27 April 2014

CREATED FOR COMPANIONSHIP


Eccl 4:7-12

The more your read the bible the more you begin to see an underlining theme with God’s children. We are designed for family, fellowship and friendship. This goes with everything you read in the scriptures when you read about the one another’s. Family and friends play a pivotal role in our lives whether you believe it or not.The bible speaks about how we are to pick our friends. In Proverbs 12:26 we read “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
  • Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
  • Proverbs 14:6-7 “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”
  • Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”


The bible speaks about how we are to treat our family and friends. Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” We also read when Paul said in Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
  • Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
  • Colossians 3:12-14 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

In all honesty when you think of it! We do not function well as loners. I’m sure you knew someone who would rather be alone then to have a friendship because they’re so driven to do what they want. And when you try to reach out to them they usually say “I don’t need anyone except God.” Sadly though this type of person usually ends up a miserable old man or woman who cried and cried when they become terminally ill or when tragedy strikes because they have one to physical comfort. We read in Ecclesiastes 4:8 about a lonely person who devoted all his energy to the pursuit of wealth. He didn't have time for friends or family. He worked very hard, yet his wealth didn't satisfy the void in his life. Listen to this for a moment because in all reality it’s sad! Nearly a quarter of the people in a recent survey said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer friends; most often they were immediate family members. I came across a news report of a 70 year old man was found deceased in his home in front of his TV with the TV still on. The strange part of the story is he had been dead for a year. Nobody had missed him. His next door neighbor is quoted as saying, “I didn’t really know him very well, but apparently nobody did." There is an aloneness problem out there and it is having devastating effects. Why is that? What’s wrong here One theologian said “God has designed us with a need for one another. So be sure to have friends, and be a friend. That's the only way to fulfill God's design for companionship.” As one writer said “I went out to find a friend, but could not find one there; I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere!”

The time to make friends is before you…..you need them! A friend is the kind of person if you call them at 2:00 in the morning and tell them you need them. They don’t ask, “So what’s the problem” and then decide whether or not to come. They simply ask, “Where are you?” as they are getting dressed. That’s a friend. How many people do you have like that in your life? The writer of Proverbs says, “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov 17:17). This portion of scripture reaffirms God’s divine plan for His created children….you and me. We were never created to be alone otherwise the idea to multiply and subdue it is a false teaching and the fellowship of the saints would be a waste of time.
That’s why the institute of marriage is so important to God. That’s why the institute of the family is so important to God. That’s why the institute of the local church is so important God.....This is where the one another’s are in the body of Christ! This is where we find our refueling, comfort, encouragement for the week. This is where God’s people use their gifts for the glory of God in the family, the marriage and the church. See, Solomon, was the wisest man who ever lived; he knew how crucial it is to have companions in life. He wrote, “Two are better than one” (v9). We need our spouses and friends to help us through the scary times and to provide emotional support. Loners make life harder for themselves (v.8). But those who recognize their need for others find help and encouragement. FOUR REASONS WHY TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE!


FIRST, TWO TOGETHER REAP A GREATER PROFIT (V. 9).

When two people work together you can accomplish greater results quicker and more affectively. The simple value and productivity of two laboring together, you are able to get more done when it comes to work. It’s much easier to do a difficult task with someone else then when you’re alone. The same could be said when it comes to the spiritual! Having someone help you overcome a difficulty. Someone to keep you accountable, someone who will help strengthen you in areas that you are weak in. That’s why I love this quote "Our fellowship with other Christians is one of the chief instruments God has given us to overcome sin" ~Sinclair Ferguson. That’s why it says in Pro 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” The loving influence which a brother or sister has upon one another is vital for our moulding and shaping in Christ.


SECOND, FRIENDS OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT AND HELP (V. 10).

The roads in Palestine were bumpy, rocky and uneven at best with many pot holes and pits to trip a person up as they journeyed down the road. This is where it’s wonderful to have someone there to help you up. Yes, it’s nice to be helped when we fall down physically, but it’s so more when we receive help when we fall spiritually. How grateful should we be for Christian friends who sacrificially and loving help us even when we are messy and fall due to sin. Nothing is more encouraging than to know despite what you have done there is friend who will listen, help and restore you in His grace. See, when one falls during a difficult time, another provides comfort and support (v10). Having that person pray for you and give you sound biblical wisdom is a blessing especially when we fall to sin by volition or contrition. As Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”


THIRD, A FRIEND OFFERS SPECIAL WARMTH (V. 11).

