In the book of Jeremiah we read that the covenant God made with his people during the time of the Exodus was not the Law of Sinai. He did not establish the decrees and the Ten Commandments as the covenant with his redeemed people until after the Exodus. The Law was added later by Moses and confirmed through angels, the Bible says. This is the covenant that God established with his people at the beginning. ” Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you.” “So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, that I may confirm the oath that I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day.” This is also the covenant that God established with Abraham. The Bible says ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’. In Hebrews we are told that it was Abraham’s obedience in his willingness to sacrifice Isaac that typifies God’s sacrifice of his own son Jesus on the Cross.
Obedience is better than sacrifice, the Bible says. “If you love me”, Jesus says, “you will obey my commandments”. ” If I am in you and you are in me you will not sin”, Jesus says. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and all your strength. It is the overcomer who inherits the kingdom of God the scriptures say. “Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life”. These are not the sayings of someone who has already done it all for us. We have a part to play in our salvation. We have a covenant to keep with God. We have a cross to bear. The word of the Lord to us today is “my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
God is a covenant keeping God, we need to be a covenant keeping people. It is becoming more treacherous for the believer in the world and we need to be able to run to God and to the everlasting arms and protection that only he can provide. Nothing else will protect you in the coming days.
Jeremiah was to speak the word of the Lord to those going into the house of God to worship. “Amend your ways and your deeds and you will remain in the land, execute justice, do not shed innocent blood, do not steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, or go after other gods you have not known”. There were deceptive words that the leaders and people of Judah were relying on to protect them. “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD”. meaning that because God’s temple was with them they would not experience God’s judgment and their enemies would not conquer them.
We see the same thing happening in our Christian teaching today. Christian leaders say “you are Gods’ people, you will not experience judgment”, “this is God’s house, he will not leave, there is no where else for God to go”, “this is the ‘church of the LORD, the church of the LORD, the church of the LORD”. “God does not require righteousness from you, Jesus did it all”. Commit sin and then come to the house of the LORD and say “we are delivered, we are delivered!” only to go on doing all these abominations? What did God reply? “Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it”. God rejected and forsook Israel, he cast them out of his sight. He did the same to Judah throwing them out of the land as captives to Babylonia.
Another of God’s complaints against his people during this time was their refusal to listen to him. “This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips”. This is what is happening today. Truth is perishing at a rapid rate in the church and outside the church. God’s people don’t want to hear his word. They want to hear that it does not matter what they do because God can never reject them. This is false teaching.
In Jeremiah we see a picture that looks like the beginning of creation as set out in the book of Genesis. I think this portion of scripture is describing the end. In other parts of the Bible it talks about the heavens passing away, the stars falling from heaven, the heavens being rolled away like a scroll the lights of the heavens going dark. God says, “heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will not pass away.” The Bible talks about God making a new heaven and new earth.
Men plot and plan their evil deeds thinking that they have become wise. They deceive and feign friendship with a companion while planning an ambush in their heart. They call evil good and good evil. They reward those who behave badly insisting that others do what they themselves are doing. They love unjust reward and robbery. They oppress and enslave the weak and powerless. They have no compassion for the widow or the orphan.
Jeremiah chapter 4:23-26
“I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.
In the book of Jeremiah it lists the complaints God had against Israel and Judah. Their unfaithfulness to him, their going after other ‘gods’, their refusal to admit that they had sinned against God and needed to return to him, their pretense of righteousness toward God while all the while plotting evil in their hearts. The response from God was that these two nations were taken into captivity and the land was totally destroyed and left desolate by Assyria and then by Babylon.
The New World of North America adopted the God of the Bible as the god of these lands. He was the God of the USA and Canada until about 1970 when supposedly new prosperous and progressive thinking was introduced into these nations. The ways and methods of Asian countries became popular here. Transcendental meditation, yoga, an assortment of spiritual arts, the thinking of Buddhism, Socialism, Hinduism, etc became contemporary wisdom for us to seek after and practice here. Our leaders today currently refuse to say that they are doing anything wrong by leaving God out of our government, our education systems, and our own personal conduct in North America. These leaders have said that we do not need God and that we have the ability to lead and make good decisions for ourselves. This independence from God has been the popular and official position in Canada and the USA for several decades now. Christianity is mostly rejected here, and all other religions and various practices of immorality are honored and included as equally benefiting to people in western nations and in our modern world.
We have seen what happened to Europe. Some say Europe will never recover. They have been destroyed because of the policies and laws implemented by different governments and their leaders. Historical monuments and reminders of history are being dismantled in nations all over the world today. The USA has experienced some of this recently with the destruction of historical monuments in Virginia, North Carolina, and other places in the USA where there has been loud complaints from some millennials about these reminders of history in our society.
The USA and Canada are two nations readied to be judged by God which have been served up to judgment by the ungodly who live among us.
Something is in the air so to speak when people are allowed to breathe the word ‘Christian’ with all things that are wrong with this world. This is what is happening today. The Charlottesville, Virginia event is the latest where this has occurred. Media interviews with experts sympathetic to Muslims and other minority peoples in the USA put the name of ‘Christian’ and ‘White Supremacist’ together in their analysis of this tragic event. The name of ‘Christian’ is being linked with KKK actions and fascist and Neo-Nazi ideologies associated with the rally that took place in Charlottesville.
