Read carefully these words from Jeremiah 7:9-11, (ESV) “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?
Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.”
In this passage, the people of God were coming to the Temple making sacrifices to God but their hearts were empty. Their worship was in vain. They gave lip service to the Lord, but their true god was Baal.
They called themselves the people of God, yet they continued to steal, hate, lust, lie, blaspheme God’s name, and worship idols and false gods. They said, “We are safe, we are delivered,” yet they had a death sentence over them.
They had a false hope of salvation. They thought that just because they were Jews who went to the Temple to do their religious duties that they were safe from judgment. They were not truly saved, and their sinful lifestyle proved it.
The one true God sees everything, and He saw their sinful heart. Hebrews 4:13 says, “No creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (ESV).
These Jews were more focused on their religious duties than they were on loving and obeying God. They were more focused on their traditions than their relationship with God. They were more concerned about pleasing themselves than pleasing God.
They were just going through the motions of religion, but their heart wasn’t holy. Many people today do the same thing when it comes to their church. They go to a beautiful church, but inside, their hearts are not devoted to God.
The name and traditions of their church have become more important than the substance of their faith. They are more committed to their denomination than they are to Christ. Their personal preferences have become more important to them than the reality of a transformed life through the Gospel.
People today may get too comfortable in their pew when God is calling them to take a stand for Him in this world. Instead of being engaged in the spiritual battle for lost souls, people are passively sitting on the side lines thinking they are safe.
A recent poll showed that 60% of Christians see no obligation to share their faith. Could it be that the church is too lukewarm in their love for the Savior to love the lost? The Bible is clear, as Christians, we are all called to share the Gospel, but first, that Gospel has to be alive in our own hearts!
The problem is, instead of Christians who passionately worship and love God; they actively love the things of this world, embrace worldly lifestyles, and pursue things that dishonor God’s holy name. Instead of the church making disciples, and sharing the Gospel, too many churches have become museums that are dead and empty.
That’s why I asked the question, is the story and glory of your church, bigger than, the story and glory of God?
The point of this passage is, if these people will repent, God would still forgive them. And if we as a church will repent, God will cleanse us and make us holy and useful for His Kingdom!
We are all called by God’s name to go and make disciples, share our faith, and boldly proclaim the truth that Jesus really did live the life we should have lived. He really did die the death we should have died, and He really did rise from the dead to make us alive!
Does your church really believe that? They may say they do, but is that only lip service? Does your church reflect the love and life of Jesus Christ? Is your church just going through religious motions, or is it going the path of the cross, which is to deny myself and follow Jesus no matter the cost?
Are we fooling ourselves thinking that we’re okay when in fact we’re not? God knows our heart, He knows if we’re just playing the religious game. 1 Peter 4:17 says, (ESV) “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
God will discipline His children and His church, but He will bring judgment on those who reject His Word. He wants the lost to be saved, and He wants His children to be holy! If the righteous are barely saved because of God’s mercy, what chance do unbelievers have who reject Christ?
The church can’t be on the sidelines. Lost souls are dying and going to hell every day. The church must be engaged in this spiritual battle. We must be more concerned with God getting the glory than ourselves. God’s story and glory must be bigger than our church’s story and glory.
It’s not about us, it’s all about Him. And when a church makes it all about them, rather than Him, a church has lost its focus. Our mission is to be a healthy, godly church so that we can be an effective witness to this world for His glory!
So, where are you? Are you on the sidelines? Are in the Temple giving lip service? Or are you like Jeremiah weeping for lost souls, crying out to God for grace, and active in being a witness for Jesus Christ?
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:15.