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, ‘Hear 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 these.’ (Jeremiah 7:1-4)
In Jeremiah 7, the Lord told Jeremiah to stand outside the gates of the temple and proclaim His words to the people that were going into the temple. God was very angry with these worshippers because they had become so degenerate they were chasing after false gods, stealing, murdering, committing adultery and even burning their own children as sacrifices to false gods. Yet, on the Sabbath, they showed up to the temple to worship God BELIEVING that all was forgiven because THEY WERE GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE. And God basically told them (and I'm paraphrasing here): "You think that is going to save you from my wrath? You think by walking through these doors on the Sabbath you are automatically forgiven of all your sins, cleansed, and made new just because you're here? 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 your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh!" (Jeremiah 7:9-15)
God Destroyed Shiloh
So, what about you Christian? Why do you go to church every Sunday? Do you think by showing up, you are cleansed, forgiven and made brand new, just because you walked through the doors? Are you believing that you are "safe" because you are saved?
What Does God Require of you?
The same thing He required from His people back in Jeremiah's day.
Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you - Jeremiah 7:23
Are you following after false gods? You would probably say, "Of course not!" But there are many ways in which Christians can unknowingly give something else in their lives more priority than God. There are the usual culprits - T.V., the internet, money, etc., but have you ever considered that you might be letting false teachers tickle your ears with a false doctrine, like the prosperity or the grace gospel? Are you listening to the world or are you listening to God? Do you believe that you can do anything you want because you are saved by grace? Or that God is there to give you what you want because you are His child? This is a false idol you are worshipping. Not God.
I know of a woman who came to Jesus only because of the prosperity gospel. She was told Jesus would solve all her problems and make her wildest dreams come true. At the time she was on welfare. A pastor told her to believe that she would get rich and to claim it every day. When she didn't get rich, she not only gave up going to that church, she stopped believing in God altogether. This is the greatest danger of the prosperity gospel. A false doctrine, encouraging the worship of a false idol - greed.
The Grace movement is equally as bad. God's grace is something I marvel at and would never treat with callous disrespect. But I know some people who believe that "once saved always saved" is the key to God's grace. So, if they sin, they don't worry about it because they are saved. They don't confess their sins, neither do they repent of them. They continue to behave as if they are the apple of God's eye and yet those who know them are repulsed by their behaviour. They sincerely believe that their sins need no confession or repentance because they were saved by grace. This is not how you treat God's grace. Jesus' blood does cover a multitude of sins, but that does not give one free reign to continue sinning.
The Jews of Jeremiah's day went through the Temple gates saying, "The Temple of the Lord! The Temple of the Lord! The Temple of the Lord!" They put their faith in the building, rather than in God. Today, Christians who say, "I'm saved because of Jesus! I'm saved! I'm saved!" but do not repent of their sins make a mockery of Jesus death and abuse the grace God has granted them. And those who preach and practice the prosperity gospel by making use of God as some kind of heavenly Santa Claus, also treat God with disrespect. These are only two false doctrines out there today. There are many more. I focus on these two because they are the most prevalent.
False doctrines are like false idols in your life. Why? Because deceptive doctrines and those who teach them, are causing Christians to run after what "sounds good" rather than the truth. A pure love of God and devotion to the Scriptures have been replaced by the idols of grace and prosperity. Sadly, it is because most Christians don't read their Bibles that they are deceived into believing these wrong teachings.
Examine your hearts today. Are you listening to and obeying deceitful teachers who promote false doctrines? If so, you have set up an idol in your life. Put away your counterfeit idols/doctrines, return to the Scriptures and worship God alone.