It can get really cold at night under the Palestinian air…the warmth of another definitely helps. There is something about cuddling up with my wife when my feet are freezing that brings great comfort and warmth. The comfort of knowing that person whom I trust and love is sitting or sleeping next to me. But this isn’t just applying to warmth when you sleep or lie down. See, a friend offers a special comfort that a total stranger can’t! A friend offers something this world knows nothing about! The grace of God and the gentle reminder of that grace expressed through God’s servants you and me. It’s being there through the good and the bad times! It’s not leaving when times get tough! Like the story of two men who were out hunting…… “when suddenly one yelled and the other looked up to see a grizzly charging them. The first started to frantically put on his tennis shoes and his friend anxiously asked, “What are you doing? Don’t you know you can’t outrun a grizzly bear?” “I don’t have to outrun a grizzly. I just have to outrun you!." They plant their friendship firmly on the ground and foundation of Christ and no one can remove or distinguish this love they have for one another.
  • We see that in the life of David and Jonathan.
  • We see that in the life of Elijah and Elisha.
  • We see that in the life of Christ and His disciples despite their lack of faith and their sin a times.

That’s why we read in 1Thess 5:9-14 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. There are two kinds of people in the world encouragers and discouragers, which group characterizes you? Because according to Paul we are to encourage, build up one another, especially the faint hearted and weak in faith.


FOURTH, A FRIEND GIVES US STRENGTH (V. 12).

At times it can be very dangerous to walk alone especially at night or in the city. I can remember when Rachel and Victoria were Hannah and Sarah’s age that Julie and I would never let them play in the back yard without us being their because you never know who was watching or around. Being alone makes a person more vulnerable to predators or worse secret sin! Satan loves to attack believers when they are alone; just as he tempted Eve in the garden, and Christ in the wilderness. But when a believer is around other Christians, they are capable of being helped by their friends, by their advice and counsel, and by striving together in their prayers to God for him. That’s why we read in Hebrews “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Heb 10:24-25
See, it’s much easier to withstand temptation and sin when you have strength in numbers. Even King David found that help in times when as the Bible says “grew weary” tired and unable to fight. His men came to aid and to his side to fight the Palestinian giants who were about to kill him in 2 Sam 21:15-17. A threefold cord is not quickly broken," was a proverbial way of saying "there is strength in numbers

We need one another because it helps us to continue to grow as the writer of Proverbs has said, that friends help! Help to do what?  To sharpen us, to become sharp spiritually a little bit at a time. He compares this type of friendship to iron that is banged on by iron. Think of a blacksmith who makes swords. He takes a hammer and takes out a piece of iron and works on it slowly and continuously until it takes the shape and sharpness of a sword. A true brother and sister in Christ will always challenge us and even push us to be all that God wants for us to be…because they love us as Christ loved us. As it says “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Prov 27:17. Let me ask you! Do you need sharpening or would you rather be left alone? A dull blade that would rather be alone will always stay dull and unsharpened. C S Lewis said “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” NEVER FORGET! God desires and designed us to a people who are bound together to grow in the grace that He gave in His Son……to be a part of a community that has one purpose to glorify God in all His glory for all His goodness that He gives us.

15 April 2014

HEARTBROKEN



Luke 19:41-44

What are some of the things that break the heart of God? Death and sorrow breaks the heart of God. Sheep without a shepherd break the heart of God. Broken marriages break the heart of God. Delinquent and self-absorbed parenting breaks the heart of God. Disobedient children break the heart of God. Unbelief and rejection breaks God's heart. My sin, your sin, breaks the heart of God. God’s heart was so broken over sin, we read “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." Gen 6:5-7. The list is endless to what breaks the heart of God because He knows the consequences to these actions and the ignorance of man. And as we look at this passage we read“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

There is one thing that should break our hearts as it does God……..to witness people we know and love who sin against God! We come to a passage of scripture that shows us the heart of God penned through the heart of a man who saw sin as God sees it. Do you know that it breaks God heart to see His children, His creation walking aimlessly under the ignorance of their own hearts? Let me ask you! Do your eyes flow like rivers over the sin of this world? Does your heart ache when people disobey the Word of God? Does your heart ache when you see people walk away from the church? Does your heart ache when you at times find yourself disobeying the Word of God?If you look at this verse closely we see the heart of a God who saw the hardness of hearts. It makes him weep because of the wickedness of man. It makes him weep because of their love for sin. It makes him weep because they are haters of God and His word.

