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January 10, 2021 1:00 am
God allowed Babylon to take Israel captive after the people turned to idolatry. God won’t tolerate endless disobedience from His people—He didn’t then, and He won’t today. God judges a people who call darkness light, and light darkness.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
God had Babylon take Israel captive. After Israel deceived itself into idolatry.
He will not tolerate endless disobedience from his people.
He did not then and will not today. The story is in the early chapters of Jeremiah stay with us from Chicago.
This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are today we continue with 10 part series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of a spirit filled witness later Erwin lutes will talk about when darkness is called light and light darkness. Dr. Lidster comes now to open our service. In a few moments were going to sing to God, immortal, invisible, God only wise and wonderful opportunity for us to worship together and remind ourselves of why we are here because we are here because of ourselves were here to give glory and honor to God, and whether you had a hard time parking or a difficult time getting here or not.
Fact is that our focus must be upon the Lord's work to pray now and invite God to take away any stray thoughts any kinds of anxieties any residue left over from last week so that we can give God our full attention. Would you join me as we pray, and then will worship in song.
Father, thank you that your presence is with us. We thank you for the blessed Holy Spirit of God is been ordered out upon your people and we pray that as we sing together worship together, learn together and listen together you might be glorified. Ask in Jesus name, amen and I follow along with me from one this is God's will. This is where I proclaim to you that God is not running him is no doubt if we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we live. I do not practice Bob Walken did not live. We have fellowship with one another and not from it. We went. If we confess our sins and just to forgive all things under blends from all say we have nothing would make him a liar on this one is not in my children I'm writing this to you so that you may not seem what anyone else we have a look at it with his father, Jesus Christ is usually tossing I'm not flossing but also for the sins of the whole world on by this we know that we have gone to know him, is it was the prophet Isaiah who said woe to those who called darkness to light and light darkness. The prophet Jeremiah would've certainly agreed were living at a time of inverted values where light is darkness and darkness is light numbered years ago in the legislature in Kansas.
A man by the name of Joe Wright prayed a prayer. Now everybody in the Senate was expecting the usual attitude that don't mean anything, but he tried to shed some light on our nation and in part this is what he prayed. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word and called it pluralism we have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism we have endorsed perversion and called it an alternate lifestyle.
We've exploited the poor and called it the lottery we have killed her unborn and called the choice we have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition, we have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed time-honored values of our forefathers and we have called it enlightenment you can understand that the reaction was immediate. Some walked out of the Senate immediately. Later on he received many phone calls, most of which by the way, overwhelmingly were in favor of his prayer, but the opposition continued for weeks after that prayer in the Senate trying to shed some light on a nation that calls light darkness and darkness, light, and we see this today morally. I mean we can refer to what is happening as a result of same-sex marriage, and that legislation now. Of course the boys can enter into girls washrooms if they are transgender and that if the girls complain they have no argument because all of the rights belong to the transgender people and not to them, and then the governor of California signing a law that says now in California. Children can have more than two parents they can have three or four or whatever the total destruction of the family is called progress.
We are actually moving down a very progressive way and a progressive road light is being called darkness and darkness is being called light. We should look religiously and what we find is because of a misinterpretation of the separation of church and state is a nation. Now we have said that all public expressions of Christianity in the so-called public sphere are to be criminalized so freedom of speech is constantly being marginalized and challenged and we call that progress now. If you're thinking that this message is only going to be reiterating the sins of our nation.
I want to let you know that there is going to also be hope. Most assuredly, as we begun this series of messages on the book of Jeremiah hope will be given, and I certainly don't want to give the impression as some people have that all of you Christians do is condemn people and that's all that you really are able to do.
As if that is Christianity. Last week I found myself at an airport two hours longer than I intended. Because the plane was late, so I struck up a conversation with a woman there and done, of course, immediately within three or four questions I was talking to her about God and religion all those things she said long ago I gave up on Christianity because in my church it was obeying a list of rules and if you didn't open bay those rules.
You went to hell and I smiled at her. I said can you imagine that if that's your view of Christianity.
