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Mar4WedMarch 4, 2020Yesterday we talked about our cry to God for mercy for the desolate church. We talked about how those who went before us did not adhere to the word of God. They were unfaithful, stiff-necked and turned away from God’s word and continue to do so. Because of this we pray and continue to pray that God would Psalm 79:8 “not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” Peter told us that Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”The problem today is that the church does not realize how desperate it should be. Due to this lack of desperation, this call to cry out to God for mercy doesn’t feel all that important and falls on deaf ears. Jeremiah gives us a glimpse of the church. Jeremiah 8:4 “Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return? 5 Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. 8 “ ‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have? 10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD. 13 “ ‘I will take away their harvest, declares the LORD. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them.” 2 Kings 17:40 “They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.”Because we have men and women handling the word of God falsely millions of people who listen to them are being led astray, each believing they have heard the truth but they have been deceived. The harvest of God has been replaced with a man-made harvest based on business principles and whatever ideas that come to mind. Nehemiah 9:37 “Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.” The problem is these ways are the delusions of their own minds. Jeremiah 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” Jeremiah 14:14 “Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”These delusions are everywhere in the church today. The Internet, the bookstores are filled with the dreams of men. The successful get followers who will join the charge in the wrong direction, all the while thinking they are going the right way but as Proverbs tells us Proverbs 9:18 “little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” Proverbs 7:27 “Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” Men, women and children have been led astray and they do not even know enough to call out for mercy. Proverbs 7:21 “With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.” Isaiah 9:16 “Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.” Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Jude 12 “These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.”I realize this does not sound joyful but this is why there is deception and delusion in the church. Jeremiah 9:13 “The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.” The good news and this is where the joy comes in, is that just as Israel was set free from their captors, the church will be set free also. Habakkuk 3:16 “Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” When God pronounces judgment on our enemies, we then will be clothed with power and go to the ends of the earth just as we were supposed to. At this point the church in its deception refuses to repent because they say I have done nothing wrong. They continue on a path of destruction and death but we don’t have to continue on that path. We just have to turn from our wicked ways and follow God’s way and wait for God to act. We will be set free from the hold the enemy has on us. Psalm 5:11 “Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”