For the time will come when people will not put up with
I've been studying the book of Jeremiah and landed on chapter five today, and it struck me how similar the times of today are to what Jeremiah and his people went through. For example, in the opening of this chapter God tells him to go throughout the streets of Jerusalem to look for an honest man, someone who speaks the truth and executes justice. If Jeremiah finds such a man, God will pardon the people. Like Sodom and Gomorrah during Abraham’s time, the people had once again descended into immorality. Their worship of God was forsaken in exchange for the lusts of the flesh. God was openly mocked and even those in charge of the spiritual well-being of the people had fallen away. They now worshipped false gods and in this chapter the Lord reveals to Jeremiah his plans for Israel. It would be their defining moment in history, because God's plans for Israel included destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. He was sending King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who would keep them captive in his land for seventy years.
But Jeremiah believed that if he went to the right people (the chief priests and rabbis, those who were in charge of the spiritual well-being of the Jewish people), he could convince them to repent and thereby stave off God's judgement. God even said, "Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon her" (Jeremiah 5:1). But Jeremiah could not find anyone (even among the priests) with those requirements. Jeremiah 5:5-6 tells us their "transgressions were many and their apostasies numerous."
While this was written about the Jews thousands of years ago, today we seem to have come full circle once again. The world in general has turned away from God, and those in positions of spiritual leadership are turning a blind eye to sin and apostasy and in some cases are even encouraging it. The tragedy is when these leaders try to appease the world rather than obey God. Many churches today are dangerously close to abandoning God and Scripture for what “feels good” or “seems right.” For example, preachers like Rob Bell, Tony Campolo and others, are disregarding the Scriptures that condemn immorality (in particular homosexuality). They are throwing out the Bible and saying it is no longer relevant. Bell recently declared that, “The church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense." Preachers like Bell and others who seek to please men rather than God, are leading people away from the love of God, not to Him, because they are urging people to believe their words rather than God’s Word. Those preachers who teach a prosperity gospel, or those who claim it is okay to sin because grace covers everything, are also leading people down a slippery slope toward their destruction.
In my book He Who Has an Ear, Who the Seven Churches of Revelation are Today, I talk about the church of Pergamum. Jesus said of this church, "Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:16). He was talking about the Nicolaitans, whom He hated. They put themselves forward as believers in Jesus Christ and, at the same time, practiced black magic, offered sacrifices to the numerous idols in Pergamum, were sexually immoral, and were teaching new believers that all this was okay with God. Jesus warned them to repent or He would deal with them personally. This is also a warning for our time.
The House of Israel and the House of Judah had both dealt treacherously with God. They lied to the people and said God would not harm them. They told them misfortune would never come on them and that they would never see sword or famine. They said these things and believed these things, simply because they were “God’s chosen people”. And so they mocked the prophets God sent to warn them about their impending doom, going so far as to say they would harm the prophets who proclaimed harm was coming to them (Jeremiah 5:13).
The Jewish people believed in their hearts that God would never harm them because they were His “chosen people”. They were unprepared for the destruction that was about to come upon them. Even though God sent them prophet after prophet to warn them. They suffered in captivity for 70 years because of their disobedience. If God is the same today, yesterday and forever, why do Christian leaders (and those they deceive) think He will suddenly change His mind about sin? Why do they think because they "have Jesus" they are safe from God's wrath? They are openly disobeying Him, encouraging sexual immorality, teaching false doctrines and leading others to do the same.
The Jewish people were warned about their impending doom through prophets like Jeremiah. They were urged to repent. It's time for those who are on the "politically correct" and "tolerant" bandwagon to stop seeking the praise of the world and repent before destruction comes on them as well.
In my latest book He Who Has an Ear, Who the Seven Churches of Revelation are Today, I talk about many of the false doctrines and false teachers out there today that are destroying God's people and misrepresenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many recognize these charlatans for what they are and they recognize them because they know the gospel. Sadly, many Christians today do not recognize a false gospel when they hear it. I believe they do not recognize it for two reasons:
The video below addresses many of the things I talk about in my book. I am thankful for people like Justin Peters who speaks in the video below. In an enjoyable hour he slices through the heresies of the Word of Faith Movement and their teachers. I urge you to take the time to listen to him because he truly has captured the truth about this movement and the dangers it presents to the body of Christ.