[SW343] 09/09/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
Announcing His Words
Text: Jeremiah 23, etc.
Who announces the Lord’s words? Those who stand in His counsel and hear His voice. What do they announce? They call His people to turn back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.
NOTE: Scriptures are from the NAS Bible, with emphases according to the Lord’s direction to me.
Jeremiah prophesied for 40 years in Judah. The Lord gave him words of warning to the false shepherds, and a call for God’s people to repent and return to the Lord. It is the same in today’s church, for there are many false shepherds.
No one listened to the word of the Lord through Jeremiah, just as many do not listen today. So, the people of Judah were either killed by the Babylonians, or were carried into captivity in Babylon for 70 years. Many believers today are spiritually exiled from the Lord.
Here are the Lord’s words, through Jeremiah —
Jeremiah 23:1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD.
Woe to the false shepherds who were supposedly tending His people Israel then, and those who are supposedly tending all believers now. They have caused His sheep to perish. They have dashed them to pieces. Because His sheep believed their lies, they have been driven away, banished from His presence. And the false shepherds have not cared for His sheep, but only for themselves. Jesus says —
John 10:12 “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.”
Behold, O false shepherds! The Lord is about to tend to you (avenge, judge you), for the evil of your deeds.
Jeremiah 23:11 “For both prophet and priest are polluted;
Even in My house I have found their wickedness,” declares the LORD.
12 “Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them,
They will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it;
For I will bring calamity upon them,
The year of their punishment,” declares the LORD.
Both prophet and priest, then and now, are polluted (corrupt, profane). He has found their wickedness (evil, wrong, harm) even in His house!
So He will turn the paths they walk into slippery paths. He will drive them away, for they have driven His people away from Him. They will slip and fall down into the darkness of hell. He will bring these calamities upon them, for they have brought these calamities on His sheep!
The Lord declares — for He alone declares and decrees — that He will bring the year of their punishment upon them.
Jeremiah 23:13 “Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive (foolish) thing:
They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray.
14 “Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing:
The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood;
And they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.
All of them have become to Me like Sodom,
And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
False prophets, both then and now, appeal to the lusts of believers whose sin natures are alive and well. Sex, money, power, prestige — the false prophets dangle these before the eyes of the Lord’s flock, and lead them down the broad path to hell.
False prophets, both then and now, urge people to commit spiritual adultery against the Lord by worshiping the things the world worships. They lie to His sheep in many ways. They tell His sheep that they all must join hands with the world and water down the gospel, removing its call to repentance, so that people are not offended by it.
False prophets, both then and now, encourage sinners to sin. Or they say that there is no cure for sin, but the Lord understands that they cannot help but sin. Therefore, no one repents. So, in the Lord’s eyes, His flock has become like Sodom and Gomorrah, wildly disobeying, committing acts completely contrary to His nature.
Jeremiah 23:16 Thus says the LORD of hosts,
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you.
They are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own imagination,
Not from the mouth of the LORD.
O church to whom I am sent, do not listen to the false prophets who are prophesying to you! They are leading you into emptiness, they speak a vision of their own conjuring, and not from the mouth of the Lord. They do not and cannot stand before Him, for they are lawless. He never, ever knew them (Matthew 7:23)!
Jeremiah 23:17 “They keep saying to those who despise Me,
‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace”’;
And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart,
They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’
The false prophets boast and promise this to those who blaspheme and provoke Him — you will have peace. They say, God will never leave you, regardless of the evil that you do, regardless of your love for the world’s ways and your running after the things of the world. “Come and get your blessing,” they say, regardless of your heart’s condition.
To His sheep, who walk in the obstinacy and lust of their own hearts, the false prophets say this — calamity (evil) will not come up on you. God will not judge you for the sin you are doing. Again, it is a lie. They are listening to their father, the father of lies, the devil (John 8:44).
Jeremiah 23:18 “But who has stood in the council of the LORD,
That he should see and hear His word?
Who has given heed to His word and listened?”
Again, His words are not announced by false prophets who feed your lust for sex, money, power and prestige. His words are announced by those who stand in His counsel, who stand before the Lord, who are able to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place because He has given them clean hands and pure hearts (Psalm 24:3-4). What do they announce? They call His people to turn back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.
Jeremiah 23:21 “I did not send these prophets,
But they ran.
I did not speak to them,
But they prophesied.
The Lord did not send these false prophets who are destroying and scattering His sheep. He did not ask them to run with a message from Him, to deliver it to you.
He did not speak to them. But they prophesied as though He had spoken to them. It is the same today.
Jeremiah 23:22 “But if they had stood in My council,
Then they would have announced My words to My people,
And would have turned them back from their evil way
And from the evil of their deeds.”
Who stands in His council? Who consults with Him in a holy, intimate, one-on-one encounter? The one with clean hands and a pure heart, the Elijahs (1Kings 17:1) and Elishas (2Kings 3:14), the Pauls (2Timothy 4:1) and Timothys (2Timothy 2:14), and those in today’s church who are filled with the Lord’s Holy Spirit.
And the words they announce are, “Turn back! Repent! Turn away from the evil you are doing against your God!” That is what the Lord says to the church, and His people Israel, today! The ones who stand before Him say —
Lamentations 2:14 Your prophets have seen for you
False and foolish visions;
And they have not exposed your iniquity
So as to restore you from captivity,
But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.
False. Foolish. Misleading. There is no restoration from the exile that symbolizes separation from God’s presence. Even in exile, God’s people and today’s church continue to listen to false prophets.
Jeremiah 23:23 “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD,
“And not a God far off?
24 “Can a man hide himself in hiding places
So I do not see him?” declares the LORD.
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.
No one can hide his evil thoughts and deeds from the Lord. All things are open and laid bare in the sight of Him to whom we must give an account for what is in our hearts (Hebrews 4:13), when we stand before His judgment seat!
Jeremiah 23:28 “The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the LORD. 29 “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”
If a true prophet has a dream, he may relate his dream. Listen to Joel’s prophecy of the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit —
Joel 2:28 “It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
But also, those who have the Lord’s word, and not their own, will speak His word in truth, for they stand before the One who is the Way and the Truth and the Life. His true prophets stand in His council.
His word is like fire, which will burn away the evil in you and purify your heart, if you heed it. But it will consume you if you ignore it and reject it. Oh, beloved, come to the Purifier (Acts 15:8).
His word is like a hammer which breaks through your heart of stone, if you heed it. But it will break your heart into pieces if you ignore it and reject it, not allowing it to change your stony heart.
His promise to those who hear and heed (Matthew 7:24), and stay and wait (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5), is that He will remove their stony hearts and give them new hearts that respond to His every whisper (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
I announce His words to you today, because He has cleansed and purified me so I am able to stand before Him and consult with Him, in holy intimacy. I call His people Israel, and His church, to turn back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds. I speak these words with certainty, for they are His truth.
The Lord does not desire that any should perish, but that all, even those in the church, come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). Therefore, repent!
Lord, I stand before You and ask you to send these words in Your power, by Your Spirit. Surely, they will not return empty, but will accomplish all that You want them to do (Isaiah 55:11). Amen.