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When Darkness Is Called Light, And Light, Darkness

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2021 1:00 am

When Darkness Is Called Light, And Light, Darkness

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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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)

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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 Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Today we continue a ten-part series on the church in Babylon, unleashing the power of a Spirit-filled witness.

Later, Erwin Lutzer will talk about when darkness is called light and light darkness. Dr. Lutzer comes now to open our service. In a few moments, we're going to sing to God immortal, invisible, God-only wise. What a wonderful opportunity for us to worship together and to remind ourselves of why we are here, because we aren't here because of ourselves. We're here to give glory and honor to God. And whether you've had a hard time parking or a difficult time getting here or not, the fact is that our focus must be upon the Lord. So we're going 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 we'll worship in song. Father, thank you that your presence is with us. We thank you for the blessed Holy Spirit of God has been poured out upon your people. And we pray that as we sing together, worship together, learn together, and listen together, that you might be glorified. We ask in Jesus' name.

Amen. Immortal, invisible, God-only wise. Delighted, accessible, hit from our eyes. Most blessed, most glorious, the ancient of days. Almighty, victorious, thy great name we raise.

Unresting, unhazed, and silent as mine. All wanting, all wasting, thou who let in mine, thy justice, thy mountains, thy soaring above, thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love. Great Father of glory, your Father of light, thine angels adoring, all veiling past night, all praise we would render, all how wise to see. This is only the splendor of light, light, and heat. All praise we would render, all how wise to see.

This is only the splendor of light, light, and heat. I invite you to follow along with me in your bulletin as we read together from 1 John chapters 1 and 2. This is God's holy word. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

And by this, we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of his life, I won't turn back, I know you are here. I will fear no evil, for my God is with me. If my God is with me, whom then shall I fear?

Whom then shall I fear? Oh no, you never let go, through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, you never let go, in every high and every low. Oh no, you never let go, Lord, you never let go of me. For I can see the light that is coming, but the heart that holds on. If my glory is light beyond all compare, then there will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes, we'll hear to know you're here on the earth, and I will fear no evil, for my God is with me. If my God is with me.

Whom then shall I fear? Oh no, you never let go, through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, you never let go, in every high and every low. Oh no, you never let go, Lord, you never let go of me.

Oh you never let go of me. I need Thee, O I need Thee, every hour I need Thee. Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee. I need Thee, every hour, O gracious Lord, no tender voice like mine can please the Lord. I need Thee, O I need Thee, every hour I need Thee.

Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee. I need Thee, every hour, O joyful King, come take me and abide, for I will sing. I need Thee, O I need Thee, every hour I need Thee. Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee. I need Thee, every hour, O holy One, O make me Thine indeed, how blessed Thou art. I need Thee, O I need Thee, every hour I need Thee. Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee. I need Thee, O I need Thee, every hour I need Thee. Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee. Thank you, Lord, for your presence. Thank you for keeping your promises. We trust you. Amen.

You may be seated. It was the prophet Isaiah who said, woe to those who called darkness light and light darkness. The prophet Jeremiah would have certainly agreed.

We're living at a time of inverted values where light is darkness and darkness is light. A number of 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 platitudes 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 worshipped 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 our unborn and called it choice. We have coveted our neighbors' 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. Well, you can understand that the reaction was immediate. Some walked out of the Senate immediately. And 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, boys can enter into girls washrooms if they are transgender. And 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 could look religiously. And what we find is because of a misinterpretation of the separation of church and state. As 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've 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 of course, immediately within three or four questions, I was talking to her about God and religion and 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 obey those rules, you went to hell. And I smiled at her and 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 prophet enables us to see that darkness as well as Jeremiah. It is a difficult book.

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, we'll have something to say to you that might be very helpful and transforming, no 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 we're really not yet in Babylon in this series.

That's coming up in a number of different messages. But we already see the influence of Babylon in the nation of Judah. And the Book of Jeremiah opens with the call of Jeremiah and all that we covered last time. But then 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 two, 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 fruits of his harvest. 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.

Now, 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. Explain last time that after the time of Solomon, you have the northern kingdom, which is called Israel.

