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If I were to ask you the question: “If you were to die right now, are you 100% sure that you would go to heaven?” What would be your reply?
Many have said: “No one knows for sure.” or “I’m 95-99% sure.” “I don’t know.” I run into a few who say with surety: “I am sure I would go to heaven.”
I would like to share with you, from the Bible, God’s Word, how you can be 100% sure.
I John 5:13 says: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”. Notice the word “know.” When you know something you are 100% sure.
Now, how can you know? To simply determine this, one must know what the Bible says in regard to salvation. Some believe that their religion will save them …. But they are not sure of heaven either. Many will say that “I must do the best I can.” Others: “Keep the 10 commandments.” This all amounts to a system of good works.
I submit to you, that if our religion or good works would save our souls – then why did Jesus die on the cross? Let’s see what the Bible says about our good works.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”.
Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
In Romans 11:6 we read: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work”.
Now, I realize that if I put all of the verses on works from the Bible in this post – it would be very lengthy. Would you read it all? The verses above basically teach us that our good deeds do not save us – we cannot save ourselves – we need the salvation that the Lord provides for us.
Galatians 3:24-25 regarding the Law – reads as follows: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster”.
Here we read that the Law was given to show us what sin is. The Law was our teacher, to teach us right from wrong. Why? So we could be saved by faith.
One day, someone took their Bible and shared with me how to be sure of heaven. Allow me to share it with you. It changed my life and my destiny.
First of all – in the Book of Romans 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”
Vserse 12 reads: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one”. Then verse 23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” I thought “I’m in a bad spot. If I am not good or righteous and am a sinner, I have no hope. What will I do?”
The person went on to share with me the following. Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He explained that God loved me so much that He sent Jesus to die for me. Jesus Christ paid for all my sins, He took the punishment for me, so that I wouldn’t have to.
The, he went to Romans 6:23 which reads: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Hmmmm I’m going to die one day, where will I go?
Being a sinner, I would surely go to hell. But I read and was told that God has a gift for me. That gift is eternal life and it comes from Jesus Christ. God’s gift does not come through me or my goodness or my keeping the 10 Commandments, but it is a GIFT.
O.K. How do I get God’s gift? Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” God’s gift is received by us when we acknowledge that we are a sinner;
and then we receive Christ into our hearts and lives.
Verse 13 reads: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Whosoever means ANYBODY can be saved and it by faith in what God did for us. Whosover means YOU.
In II Peter 3:9 we are told that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. You see, God’s will is for folks to be saved and NOT to perisy = spend eternity in hell. My friend, God loves us so much that He made a plan for mankind. That plan was for us to have eternal life – to be saved – to go to heaven. That plan was for God to come to this world as Jesus Christ – God’s “only begotten son.” He went to the Cross paying the price for every sin that you and I ever committed. He arose the third day, conquering death, hell and the grave fou you and for me. He offers us salvation, a FREE GIFT – forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven. He says that if we believe and receive, we shall be saved.
My friend, would you, now receive Jesus Gift of salvation? If so, the following prayer can be of a help to you. It is not just reciting some words, but it is belief in your heart.
“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. Please forgive me of all my sins. I now ask Jesus Christ to come into my heart and save my soul. In Jesus name, A-men”.
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Introduction: Amos was a Jew who prophesied in the Northern Kingdom. Amos was not from the school of the prophets – he had no formal training. He was also a herdsman and a farmer. Yet, he had the same Divine Spirit of God upon him that influenced Isaiah and Daniel etc. God uses anybody that makes themselves available to Him. Remember, God gives abilities to us when we yield to Him. God can and wants to use you.
Date: This was written from 787 – 797 B.C.
The Book: Written during the reign of King Uzziah in Israel after Amos had been expelled from the Northern Kingdom for his bold preaching in Bethel.
Amos deals with the Judgments on the cities surrounding Palestine; Judah and Israel; Jehovah God’s dealing with the family of Jacob and the future glory of the Davidic kingdom.
