Summary: God is looking for people today who will put their trust in Him – and He will grant eternal life to all who place their trust in Him
“Heeding God’s Word”
INTRODUCTION: I believe that no ordinary man has ever had a more difficult commission than Jeremiah.
In the day when the army of Babylon was at the gates of Jerusalem, it was his unpopular duty to counsel submission, declaring that the king of Babylon would certainly take and destroy the city. [He had to tell everyone to surrender, because God had told Him to do so.]
This made him the object of bitter hatred on the part of zealous nationalists and patriots.
But Jeremiah continued to preach what God had given him, even though he spent time in prison for his prophecies.
***I believe this to be one of the best testimonies to Jeremiah’s legitimacy as a prophet – Had he been a false prophet seeking his own glory, his prophecy would have changed when the heat turned up.
• But Jeremiah stayed true to the message given to him from God
• I am sad to say that many preachers today are not staying true to the Word of God, but that they are changing to win popularity with the crowds
• There is a movement of so-called ‘prophets’ today that will only tell you good things [i.e. You’re going to sing beautifully for God or you’re going to make a lot of money] You will never hear these people say, ‘you are going to hell if you don’t repent’ because they know that such phrases are unpopular and yield very little in the collection plate
• But Jeremiah was real – His prophecies were from God – and because he spoke of judgment for disobedience he was met with hatred rather than honor
OBJECTIVE: Today I want to show you a parallel of what was happening in Jeremiah’s time, and the time we are living in now. How the people reacted to Jeremiah’s prophecies, and how people are reacting to the preaching of the true Gospel today.
I. The kings advisors made excuses for not hearing God’s Word
READ: 38:4 “Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.”
a. The advisor’s first excuse for not listening was that Jeremiah was weakening morale
i. They were basically saying, “He is telling us that we are wrong and that doesn’t make us feel good, so we will not listen to him.”
1. When we as Christians say that an act is sinful, we are told that we are weakening other people’s spirits – and we shouldn’t do that according to the ‘experts’
2. There is even a group of people out there who are saying you shouldn’t discipline your children because all you do is hinder their personality – and they will grow up with a guilt complex [hogwash]
3. Many pastors are attacked today when they preach God’s Word without reservation, as men who simply want to demean others and build themselves up
4. Many people today fear any preaching that will ‘weaken the morale’
b. The advisor’s second excuse for not listening was that Jeremiah’s motives were impure
i. They said, “He doesn’t want what’s best for us, he wants to see us suffer”
1. Many people today despise the church because they feel that the motives are not pure
2. How many times have you heard the phrase, “I am not going to church, because it is full of hypocrites and the pastor is all about money”?
c. My question is, “what excuse are you using to keep from hearing God’s Word?
i. God was telling these people if they would simply leave their city and trust Him, then He would take care of them
ii. Likewise God is telling us today, “If we will leave our sin, and trust in Him through His Son Jesus, He will take care of our eternity”
iii. But we use the excuses:
1. The Bible is too old to be taken seriously, it just contains fairy tales
2. All religions are the same, Jesus can’t be the only way
3. I don’t believe God can be known
4. I am going to wait till I am older
5. There is no such thing as absolute truth
iv. What’s your excuse? What’s keeping you from leaving your sin and going to God?
II. The King feared surrendering to God’s Word
READ: 38:19 “And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.”
a. Notice it was not unbelief that kept the King from surrendering to God’s Will, it was His fear of what would happen to Him