That's confusing for us today, isn't it? Because today we call the entire land Israel. But that was Israel. The capital was Samaria and the southern kingdom was called Judah. And the capital, of course, was Jerusalem. So you'll notice in chapter three, the Lord says in verse eight, she saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, God is talking about Judah now. She saw the faithless one, Israel. I sent her away with a decree of divorce.

Yet her treacherous sister, Judah, did not fear, but she went and played the whore as well. So what God is saying is, I sent Assyria 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 thing. So I'm filing for divorce with you as well. And the Lord talks about that and says, I will contend with you.

We're not going 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 gods. 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, as this message will point out. Now here's what I'd like to do, and thank you for giving me permission to do it.

Though as I frequently say, I'd do it whether I had your permission or not. And that is, I'm going to give you four lies 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? Well, I've isolated four of them, and we're 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. It 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, Babylon 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. We're going to weep with Jeremiah when that happens. But you'll notice what the Lord says in verse 17. Now, I'm in chapter two, verse 17.

You have brought this upon yourself, God says, by forsaking the Lord your God. And now what do you gain by going to Egypt? And later on, he says, 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 Babylon or Egypt. They'll help us. So they turned 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 congressmen 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 people with those kinds of values? And 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 a 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 you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain 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 the stain that is in our hearts.

We can do all that on our own because we know that we can wash our own hearts with a 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 in 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 of chapter two. And you, O 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 to you anymore.

We don't need God. We need freedom. And so they thought to themselves it was freedom. But was it 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 two, I'm actually now backing up in verse 25, where it says keep your feet from going unshod and your throat from thirst. But you said it is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, that is foreign gods, and will go after them. The problem is now they are driven by these foreign gods.

They become heavy users. They discover that these foreign gods, they promise like a god, but in the end they pay like the devil, and they discover that they are deceived. So the idea that if we cast off God's restraints, as it says in Psalm 2, let us cast aside their restraints, our restraints. Well, you know what the next verse says in Psalm 2. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall have them in derision. 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. They're 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. Well, that phrase in itself is worthy of an entire message. But in time of trouble, they will say, arise and save us. They'll say, we can rebel against God, but in the end when things are really bad, we'll just cry out to God and we'll expect him to come through for us.

And God says, 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 as 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 a third lie, and for this we're going to actually turn to chapter six. And that is that the new paths are better than the ancient paths.

The ancient paths have to be left behind. By the way, there's so many great verses we're skipping here. In chapter four, 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 of Judah and Jerusalem, break up your fallow ground. You know what that word means?

It means the unplowed ground. God describes in Jeremiah the different ways that people have hard hearts. So he's saying, if you want good seed to fall into the soil, you're going to 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 six, 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 six, verse 16, thus says the Lord, stand by the roads and look and ask for the ancient paths where the good way is and walk in it and find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk in it. God says, I said, watchmen over you saying, pay attention to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, we'll not pay attention. Therefore, hero nations and no congregation, what will happen to them here?

O earth, behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people. I wonder if our nation, the 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 roads 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 for 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've 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 preborn infants may be killed either in the womb and oftentimes outside of the womb, can you even imagine what this has meant to our country in terms of the value of human life? And of course, we offer to all the forgiveness, the grace, and the cleansing of Christ. But we were at a crossroads, 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 been in all atheistic countries where there can be no appeal to God whatever, that we just came from an amoeba. 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 monkeys sit in the zoo.

Am I my keeper's brother? He 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.

It has to do with all kinds of issues in society. But we said, we're excluding God. We're excluding the designer.

I think it was Carl Sagan who said, design, yes, but designer, no. In other words, we're going to do our own thing. Something else happened. We were at the crossroads. And I don't know exactly when this happened or why it happened, because I'd have been alive during this period of time, obviously. And as I look at this congregation, I realize that some of you also would have been alive during that period of time.

You can 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. And 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 and 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 informer, 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 Islamophobic, intolerant, and racist. So that's the way it is. So everybody bows down and says, well, who wants to be intolerant and racist and Islamophobic? Now, if you're here today and as 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 Europe especially. I could go into that, but we must hurry on. So that's the third time when we're at the crossroads and we chose the wrong direction, the great sin of intolerance. Someone 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 judgmentalism is wrong, and you can further make the judgment that others who judge things to be wrong are just too judgmental. If you can force others to conform to your idea of diversity.