How in the world can that be good news. When the gospel is some very good news. Your church has misled you. If that is Christianity. So we're going to be able to offer hope and forgiveness and help. But we have to paint the picture as it exists before we can do that we have to see the darkness before we come to the light, and certainly no profit enables us to see that darkness as well is Jeremiah. It is difficult. It's difficult because chapter after chapter God is angry at sin and God is judging his people, but the parallels between that and today are really endless and very applicable. Now, if you've already felt offended and I'm scarcely into the message I want you to hang on because at the end of the day will have something to say to you that might be very helpful in transforming the matter what your response so far to this message has been when we open the book of Jeremiah, and I certainly hope that you were here last time because this happens to be the second in a series of messages entitled the church in Babylon and were really not yet in Babel and in this series that's coming up in a number of different messages, but that we already see the influence of babbling in the nation of Judah and the book of Jeremiah opens with the call of Jeremiah and all that we covered last time, but that it goes on to speak about the fact that God is filing for divorce. God files for divorce with the people of Judah, you know, he says in chapter 2 I remember the devotion of your youth. Your love as a bride how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown, Israel was holy to the Lord. The first words of his artist and so he talks about the time when he courted the nation and now the nation has left him and God says I'm about to divorce. You know whether or not God goes through with the divorce or not you're going to have to wait until the end of the message.
But God did divorce the northern kingdom explained last time that after the time of Solomon, who had the northern kingdom which is called Israel. That's confusing for us today is in it because today we call the entire land of Israel.
But that was Israel vague capital was Samaria and the southern kingdom was called Judah, and the capital, of course, was Jerusalem, so you'll notice in chapter 3 the Lord says in verse eight, she saw that for all the adulteries of that faith was when Israel got us talking about Judah now she saw the faithless one. Israel I sent her away with the decree of divorce yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she went and played the horror as well. So what God is saying is I sent as Syria that captured the northern kingdom 721 and all of the Jews were taken captive to Assyria and you didn't learn and now you're doing the very same things.
So I'm filing for divorce with you as well. And the Lord talks about that and says I will contend with you when I got to go into all the evidence as to why God had a right to divorce his people, except to say that there was a time when I was taking care of you. I was with you there in Egypt, I led you across the Red Sea and now you've turned to other God's I know that America is not Israel but sometimes there are interesting parallels. It is true that in our history as a country. The Judeo-Christian influence was huge and now we've turned away from all that consciously. So is this message will point out. Here's what I'd like to do and thank you for giving me permission to do it, though, as I frequently say I do it whether I had your permission or not and that is I'm going to give you for a lie is that a nation gladly believes in the process of turning light into darkness and darkness into light nations cast about saying I want these lies where can I find them wide isolated four of them were only going to look at a few verses from the book of Jeremiah. Obviously I'm not going to be going through verse by verse or chapter by chapter.
You can read that on your own, but here are the lies number one.
The consequences of our rebellion can be managed isn't that serious. If we leave the Lord because we can handle whatever happens as a result of our rebellion. They said we can handle it politically. God says you see Babel and is going to come and he's going to destroy all of you, and eventually that happens.
That's why this series is so important were going to weep with Jeremiah when that happens, but you'll notice what the Lord says in verse 17. Now I'm in chapter 2 verse 17 have you. You brought this upon yourself. God says by forsaking the Lord your God, and know what you gain by going to Egypt and later on he's is going to Assyria. Assyria was a world power, but was diminishing so the folks of Judah thought we can actually become allies with Assyria against Babel in order Egypt they'll help us so they turn to politics to deliver them. Now I have to say that politics is very important. I was in Washington about two weeks ago and one of our congressman said this to a few of us. He said you know you expect us to enact righteous laws and value driven laws here in Washington.
How can we do that unless you send us with those kinds of values. I thought you know he really has a point here, wow, yeah. How can we expect righteousness, and righteous laws to come from Washington. In light of who we send to Washington politics is important but it isn't all important. When God wants to judge and nation.
