Jeremiah 17:1-2 ESV
“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills.”
The Lord Jesus is having me look today at the church in America, overall, in relation to this passage of Scripture. So much of today’s church is not taking God and his word seriously. They have turned the gatherings of the church into places of fun, amusement, and entertainment, much like an amusement park.
Church services are often turned into stage productions, and pastors are turned into actors and clowns to keep the people rolling with laughter. Even church fellowships are often playful and about having a good time, and the name of Jesus is barely or never even mentioned.
Many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are now living in habitual sin, and sexual immorality is rampant in the church. They are like on a merry-go-round just riding along through life as though God doesn’t matter and as though God just ignores, or he winks at their sin.
The teachings of Scripture are no longer central to the church gatherings. Entertaining the masses is, as is making people feel comfortable, non-threatened, at home, and not offended by the hard truths of God’s word. So, folks are being encouraged to “stay in your own lane,” so as not to offend.
Lust and lasciviousness are stealing the word of God from the hearts of the people. They are convincing the people that God no longer requires repentance, obedience, holiness, and submission to Christ as Lord. So, they believe they can keep living in sin and still have heaven awaiting them.
I know that there are exceptions, and that there are still church congregations where they gather for true worship of God, for true spiritual fellowship, for prayer, and for the serious study of God’s word, and for teachings on holiness, purity, righteousness and faithfulness. But this no longer appears to be the norm.
And, this is grieving God’s Spirit, that so much of the church is on this “merry-go-round,” and that so many are abandoning the faith.
Jeremiah 17:5-6 ESV
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.”
The reason that the church in America, at large, is on such a massive spiritual and moral decline is that she put her trust in man instead of putting her trust fully in God. She unequally yoked together with the government, big business, and the world, and she turned God’s house, his body, into a marketplace to be marketed to the world like any other business.
Thus, she started following the teachings of men and marketing books on how to grow the church. And, thus, she made huge changes (alterations) to how the church operated to make the church and the gospel more attractive to the world so that the world would want to come to her meetings, and to feel at home there, too.
She compromised with the world to win the world to her gatherings, rather than winning the world to genuine faith in Jesus Christ by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, which dies with Christ to sin, and which lives to Christ and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Therefore, the church of America, at large, is presently under the judgment of Almighty God. This is why we are going through the stuff we are now going through, because God has removed his hand of protection from his adulterous and idolatrous church, and he is allowing her to suffer the consequences of her disobedience in order to bring her back into fellowship with her Lord, I believe.
Yet, the Lord is still calling out to his adulterous and idolatrous people to return to him as her only God, and for her to forsake her idols and her adulteries, and for her to follow him in obedience to his ways and in submission to him and to his will for her life.
He is reminding her that his ways are not the same as the ways of man, and that she needs to come out from the world and to be separate. And, she needs to be holy unto God, living in moral purity and in righteousness.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Yes, this is the good stuff! This is where we are truly at peace with God. God is the one in whom we place our trust and our confidence, not in man. We believe the word of God over the word of man. We follow the teachings of Scripture (in context) and not the teachings of mere mortals.
Jesus is the only head of the church, not the government, and not big business. We submit to him alone as Lord, not to the marketing schemes and business plans of men. The Holy Spirit is guiding and directing the people, not books written by men. The Scriptures are what are being taught and not a mixture of Scripture and humanistic philosophy.
We now follow the gospel of salvation taught by Jesus and by his New Testament apostles, and the whole counsel of God, rather than a watered-down feel good ear tickling gospel intended to appeal to human flesh and to coddle people in their sins so that they don’t feel guilty about sin.
Now we are following our Lord in obedience to his word. Daily we are dying to sin and self. We are forsaking the ways of the world and the ways of the flesh, and we are walking in the Spirit in holiness and in purity of devotion to our Lord. We have gotten off that merry-go-round, and now our feet are firmly planted on holy ground.
And, now we are at peace, and we are joyful, and we are fulfilled because we are living the lives we were meant to live. We are living for the Lord and not for the flesh. We are worshiping God in spirit and in truth, and not in hypocrisy and form only. We have learned that to love God is to obey him, and that love for God is not what we feel, but it is what we do.
By Ann Aschauer
Well, some folks think that “love” means emotion,
So it comes and goes their whole life through.
Some folks never know that when the magic goes,
If you keep on lovin’, it’ll come back to you.
I was so afraid we’d lose the special feeling,
And someday we’d find our love wasn’t true,
But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize,
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.
c 1987 Ann Aschauer
Used by permission