Summary: Pentecost 13(C) - Grab hold the power of God and hold fast to God’s power. The times are evil and many false prophets only dream up lies. God’s Word still remains the only truth.
HOLD FAST TO THE POWER OF GOD
September 3, 2006 - PENTECOST 13 - Jeremiah 23:23-29
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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
You and I realize that our lives are infected and affected by sin. One of the problems of sin is that everybody likes to be in control. That means there is always a power struggle. We see it day to day. There is a power struggle among nations. One nation wants to be in control of other nations to control oil, arms and weapons and the list goes on. Sadly, this grab for power started very early on, didn’t it? The struggle for power started in God’s perfect world that he had created. Satan himself tried to grab God’s power from him. There is Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were told one thing not to do. Do not eat from the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan knows that, and he tempts them. Eve eats and Adam eats. Satan grabbed a little bit of God’s power, or so he thought. God is more powerful than Satan. God’s power was that even though mankind had brought imperfection into a perfect world, he would bring perfection back by the sacrifice of his Son.
We are going to talk about our personal power struggle and grabbing God’s power and holding onto it. This is an age-old problem that began with Adam and Eve, a problem that continued through the Old Testament and New Testament and into the very lives that we live today. So how are we going to grab on to God’s power? Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:21,22). This is good advice. He says to us this morning—HOLD FAST TO GOD’S POWER. It is important for us to do that because we are going to learn that:
I. False prophets dream up lies,
II. God’s word is the only truth that counts
I. FALSE PROPHETS DREAM UP LIES
Jeremiah was God’s chosen and called prophet. Jeremiah was also a called and chosen prophet of God to tell God’s people God’s judgment. The people of Israel had forgotten the Lord. The people of Israel didn’t just sin against God. They had forgotten him. Jeremiah was sent to these people to tell them to come back. Jeremiah was sent to these people to tell them to repent or else. Of course, the people didn’t want to hear that message. The people didn’t want to listen to someone that God had sent them. What had happened is they wanted to listen to the false prophets. In verse 21: "I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied." This is talking about the false prophets. They thought they were getting away with something. They were telling the people what they wanted to hear. So Jeremiah’s message was ignored and forgotten.
Was he going to give up? No, not really. The Lord points out that he sees and hears and knows what these false prophets are up to. In verse 25: "I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name." They say, ’I had a dream! I had a dream!’" It was common during the time of the Old Testament prophets that they would be given visions and dreams to tell God’s people what God had spoken. When they heard those words the people thought, "Well, these prophets are speaking what God wants them to say." But they weren’t. Listen to what God says, "How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?" God says, "How long?" Their dreams were their own dreams and not God’s dreams or visions or messages. They were false prophets. Jeremiah came to speak the harsh message of God’s judgment, and the people rejected it. Then God says, "How long will these false prophets dream up lies or how long will God’s people forget him? "They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship." The people began to worship false gods.
This happened even without the encouragement of these false prophets. Jeremiah was a prophet who lived during the time of six different kings in the history of Israel. Sadly, each king was worse than the next. Each king led God’s people farther and farther away from God until they worshipped false gods and finally forgot God. When God’s prophet comes, they have very little use for him. Jeremiah had a difficult life. The people had rejected Jeremiah and their leaders threatened his life.