Saturday, July 11, 2009



Text:  Jeremiah 3.

  1. ISRAEL HAD COMMITTED SPIRITUAL ADULTERY.  (3:1-9). “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, And she goes from him And becomes another man’s, May he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,” says the LORD. 2 “ Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them Like an Arabian in the wilderness; And you have polluted the land With your harlotries and your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; You refuse to be ashamed. 4 Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘ My Father, You are the guide of my youth?  5 Will He remain angry forever? Will He keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and done evil things, As you were able.” 6 The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. 7 And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. 9 So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
    1. God likens Israel and Judah to unfaithful wives.
      1. Verse 1.  They had played the harlot with many lovers.
      2. Verse 2.  They were acting like an animal in heat.  Unable to refrain from committing adultery.
      3. Verse 3.  They refuse to be ashamed.
      4. Verses 6-8.  Judah saw what happened to Israel and still committed harlotry.
      5. Verse 9.  Judah committed harlotry with stones and trees!
    2. It is interesting that God allows one cause for a Scriptural divorce.
      1. Matthew 5:32. But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
      2. God understands the pain that is caused by an unfaithful spouse.
      3. God had put away Israel and was about to put away Judah.
    3. We too can, and unfortunately often do, commit spiritual adultery against God.
      1. The church is the bride of Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:2. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
      2. James 4:4. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
      3. We commit spiritual adultery when we love the world more than God.
      4. We are adulterers when we put more faith in man’s wisdom than God’s wisdom.
      5. We are adulterers when we put our wants above God’s wants.
    1. In spite of their harlotry, God wanted to take Israel and Judah back.
      1. Verse 2. Yet return to Me,” says the LORD.
      2. Verse 7. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return.
      3. Verse 12. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘ Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘ I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘ I will not remain angry forever.
      4. Verse 14. “Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
      5. Verse 22. “ Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings.”
    2. God placed one condition on their return.  Verse 13.  Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the LORD your God, And have scattered your charms To alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.
      1. It wasn’t enough to just want out of Assyria.
      2. It wasn’t enough to want to dwell in Palestine.
      3. They had to acknowledge that they had sinned.
      4. Before any sinner can be in a right relationship with God, he must acknowledge his sin.  Psalm 51:3.  For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is always before me.
      5. Acknowledging sin is part of repentance.  2 Corinthians 7:10-11. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
      6. The problem is that too often people are too proud to admit their sin!
  3. AN INADEQUATE REPSONSE (3:10). And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the LORD.
    1. Judah had made an outward show of returning to God but had not done so wholeheartedly.
      1. Perhaps they tore down a few altars to false gods.
      2. Perhaps they gave lip service to the one true God.
      3. But their heart was far from Him.  Isaiah 29:13-15. Therefore the Lord said: “ Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, 14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work Among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” 
15 Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
      4. They thought they could hide their true intentions and desires from God.
    2. We have a lot of people like this in the church today.
      1. They sing, Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, and then proceed to put the jobs, their families, their own wants and desires ahead of the kingdom.
      2. They sing, None of self and all of thee, and then proceed to be selfish with their time and money.
      3. They sing, Angry words O let them never from the tongue unbridled slip… and then proceed to “tell off” people who make them upset.
      4. They sing, I want to be a worker for the Lord, and then say “No” when asked to do something to help the church.
    3. God demands obedience FROM THE HEART.  Romans 6:17. But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
  4. THE ONLY SOURCE OF SALVATION IS THE LORD (3:23). Truly, in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, And from the multitude of mountains; Truly, in the LORD our God Is the salvation of Israel.
    1. Israel and Judah had sought safety by going to their false gods during times of trouble.
      1. These false gods would not deliver them.
      2. Nor would alliances with other nations do them any good.  Jeremiah 2:18,36.  18 And now why take the road to Egypt, To drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria,  To drink the waters of the River?   36 Also you shall be ashamed of Egypt as you were ashamed of Assyria.
      3. They forgot that true salvation comes only from the Lord.
    2. We must remember that ONLY IN THE LORD is salvation today.
      1. It lies not in our good works.
      2. It lies not in the wisdom of men.
      3. It lies not in our feelings or emotions.
      4. It lies not in man-made churches.
    3. Are you in the Lord?  Galatians 3:27. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.