Has GOD Become A By-Product In Our Conversations?

SCRIPTURE:  JEREMIAH CHAPTERS 11-13 (you will need your bible!)

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JEREMIAH’S CIRCUMSTANCES has gone from his own shelter to the town square; from the square to the SANCTUARY; from the sanctuary to the streets to proclaim God’s message to Israel.

Jeremiah lived in a day where there was no LOVE for God, no LOYALTY to God and, therefore, no light from God.  God had become a by-product in their conversation, a burden on their conduct and a curse in their community.  It was a day of SENSUALITY, SENSATIONALISM and SIN.

Listen to God speaking through the prophet’s lips, Jeremiah 7:24:

[24]  They would not listen to and obey Me or bend their ear, but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their backs and went in reverse instead of forward.

It was to this people Jeremiah was sent to be God’s prophetic voice, pleading God to a prodigal people.

Luke 15 tells a story we are all familiar with, of The Prodigal Son–a son who disowned his father and lived life on his own terms.  The word “prodigal” means, extravagantly wasteful because of “loose living” i.e. a debauched, profligate lifestyle  [Strong Concordance, Ref. #811.  (asotos) ].

MY STUDY in Jeremiah 11-13 is not a picture of a single son gone amok, but of a great number of prodigal people.

Chapter 11:1-17 – Broken Commitments

People are prodigal because of their broken commitment…or better stated perhaps, no commitment at all!

When reading through the verses here, pay close attention to the word “COVENANT” ( vss. 2, 3, 6, 8, and 10).  Covenant is a word that means AGREEMENT, or pact or alliance.  This isn’t a new covenant but the same one made with the forefathers of yesterday (Exodus 19:3; 24:3).

God’s COVENANT is both relational and conditional.

God had never failed to keep His end of the bargain, but the people had.

That brings us to our own commitment.  Look at the words in Scripture “Hear”, “Listen to”, “Tell”, “Proclaim”, and “Follow”.  It means to HONOR it!

F.B. Havergal wrote,  “Faithfulness to principle is only proved by faithfulness in detail.”

A professor in class one day stated, “You can either take this class seriously, or, you can take it over.”

Many in Jeremiah’s day, like many people today, never want to take COMMITMENT seriously.

And, a lack of COMMITMENT manifests itself in several ways:

  •  THE PRAYER CLOSET [King James Version] – MATTHEW 6:6 (AMP):  “But hqdefaultwhen you pray, go into your [most] private room, and close the door, pray to your Father,  Who is in secret; and your Father,  Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.”

A “PRAYER CLOSET”, “private room” might be a daily commute, a bench in the backyard, a walk in the neighborhood, or the kitchen table.  The point is, that the “closet” is free from interruption, and listening ears.

“One concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom, but trembles when we PRAY” ~ Samuel Chadwick.

  • THE BIBLE – Jesus tells us to “Search the scriptures…”  (John 5:39)

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What would you say of a doctor that never read a medical book, a lawyer who never read a law-book?  Then what about a Christian who never reads the Bible?

Charles Spurgeon said, “There is dust enough on some if your Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingers.”

THE CHURCH-HOUSE – The Scriptures say “Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the Day approaching”  (Hebrews 10:25).

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Something is drastically wrong on Sunday mornings when we have to beg our crowd to come to church to hear about the Good-News.  

I’ve noticed over the years, when they do come in the Fall/Winter months, the local teams jersey’s are faithfully worn and the smart phones apps have live feeds of the big game for a quick check of the score.  It got to be such a Football Celebration rather than a Christ Celebration on Sunday mornings, a local pastor has now placed signs in the lobby reading “SPORTS FREE ZONE.”

THE OFFERING BASKET – “The basic question is not how much of our money we should give to God, but how much of God’s money we should keep ourselves.”  J. Oswald Sanders

JEREMIAH 11:9-14 – Severe Correction.

As to COMMITMENT, when we aren’t reminded constantly and don’t take it seriously, we will be severely corrected.  I think my folks said the same when growing up at home.

VERSE 11:  “I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape.  Although they cry out to me, I will not listen,”  (NIV)

See the word “DISASTER”.  For the LOST that means Hell and for the BELIEVER it means that you lose your influence.

The Great Commission doesn’t say “teach” but “teach them to observe”  (Matthew 28:20).

JEREMIAH 11:18-23 – A Bloodthirsty Crowd on the Scene.

Tell people about misplaced trust, misguided theology and misleading teachers, people get hot under the collar  (See Proverbs 9:7).

Often, they resent criticism, will leave the assembly, or…react in revenge!

I noted 3 things in this passage of Scripture:

Their Place (11:21, 23; 12:6):  Family & friends of Jeremiah.

PREACHING, TEACHING the TRUTH doesn’t always make you popular with your audience.

Their Plot (11:18-19):  Jeremiah was a bit naive.