Nehemiah was also another man who weep for the sins of his people! “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said: "I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.' Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." For I was the king's cupbearer. Neh 1:4-11

Is this you this morning? Do you feel like Jesus here in this text this morning? When your at work listening to conversations around you. In your car as you look around and see what’s going outside in the communities around us. At school seeing how young people treat each other and the disrespect they give to those who are older than them. At the store where people are in such hurry to go nowhere and the selfishness as they get through the check-out lines at Walmart. At church were people put on their Sunday cloths and faces and disregard everything they heard proclaimed about our sovereign LORD. SO MY QUESTION TO YOU IS, DOESN'T THIS CONCERN YOU? What does your heart tell you right now, after reading a passage that expresses the heart of God who see’s man depravity for what it is! SIN. Especially after the so-called heart felt welcome as Jesus entered a city where He would die for the sins of the world. God said He would never flood the whole earth again, but He didn’t say He wouldn’t pour His wrath upon the sinner. This is why He came! And as Jesus looked over the crowd of people He “wept over it” (v41) “Over it” is referring to the nation of Israel! Showing His compassion for the guilty city, and His strong sense of the evils that were about to come upon it if they continued down this road of destruction.

This is the second time Jesus wept! The first time being at the tomb of Lazarus, in John 11, the second being here. The only difference between the two is that Jesus wept quietly at the tomb of Lazarus. Here in this portion of scripture, He expressed His heart with a loud lamentation, like you would see someone mourning over the death of a loved one. Why? Jesus saw that the nation had wasted its opportunities and been ignorant of their “time of visitation” Jesus saw the spiritual ignorance and blindness in the hearts of the people, because they should have known who He really was. Jesus saw the religious activity that accomplished very little if nothing for the Kingdom of God and His glory. This people were so filled with celebrations, festivals and other things, but sadly their hearts where heavy with sin and life burdens that none of them could ever carry on their own if they could only see Christ and His sustaining grace that he offers to sins like these people. That’s why He says "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Luke 19:42-44. See, Jesus knew the terrible judgement that was coming to the nation, the city and the temple. In 70AD, the Romans would come and, after a siege of 143 days, they killed 600,000 Jews, then they would take thousands more captive, and destroy the temple and the city. Why did all this happen? Jesus summarizes it in this statement “because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (v44)

Just as it was in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, just as it was in the time of Noah, just as it was in the time of visitation. Again going back to Genesis “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen 6:5. Just as it is here, the sins of man have blinded the hearts of man to see the glory of God in Christ Jesus during His earthly visit. I want to stop here for a moment and ask you, do you weep over the sin of others? This is not a game! As Matthew Henry said “The eye is the inlet and outlet of a great deal of sin, and therefore it ought to be a weeping eye.”When was the last time you wept over your sin or sin that is around you? Do you shed tears for the lost people around you? Does the sin of our nation, continent, world, grieve you? Are you even affected by the depravity of your culture? Better yet……..Do you even care? Do you love others? I say this because we need to remind ourselves daily about the beauty of the gospel in our lives. “Hosanna in the Highest” in Matthew’s gospel which meaning “Save us now, Oh supremely great and glorious God; save us by the Messiah that comes in Your name.” A holy God who came to save us from holy God who hates sin. A holy God who was grieved over your sin, my sin and He displayed this grief and anger over our sin through the “Messiah”…………His Son….Jesus Christ. That’s what makes the gospel so beautiful and precious to sinners like us. We need to be reminded daily of that truth.

As Jerry Bridges wrote “To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means to continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you. … You can be sure of one thing, though: When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.”
We have Christians who don’t weep over the sin of others because they are too busy or self-absorbed with their own cares of life….and sadly this type of person has a tendency to forget about the gospel that saved their wretched souls from His perfect and pending wrath.So what are some things that we can do as God’s children when it comes to ignorance of Christ and sin and this pending doom for so many?

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING FOR THOSE WHO ARE ENTANGLED IN SIN......As Paul said “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Eph 6:18. It’s that idea of “pray without ceasing” which means never stopping because there is simply too much to pray about. Prayer is work, plain and simple, which is why most believers don't do it and struggle in this area of life. And it’s one of the reasons we don’t concern ourselves with the cares of others….but it should as it did Jesus here in this passage.

