A Pre-Church Sermon

October 2, 2019 at 6:40 am | Posted in Jeremiah | 1 Comment
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The events of Jeremiah Chapter 7 probably took place after the death of Josiah, and shortly into the reign of Jehoiakin. This was a new sermon – known as the Temple Sermon – where God sent Jeremiah to preach in what should have been the most unlikely place – the place where preaching should not have been needed – but really where it was the most needed.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

Jeremiah 7:1-2

Jeremiah stood at the entrance of the Temple, rather than inside. Imagine a preacher standing at the main entrance of your church on Sunday morning and preaching to the people coming in without the consent or authorization of your pastor before they even get to the auditorium where he is planning to preach.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.

Jeremiah 7:3

“Ways and doings” refers to the way they were living throughout the week – unlike the show they were about to put on inside the Temple.

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.

Jeremiah 7:4

They superstitiously repeated the mantra, “the temple of the LORD,” but the part that was a lie was that they emphasized the place over the Person. They thought a temple was worth visiting, but did not care if the Lord was worth obeying.

Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 7:12

Jeremiah wasn’t authorized to drive them out of the Temple. He was limited to preaching, but he saw people bringing animals and grain and things to sacrifice, and he reminded them of what God thought about their so-called “sacrifices” and their so-called “offerings.”

For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

Jeremiah 7:22-23 (emphasis added)

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

I Samuel 15:22

But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

Jeremiah 7:24 (emphasis added)

They weren’t listening to the Word of God. They were listening to their own hearts, which is an extremely bad idea, because because hearts not transformed by God are evil hearts. They like the false better than the true. They like fake gods better than the real God. They like fake prophecies better than hearing about the “old paths.” They like to “imagine” better than “obey.” They like to get “counsel” from the flesh or the world better than the Counselor who demands submission. I hope that you don’t want to go to a fake church. We all need to belong to a church where our fakery is called out and replaced by truth. We don’t want to get so deceived that we think we’re going forward with God when we’re really racing backward with the devil.

For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

Jeremiah 7:30

During Manasseh’s reign the idolatry had become so public and open that idols were actually set up in the Temple, and, even after Josiah’s “reforms,” people continued to worship idols in their homes, and perhaps secretly brought them into the Temple when they attended worship.

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

Jeremiah 7:16

The people were so far gone – reprobate – that God did not even want Jeremiah to pray for them.

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

Jeremiah 7:17

Jeremiah had seen how wickedly they behaved in their public dealings, but God revealed what they were doing in private also.

The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

Jeremiah 7:18

The “queen of heaven” was Asherah (also known as Ishtar, from which the name Easter is partly derived), who was thought to be the queen of the “heavenly” area we call “outer space,” and, even though she was primarily a female cult deity, the fathers and the children were also involved in making little cakes shaped like a woman and ritually pouring out drink offerings to worship her.

Gleaned Grapes and Scrapped Silver

September 20, 2019 at 10:15 am | Posted in Jeremiah | 4 Comments
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Jeremiah the prophet once warned God’s people:

They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 6:14

Jeremiah was downright angry because false prophets had given the people a false sense of security and a false view of God by telling them that God was okay with their sin, as long as they lived in a nation where there was a good church, and as long as people kept up the appearance of loyalty to His Covenant. But God would show them what He really thought of their hypocrisy (Jeremiah 7:20).

As Christians, we must – with God’s help and by His mercy and grace – get serious about obeying Him. If we are trusting our standing with God to our geographical location (the “Christian” South), or to our “conservative” culture or government, or even to the fact that we “belong” to a church, then we are in grave danger. God knows what we like to do, how we think, what we say, and the ways we act on Monday through Saturday, not just for a couple of hours on Sunday.

There is a message of thoroughness throughout Jeremiah Chapter 6 that hearkens back to Chapter 5 where Jeremiah went to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem looking for one righteous man. Now God was saying that the invading enemy will be just as thorough when executing punishment.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.

Jeremiah 6:9

These invaders would not make a cursory sweep through the land, wreaking havoc in a general way. No, they would go back – just like a vineyard worker would go back over the grapevines, with a basket, meticulously making sure each and every grape was plucked off. One righteous person could have spared the nation, but no unrighteous person would be spared.

Jeremiah was deeply troubled at this, but he also understood that God was right in doing it. As a prophet, he faithfully conveyed God’s Word, but, as a human being – as a Godly man – he was torn between sympathy for the people, and frustration over their stubbornness. He was torn between a desire to see God’s mercy and a thirst to see God’s righteous vengeance. Jeremiah was not some unfeeling megaphone, merely amplifying God’s message to crowds of people without understanding what he was communicating. He was deeply compassionate, but he was also moved with a passion – a zeal – for the holiness of God.

To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Jeremiah 6:10

Not only were their hearts figuratively uncircumcised, but their ears were figuratively covered with flesh, so that it was like they were deaf to the truth. Jeremiah must have thought something like, “If I preach repentance, what’s the point? It’s not like anyone will heed the warning. Once they hear that I am preaching a message from the Lord, they shut down. They have prejudged His righteous commands and revelations as irrelevant, unpleasant, and distasteful.”

Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.

Jeremiah 6:11

Jeremiah was resolved to preach God’s Word, however, because now he more fully understood the Lord’s anger. He was commissioned not only to build, but to “throw down,” too. Every category and age group would get the same message: “You will get what have you have earned.”

The invading enemy would be thorough grape-gatherers, and now the Lord assigned Jeremiah to be a thorough metallurgist.

I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.

Jeremiah 6:27

He would prove that these people were corrupt through and through – all the way to the the heart.

They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters.

Jeremiah 6:28

The idea is that a metallurgist would place silver ore into a pot, and begin a process of purifying the silver, getting rid of less valuable metals like brass and iron.

The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.

Jeremiah 6:29

Jeremiah would make the fire hot, and mix in lead to attract the cotmaninants, but it would not work, because all of the wickedness had permeated these people. Any would-be silver could not be distilled out.

Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.

Jeremiah 6:30

They were all dross. The purifying was pointless. It was time for the whole batch to be discarded. Human beings can be given over to a reprobate mind. There is an urgency in getting to our friends before they become so enmeshed in sin and wickedness and worldliness that it is too late.


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