He quickly found out how cold, ruthless and inhuman some people can be.

Their Punishment (11:22-23):  It is obvious that Jeremiah is human.

He didn’t deny his anger or desire for justice, neither did he take matters in his own hands.  Jeremiah cast himself on God’s MERCY,

We need to understand the contrast between Jeremiah and Jesus.  How do we handle a PLOT?  We do what Jeremiah did and carry it to God.

JEREMIAH 13:1-7 – Defiant Contempt.

In studying this chapter note:

The Parable (13:1-7):  It’s self-explainable after reading it several times.  The BELT became ruined, rotted and contaminated.  It was fully useless.

It is a picture of the condition of God’s people.  How did they get that way?

Their Pride (13:8-11):  They had lifted up themselves and left out the Savior.

PRIDE is what got Satan expelled from Heaven and the people exiled from the land.

PRIDE lead to their idolatry, immorality and irreverence.

PRIDE has been called the vice of fools and the ruin of nations.  Hello, America!

Their Pain (13:14, 21-22, 26-27) – [READ]

BLINDED & CONFUSED (Chapter 12):

The Anguish (12_1-4):  JEREMIAH was coming close to concluding that God’s not fair. He seems to think that maybe God has been hoodwinked by these people.  They talked of God alright, but were never influenced in their decisions.

Jeremiah 12:2 b. :  “You are near in their mouths but far from their hearts.”

The Answer (12:5):  I thought it was interesting that God didn’t console or answer Jeremiah.  His answer was “You think it’s bad now, what will you do when it really gets serious? ”  Cheer up Jeremiah,  “the worst is yet to come!”

That’s what you have tom put up with when it come to “prodigal people”.

JESUS IS CALLING…

Calling the prodigal.

Come without delay.

Hear, O hear Him calling,

Calling now today.

 


CREDITS

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

Bible Dictionary:  VINE’S Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White Jr.

Commentary:  Halley’s Bible Handbook New Revised Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MYTH of “Supersessionism”

BLOG TEXT:  Amos 9:11-15 in the Amplified Bible

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Destruction of the Temple

[11] In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David, the fallen hut or booth,  and close up its breaches; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.  [12] That they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that are called by My name, says the Lord Who does this.  [see Acts 15:15-17.]

[13]  Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine and all the hills shall melt [that is, everything heretofore barren and unfruitful shall overflow with spiritual blessing].  [14] And I will bring back the exiles of My people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them.

[15] And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be torn up out of their land which I gave them, says the Lord your God.

WHAT IS SUPERSESSIONISM/REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY?

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY (also known as “supersessionism”),  essentially teaches the CHURCH,  as we know it, has replaced Israel in God’s plan.

Supporters of this theology believe Jews are no longer God’s chosen people; and God doesn’t have specific future plans for the nation of Israel.

All the different views in the relationship between the church and Israel are divided into TWO CAMPS:  Either the church is a continuation of Israel (replacement/covenant theology), or the CHURCH is completely different and distinct from ISRAEL (dispensationalism/premillennialism.)  *[See Footnote [i].]

PROBLEMS ARISE IN “SUPERSESSIONISM”:

Replacement Theology was very popular up until the time ISRAEL was ‘reborn’ as a nation.  Before this event, it appeared impossible for PROPHECY concerning Israel to be literally fulfilled, therefore ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS were sought. Although this belief isn’t as popular today as it was prior to 1948, it is still a fairly common belief.  Those who are holding on to this belief face a three-fold problem of allegorizing Israel.

THE FIRST PROBLEM…they must explain away Scripture in the Old and New Testament.  

In the same passage found in Amos 9, God forewarns Israel will both be scattered and gathered.  Is there a conflicted meaning found here in Scripture?

Passages that are plainly stated are said to be symbolic.  When you start ALLEGORIZING Scripture, you face a bigger problem determining where to stop.  If certain passages found in the Bible we DON’T AGREE WITH are figurative, then how are we to know that passages we DO AGREE WITH aren’t figurative or metaphors?

Starting at the beginning of the Bible–

People who try to allegorize Genesis do so because they are not at odds with the doctrine of evolution.  Hell is allegorized so people aren’t offended by the thought of judgement;  Satan is allegorized because people don’t look at superstitions to the world. God’s JUDGEMENT of SIN is allegorized so people can feel OK about their lives without being challenged to live HOLY.

In the end we have watered down Scripture to the point where it’s just a book of moral stories instead of the claim the Bible makes itself in 2 Timothy 3:16:

“Every Scripture is God-breathed  (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience,  [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).”

If we don’t believe this passage, all other doctrinal beliefs are baseless.  ALL (“every”) Scripture is an inspiration from God–or literally translated,  ALL SCRIPTURE IS ‘GOD BREATHED’, allowing the Bible to determine was is figurative and what is literal.  

“LET THE BIBLE EXPLAIN ITSELF!”

