Message given on August 17 AM, 2008
Jeremiah 4:1 If you will return, O Israel, says the LORD, return to me: and if you will put away your abominations out of my sight, then you will not be removed.
Jer 4:2 And you shall swear, The LORD lives, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
Jer 4:3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Jeremiah who is called the weeping prophet was given this message to give to Israel. This was a message from the heart of God pleading for His backslidden people to return to Him and be saved.
It is never the will of God that any soul perish and go into eternity without God. It is always God's will to save. God desires good and not evil, to save rather than see anyone be lost.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
So we see the key to our salvation and also the salvation of Israel is repenting of sin and turning to the Lord for salvation. The Old and New Testament teaches repentance as a means to get right with God. There is no salvation without turning away from sin because that is the reason Christ gave His own life. He literally died for the sins we have committed. It would not make sense for Christ to die in our place for our sins just to have us mentally believe in His existence and expect to be saved with no change in our lifestyle. We must remember that sin separates us from a Holy God. Christ came to save us from sin, not save us in sin. We are to come out of it and be separate, set apart from our old ways and all things become new.
So many get confused about this from the writing of the apostle Paul which reads:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
This shows us that salvation is a free gift and we do not earn it. We canít trust in the rituals, ceremonies, water baptisms, communion services, and sacraments for our salvation. We canít decide to do good deeds, build hospitals, feed the hungry and other good things to earn salvation. We canít work and labor to earn salvation. We canít depend on the rites of a priest, the intercessory prayers of one praying for the dead, or any other Old Testament sacrifices for salvation. Our salvation is through Christ alone. But part of salvation is turning oneís life over to the one who saved us. Part of salvation is repenting of or turning away from sin. The same Paul who wrote Ephesians also wrote in Romans:
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts of it.
Rom 6:13 Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God:
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.
Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? By no means.
After we come to the Lord for salvation, we are to remain dead to sin but alive to God. Sin in us should be considered dead.
Rom 6:16 Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants in obedience, his servants you are whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?
If we yield to sin we become a servant to sin. If we yield to God, we become servants of righteousness.
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin; but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.
Rom 6:19 I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity, to (work) iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness, to (work) holiness.
Before coming to Christ we were all sinners and servants to do sin. There was no hope for us because our will power is too weak. We could not save ourselves. When we come to Christ, His spirit is there to help us overcome sin. We are first cleansed from sin and then we have a helper along side of us to help us never to return to the bondage of sin that once held our souls in prison. Before Christ, we had no way to escape hell or the judgment of God when He comes to judge the world of sin. Christ came to give us a way of escape and make an unholy unrighteous sinner, a person on the way to heaven and eternal life. No, we are not saved by our own works. The work of salvation is a work of God in us but its never forced on us, we must allow God to do this work within us. We believe this and then we receive this good way. Our part is to receive, His part is to give and make the changes. We still have a freewill to say yes, or to say no.
John 7:38 He that believes on me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
To believe in something is to partake of what we believe. If one believes he has a wife and does not live with his wife or act like a husband, then she is only a wife on paper. To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe His words and believe in His power to save us from sin.
Turning from sin is part of salvation. God was displeased when Israel returned to sin. He has not changed. He is still the same God. God chose Israel to become His people to bring forth the Messiah that was to save us from sin. We see many times when Israel would forsake the fountain of living waters and and desire to be like other nations and serve the gods that promised wealth and prosperity if they served them. We have got to get our eyes off people and back to God and the holy word.
Jeremiah 44:15 Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,
Jer 44:16 As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken to thee.
This is some of the saddest words in the bible. ďAs for the word that you spoke in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen or obey those words.Ē
Jer 44:17 But we will certainly do whatever thing proceeds from our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings to her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then we had plenty of provisions, and were well, and saw no evil.
They were going to keep serving the queen of heaven no matter what Jeremiah says or the Lord says because they believed they were more prosperous when they served her.
Jeremiah 44:18 But since we ceased to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings to her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
They blamed their troubles on the fact that they had stopped burning incense to this idol called the queen of heaven.
Even though Jeremiah preached to these people with tears, they would not listen. They thought that if they stopped worshipping this queen of heaven their provisions would be stopped. They thought this idol was supernaturally going to supply their needs. Serving idols and living for the god of this world and being wrapped up in the things of this life will sometimes temporarily grant us a lot of prosperity and good things.