- The Message Of The Book: Amos 3:1-3
- The context is this: Can you have God’s presence while you walk contrary with Him?
- In Amos day, God’s people broke sweet communion and fellowship with God.
- God did not break it from them, they broke from God: that’s sad.
- How can a child of God have the power of God on him while not fellowshipping with God.
- You cannot walk with God if you are not living for God in your daily life.
- Can you have God’s presence while you walk so contrary to him?
- Hate The Evil And Love The Good: Amos 5:14-15
- The choice between evil and good has gone on since Adam and Eve in the Garden in Genesis 3.
- Joshua exhorted God’s people to choose between good and evil in Joshua 24:15
- “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord …..”
- To some, they like the evil better than the good; that’s why we have so much hatred in this world.
a So much war
b.So much violence
c. So much murder
d.So much immorality
e. Abortion/murder of the unborn is into the millions
f. It becomes evil in the sight of people for God’s people to do good
g. Joshua exhorted the Israelites: God’s people, not the heathen, to choose between Gods and the false gods. The gods that they worshipped before God redeemed them and delivered them. The Israelites had a problem: sin. They couldn’t decide whether to go back and live in sin or to go forward and serve the God that had saved them.
h. Amos 5:15: hate ALL evil among God’s people: I Thessalonians 5:22.
i. Love, commend, encourage, defend the GOOD. Let your heart be towards good things.
Psalms 34:14 and Psalms 34:8
Paul refused to eat meat offered to idols: I Cor. 8:1 & 10:13-14
There was nothing wrong with the meat itself: I Cor. 8:4.
Vs 7-10: be careful lest we tempt others to fall into sin and false doctrine
Sometimes, it is not the thing itself that is the sin, but where we are or what we do with it: that is the sin.
Be careful where we go, what we say and what we do lest we become a hindrance to
someone and they not be saved. I Cor. 6:12 and I Cor. 10:23
III. God Always Keeps His Promises Amos 9:13-15
- God reminded Israel of what He has in store for them in the future.
- God’s Word also reminds us of what He has in store for those who have received Him as Saviour.
- A perfect salvation
- Salvation that lasts: He won’t cast us out
- Blessings and benefits: here and now
- The Comforter – the Holy Spirit to teach, guide and empower us John 14:6: a home in Heaven.
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Introduction: Joel lived during the time of the Prophet Elisha; approximately 800 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Joash was king.
The Name Joel: Means “Jehovah is God.” He prophesied mostly about Jerusalem and Judah.
Date: Approximately 800 B.C.
- The Plague Of Locust: Chap. 1:11-2:11
- Chap. 2:1-11 references to revelation 16:14
- This refers to Armageddon
- Vs 11: references to Revelation 19:11-21
- Joel calls for repentance: 2:12-17
- Repentance is a turning back to God as well as a turning from our sin.
- The sin that keeps us from Gods blessings.
- The sin that hinders our sweet fellowship with the Lord.
- The sin that hinders our spiritual progress.
- Prophecy 2:28
“Afterward “= in the last days
- “Pour out my Spirit”
- This prophecy was fulfilled in Acts 2:15 -21
- Acts 2:16: “this is that”
- “this” = the happenings of Acts 2:1-14.
- The Day of Pentecost begins the “Last Days”, according to this fulfilled prophecy.
- The local New Testament Church was empowered on the Day of Pentecost
- Acts 2:41: 3,000 souls saved – baptized and added to the local church.
- That particular local church was the one in Jerusalem in Acts 1:15.
The Last Days
- Afterwards: Joel 2:28 – this is the last days of Acts 2:17
- Joel 2:28 was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, therefore, the Last Days began on the Day of Pentecost.
- This means that we have been living in the Last Days for over 2,000 years
- We are living, I believe, in the last part of the Last Days.
- We are to LOOK for the return of Jesus Christ.
- We are to LIVE for Jesus until His return.
NOTES: Joel 3:14: “Valley of Decision.” The valley in which they are to meet their “determined doom.” The same as “the valley of Jehoshaphat,” that is, “the valley of judgment.”
