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Babylon, Idolatry And You

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2021 1:00 am

Babylon, Idolatry And You

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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January 3, 2021 1:00 am

After a long period of nation-wide disobedience, God judged Israel by allowing Babylon to carry them off into captivity. They became a minority in a pagan land, just as Christians are fast becoming a minority in America today. The parallels are crucial to understand.

 Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)

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After long national disobedience, God judged Israel by having Babylon cart them off into captivity.

They became a minority in a pagan land, just as Christians are fast becoming a minority in America. The parallels are crucial to understand, so please stay with us. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin Lutzer. On this broadcast, we begin a 10-part series on The Church in Babylon, unleashing the power of a Spirit-filled Witness. Later, Erwin Lutzer will talk about Babylon, Idolatry, and You.

Dr. Lutzer comes now to open our service. And we ask Your blessing, O Father, that together we might be able to worship You and be absolutely confident as we sing together that we belong to You. Direct our thoughts now to Your Holy Word, we ask in Jesus' name.

Amen. I invite you to follow along with me in your bulletins as we read together from Psalm chapter 96. This is God's Holy Word. O sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord of the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name, tell of His salvation from day to day, declare His glory among the nations, He is marvelous from day to day, declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the people are worthless idols, but the Lord makes the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord all families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name, be an offering and come into His courts. Worship the Lord in the spender of holiness, tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, the Lord reigns.

Yes, the world is established, it shall never be moved. He will judge the people with equity. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise free. Holy, holy, holy, blessed Lord and mighty, God in three verses, blessed Trinity. Holy, holy, holy, Lord of darkness might be, holy eye of sinful man, light holy may not see. Holy now our holy, there is not beside Thee, perfect in confidence, love and mercy. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, all my works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy, blessed Lord and mighty, God in three verses, blessed Trinity. As morning dawns and evening rains, You inspire songs of praise, Then rise from earth to touch Your heart, And glorify Your name, Your name. It's a strong and mighty tower, Your name. It's a shelter like no other, Your name. Let the nations sing in power, Nothing has the power to save but Your name. Your name is a strong and mighty tower, Your name. It's a shelter like no other, Your name. Let the nations sing in power, Nothing has the power to save but Your name. It's a strong and mighty tower, Your name.

It's a shelter like no other, Your name. Let the nations sing in power, Nothing has the power to save but Your name. In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my love, my strength, my song, His voice my soul, His soundly crown, And with the fiercest cloud and storm, What hides the plow, what gets the feast, When fears are still, those driving seas, My comfort, my all in all, Here in the love of Christ I stand. In Christ alone He took my flesh, All His love God and help has made, His gift of love and righteousness, Sporn by the bones He came to save, Till God that calls let Jesus guide, The wrath of God was satisfied, For every sin on Him was laid, Here in the death of Christ I sing. There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain, Then mercy swore in glorious name, Up from the grave He rose again, And as He stands in victory, Since Christ has lost His grip on me, For I am His, and He is mine, On the precious blood of Christ. No fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me, The righteous pride to my own hand, Jesus demands my destiny, No power of hell, no seam of hand, Can ever pluck me from His hand, Till He returns, for God's sake all, Here in the blood of Christ I stand. No power of hell, no seam of hand, Can ever pluck me from His hand, Till He returns, for God's sake all, Here in the blood of Christ I stand. Here in the blood of Christ I stand. How graceful we are that we stand in the power of Christ.

Let me just thank the Lord for that. Father, thank you today that in your grace we stand where the wrath of God has already been, and that today we are exempt from that wrath because of Jesus, and we stand on that. We thank you that His blood can cover all sin. We pray that we might exalt His name today in Jesus' blessed name. Amen.

Amen. The Lord is my light and my salvation, Whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, The Lord is the strength of my life, Of whom then shall I be afraid? Oh, and wholesome men were laid against me, Yet shall not my heart be afraid, And though there was a war against me, Yet will I put my trust in Him, For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His tabernacle. In the secret places of His dwelling Shall He hide me and set me up Upon a rock, a rock of stone. The Lord is my light and my salvation, Whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, The Lord is the strength of my life, Of whom then shall I be afraid?