If all God promised us was a life of Riley so to speak and all idolatry would lead to ruin, then most of us would of course pick Christianity. The thing we do not realize is that prosperity that comes from false religion or false gods is only temporary. In the end it will destroy our finances and at the point of death, it will destroy our souls. And even if we lost everything in this life, we are really rich in what counts when we stay walk with God and choose His way.
How do I know this? By reading what happens to Israel when they left off serving God and began to worship other gods. They eventually went into 70 years of slavery and bondage to Babylon, the very nation that they were desiring to be like in previous times. Babylon captivity is a picture of how sin destroys us and enslaves our souls.
This is an example of how Satan works. He promises us a good time, religion without giving up things we enjoy, and prosperity.
The children of Israel saw the prosperity and wealth that the Babylonians enjoyed. They began to lust after the things they had and got their minds off the Lord.
They didn't have television like we have. We can turn on a program and see a great handsome hero risking his life to save a group of people, help the poor and fight for what is right, getting rid of the bad guys and then see this same person in bed with women he is not married too, and doing other things the bible says is sin and then we think it is okay because the guy was such a good guy who risked his life to save the town. When we watch this stuff night and day, our standards are going to change. What our grandmothers taught was sin no longer seems to be sin. Such good friendly people live like the world, talk like the world so perhaps our fore fathers were just old fashioned people who are not with the times and as long as we don't murder anyone, commit rape or do drugs, we are okay and alright with God.
The trouble with that philosophy is that it didn't work. The churches have been compromising for years and have opened their doors to the world and look at us.
Drugs and alcoholism among the youth is worse than ever, sexually transmitted disease has increased, divorce is rampant, lives are miserable. Suicide is common, schools are not safe and everything is worse now than it was when the churches stood for something.
Next time I hear a preacher making fun of his old fashioned holiness grandmother, I think I will cry. They must have had something. Their lives were not as messed up as our lives are today.
What does it mean to break up your fallow ground?
We know when we try to plant crops, if we put the seed on hard ground that has not been plowed, it will not grow. The birds would come and eat the seed before it could take root and grow. If we do not weed the garden and keep out the weeds, they will grow alongside the plants and choke the plants so that they do not grow.
The ground has to be prepared by plowing and making it soft. Then it has to be kept that way by hoeing and weeding the garden. If we neglect this we will not have a good harvest of crops. This is what Jeremiah was saying to Israel. Break up the harden heart and receive the word of God that was able to save their souls. Repent and return to God.
After one comes to God, they must cultivate their hearts by staying in the word and in fellowship with other believes so that the word can take root and grow. When we come to Christ, we come to Christ desiring His salvation and deliverance from sin. If we are coming to Christ just so we can have a better more prosperous life, we will fail.
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say to you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were satisfied.
Joh 6:27 Labor not for the food which perisheth, but for that food which endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of man will give to you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
If we are seeking the things of this life, we may or may not get them but those things are not the true riches which will save our eternal souls.
When we see a garden which is overrun by weeds and thorns, it isn't pretty. That is how our soul looks when we get away from God and become wrapped up in the world.
Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, who, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Luk 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, who in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
This is why you see some who come to Christ and continue in Christ because the word was sown on good ground and they go on to live for Christ with a heart of obedience. Yet we also see those that ignore the gospel and do not allow the word to even take root in their hearts. We see others who allow the word to take root and start to grow but the cares and riches of this life enter in an choke the word. Others may fall away if they are made fun of or persecuted for what they believe.
After we come to Christ, we are to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are to live in holiness.
1Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received from us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
1Th 4:2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication
1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor;
1Th 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles who know not God:
Concupiscence is strong lustful desires usually the kind that leads to fornication.
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth:
Sanctification is a work the Holy Spirit does within us to give us power and victory over sin. We do not have to walk in sin when through Christ we can have victory over sin. Sanctification means to be make holy or be cleansed by the renewing of the soul, body and mind of all desires of worldliness and the lusts of the old man. Through Christ all are made new. I do not want to get into whether or not we receive all this at salvation or whether it is a second work of grace later, we all need to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit no matter when it occurs.