This is the place where God executes His judgment upon His enemies.
People have decisions to make – to be saved or remain unsaved. Christians also have decisions –
Once we are saved, do I live for the Lord or not. Will I be faithful or remain unfaithful. How long will I serve Him?
Joel tells of the effects of the plagues, past and future. He looks beyond them to plagues of Israel’s enemies to come and calls Israel to repentance. Then, he looks to the end times and God’s triumph over Israel’s final enemies and the promise of God’s blessings upon Israel and the gentile believers.
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Introduction: Hosea lived at the same time as Amos; Isaiah & Micah.
The name “Hosea” means deliverance. He was an Israelite native to Israel.
200 years before Hosea’s time, 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel had left and set up the Northern Kingdom. They began the worship of idols and that’s why God sent the prophets, Elijah and Elisha to preach against their sin. God wanted them to repent of their sin and turn back to God.
Date: 785 B.C. or approximately 2,890 years ago
This Book covers a time period of 60 years.
The setting: There was outward prosperity in Israel: the borders had increased; the Temple offerings had increased. Then there was peace because Syria and Moab had been conquered.
Inwardly, there was spiritual decay; immorality abounded. Israel was worshipping false gods
Including offering children as sacrifices. The priests had condoned all of this.
- Israel’s Sins: chap 4:1-2
- Vs 1: Hear = listen and apply it to yourself – not to other people
- Vs 1: God has a controversy with Israel –
- Controversy = conflict
- No truth; mercy & no knowledge of God.
- Truth: John 14:6
- None of God’s mercy = no forgiveness of sins. Why?
(1) They did not know God and therefore did not confess their sins to God.
(2) Therefore, they could not receive God’s forgiveness – mercy and – pardon.
- No knowledge of God = they did not know the Word of God nor the God of the Word
- Vs 2: Swearing, lying, killing, stealing & adultery.
- Vs 3: Result of their sin
- The idolatry of Israel 4:12-19
- To some, their idol is money, sports, self, spouse, clothes, cars, recreation, music, children etc.
- Anything that you put before God or anything you allow to keep you from serving God
- Hosea 13:6: they sad account of Hosea
- They forgot God
- Vs 7-8 and 9: self-destruction
- God’s Pleading: chap. 14
- Vs 1: return
- Ask forgiveness of sins: vs 2
- Asshur = one of the 12 Tribes of Israel: only God can deliver / save.
- God’s promise if they would return to Him: vs 4-7
- What would be the effect on others if they would return: vs 8
God’s Ways Are Right Ways: Proverbs 16:25 – Psalms 19:8 – Psalms 119:75
Conclusion: God’s instructions are to “return” Why? Because it is “we” who moved away from God. If we “return” 14:4: God promises to “heal” the backsliding; to love us and turn His anger away from us.
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The Book Of Daniel
Introduction: Daniel was a Jew held captive in Babylon; he was most likely taken there as a young boy in about 606 B.C. Daniel was trained to work in the palace of the king. In the Old Testament, Daniel is parallel to the Book of Revelation, in the New Testament. This Book contains many visions, as does Ezekiel. It has often been called a Book of Visions – the word “vision” and “visions” appears over 30 times in the Book of Daniel.
Of the Books of the Bible that are under attack by the modernistic, liberal, scholars, Daniel is at the top of the list. The modernist do not believe in miracles nor in prophecy. Many deny that Daniel wrote the book of Daniel, and that it is a forgery.
The man: The Hebrew name Daniel, means “the judgment of God.” His Chaldee name was Belteshazzar, meaning: “Bel’s prince.” Bel was the chief deity of Babylon.
Daniel rose to the position of ruler over Babylon, second only to the King. Daniel lived in Babylon at least 72 years.
Central message: Similar to Ezekiel’s: Daniel 4:17, 25, and 32.