No political party can keep off that judgment. That's what God is saying here as he tells the people you think you can handle it by depending upon another country so they thought that they could handle the consequences of their disobedience politically but also individually. You'll notice he says in verse 22 though your will wash yourself with a lie and use much soap the state of your guilt is still before me. They thought we can take care of our sin by some home remedies all that we need to do is to look at it externally and think to ourselves, we can take care of our own consciences. We can take care of this staying that is in our hearts we can do all that on our own because we know that we can wash our own hearts with the water that is figuratively speaking within our own hearts and today. Of course we have many different ways that people try to handle their sin and mitigate the consequences whether it's through drugs or alcohol. Whether it's through pleasure in some way or another. The consequences of our individual disobedience. Those consequences are masked and we want to believe the lie that sin isn't nearly as serious and its consequences. As God clearly says it is lie number one we can handle the consequences lie number two if we follow our rebellious desires. If we leave the living God.
We achieve freedom. In fact that's what it says in verse 31 chapter 2 and you will generation. Behold, the word of the Lord have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of thick darkness. Why then do my people say we are free we won't come into you anymore. We don't need God being need freedom so they thought to themselves, it was freedom but wasn't really freedom, no it was a kind of bondage that you don't notice at the beginning but as you go along that road you discover that all of the results begin to come in for example in chapter 2. I'm actually now backing up in verse 25 where it says keep your feet from going on. Shot in your throat from thirst.
But you said it is hopeless scribe loved foreigners that his foreign gods and will go after them. Problem is, now they are driven by these foreign gods they become heavy users at they discover that these foreign gods. They promise like a god, but in the end they pay like the devil they discover that they are deceived. So the idea that if we cast off God's restraints as it says in bold letters cast aside their restraints are restraints, well you know what the next verse says in Psalm two he who sits in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall have them in duration and today we are being told that the real path to freedom is the path to do our own thing, apart from God's law and the result is an addictive society and the people also said that we can be free religiously. We don't need God anymore look at what it says there in verse 27 there saying to the idols. You are my father and to a stone you gave me birth, for they have turned their back to me and not their face.
While that phrase in itself is worthy of an entire message but in time of trouble they will say, arise and save us though say we can rebel against God. But in the end, when things are really bad will just crap to God and will expect them to come through for us and God says them. No, not necessarily because you see your heart still isn't right. You think that the path to freedom is to be away from God and to do your thing.
But the path to true freedom is to relate to the truth of God. You shall know the truth.
Jesus said, and the truth shall set you free. There is nobody is free as a person who is not bound by his sin, and so God says to the people. The path to freedom that you think exists leads to bondage.
There's 1/3 lie in for this were going to actually turn to chapter 6 and that is that the new paths are better than the ancient paths the ancient paths have to be left behind. By the way so many great verses were skipping here in chapter 4. For example, it says in verse two and following that the Lord lives, and I'm now actually in verse three for thus says the Lord, to the men and of Judah and Jerusalem break up your fallow ground.
Not that word means. It means the unplowed ground. God describes in Jeremiah the different ways that people have hard hearts.
So you're saying if you want good to see to fall into the soil, you're gonna have to break up that unplowed ground that you've allowed to go to seed with weeds, but it does not bear the right fruit. What a lesson for us today, but you'll notice in chapter 6 it says this thus says the Lord. I'm in verse 16. Are you able to keep up with me. I keep giving you the reference. I hope that you are chapter 6, verse 16. Thus says the Lord, stand by the roads and look and ask for the ancient paths were the good way is, and walk in it and find rest for your souls. But they said we will not walk and it God says I set watchmen over you saying pay attention to the sound of the trumpet, but they say will not pay attention. Therefore, hero nations, and no congregation. What will happen to them here or earth.
Behold, I bring disaster upon this people.
I wonder if our nation United States of America hears these words last night I was meditating on this message as I do every Saturday evening.
