Text Jeremiah 7:1-15
I. I regularly read in the papers about people who died in some natural disaster.
A. Many times the death was needless. People knew the disaster was coming, but refused to heed the warnings. Though authorities told them to leave, there is always a few who decide to stay. Why?
1. For most it is because earlier warnings came to nothing, so why bother this time?
2. For others it is the fact that nothing has happened to them so far, so “obviously” it will continue.
B. Jeremiah was commissioned with an impossible task
1. Israel, the northern kingdom, had fallen to Assyria hundreds of years ago, and now God has decided that Judah, the southern kingdom, must fall as well- Jeremiah 1:16
a. Jeremiah’s job was to tell this message to people who would not want to hear it - Jeremiah 1:17-19
b. No one would listen, but it would happen regardless - Jeremiah 6:10-15
2. Jeremiah was to deliver the warning - Jeremiah 7:1-3
a. Don’t falsely assume that nothing can happen because God’s temple was located in Judah - Jeremiah 7:4
b. They thought that nothing would change, so they had no desire to personally change - Jeremiah 7:5-11
(1) All their sins didn’t matter
(2) Because they could go to God’s house and claim deliverance!
c. Remember Shiloh - Jeremiah 7:12-15
C. Shiloh was where the tabernacle eventually was located before the Temple was built - Joshua 18:1
1. The ark of the covenant was there. God’s presence was there.
2. Over the years, the people came to believe that so long as the ark was there, they were invincible, even if they lived immorally.
a. Idolatry spread through the land - Judges 18:31
b. Priests began serving who did not know God - I Samuel 2:12
c. It became so bad that people didn’t like to come to offer sacrifices - I Samuel 2:17
3. Eli, though he knew of the corruption, did not remove the corrupt priests because they were his own sons - I Samuel 2:29
4. Then, in a battle against the Philistines, Israel lost. They thought that by bringing the ark of the covenant into battle, they would turn the tide - I Samuel 4:2-5
5. But God wouldn’t be so used by men - I Samuel 4:10-11
D. Now in Jeremiah’s time God warned the people to remember what happened at Shiloh
II. It is shocking the misplaced confidence of people who call themselves Christians
A. A while back, a young man had wrote to the Grace Evangelical Society and asked, “Is it possible biblically to be a born again from above believer in Christ and be an active homosexual or live in a adulterous relationship?” He wrote to me and asked the same question, wondering what the difference in the response would be.
1. The answer he received from the Society shocked him. The person who answered said, “The simple answer is yes. I Corinthians 6 and other passages like this one talk about inheritance in heaven. Believers who live in a homosexual or adulterous relationship lose fellowship with God, and reward in heaven, and will suffer the consequences for their sin in this life. But they do not lose their salvation, nor does it prove they never had it in the first place. However, just because someone says they are a Christian does not mean they are. I would want to sit down and personally talk with such a person to see where they are at, and warn them of the consequences of such behavior."
2. It is an answer similar to one given by Sam Morris, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Stamford, Texas: "We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul! The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing to do with the salvation of his soul. ... All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger ... The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul." [The Possibility of Apostasy, C. R. Nichol, page 74].
B. Do you see the similarity between these responses and Judah’s belief just before God wiped them out?
C. They attempt to justify their belief by stating a person can lose fellowship with God while on earth, but can retain a fellowship with God after death.
1. The Bible is clear that sinners will end up in hell
a. Cannot inherit the kingdom - I Corinthians 6:9-10
b. Will suffer the second death - Revelation 21:8
c. Unless there is a change, a sinner will die - Luke 13:3
2. A person’s actions do affect his salvation - Romans 2:1-11
3. A person can be saved and then lose - Hebrews 6:4-6
a. The traditional hedge is to state a corrupt person never really was saved in the first place. They only had an appearance of being saved.
b. But notice the description in this passage. How clearer can you be that they once were saved?
4. If it were true that earthly actions do not affect our heavenly reward, then their position says Paul wasted his time - I Corinthians 9:27
D. These people need to remember Shiloh, and the fall of Israel, and the fall of Judah, and the destruction of Jerusalem - I Corinthians 10:6-12
III. But I constantly run into people who have misplaced their confidence in an entirely different way.
A. They read Hebrews 6:4-6 and wonder if they can be saved.
1. They think about the sins they committed and how willingly they did it.
2. Surely, they think, God isn’t interested in saving me
3. Perhaps I went too far and I cannot be saved.
4. Then they read I John 5:16-17 decide that they are doomed
B. But read Hebrews 6:4-6 again
1. It doesn’t say that they cannot be saved
2. It is talking to Christians, warning them that when a person goes too far it is impossible for Christians to talk them out of their sins.
C. That was the warning Jesus was delivering to the Jews - Mark 3:28-30
1. It is not a case that God doesn’t want to save people - II Peter 3:9
2. The problem was that they were going so far into disbelief that there didn’t remain a way back
D. It is the same warning that John is giving. There is a sin that will lead to death.
1. What sin?
2. The sin which is never repented of
3. That is why leaving is worse than never finding - II Peter 2:20-22
E. When a person is looking for a way back, they prove they haven’t gone too far
IV. We need confidence
A. We can know, and do know our standing before God - I John 2:3-6
B. Paul knew a reward awaited him - II Timothy 1:12
C. He wanted Timothy to have the same confidence - II Timothy 1:7-8
D. Be confident in what we have learned - II Timothy 3:14-15
E. Then we can be steadfast - I Corinthians 15:58
V. But we cannot be foolishly confident
A. Don’t condemn yourself in what you approve - Romans 14:22
B. Foolishly confident means you never check. You just know the way you are going must be right because that is the way you’re going - Matthew 7:21-23
C. Are you assuming that you’re saved or do you know you are saved?
D. Are you assuming that you’re lost or willing you trust in God’s promise?