Outline of the Book
- The History Of Daniel – chap. 1 – 6
- The Prophecies Of Daniel – chaps. 7-12
- The History Of Daniel
- Many of the events were fulfilled at that time and they also looked to the future
- Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (chap. 2) also deals with the times of the Gentiles
- The 3 children in the fiery furnace (chap 3) also is a picture of Israel’s later tribulation
- The Pride of King Nebuchadnezzar – chap 3
- Vs 1 and 6- the image of gold
- Vs – 12 – Daniel and his friends refused to compromise their convictions and faith
- The Lord never promised to keep us out of the furnace of trials, but He did promise to be with us there – Vs 25
- I Peter 1:7 – I Peter 4:12 – James 1:2
- The handwriting on the wall – chap. 5
- Vs 5 – the hand was the Hand of God
- The candle stick – taken from the temple of Jerusalem
- The plaster – the significance is – that this was the same wall on which the king was accustomed to read the flattering legends of his own magnificence. He beholds the mysterious inscription which foretells his fall: Proverbs 16:18 and Acts 12:21-23
- Vs 8 – I Cor. 2:14
- Vs 11 – The king’s wife knew of Daniel – who could interpret the dream
- The interpretation – Vs 24-30
The Prophecy in chapter 2 is paralleled by the vision of chapter 7
Chapter 2 – Nebuchadnezzar Chapter 7 – Daniel
The 4 metals of the image Representing 4 kingdoms
- Gold – Babylon 1. Lion – Babylon
- Silver – Medo – Persia 2. Bear – Medo-Persia
- Brass – Greece 3. Leopard – Greece
- Iron – Rome 4. Diverse beast – Rome
- 10 Toes – Old Roman Empire 5. 10 Horns – Old Roman Empire
- The Stone – Christ 6. Ancient of Days – Christ
- The Mountain – Millennial Kingdom 7. Everlasting Kingdom / Millennial Kingdom
The Prophecies Of Daniel
- The 70 weeks – chapter 9
- The first 69 weeks Daniel 9:25-26
- “weeks” means sevens = 69 X 7 = 483 years
- The decree of king Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem – Nehemiah 2:5
(1) Date found in Nehemiah 2:1 – determined to be March 14, 445 B.C.
(2) From that day to the public announcement of Messiah’s ministry and His rejection (on what we call Palm Sunday – April 6, A.D. 32) was exactly 483 years
(3) 483 prophetic years of 360 days each = 173,880 days to the day 5. The public announcement and rejection is the mark of the beginning of His being “cut off.” It was prophesied 500 years before His birth with precise accuracy
The 70th week – Daniel 9:27
This 7 year period (week) is treated separate from the others – it has not come yet
This is known as the Tribulation
(1) In the middle of it – anti-christ will set himself up in the Temple and desecrate it
Dan. 9:27; 7:25; II Thess. 2; Revelation 13:1-8
(2) The people of God are persecuted
(3) This is also known as “The time of Jacob’s trouble” – Jeremiah 30 The time between the 69th and 70th Week is known as The Church Age
(1) This concerns the Gentile local church and not Israel
(2) Israel is gone from the scene of Prophecy until the 70th Week (tribulation)
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Introduction: Ezekiel, of all the Old Testament prophets, would be called “The Prophet of Visions.” He often says: “The hand of the Lord was upon me;” 1:3 – 3:14, 22 – 8:1 – 33:22 – 37:1 40:1. Ezekiel was taken into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar, in 597 B.C. Ezekiel lived at the same time as Jeremiah the Prophet.
Ezekiel – the man: Ezekiel means “God strengthens.” He was a priest – 1:3. He has a wife but no children. Ezekiel’s time of service was from 592 B.C. until 570 B.C. His ministry could be divided into two parts:
- Before the fall of Jerusalem: chaps. 1-24
- After the fall of Jerusalem: chaps. 25-48
Central message: “they” or “ye” “shall know that I am the Lord;” is found 51 times in the Book of Ezekiel and also 19 times more with a slight variation, for a total of 70 times.