GENTLY AND CAUTIOUSLY COME ALONGSIDE A BROTHER OR SISTER AND HELP THEM TO BE RECONCILED WITH GOD.......Jesus said "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matt 18:12-15. Our desire is not to find restitution to fill our prideful hearts, when we have been wronged. Our desire should be for a sinner to reconciled back into the fellowship with our Lord and King. We should desire the same God desires for sinners to repent and find their comfort and peace in the Son of God.

PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THEM IN EVERY OCCASION WITH THE WORDS OF TRUTH......As Paul said “Preach the word [the gospel truth]! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. In all occasion share the Gospel of salvation, the word of righteousness, peace, and reconciliation by Christ; which is to be preached always. Faith in Christ comes by hearing the word of God! Rom 10:17

NEVER GIVE UP ON A SINNER, DESPITE WHAT THE OUTCOME MIGHT BRING....In the gospel of John we read “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:2-5. Jesus washed his feet. It was only one example of the agape love of Jesus Christ and the way He reached out to Judas. This example of love He took to win Judas even at this late hour made His love all the more wonderful. Never giving up because God’s desire that no one perishes even though many will in the end. Never give up on a sinner no matter how wicked or reckless a person might be.

LOVE THEM AS CHRIST LOVED THEM AND WEPT OVER THEM BECAUSE YOU KNOW THEIR COMING JUDGEMENT........As the Hebrew writer said “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” Heb 9:27. What does this judgement look like? We read in Rev 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Can you see why Jesus wept at their celebration on this Palm Sunday? Many according to His powerful Sermon on the mount would end in this terrible place. He loved them so much He died for them despite how they felt about Him. The gospel saves and need to tell the world about this message! Remind yourself of that truth in the word of God and others as this one writer said, “This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity. Don’t miss this truth as so many of the people that Jesus came to saved did! For some it may be too late…..for others it’s the power of God that some will be saved by His amazing grace. As this amazing story of a man incarcerated as He was asked “What would YOU say in a letter to your younger self?”

Dear Peter,

It’s great to be able to talk to you, I’m 55 years old now, and living in prison for the past six years. Let me tell you kid; it’s no way to live. A lot if the things you’re going to do are good, a few of them are really stupid. If you think something’s might be a bad idea…..BELIEVE IT! Don`t do it. If you think you feel the Lord in your life, believe it! You will receive many blessings, many signs of what you should do. Keep your eyes open wide and pay attention, do what is right and you won’t need to go to prison. God loves you, live by His word.  Love Peter!

What do you think the people who physically witnessed Christ but loved their sin instead would write if they had a chance to write their younger self? "Listen to Jesus, love Jesus, because He came to give us peace through his death and resurrection." Don’t miss the invitation of His visitation found in the gospel that saves. He came to save the lost! Though He wept over her, He loved and gave Himself for her. Today is the day of salvation.

07 April 2014

GOD IS BETTER ALWAYS


Jeremiah 2

Our society is very anti-God and wants nothing to do with God and will try very hard to win your heart…..or better yet steal it from you. This is a message to the believer who struggles in their Christian life, trying to find a balance between these two worlds. See, it doesn’t happen overnight it’s that subtle deception like an “I V drip”. As one writer said “There is really no such thing as a sudden fall. Oh! the last step is only the last of a series of steps. I believe there are always many steps before a child of God reaches the verge of the precipice. I believe, further, that even when the edge of the precipice is reached, very few jump over. Most of them slide down, slowly at first, and it is so easy, so gentle, so effortless, so natural, so pleasant, that, alas! They seem to enjoy the sensation. It is only when the pace begins to accelerate terribly, it is only when control is slipping away, that this pleasant enjoyment gives way to anxiety and alarm.” This is where we need to proceed with extreme caution! It’s easy to stray down the wrong path and think that everything is ok. It’s easy to forget your first love when your appetite is being filled with the other things of this world. John Piper said “We need to ponder the superiority of God as our great reward over all that the world has to offer. If we don’t, we will love the world like everyone else and live like everyone else.”

We need to do a self-evaluation to see what we love the most! See, what’s worse for the soul is a person who has tasted the available truth of forgiveness and choses to continue to follow after the things of this world as a way of satisfaction. It’s the idea, content at first, but as time goes on they get bored or dissatisfied with what they have………meaning God. Maybe you know someone or maybe you feel this way?
  • Your Time with God dwindles.
  • You desire to fellowship with other Christians diminishes
  • You hardly ever read your Bible.
  • Your church attendance is inconsistent and less important to you.
  • You become more concerned about yourself rather than the things of God.
  • Your giving is almost nothing.
  • Your lifestyle has become more sinful rather than more holy/pure.