The Lord is the strength of my life, The Lord is the strength of my life, Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures living low, Praise Him above me heavenly host, Praise God the Son and Holy Ghost, Amen. What comes to your mind when I mention the name Babylon? Perhaps occultism would come to your mind. Certainly, immorality, violence, all of those things would be true. But the bottom line is one word, and that is idolatry. Babylon known for idolatry. That name Babylon occurs in the scripture about 200 times, mostly about ancient Babylon, but also about the Babylon of the future.

Perhaps in this series, eventually, we'll get to that. Jeremiah the prophet was writing during the time when the neo-Babylonian empire was beginning. You see, ancient Babylon had passed off the scene as a world power, but now Babylon was being revived and was actually overtaking Assyria as the world empire. And Jeremiah, God bless him, would actually live to see the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, the kingdom of Judah destroyed, Solomon's temple in ruins thoroughly and totally destroyed, and he would have to be a witness to it all. The reason I'm preaching this series of messages is, first of all, that we might renew and have a better understanding of God. If you see God as someone who is tolerant, who can put up with any kind of behavior endlessly, any kind of behavior on our part, your concept of God needs adjustment. We're going to see, thankfully, that he is a God of mercy, but he is also a God of great justice. We will be overwhelmed by God's hatred of sin.

Let's read the book of Jeremiah, and you can't get over it. So one thing is, we're going to expand our knowledge of God. The second thing that we want to do is to ask the question, what does faithfulness look like in a nation that is under judgment?

Because we as a nation undoubtedly are under the judgment of God, and what does it like for people, God's people, to live in the midst of that kind of an environment? When I began thinking about this project, this series of messages, initially, I was thinking about the time when the Israelites were carried into Babylon. And eventually, we'll get to that. But before we get to that, I have a number of messages, not entirely sure of the number, but a number of messages on this book of Jeremiah. I hope that you bring your Bibles.

It's so important for you to look at the text. Can we pray that God, by his Spirit, might use this series of messages to invigorate us? Even though the title is The Church in Babylon, remember the subtitle is Unleashing the Power of a Spirit-Filled Witness. What we want to do is to be strong, courageous, gracious, but uncompromising witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ in a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith.

Let's pray that it'll be transforming for all of us. Now, open your Bibles, Jeremiah chapter 1. You'll notice that it begins by talking about Josiah the king, and then lists other kings in the first opening verses. What is most important for us to realize is that Jeremiah had a very long ministry, over 40 years.

It began during the days of Josiah the king, the young Josiah who began to rule at the age of eight and was a righteous king. And then it ended with the destruction of Jerusalem, and Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. We're going to see him with tears.

We're going to look at the book of Lamentations eventually in this series, where Jeremiah is just unable to function. He is so overcome by the tears for his nation. Do you know what he's going to see? He's going to see the people of Judah not only carried off, but children starving. He's going to see destruction. He's going to see King Zedekiah with his eyes gouged out.

And you know what? Jeremiah never sees the revival for which he prayed and preached, but he was faithful. We'll discover that whether he saw the revival or not. How relevant can you possibly be when you open the book of Jeremiah?

It's all here. Now, you'll notice his call. And here I'm jumping to verse four of chapter one. The word of the Lord came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you and appointed you a prophet to the nations.

I used to read this this way. While you were being formed in the womb, I knew you and called you. And then I looked at it again this week, and I realized God says, Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And you know, that word no just doesn't mean no ahead of time.

It's the word for intimate knowledge. God said, I already had a relationship with you, Jeremiah, before you were conceived. And we know that because God is God, that's an eternity past.

But you know that that's true of us as well. Chosen in him from before the foundation of the world. If you are a believer today, God also knew you before you were born. And so it's a sovereign call. You know, that means that all of the genes, the genetic makeup, the DNA that Jeremiah would need already came together in such a way that he'd have the gifting of the prophet.

So it was sovereign. God says, I'm the one that has chosen you, and you are choosing me only because I chose you in advance. It was also a very specific appointed calling. Notice it says, and Jeremiah objects and says, I'm a youth. And God says, hey, when it comes to my calling, doesn't matter whether you're young or old, I'm calling you and you're going to command and you're going to speak everything that I tell you to speak. And don't be afraid, verse eight, for I'm with you to deliver you, declares the Lord. Verse nine, the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, behold, I put my words in your mouth.

