesy, what is wrong with me? The devil has been after me all week. No, you’ve been listening to Beyonce all week. I don’t listen to that. Okay, then maybe you’ve been listening to Rascal Flatts all week.
A Truly Separated People
We’re calling things okay that were not okay before. We are a separated people. Hear me, we are a separated people. Atmosphere, hear me! We are a separated people. I know you want our minds, but we are a separated people. I know you want our lifestyle, but we are a separated people. The Lord could have left us in the world, but He called us out and separated us. He could have let us look like everybody else, but He called us out. He could have let us live like everybody else, but He called us out. He called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
We say, “We don’t want to offend anyone.” I want to offend everything that comes against the church. When Jesus stepped out of the boat, the wild man came running and screaming. It bothers me that we can have church services and nobody moves. I want to get back to services where sinners come running to the altar. I’m not talking about condemnation but it happens in an environment of conviction. We’ve got to love holiness. Be ye holy, for I am holy. We must hear, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Feast or Famine
Having clean teeth meant not eating or famine. In essence, God was saying because you destroyed the young people, I will send famine and death. Why would I want to bless what you are setting before idols?
Some of you will try to compliment your preacher buddies by saying, “Man, you really blew it up tonight,” or “Man, you really killed it tonight.” We need to stop saying those kinds of things.
Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father. We must never take credit for anything in the realm of preaching. This is what you can say instead, “Man, I’m so glad God used you tonight.” This takes the glory off the preacher and on to God. It gives credit to the One who deserves it.
Remember, you are not prophesying so that someone can put you on Instagram. You’re prophesying so that someday you can walk on those streets of gold and link arms with someone whose life was changed or strengthened by your ministry.
God told them, through Amos, that they would have clean teeth from famine. We live in an age when clean teeth and ribs showing are good, but in the spiritual, it is a bad thing. I don’t want a famine in my family. I do not want clean teeth and ribs showing because there is no word of God being preached.
Sons and Daughters Shall Prophesy
The thing is that a lot of heavy lifting in prophecy is being done by young people. You don’t have to hit an age bracket to be used of God. You should not need to be told every week that something is not good for you to watch, to listen to, to be involved in. We’ve got to develop strong convictions against those things. We like to quote Joel 2:28 a lot, “… your sons and daughters shall prophesy.” I’m telling you it is here, right now!
How to Prophesy
I am going to teach you how to prophesy right now. Before you speak to a person, you must learn to speak to the atmosphere. Speak the Word with authority. If your family is not saved, speak words of faith, calling things that aren’t as though they already are. Some of you should speak the Word over your dorm room. We’ve got preachers in this room tonight that have been battling depression for a long time. You need to prophesy over your home, that the angel of God would walk through that place.
Hold On to Your Promise
When you get a word or promise from God, hold on to it. Young people, you’re not called to be popular but you are called to be faithful to your covenant. Trust in the promises of God. Don’t go on your feelings. If you don’t see Him working, worship anyway. If you can’t see Him moving, live holy anyway, because if we don’t, that’s when idolatry makes its way into our lives.
We must develop real convictions; there is a danger in looking like what we are not. I don’t want to look Apostolic but not be Apostolic. God help us not to be just performers. Give us convictions that will bear real fruit and cause us to be dedicated, separated people of God, able to prophesy and make a change in this world.