Most people will listen when someone warns them the bridge is out ahead. There will be signs and a clear warning to get them to stop and turn around. As a driver, when you see these signs you know the bridge is out and you cannot continue on that road. To ignore these signs would be foolish and more than likely will lead to your death and those in the car with you.
When it comes to the church, many just keep driving and ignore the clear warning signs scripture is giving us. satan continues to do what he did in the beginning. He simply says, did God really say? The bridge isn’t out just keep driving. Does Jesus really mean watch out that you are not deceived? Does He really mean love him with everything you have? Does He really Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news”? The bible is filled with clear warnings that if we continue on our own path there will be death and destruction. The clearest warning comes from the church itself. The warning is in what you don’t see. When you read scripture and then compare scripture with the church, the two look nothing the same, yet the church continues on a path of desolation, all the while refusing to repent. Yesterday we talked about a lack of understanding and repentance but scripture tells us His people will perish for a lack of understanding and they will refuse to repent! Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
The church continues to drive ahead in spite of all the clear warnings there are. We see how the church looks exactly like Israel did. Israel was removed from the land for their disobedience. We too should fear the judgment of the Lord because everything said about them can be said about us. Jeremiah 8:6 “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. My people do not know the requirements of the Lord.” Casting Crowns has a song called “Does Anybody Hear Her.” In it the first verses states, “She is running a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction. She is trying but the canyon's ever widening in the depths of her cold heart. So she sets out on another misadventure just to find she's another two years older and she's three more steps behind.” This can describe most in the church. They continue on empty paths handed down from our fathers and the next generation continues on these empty paths full speed ahead and shout look what my hands have made. King Josiah was told after they found the book of the law, 2 Kings 22:16 “This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.”
There are many warnings in scripture but there also have been many warnings by God’s prophets today (scripture that no one wants to hear), but is anyone listening to them. When a road is under construction many times there is a traffic control person. They are there to warn you about construction ahead, or to warn you to turn around and go another way. God’s messengers continue to warn but the church continues to ignore them. If you go back a few chapters from Josiah in 2 Kings you see that only Judah is left and all Israel has been exiled. 2 Kings 17:5 “The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria 7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods 8 and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. 13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.” 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” 18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.” 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.”
Today the church has been warned over and over but continues going in their own direction; each group doing as they please. Judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” Even though the word of God warns us, as do his messengers, the church refuses to turn from their wicked ways. They continue to shout praises and scream crucify Him at the same time. When hearing the warning, most will ignore it and continue on their path of destruction. Some will listen and pull off to the side of the road only to keep going because they chose not to believe the signs were real. Very few will turn around and be part of the remnant. One of the greatest promises we have been given, of which most of the church knows, is ignored because everyone thinks their path is the right one even though scripture disagrees. 2 Chronicles 7:3 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
Notice verse 13 starts off describing our situation. Then we have this great promise to God’s people but there is that little big word “if.” All we are asked to do is turn from our wicked ways, which means to turn from going our own way and following our own plans. We then humble ourselves which means we submit to Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. If we pray before God, he will then hear our cries. God does not leave it with this verse. He goes on to describe the if and the if not. He tells Solomon 2 Chronicles 7:17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.” God then describes if not. 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”
The many false teachings in the church have caused the bridge to be out but most will not listen and speed to their death. Judges 2:7 “Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands.” Our only hope is to listen and turn from our wicked ways. Acts 3:17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ 24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”