See this day I have set you over the nations and over the kingdoms to pluck up, to break down, to destroy, to overthrow, to build, and to plant. Notice this, God says there are going to be four words of judgment for every two words of mercy and grace. And when you read the book of Jeremiah, you discover chapter after chapter on judgment. That's why we're not going to cover every chapter. It is heavy, but you should read the book.

And you'll come across all kinds of figures of speech and references that you might not know a lot about. But so much of it is clear as God now unburdens his heart for a people that have left him. In fact, you know what I'm going to show you the next message in the series? That God actually files for divorce. He said, I can't take it anymore. I married you. I've been your husband. You're unfaithful to me. I'm going to divorce court. Now, I'm not going to tell you in advance whether or not God actually went through with that divorce. That I'll let you know about next time. But the people were so unfaithful. I just need to unburden my heart and say to you that if you have come to church this morning because you want a feel-good message and you want the pastor to say to you, you can do anything that you like as long as you have lots of self-esteem, this is not the series of messages to check into.

All right? You might have to go to another church at least for a few weeks because this is not Jeremiah. But if you want to be here and to deal seriously with sin and repentance and put God on the throne of your life that will permeate all experiences and all of your relationships, if you want that, this might be exactly the series of messages that God has for you and for me.

It's a hard message, but it's a true message. And God wounds us in order that he might heal us. Well, what are some of the characteristics of the idolatry? The idolatry that God hates so much.

First of all, however, I noticed that I have lots of material here today and may have to finish this message next time. What about the context in which Jeremiah is ministering? What was that like? It was dark and it was getting darker. It was a time of hopelessness.

Let me explain why. Under Josiah, the book of the law was found. Can you imagine they're cleaning out the temple?

There is so much garbage. There are so many other gods that they brought into the temple that in the middle of cleaning it out, they say, hey, here's part of the book of the law. And they begin to read it and they have a revival. A problem it was too little, too late.

Just like in our country, we see pockets of reform here and we see a revival over here, but we cannot see a reversal of our situation unless there is a massive in-breaking of God in our country. And so Jeremiah had that hope, but now it was all hopeless. Let me say also that it was a day of deaf ears.

Oh, the people. Jeremiah is different from all the other prophets. We don't know much about Isaiah except what he preached. Jeremiah spills out his heart and he's weeping.

I'll share that with you. He is sobbing. He argues with God. At one point he says, God, you've deceived me. He says, you've deceived me because I thought that you were going to give a word of peace and all that this is is a word of judgment. He spills out his heart. He's thrown into a pit. False prophets.

And by the way, that message is coming up in this series. False prophets stand against him. They condemn him. And he has to stand there alone and nobody wants to hear what he has to say. Even at the end, the king sends for him. But Jeremiah says, I'm not coming because no matter what I say, you're going to go do the opposite anyway. That's what kind of a life he lived. People didn't want to hear.

They were deaf. There's another historical point that I must make. When you read Jeremiah, as I hope you will, well, you keep in mind the difference between Israel and Judah. You know, after the time of Solomon, the kingdom was split and you had the northern kingdom, which became known as Israel. And the capital was Samaria. That's where Ahab and others ruled. The southern kingdom was Judah and the capital was Jerusalem. Now we use Israel for the whole land.

See, that's the confusion. So when you come across Israel, you know it's the northern kingdom. Do you know what happened to the northern kingdom? About 130 years before Jeremiah, the northern kingdom was taken and they went off to Assyria.

We sometimes call them the lost tan tribes, though some people think that they aren't lost at all. But the northern kingdom was totally destroyed. The Assyrians took, I think if I remember correctly, I didn't look it up, about 27,000 people into Assyria. So that kingdom was destroyed. Samaritans came about because there were some Jews left and they were mixed with Assyrians and they were mixed blood.

So you'd think that they would learn. Jeremiah refers to that and says, you know, your sister, your sister Israel, look at what happened to her. The people said, it doesn't matter.

We're joined to our idols. We don't want to hear what you have to say. Wasn't it Woody Allen who said that history has to repeat itself because we never learned the lessons of history the first time? And history does repeat itself. These people did not learn and they didn't want to.

They were joined to idols. Who wants to hear that, you know, that preacher of judgment? We want the false prophets. When I speak about the false prophets, I'll tell you what they were saying. Well, what are some of these characteristics of idolatry?

