by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Jeremiah 7:1-15
I. Around the country we have many memorials and historical sites established to remind us of our victories. Yet, we keep several sites to remind us of our losses.
A. I was able to see the Alamo in San Antonio. Only the mission still stands, but it is there to remind people of a group of people’s willingness to fight against overwhelming odds.
1. The fort was large, able to hold well over a 1,000 soldiers. But it was manned by less than 200.
2. They managed to hold off the Mexican army for 13 days. They were overwhelmed when the general of Mexican army realized the fort was understaffed and launched an attack from multiple directions. The defenders were unable to be everywhere at once.
3. The courage and willingness of the defenders to die became remembered in the slogan “Remember the Alamo!”
B. Even in our losses, there are things worth remembering.
II. During Jeremiah’s days, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, rose to power.
A. He was a brilliant and aggressive warrior. In his first year of power, he brought down the mighty Assyrian empire that had wiped out Northern Israel.
B. He then moved to conquer other countries surrounding Judah, but Judah, at least for a time, appeared to have been spared.
C. The people, despite their corruption, believed they were protected from defeat - Micah 3:11
1. Never, they believed, would God allow His temple to be destroyed - Jeremiah 7:4
2. Since the temple was in Jerusalem, then Jerusalem would be protected as well, and since Jerusalem was the capital of Judea, then it too would be protected. “Isn’t it obvious?”
D. It didn’t matter the sins that they committed - Jeremiah 7:8-11
1. They believed that they could commit whatever sin entered their minds and then go to the temple and be absolved of all guilt and consequences.
2. After all, isn’t that what the sacrifices were for?
E. The Lord’s warning was “Remember Shiloh!” - Jeremiah 7:12
III. Shiloh was where the tabernacle resided for many years after Israel conquered Canaan - Joshua 18:1
A. The ark of the covenant was there. God’s presence was there.
B. Over the years, the people came to believe that so long as the ark was there, they were invincible, even if they lived immorally.
1. Idolatry spread through the land - Judges 18:31
2. Priests began serving those who did not know God - I Samuel 2:12
3. It became so bad that people didn’t like to come to offer sacrifices - I Samuel 2:17
4. Eli, though he knew of the corruption, did not remove the corrupt priests because they were his own sons - I Samuel 2:29
C. In a battle against the Philistines, Israel lost. They thought that by bringing the ark of the covenant into battle, they would turn the tide - I Samuel 4:2-5
D. But God wouldn’t be so used by men - I Samuel 4:10-11
E. Years later, God warned the people of Jeremiah’s day to remember what happened at Shiloh - Jeremiah 7:13-15
IV. The wheel of history turns, and we are back to the same place
A. The Roman Catholic Church is filled with people who believe that whatever sin they commit doesn’t really matter so long as they get to confession.
B. The Protestants are no better, they claim that once you are saved, you can’t lose that salvation, no matter what sins you commit.
1. I heard one man state on the radio that if in the middle of a bank robbery a man comes to believe on Jesus even though he completes the robbery and is gunned down by the police, he would still be saved.
2. Sam Morris, a Baptist preacher, consistently argued that if one is saved, “all the sins he may commit from murder to idolatry will not endanger his soul.”
3. The idea of permanent salvation is as much a lie as Israel’s belief that the temple could not fall.
C. But you know, members of the church are not immune to this false confidence.
1. There are members who behave as if membership in the church will cover all their negligence and inactivity
2. Judgment starts with the church - I Peter 4:17
3. The warning of the parable of the tares - Matthew 13:41-42
D. Salvation comes by individual faith and obedience - II Corinthians 5:10
E. There are no exemptions. You can’t live in the world part-time and then “go to church” to make up for it.
1. We must live holy lives - Titus 2:11-14
2. There is no sacrifice for willful disobedience - Hebrews 10:23-31
F. Salvation is dependent on God’s grace, not a claim of membership in the church - Matthew 7:21-23
V. Remember Shiloh. Remember Jerusalem
A. Remember Sardis - Revelation 3:1-6
1. They had a reputation of life, but they were dead
2. Even here salvation was offered on an individual basis
B. Remember Laodicea - Revelation 3:14-22
1. They were lukewarm, inactive and allowing worldliness to creep in
2. They needed zeal and repentance
C. Remember that your salvation depends on your faithful obedience to God
1. There is no virtue by association
2. God will do to you or I just what He did to Israel - Romans 11:20-22