It's amazing how things come together on Saturday evening when you have to preach on Sunday and it just dawned on me. I thought where are those points in time when America was at the crossroads when America had two rows that it could choose from, and at the crossroads. It made the wrong choice. A number came to me and again don't be offended. Just accept the truth. First of all, I think, in 1973 when the Supreme Court said that abortion could be performed before any reason or no reason at all and I know that there are many, to whom I'm speaking here today. I'm sure there are those of you mothers who had an abortion and I understand I understand the grief and the anguish I remember a young woman who said I don't want to kill my baby, but I get pressure from my boyfriend. I get pressure from my parents.
It's a very, very complex thing, but when the Supreme Court said that pre-born infants may be killed either in the womb and often times outside of the womb. Can you even imagine what this has men to our country in terms of the value and of course we offer to all forgiveness, the grace and the cleansing of Christ, but we were at a crossroad and we took the wrong path, not the ancient path, not the biblical path we took a different path and the results are catastrophic. I think of another time and that is somewhere along the line, it was concluded that in our public schools. There could be no reference to a creator that science had to be taught as it is and has has been in all atheistic countries where there can be no appeal to God, whatever that we just came from and and Neva amoeba is that the word I forget where I came from and somehow we all developed into who we are today explosion in a print factory and the result was a Webster's dictionary people were asked to believe that so we came up through the animal kingdom like the monkey said in the zoo in my my keepers brother asked that question and the implications of coming through the animal kingdom huge in terms of who we are in terms of the uniqueness of human life and so forth has to do with all kinds of issues in society, but we said we are excluding God, where excluding the designer I think was Carl Sagan who said design yes but designer no. In other words your own thing, something else happened.
We are at the crossroads and I don't know exactly when this happened, or why it happened because I have been alive during this period of time. Obviously, and as I look at this congregation, I realize that some of you also would've been alive during that period of time and oftentimes tell by the color of your hair and that is political correctness, destroying us this week I was on the telephone with a woman who investigates textbooks among other things. She talked about this company that published a textbook that said that 37 pages she said was given to Islam how Islam gave us peace and architecture in a great civilization.
Christianity 13 pages headlined the Crusaders Christianity gave us the Crusades Christianity did this and that and there is a Muslim informant or in form, I should say on the committee who said that he is going to make textbooks pro-Islamic and if anyone disagrees with him. He said I will call them Islamic phobic intolerant and racist. So that's the way it is. So everybody bows down says will who wants to be intolerant and racist and Islamic phobic.
Now if your year-to-date is a Muslim, or you're listening to this message. Let me say that we are so glad that you are listening and we are not painting all of Islam with the same brush.
I'm simply telling you what someone told me this past week we have become paralyzed and Deb Europe, especially I could go into that. But we must hurry on so that's 1/3 time when we're at the crossroads and we chose the wrong direction. The great sin of intolerance you know someone that wrote these words and I hope that I can find them here. If you can believe that there are no absolutes and believe that absolutely if you can teach young minds that there are no objective truths, and yet you teach this truth objectively. If you can close your mind to the ideas of those whom you consider to be close minded if you can refuse to tolerate anyone you choose to label intolerant if you consider it immoral to stand against immorality. If you can make the judgment that Judge mentalism is wrong and you can further make the judgment that others who judge things to be wrong are just to judge mental if you can force others to conform to your idea of diversity. What goes on. The idea is that the end of the line you really are PC politically correct paralyzed, then there's 1/4 point at which we chose the wrong path and that has to do with same-sex marriage and for those of you who struggle with same-sex attraction, just hear me out, and that is as a result, the destruction of the marriage is well on its way and that's why the governor can sign a bill that says that you can have more than two parents boys if their transit gender can go into girls washrooms what's really going on.
There is a violent revolt against creation, femininity and masculinity and so we as a nation are changing the rules and we are choosing the wrong path. God says very clearly. He says choose the ancient path that doesn't mean that we should live in the past. You can learn from the past without living in the past and God says that we as a nation must choose the right path.
The ancient paths but they said we will not walk in at pay attention to the sound of the trumpet. God says, but they said we will not pay attention now. We should all weep. Therefore own nation. Oh congregation, what will happen to them, behold, I'm bringing disaster upon this people because they have not paid attention to my words. The Bible is a smooth path for a very difficult journey but that's where we should go to for wisdom by word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. We must choose the ancient path and if our nation doesn't, we must individually and personally and as a church choose the ancient paths. Now there's 1/4 lie and perhaps it's the worst and the most sobering if the lie that the loss of the presence of God is not fatal to worship.
