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#455 – Don’t Minimize Messages of Judgment (Jeremiah 28:8–9)

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“The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesied peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”
(Jeremiah 28:8–9)

 

What’s happening here is so critical to understanding God’s word and specifically God’s word in the mouths of those who proclaim it. The issue here is that there were prophets who were prophesying peace when peace was not the word of God. They were saying, “Hey, everything’s fine. It’s not a big deal that we’re in sin, in idolatry, in immorality.” And as a result, people were saying, “Hey, we’re fine.”

Let’s be clear when engaging the lost that judgment is coming, but peace is possible in Christ. God, please help the gospel to not be far from our lips.

So a prophet comes along and prophosises judgment coming and horrible things to come. Nobody wants to hear them. They like the prophet who says, “Peace is coming.” And basically what Jeremiah 28 is saying here is, “Okay, it’s not that peace is not the word of God at certain points, but it’ll be shown whether a prophet was actually truly proclaiming the word of God if that peace actually comes.” And the whole point here in Jeremiah is, it’s not a peace time. This is not promises of peace right now. Certainly to come in the future when God restores his people and ultimately brings restoration through Jesus. But this was not a time for proclaiming peace.

So all that to come back to, okay, how does that relate to our lives? And you think about it. And we’ve done this before, just application on two different levels. One on a church level and those who teach God’s word. We must be careful. Yes, to proclaim peace where God has said peace but not to say, “Everything is okay.” When everything is not okay according to God’s word. We must resist the temptation.

Pastors who preach and members who listen, we must resist the temptation to try to gloss over sin as if it’s no big deal, to minimize messages of judgment that are clearly in God’s word. When we see Jesus speaking about hell many, many different times in such graphic language, when we see the Bible, 66 books, filled with clear pictures of God’s judgment due sin and sinners, we must not ignore those, we must hear those. And yes, run to the peace that’s found in Christ but not to the peace that’s found in a casual approach to sin or peace that is found in a glossing over the depravity of our hearts. We’ve got to hear the seriousness of that in a way that then drives us Jesus as our savior.

And then when we think about our own lives, I want you to think about people around you who don’t know Jesus right now. Just picture a family member, a neighbor, co-worker who doesn’t know Jesus right now. If we’re not careful in our relationship with that person, we could actually come across with a, hey everything’s all right kind of approach to life when it’s not.

We know what the Bible says. If this person does not put their trust in Jesus, they will spend an eternity in hell enduring the judgment of God due sin. So let’s not spend our days surrounded by people who are on a road that leads there. Let’s not spend our days just talking about the weather and sports and stuff that doesn’t matter. It’s doesn’t matter forever, let’s spend time talking about what matters forever. God has given us His word, his Holy Spirit is in us.

There’s whole picture in the New Testament that we are proclaimers of Gods word and so may God help us to proclaim it. So we pray. We pray in our churches, we pray to help us hear your word, we pray that it helps to proclaim your word in all of it’s fullness even when it’s hard to hear. And then, oh God in our lives, help us to proclaim your word faithfully. In everyone one of our lives, today, when we think about being around those who don’t know Christ, God please help us to proclaim your world. God, I pray for boldness in me and those who are listening to this, that in the next 24 hours you would give us an opportunity to share the gospel and we would take it. We would share the gospel with somebody else that we might be able to proclaim that judgment is coming but peace is possible in Christ.

Lord, help us to know how to best share that with the people around us and to share it. Not to be silent with this message. Use us, we pray. As your mouthpieces for the spread of the gospel, the good news of your salvation from judgment. Help us to proclaim that today. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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