Recently, I have been doing an in depth study of some of the major prophets of the Bible. Great men such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah have always been favorites of mine (and, I know the same is for some of you). The words of these prophets can bring to us things that we may have never considered before. And, these are things we commonly refer to them as being “prophetic”. Don’t let the word “prophetic” ever make you think of it as being boring, or too religious.
The fact is the more we allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives (or, to influence us), the more likely we will want to hear the deeper “prophetic” things of God.
We are a church that (for the most part) is Pentecostal, and it is naturally in our character to desire more of the Lord, and more of the deeper “prophetic” things that the Lord has for us.
Let me encourage some of you that if you pray and ask for the Lord’s help, and you decide to read from the great prophets of the Old Testament, you will sense the Holy Spirit stirring inside of you. Meditate on God’s Word. Allow it to build you up and give you strength.
I have found that seeing and experiencing the “prophetic” meaning of a scripture can easily become (spiritually) addictive. Now this morning I ask that you allow the Holy Spirit to blow His wind right through your soul as we hear God’s Holy Word. HE IS HERE!
Text: Jeremiah 7:1 thru 4
Before we look closely at our opening text you should know a little about the surroundings of these verses.
Jeremiah is known as the very young prophet who spent a great deal of his time prophesying and crying over the sins of Israel. Jeremiah actually began prophesying for the Lord at the tender age of thirteen.
The Lord used this young teenager to warn the Nation of Israel (God’s people) of God’s judgment on them.
There was a judgment coming their way because of their worshipping the idols of the false god, Baal.
Time and again God had warned his people not to worship anything or anyone else but Him, but they continued to do whatever they wanted to do.
They were going to the Temple supposedly for the purpose of worshipping the Lord on the Sabbath Day, but were disobeying God’s commandments everyday.
The way they were living had gone on for a very long time, in fact so long that they did not believe that God was serious about His warnings of judgment.
When they were not in THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD, these people went about their daily lives doing things and saying things that they knew were wrong.
Listen. God’s people cannot live like this for very long and not expect there to be severe consequences.
(As was the case for what we find here in Jeremiah.)
Things had become so bad that THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD was no longer a place of God’s blessings.
The result of all this was that the Nation of Israel was slowly turning their faith and trust in God into a religion.
No longer was their worship meaningful at the Temple.
They were doing things in the Temple that appeared to be worship. They were doing these things out of habit, and because they were trained to do them.
Does this situation with God’s people sound familiar to any of God’s people living in our day and time?
Sad to say – the answer is yes…
Actually if we were frank and honest with each other we would have to agree that this is a very real problem with some of us Christians, and some of our Christian churches. For some, going to THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD on Sunday morning has become a habit they have been trained to do. Sincerity and faithfulness to God has often been replaced with religion and tradition.
We have seen this to be a growing problem that has worsened over the years. I say – “God help us!”
The fact is (nowadays) there are many churches that are doing their very best to attract those who know the basics of Christianity but (for whatever reason) are not attending church. And for the most part this is good because people need to be in church, and sitting under God’s Word, and experiencing the very presence of God.
But there can be a problem with some of these churches if they only make people feel comfortable, but do not further the Kingdom of the Lord.
In other words, some churches that consider themselves to be THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD have found it easier to water down the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to attract and please the people that come there. Quite frankly (in some cases) THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD is becoming more and more religious and less and less righteous.
This is a growing problem in modern Christianity that many people do not realize. This situation is often no different than the situation we can read about with God’s people found in the Book of Jeremiah.
I trust I won’t disappoint you by telling you that we will not be watering down the Gospel of Christ here at this TEMPLE OF THE LORD.
One of the reasons we won’t is because we serve the same Jehovah God found in the Book of Jeremiah. God has never been happy when His children decide to compromise their faith in Him and become religious.
God has not changed His mind about what He expects from His children. He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. What He has to say to His people is the same thing that He had to say to His children during the days of Jeremiah. It is very important.