The focus of your heart changes from the things of God to the things of the world. Maybe the problem is that you’re sliding down the hill as well and you don’t realize your backsliding in Christian life. WHAT IS BACKSLIDING? First, all Christians are sinners, but not all Christians are currently backsliding. Backsliding is not the loss of one’s salvation (this is impossible), nor the loss of God’s love and care (his faithfulness endures forever). To say it simply, a backslidden Christian is one whose communion with Christ is whose faith is weakening. This passage displays to us where backsliding leads too and the compassion and great concern that our God has for us when we stray away from what’s most important and serve self or idols. The Lord said “I remember the devotion of your youth” this God speaking to His people. (v2). As a bride is to her husband………. you loved me at the beginning of our marriage, but know you are different! And that pure excited devotion you had for Me at the beginning has quickly changed and gone in the other direction to serve other things.

Doesn’t that sound like many of us in this room? With one hand were satisfied in God and with the other we are continued to look for other satisfactions to feed selfish lusts or passions. When we can’t get what we want from God, we leave Him for someone or something that is better. Sadly the result or outcome of that backsliding leads to this question! What did I do wrong that you have turned away from me? (v5). Let that question soak in this morning! In our generation what is wrong with God that we are not more interested in Him? In our generation why are we not serving Him? Is God doing something wrong? Again in (v5) what sin has God committed to make us turn our backs on Him? What has God done that you would follow after vain thing or idols? Some translations say “vanity” which has the same meaning here as idols. They become vain, foolish having no more sense and reason because idols they are no good and benefit nothing. As John Calvin said “as long as the devil deceives and deludes the world, idols and images will be in repute, though they are in themselves solely useless and worthless, while yet they prove disastrous to the souls of men.” What are some things that draw us away from God?

  • Pride
  • Bitterness
  • Resentment
  • Money
  • Power
  • Possessions
  • Sex
  • Unforgiveness
In the end it leads to pain and a wrong view of God and His everlasting grace in our lives. Look what God says in (v13) “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” My people have committed two evils! First, they have forsaken me and secondly they have crafted their own cisterns. We live among people whom you may know, who have carved out little cisterns for themselves. They will do it on their own, their way and ignore God and His wisdom along with God’s children and seek to fill their own desires and lusts. The major downside to this is that carved cisterns are riddled with holes that are unable to hold water. What picture of the self-righteous man or woman. A person who desires money, fame or power will never be satisfied and they will continue to seek out their own passions. Have we not witnessed this in the life of most men who have fallen to image of a naked woman? Have we not seen this is the life of resent celebrities who have everything yet are still unsatisfied?Have we not seen this in the divorce of marriages when times get tough? Have we not seen this in the life of some of the youth who try to grow up so fast and refuse to listen to their parents [especially as it pertains to modesty and purity]? Have we not seen this in the church where people are always dissatisfied, because the church is not doing what “you” want them to do? This is the warning to all Christians! A person will never find true satisfaction in these…..it only leads to sin and hardened heart to the beauty found in God alone. And sadly this leads to a backslidden life of vain [idolatrous] pursuits because you’re dissatisfied with God and His children.

LET ME ASK YOU THIS! What does it mean to be an idolater? Some say it’s:
  • Its worshipping other gods
  • It’s a craven image
  • It’s a person
  • Its self-worship

