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Jeremiah's Temple Speech

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2021 12:01 am

Jeremiah's Temple Speech

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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February 9, 2021 12:01 am

Just because someone is a dedicated member of a church does not necessarily mean that he is truly a Christian. Today, R.C. Sproul comes to a difficult passage in the book of Jeremiah, encouraging us to rest our confidence in Christ, not in the church as an institution.

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In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah we read some difficult things that the prophet pointed out to the people of Israel there going through the ritual on the Sabbath day they're going through all of the machinations of religion, but their lives are pagan during the rest of the week. They are religious, but they're not faithful their religion is phony God's chosen people were guilty of that we should sit up and take notice because we might be guilty of it as well. Religion had become mere activity for the Israelites, their hearts really wanted. Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Renewing Your Mind as we continue Dr. RC Sproul series about the difficult and challenging passages. We read in Scripture. As we continue with our study of the hard sayings of the prophets, those say that when we read them or hear them strike us as either being extraordinarily harsh or unusually difficult to understand.

We now turn our attention to one of the most famous speeches that was ever given by a prophet in the Old Testament, and I'm thinking of the famous so-called temple speech of the prophet Jeremiah. We have the record of Jeremiah's temple speech in the seventh chapter of his book. Let's look then at Jeremiah chapter 7 beginning at verse one the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying stand in the gate of the Lord's house and proclaim there this word and say here the word of the Lord, all you of Judah, who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel amend your ways and your doings and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words saying the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are the I know what's going on here. Jeremiah is instructed by God to go to the very gates of Jerusalem.

There, at the entrance to the temple itself in Zion, the holy city of God. God requires Jeremiah to deliver God's message. He tells Jeremiah to preface his sermon or his announcements by saying, thus saith the Lord. Another way in which Jeremiah begins is to call the people to solemn attention here oh Israel that is reminiscent of the Shema in the book of Deuteronomy when God is calling for the attention of all of the people he says to them here oh Israel here all inhabitants of Jerusalem. That means that God is a bout to make a divine pronouncement that is of extreme importance now Jeremiah comes and makes this announcement saying here the word of the Lord, all of you of Judah, who enter at these gates to worship the Lord. This is a message that is not given in church. It's a message given at the front of the church if you will.

If you can imagine Sunday morning at your church or all the people were coming from the parking lot and standing outside the front door of the church before the service is begun, and then suddenly this stranger appears and begins to give a sermon on the sidewalk. What would you think you may be inclined to call the police or simply to drown out the preacher with your booze and your expressions of derision. But that's what God calls Jeremiah to do, to stand right in front of the gate of Jerusalem, and give this message and he says, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, amend your ways and you're doing, and I will cause you to dwell in this place for something already strange about the message what you mean amend our ways and our doings and you will cause us to dwell in this place, isn't this the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Is this not his city.

Haven't we received the holy city of Jerusalem as the promise of God unto all generations.

The Jewish people at this point in their history were utterly convinced that Jerusalem was indestructible.

Other cities may fall other cities may be conquered in battle virtuoso. The walls were 150 feet high, but more importantly than the physical protection of the city was the divine protection because this was God city. This was the capital established by David and it was unthinkable to the Jews that anything could ever happen to disrupt or disturb the peace of Jerusalem, but there's something strange in the opening words of Jeremiah speech amend your ways and your doing and I will cause you to dwell in this place.

But to hear the conditional hint of the words the suggestion that's already being made that if they don't amend their ways and their doings something dire something dreadful. Something unspeakable could happen to Jerusalem itself, and Jeremiah goes on to say, do not trust in these lying words, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are the most some of you recall that in the past. We did a study of the holiness of God, and we look closely at the sixth chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah where Isaiah had the vision into the heavenly sanctuary where he saw the Seraphim surrounding the throne of God singing in antiphonal response to the glory of God singing the tribes. Peggy on the three times holy saying holy, holy, holy, and on that occasion, I took the opportunity to mention to you the singular importance of the literary form of the expression of the angelic host by taking the word holy and saying it free time, and I mentioned how extraordinary and how unusual that one because among the Jews. One of the means.

One of the literary devices or technics of communication that the Jews used, to communicate emphasis was repetition and the normal way of calling attention to something extremely important was to say it twice just as Jesus prefaces some of his most important teaching to his disciples by saying truly truly I say unto you, but I also mentioned that time on a few occasions extremely rare occasions in Scripture, something is being so important that it is elevated to the 3rd° the superlative degree it's repeated twice, and therefore said free tax and we looked and we saw the significance of the Angels declaring that God is not simply holy or even holy, holy, but that he is holy, holy, holy. In the book of Revelation when the vials and the bowls of God's wrath are poured out upon the world.

We see the announcement of the angelic being flying through the darkness of the night crying out will will will know the threefold announcement of doom indicates an extraordinary measure of divine judgment will hear what we find is Jeremiah is saying to the people you come here to your church you come here to the temple and you say this is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, why does he do that widest Jeremiah make use of this literary device of repetition to the 3rd° what Jeremiah is doing here is emphasizing and underscoring the radical degree of the hypocrisy of the people. The people who think that by empty repetitions by saying over and over and over again. This is the temple of the Lord. This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord that they have done something holy or meritorious or has something that now has magical power to sustain them and to protect them forever against the judgment of God will notice the Jeremiah called these words that were recited and repeated by the people who were so caught up in their churchmen ship and in their cultic practices.

He called them lying words strange because they're not lies. This was the temple of widest Jeremiah say that these are lying words because these words express the truth but they were not proclaiming the truth. Truthfully, rather these words have become. Even though the words themselves were true descriptions.

They became lying words in the mouths of those who were bringing false worship into the presence of God.

