Handle With Care

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21Psalms 96 – 100Proverbs 20)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 23:28-32)

Jeremiah 23 is a strong rebuke against the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day that claimed to be speaking on behalf of God, but were really just telling the people what they want they wanted them to hear. I do not believe that we would be doing injustice to the Scripture by making application to the many people in our world today who claim to be preaching and teaching the Word of God. This passage delivers a scathing warning for those who mishandle the Bible. In this text I have noticed three common errors that are made today by people who claim to be representing the Lord:

1  Lying – We lie to the people when we don’t tell them exactly what God said, or when we insert our philosophies and opinions. God’s word is very clear. He has very specific instructions regarding how we are to conduct ourselves on this earth. Yet, preachers will often misrepresent God by not declaring plainly and interpreting literally what God said. I wish every Christian knew the Bible intimately themselves, but unfortunately that is not the case. Many of the people that come to us for help are trusting us to tell them them what God would tell them. We have no right to just tell them what we think. Who cares what we think? What really matters is what God said!

2  Leaving Out – By this I mean that we neglect so many of the important truths of the Word. We do not declare the whole counsel of God. We conveniently select passages that promote our agenda, and we take verses out of their context. God expects us to preach and teach the whole Bible, not just the parts that will make us look good in front of the people. We are “itching” people’s ears today by ignoring the passages that deal with their sin.

3  Lightness – Notice verse 31. God mentions the prophets’ lightness. The preachers did not take their jobs seriously. It is an awesome responsibility to be God’s representative. We are to faithfully deliver and explain the Tuth of the Word of God. The people need Truth, not entertainment. We have become comedians, and story tellers, and entertainers; but our “lightness” has caused an entire generation to fall away from God. We need to get back to the sober business of declaring the Truth. When I think back to the prophets of the Old Testament, I see men that were grave, serious, bold, determined, and fearful of the God the represented. We need to get back to that in our teaching and preaching today.

God wants His Word handled very carefully. God magnifies His word even above His name, and His name is above all other names. God’s Word is important. We need to be very careful that we are delivering it clearly, and entirely to the people of God.

Oh, and by the way, according to vs. 1 & 2, God’s flock needs to be handled with care as well. Woe to the pastor that takes advantage of one of God’s children.

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