BROKEN CISTERNS

[SW330] 6/9/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Broken Cisterns

Text: Jeremiah 2:1-13, John 4:10-14

Today’s church has carved for herself cisterns, but they are broken and unable to hold water. They are dried up and empty because she made them, not the Lord.

Jeremiah 2:13  “For My people have committed two evils: 

They have forsaken Me, 

The fountain of living waters, 

To hew for themselves cisterns, 

Broken cisterns 

That can hold no water.

NOTE: This is not replacement theology, which teaches that the church replaces Israel. One would have to ignore Romans 9 — 11 to say such a thing! But the Old Testament is for our instruction (see 1Corinthians 10:11).

Cisterns are caverns carved out of rock. They catch the rain that falls, and provide water to the people. But if they crack, all the water drains out.

But His living water needs no cistern, because His is a fountain that continually springs up from within you, so you are never dried up!

Verses 1-3

In the beginning of the church, in the Book of Acts, the church was devoted to her Lord, and He worked marvelously among and through her! She was filled with God’s divine love — the love of the betrothed for her Bridegroom. 

She followed after Him faithfully, through much danger. And the Lord defended her and made her victorious! Though she was continually under extreme persecution, the Lord caused her to grow by leaps and bounds!

In the beginning of the church, in the Book of Acts, the church was holy to the Lord, because she was filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s divine love. She did not turn to the left or to the right, but obeyed His voice —

“This is the way, walk in it.” (See Isaiah 30:21). It was not burdensome to follow Him; rather, it was her delight to do so (1John 5:3)! 

Verse 4 —

But now, she is like Israel, to whom Jeremiah prophesied. And so, the Lord now applies Jeremiah’s prophecies to her. So, hear the word of the Lord!

Verse 5 — 

Today’s church has gone far from the Lord, and walks after emptiness. Therefore, she has become empty, a broken cistern that cannot hold water. The Lord has done nothing to deserve her faithlessness. 

What emptiness does she walk after? She has made Jesus into her own image and feels no need to seek the real Jesus Christ. What do I mean?

Today’s church gives Jesus (and even the Father), many human frailties and flaws, and even the sin of unbelief, saying that Jesus worried and was confused and needed help. Why? So that those who attend might feel better about their own frailties and flaws, and even sins. She wants to make the attendees feel good about themselves, so the church will be prosperous. What better way to soothe their consciences than to make Jesus more “human?” 

She even goes so far as to say that Jesus had to come so He would know what it is like to be human! But He is our Creator, and knows full well! Many say Jesus came just to do good things! But He came to die for our sin, and then, He rose, ascended and was glorified so that He would then pour out His Holy Spirit into human hearts, purifying them, and destroying the sin nature within them! But this is unheard of and disbelieved, in most of the church.

She does not speak of judgment or hell, as Jesus did. She does not call God’s people to repent, as Jesus did. She does not call sin “sin,” as Jesus did. No, that would be unloving, and Jesus is love, and nothing more. She has made Him “just love.” But beloved, He will judge us all, including His church (Romans 14:10, 2Corinthians 5:10)!

Very few in the church have said, “Where is the Lord?” She has forgotten that He formed her. She has forgotten that He is her Leader, though she pays Him lip service in her prayers. 

Verse 6 —

She has not sought Him, but rather, has sought man’s wisdom to increase her numbers— business principles, personality assessments to determine who is “leadership material,” psychology, and tactics for manipulating emotions when her leaders preach, teach and counsel her attendees. In many denominations, using the Bible when counseling is prohibited.

But what kind of church can be grown, if it is based upon those things? A church that is powerless against Satan, for she has abandoned her Lord who protected her! Certainly, it is not the kind of church that understands that the Lord has the best church growth strategy! His is best described in Acts 2 — Pentecost! But that is denied, these days, by most of the church. So she seeks natural ways to increase her numbers. 

Verse 7 —

In doing all these things, she has defiled the Lord’s land and defiles His inheritance (both land and inheritance are the church, as well as Israel), just as Judah did at the time of Jeremiah. She worships the god of self, and fashions all ministry around making God relevant to her attendees, rather than calling her attendees to make themselves relevant to Him by asking Him to fill them so they can serve Him in truth! 

She pays no attention to the Lord’s judgments that have come upon many who also claim to be the church. Just like Jeremiah declares of Judah in Jeremiah 7:4, she cries, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” I am safe, she thinks, because I am the church.