- Chief Messianic passages
- The Lord, the sanctuary – Ezekiel 11:16-20
- The wonderful cedar sprig – 17:22-24
- The rightful king – 21:26-27
- The faithful shepherd – 34:11-31
- The great purification – 36:25-35
- The great resurrection – 37:1-14
- The great reunion – 37:21-28
- The overthrow of God – chaps. 38 -39
- The life giving stream out of the Temple – 47:1-2 The Original Vision – Ezekiel chapters 1-3
Note: Vs 1 – 30th year – this was Ezekiel’s age. This was the age in which a priest began his duties – Numbers 4:3. We will look at one of the visions in more detail and cover the others briefly for sake of time.
- Vision One – Jehovah is the source of judgment for sin
- 1:4 – The whirlwind (tornado)
- The North – that’s where the judgment was coming from, where Babylon was.
- Fire was unfolding = grabbing anything in its way and destroying it
- Amber – out of the midst = in the eye of it.
- The word “Amber,” as used here, denotes an amber-colored substance was the center of the laboring flame.
- The Hebrew word hlektron, which we translate amber, was used to signify a compound metal, very bright, made of gold and brass.
- Gold is deity and brass is judgment. So we can see God’s judgment here. God uses the Babylonians to bring judgment to Israel.
- The symbol of the cherubim 1:5-14
- Ezekiel also refers to them as cherubs in chapter 10
(1) Reference to in Genesis 3:24 – Garden of Eden
(2) Exodus 25:18-22 – on the Ark of the Covenant
(3) Revelation chapters 4-5; they guard the Throne in Heaven – represented as beast
(4) They are used as guardians; they have to do with the holiness of God in contrast to the sin of man
(5) Not the same as Seraphim which deal with the uncleanness in God’s people as in Isaiah 6:2-7 – Isaiah’s unclean lips
- The symbolism of the faces
(1) Lion = strength at its greatest
(2) Ox = service at its meekest
(3) Man = intelligence at its fullest
(4) Eagle = heavenliness or spirituality most soaring
NOTE: When God became Man in the flesh (Jesus Christ); He was pictured in these same four ways in the Gospels.
- Matthew – Lion 2. Mark – Ox
- Luke – Man 4. John – Eagle
- Four wings and four hands – a wing with a hand beneath each of their four sides. 1:8. This symbolized a full capacity for service
- 1:12 – “And they went every one straight forward …” symbolizing the carrying out of God’s will without any deviating from it
- Their complete holiness – 1:13
- vs 14 – their swift action – instant
- The four wheels 1:15-24 Each wheel was composed of two (2) 90 degree offset wheels
(1) Both wheels were standing up vertical, one rotating north to south and the other rotating east to west
(2) God gave Ezekiel the vision and he wrote it down in – of course – earthly terms
Example – vs 10, 13 – As for the likeness Vs 16 – The appearance of the wheels
Vs 16 – “A wheel in the middle of a wheel” – a second wheel at right angles with
the first. Thus the four half circles made four faces or sides.
It is probable, the wheels were framed so as to be an exact sphere, which is
easily rolled to any side Vs 18 – eyes -As the wheels signify the providence of God, so the eyes imply that
He sees all the circumstances of each case, and does nothing by blind impulse.
The rings – the circumference of the wheels Vs 20 – The Spirit of the living creature was in the wheels -That is, the wheels
were instinct with a vital spirit; the wheels were alive, they also were animals,
or endued with animal life, as the creatures were that stood upon them. Here then
is the chariot of Jehovah. There are four wheels, on each of which, one of the
Cherubim stands; the four compound animals form the body of the chariot, their
wings spread horizontally above, forming the canopy or covering of this chariot;
on the top of which, or upon the extended wings of the four living creatures, was
the throne, on which was the appearance of a man: Ezekiel 1:26
Summation and application: The wheels show that everything on the earth (specifically, the coming judgment of Jerusalem, foreseen by Ezekiel in verse 4 – tornado – fire, etc.) is connected with the heavenly realm. God is in control and His judgment is swift and sure. His eyes are everywhere, beholding the evil and the good all the time.
