Jeremiah chapter number 11 beginning verse number 1, the Bible reads, "The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you, so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God, That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O Lord."
Now this scripture is really clear and it has to do with the theme that we've seen over and over again in the book of Jeremiah. We're only 11 chapters in and we've already seen this repeated and it's going to be repeated many more times by the time we finish the book of Jeremiah. The fact that God's covenant with the children of Israel, God's promises to the children of Israel were not just these unconditional promises, just a carte blanche of, "I'll be your God no matter what you believe. This land belongs to you no matter how you live your life, no matter what altars you build or idols you set up." Over and over again, it's emphasized that God's covenant with the children of Israel, that He made with them in the day that He brought them out of the land of Egypt was conditional upon their obedience. It's that simple.
See, when God makes a covenant, I'm going to explain that word because it's not a word that we use everyday in our modern vernacular in 2016. When He makes a covenant He's making an agreement, He's making a contract. Now that involves a promise on His part, that involves an oath on His part but it's a contractual agreement, meaning that there's His part of the bargain and then there's your part of the bargain or the children of Israel, their part of the bargain. It's an agreement made between two people, it's a covenant between two people.
It's like when you're buying a house and you sign all kinds of paperwork and you make these agreements and they're sworn in front of some kind of a title company. Someone marks it all down and write down the terms of the agreement that say, "You get this house and we get your money." Then the bank is another party that's brought in of, "Okay, you pay us this much each month and the house will continue to be yours. You stop paying the bill, we're going to come and take the house from you. It's your house but if you don't keep your end of the bargain, we're not going to keep the end of the bargain." There is an agreement there.
Now, would it be possible for God to make an unconditional promise unto mankind? Yes, it is possible, an example of that would be when God made the promise never to flood the Earth again. He didn't say, "I'm never going to flood the Earth again if you obey My voice." No, He just said, "I'm never going to flood the Earth again." No matter what mankind does. That is an unconditional ... but the vast majority of God's promises are always attached with some kind of a stipulation of something that you have to do on your part.
For example, let's take the most important promise of all, salvation through Jesus Christ. There is a condition upon salvation, "If thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved." What the Calvinists believed in is a false doctrine called unconditional election, unconditional election meaning that you are elect or chosen or saved based on no conditions that you meet, whereas the Bible very clearly puts a condition upon your salvation which is faith, "if."
Computer programmers understand what we mean when we talk about conditional things, because when they do computer programming they'll use terms like if and then. "If you believe in Jesus Christ then thou shall be saved." It's that simple. The condition for salvation is just believing on the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart and then you're saved.
Now after you're saved there is no additional condition to keep you save because once you believed on Jesus Christ you have, present tense, everlasting life, He'll never leave you nor forsake you, nothing can separate us from the love of God at that point. Once we're in Christ we're sealed unto the day of redemption, we have the earnest of the Holy Spirit. He which hath performed a good work in us, who's had begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. There's no condition to stay saved but there is a condition to get saved, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, in the Old Testament the promise that we're referring to, in this scripture and in many other scriptures, is that God would give them a land flowing with milk and honey. Look at verse 5, "That I may perform the oath," what's an oath? It's a promise or a vow that He made, "That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day." This oath or promise or covenant has to do with giving them a particular piece of land, which is a wonderful land that flowed with milk and honey, known today as the Holy Land, the Promised Land, known as Israel, Palestine.
He says, "I have sworn it unto your fathers," but notice the first phrase there in verse 5, "That I may perform." He doesn't say, "I'm going to perform this oath no matter what you do, no matter what you believe." He says, "No, you need to do your part so that I may do My part," and He talks about how He made this covenant with them. Look at verse number 4, "Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you, so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God. That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey."
God made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but these were not a carte blanche to their descendants, they had to do their part. What's the condition according to the scripture on inheriting the Promised Land? What's the condition on possessing the land that flowed with milk and honey? Obedience to the commandments of the Lord, isn't that clear? It's crystal clear.
Now go to Hebrews chapter 8 in the New Testament, flip over to Hebrews chapter number 8. Toward the very end of the New Testament, Hebrews, James, 1st, 2nd Peter. Find the book of Hebrews and go to chapter number 8 and we'll find a scripture that deals with this exact subject. It says then, verse number 7 of chapter 8, "7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." Now let me just stop and point out what is meant here by the first covenant and the second covenant. This is what's often referred to as the Old Testament and the New Testament because testament and covenant are two synonyms, they mean the exact same thing. They're used interchangeably in the book of Hebrews.
The old covenant or the Old Testament was the agreement that God made with the children of Israel when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. Now we call the 39 books, we call that the Old Testament, and we call the 27 books the New Testament which makes sense because that's primarily what those sections of scripture deal with, but when the Bible talks about the old covenant, the first covenant, the first testament, what He's specifically referring to is the Mosaic Law.