First of all, idolatry is, and it was a day of divine judgment. You know, this is so difficult to preach. Do you realize that there are passages that I'll point out in a future message where God even says, don't pray for the people. He says, even if Noah were to pray, he said, I'm not going to relent because judgment is inevitable.

He says it's like a boat caught in a mighty Niagara River in our imagery and you're going over the falls. It's too late now to turn back. I don't think America is at that point.

I pray for America. But do you realize, folks, that considering what has happened in the last months and weeks and years, who knows whether we can turn it back? You say, well, where's the optimism? Well, hang in.

There's lots of optimism. I just can't say everything in the introduction to the series. All right. Now, what are some of the characteristics of idolatry? It's an exchange of gods. You know, it says in chapter 2, verse 5, what wrong did your fathers find in me the day they went from me and went after worthless things and became worthless?

What fault was there in me? It says in verse 11 of chapter 2, has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? For my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this. Be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord.

For my people have committed two evils. They've forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. They're drunk from a fresh fountain that's bubbling up with some good water. Why would you then build a cistern to catch rainwater? Your cistern leaks. It's got cracks. The water is there for weeks on end and becomes brackish.

I think that's the only time I've ever used this word brackish, but it fits here. You begin to drink it and you gag. Why would people do that? I mean, you know, you're abandoning the fresh water of God.

Why go for a stream that has such a bad aftertaste? Well, we're going to hurry on and go to a second characteristic of idolatry that will answer that question. You must recognize that idolatry basically is to have a vision of God based upon desire, specifically sexual desire.

Have you ever thought of why? Why this attraction to idols that Israel always has? You know, they're always running off with some other god and, you know, whether or not it's Hosea and all these prophets are talking about the fact that on the mountains and the hills they had these shrines.

What is attractive about that, may I ask? It's because of the pagan gods, Baal, Babylon, Baal, the pagan gods were very tolerant when it came to sexuality. You know, you read this, for example, in chapter 2 it says, verse 20, For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds, but you said, I will not serve. Yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore. Says the very same thing in chapter 3.

You can read it there yourself, verse 2 and following. You see, it was not only spiritual adultery that the people were committing and turning from the living water to the broken cisterns, the brackish water, but they were sexually immoral. And these pagan gods were very tolerant of whatever sexuality you wanted. And the problem with that tolerance, which offers so much and which promises freedom, the problem with that tolerance is it brought so much baggage. And when you drink from that fountain you gag because of the guilt and because of the broken relationships and because of the emptiness and because of the sense of destruction of who you are and the self-respect that you should have as a person. All of those consequences are huge, but the problem is you're bonded to these idols.

So you keep drinking from the bitter fountains that can hold no water, but you keep going back again and again and again. You see, that's the problem with different views of God. I have books in my library where people have totally redefined God in accordance with human desire, whatever it is. In fact, there was a book written. It just comes to mind as I'm preaching Conversations with God. By the way, did you know that that book was written by a demonic spirit? I read it maybe about 10 years ago, but the author said that as he was writing, a spirit came along and basically dictated it. And basically what God said is, I am whoever you want me to be. Well, isn't that ever great? Do you know that it was Huxley who said, the reason that we accepted evolution without a lot of proof is because we didn't want a God to interfere with our sexual mores? That was Huxley. In other words, get God off our back so that we can be free.

But ah, the freedom comes with a huge price of bondage, and you end up choking on those fountains. It's a hard lesson to learn, isn't it? Now, the thing is that you remember the story? I told it maybe 10 years ago.

When you've been here as long as I have, you sometimes lose a little bit of track of time. About the man who was driving through a farmyard, and he noticed that on the barn there were a bunch of targets, and right smack in the middle of each target, there was an arrow. So he stopped to commend the farmer for being such an expert marksman. The farmer said, what you saw there wasn't done by me. It was done by a village boy who is somewhat mentally challenged.

He comes out here, he shoots arrows into my barn, and then he paints the targets around them. That's what society does. I want to do what I want to do. I want to live the way in which I want to live, and God will come along and make it all right and agree with me. A very famous pornographer whose name I will not mention was interviewed, and I remember reading the interview in which he says, my God doesn't have a problem with what I do. You see, it used to be when I was younger, the bumper sticker said, if it feels good, do it.

