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A Sermon on the Church Steps (3 of 10)
We are going to look in survey fashion at chapters 7 through 10. I'm trying to just give you some of the highlights of the prophecy of Jeremiah. I'm placing a special emphasis upon Jeremiah's heart experiences through this 40-year ministry which God has given to him.
You may remember the first chapter which recounts for us the call of Jeremiah into the prophetic ministry. The Lord had told Jeremiah he was going to have a difficult time and that it was not going to be an easy ministry.
We will find this to be true as we move through Jeremiah. Along the way there will be behind-the-scenes glimpses of what's going on in Jeremiah's heart.
We are told that during these 40 years of the prophecy of Jeremiah, he started during the reign of the good king Josiah. The Word of the Lord was found in the temple and brought to King Josiah. The result of that was something of a revival led by the young king Josiah. He called the people to repentance. He called the people back to God. He renovated the temple and led the people in a return of the worship of the Lord.
One of the things we notice though, about this particular spiritual revival on the part of Josiah, is that it might not even be called a revival. It might better be called a reformation. What we have is the people outwardly returning to the Lord, but on the inside their hearts were still attached to their idols. It was not genuine or sincere.
But they did return to the house of the Lord. They were so proud of this house of the Lord. It was renovated and refurbished. It looked so good. The people were coming in great numbers to the house of the Lord to worship.
But Zedekiah the king came along. Josiah lost his life in a tragic battle. He made a very poor decision militarily and lost his life as a result of it.
Then along the way, Zedekiah came, and he led the people back into the idolatry. They were still going to the house of the Lord. They were going through the outward motions of church attendance, but in their hearts they were still attached to their idols.
Sometimes we get the idea that a big crowd means that God is blessing. Sometimes we can think that just because there are big crowds, this means that the people are genuine and sincere in their worship of the Lord. But that's not necessarily true.
We thank God for big crowds. We love to see multitudes of people come to the house of the Lord. But a big crowd is not necessarily a guarantee that the Lord is blessing. If that be true, then you would have to say that the greatest blessing going on in the world today is Islam because that's the fastest growing religion in the world.
It is not the big crowds. It is not just the majority going to religious services and going through the forms of worship. The real question is, is it real in the heart? Is it genuine and pleasing unto the Lord?
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