He's specifically referring to the agreement that He made with the children of Israel when He brought them out of the Land of Egypt and said, "You are going to be My people. I'm going to be your God. I'm going to give you a land that flows with milk and honey. You will be a royal nation. You will be a kingdom of priests. You will be a peculiar people, if you keep My commandments, obey My voice." Nothing to do with personal salvation here. This isn't about personal salvation.
See, salvation under the old covenant was by grace through faith. Salvation under the new covenant is by grace through faith. That's not what changed from old covenant to new covenant. What changed was that in the old covenant God chose the physical nation of Israel to be His people and He have them a specific land and that was conditional upon their obedience, and there were certain rules of who could approach unto the tabernacle, who could approach unto the temple, and specifically who could approach unto the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place within the tabernacle or within the temple. In the New Testament, the new covenant it's been expanded to where anyone who believes on Jesus Christ is a member of that Holy Nation, is a member of that peculiar people, is part of that holy priesthood.
That's why, we as Baptists believe in what's called the Priesthood of the Believer because in 1st Peter 2 He says that if you are saved you are a nation of priests, you are a peculiar people. It's amazing to me how every independent Baptist Church I've ever been in has preached repeatedly about how we are to be a peculiar people. We've all heard that, right? If you've grown up in church that's a pretty particular or that's a pretty common sermon, on being a peculiar people, being different than the world.
Now use that scripture from 1st Peter chapter 2, but they don't even seem to understand though, the theological ramifications of that because in the Old Testament He told the children of Israel when they came out of the land of Egypt, "If you obey My voice and keep My covenant you'll be a peculiar people," and He said, "You'll be a chosen people. You'll be God's chosen people." Then in the New Testament He says that we're the chosen people. We're a chosen generation.
It's funny how they latch onto the peculiar people part of that verse but they ignore the chosen people, the chosen generation and they say, "Well, we're not the chosen people. The Jews are the chosen people." No, you're stuck under the old covenant there, under the new covenant the Jews are not God's chosen people, under the new covenant Christians are God's chosen people. Anyone, and it's not restricted to a physical geography, it's not restricted to a certain nationality, it's just if you believe on Christ, if Christ dwells in your heart by faith, you are one of the chosen people.
I've even got the t-shirt to prove it. That's why we have that t-shirt, "We are the chosen people," because of the fact that that's what it says in 1st Peter 2 verses 9 and 10. But look what He says here, "If the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." Now if you just took that verse by itself it would be a little bit shocking, like there was something wrong with the old covenant, but it wasn't that there was anything wrong with it from God's perspective because look at verse 8, "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord."
Remember that covenant that He made with them according to Jeremiah chapter 11, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt, was conditional upon their obedience to His commands. Did they continue in that covenant? No, and therefore God regarded not, meaning He doesn't any longer recognize them as the heirs of that covenant anymore. They no longer inherit those promises. He does not recognize them. Do you understand what that means, "I regarded them not?" Think about if someone died and they left a great inheritance and the descendants came to claim that inheritance. Let's say they couldn't really prove that they were a legitimate descendant, then the court might say, "Hey, we do not regard you as an heir. We don't regard you as someone who should inherit this man's wealth." That's what this is saying.
See, Abraham had a bunch of wonderful promises given to him and the promises were made to Abraham and to his seed, the Bible says and God does not regard the children of Israel as the seed of Abraham because they do not continue in His covenant, the physical descendants I'm talking about now, and instead the Bible says that it's Christ who is that seed. The promises were made to Abraham to his seed, you read Galatians 3 on this, Christ is the seed and He said, "If you be Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
He says here, " They continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord.’ For all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest, probably merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities while I remember no more. In that He saith the new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth the old is ready to vanish away."
Let me ask this, "Is the old covenant still in effect?" No, it's not in effect, it has been replaced. Man, I love that word, it's been replaced by the new covenant. It's not just that there are two covenants now enforced, side by side in tandem. No, that which decayeth and waxeth, the old is the first covenant, the Old Testament, not again ... We're not saying the scriptures are going to go away, we're saying that that agreement is no longer valid, that covenant, that bargain or however you want to say it, a contract that He made with the children of Israel.
Now you say, "Well, Pastor Anderson, this is directing the new covenant at Israel and Judah," that's because we're reading the epistle to the Hebrews. Obviously we're reading the epistle to the Hebrews, who is he trying to reach out to and bring into the fold? Hebrews. The whole purpose of this book is to reach out to the Hebrews and explain to them, "Your old covenant is no longer valid and if you want to have salvation and beyond that, if you want to have any part in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, if you want to have any part in the inheritance of your fathers, you better get onboard with this new covenant." You're grandfathered in because of Grandfather Abraham. You got to get on the new covenant, buddy, and people will say, "Well, it's just for Israel." No, it's epistle to the Hebrews, that's why He's emphasizing that because we could go to the epistle to the Romans, epistle to Galatians and it's going to be emphasizing how it's for them, because that's who the letter is being written to, makes perfect sense.