Sometimes this all happens at conversion but some of us have more trouble in the flesh and take more time to yield to the Holy Spirit's leading. Some santctification of the spirit is instantaneous and for some it is progressive. Thats why when people argue whether or not sanctification is progressive or instant, I think it is a waste of time because it will be different for different people as they yield to the Holy Spirit. So both sides are right. Sanctification is sometimes an instant occurance when we make up our minds and the Holy Spirit gives us grace to instantly change. Other times it is a progressive thing as we study and grow in the word. It is the Holy Spirit doing the work either way. We need to be cleansed and be given power over our lusts and desires of the flesh but some of us are more stubborn than others. God never takes away our freewill to say yes to the word and the spirit or to say no.
There are conversions where one is saved and is totally committed to the Lord at that point and is saved, sanctified and filled with the spirit all at once and others take longer to really yield to God and make up their minds. We are to keep seeking God, keep seeking to be filled with His spirit and keep seeking to overcome the flesh and walk in the spirit. We seek by asking, praying, worshipping, studying the word and fellowshipping with other believers.
What if a newly wedded couple stopped seeking each other's company and went their separate ways after their marriage. I would say then, that was no marriage. So we don't come to Christ just for fire insurance and then have no more to do with Him. We always need to seek His presence. We don't have to do this publically yielding to altar calls. The best time to seek God for some is at home in private. Some of us have trouble praying in public. Thats okay. Others prefer to pray at the altar with others praying with them. Thats okay too. We are all different and we need to accept each other's differences. I was saved at the altar as a child but baptized in the Holy Spirit in the backseat of a car. My son was saved on the way to a gas station. The Holy Spirit called him and he gave his life to the lord in his car. He later was baptized in the Holy Spirit in church. There are no set rules for this. This occurs according to our faith and God's timing. I like what happend in Acts chapter 10 where a whole household of people were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit all at the same time. Water baptism came later.
It is people that make formulas and rules that sometimes become a ritual or a bondage. I have a neice who was told by someone that she wasn't saved because she never spoke in tongues. That is nonsense. We cannot judge someone's salvation by our own experience. Some think we have to be saved publically at an altar of prayer. That too is nonsense. The thief on the cross was not in church. God is not limited to a certain place. We can be saved when we are all alone or in the middle of a crowd. We don't have to be in the presence of a minister either. Yet there are some that are saved with a minister present. There are no set rules for that. When we set our own rules, we add to the word of God. Jesus says, "He that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out."
Just like we need food everyday to keep us alive in the natural, we need spiritual food to keep us alive spiritually. We are never promised a life of Riley or a bed of roses. Trials come to us to see if we are worthy of eternal life. If we are ready to quit and stop following Christ the moment someone opposes us or challenges our faith, we are not worthy of Him. Some people think if they pay tithes, they will never have any money problems. It may happen that way but many times the opposite may happen just to try us and see if we love enough to give anyway.
The promises in the bible are yea, not nay but sometimes we are tested to see if we are worth our salt.
Remember the three Hebrew children. They were ready to be thrown in the fiery furnace for not bowing down to the idol that was set up. They didn't know God was going to deliver them for sure. They were willing to die whether the Lord delivered them or not. They said that they knew He was able to deliver them but they didn't know whether he would or not.
We have to make up our minds to serve the Lord no matter what, whether it is good times or bad, peace or persecution, rich or poor. When we get married, we vow to stay with our spouse through sickness, poverty and other problems in this life. When we break that vow, and do not try to work things out, God is not pleased. We made a commitment for life.
It is the same when we make a commitment to Christ, we agree to go the distance, stay the course and wholly follow the Lord. The Lord says that eye has not seen neither has the ear heard what God has prepared for those that love Him. With a God like that, why do we hold back?
Iíve never regretted any day that I have lived so far that I knelt down at the altar at the Kentucky Ave Church of God in Akron and received Jesus Christ into my life. There is not one day when I have regretted that time. I urge you today if you have not yet allowed Jesus into your life, not to waste any more time without Him. He will not only save you from sin but grant you eternal life. You not only will be delivered from the bondage of sin but you will be given that living water which is the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit abides with you and walks with you wherever you go. You are never alone. Troubles may come both to sinners and saints but the believe has the Holy Spirit to guide Him into all truth and comfort Him when things go wrong.
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; He that overcometh, shall not be hurt by the second death.
Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, he excepted, that receiveth it.
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
I think I will choose this good way
Dorna J Chambers
Message given on August 17 AM, 2008Breaking up the Fallow ground
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