They‘re all good answers! But the word idolatry goes much deeper than that! Webster’s defines Idolatry as: An image, form or representation, usually of a man or other animal, consecrated as an object of worship; a pagan deity. Idols are usually statues or images, carved out of wood or stone, or formed of metals, particularly silver or gold. I think Erwin Lutzer explanation of idolatry goes even deeper than that..... He leaves no room for compromise for today’s generation when it comes to idolatry!
He says……..“an idol can be a physical object, a property, a person, an activity, a role, an institution, a hope, an image, an idea, a pleasure, a hero. If I can simply define idolatry! It is something that gives you and me more pleasure (fulfillment) than GOD." Idolatry is more that bowing down at an image on your wall or a Buddha sitting on a mantel. It’s what you give your most time tooAGAIN! What have you turned from to follow the Lord Jesus Christ? What was your idol or your god before salvation came? What is your idol possibly today? See we need to understand that God wants nothing greater in our lives than Him………ALONE! If we are not.....Consuming our lives with more of Him minute by minute. If we are not.....In drenching our lives or families our churches, in the Scripture, in prayer, sharing the hope of Christ and communion with the saints! Then, we are at risk of becoming an idolater as these men and women in this passage! Let me explain as we look at what idolatry has done through the ages starting with the Bible:
  • Self-worship in the Garden found in the book of Genesis (Chapter 3)
  • Tower of Babel found in the book of Genesis (Chapter 11)
  • The Golden Calf found in the book of Exodus (Chapter 32)
  • The Battle of Elijah and the prophet Baal in the book of 1st Kings (Chapter 18)
  • The Fish god in Nineveh found in the book of Jonah (Chapter 1)
  • Nebuchadnezzar and his statue of gold found in the book of Daniel (Chapter 3)
  • Rituals and traditions of the Pharisee’s found in all the 4 Gospels
  • Worship of man the apostles and faithful men of God (1 Cor 3) 
  • The “unknown god” found in the book of Acts (Chapter 17)
  • Angels found in the Book of Revelation (Chapter 22)

We need to understand that God hates our idolatry! Listen to what God says about this problem.....not me! GOD SAYS as He does in this passage of Jeremiah. The Lord uses strong language of rebuke here! Again, He says “for my people have committed two evils…”

“evil” in its most general context, is taken as the absence of that which is ascribed as being good. Often, evil is used to denote profound immorality. Israel has not merely offended God, like the unregenerate man or woman, by idolatry, but by deserting the only God who can satisfy the needs of human nature. His covenant people committed two evils, they abandon the true God and they serve idols. What is the outcome of these two evils to a backslidden Christian…..these sins to build cisterns for your own pleasure.


Idolatry is an Abomination and an affront to a holy God who love us. “for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.” Deut 7:25

Idolatry is unprofitable and it will continue to leave you empty and unsatisfied. “....They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god; They prostrate themselves, yes, they worship. They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it And set it in its place, and it stands; From its place it shall not move. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer Nor save him out of his trouble.” Isa 46:6-7

Idolatry is forsaking God and brings about judgement. “because they have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands” 2 Kings 22:17

Idolatry changes the truth of God into a lie “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Rom 1:25

Idolatry is only having fellowship with the Devil “My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, And their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, And they have played the harlot against their God.” Hosea 4:12

Idolatry is false worship and dishonoring to God “He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it. Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, "Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire." And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" Isaiah 44:14-17

So I can’t stress this enough that the Bible is abundantly clear that idolatry is and goes against everything God desires and wills.....that He created for His good pleasure! This is the concern that God has for His people in this passage! We should examine our lives in light of this passage. Have we forsaken God with something and not realize it? Have we been worshipping and following after our own desires and passions instead of God. Have we been complacent as we slid gradually down the slippery slope of backsliding to serve self over God? Have we been so busy we forgot about our first love as the church of Ephesus did? We  are not to serve self but to serve and continue to follow the living God who loved us and gave His Son for us......WHICH MEANS WE FOLLOW……….

  • A breathing God
  • A caring God
  • A loving God
  • A sovereign God
  • A merciful God
  • A righteous God
Not a god made of wood, silver, gold, or a statue, a cross or fallible men and women. Not a god created in our image or by our hands. We serve a God who desires and deserves our adoration and thanksgiving. We serve a God who transformed our ways to serve the One who created man in His likeness. We serve the GOD of the Bible (YAHWEH, ELOHIM, EL SHADDAI, JEHOVAH, AND ADONAI). We follow and worship the true living God through the Gospel! We have also been delivered from the wrath of almighty God (The Just and the Justifier). To all Christian have you committed these two evils? Have you chosen sin over Him because you thought you dig a bigger and better hole to hold water? Things that draw us away from Him to pursue vain worthless things! Please think before you’re tempted to commit these two evils……..GOD IS BETTER!
  • God is better than money
  • God is better than education
  • God is better than career or aspirations
  • God is better than family and friends
  • God is better than entertainment
  • God is better than sex
  • God is better than popularity and power
  • God is better than anything and everything you could imagine

My question for us is………………….Do you believe that? And if so, come back! Why? Because as the song goes “One day in His house is better than a thousands elsewhere.