Verse 8 —

And her leaders have not sought Him, just as her attendees have not sought Him. Why? They do not know Him. This word in the original Hebrew is yada, and it refers to intimate knowledge, as in a marriage. It is a holy intimacy with God that they do not have, and so they do not seek Him. They have much knowledge about Jesus, but do not know Him. And they sin against Him! We see it in the headlines.

So, because they do not know the Lord, they walk after things that do not profit (they are not of any value). What things?

Her leaders prophesy by Baal, who was a false god prior to and in the days of Jeremiah. His worship involved sexual immorality. You may say, “But the church does not preach that!” Yet she winks at such sins. She elevates those who do them — including all that is in 1Corinthians 6:9-10 — to positions of leadership.

She does not cry out to those who sin, warning them of their sin and calling them to repentance. Most attendees to whom I have spoken do not think there is any need to repent, after they are saved. 

But look at Revelation 2 and 3, where Jesus Himself commands five of seven churches to repent! Examine the New Testament letters (epistles), and see the exhortations of the Spirit-filled leaders who wrote them!

She does not warn those who sin, nor does she tell her attendees that if anyone asks the Lord, He will make the asker a “such were,” per 1Corinthians 6:11! No, she says, sin is incurable. Thus, she calls God a liar, for He says He will do it! (See Ezekiel 36:26-27, John 8:31-36, and many other scriptures!)

The church is filled with unprofitable prophets, who say things of no value! But why do the church’s prophets say things that are of no value? 

They do not know the Lord. They have no holy intimacy with Him. They are not married to Him. They have left Him at the altar and sought the altar of the god of self.

Verse 9 —

And so, as one of the Lord’s watchmen for the church, I warn her that He will yet contend with her. He will chide her, He will rebuke her. He will do this for a long time, even generations — even their children’s children. If she does not respond by repenting, He will toss her away, as a branch that does not bear fruit (John 15:6).

Oh, beloved, these are the words of Jesus Christ, not Pastor Sue!

Verses 10-11 —

Everywhere, it is said of her, even now, “I have never seen anything like this!” She has changed gods! She has altered and removed the biblical Jesus Christ and His Father. She does this even though the god she now worships is not a god at all, but is simply the empty god of self!

The church has thrown away her glory (Jesus Christ) for that which is completely unprofitable (again, of no value), but appeals to her attendees. Ichabod is written over the doors of many of her buildings, for the glory of the Lord has left her (1Samuel 4:21)! 

He is on the outside, knocking and speaking, and will not come in until individual attendees hear His voice, open the doors of their hearts, and ask Him to come in —

Revelation 3:20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

And dining with Jesus is a picture of holy intimacy. You have a two-way conversation with a dinner companion. And you will with Jesus, O church, if you ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and His love! He is waiting to seat you at His table, but He will only do it if you repent!

Verse 12 —

Because the church has gone after the completely useless, the heavens (skies) will be appalled (devastated, destroyed). They will shudder (shiver) and be dried up and laid waste. They already do such things.

Why does God’s creation react in that way? Because the church has forsaken her Lord, who is the fountain of living waters! Instead, she has hewn for herself cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water!

But right now, if the church repents and confesses that she is broken and dried up, He will hear her cry. If any or all of her attendees ask to be filled with His living water, here is His promise, the same one given to the woman at the well —

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.; 14 . . . whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Do you see it? The “well” is a poor translation. It is really “fountain,” a never-ending source that comes from the everlasting Lord! She will become and remain full of His living water, full of His Spirit, and she will no longer forsake her Lord!

Will she do it? She must!

Some will be angry with what I have said. But I do not hold back from speaking the words he gives me. I am compelled and held captive by the divine love of God, which He has poured out in my heart. (See 2Corinthians 5:14, Romans 5:5.) My brothers and sisters, I cannot stop speaking of what I have seen and heard (Acts 4:10)!

When the church comes against me, I still do not hold back, for the Lord has spoken to me, just as He spoke to Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:17-18! And I love her too much to leave her in her present state, and not warn her!

In the love of Christ, I beseech the church to repent of her unbelief and many sins! And I exhort her to obey Jesus’ command that she stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5, 8), until she is equipped with the one thing needful in order to be true to her Lord — the infilling of the Holy Spirit and God’s divine love, and the permanent indwelling presence of God the Father and God the Son. Only then will she be the church, empowered to do all that Jesus Christ formed her to do!

Amen, Lord Jesus. So be it!

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