Friday, March 2, 2012

We Weren’t Saved For This

In Jeremiah 7, God pleads with the kingdom of Judah to leave their wickedness. This was just after the death of king Josiah - one of Judah’s godliest kings. Despite Josiah’s extensive reforms, Judah never turned their hearts to God. They simply added the worship of Yahweh to their sinful, disobedient lifestyles. Listen to the warning God gives them and see if it applies to America’s church today:

Jeremiah 7:1-11

The Word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, “Stand in the gate of Yahweh's house, and declare there this Word, and say, ‘Hear the Word of Yahweh, all Judah, who enter in at these gates to worship Yahweh. So says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel, “Make your ways and your doings good, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh are these.’ For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you completely do judgment between a man and his neighbor; if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your hurt; then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever.
“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot do any good. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know; and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?

Do you think God’s complaint against His people was valid? They came to His temple every day to worship Him, but they never changed the condition of their hearts. Isaiah 29:13 speaks about these kinds of people, “These people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me.

Their backslidden heart soon produced backslidden actions. You see, sin starts in the heart but spreads to your actions. And the people of Judah were doing some very wicked things! Listen to what God accused them of! “Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods...” Theft, murder, adultery, lying, and idolatry! No wonder God wasn’t happy with them!

Do you think this behavior is in God’s house today? Do you think there are any thieves, liars, or adulterers (if not in action, in heart)? If hatred of your brother is the same in God’s eyes as many murderers are in our worship services? Are there any idolaters in church - people who put their priorities on temporal things of this life and not on the things that God sees as important?

“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot do any good.”

What were the lying words these people were trusting in? What was it that made them think their sin was ok? They were listening to the message of false prophets. These men would say, “The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh are these!” Judah was being told that as long as they kept worshipping in  Yahweh’s temple...these other things didn’t matter!

Because of what the false prophets were saying, the people took up a motto, “We are delivered to do all these abominations.” They were claiming that God saved them, but that He didn’t care what they were doing!

This is the cry that is being raised in too many churches right now! “God loves you. God forgives you. God’s grace will cover what your sin.” It’s the message of distorted grace.

Let me tell you, no one believes in God’s forgiveness like I do! I am so grateful that He forgave my sin and wiped it out of His record! He delivered me from the punishment I deserved! But He did not deliver me so I could keep doing it!

I said before and I’ll keep saying it until someone listens, God forgives sin when you repent! When there’s no repentance, there’s no forgiveness!

God’s grace does wipe away our sin, that is an absolute fact! But the rest of the story is found in Romans 6:15, “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” Grace is not liberty to do as you please!

I believe that Jeremiah 7:9 and 10 applies just as much to the church as it did to Judah.
“Will you steal, hate your brother, commit adultery in your hearts, lie, and chase after the things of this world (like you should be chasing Me) - and then come to church and stand before Me in My house and say, ‘We’re sinning but it’s ok, we’re covered by grace’?”

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