In other words, God's presence can leave and we can go on worshiping after understand when you read the book of Jeremiah that Ezekiel was also written during this period of time and Ezekiel is the one who sees the glory of God leave. I think the description is in the 10th chapter of Ezekiel where he says the glory of God went to the threshold of the tabernacle. Then the glory of God went to the outskirts of the city and then beyond that, the glory of God disappeared. On the other side of the Mount of olives, the glory of God left but the people Worshiping with or without the presence of God is this very interesting.
Once again, your Bibles are open and it says this in chapter 7 and I'm now in verse three thus says the Lord of hosts of Israel and then your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words parenthesis next week's message is on false prophets will probably want to be one of the most important in this series of messages because they were the ones that were giving the deceptive words I'm even going to try to teach you how to detect a false prophet because they are everywhere, so don't trust in deceptive words and here they are. This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, I mean were worshiping in God's house so why won't he deliver us a God goes on to say you're bringing all your sins and you're not dealing with them.
The people said you know we can go on with the ritual we can still sing the right songs we can go to temple we can go to church weekend to all these things and still have God and still be religious whether his presence is there not you know the most distinctive indication of the people of God is that his presence should be among us. When people come into Moody Church they should say Shirley God is in this place. May it never be said that his presence will leave us but we can take it for granted Kennelly now.
Why is the love of darkness. Jesus said, men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. I told you that I was going to give you some hope because first of all we paint the darkness, then we paint the light first of all, please keep in mind that the reason for all of these chapters and we've only touched a few verses. But the reason is because God is saying. What do I need is say to you so that you'll come back to me.
The whole purpose despite its harshness and you know that's why I put off preaching this series for a long time because there's something in Jeremiah that doesn't really fit my my nature in terms of wanting to preach. I'd much rather reaching a very positive message and there's a room for that in a time for that, but what God is saying in all of this is. Don't you see how serious sin is and you must turn to me, that's the whole point that I began this message by saying God filed for divorce against Judah.
Did Eva fill it know he didn't carry through with the divorce all through these passages. What you see is God keep saying come back to me because I'm your master one translation says I'm your husband, and furthermore, in the end you're going to come back. Another reason why many of us believe that God is not yet finished with the Jewish people that there is going to be a time the great restoration is because Jeremiah describes some events that have never happened when the people are brought back from the different parts of the world and they are in the land and they are worshiping him.
So God says I filed for divorce, but I haven't gone through with it because I do want to bring you back and once again you will be my wife and I will be your husband.
You see those of you who felt offended because I mention certain sins and by the way, people who are addicted. Often times are very very easily offended because what you have is this synthesis between Shane and feeling offended and conviction it's it's it's really something is in it and that those of you remember this the whole point is so that you might come to God, and know how gracious and merciful he is and how he's waiting for you to come to him. So that's number one. Number two, we have to remember not just that God wants our hearts by the time God sees a nation. Jeremiah certainly saw his nation in his day and God sees America today. God sees and nation. But God also sees individuals he sees you as an individual. Don't get lost in all of his look at what's happened to America without looking into your own soul. For example, here's Jeremiah. Notice in chapter 4 verse 19, Jeremiah is speaking my anguish my anguish. I arrive in pain all the walls of my heart.
My heart is beating wildly. I cannot keep silent.
For I hear the sound of the trumpet. The alarm of war listen to me carefully.
Now look into my eyes. If you're able to do that, you know what America really needs it needs more people who will weep because of the sins of this nation. That's what America really needs. I was hoping you're out there for a while I thought maybe you were. We need people but not only those who weep. We also need those who work because there are many places where God is doing wonderful things in America later on were going to talk about the church in Babel, and more specifically, and show that in the midst of a nation that has lost its way. God often times has not only reform movements but ministries and we could name many of them connected with The Moody Church. So it's not as if we simply sit back and wait for the judgment know know we are active we are serving we are representing God in a fallen world, and what Augustine called the city of man we pick up the pieces of this broken culture and we give hope and help to this culture. So thank you for all those of you for doing what you can.
