12 August 2008

Stand in the Gate – 8.12.08

A somewhat lengthy passage for us to consider today from the book of Jeremiah. Want you to read chapter 7, verses 1-12.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

The situation in Jeremiah's day was a dire one indeed. The nation of Judah had been in rebellion for generations, and God's judgment was just about to fall. Jeremiah would live to see the day that Jerusalem was taken and the people led captive to Babylon. In the meantime, he was called to stand in a public place (the gate of the Lord's house, verse 2) and proclaim the word of the Lord. He was called to urge the people to repent (Amend your ways and your doings, verse 5) and to set forth the blessings awaiting those who would (verse 7). He was called to point out the errors of false religion (verses 4, 8) and to warn the people of coming judgment (verse 12).

This he did, and he did it faithfully.

Now, Americans are not God's chosen people. The Jews still are. But America was founded by God-fearing men on biblical principles. We have moved far from that foundation. Generations have lived in rebellion against the word of God. And America needs some men like Jeremiah to be faithful to the charge to Go…into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

If you're an active witness for the Lord, especially if you're involved in a public evangelism, you'll be approached on a regular basis by people who call themselves Christians and want to know why in the world you're doing what you're doing. Don't you know nobody wants to hear it? Don't you know you're turning people away? Etc, etc, etc. Here's something I learned from Bro. James that I've used several times on the street with good success. The honest enquirers are often satisfied with and enlightened by the accuracy of the statement, and the skeptical critics are often baffled enough to go away shortly after it's made.

Every prophet and every apostle in the Bible, even Jesus Himself – they all preached in a public place to people who did not want to hear it.

Having that example set forth in the scripture, why should we do any different? No good reason we shouldn't.

Are you? If so, keep it up. If not, it's time to be obedient and take a stand in the gate.

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