Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Jeremiah's Message

I.  This is a message to God's people (not pagans)
So...are parallels to Christians today?  relevance to Christians today?  Us, as individuals.  Us as a nation.

II.  The primary sin of Israel was Unfaithfulness!  (toward God, made manifest in Idolatry)
The text indicates Idolatry!!!  But - underlying idolatry = unfaithfulness!  Which = biblically portrayed as Spiritual Adultery!
God and Israel had entered into a Covenant (agreement) which = (1)  a solemn agreement (contract)
                                                                                                   (2)  an exclusive relationship
"I'll be your God;  you'll be my people".  Was a very serious thing they had entered into. 
To violate this covenant = infidelity/unfaithfulness, spiritual adultery 
Example:  compare to the marriage covenant

POINT = THE SIN (1st and foremost) = Unfaithfulness.. which led to idolatry  (manifest self as idolatry, the visible evidence of unfaithfulness.)

III.  The Primary message of Jeremiah was "Return to Me" -
Example:  1st. word = "no other gods before me"
               2nd. word = "no graven images"
"return to ME and ME ONLY!"  (I'll accept, receive)  example:  the Prodigal Son

Text:  Jer. 2:1-3-5 - LORD = God apart from all other gods

Question: Since idolatry is NOT a problem today, (in SE Oklahoma) and since the text refers to Israel ... then, what is the relevance??  Application to us today?  

#1.  You needn't have idolatry to have unfaithfulness (when you fail to love Him as you should)
Compare church at Ephesus - Rev. 2:2-5 - On one hand this is not spiritual adultery, however, = slipping, drifting away - Heb. 2:1

#2.  On one hand, God loves His people unconditionally, however, their Behavior Matters!
Affects your life, the people around you, the future state.  The way you acts makes a big difference.
How did the early church change the world????  (1)  their doctrine, (2)  their behavior  

#3.  This is not God turning His back on His people.... This is God being faithful!!!  to Himself!  His word!  His laws, His purpose, His righteousness  And to His people!!!  Prov. 3:11-12  (expanded in Heb. 12)  God is not into raising brats, spoiled kids

#4.  Seeking freedom from God's laws (restrictions, restraints) does not result in freedom.  Example:  Adam and Eve.
On one hand, you are given the right to choose
However, NOT with impunity!!  ie.  exemption frm punishment or consequence 
God's boundaries are for our good!! 

#5.  Refusal to admit to sin is the height of self-deception.  refusal to admit doesn't make you free from it.
Jer. 2:35, 1 John 1:8.  So.... 2 Cor. 13:5 = (1) saved?  or (2)  walking in the faith?

#6.  Scripture, the prophets, (Jeremiah) .. call for more than "consider your ways".  It's a call to consider your ways in the light of God's Word.  - Jer. 2:4-5  "... what the Lord says"

#7.  God is long suffering.  If you will return .. He will accept you;  receive you back. 
Example:  Prodigal Son
This = true of our nation
This = true of the individual people of our nation.
This = true of me and you!

Closing:  Prov. 14:12

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

When the Law is Lost

 1000 BC - David is on the throne - Kingdom Rise

931 BC - Rehoboam comes to power - Kingdom Split.  Jeroboam immediately institutes idolatry in the north (Israel) - Calf worship

722 BC - Israel Falls - conquered by Assyria

586 BC - Judah Falls - conquered by Babylonians, exiled into Babylon for 70 years

Our story (Jeremiah prophesying) - from 621 BC to 586 BC  = 35 years.

Review:  2 Kings 22:1-13 - Vs. 8 - is probably the book of Deuteronomy.   This followed by:
(1)  great reform (13 years) - greatest reforms Israel had ever seen
(2)  Josiah's death - at age 39
(3)  4 "evil" kings (Josiah's 3 sons, 1 grandson)
(4)  Jerusalem and temple destroyed
(5)  Judah into Exile

Question:  How did all this happen?  in light of Deut. 14:2?  To a people - chosen to reveal and represent God to a lost world?
                -- given the law and Prophets  (God's Revelation)
               - to guide, instruct, order life, establish nation

Answer 1 MAJOR FACTOR.  2 Kings 22:8 - High Priest didn't even know it existed.  This is not misplaced!!  It = ignored leading to unknown to unpracticed  (people ignorant of its content and unconcerned for the loss)

So... the handbook of the Kingdom, the Record of the Covenants, history of election and establishment in the Promised Land, self revelation of God and His will ... LOST!!  And nobody notices?  cares?  seeks?  They accidentally found it.  Had neglected and ignored the Law!

Question:  How could this nation (with this attitude) expect to retain it's place in God's favor???  When they ignored and didn't even recognize that the blessings (favor) were gone.

Note:  Ex. 19:3-6 - "IF...."
       Amos 3:2 - "therefore..."

Without knowledge of or concern for God's law, Israel slipped into: 

(1)  Idolatry - which = spiritual adultery - ie:  the violation of an exclusive relationship

(2)  Syncretism = blending of religious beliefs and practices.  Didn't abandon Yahweh.  = added to, took from prescribed worship forms, laws
Why other gods???  (1)  pagan gods made NO moral demands
                               (2)  they often encouraged sinful behavior - ie:  fertility gods, god of wine, etc.
Yahweh has moral guidelines for his people.

(3) Ignorance - Hosea 4:6 = Self imposed ignorance!! - not the inability to know, but the choice NOT to know.

Before "application to us" - the "Ism".  

Note:  "THE LAW"
Mosaic Law = Ceremonial - Civil - Moral

(1)  We are NOT obligated to Their ceremonial/civil laws
(ceremonial laws fulfilled in Christ, civil - for their culture and time.)

(2)  We ARE obligated to the Moral laws (which = eternal, unchanging)

(3)  these Moral Laws  (God's laws) should shape and direct OUR Worship and our Civil Laws!!

In other words, IF we shape our 'ceremonial practices' (worship) AND our 'civil laws' APART from God's MORAL Law(s), THEN we are doing exactly wheat they did!!!

Example:  From Solomon's death to the fall = 345 years.  from 1776 to today = 245 years.

Some Observations:  

#1 - Ignorance of God's law(s) is ignorance of God.  He has revealed Himself (His character) and His will in His laws.  (not only in the Mosaic Law but throughout Scripture - ex. Sermon on the Mount)   

#2 - God's law is compromised when we ''add to" or "take from" it.  Deut. 4:2,  Rev. 22:18-19 - if do, are compromising His law.

#3.  Civil law created apart from God's law (moral) is faulty law.  like a body without a skeleton.  We are not supposed to make laws.  We are supposed to discover God's laws.

#4.  Worship apart from Knowledge is faulty worshipincomplete at best.  heretical at worst - John 4:19-24 - woman at the well.
On one hand, sincerity matters - God looks on the heart.  However, sincerity is not a substitute for truth!  We in the US are without excuse!

#5.  A nation's knowledge of God cannot exceed the people's knowledge of God. 
On one hand, not called to be a prophet
However, ARE called to be "salt" - Matt. 5:13  "if salt loses it's saltiness...."??

You are called to Make an Eternal Difference!  How will you do that... without knowing God's Law(s)?  Judgment will begin with the house of God.

Closing:  Matt. 5:13-16