Jeremiah uses an analogy in Jeremiah 4:1-3 that most would understand in his day: “Plow the fallow ground.” Fallow ground is what my Dad called “new ground,” ground that has never been plowed or fully plowed. Neglected land with thorns, rocks and vermin is very difficult to plow.
The people of Israel had misused what God had given them in wealth and success. They were oblivious in their failure to recognize Him as the source for all blessings. They neglected the care of the resources and the soil had become hard for them.
Their great problem was a divided heart: God or Baal! God or false gods! Inconsistency in character was characteristic of their lives. They lived by the conviction of preference.
A doctrine of preference is rapidly becoming the primary doctrine for many of our people in Baptist churches. We must be careful that we do not spiritually cheat ourselves and others by compromising biblical truth.
Sin has a price in judgment. Most often it will also have a surprise ending. What you sow—you reap—in kind and abundance. One great temptation of our day for the people of God is making ourselves acceptable to our age and culture.
Individualism and personal choice have greatly displaced loyalty and integrity. People syncretize incompatible ideas and find ways to rationalize their inconsistency. Someone said it well—the only absolute of our day seems to be there are no absolutes.
We live on the eye of the cyclone. God’s people are never at home with secular culture. Even in the best of times we must continue pressing the issue of the Gospel.
We must continue ministry to a lost world. We must never allow our churches to move God to the edge of life rather than to keep Him in the center.
We cannot adequately articulate the Gospel without conviction and confidence. It is not unusual to find in Scripture the phrase, “this is a hard saying ….” Without some hard sayings we will drift toward idolatry.
A faulty theology of the Cross produces a faulty Jesus. A faulty Jesus produces a faulty salvation. Faulty salvation produces faulty discipleship. Faulty disciples produce faulty churches that will never change a faulty world.
I have just finished reading the Bible through for 2013. I noticed in the prophets reminders of some things I’ve preached before with relevance for today.
Does any of this sound familiar to you:
►Israel was not ignorant; they were arrogant;
►Israel did not lack in covenant relations; they lacked in consistent character;
►A nation, family or church declines rapidly when their leaders become corrupt;
►Bad decisions will take you out of God’s will but never out of God’s reach, and;
►Only repentance will bring restoration and right relationships in your life.
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