TEXT: Jeremiah 2:1-9
1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
3 Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord.
4 Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
5 Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?
6 Neither said they, Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?
7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.
8 The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children’s children will I plead.
Thomas Constable said, “In those days Israel was set apart to the Lord in a way that she had not been since she entered the land and began to worship idols. She was His firstfruits among the nations that He would bless. The Lord punished peoples who tried to devour the Israelites then (such as the Egyptians and the Amalekites), just as He punished those who ate His firstfruits offerings without divine authorization.”
Recently in this series, we have been looking at how God recalled the good and positive behavior of the Children of Israel in their early days of following Him. We have looked at three ways in which Israel lived up to her calling. First, we looked at their kindness and goodness toward the Lord and their faithfulness to His commands. Second, we looked at their “loving espousals” and their attitude of matrimonial-like commitment to the Lord. Third, we looked at how theu faithfully followed God even into difficult circumstances such as the period of wilderness wandering.
Then, we began to look at the fourth way in which they were faithful to the Lord, and that is in their commitment to holiness. Jeremiah 2:3 says, “Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase.” The Hebrew word translated as “firstfruits” means: the best, the chief, or the choice part. Israel was the jewel in the Lord’s crown, the apple of His eye. God says, “All who devour Israel shall offend; evil shall come upon them.” Those who tried to harm Israel experienced the wrath of God.
But, eventually, Israel abandoned her dedication to holiness. And, as we talked about on yesterday, it seems that the Church of today has lost her dedication to holiness as well. Why? Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Professor Jeff Robinson describes thirteen reasons why there is a lack of holiness in the Church today:
(1) Because we no longer understand the complementarity of law and gospel, [that the law and the gospel are not in opposition; they go together].
(2) Because 150-plus years of of revivalism has focused on salvation at the expense of sanctification.
(3) Because we tend to celebrate what Christ saves us from (the penalty of sin), but neglect what he saved us to (liberty from the power of sin [that we might do good works]).
(4) Because when we do talk about holiness, it’s not always grace-driven, but is more often a heart-calcifying legalism or a rigorous moralism/asceticism.
(5) Because, in our noble drive to be gospel-centered, there is a mistaken notion that we should talk about indicatives [what God has done] and not imperatives [what we should do].
(6) Because of a fear of legalism among younger Christians.
(7) Because we don’t talk much about the fear of God.
(8) Because of weak, sub-biblical teaching on ‘once saved always saved.’
(9) Because the god of pop theology is heavy on love and light on wrath.
(10) Because holiness takes time and effort.
(11) Because of an unbiblical view of Christian freedom.
(12) Because labeling anything “unholy” seems judgmental and intolerant.
(13) Because there are many unregenerate people in our churches.
Holiness! Where is it? It seems we have lost it today. It seems that the Church and Christians today are on a trajectory similar to that of Israel. The Lord could very well be saying to us, “Remember when I was your first love. Remember when you followed Me willingly. Remember when you pursued holiness.” We may have forgotten how we used to love and serve the Lord and how we used to love and serve our fellow believers. But God has not forgotten. And, today, He is calling us back to that remembrance.
Vincent S.S. Coles wrote:
Father, whose love we have wronged by transgression
Christ, who wast nailed for our sins on the tree,
Spirit, who givest the grace of repentance;
Hear us, we pray Thee, good Lord.
Thou who wast wounded to heal our transgression,
Lifted on high to draw all men to Thee,
There on the cross in Thy majesty reigning,
Hear us, we pray Thee, good Lord.
That Thou wouldst draw us to heartfelt contrition,
That Thou wouldst help us our sins to confess,
That Thou wouldst grant us the grace of amendment,
Hear us, we pray Thee, good Lord.
That we may bring forth works meet for repentance,
That we give place to the devil no more,
That Thou wouldst lead us to sure perseverance,
Hear us, we pray Thee, good Lord.
If you are a Christian listening today, here are three things you need to do:
1. Confess and repent of your own sins. You already know what they are.
2. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ to repent of their sins and get back to their first love
3. Pray for souls to be saved, and do your part by witnessing to the lost.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.