Now the bumper sticker should say, if it feels good, believe it. So what we have is a God who comes along and justifies everything that we want to do. Third characteristic of idolatry is willful self-deception, willful self-deception. Now here in the text, they say, for example, in verse 23, as they are trying to justify themselves. By the way, notice in verse 22, you know, of course, that I am in chapter 2, it says, though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me. How do you think they're washing themselves? They're washing themselves with self-justification. They're talking among their friends and they're saying, well, everybody does it.

How could this be wrong? And so they're trying to cleanse their consciences, but it's not working very well. How can you say I am not unclean?

I've not gone after the bales. Look at your way in the valley and know what you have done, restless like a young camel running here and there, a wild donkey used in the wilderness in her heat sniffing the wind. And you know what the prophet goes on to say? You go out looking for sin. It's not just that sin comes to you, but you go cruising, trying to find it, running toward the sin and not away from it. That's where your heart really is. That's what the prophet happens to be saying.

Wow. And then he says in verse 26, as a thief ashamed when caught, so the house of Israel shall be shamed. They, their kings and so forth. I'll tell you what he's saying there. And think about this. Anything that you and I are doing, which if it were exposed would be shameful, is something that we already know intuitively is wrong. You know, a boy might be sleeping with his girlfriend, totally justified, you know, because two can live more cheaply than one and yada, yada, yada, yada. And on and on it goes. But when he's exposed, there is embarrassment and there is shame. Why?

Because intuitively you know that it's wrong. And these people going to the hills and to the mountains and saying that we are worshiping these other gods, they knew down deep that they were not able to wash their souls from the stain of guilt. Where does this leave us?

A couple of observations quickly. First of all, would you remember that idolatry that all idols, all idols demand worship and allegiance? All idols demanded.

These pagan gods demanded worship. They demanded allegiance. The people tried to get away from them. It just occurs to me now, you remember that old story about Tar Baby trying to get away, but it always kept sticking and they always kept coming back. They couldn't overcome their addictions.

You know what they ended up doing? They ended up sacrificing their children to the god Moloch. That's how bad it became because you see, once you say we're free from God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all of his laws and all of his traditions and all those things, and now we're free to be our own gods, you never know where it's going to end up. But every god demands allegiance. And actually, idolatry is not, first of all, such things that we normally think of. It's certainly not the idols out on the fields because we don't have that today. But we do have sports, and we do have business idols, and we do have people whose whole identity is wrapped up with relationships.

We have women, for example, who feel that they're totally worthless unless there is a man on their arm. That also can be an idol. And as a result of that, you see, whether or not it's money or fame or adulation or being well thought of, you know Calvin, the great theologian, said that the human mind is an idol factory. It's always just generating one idol after another. And God has to come along and show those idols to us. I may have idols in my life that I am even unaware of, but when we are serious with God, he begins to show us because he also demands allegiance. And the first commandment is, thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. Anything that we love more than God, anything that satisfies us more than God is an idol. It could be our family.

It could be something good, totally justified. But is God first? All gods demand allegiance, and certainly these gods did. Second, the answer, the answer is to return to the Lord. Now I'm going to jump to chapter 3, and obviously in this series we are not going to be going verse by verse, but chapter 3, verse 12, for example. Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful.

I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favors among the foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice. Return, O faithless children, for I am your master. God says to you and to me today, return, return even with your idols, because they're too strong for you to deal with. But the Bible says in Thessalonians that we turn to God from idols. In other words, God doesn't say, leave your idols behind and come to me. How do you tell somebody addicted to an idol, leave it behind and come to me? No, you come with your idol. But you come to God to know that he's the one to forgive you and to deliver you and bring you hope and bring you back to the satisfying fountain.

But you come to God seriously with your idols. You know, this past Friday night, Rebecca and I were at a banquet. Some of you perhaps were there where Dr. Ben Carson spoke. He is one of the most famous surgeons in America. Can you imagine at the age of 33, he actually is head of the neurosurgical, I hope I pronounced that correctly, unit at Johns Hopkins University. He's the first man to take two twins joined at the head and successfully separate them. What a remarkable man. He actually has the gift of eye-hand coordination that is unusual. He also can think in three dimensions. I have no idea what that is. Bill, do you have any idea as to what it is to think in three dimensions?

I think for most of us, one is about all we can handle. But as a teenager growing up in poverty, he was angry. You know, he actually said he took a hammer to hit his mother and his brother grabbed the hammer as it was held up at the back of Ben. And then he was going to take a knife and put it into one of his friends.