THE SECOND PROBLEM…

Those who discount Israel, by default, are claiming that God’s PROMISES have failed–the PROMISES have never been fulfilled.

Because of DISOBEDIENCE of the nation of Israel, they have been deferred, but because God gave the nation to them, without conditions, they have not and cannot be cast away.  That said, it certainly doesn’t negate individual accountability.

GOD’S GIVEN COVENANT–

ISRAEL was called by God for a PURPOSE!  Abraham and David’s promises were based on God’s COVENANT and not based on individual merit.

GOD’S COVENANT is always based on God’s character and not on man’s.  Don’t confuse PROMISE of BLESSINGS given for obedience with the PROMISES of God’s plan given by covenant.

God called ISRAEL and made it very clear that His call cannot be revoked (Romans 11).

And there’s more PROBLEMS arise in discounting ISRAEL…

IT MAKES GOD’S GRACE DEPENDANT ON MERIT.

ISRAEL is a living picture of the GRACE of GOD.  Look at your own life.  The Bible says that before we received Christ, we were at WAR with God and says that we individuals were ENEMIES of God and DEAD in our sins.  Yet, while we were enemies and spiritually dead, JESUS JUSTIFIED us by nailing our SINS with Him to His cross.  Even as ‘born-again’ Christians, many turn from God’s ways and pursue the world.  If we are truly His, the Bible says God will punish us, then lead us back to Himself.

Even though we are in DISOBEDIENCE, God still loves us.  

How many times did my parents in the raising of their two boys, punished us for our disobedience, then gave us hugs because they loved us.

And as children of God, our Father will deal with us based on our RESPONSIVENESS to His correction.  With the CHURCH and ISRAEL, the same principle applies today.

God’s Children–

We (the CHURCH), are called the Children of God, but so is ISRAEL.  Exodus 4:22 reads, “Thus says the Lord, ISRAEL is My son, even My firstborn.”

ISRAEL is the Prodigal Son–the son who left home, yet not any less than the son who stayed.  Unlike the prodigal, Israel didn’t leave with its inheritance but instead was driven away from their inheritance.

God is waiting for them to come home and then…inherit the PROMISES God has had in store all along.

GOD’S GRACE (His favor) is NOT dependant on Israel’s worthiness anymore than HIS GRACE is dependant on my righteousness.

GOD WILL GIVE THE INHERITANCE AT THE PROPER TIME:

I have been reading and studying in the Book of Amos for the past month or so.  When I finished the last chapter, the Holy Spirit directed me to expand the reading of Scripture regarding the significance of Israel’s inheritance:

 

Our names are written in God's Will
Our names are written in God’s Will

[7] This is what the LORD says–the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel–to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers;  “Kings will see you and arise, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”  [8] This is what the LORD says:  “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you, I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances”  (Isaiah 49:7-8 NIV translation).  

TWO important things to take note here:  The INHERITANCE is AFTER Israel has been judged and gathered again; the inheritance also promises they will NOT be removed from their land.

THE JUDGEMENT DOESN’T NULLIFY THE PROMISE–

Scripture always interprets Scripture; and to come up with a theology, a doctrine, out of context, promises confusion and malcontent in the body of Christ.

So the scripture verses in Amos and Isaiah tells us that the JUDGEMENT didn’t nullify the PROMISE–that it could NOT have been fulfilled in the past because they were removed from their land.

JOEL 2:18-31 reinforces GOD’S PROMISES…

God will drive out the northern army and judge them and give Israel plenty.

No one will be afraid
No one will be afraid

MICAH 4 PROMISES…

Every man in Israel will sit under his/her FIG TREE and no one will be afraid.

These PROMISES are all after God destroys those who hate His people.

ISRAEL is a PICTURE of the Christian Life.

God guided, taught, strengthened and poured out His goodness of Israel.  In spite of all this, ISRAEL was continually drawn to the world.

When PROSPERITY FAILED…God sent prophets to warn them.

When WARNINGS FAILED…God sent unrest.

When UNREST FAILED…God sent enemies.

When ENEMIES FAILED…God sent destruction.

When ISRAEL REPENTED…God delivered them.

CHRIST’S CHURCH…

When we fall away, God draws us back to His goodness!  We may think that He is UNJUST, interfering with our lives, but God sees the end from the beginning.  God looks at the day when we will stand before Him in eternity.

GOD IS GOOD!!!  We can look at the unmerited favor God has shown Israel as evidence of His grace and favor to us.

When all is said and done, SUPERSESSIONISM/REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY is truly a MYTH.  So if that is your churches doctrine–what they’re teaching from the pulpit…STOP IT!  Let Scripture define Scripture!!!

 

 


CREDITS:

PhotosPhoto Pin

FootnotesGotQuestions @ [i] http://www.gotquestions.org/replacement-theology

Bible References Amplified (AMP) and New International Version (NIV).