The living creatures connect with God as the wheels connect heaven and earth. They were controlled by the Spirit of God within them – Ezekiel 1:20.
The wheels connect earth with the heavenly cherubim who connect with God Himself as the creatures nearest to His Throne. The height of this vision – vs 25-28
Ezekiel heard the voice of God. No one has seen God at any time. The mere presence
of God’s glory drove Ezekiel to fall on his face before Almighty God – vs 28
(1) This was not the full glory of God, but only what Ezekiel could bear
(2) This also shows the majesty of God and the weakness of man The “bow” vs 28 – a rainbow – The symbol of Divine Covenant. Even thought there would be ruin of the city, temple etc. there would not be a total ruin of the earth as in the flood.
- Vision Two – The Prophet’s Vision as a Watchman – chap. 3
- vs 10 – receive in your heart – accept with understanding
vs 10 – hear – listen; understand, be obedient
- vs 11 – speak, tell – once you’ve got the message from the Lord, deliver it to the people
- vs 11 – tell them God’s Word whether they listen or not
- vs 16-21 – God holds the preacher responsible for the faithful delivery of his messages: when this is done, it is both the preacher’s duty and his privilege to leave the consequences with God
III. Vision Three – Sin And the Reason for Judgment – chaps 8-11
- God’s people profaned the Temple – chap. 8
- The people worshipped images – vs 3, 5. Image = idol. This is the court where the people made an altar to Baal
- The elders worshipped animals – vs 8-11
- Vs 13-15 – the women corrupted themselves with sexual abominations
- vs 14 – Tammuz is Adonis, of Greek mythology
- this cult practiced sexual abominations
- Chap. 8:16 – the 25 men were the high priests and they all worshipped the sun
- We see from the least to the greatest; from the common person to the priest. Ezekiel was shown that the idolatry was spread all throughout the land.
- Ezekiel sees the judgment of the people from God
- The Glory of the Lord goes from the city – 11:23
- This vision is no mean proof of the long-suffering of God.
- God did not abandon this people all at once, He departed by little and little. FIRST – God left the temple. SECOND – He stopped a little at the gate of the city. THIRD – He departed entirely from the city and went to the Mount of Olives, which lay on the east side of the city. Having tarried there for some time to see if they would repent and turn to him. FOURTH, the Lord departed to heaven. Application for us – Numbers 32:23 – I Corinthians 4:5
- Vision Four – Vision Of The Valley Of Dry Bones – chap. 37
- This is a vision of the rebirth of Israel as a nation
- Vs 11-14 – the vision is explained
- The doubters and scoffers thought it was impossible for Israel to be a Nation again
- For nearly 2000 years, Israel was not a nation; the scoffers used this to prove that the Bible was wrong
- The devil’s greatest effort to wipe out Israel, in WW II, was used to turn the hearts of the world to bring Israel back as a Nation
- God took the evil and made something good come out of it Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28
- The King Of Tyre – Chap. 28
- This prophecy is against the King of Tyre – vs 2, 12
- God’s Word tells us who the true force is behind that king – vs 12-19
- This is satan working in and through an earthly king
- Vs 13 – Eden – there – in the splendor and beauty of God’s creation – satan tempted man and caused the fall of man into sin.
- Vs 14 – satan was originally an angel created by God
- Vs 15, 16 – God created the devil perfect – and he was – until he decided to sin
- Vs 17 – Isaiah 14:12-16
- Ezekiel 28:17 – the heart condition – of the king of Tyre:
b. sinful pride
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Introduction: The Books of Lamentations and Jeremiah were both written by the prophet Jeremiah. He is known as the “weeping prophet.” Jeremiah 9:1
This Book is read by the Jews at the feast of the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem.
It was divided into five (5) Lamentations. Each is complete and covers one chapter, each, of our Bibles.
The dictionary definition of “lamentation” is: “The act of lamenting or bewailing; utterance of profound grief or regret; a wailing cry.”
