Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Call to Repentance

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.  For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.  -Jeremiah 7:4-7 (KJV)

God made it clear to His people that a change was needed in their lives.  It was a challenge for them to amend their ways and their doings.  If they would, the result would be remaining in the land of Israel.  They would be victorious over those who sought to destroy them.  This message of repentance was delivered by Jeremiah to religious people going in and out of the Temple.  The problem was they were trusting in their heritage and religious experience to get them in right standing with God.  What places a person in proper standing with God?  It is having received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  These were a people whose hearts were in need of regeneration.  They went to the Temple and worshipped, they boasted about their heritage as the people of Israel, and yet their hearts remained far from God.

Jeremiah warned them not to trust in lying words.  The people were not being taught the Word of God by the priests.  The priests were watering down God's Word down by telling the people they what they wanted to hear.  The last thing that we should preach today is that people are fine just the way they are, for they are not.  What is needed is a heart changed by the power of Jesus Christ.  Only then can a person be in right standing with God. 

The priests were putting great emphasis on the Temple, telling people that this was their security and as long as they had the temple they were all right with God.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  They came to find out later on that their strength did not rest in the Temple, but in God.  In 587 BC the Temple was torn down by the Babylonians, and in succeeding years, after the exile, it was rebuilt.  Recall what Jesus said about the Temple during His ministry on earth.  The Bible says in Matthew 24:1, 2, " And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

These words were fulfilled In AD 71.  The Romans came in and destroyed the city of Jerusalem and tore down the Temple, and it stands in ruins even today, with only the Wailing Wall remaining.

Our hope is always in the Lord.  Everything else is temporal, but God is forever.