A Prophetic Message to an Ungodly Nation: Jeremiah –John MacArthur
Our society is dominated by naturalism. Naturalism assumes that God exists only in the imagination of religious people. Decisions are made based on the belief that we have randomly evolved to be this way. Belief in a god is acceptable though feeble-minded, but those who believe in the God of the Bible are dangerous and should be kept out of the public discussions on life, ethics, morality, economics, politics and any influence on society. This is the ‘intellectual’ way. However, it is a love of sin not a love of science which drives this.
Jeremiah 5:20-25: The majesty of God on display, the providence of God being manifest should stir up worship of God with fear and trembling. Men should say let us fear the Lord but do not submit to His Almighty power. He is a source of provision and protection, controlling the ocean keeping it in its place. But Judah broke all the boundaries placed by God. Man in hell-bent on revolt.
Jeremiah preached for 42 years under five kings: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah. His preaching in no way stopped the slide or halted the judgment. He was faithful but despised. No national revival came.
We likewise stand on the brink of the holocaust soon to also see the judgment of God. The gospel is going forward, we’ve had revivals, Bibles blanket the country, media has extended the reach of the gospel, yet the church is superficial and shallow. People are consumed with self-fulfillment and self-gratification. Like Jeremiah, How do we approach a nation on the brink of judgment?
I. Jeremiah understood that he had a divine mission.
Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) likewise Jeremiah’s commissioning came from God. Our mission is not earthly but from God.
A. He was predestined by God. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
Long before Hilkiah and His wife came together to conceive Jeremiah, God had set him aside to be a consecrated prophet to Judah and the nations on God’s behalf. Jeremiah was intensely human, we love him as we see his weakness and humanity. But his preaching was powerful and his witness faithful despite the relentless rejection of his message. He endured and survived the rejection that marked his entire life. He was so humanly weak he could not stop crying but was so unassailably strong that he would not yield or compromise. He was mysteriously endowed with power from on high.
When there is a crisis people look for a program, God looks for a man or a woman. When the world is falling apart people look for a methodology but God chooses a baby. God sovereignly ordained Jeremiah to do what he did. It was never about results. It was about an overarching divine mission.
B. He was provided for by God with what he needed (Jeremiah 1:7).
People fear public speaking, but when one has something important to say that fear melts away. God gave Jeremiah the words to say; He was given divine wisdom. Jeremiah was speaking for God.
C. He was given divine protection (Jeremiah 1:8).
God took care of Jeremiah despite the nation’s hatred for 42 years. People hated what he said and hated him for it. Even the strongest leaders face the fear that comes with confronting people with the message they do not want to hear.
D. He was given power (Jeremiah 1:9-10).
God put His Words in Jeremiah’s mouth. Jeremiah feared that he was young, a nobody, and unskilled in oration. God said, “don’t fear” the words which come from your mouth will shatter and built, tear down and plant, be destruction to people and nations and construction to other people and nations. No power on earth can approach the power of God. “Kings, nations, empires boast of their power, yet the power in the world belongs to the mouths of the messengers of heaven.”
II. Jeremiah understood that he had a direct message
He did not change the message to appeal to his listeners or to avoid controversy (Jeremiah 14:7; 17:9). He preached against sin, indicting people for their sin. (Chapters 3; 9; 11; 19).
A. He confronted false religion.
He attacked their worship of idols (Chapter 2). People rejected the living water and hewed out empty cisterns full of dead animals. This is not a time for tolerance, “this world is full of damning false religion.” Being labeled intolerance of anything damning people’s souls while promising heaven in a compliment. “We aren’t just talking about making people feel good, we confront lies.” In chapter 7, Jeremiah indicts them for worshiping the queen of heaven who has been recast as Mary by the Roman Catholics. “We have no choice but to confront and expose false religion; that is what Jeremiah did.”
B. He confronted corrupt spiritual leadership. (Jeremiah 5:30)
He confronted the false prophets, the deceivers and liars, corrupt leaders who had infiltrated the true religion. “You cannot be the prophet of God, you cannot be the mouthpiece of God, you cannot be the representative of God, unless you have a direct message that goes at false religion as it exists contrary to the truth and as it exists inside the categories of the truth.” Jeremiah 23; 25. Sure people fill up the places where false teachers tell them what they want to hear, and praise those teachers, but what will they do at the end when they face the judgment.
C. He confronted wickedness in general. (Jeremiah 3:24-25)
Society is immoral; shame describes all conduct. Sexual deviation, perversion of marriage and all wickedness is infused in all people do.
D. He confronted dishonesty. (Jeremiah 5:1-3)
God’s eyes look for truth and cannot find it. Dishonesty is everywhere.
E. He confronted the rejection of scripture. (Jeremiah 11:8-10)
They rejected the Word of God, deliberately abandoning what God says. This perfectly describes our culture and society.
F. Jeremiah 13:1-11 -A visual aid to show Judah’s corruption, God drew them to Himself as intimately as He could, and they became fouler, and fouler, and fouler. Then God separated Himself from them and they corrupted and are under judgment. “God does not change the rules and we do not have covenant protection.”
III. Jeremiah was characterized by a deep mourning.
Jeremiah 13:17 –Jeremiah wept for His people. God wept through the eyes of Jeremiah. As we carry the gospel we must be careful to never become calloused and indifferent. We want to have the heart that Jesus had for Jerusalem, even a nation under impending Divine judgment. Jeremiah 9
IV. The result of Jeremiah’s ministry: None listened (Jeremiah 7:23-24)
But God preserved a remnant to redeem. He will give them a heart to know God and obey Him (Jeremiah 24:4-7). Why do we preach when no one listens? Because there is a remnant whom He will save.