Just because a church is a church does not mean it's a church that may sound ridiculous, but what I mean by that. It can be a church outwardly, but if it doesn't obey the Lord of the church's no longer really a church and we can't put our trust in the building or even in the institution as important as those things may be what God is most interested in is our relationship to him. Our faith in him and our obedience to him. And if we are disobedient to God. We cannot take refuge in our church membership or in our church affiliation. That's the warning. The Jeremiah gives what he continues, again, speaking for God, for if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings. If you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor. If you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your heart. Then I will cause you to dwell in this place in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever than the next word should also get our attention.

The whole interesting word find that frequently in Scripture, don't you and the angels, and they make an announcement be all remember Mary when her response to Gabriel. Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. We remember Pontius Pilate standing on his porch of judgment presenting Christ of the screaming mob saying Ako Homo behold, the man that word behold means what care is a call to attention here. Jeremiah says behold you trust in lying words.

Words that cannot profit talk about a hard say to come to the people of Israel in the very front of the temple, and say to them.

The creeds that you're professing the liturgy that you're using have become now dishonest expressions and words that are empty words that are vain words that are deceitful words that are hypocritical and that kind of language. Those words are futile. They are useless. They are words that cannot profit these people were talking the talk. They were not walking the walk will you steal, murder, commit adultery and swear falsely burn incense to bail and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by name and say we are delivered to do all these abominations has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of thieves in your eyes. Behold, I even I have seen it says the Lord says, anticipating Christ's reaction in the New Testament when he cleansed the temple and God is saying centuries before Jesus cleansed the temple that the people had already defiled the temple there. Going through the ritual on the Sabbath day they're going through all of the machinations of religion, but their lives are pagan during the rest of the week. They are religious, but they're not faithful their religion is phony and that's what Jeremiah is talking about here and so God says I know what you people are doing. You have taken my house. The house that is called by my name and turned it in a place that mocks what it's about. What is he going to do about now.

We really come to the hard part first 12 but go now to my place, which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these works is the Lord and I spoke to rising up early and speaking but you did not hear and I called you but you did not answer. Therefore, I will do to the house, which is called by my name, in which you trust, and to this place, which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh to hear what Jeremiah saying he standing in front of this magnificent temple, and he saying you people come here and you say this is the temple of the Lord, the temple Lord, the temple, the Lord, and your trusting in your recitations because you think you're secure because you have the temple lawyer wears what God says God is Shiloh and look at and that's what Jerusalem is going to look like I knew what Shiloh was. Shiloh was a place which was one of the earliest places of worship in Israel. It had been the central sanctuary where people came to offer their sacrifices and to give worship before God and till Jerusalem became the capital city under David and then became the central sanctuary where the temple was built and at this point in history. Shiloh is rubble. Shiloh had been utterly devastated and destroyed. Nothing was left but garbage and heaps of style and Jeremiah think you think your confidences in this building is in the religious trappings here go to Shiloh that's my exhibit day. I destroyed it because of the wickedness of the people of Israel and I'll do it to Jerusalem. This was the hardest message. Any profit ever had to give, to announce to the people of Israel but Jerusalem was going to be destroyed and Jeremiah had taught Isaiah taught it and all the false prophets denied it until year 586 BC when the Babylonians came in and destroyed the city and carried the people away And after the exile, the city had to be restored. The city had to be rebuilt. The walls had to be rebuilt the temple had to be rebuilt and then when Jesus came and in the last days of his life.

He came to the temple and he turned to his disciples that not one stone is going to be left upon another of this building, and God did it again in 70 A.D. he ripped the city apart because the people put their confidence in the institution they put their trust in their devotion to the religion rather than to the living God, go to Shiloh and look at I will cast you out of my sight as I have cast out all your brethren. The whole posterity of Ephraim Hart say in the Jeremiah's prophecy. Sounds like it could be directed at religious people in our own generation worship can so easily become mere routine in our hearts can easily grow cold listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Tuesday, and we've heard a message from Dr. RC Sproul series the hard sayings of the prophets, and it's true there are many ways we misunderstand passages of Scripture.

Sometimes what we read seems too harsh to our modern sensibilities were as we heard today.

It simply difficult to decipher. You're welcome to contact us today and request the series.

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There are couple of ways you can reach us. One is by phone. Our number is 800-435-4343 or you can make your request and give your gift online@renewingyourmind.org know every believer serves as an ambassador for the kingdom of God were called to advance our Lord's interest. That means we need to know the truth of his word and we need to be willing to defend it is right were committed to teaching the historic Christian faith every day here on Renewing Your Mind and if you benefit from this program you can help us take this teaching to places you and I will probably never visit when you support the ministry you become part of an enormous outreach in English and several other languages around the world. So we appreciate your gifts and that when you give a donation of any about today.

We will send you Dr. RC Sproul series the hard sayings of the profits you can make a request and give your donation of Renewing Your Mind.org or you can simply call us our number 800-435-4343, before we go. Dr. Strohl has one more lesson for us from today's passage in every generation. People have put their confidence in their religious connections. The church is indeed a sacred institution. The visible church is not to be despised. Christ established his church and the church is to be the body of our Lord himself. But it is so easy for the church as an institution to become instead of the body of Christ. A substitution for Christ and in that sense the institution becomes Antichrist, insofar as it is a substitute that stands against the living Christ. Now for those who put their faith in the institution instead of Christ. They are trusting an ally, the church cannot save you, the church did not die for you. The church cannot redeem you.

The church did not purchase you the church is not your Savior. The church is the body of the Savior is the house of the Savior, but we need to understand the difference will tomorrow. Dr. Spruill will address the hard words, the prophet Amos had for the people of Israel they thought God was pleased with them because of their religious fervor will see that wasn't the case.

Please make plans to join us Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind


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