Greetings Project Ezra! This week’s reading is Jeremiah chapter 7. We used this as our chapter just a little less than a year ago, but it is so relevant to what we are likely to deal with on the street, and in our every day Christian lives, that I thought it was appropriate to re-visit it. As Solomon said, there is truly nothing new under the sun. The issues addressed in these scriptures are the same issues we deal with today. Technology has changed as time has rolled on, but human hearts have not. This chapter could focus on a number of issues, but we will be looking specifically at hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is one of the biggest complaints you are likely to hear from non-believers, or from professing believers that choose not to attend a church or take part in “organized religion”. We are told “Christians are hypocrites!” and no one wants to be around hypocrites. It’s true to a certain extent that all Christians can be hypocritical, since any true believer would confess that they still struggle with sin. None of us will be perfected in this area until we reach heaven, though by God’s grace and the power of the Spirit, we are being sanctified day by day. But while some people are so determined to find any excuse to deny Christ that they will grasp at any straw in their attempt to discredit a Christian’s testimony and declare them a hypocrite, most are referring to those to claim the name of Christ but give no indication, by their behavior, that they take what they claim seriously.
The bible not only has an answer for hypocrisy, but predicts it. It says many will claim to trust in God, but do exactly the opposite. But God doesn’t turn a blind eye to this, or say it’s OK. He says those who claim His name but continue in their idolatry, living as if He doesn’t exist, are liars and the truth is not in them. Matthew 7 said that many, maybe even most, of those who claim His name will be turned away on the Day of Judgment, and He will tell them “I never knew you.” This is sobering to say the least, and should cause us to examine ourselves. It should also encourage us, not to try to categorize everyone we know into the “Saved” and “Unsaved” categories, but to encourage people to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5), as scripture commands, and not assume they are right with God. After all, eternity is a long time to be wrong.
I pray this outline is a blessing.
All for His glory,
P.S. As you have probably noted, I don’t always write out every detail of every section of the gospel presentation every week. Part of that is in the interest of time, but primarily I want to encourage each of you to make sure you familiarize yourself with the relevant verses of scripture, and the basic gospel framework, so you can learn to share the gospel comfortably without an outline in front of you. If you have questions about which verses to use in a particular situation, go to past posts, or send me an email. I’d be happy to chat with you!
READ JEREMIAH 7
Today’s chapter talks about a major complaint of those at odds with the church; hypocrisy
In this chapter the prophet Jeremiah is commanded by God Himself to address hypocrites within His church, and give them a correction from God
Some of you may believe that all Christians are hypocrites, and would say that proves that Christianity is false
Are you staying away from the church because of the hypocrisy?
It is true that to some extent all Christians are hypocrites, since we all sin. No true Christian would claim to be perfect. But listen to how God addresses the hypocrites in Jeremiah 7, those who claim His name but live as if He doesn’t exist.
"Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'—only to go on doing all these abominations?
Hypocrisy in expected in the bible. In fact, God has another word for hypocrites. He calls them liars!
God’s word says not all those who claim the faith are of the faith. In fact, the bible is clear that many who claim to follow God, He will turn away.
Matthew 7:21-23 says – "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will
I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
1 John 1:6 says - If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
If someone says they are Christian and gives consistent evidence that they are not, they are probably not a Christian at all.
In fact the bible says a true follower of Christ CAN NOT go on sinning!
1 John 3:9-10 - No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
God is clear that He will severely punish those who claim to follow Him and yet do not.
But before you decide to point a finger at everyone around you, or at me, are you a hypocrite?
I want to encourage you to do what the bible says. It says in Philippians 2:12 to
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. It says in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. So as you are listening please do so.
So ask yourself, have you kept God’s law? Whether you claim to follow the God of the bible or not, one day you WILL stand before Him, and give an account of your life.
God is a just judge who must punish sin, so please don’t look at your sin lightly.
This chapter addresses five specific areas of God’s law, five of the 10 Commandments in fact. How have you done in keeping them?
GO THROUGH THEFT, MURDER, ADULTERY, LIEING AND IDOLOTRY, FROM VS. 9
If this is God’s standard of goodness, we are all hypocrites, all deserving of God’s judgment and hell
TALK ABOUT THE REALITY OF HELL. GIVE VERSES
Only one person ever lived a truly Godly life, with no hypocrisy. Only one person ever truly lived up to God’s standard for goodness.
That person was Jesus Christ, God in human flesh. The creator Himself humbled Himself, and walked among us to pay the price for our hypocrisy.
TALK ABOUT THE CROSS
Jesus did more than just die. On the third day He rose again from the dead, as He prophesied He would, and proved His power over death.
I Corinthians 15:54-57 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So what does this mean to you? How can you have victory over death? Only through Jesus Christ.
TALK ABOUT REPENTANCE AND FAITH
Remember, eternity is a long time to be wrong, and none of us is promised a tomorrow. Turn to Christ now while He has graciously given you time.