Now if you would go to Deuteronomy chapter number 28, I don't want to spend all night on this subject because I preach on it many times, but the reason that I preach on it many times is because I'm preaching through the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and it just keeps coming up. I didn't put it there but you get to chapter 11 and there it is again. If something comes up over and over again in the Bible, that tells me it's important, that tells me it needs to be emphasized.
I'll make some application to use personally in a moment, but we need to lay down these doctrines strongly today because we're living in a day of strong delusions. We're living in a day of scriptural ignorance and we're living in a day of Zionist false teaching that disregards 90% of the book of Jeremiah and just takes a few verses out of context. That disregards all of the Apostle Paul's epistles in regard to old covenant versus new covenant and just focused on a few verses in Romans 11, that are again, being taken totally out of context, while they ignore Galatians 3, ignore Galatians 4, 5, 6. They're basically just cherry-picking.
We are going a little deeper here at Faithful World Baptist Church by actually going through the entire book of Jeremiah, verse by verse, leaving no stone unturned. When we're done with it we're going to understand this doctrine really well, and I'd rather lay down these doctrines too clearly and too many times than not enough. As Apostle Paul said, "To write the same things unto you to me indeed it is not grievous, but for you it is safe." To repeat that which is important doctrinally and repeated a lot.
Now Deuteronomy 28 is a chapter that has a few parallel passages that teach the same type of context in Leviticus and elsewhere in Deuteronomy. The basic concept here is that is you obey the Lord you'll be blessed, and if you disobey the Lord you will be cursed. That's what this chapter's about, it says in verse 1, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth." Now did he say, "Even if you don't obey you'll still be set on high above all the nations of the earth?"
No, but today Israel, so-called over in the Middle East, total disobedience to God, total rebellion against God, totally a false God and a false religion that they worship, not even close to being the God of the Old Testament, but yet people will set them on high above all the nations of the earth and say, "Hey, that's the most important nation. Amen." "Amen. Amen. Yeah, that's right, brother. Israel, we got [inaudible 00:18:44]. God will bless those who bless them and curse those who curse them." Is God going to have to curse Himself? Because God placed a curse on Israel in this chapter, and Moses placed a curse on Israel in this chapter.
The Apostle Paul placed a curse on Israel in Romans chapter 11, he says, "That if you don't obey," jump down, if you would to verse 15, "It shall come to pass, if thou will not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day, you'll be blessed anyway because of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for the father's sake." Is that what it says? "For Abraham's sake I'll still bless you." No, He says, "All these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee, “Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field."
It just goes on and on, I mean the cursings and the cursings and the cursings, all the way down through the end of this chapter. I mean, it's 68 verses, the first 14 verses have to do with the blessings, then you have 54 verses about the cursings. I mean telling them just all these horrible thing. Go home and read it, just all the horrible things that are going to happen to you.
Now, how can anyone even begin to make the case that the people in Israel today are obeying the voice of the Lord, their God. Obviously what I would emphasize, as somebody who actually understands the New Testament, I would emphasize, "If you don't believe in Christ you have nothing. Without Jesus you have nothing. If you don't believe on the Son of God the wrath of God abideth on you." For me it's just case closed at that, just end of story. If you don't have the Son, you don't have the Father. You don't believe in Christ, you have God's wrath on you, but even if we were to just take this warped dispensational two covenants in effect, John Haggis-style of belief or whatever that basically, "Well, all God is expecting them to do in order to live in that land is just follow the first five books of Moses. You know, as long as they follow their Torah, that's their covenant."
Now, look, I don't believe that for one second. That's a very bad doctrine, but I'm just saying, even if you were to suspend your disbelief for a moment and just pretend that that were real, let me ask you this, "Are they following the Torah over there? How many animals sacrifices are they doing every morning and evening sacrifice? Are they killing the Passover lamb and putting the blood on the door posts? Are they actually going through the trespass offerings and the sin offerings and the cleansings?"
No, they're not. Those things have all gone out the window, and of course the ridiculous nonsensical answer comes back, "Well, they don't have the temple," but here is the thing about that, God made these commands long before the temple was ever in place. In fact the temple wasn't even God's idea, that was David's idea or it was David's idea to make that temple. God said it was a good idea and go forward with it but actually He told them to make the tabernacle, but even when He told them to make the tabernacle He clearly gave another option right after the 10 Commandments. Just look up the 10 Commandments, it's right there, it's at the end of the same chapter. He says that, "If you want to build an altar unto the Lord and make sacrifices to the Lord, this is what you do, you make it out of dirt. You pile up a mound of earth and that is your altar to the Lord."