This Book is a disclosure of the love and sorrow of God for the very people whom He is chastening. This sorrow was begun by the Holy Spirit in Jeremiah’s heart – Jeremiah 13:17.
The author: The Holy Spirit.
Central Message: Mourning over Jerusalem. A New Testament parallel is Luke 13:34-35.
Jesus, here, had the same broken heart that Jeremiah did, 600 years earlier.
- The First Lamentation – Chapter 1
- Vs 1-11 – Shows the miserable state of Jerusalem, the just consequences of its sins.
- Jerusalem became a captive and a slave to her sins
- Israel had no rest from suffering from her sins
- If we allow sin, our greatest enemy, to rule over us, then our other enemies will also be allowed to captivate us; ruin us; control us; rule us.
- Vs 1 – widow = she has become a desolate place / house
- Vs 3 – no rest = no home – her enemies overtook her straits” = trouble, distress, pain
- Vs 12-22: Jerusalem is represented as a captive female, lamenting, and seeking the mercy of God. The Second Lamentation – Chapter 2
- God’s anger at Israel’s sins – Vs 1
- God gets angry because of our sins
- God hates the sin that we do – Proverbs 6:16 -20
- God is not an enemy to his people
- God is angry with us and corrects us because He loves us
- God loves Israel – but He will not put up with sin – either theirs or ours
- God brought Israel from prosperity to adversity. He allowed her a big fall – vs 5-7 Chapter 3: The Third Lamentation
- Jeremiah’s Grief – Vs 1-2
- Rod of His wrath = God’s correction with His anger
- Vs 2 – darkness is calamity and light is prosperity
- Vs 4 – sin makes you old before your time
- There is hope – even in adversity
- Vs 18 -21: here the prophet realizes that, even though he was in despair, there reallyis HOPE.
- Vs 22 – It is only by God’s mercies / grace, that we are even alive God’s compassion’s do not fail
- Vs 23 – every day – God’s mercies are new.
- Great = mighty – more – multiply – plenteous
- Faithfulness – security – fidelity – morality – stability – truth
- the old hymn – Great is thy faithfulness – is from this verse
- Vs 24 – 26 – 29: HOPE
- Vs 31: Psalms 94:14
- Vs 41 – lifting up the hands without the heart is sheer hypocrisy.
- Psalms 86:4
- heart = courage
- The Fourth Lamentation: Chapter 4
- God’s Anger – vs 1-2
- Notice the change here
- Sin tarnishes the beauty of the most excellent gifts
- Gold, tried in the fire – its outward appearance may be dimmed, but its real value can never be changed
- The horrors of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem are again described.
- The sad consequences of sin in the Nation of Israel
- we should seriously consider that the same causes can bring down the local church in this day and age
- Jeremiah laments the effects of the famine: vs 3-10
- Vs 3 – the sea monsters = whales – take care of their young
- Vs 3 – the Ostriches lay their eggs in the sand and leave them there
- Vs 10 – hunger has driven the women of Israel to abandon their young
- Jeremiah laments the taking and sacking of Jerusalem – Vs 11-12
- Jeremiah acknowledges that the sins of their prophets and priests were the cause of all God’s anger and judgment upon Israel – Vs 13-16
- The Fifth Lamentation – Chapter 5
- Jerusalem’s prayer
- James 5:13 – when you are afflicted – pray
- Vs 2 – the land of Canaan was in the hands of their enemy
Notes: In your darkest days of trials and troubles, when all around us is gloom and your life seems to be falling apart – we ought still to maintain our confidence in God. We should seek his strength and help by humble confession and praying … crying out to God.
We should have sincere repentance and obedience. If we do this, we may be assured that our present sorrows, and trials etc. will end in joy and gladness; just as God, at the appointed time, forgave and restored the Jews to their own land.
- Vs 5: They felt the yoke of bondage – like the bull or the ox that has a yoke upon his neck
- Vs 6: They made treaties with their enemies in order to get the basic necessities of life
- Vs 9: They could not go into the wilderness to feed their cattle, or to get the necessities of life, without being harassed and plundered by marauding parties.
