by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Jeremiah 26:1-15
I. Jeremiah was told to warn the people of the doom that was approaching them
A. God thought there might be chance that the people would change - Jeremiah 26:2-3
B. Did they respond? Yes, but not in the right way - Jeremiah 26:8-9
C. Jeremiah again reminded them that if they would change, God would change His plans - Jeremiah 26:12-15
D. How is it, with clear and certain warnings, that people refuse to change?
II. People refuse to change because they forget that God judges them
A. People don’t change because they forget that God is there - Psalms 50:16-22
B. After documenting the depths of depravity that Israel had gone into - Psalms 57:11-12
1. They might claim that they lied because they were afraid, but it is just an excuse
2. They had forgotten God, and His laws are no longer in their hearts
3. Why? Because God chose to be silent and they stop fearing Him
4. But what about all the good they had done? God could list them out, but their few righteous deeds will not atone for their depravity
C. God is longsuffering, but He doesn’t tolerate rebellion forever - Psalms 7:12-16
1. It may seem as if God isn’t doing anything, but He is getting ready to strike - Psalms 7:12-13
2. Meanwhile, the wicked continues his sins and gets worse - Psalms 7:14
3. The wicked lays out a trap for others, but in the end, he traps himself - Psalms 7:15-16
D. It is the nature of the evil to get worse when there are not immediate consequences and God uses that tendency against the wicked - Ecclesiastes 8:11-12
1. People often believe that if you give the evil pardon that they will turn from their evil, but it doesn’t work - Isaiah 26:10
2. People tend to believe that tomorrow will be like today. If nothing bad happened to me today from doing evil, then I might assume that it will be the same tomorrow.
3. This is why evil becomes a trap - Psalms 78:16-20
III. People refuse to change because they have become bitter
A. Bitterness is not about what our circumstances make us become, but about how we react to circumstances.
1. Some people experience a lot of hardships and misery but come through them with a gracious spirit
2. Others go through similar experiences and become angry and embittered
B. Esau is an example of this - Hebrews 12:15-17
1. Esau refused to change, even though he wanted the benefits, because he hated his brother. He could not move past the wrongs he believed he suffered at Jacob’s hand. His own feelings became his idol – a miserable and spiteful “god” who controlled his life.
2. He could not forgive what was done to him; thus, he would not change.
3. It wasn’t a physical idol, but it was an idol of his own making - Deuteronomy 29:18
C. A bitter person won’t forget. He constantly reviews the past and remembers every irritating detail. It dominates his thinking and chokes the life out of him.
D. Since he won’t let go, he won’t change - Ephesians 4:31-32
IV. People refuse to change because they are just plan stubborn
A. God describes bringing terrible destruction on the Roman Empire for its sins, but even after the destruction, those who remained refuse to change - Revelation 9:20-21
B. People get an idea of how things ought to be in their mind and it doesn’t matter the evidence shown, they refuse to change.
C. Neither John nor Jesus were what people expected - Matthew 11:16-19
1. Thus, despite all the miracles Jesus did, the Jews refused to change - Matthew 11:20-24
D. If we continue sinning, we can’t expect sympathy from God - Hebrews 10:26-27
1. The idea here is of a person purposely choosing to remain in sin despite knowing that God told him not to sin.
2. It isn’t a weakness but a defiance of God.
V. God doesn’t give up because people refuse to change
A. Jesus warned that without change, we will perish - Luke 13:1-5
B. The doom that has been prophesied is building - Romans 2:3-6
C. Jerusalem was destroyed because Israel refused to repent of their sins.
D. Do you think you’ll escape the anger of God while you remain in your sins?