Why aren’t our Christian leaders speaking out and complaining about this more publicly? Christians are not being defended in these matters. Our leaders are very quiet (hoping for the best maybe). I’m glad that the Apostle Paul didn’t stay silent when Christians were being persecuted. He was doing a lot to encourage believers and fight the forces who were being oppressive and tyrannical toward them. He was writing letters and having them sent from church to church to be read. He was travelling about visiting the churches, praying for them, and informing and helping Christians to stand in those difficult times. He was debating with those who opposed Christianity. He was often in the thick of the fight getting beaten up, whipped, and battered about by authorities. He was slandered and ridiculed by wicked people inside and outside of churches.
Our leaders in North America are apparently doing nothing about the persecution Christians may be facing today. This is something to consider and take seriously. Why aren’t they doing something, anything and why not? Persecution will increase and it does not go away when it is not confronted appropriately and quickly. We need leaders to speak up for us. If our current leaders are too afraid or they see nothing wrong with whats happening then we need to look elsewhere for proper Christian leadership. We need to leave these churches. They have become something other than the churches of God. This is more and more evident as time goes by and current events take place.
In scripture the apostle Paul says that we are in a fight and that we are to win this fight as followers of Jesus. This fight is between righteousness and wickedness. Internally within ourselves, and externally in our world. We have to be ready to give it our all in this fight. Paul says don’t beat the air ineffectually, but understand what you are doing and how to do it. Follow the leading of the Spirit of God in your life.
This fight is the fight of faith. Staying faithful to God, listening to him, and obeying him.
This fight might be costly. The Bible says we are to count the cost, put our hands to the plow, and don’t look back. We are either for righteousness or against it. These are the two positions in our world at the present time.
The Bible says that if we fight for righteousness God will be at our right hand. He will teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight. He will be our shield all around. If we stand he will be our helper to deliver us from our enemies.
Scripture is clear. Believers have enemies. Those who want to destroy righteousness, kill God, and live in the lusts of their flesh. King David says that God’s enemies are his enemies and that he hates them with a pure hatred.
What we are seeing in the USA today is dizzying The divide that has occurred between people who want to throw off all restraint of righteousness and people who are trying to maintain some kind of righteousness in the land. This is not a political divide. It is not a racial divide. It is righteousness and wickedness fighting each other within both groups of people.
As Believers we need to declare ourselves on God’s side. Take this stance in our lives and come what may stand in it. God will help us and show himself faithful to us. We have this well known quote from Joshua, ‘Choose you this day who you will serve.. but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.’
I think what we need to do as believers today is appreciate what we have in the Lord and add to it. Something is happening in the world in our day and I think that most people can attest to this. Many times we do not understand what is happening. We have ideas, or thoughts about what the problems are. We think we have some solutions, but they may not be as effective as we think they will be if in fact these ideas were implemented in our culture and our nations. There is a point where people will not do as God asks them to do. In reading the book of Jeremiah I read where God’s people were totally rejected and forsaken and were led away to Babylon by their captors. It was one generation (70 years) before the people began to return. It was the children and grandchildren of those who were exiled who made the journey back to Judah and Jerusalem. It was when they went into captivity that the people who were exiled made the decision that they were going to serve God only. Before that time they were into all kinds of things that God had asked them not to do through his prophets and his word.
What about us? We need to treasure what we have in God. We can be free from sin and we need to take advantage of this grace given to us by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. We have our needs met and we need to thank God everyday for his goodness and mercy. We can talk to God directly and petition him. We need to recognize what a privilege this is. We have the ability to do what God has asked us to do through the Holy Spirit. We need to seek the Holy Spirit in our lives and accept his conditions for us. We’re not running our lives, He is. If you are running yours then I think you may be in danger of going into captivity. You may never be able to return to God. The Bible says ‘the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom’. Many Christians have not reached this point. God is a teddy bear, a sugar daddy, for their wishes and excesses. This is destruction for their soul. God hasn’t changed his mind about sin. The blood of Jesus does not excuse sin or cover for it forever. We have to work at living the way God wants us to. He provides the ability. Any Christian who says that they do not have the power to refuse sin is in danger of being overcome by that sin. They may find themselves in a place they had never imagined they would be. Just like the exiles in Jeremiah’s time.
We have teachers today who scratch our itchy ears, and tell us what we want to hear.as North American Christians. We need to wake up and save ourselves in the midst of this ungodly generation. ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling’, is the Bible’s admonition.
The first and second verses say, “Now I would remind you brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word that I preached to you– unless you have believed in vain”.
1. ‘by which you are being saved’
2. ‘if you hold fast to the word that I preached to you’
3. ‘unless you have believed in vain’
This scripture and many others are examples given to us in the NT and the OT confirming this idea that we are in the process of being saved, even though we have been placed into the Body of Christ. There are conditions. We must hold fast to the word. The Bible says that the Jews in the time of Jesus and Paul were in error about what they believed. They believed that as long as they confessed that they were Abraham’s children they were fine. Jesus clarified to them that their father was the devil. Their deeds were disclosing their real situation and condition.
The Bible tells the parable of the wheat and the tares being together in the kingdom of God. Growing together until the harvest. The admonition in scripture that there are wolves among the sheep, that there are wicked men who feast on the people of God. In the OT we have the picture or type of God’s people not entering into the promised land. They were rebellious, disobedient, complaining, double minded people, people who looked back and wished they could return to slavery after they had been freed at great cost. They died in the desert. It was their children who entered the promised land.
How is it that religious leaders say that we only have to confess Christ and then our salvation is secure. Our sin doesn’t matter, our behaviors don’t matter.