28 Oct Sun. Msg. – Jeremiah 7:1-16, Too Late
- Reference: Jeremiah 7:1-16
- Date: 28 October 2012
Too Late • Jer. 7:1-16
I. INTRODUCTION • Read vs. 1-4
A. 3 Groups
1. There are many ways we could segment this room today into groups. By age, education, ethnicity; lots of ways.
2. We could make 3 groups according to how we approach the things of God.
3. Group 1 loves Jesus and follows Him faithfully.
a. They’re not perfect, but they want to be & it bugs them they’re not.
b. They long to grow in grace & truth & live as close to Jesus as possible.
4. I’m going to skip Group 2 for now & come back to them in a moment.
5. Group 3 is on the other end of the spectrum from Group 1.
a. The people in Group 3 are like the people of Jeremiah’s day.
b. As we’ll see, they assumed (wrongly, it turns out) that everything between God & them was cool.
c. They were religious, but not righteous.
d. Unlike Group 1, those in Group 3 have no real relationship w/God.
1) He’s just someone to placate, & is by throwing him an occasional religious bone –
2) Like going to church every so often; dropping some change & pocket-lint in the offering, & feeling a little religious sentimentality when the preacher tells a moving story.
e. Group 3 folk treat God like the IRS – Necessary, but try to limit your exposure.
1) Pay your dues, but make it the bare minimum.
2) Keep your head down & hope to avoid an audit.
3) Just as we have to send in our 1040 once a year, many think if they make it to church at Christmas & Easter, they’ve renewed their membership in the Kingdom of God.
f. They’re believe all God requires is that they believe He exists & occasionally perform some kind of religious act that nods in His direction.
g. If they’ll do that, then He gives them a pass to pretty much do whatever they want, just so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
h. Because today the word “religious” has a negative feel, they prefer to call themselves “spiritual.”
6. Group 2 is probably the smallest. It’s somewhere between Groups 1 & 3.
a. Those in Group 2 aren’t really going for it w/God like those in Group 1,
b. But they aren’t cold & indifferent like those in Group 3.
c. To be frank, they’re uneasy about their spiritual life.
d. They know they’re not where they should be in their relationship w/God.
e. Those in Group 2 either used to be in Group 1 or 3
1) If they were in 1, their affection for Christ has cooled & they’ve fallen back to things they used to do but repented of. That’s called back-slidding.
2) If they were in Group 3, the Spirit of God has stirred them to realize God’s not interested in mere religious rituals; He wants a warm, intimate relationship w/them & their eyes are finally opening to it.
1. Jeremiah‘s message here in Ch. 7 is to those in Group 2.
2. As we begin, need to set the context of our text.
a. Book of Jeremiah isn’t chronological; doesn’t follow a sequence of the prophet’s life.
b. It’s arranged by themes, and ch. 7 starts a new one.
c. Chs. 2-6 were his 1st message to the Kingdom of Judah, delivered when he was only about 16.
d. This message comes much later, toward the end of His life & ministry.
A. Vs. 1-4
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’ ”
1. God told Jeremiah to park himself at one of the gates leading to the temple in Jerusalem.
a. This was mostly likely during 1 of the 3 times each year the Jews were to go to Jerusalem & the temple to worship.
b. There would have been huge crowds.
2. Once he took his place, he was to announce to them . . .
3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. 4 Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’
3. For years Jeremiah warned of judgment.
a. Because they worshipped idols, the Babylonians were coming & would wipe them out.
b. If they wanted to escape judgment, stay in their land & prosper, all they had to do was repent, forsake their idols and turn back to God.
c. He repeats that here, then urges caution: They mustn’t think God’s temple protected them from ruin.
4. The repeated phrase, “The temple of the Lord” means they’d come to think of Solomon’s temple as some kind of magic talisman.
a. There it stood in the center of Jerusalem w/all its fancy decoration & elaborate rituals performed by hundreds of priests.
b. They assumed God would never allow such a monument to Him to suffer.
c. So as long as the temple stood, they assumed they were safe.
d. And they assumed it because there was a whole pack of professional clergy who taught that very thing.
e. Both priests & prophets, whose livelihood depended on the temple, had a vested interest in stoking the lie that as long as the temple stood, everything was groovy w/God.
f. So people came & made their offerings so the temple would go on.
g. They weren’t really there to worship God; they were there just to make sure things carried on as they were.
5. Their mindset was; If I jump thru the religious hoop, God’s pacified & I can go about my business.
6. Jeremiah said, “It doesn’t work that way. You’ve been told a lie. God doesn’t just want an annual sacrifice. He wants YOU. He’s not bought off by your bowing – he wants your obedience.”