You don't need a temple to make sacrifice unto the Lord. You need a pile of dirt. You need a mound of earth or He said, "If you want to make an altar out of stones," and this is what's familiar to you if you grew up in Sunday school and they showed you the flannelgraphs or showed you the Sunday school papers that you color, where they have the altar made out of stones, the pile of stone. The Bible gives two options, He says, "You can make an altar of earth unto the Lord or you can pile up stones." Even when the temple was built you see, for example Elijah, building the altar of the Lord that had been in disrepair. Not the altar in Jerusalem. Not an altar where the sacrifices are made in the temple but rather just a pile of stones made according to the teachings of the book of Exodus, where burnt sacrifices could be made unto the Lord.
This idea of, "Let's just throw out hundreds of commands that tell us to do burnt sacrifices because we don't have our precious temple," is bizarre to say the least. "Let's just ignore hundreds and hundreds of commandments because we don't have the temple." When God specifically made allowance for that and said, "Look, you build an altar anywhere, anywhere you want." Now where they supposed to make certain pilgrimages to Jerusalem? Of course, but there was allowance made for a pile of stones or a mound of earth to be used as an altar on the Lord, to offer burnt sacrifice thereon, as Elijah did.
Did God condone of Elijah's altar? Well, he came down with fire from [inaudible 00:24:09], and not only that, but when Elijah prayed for the fire to come down on Mount Carmel in 1st King 17 he said, "Let it be known to all these people that I've done all these things according to Your Word. Everything I just did is what You told me to do." Where he dumped the water on, where he dig the trench around it, that was all commanded by God, but Rabbi [inaudible 00:24:32] knows better, because the Talmud says that if they don't have the temple then they can't do their sacrifice and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.
Now the real reason why they quit doing sacrifices is because Jesus is the Lamb of God, that's once for all slain. It's almost like they subconsciously know that, that there's no need for the sacrifice. Although they're damned because they have not put their trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It'd be very easy for them to be saved, very easy to be saved. All they have to do is just receive Jesus Christ their savior. Just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and then the veil would come off. They'd understand the word of God, but then they wouldn't be Jewish anymore, now they're be Christian and then they'd go to a Baptist church, God willing, and they would sit down right next to Gentiles. Pretty soon their children would marry little Gentile children, and pretty soon no one would ever even know that they'd ever been Jewish, once a few generations went by. It's the truth, my friend.
Let's go to Jeremiah chapter 11. Let's make practical application here though. There are a lot more promises in the Bible than just God's promise of salvation and just God's promise of the land or the promise of being the chosen nation, that He gave the sons of Israel. There are all kinds of promises that God gives us in our lives and those promises usually have some kind of a stipulation attached on, all right. Like how about this promise, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." What were the things? Food, clothing, and drink. We would have food, water, and clothing if we'll seek first the kingdom of God. There's a promise but there's a stipulation attached to it.
How about this? Prayer, "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." If you keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight He will answer all your prayers. That's what the Bible says. These things have stipulations. You know, one of the most often quoted promises in the Bible is, "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus," but when you actually look up that scripture in Philippians chapter 4, you'll see that leading up to that he's talking about their generosity and their giving, and because they were generous and because they gave, God promised to supply all their need according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus. Why? Because the Bible says, "Give and it shall be given unto you."
The Bible teaches that if you give to the poor you are lending to the Lord, and what He has borrowed He will pay again. Over and over again there are all these promises about God's blessing in our lives or answered prayers or good things He's going to do for us, but there are agreements, there are terms to the agreement that we have to keep on our end. Not only that, but those of us who have believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, although there is nothing we could ever do to lose our salvation, although we are eternally secure and saved and sealed in Christ, if we want God's blessing in our life, if we want God to bless us, we must obey God's commandments. You can't just go through life disobeying God's commandments, disregarding His word, and expect God's blessing on your life just because you're His child, just because you're saved.
See, it was pretty easy for Chloe to be born into my family this morning. Now it wasn't very easy for my wife, but it was pretty easy for Chloe, in fact, the problem was she had her hands up like this, so my wife had to give birth to the baby with the head and the hands. That made it a lot harder. She's just sitting there like this while my wife does all the work. The bottom line is that it's really easy to be born into a family, mom does all the word but once you're in that family you are either going to be blessed and rewarded and treated well or you are going to be chastened and chastised and cursed, if you do not obey your mother and your father. It's that simple.
It's not just, "Oh, well, I'm a child of my parents so no matter what I do they're going to treat me well, they're going to bless me." No, that's not the way it works. Now no matter what you do you'll always be their child. No matter how disobedient you are, no matter how many rules you break, they're still you're mom and dad, they're still going to love you, you're still in the family, but does that mean you're going to be blessed? No, you could be severely chastised and chastened. You could be one who receive his blessing or curse and it's the exact same way in our Christian lives.
This doctrine that's out there that says, "Well, you know what, God is just going to bless you no matter what because He just loves you unconditionally." Well, here's the thing, just because He loves His children unconditionally doesn't mean He blesses unconditionally. He doesn't. You will have many of the curses of Deuteronomy 28 come upon you if you disregard God's word and you will receive the blessings if you do what's right. The path to God's blessing is through the door of obedience and even common sense should tell us that. That if we disobey God He's going to scourge us, as He said in Hebrews chapter 12, and that if we obey Him He's going to pour out all kinds of blessings upon us and He's going to give us all kinds of good things, and He's going to treat us ... Who do you think I'm going to treat better, a child who is rebelling and refusing to obey or a child who is obeying and respectful and humble? They're obviously going to get the blessings, that's common sense and it's taught throughout the Bible.
Go back to Jeremiah chapter 11, if you would, he said in verse number 6, "Then the Lord said unto me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Hear ye the words of this covenant and do them, for I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, “Obey My voice.” Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart. Therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did them not.’”
What's He saying there? He's saying, "I'm going to bring upon them the words of this covenant," what He's saying is, "I'm going to bring upon them the words of Deuteronomy 28, verse 15 through 68. I'm going to bring those curses upon them. All those things are going to happen because they disobeyed." The covenant that God made with Israel is not a positive only covenant, it has a positive side and it has a negative side and you choose as an ancient Israelite which side of that coincidence you want to be on. In the New Testament you choose as a believer in Christ, do you want to be blessed of the Lord or do you want to be chastened of the Lord, chastised to the Lord? Children, you choose whether your parents bless you or curse you.
Now let me say this, when I was a child, my mother's here tonight, and there were times when I felt like, as a teenager, "Well, no matter what I do my parents are going to be on my case." This is how teenagers often feel, right? "My parents have it in for me and no matter what I do they're going to have it in for me and I'm going to get yelled at." I remember one time I even said this, I said, "Even if Jesus were living in this house He would get yelled at in this house." I wasn't being blasphemous or anything I was serious, I just meant literally I feel that there's no way to win in this house, but here is the thing, looking back I was completely wrong. Mom, I was wrong, because honestly I wasn't doing everything I was supposed to do.
Teenagers can often be wise in their own conceit because they're at a transitional period where they're coming out of childhood and they're coming into adulthood and that is a difficult time in anyone's life. Now I've heard a lot of people say nowadays, and this seems to be kind of a trendy teaching that I've heard out there and it's like, "Hey, there's no such thing as a teenager. It's just a young man." They're basically just saying, "You know you're just making allowance for them to be rebellious by saying that, 'You know there's a teenage phase or whatever,'" but here is the thing, it's real, folks. It exists.
You can sit there and wish it away and write all these books about how, "Oh, there's no such thing as a teenager and back when I was a boy, you know, you just became an adult when you're 12 or whatever," but it's really not true. Obviously we know that in our own lives and in the lives of people we've known, there is a time of transition where you're older than a child but you're not quite yet an adult yet. You know what? God designed it that way because of the fact that you can't just leap from being a child to just being a man and having a wife and kids and running your house. There's got to be a gradual growth process there and a gradual transition, but because of that sometimes teenagers make the mistake though of thinking that they're much smarter than they really are.
What the wise teenager will do is realize that they don't know everything and that they may think that they understand how the world works, but actually when they get to be 20 years old, 30 years old, they're going to realize how little they knew about the world that we live in, and how little they knew about what it means to work for a living, and to have a marriage and to raise children. You learn that over time and you keep realizing, "Wow, my parents were right about that," or, "Oh, they were right about that too," but teenagers think often that they know everything and I was the same way. When I was a teenager I often thought that I understood so much more about this, that, and the other and then turned out, "Guess what? I was wrong."
The key for a teenager is to be humble and to realize that you don't know always as much as you think you know. Now, there's nothing wrong with being a teenager and wanting to expand your horizon and maybe challenging some of the ideas that you were taught and challenging some of the things that you were brought up with, because you're trying to become your own person, and you know what? This is an important time to develop your own walk with God and to stop just leaning on the faith of your parents, but to develop your own faith in God. Get out the Bible and start reading it for yourself, understanding it for yourself, and making the doctrines of the Bible your own doctrine of, "Hey, this is what I believe, not because my dad said or my mom said it, because I'm reading my Bible and I'm confirming the things that I've been taught."
But the stupid teenager just goes to try to disprove everything that their parents are telling them. What a righteous teenager would do would go to the word of God and try to prove that the things that their parents are telling them are right, as a starting point. Then study and, look, if there's something that the parents have taught you that is just in total contradiction of God's word then at that point you go with what the word of God says, but you should go into it assuming that your Bible-believing Baptist parents are teaching you the truth and teaching you right. Then you go to prove all things in the word of God but ... How did I get off on this teenager thing? Can somebody help me out?
I thought to myself, you know, oh man, there's a ... but then once I got closer to the Lord and start reading my Bible more and got in a better church that was teaching me more, I started making changes in my own life and my parents started treating me really well. I realized that the fault was on my end because when I started being a better son, both my mother and my father started treating me really well and I could have done that earlier but I just thought to myself, "Oh, it's their problem." There are a lot of wives who are the same way where they think, "Oh, it's my husband's problem," but really they need to submit to their husband. Just like I needed to submit to my parents. Just like children need to submit to their parents.
We need to understand that there is a way to receive praise of authority figures in our lives, and the Bible says that if we do well we will receive praise of them, "Rulers are not a terror to good works but to the evil," the Bible says, "Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same." Romans chapter 13. In your family, children, if you want mom and dad to treat you well, and I hope every kid is listening to me, all the children are listening to me right now, if you want mom and dad to treat you well, kids, you obey them. Don't just do the minimum, do some extra housework, do a little extra schoolwork, do a little extra helping out with your siblings and guess what? Your parents will bless you. Your parents will treat you well when you do that or you can just sit there and, "It's not fair, [inaudible 00:38:45]."
But you know what? You're young and the Bible says, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from it." If you want to be an adult so badly, teenager, then start thinking like an adult and being pragmatic like an adult and thinking to yourself, "Hey, guess what, if I play my cards right, my parents are going to treat me a lot better, so if I'm smart I'll push that button and the light bulb will come on." Instead of just [inaudible 00:39:13], just bashing my head against the wall trying to resist my parents, but this is how it is with God, it's the exact same thing, "Oh God, stopped blessing me." Why don't you start doing more for the Lord? Why don't you start getting more serious about your walk with God and see how His attitude toward you changes and see how well He treats you. It's the same thing.
Look, if you would at verse number 11, it says, "Therefore thus saith the Lord, ‘Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape and though they shall cry unto Me, I will not hearken unto them." This is speaking of the children of Judah. He says in verse 14, "“Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry of prayer for them, for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto Me for their trouble." I mean what a terrible situation to be in, where you're in trouble and you're crying out to God for help and He's not listening. You're in a bad place at that point.
Well, that's the result of disregarding God's word, because the Bible says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me." The Bible says, "That he that," and I'm paraphrasing this but, "He that turns that away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Now that might even be exactly quoted but it's pretty close, all right, but anyway, look if you ignore and turn away your ear from hearing God's law He's not pleased to hear you asking for stuff. It'll be like if I told my son, "Son, do this housework, do this chore, do these things," and he just disregards my commands and then, "Hey dad, can I get the keys to the car? Hey dad, can I have $10?" I say, "What? This is an abomination, that you're asking me for these things when you've not done my commandments."
God gave us that parent-child relationship also as a wonderful illustration of our relationship with the Father in heaven. He says in verse 15, "What hath My beloved to do in Mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? When thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest. The Lord," and here's a key doctrinal point here, "The Lord called thy name, ‘A Green Olive Tree,’ fair and of goodly fruit. With the noise of a great tumult He hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken." Notice he's speaking to the children of Israel. He's speaking to the Jews, the children of Judah and he's saying that God has called your name what? A Green Olive Tree, a healthy flourishing olive tree and it's fair and it's of goodly fruit, but he says, "With the noise of a great tumult He hath kindled fire upon it and the branches of it are broken."
Go to Romans chapter 11, because in Romans chapter 11 the Apostle Paul refers to this idea of the children of Israel being a Green Olive Tree and a branch is being broken off from the olive tree. Look at Romans chapter number 10, err Romans chapter 11, I'm sorry. In order to get the full picture of Romans 11, obviously it should be read within the context of the entire book of Romans but Romans 9 through 11 really formed a trilogy of scriptures that go together very well, that all kind of fit together to give us a complete picture of God's view towards Israel in the New Testament, but in Romans chapter 11 we have this idea of the Olive Tree.
It says in verse 13, "For I speak to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify mine office, if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them." He's saying that his ministry is primarily toward the Gentiles, but he's really hoping also to provoke them to emulation. Emulation means what? To do the same thing. Emulation is when one person copies that which another person does. He's saying, "I'm reaching out to the Gentiles hoping that the Jews will also be provoked to emulation and then I might save some of them also."
Verse 15, "For if the casting away of them," meaning the Israelites, "be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" Which is kind of hypothetical. It's not just saying, "Oh, they're for sure going to be received back into the fold." No, no, no, if, if they believe in Christ not just carte blanche and again, I already belabored that earlier in the sermon, there's plenty of other scripture on that.
"If the first fruit be holy, the whole lump is also holy and if the root be holy, so are the branches, and if some of the branches be," what? Broken off, isn't that what He said He would do in Jeremiah? We talked about breaking off branches? "If some of the branches be broken off and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree, boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, “The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” well, "Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear."
Here is what He is saying, "Yes, it is true, that the Israelites have been broken off." They're no longer God's people because of their unbelief and that made a place for you to step in and fill that role as being the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, you got to step into that privileged status as being one of God's chosen people. He says, "Well, you're right," but he's saying, "Don't get arrogant or prideful." What is he saying? "Don't look down upon people because they're Jewish anymore than upon any unbeliever. Don't hate the Jews."
Some people they go too far with this, right? Where they actually get to where they just hate all Jews or where they would think that the Gentiles are better than the Jews. What we teach has never been that. What we've always taught is, that there's no difference between the Jew and the Greek. You see the difference there? No, you don't, because there isn't one. I'm just messing with you. There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, I'm just kidding, but there's not difference between the Jew and the Greek. We don't teach here, "Hey, Gentiles are better than the Jews." Is that what we teach? No, we teach that there's no difference.
Anybody who rejects Christ is in the same boat, whether they're Jew or Gentile, whether you're a Jew or a Muslim. We're not going to side with the Muslims against the Jews, but we're also not going to side with the Jews against the Muslims. We're going to basically just be against both, Jew and Muslim, but we're going to be against them in the sense that we are against their false religion. We're against their agenda but we love the individual Muslim, we love the individual Jew and we want to win them to Christ.
Look, people can sit there and lie about me all they want and say, "He hates Jews. He's anti-Semitic," but here is the thing, have you been with me all the times I've knocked the doors in Tempe? Which Southern Tempe is filled with Jews, and how many Jews I've pleaded with to be saved. Why would I plead with them to be saved? Look, I've sat and given and you ... Look, 99% of them won't even give you the time of day, but that's not because of the blood that's in their veins, folks. It's not because of their Jewish blood, no, it's because of an indoctrination in a false religion. That's why they're not giving you the time of day. Nothing to do with race, folks, but when I found Jews that were willing to listen, I've sat and taken the time in giving them the gospel and lovingly pleaded with them, gently, kindly, to be saved.
That's the true love of people, when you want to win them to Christ, not this attitude of just, "Oh, you know the Jews, blah-blah." You got to get a balance in your life here. Don't go overboard, folks. Don't get to the point where you're boasting against the branches, to the point where you think that the Greek is better than the Jew. No, there's no difference between the Jew and the Greek. This isn't complicated to just say, "Hey, we're equal," but people it's like they seem to go the wrong way, one way or the other, instead of just saying, "Look, there's unsafe people and there are saved people and it doesn't matter what path they take to hell, they're all going to the same place, whether it's the path of Islam, the path of Judaism or anything else."
The Bible says here, "Well! Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear, for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God on them which fell, severity, but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness. Otherwise, thou also shalt be cut off, and they also, if," if, underline, circle, highlight, put a star by it, "if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in." Is he saying, "Oh, in the end times they're coming back. They're going to be grafted." No, no, no, "If they abide not in unbelief they'll be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again." Look, kit's up to them whether they get grafted in or not. It's up to them ti believe on Christ.
Now, I just want to point out one last thing here. It's ironic that the epistle to the Romans has this parable about, "Hey, be careful you can be broken off too," what's ironic about that is that the Roman Catholic Church claims that there's something special about the church at Rome. One of the things that was a test of faith throughout the Middle Ages, like I preached on Sunday morning and Sunday night about the inquisition and the different persecutions that the Catholic Church carried out, the test of faith was often that you had to acknowledge the infallibility of the Pope and the infallibility of the Church at Rome.
You see where the Roman Catholic church even came from was a doctrine in the first few centuries A.D. that exalted the church at Rome above other churches. You have all these different churches in the Bible, church of Ephesus, churches of Galatia, church at Corinth, but this doctrine that came out and said, "The church at Rome is special and the bishop of the church of Rome is following in the footsteps of Peter himself." Because they're basically claiming according to their tradition that Peter was the bishop at Rome and so these Catholic bishops of Rome are following in the footsteps of Peter himself. They basically started to have this idea that the church at Rome is somehow above other churches, and therefore the bishop at Rome has the preeminence above other bishops, and that's who's slowly evolved into being the Pope.
The Pope is the bishop of Rome, but what's funny about that is that God specifically tells the Roman Christian that if they don't continue in God's goodness they'd be broken up. Why does the church at Rome think they have a carte blanche to just worship idols, teach pagan superstition, reject the gospel of Christ, and somehow we're just suppose to just believe, "Well hey, that's the true church, because it goes back to Peter." Well, couldn't that branch of Christianity just be broken off if they don't continue in faith? Isn't God specifically telling the Romans and I think everything in the Bible is there the way it is for a reason.
I think there's a reason why God put this in Romans. He could have put it in a different epistle. He put it in Romans saying, "Hey listen church at Rome, if you don't continue in the faith you don't continue in the goodness. You're going to be broken off." Look, that Roman Catholicism that we have today and that we've had since the very early centuries of the A.D. period, it's a branch that's not connected to the vine. It's not connected to the Olive Tree at all. They can trace that branch all the way back as far as they want, but that branch broke off a long time ago. "Oh man, look at this elaborate list of popes going back. Look at all this tradition. Look how far back it goes." But you know what? If you could follow that back with a spiritual view, you'd get to a point like almost at the very beginning and you'd be like, "Oh, broken off, not connected to the trunk. Dead. Withered. Ready to be cast into the fire and burned."
This whole idea of the church at Rome having a carte blanche to teach whatever pagan idolatry they want is like the idea that says, "Oh, the children of Israel can do whatever they want and they're still God's chosen people, and the Catholic Church is still the true church because Peter, and the Jews are God's chosen people because Abraham." It's the same foolish mentality that says that you can totally apostasize and you're still God's people. No, the Roman Catholics are not God's people and the Jews are not God's people. I don't care who they think is in their ancestry because spiritually they're not following in Peter's footsteps or in Abraham's footsteps, and therefore they are not God's people. It's that simple.
The real reason why the church at Rome was given preeminence had nothing to do with Peter anyway, it had to do with the Roman Empire. Because the Roman Empire had its seat of political power in Rome then that's where the church at Rome got this extra power because it's in Rome and Rome is the capital, that's the true story, but I digress.
Let's just quickly finish up. I'm just about done. Jeremiah chapter 11, what we have at the end of this chapter is God talking about how He's going to protect Jeremiah, and this is another theme in the book of Jeremiah. Because Jeremiah's life is in peril all throughout the book of Jeremiah. He's constantly being thrown in prison. People are constantly wanting him dead and this is one of the best stories in the Bible of God protecting someone. Because Jeremiah in the end comes out completely unscathed. I mean in the end everybody else is dying, everybody else is going to captivity, everybody else is suffering, and Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar's host, specifically takes Jeremiah aside, releases him, sets him free, gives him money and basically tells him that basically God told him to do that. Because he knows that it's God's will that Jeremiah has been a man of God.
For some reason does he then basically gives him money, sets him loose and tells him, "You can stay here. You can go to Babylon." Jeremiah ends up being saved. He ends up being preserved. God is able to keep us safe and keep us preserved, even when everybody's after us and people want us dead or threatening us. Now there are some people who are, the Bible says, "The devil shall cast some of you into prison." There are people who are martyrs, and the Bible says, "Be thou faithful unto death and I'll give thee a crown of life," but many people though, God actually preserves and protects.
Some people get this idea that because we believe what the Bible teaches about the tribulation they think like, "Oh man, everybody's going to be dead," but here is the thing, God's going to preserve a lot of people through that period, a lot of people through that period. Some will be cast into prison. Many will beheaded but many will make it through and be alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, and it's not going to be just because they went and hid somewhere. Look, did Jeremiah go hide somewhere? This guy was preaching hard, he was on the frontline, but yet God ... Look, many are the afflictions of the righteous, but out of them all the Lord delivers them.
What about the Apostle Paul, he was stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, all of it, but in the end he lived to be an old man, and he said, "Out of them all the Lord deliver me, and the Lord," he said, "will deliver me from every evil work." He said, "I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion," and he talked about how God had preserved him and kept him safe. The prosperity gospel says you're going to go through life without going through trials and tribulations and you're just going to have blessings and prosperity. The true story is, that you go through trials, tribulations, hardships, maybe even beatings and imprisonment, but in the end you're blessed. Mark the perfect man, the end of that man is peace.
Even if we do die a martyr's death, of course we share an eternal glory in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. He talks about this and I'm just going to show you this verse in verse 21, it says, "“Therefore thus saith the Lord of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, ‘Prophesy not in the name of the Lord, that thou die not by our hand.’" Look, if you look at verse 1 of the whole book of Jeremiah it says that Jeremiah is from Anathoth.
This conspiracy, and the Bible used the word conspiracy that had to do with killing Jeremiah and having him put to death is from his own hometown. It's from his own kindred. Even his own relatives, the Bible said, were in on it, wanted Jeremiah dead. As the Bible says, "A prophet is not without honor save in his own country and his own house." It says in verse 22, "Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, I will punish them, the young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine, and there shall be no remnant of them for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.’” But Jeremiah ended up coming through it unscathed.
God can protect us. We need to just trust Him with the outcome. Whatever God will is for our lives, we need to just trust Him, obey the Bible, do what's right, and let the chips fall where they may. He is able to deliver us and keep us safe. If it's His will that we're not delivered so be it.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank You so much for your word, Lord. Thank You, for the clear doctrines of Jeremiah chapter 11 and Lord, help us never to make the mistake that the Jews have made or the mistake that the Roman Catholics have made, of just thinking that because of some lineage or heritage or fathers, that somehow we have a carte blanche to just do whatever we want and expect God to bless us. Lord, help us never to think those kind of foolish thoughts, but help us to realize that the path to your Blessing is through the door of obedience, Lord, and help us to trust You even in the face of death threats, even in the face of bodily harm. Help us to always trust You to be our preserver and our protector, and in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.