Well, it goes on. The idea is at the end of the line, you really are PC, politically correct, paralyzed. Then there's a fourth 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 a marriage is well on its way. And that's why a governor can sign a bill that says that you can have more than two parents, boys if they're transgender 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 it. Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet, God says. But they said we will not pay attention. And now we should all weep. Therefore, O nation, O 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. Thy 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 a fourth lie.

And perhaps it's the worst and the most sobering. It's 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 worshipping. You have to 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 kept worshipping with or without the presence of God.

Isn't this very interesting? Once again, your Bibles are open. And it says this in chapter 7, and I'm now in verse 3. Thus says the Lord of hosts of Israel, amend 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. It'll 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, we're worshipping in God's house. So why won't he deliver us?

God goes on to say, you're bringing all of your sins, and you're not dealing with them. And the people said, you know, we can go on with a ritual. We can still sing the right songs. We can go to temple. We can go to church. We can do all these things and still have God and still be religious, whether his presence is there or 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, surely God is in this place. May it never be said that his presence will leave us, but we can't take it for granted, can we? Now, why this love of darkness? Jesus said, men love 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 to 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 nature in terms of wanting to preach. I'd much rather be preaching a very positive message, and there's a room for that and 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. Now, I began this message by saying, God filed for divorce against Judah. Did he fulfill it?

No, he didn't carry through with the divorce. All through these passages, what you see is God keeps 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 of 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 mentioned certain sins, and by the way, people who are addicted oftentimes are very, very easily offended because what you have is this synthesis between shame and feeling offended and conviction. It's really something, isn't it? But 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, but God sees a nation, and Jeremiah certainly saw his nation in his day, and God sees America today. God sees a nation, but God also sees individuals.

He sees you as an individual. Don't get lost in all of this. 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 writhe in pain. Oh, 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 were out there for a while.

I thought maybe you weren't. 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, we're going to talk about the church in Babylon more specifically and show that in the midst of a nation that has lost its way, God oftentimes 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, oh, we simply sit back and wait for the judgment. No, no, we are active, we are serving, we are representing God in a fallen world in 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 who are doing what you can. I wouldn't be witnessing to as 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. And as I say repeatedly, in all the different vocations, represented at The Moody Church. Finally, this is most important now, 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 won't judge the whole country.

Wow, Jeremiah begins his search. He says, first of all, he went to the poor people. Surely, he said, 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 are upper middle class or higher middle class, surely there'd be some righteous among them. He said, I checked them out. I couldn't find one. He said, I scoured the city of Jerusalem. I went to the various neighborhoods. I'm looking for one righteous man.

He said, he couldn't find any. And you know, the same is true in America here. You can go down any street, any alley, and any home and you'll not find one righteous person because the Bible says there is none righteous, no, not one.

Wow. We're all tainted with sin. But that's the whole purpose. When we read a passage like that, we should say, boy, aren't 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 is Jesus. Now for all of you who are listening, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey, D.L. Moody, who 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'd 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've done, because the message of the gospel is good news. It isn't just keep these rules and if you don't, you'll 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, a man can be as vile as hell in one moment and be saved the next because sometimes we even sing that song, you know, the vilest of sinners who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. So that woman at the airport who was on her way to Montreal, 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 and 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, do you need to talk to God? Some of you have never trusted Christ as savior. Why don't you just say, okay, that moment, this moment, I believe in him as 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 also that Jesus met our requirements of your holiness.

We worship you because you are holy. We ask today, Lord, that you might make us like Jeremiah to weep over the sins of our nation. Help us in Jesus' name.

Amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Dr. Erwin Lutzer talked about when darkness is called light and light darkness. The second of ten messages in a series on the Church in Babylon, Unleashing the Power of a Spirit-Filled Witness. Next time on The Moody Church Hour, 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.

The series is in print as Erwin Lutzer's book, The Church in Babylon. A copy is waiting for you as our thank you 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 / 2024-01-06 13:11:36 / 2024-01-06 13:29:08 / 18

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