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Echo Evangelique

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8:30am Bible Study
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A Call to Repentance and Warnings of Judgement

Part I

Text: Jeremiah 4: 1-18

Key Concepts:

  • The definitive actions of repentance
  • What is the outcome of true repentance?
  • The consequence of disregarding God’s warnings


Jeremiah, as the chosen voice of the Lord, is insistent in his calling of the people of God to repentance.  God relentlessly pursues His people - calling and even begging them to return to Him. Although His righteousness demands an account for sin, God withholds His judgement temporarily to pursue His rebellious children. With each call to repent, He graciously offers forgiveness and promises healing and restoration. Even though God would have been justified and blameless in His judgement (Ps 51:4); He instead gave His children His amazing grace. Understandably, His patience has its limits. There will come a time when His condemnation will fall upon the unrepentant. Indeed, genuine repentance, followed by a sincere confession of sin, accompanied by grief over one’s sin and a change of mind, heart, and behavior, is required to enjoy God’s forgiveness. Furthermore, true repentance must be reinforced by definitive actions.

The definitive actions of repentance

God, in His mercy, uses His prophet to call His people to repentance before His righteous judgment can fall on them. This time the call to repentance also bears a warning of judgment. “If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord, “Return to Me; and if (or when) you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then you shall not be moved”’ (Jer. 4:1, NKJV). Returning speaks to the act of repenting, and of turning back to God after having turned away from Him, after having sinned. Repentance means to turn “to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9, NKJV). The return demands the decisive action of putting away all abominations. It is not a passive thing. Abomination describes sins that God particularly abhors, even though all sin is wicked to the Lord. Mostly abomination refers to idolatry. Indeed, idolatry is repugnant to God. Though we may not bow to idols made by hands these days, we have become worshippers of the self - our own interests, and our priorities (2 Tim. 3: 1-9). Occult practices are another form of abomination in the sight of the Lord. Occult practices blur the lines between the worship of God and pagan lifestyle, and superstitious practices. The Bible also refers to child sacrifice as an abomination to God (Deut. 18:9-12, 20:18, 2 Chro. 28:3). Child sacrifice in our days is practiced in the form of abortion, which sacrifices the unborn to the god of choice. Other forms of abomination include homosexuality, cross-dressing, transgenderism, and adultery (Lev. 18:20-29). “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19, NKJV). If you practice these things, repenting would mean turning away from them. Calling good evil and evil good is another form of abomination. We celebrate abominations these days (Luke 16:15). Repentance means being transformed from sinfulness to living coram deo - before the face of God.

What is the outcome of true repentance?

The first consequence of returning to God is to not be moved. In the Latin, ‘to not be moved’ means to stop wandering. It means to have direction, purpose, destination, and stability. As a result of repentance, we will not be moved by every wind. ‘”And if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him shall they glory”’ (Jer. 4:2, ESV). True repentance requires resolution, determination, conviction against sin in order to be faithful to God. The act of repentance is both subjective – done according to the Word of God, and objective – done with a sincere decision and a firm resolution. What decisive action have you taken to affirm your repentance? What is your resolution concerning repentance? The ‘’nations shall bless themselves in Him,” this means that your conviction, your repentance, will inspire and lead others to God. Likewise, a lack of repentance would then cause others to curse God. Jeremiah also uses agricultural terms to speak of the preparation that must happen prior to repentance (Jer. 4:3). One must be willing to let go of sin before the seed of the Word can take root in them (Matt. 13). The prophet moreover called the people to circumcise themselves to the Lord or else face His judgement (Jer. 4:4). This circumcision of the heart entails setting oneself apart for God’s purpose (Rom. 2). This involves both God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. Circumcision of the heart is done sovereignly by God (positional sanctification) at conversion however, we must willingly participate in the day to day process (progressive sanctification) (Deut. 30:6). The circumcision of the heart is a transformation that shifts our focus from self and the world to God.  

In conclusion…

 The consequence of disregarding God’s warnings

“’Lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings’” (Jer. 4:4, NKJV). Clearly God is warning us to take His ultimatum seriously. For God may deliver us from the hands of our enemies, but when we fall under God’s hand, there is no one who can deliver us from Him. Indeed, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31, NIV). Should we seek to abuse God’s mercy? How long will you wait to return to Him? How long are you going to keep making excuses? Will you wait for His judgment to fall on you before you wake from slumber? The Lord, through Jeremiah, warned Judah of impending disaster (Jer. 4: 5-7). Babylon – the lion was upon them. The only means of escaping this judgment was to return to God. They despised the warnings of the prophet and fell under God’s terrible judgment. Likewise if we choose to ignore God’s warning will we fall under His judgment. What happened to them is to serve as instruction for us now (Rom. 15:4).  If you want to avoid the distress of God’s judgment, choose the anguish of repentance today. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (Jam. 4:7-10, NIV). The grace and mercy we need can only be granted to us after we have repented of our sins.

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Phone: 617-323-3107
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