During the days of Jeremiah the children of God had disobeyed Him so much and for so long that even their enemies, the Babylonians, knew it. When Israel gave up being faithful to the Lord, their enemies even knew that Israel had lost the protection of God’s hand.
Israel had become vulnerable to an attack from their enemies. History tells us that (eventually) Israel was attacked by the Babylonians, and their armies were easily defeated.
Afterwards - Israel was then taken away from Jerusalem, and away from THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD.
All of Israel was forced to live as prisoners in Babylon. Young Jeremiah had prophesied to Israel and had warned them many times but God’s children would not listen to him speak the Word of the Lord.
How did a once strong and godly nation like Israel ever get to a point of being defeated and taken captive?
The fact is the Nation of Israel had become so involved with idolatry and false gods for so long that they actually believed they could trust in luck more than they could trust in the Lord God Jehovah.
At the time that all of this happened is where we find this morning’s text. Israel’s enemy was getting closer and closer to destroying the city of Jerusalem and THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. The enemy had come to attack the children of Israel and to destroy their Temple.
In our text, (Jeremiah 7) this was about to happen just any day now. The Prophet Jeremiah knew this, but the children of Israel did not believe it was going to ever happen. The reports of the enemy invading the more rural areas of Judah were coming in, but the spiritual leaders continued to hide their heads in the sand.
The real source of Israel’s problems was not their enemy, but it was their unrepentant heart.
They were unfaithful and disloyal to the Lord God Jehovah. THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD did not mean to God’s people what it once did.
THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD had become only a structure to all of God’s people. It had became a religious monument that stood for what it once used to be.
All of the days of devotion to God, and the jubilant worship of Him had passed.
The research that I have recently made has shown me many things that are similar to what is now going on with the children of God. But there is something that I found that was very strange about God’s people living in that day and time.
For the most part, people only went to THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD for religious ceremonies like weddings and funerals. Does this sound familiar? I’m afraid so…
Is history repeating itself here in the 21st century?
In Jeremiah 7, THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD had become a place where you only went to as a last resort during a time of crisis.
As the enemy was getting closer and closer to Jerusalem, Israel had become superstitious with what the Temple meant to them. They believed that as long as they could hide in or near the Temple they would be safe from their enemy.
The enemy was coming to destroy the children of the Lord and THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD simply because they were no longer protected by Jehovah God. Their sins had become so great that God’s judgment on them would now come at the hand of the enemy.
God would have nothing more to do with Israel.
The Prophet Jeremiah told them (in verse 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.’
Those who were shouting this had put their trust in the form of a sickening and sacrilegious chant.
The Nation of Israel was chanting this while denying their faith in God.
If you did not know this was sacrilegious you would read this and not see the real problem here.
You might read this and say well this all sounds good.
In fact – this was “The Temple of the Lord”.
Here is what Israel had come to. The trust in God that the Nation of Israel once had was now devoted to only a structure of brick and mortar.
There trust was in THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD…not in the Jehovah God that they had once worshipped.
Their faith in Jehovah God had now become nothing more than a superstition and their lucky charm was THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. So they chanted:
‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.’
Now listen. Their chanting was not a proclamation or a declaration of the power of God. It was foolish chatter being spoken from the doorway of THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD.
This chanting was meaningless and
This chant did not save them:
· from the attack of their enemy,
· from loosing Jerusalem and THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD to the enemy,
· from being taken into Babylonian captivity.
Close with a Question:
You may be asking, “Pastor, what does this story have to do with Lighthouse Assembly of God, and me and my friends and family?
What we have here at Lighthouse Assembly of God must be much more to us than just a building that we congregate/gather in.
When we come here to THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD -
1. it must be to repent of our foolish ways and to surrender our lives to our Lord and Master
2. it is for the purpose of genuine worship of our only true Savior
3. it is for the purpose of committing ourselves to obeying our Lord and His commands