- This exposed them to the peril of their lives.
- This was predicted by Moses – Deut. 28:31
- Vs 12: They were suspended from hooks in the wall by their hands until they died through torture and exhaustion.
- The body of Saul was fastened to the wall of Bethshan, probably in the same way; but his head had already been taken off.
- They were hung in this way that they might be devoured by the fowls of the air.
- It was a custom with the Persians after they had slain, strangled, or beheaded their enemies, to hang their bodies upon poles
- The prophet knows that the Lord can hear and deliver them
- Vs 19 – God does not change; he seeks God’s renewed love to Israel
- Vs 20 – he realizes that God does not forsake us; a long time may seem so: Heb. 13:5
- Vs 21 – make us the way we were before we sinned. Restore our land – our Templ etc.
- Vs 22 – We are now greatly humbled, we feel our sin, and see our folly.
- once more, restore us, and we shall never again forsake God.
- He heard the prayer; and at the end of seventy years they were restored to their own land
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Introduction: The Books of Lamentations and Jeremiah were both written by the prophet Jeremiah. He is known as the “weeping prophet.” Jeremiah 9:1
The author: The Holy Spirit. Every prophecy of Jeremiah was from a broken heart to God’s people; the Tribe of Judah.
- Jeremiah was born into a priestly family: 1:1
- He was called before he was born, to be a prophet: 1:5-6
- For over 40 years, he was ridiculed, rejected, hated, beaten and plotted against, by the people, noblemen and kings.
- One king did seek his advice – but was not able to put it to use.
- Mostly, his preaching and warnings were rejected by the majority who branded Jeremiah, as a “meddler” and as a “traitor.”
Central Theme of this Book: “I will punish” and “I will restore”
The most famous chapters in this Book are 18 and 19. They record Jeremiah’s visit to the home of the Potter.
Chapter 18 – Jeremiah watches the potter mold the clay
Chapter 19 – he takes the finished vessel and breaks it in the Valley of Hinnom.
In viewing these chapters, we not only see a picture of Judah, but also of ourselves and of our relationship to God.
I. The Potter: 18:1-4
- God wanted to control Israel for her own good
- Israel was at the mercy of blind fate: ONLY if she made that choice
- Reference: Romans 8:28
- The potter has a plan for his clay
- Notice: the clay BELONGS to the potter
- He sees the finished product in his mind – BEFORE he begins and completes it
- In the same fashion, God, the Divine Potter directs our lives
- He uses circumstances: crises – disasters – parents – teachers – etc. to shape us
- It takes time to make a special product and God is never in a hurry
II. The Clay: 18:4-6
- In this text: the clay represented Judah
- The Biblical application is to each and every one of our lives
- Clay is of little value unless it is molded by the hands of a skilled potter
- the same is true of a human life
- our lives are of little value unless molded by the hands of the Divine Potter
- clay has to be clean and tempered in order to be usable by the potter
- we must be tempered by trials – struggles – and the experiences of life so that we will yield to the hand of the Potter
III. The Potter’s Wheel: 18:3
- God wanted Judah to know some important things
- The potter spins the wheel at his own speed and is complete control
- God was in control of the circumstances etc. for the tribe of Judah
- In the same way – God has a timetable for our lives
- God is in control of our lives
IV. The Vessel: 18:4-6
- Marred: 18:4
- “Corrupt” “spoiled” “wasted”
- Jeremiah 18:6: Romans 9:20-23
- The vessel made over 18:4
- It did not stand in the working; it got out of shape; or some gravel or small stone having been incorporated with the mass of clay, made a breach in that part where it was found, so that the potter was obliged to knead up the clay afresh, place it on the wheel, and form it anew; and then it was such a vessel as seemed good to the potter to make it.
- When we let things into our lives and don’t get rid of them: God may have to “start over” in working on us
- God wants to make us into something special – He wants to mold us into His image:Romans 8:29