I wouldn't be witnessing to his many people as I try to as I connect with people.
If I didn't believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation and is the only hope for every individual to be in God's presence forever. I would not be devoting my life to spreading that message if I didn't believe that God called us to this hour to represent him as best as we can. As I say repeatedly in all the different locations represented at The Moody Church finally is most important how Jesus is the end of Jeremiah's search for one perfect man. Did you know and you know, of course. Today we've been looking at so many different passages but they're all here in chapter 5 God says to Jeremiah if you can find one righteous man. I will judge the whole country while Jeremiah begins his search, he says. First of all, he went to the poor people surely there is that I couldn't find any righteous person couldn't find any person who is perfect and righteous. He said I went to the rich. I thought surely those who were upper middle class or higher middle-class.
Surely there'd be some righteous among them. He said I check them out. I couldn't find is that I scoured the city of Jerusalem, I went to the various neighborhoods I'm looking for one righteous man. He said he couldn't and you know, the same is true in America. Here you can go down any street in any alley and any home and you will not find one righteous person because the Bible says there is none righteous, no not one. Wow were all tainted with sin, but that's the whole purpose when we read a passage like that we should say, boy, are we ever glad that now we can get to Jesus really fast because he is the perfect one. He's the perfect sacrifice he meets God's requirements so that judgment does not need to come to us because if we trust him as our representative as our Savior if we trust him, he becomes ours. The judgment of God in eternity doesn't fall on us, because it fell on him. We believe on him and thank God we have found the one righteous man who can deliver us anybody glad for that fact that we found the one righteous man. The great deliverer now for all of you were listening no matter where you are in your spiritual journey deal Moody founded this church said many interesting things many true things. Many pithy things but there's one quote I want to leave with you, and he said this, it is possible for a man and of course he did include women in that it is possible he said for a man to be as vile as hell in one moment and be saved. The next conversion isn't something that just happens over a period of time. Now you know. You may grow into an understanding. But the moment you believe you are saved, no matter what your past is no matter what you done because the message of the gospel is good news. It isn't just keep these roles and if you don't go to hell all of us in one way or another, often break the rules, but Jesus Christ is our Savior and because we believe in him we are saved, no matter who we are, no matter our background, no matter our past, Jesus can save anyone he can save to the uttermost. The Bible says all those who come unto God by him because he died in our behalf. I say it again. Man can be as vile as hell in one moment they saved the next because sometimes we even sing that song you know the vilest of sinners who truly believes that moment from Jesus apartment receives so that woman at the airport was on her way to Montréal before she left I left her a copy of the gospel of John and explained to her that the gospel is not what she thought it was but we have a Savior to bring us into God's presence to give us a personal relationship with him no matter which direction our country goes, we ourselves can walk with God and if you agree with that and I hope you do would you bow your head in prayer. Now after that message that I just preached you need to talk to God. Some of you have never trusted Christ as Savior want you just say okay that moment. This moment I believe in him is my righteousness as my perfect sacrifice as my Savior, who kept all the laws in my behalf believe and be saved. Would you right now believe and be saved and father, we thank you that you are a holy God, we thank you all so that Jesus met our requirements of your holiness. So we worship you because you are holy yesterday Lord, that you might make us like Jeremiah 2 week over the sins of our nation help us in Jesus name, amen on today's Moody Church. Our Dr. Erwin Lutzer talked about when darkness is called white and light darkness. The 2nd to 10 messages in a series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness next time on The Moody Church. Our we look to Jeremiah chapter 5 and learn about recognizing false prophets the church in Babylon series shows us how to live during times of spiritual darkness. This series is imprint as Erwin Blitzer's book the church in Babylon. The company is waiting for you as our thank you for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our just call us at 1-800-215-5001.
Ask about the church in Babylon when you call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin Lutzer and the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church