“The Real Issue”
Pastor David Moore
New Testament reading: Revelation 2:1-7
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Theme: The Jews will be punished because of their straying from God’s direction. Jeremiah is God’s spokesman to help lighten the punishment for the Jews if they return to God’s covenant. Their punishment will be the Babylonians conquering their country. This story of Israel reminds us of our own disobedience to God’s Word and covenant with us. Let us listen to Jeremiah today.
Deuteronomy 7:9: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Jeremiah 2:19-32: “Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declared the Lord, the Lord Almighty. “Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute. I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?
Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Lord. “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving—in her heat, who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her. Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, ‘It’s no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.’ “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught, so the house of Israel is disgraced—they, their kings, and their officials, their priests and their prophets. They say to wood, ‘You are my father’, and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’
Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah. “Why do you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me,” declares the Lord. “In vain I punished your people; they did not respond to correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a ravening lion.
“You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord:
“Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam; we will come to you no more?’ Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.”
Our lives are supposed to revolve around God. But after we replace God with other people, opinions, money, status, and career, etc., we are still unable to find meaning in life and no security for the future. It is easy to let our sins overtake us. We cannot produce our own meaning in life. We cannot produce our own worth. We cannot produce our own security. So spiritually speaking, if it isn’t God who is giving us security and comfort and meaning, then we are in bed spiritually with something else. ~D. Moore
Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. ~Saint Augustine
Spiritual attraction can lead to spiritual (a)_____________. The response is spiritual (b)_____________.
Revelation 2:4: Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Jeremiah 3:1-2: If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—would you now return to me? Look up at the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness.
“The crisis in the U.S. church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative; it has everything to do with giving up on the faith and discipline of our Christian baptism and settling for a common generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, part consumerism, part violence, and part affluence.” ~Walter Brueggemann
This week think about Jeremiah and think about the predicament the Jews are in because of the broken covenant. Think about the distractions that move us out of our covenant with God. Spend time in prayer and spend time reading the Bible and focus on our Hope in Christ, our new covenant.
God bless have a good week.
Answers: (a) addiction (b) restoration