What's New And Exciting... >

The Power Of Deception

April 27, 2023, 2:57 PM

The Power of Deception

“A great preacher may be known for one particular sermon beyond all others preached.”1

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:

“Stand in the gate of the house of the LORD and there call out this word: Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who enter through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Correct your ways and your actions, and I will allow you to live in this place. Do not trust deceitful words, chanting: This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD. Instead, if you really correct your ways and your actions, if you act justly toward one another if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow and no longer shed innocent blood in this place or follow other gods, bringing harm on yourselves, I will allow you to live in this place, the land I gave to your ancestors long ago and forever. But look, you keep trusting in deceitful words that cannot help. Do you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known? Then do you come and stand before me in this house that bears my name and say, ‘We are rescued, so we can continue doing all these detestable acts?’ Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers in your view? Yes, I too have seen it. This is the LORD’s declaration. But return to my place that was at Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first”

(Jeremiah 7:1-12.)

Jeremiah was told to stand in the gate of the Lord’s house (v.2) and preach a hard sermon. He stands at one of the outer gates, facing the great crowd of people gathered for the feast day. Love for the temple had degenerated into a superstition of sorts, and Jeremiah’s timeless sermon warns of the emptiness of her worship. The death of King Josiah, slain in the battle at Megiddo, precipitated a crisis…compounded by a lack of religious fervor or energy from which to face that crisis. So, what can we learn from this in the midst of our own crisis?

1. The world offers a façade (v. 4).

In assessing damage from the recent tornado, one can quickly identify those structures that consist only of a façade. Flattering themselves and thinking that they were untouchable, the people of Jerusalem truly believed that their great temple would afford them protection. In response to their chanting, “The Temple of the Lord,” out of excitement for the source of their perceived strength, Jeremiah clearly says that their holy place will not buy them protection in the day of God’s judgment.

2. God is never satisfied with empty professions (vv. 5-11 constitute a graphic lesson in contrasts).

True righteousness makes demands. God’s holiness declares that repentance and righteousness are inseparable. Repentance means a change of mind and heart…that leads to a change of conduct. If you truly change your mind, you will change your ways; this will change your relationships. A change in the horizontal relationships we have with each other only comes from a change in our vertical relationship with God.

3. We are just as guilty (v. 6).

Verse 6 speaks of “oppression of the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow…” of shedding “innocent blood,” and of walking “after other gods.” The sins in verse 9 are described with repeated infinitives... “To steal,” “to murder,” “to commit adultery,” “to swear falsely,” “to burn incense unto Baal,” and “to worship other gods.” Does it shock you to hear this, or are you desensitized? Jeremiah calls them “strange churchgoers.” We focus on externals…God focuses on the heart. We speak of the rich and poor, the well-dressed…completely different from God’s list.

4. Tragedy should remind us of the consequences to sin.

The self-deception that accompanies sin is described in two ways: In verse 10 the people say, “We are secure against evil consequences while we continue to sin. No harm will come to us.” The blasphemous self-assurance is phenomenal! But, in response to this sin, through repentance and forgiveness, true righteousness is promised! Verse 7 says, “Forever and ever.” God, in His ultimate strength, will carry out His divine purposes!

5. Whether you know it or not, history will repeat itself.

May of 2013 was the last time a tornado went through Shawnee, but Pottawatomie County also had one in May of 2011. History repeats itself. Verse 12 says, “remember Shiloh!” Shiloh was one of the earliest and most sacred of the Hebrew sanctuaries. For 300 years God’s ark remained there, as the Lord’s priests ministered to them. When the people turned away from God, the ark became a fetish, and they came to judgment. Both Eli and his sons were slain (Psalm 78:59-72). History is full of lessons of God’s judgment for the people who will hear and believe. We cannot avoid God’s judgment by pretending to be His people. Sin has always carried with it a built-in deception about judgment. We seem to think that things are different for us. We think we will get away with our sins and will escape judgment. This gives us a false sense of security. Verses 14 & 15 contain the solemn warning of God that He will send destruction to Jerusalem just as He did at Shiloh.

The world offers you a façade. God is not satisfied with empty professions, so true righteousness makes demands. Whether you know it or not history will repeat itself. In “remembering Shiloh,” remember that we cannot avoid God’s judgment by pretending to be His people. Together, let us make sure that our worship and service is never formality, but truly an offering from the heart! Ask God what you need to confess to Him this day.



Contents © 2023 Pottawatomie-Lincoln Baptist Association
Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy