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Sin Causes Suffering

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:6

Sin Caused the Savior to Suffer

Isaiah’s Man of Sorrows in Isaiah 53 best depicts the suffering of the Savior due to sin.

  • Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow (v. 4, ESV)
  • But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities (v. 5, ESV)
  • He was oppressed, and he was afflicted (v. 7, ESV)
  • . . .cut off from the land of the living (v. 8, ESV)
  • . . . numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors (v. 12, ESV)

That is what sin caused Jesus to suffer. An entire chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah shows us what he had to undergo for us to overcome sin through Him.

The Savior’s Suffering Saved the Sinner

His suffering saved us.

John the Baptist pronounced Him as the Lamb of God who “takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:24, ESV). His final days were filled with confirmation of His mission to die for the sins of the world. John 3:16 famously shares how God’s love is the catalyst for Jesus making the sacrifice for the sake of the world to receive God’s gift of salvation.

Because He suffered we’re saved.

For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past
— Romans 3:25 (NLT)

His sacrifice included Him enduring suffering for our sake as sinners. His suffering allowed us to receive salvation. His sacrifice made it possible for us to receive salvation.

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify6 for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
— Hebrews 9:13-14 (ESV)

When we accept Him as Savior, we accept him as “the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2; 4:10). We accept Him as the atonement for our sins, making us “bought with a price.” Therefore, our blood-stained kinship with the Apostle Paul lies in our self-proclaimed status for each saved sinner identified as a “bondservant of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1).

We’re saved because of His sacrifice.

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Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. – Jeremiah 27:14 (NLT)

Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie!  – Jeremiah 27:16 (NLT)

False prophecy is not just a modern issue. The Bible breaks that down for us. It gives us an unabridged look at what God calls lies from liars, prophets whom God did not send with any such message at all.

Look at verses 14 & 16 of this chapter of Jeremiah. God is laying it out there. He is exposing them for what they are and what they are not. He calls them liars and He calls their prophecies lies. He warns the king, the priests and all other people to not listen to these “false prophets.”

So, why does God care? They have not been listening to Him or His messengers and servants, the prophets. Why go the extra mile and break down how these “false prophets” have led the people, even the priests, to the point where they are accepting false prophecy over God’s truth?

God’s PLan and Will Shed Light on Falsehood

Expect God’s Word to withstand every test imaginable. Then, in turn, expect any false teaching, prophecy or just straight lie to diminish once the truth has been revealed. The very substance of any falsehood is disintegrated by the power of the truth. As the truth comes forth and makes itself known, the false prophets hunker down and cower back for fear of the wrath of God for their outright lies.

That’s not exactly what you see today. The ones who seem to profess and peddle their wares of a somewhat sinless existence in a Utopian-type of earthly Christendom do not seem to get punished for their wayward words. Yet, we see some taken down a notch for the other things that their falsehood has allowed to play out in their lives. We see men and women stripped of their seat in the pulpit. We see them lose members left and right as scandal and corruption are revealed. We see their marriages slip into dark places as their professions of falsehood even take over their personal lives, including their vows. Sadly, it not simply a black eye for false prophets. It becomes a black eye for the faith in the eyes of the world.

We talk about this falsehood this week as we study Jeremiah chapter 27. Join us this Wednesday at 11 AM PST for Live @ Lunch Bible Study as we continue our study in the Book of Jeremiah on YouTube.

How Could God Allow Such a Thing?

Let’s not get lost with our holy hindsight here. What we saw play out with some pastors recently is merely cleansing of what needs to take place in all of our lives. That same cleansing humbles us from thinking too highly of ourselves and surpassing even the pride that Lucifer in trouble so long ago.

The deeply-buried secrets and lies that were exposed in the John Gray scandal disrupted so much good he has done in his ministry and with God’s Word. Yet, we all have read it and most probably have repeated it where it says: All have sinned and fallen short. . .

People see what occurred in the ministry of Hillsong and its exposed abuses of volunteers and mistreatment of women claiming to have been harassed by leadership. Yet, what we witness is the destruction of that ministry’s witness to the unchurched and unsaved due to its flaws. Like Sha’Carri Richardson recently tweeted: “I am human.” We all have our flaws and issues, sin buried deep within our members and even some oozing out of very flesh with the stench of evil and wickedness coming along with it.

God allows it to be present, to be seen and felt. He sheds light on it every now and then as a reminder of what our focus should be when we place our faith in anything besides Him and His glory. Shame on us in the ministry for not being more responsive to when a brother or sister falls due to losing their way. We should beat out the angels coming to rescue and providing them comfort to recover and regain their strength. We should be like a SEAL team making a clandestine rescue mission under the auspices of the Christian banner. If anything, we should hold to the truth while extending a hand of support and restoration for those misled by lies, even those that have passed across their own lips.

Heaven help us to be more forgiving as we forsake false prophecies and forgive false prophets.

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The lips of the wise spread knowledge. . .

Proverbs 15:7

As we enter what many have become familiar with as Passion Week, we continue our week by week Bible study of Jeremiah. Although he is commonly known as the Weeping Prophet, Jeremiah remains grounded as a man of compassion and integrity.

In the midst of corruption, the Jeremiah who comes to life in the pages of the Old Testament would be aligned with a whistleblower in today’s terms. Using his prophetic calling to call out Israel and Judah on their wrongdoings, Jeremiah reminds us of a mere forecast of Jesus and John the Baptist in the New Testament as they called out the religious leaders of their own time period.

John the Baptist with the Brood of Vipers Reflects Jeremiah

In Matthew 3:7, John the Baptist becomes aware of the presence of Sadducees and Pharisees as he baptized in the Jordan River. He scolds them, even calling them a “brood of vipers,” and he commands them to produce fruit “worthy of repentance.” It is obvious why many of people suspected that Jeremiah or Elijah had been reborn and manifested in this New Testament prophet. It is reflective of the Book of Jeremiah’s constant call for making amends for wrongdoing by returning to God, i.e. repentance.

Jesus Calls Out Corruption Like Jeremiah

Look at Jesus when He turned out the money changers and turned over their tables within the temple. We often hear this incident referenced as the Lord “cleansing the temple.” In fact, in the Gospel of John, Jesus goes so far as to make a whip and urge folks to be on their way and to take their wares out of the temple because He openly states that His Father’s house is not a place of business.

How is this like Jeremiah?

Much like his contemporaries Zephaniah, Ezekiel, and Habakkuk, Jeremiah was dealing with God’s people on the basis of their broken covenant with God, even the priests and other religious leaders. Keep in mind that the prophet was to call out the transgressions and rebellion against the Lord. It is quite a comparison to see the Weeping Prophet and the Lord Jesus both compelled to reach out to God’s people to change their ways or expect nothing more than coming wrath of God in due time.

Jeremiah Journey Week 13: The Ruined Sash and So Much More

Jeremiah chapter 13 opens up with an object lesson featuring the prophet’s sash (vv. 1-10). God is quick to point out to the prophet that the sash is “profitable for nothing” (v. 7). God also points out how this symbolic lesson with the sash is the same he will hand the “evil people” of Judah and Jerusalem.

The remainder of the chapter unveils more of how God will deal with Israel and Judah. It takes us through a plethora of prophetic warnings, but much of what is said hinges on a singular centralized theme of pride. In verse 15, the people are warned: “Do not be proud.” Verse 18 simply starts out: “Humble yourselves.” In the midst of everything that the Lord is spelling out and sharing in this chapter, he takes direct aim at their pride, their arrogance, and their coming shame as the Lord puts it in verse 26.

The LORD detests the proud; they will surely be punished.

proverbs 16:5 (NLT)
Watch on Wednesday 11 AM PST: Share Your Thoughts & Questions

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As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people or cry out for them or ask anything for them. I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

jeremiah 11:14 (NCV)
Last week’s Bible study livestream

Dealing with the Doom

Last week had us trying to figure out how the shepherds were asleep at the wheel when they were assigned to teach and uphold the Law of God in the land and among the people. Yet, this week as we enter chapter 11, we see God laying out His case against Israel. As he states His case, He is careful to point out that Israel’s doom is of its own doing.

What is my beloved doing in my temple
as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
Can consecrated meat avert your punishment?
When you engage in your wickedness,
then you rejoice.

-Jeremiah 11:15 (NIV)

God has charges against their forefathers who were brought out of Egypt and given the land as promised by the Lord. He has charges against their wicked ways and their refusal to uphold to the agreements within their covenant. His charge against this generation of Israel is simply put: “They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words” (v. 10, NIV). In a plain and simple look at things, God has not been pleased with many of His chosen people for quite a long time. And, as the hour draws nigh, He surely is not holding back on how He plans to deal with them for the breaking of the covenant with Him.

Do Not Pray for Them

“As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people or cry out for them or ask anything for them. I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble” (v. 14, NCV). How else could it be put at this point? I don’t see much of an alternative. God simply says for Jeremiah to not waste his tears or his prayerful pleas, even not to “ask anything for them.” It is of no use according to God.

In fact, God goes on to point out to Jeremiah that the people even have a plot against him (verses 18-19). They want to kill him, so that the people will not remember him or his words of prophetic warning. In that case, when it all comes crashing down, no one will recall the words of the weeping prophet. They believe that eliminating him could allow them to erase his words and warnings of God’s wrath from the memories of the people. Their idea is that if they can cause him to disappear, the sting of God’s wrath might not burn as bad.

Revisit Jeremiah Chapter 1

Such foolish thinking seems to be the pathway of irrational justification when facing one’s own guilt and shame. Since these same people refused to to return to God and accept His terms, a conspiracy arose among some with a plot regarding Jeremiah as God’s messenger and “cut him off from the land of the living.” In other words, “Let’s kill him so people will forget him.” And, if they forget him, they most probably will forget his message.

But this takes a different turn as God makes Jeremiah aware of this plot against him. When Jeremiah is calling for God to reap judgment against them, we must recall what God has already said in chapter 1 as a warning to Jeremiah as he took on the assignment. In verse 8, He told Jeremiah to not fear them and to not be afraid of their faces. Jeremiah 1:19 is where God assured Jeremiah that the people would fight against him but not overcome him because the Lord would deliver him. It is assurance such as these verses that fuel Jeremiah’s reliance on the Lord as he hears God deal with the people of Anathoth “who plan to kill Jeremiah.” It is God’s deliverance balanced with His testing of hearts and minds that allows jeremiah to understand that God’s words ring true as He vows that not even a remnant of them shall remain.

Be Sure to Tune in This Week

Check out this week’s FREE Bible study outline. Be sure to review last week’s video from the livestream. And tune in Wednesday at 11 AM PST with your comments and questions for this week’s Live @ Lunch Bible Study.

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What if you had to stand trial for your sins, your every trespass and transgression against God and His Law?

God Accuses the Nation of Falsehood and Adultery

Could you imagine that?

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

I mean it’s a situation where everything is turned around and upside down, and God directs an accusing finger in your direction and simply says to you before all the world: “And your sins have withheld good from you”[Jeremiah 5:25 (NKJV)].

Use the Bible Study Outline to Help

That’s pretty much how chapter 5 of Jeremiah seems to move. God laying out His extensive issues with Israel and Judah, especially their refusal to repent and return to Him. As we continue our weekly study of Jeremiah chapter by chapter, be sure to review the Bible study outline for chapter 5. It contains some key verses and passages from within the chapter along with some insights into this “astonishing and horrible thing” that God claims that they did among the people and throughout the land.

As We Continue Our Study

What I am truly getting out of this study is that God’s heart is on display. His character of longsuffering and lovingkindness seem to stand out as he pleads for Israel and Judah to return to Him. Yet, as we enter into chapter 5, I see another side of God saying that the inevitable is bound to occur and overwhelm the rebellious nation for her sins. I can see where God’s wrath is kindling with His anger that is set to burn against the entire nation which has said “As the Lord lives” but only meant it half-heartedly and without any real or authentic faith in the Lord (Jeremiah 5:2). The Moment by Moment blog discusses the correlation between the accused nation and the United States of America in its post on chapters 4 and 5 of Jeremiah.

As I read on, I am intrigued to see more of where God thrusts the prophet in the midst of His kinsmen. I am holding on tight and awaiting to see it all unfold.

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