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Babylon, Idolatry, And You Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2022 1:00 am

Babylon, Idolatry, And You Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 22, 2022 1:00 am

What does faithfulness look like in a nation that is under judgment? After Israel’s long disobedience, God orchestrated for Babylon to take them into captivity. They became a minority in a pagan land, just like Christians are fast becoming a minority in America. In this first message from the series “The Church In Babylon,” we’ll look at the uniqueness of Jeremiah’s calling and how the church can be faithful in “exile.”  

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Israel's disobedience God had Babylon the mom and him debiting 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 stay with us from the Moody Church in Chicago this morning with Dr. Erwin Sir was clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Today we begin a series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness Esther loser is the church already in Babylon will Dave I think you described it very well when I was preparing this series of messages I asked myself the question what parallels are there between Babylon where the Israelites found themselves because of their disobedience in our situation here in the 21st-century and I began to realize there are so many lessons that we must learn and I realize that yes we are already in Babylon. As you pointed out, we are a minority in the midst of a majority pagan culture. The reason for this series of messages is to both warn us and at the same time to give us hope. What Israel learned in Babel and can be applied to us in such a way that we can benefit so I want you to listen carefully today as we go through this series of messages. Call your friends invite them to listen to the ministry of running to win because we're here to help you make it all the way to the finish line. What comes to your mind when I mentioned the name Babylon perhaps all cultism would come to your mind is certainly immorality, violence, all of those things would be. But the bottom line is one word and that is idolatry. Babel and 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 will get to that Jeremiah the prophet was writing during the time when the neo-Babylonian Empire was beginning his ancient Babel and 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 and 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.

Were 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 is read the book of Jeremiah and you can't get over it. So one thing is working 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 is 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 will 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 because even though the title is the church in Babel and remember, the subtitle is unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness when we want to do is to be strong and 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 will 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 Tim 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 were going to see him with tears were going to look at the book of Lamentations. Eventually, in this series were Jeremiah is just unable to function.

He is so, by the tears for his nation. 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 will discover that whether he saw the revival or not. How relevant can you possibly be. When you open the book of Jeremiah Saul here now you'll notice his call. And here I'm jumping to verse four of chapter 1 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 realize God says before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and you know that word no just doesn't mean know ahead of time. It's the word for intimate knowledge, God said, I already had a relationship with you Jeremiah before you work in. See, and we know that because God is God that's in eternity past, but you know that that's true of us is 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 is 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 Jackson 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 that 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 am 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 the build and to plant. Notice this God says they're going to be for words of judgment for every two words of mercy and grace.

And when you read the book of Jeremiah. You discovered chapter after chapter on judgment. That's why were 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 unburdened as his heart for a people that have left him back.

You know what I'm going to show you the next message in the series that God actually files for divorce is that I can't take it anymore I married you I been your husband your unfaithful to me.

I'm going to divorce court, and I'm not going to tell you in advance whether or not God actually went through it that divorce that allowed 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 to feel good message you want the pastor to say to you, you can do anything that you like as long as you have lots of self-esteem 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 men 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 this 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 shield 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 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 there 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 here's part of the book of the law and they begin to read and then they have a revival 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 death years old. People. Jeremiah is different from all the other prophets.

We don't know much about Isaiah except what he preached. Jeremiah spells out his heart and he is weeping all share that with you. He is sobbing he argues with God. At one point he says God you deceived me is is you deceived me because I thought that you were going to get the word of peace and all that this is is a word of judgment spells out his heart is thrown into a pit, false prophets and by the way, that message is coming up in this series. False prophets stand against them. They condemn him and he has to stand there alone and nobody wants to hear.

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 to the opposite anyway that's what kind of a life he lived. People didn't want to hear. They were death.

There's another historical point that I must make when you read Jeremiah as I hope you will we keep in mind the difference between Israel and Judah. You know after the time of Solomon. The kingdom was split and you at the northern kingdom which became known as Israel and a day 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 can fusion so when you come across Israel. You know it's the northern kingdom. You know what happened to the northern kingdom about 130 years before Jeremiah, the northern kingdom is taken and that they went off to Syria.

We sometimes call them the lost 10 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 get up about 27,000 people into this area so that the kingdom was destroyed.

Samaritans RI came about because there were some Jews left and they were mixed with Assyrians and they were mixed blood so you would 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 doesn't matter were joint or idols. We want to hear what you have to say was that Woody Allen said that the history has to repeat itself because we never learn the lessons of history. The first time in history does repeat itself. These people did not learn and they didn't want to join 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 will tell you what they were saying. 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 preached you realize that there are passages that all point out in the 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, is 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 you realize folks that it considering what is happened in the last months and weeks and years. Who knows whether we can turn it back. So where's the optimism will hang in there is 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 God's you know it says in chapter 2 verse five what wrong did your fathers find in me the day they went from me and went after worthless and the things and became worthless of what followed 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 and change their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled all happens at this be shock be utterly desolate, declares the Lord for my people have committed two evils.

They forsaken me, the fountain of living water in June out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold the water and ever drunk from a fresh fountain that's bubbling up with some good water. Why would you then build a cistern to catch rainwater your sister and the 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 freshwater of God. Why over a stream that has such a bad aftertaste well were going to hurry on and go to the 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 this attraction to idols that is relevant and are always running off with some other God in you know whether or not it's a Hosea and all these prophets are talking about the fact that on the mountains and the hills. They had the shrines. What is attractive about that. May I ask it's because of the pagan gods bail Babel and bail the pagan gods were very tolerant when it came to sexuality you read this, for example, in chapter 2 it says some verse 24 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 bow down like a horror says the very same thing in chapter 3, you can read it there yourself, verse two and following this, 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 then 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 tolerances it brought so much baggage and when you drink from that found 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 should have as a person.

All of those consequences are huge but the problem is your bonded to these I so you keep drinking from the bitter fountains that can hold no water, but you keep going back again 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 that 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 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 as I am whoever you want me to be what is that 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 to God to interfere with our sexual rate that was Huxley. In other words, get got off our back so that we can be free when freedom comes with a huge price on beach and you end up choking on those fountains is a hard lesson to learn, isn't it. Now the thing is that you remember the story told it maybe 10 years ago when you've been here as long as I 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 was an arrow. So we 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 agreed with me.

This is Pastor Luther, you know, as I read the Scripture. I am so impressed with the fact that it accurately describes human nature. We want God to agree with everything that we want to do and whether it is the Israelites in Babel and whether it is our contemporary situation. The fact of the matter is that the human mind is able to justify anything that the human heart wants to do this series of messages is entitled the church in Babel and as I preach this series of messages I noticed that there was indeed a parallel between the Old Testament times, and what we are experiencing today. Would you like to have these messages in a permanent form so that you can listen to them again and again share them with your friends. What I hope that you have time to pick up a pencil because in a moment I'm going to be giving you some contact info. But before I do that I want to thank you in advance for helping us. It is your partnership that enables us to continue this ministry and we are so gratified by the many of you who become a part of what I like to call the running to win the family. Here is what you do you go to RT W RT W or you can call right now. Call us at 1-888-218-9337 now I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. But remember this series of messages is entitled the church in Babel and what we find in our own experience today is that we are in Babel and go to RT W or call us at 1-888-218-9337 thanks in advance for helping us make a difference. You can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 heavily in the modern church cued out, broken cisterns like Israel did. Don't miss the rest of today's message.

Next time I'm running to win.

Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin looked certain this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church

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