B. Vs. 5-11
5 “For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, 7 then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. 8 “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 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’? 11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.
1. They were doing all this.
a. They worshipped idols, conspired to steal & murder, cheated on their husbands & wives, then went to the temple & acted as though everything was fine.
b. God calls it all a sham; & one more reason WHY they were ripe for judgment.
2. If I’m to be a faithful minister of God, I must say this: If you call yourself a Christian, Stop Sinning!
a. Stop having sex outside marriage. Stop fantasizing about someone other than your spouse.
b. Stop getting high. Stop getting smashed.
c. Stop lusting for power & everyone else’s possession or popularity.
d. Stop lying! Quit your gossip!
e. Knock off the angry outbursts.
f. Repent & put away your bigotry & racism.
g. And cease your ugly unforgiveness that’s turned you into a sour & bitter critic.
3. I HAVE to say all that; because à What’s the alternative—by silence, let you think all these things are okay?
4. The modern evangelical church is much like the temple in Jeremiah’s day.
a. Pastors & preachers are so worried about numbers they hesitate to warn people about sin.
b. They KNOW there are members who are fornicators, adulterers, drunks & thieves in the congregation.
c. But they’re so concerned to fill seats they never deal w/those things.
d. Like the prophets & priests of old, they imply that as long as people keep coming, sing the songs, drop an offering in the plate; they renew their license to live as they please.
5. I’m not interested in filling seats; only filling heaven. So I’ll tell you straight up: Stop sinning!
a. We’re not here to stamp your religion card. We’re here to tend your eternal soul.
b. God’s not impressed that we go to church, own a study Bible, know the songs, can sing harmony, have a sticker on our car & a radio station preset to Christian radio. He’s not impressed; not fooled.
c. Do we wear a t-shirt or hat w/a Calvary logo on it but verbally abuse our family at home?
d. Do we lift hands in worship then go home and use those same hands to surf to porn?
e. It’s gotta stop! = That’s what Jeremiah’s saying here.
C. Vs. 12-15
12 “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these works,” says the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren—the whole posterity of Ephraim.
1. When Israel first entered the Promised land near a thousand years before, they set up the tabernacle at a place called Shiloh.
a. The tabernacle was the moveable structure that served as their temple in the wilderness.
b. It held the ark of the covenant & all the other pieces of sacred furniture they used to worship God.
c. It’s were the priests served. // The temple in Jerusalem replaced it.
2. When Israel first arrived in Canaan, because Shiloh was in the geographic center of the land, they set the tabernacle there & that’s where they worshipped God for several hundred years.
3. But the Jews began to treat it and the ark which was the center of the tabernacle, w/superstition.
4. They became little more than magic charms.
a. To give us an idea of bad things got, in one battle with the Philistines, where they were getting whopped, they brought out the ark, thinking it would give them victory.
b. It was their secret weapon, kind of like in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
c. God taught them a hard lesson, & allowed Israel to not only suffer an embarrassing defeat, but let the ark fall into enemy hands.
d. Archaeology tells us not long after that, the Philistines destroyed Shiloh. It’s remained a pile of rocks to this day.
5. So God tells the people of Jerusalem, “Don’t think you’re safe because you have the temple. Go check out Shiloh; see what’s there, where the tabernacle once stood.”
6. “What I did to Shiloh, I AM going to do to Jerusalem, to the temple you’re trusting in.”
7. “You’re trust is misplaced. The only trustworthy place to put your trust is in Me.”
8. The only place worthy of OUR trust is God.
a. Not Obama, Not Romney / Repubs nor Dems.
b. Not bailouts nor healthcare.
c. Not jobs, houses, parents, kids, spouses, boy-girlfriends.
c. Not bank accounts nor 401K’s.
d. Not OSX, Windows 8, Linux.
e. Not the US military, nor CCO.
9. Jesus is the only name by which we may be saved! JESUS!
10. Listen, the quickest way to see something fail & fall is to invest your trust in it. à
a. Because God will do whatever He has to, to shake us lose from everything else so that we’ll look to Him alone.
11. Pray, study & vote on Nov. 6th – but don’t look to the President for salvation. è Only Jesus saves.
1. We end w/ v. 16. I warn you – this is a disturbing verse. God says to Jeremiah . . .
16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.
2. God tells Jeremiah not to waste his time praying for the people of Judah any longer.
3. Time is up. Mercy is past & the grace of God that gave them time in which to return to Him is over.
4. Judgment is certain now. It was TOO LATE.
5. That day will come for us too – but it’s not