But the knife hit the friend's belt. And as he began to think about it, he said, anger is going to destroy me. He said he went into the bathroom, was there for three hours reading the scripture, confessing to God, seeking God regarding anger. And according to his testimony, and if you were there, when he left the bathroom, that was the end of his anger.

God did it up right. Which is very important if you're a surgeon working on somebody for 18 hours as he has done. It's also important that, because he's getting a lot of criticism now, because he said some things that were politically incorrect. And one of the things that Saul Alinsky, who wrote that book, Radicals, to help people and community organizers say that you have to demonize your opposition because then when you demonize them, they'll say something that looks very stupid and you'll get them.

And according to Ben Carson, and that actually is what he was talking about, he referenced Saul Alinsky, according to him, when all of this criticism comes, when the Boston Globe said that he was speaking to a hate group, for example, he doesn't even have to reply. He's totally at peace because anger has been taken away. Anger can become an idol. Getting even with somebody can mean more to us than God. I know somebody who said, I'll never get right with God until these Christians make things right with me. That is idolatry. Yes, the Christians, if they wronged you, should make things right.

But even if they don't, are you telling me that your justification is more important to you than your relationship with God and you're blowing God off until somebody comes and apologizes? Clearly, God has second place. Idolatry is deep. It is abiding.

It has many, many different idols. And God says, I want in your heart that there be an altar and that you bow before that altar and the only altar before you bow is me, the Lord, your God, your Redeemer. That's what God is after in our lives.

I want to conclude with a word of hope here. You say, oh, Pastor Lutzer, you're painting such a dismal picture. I mean, you know, Judah going downhill looks a lot like America, though we don't want to overplay the relationship. What about Jeremiah, a young man called, God calls him? Listen, God calls you and me for this moment of history, too. But now you're back to chapter 1.

I want to show you something. Chapter 1, verse 17. This is what God said to this young prophet who was objecting to his call.

Chapter 1, verse 17. And thank you for turning to it. The rustling of biblical pages makes me very happy up here. I hope I hear them often. But you, dress yourself for work. Arise, say to them everything that I command you. Don't be dismayed by them. Lest I dismay you before them.

Wow, you'd better respond to the call. And behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, a bronze walls against the whole land against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not prevail against you because I am with you, declares the Lord. I read and I say, Oh, when did God make Jeremiah, a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls? He made him that before he went to work that day. He said, get ready, put on your clothes.

You're going to go to work. You're going to represent me. But I'm not saying now, Jeremiah, go out there and be a fortified city, be a bronze pillar, be whatever.

No, excuse me. God says, I have already made you that. I pre-qualified you to walk in victory. The God who calls you to this moment of history is the God who supplies what you need at this moment of history. The God who calls you for this moment and calls me for this moment gives to us all we need to walk in victory. He doesn't abandon us. He is with us. And one of the ways in which he strengthens us is by God's people.

Because when Jesus died on the cross, his death was so sufficient, he says, not only is it proof that I love you, but I forgive you, I receive you, you are mine. Come on to me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. You come to me, the true fountain, come to me and drink.

Be done with the bitter streams that make you choke in the end. You come to me. And I invite you to do that if you've never received Christ as your Savior. I invite you to do that if you're a believer and you're not walking with God. Finally get rid of those idols and bow before the sovereign Lord and say I shall serve him only, no matter the cost. Father, we ask that even as we will be participating in a moment in your table, as a reminder that Jesus died for us, help us to realize that in light of the fact that he did all that for us, O Lord God, we give ourselves to you today without reservation. Expose the idols that we might with one heart and one mind serve you. In Jesus' name, amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Dr. Erwin Lutzer spoke on Babylon, Idolatry and You, the first of ten messages in a series on the church in Babylon, unleashing the power of a Spirit-filled witness. Next week, we look to Jeremiah chapter 2 and learn about a time when darkness is called light and light darkness.

The Church in Babylon series shows us how to live during times of spiritual darkness. We'd like to put this ten-part series in your hands on CD as our way of saying thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. 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 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Online, go to moodyoffer.com. That's moodyoffer.com. Join us next week for another Moody Church Hour with Dr. Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-08 11:32:09 / 2024-01-08 11:49:20 / 17

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