24th Feb: The Preacher at the Door


Jeremiah 7:1-20 (Evening Prayer)

If we allow this passage to speak plainly, as it has been for so for many Jews and Christians through the centuries, it is a most unusual message indeed. It flies in the face of all the latest church growth theories.

Here Jeremiah was told to stand at the temple's gate and start preaching (Jer 7:2). Imagine being greeted by a preaching preacher rather than a smiling usher. We are more accustomed to being given time to get adjusted, sing some songs, sit down and then, the preacher takes the pulpit.

The message is confusing as well. "Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,” the prophet is told to proclaim. Every church I have been has signs, roadways, many welcoming ushers to assure visitors that “this is the church of the Lord.” Here Jeremiah was almost told to say, “Wrong place. Wrong place. Don’t come in!"

The message is demanding as well. Sort out your life before you come in. Don’t come hoping that by being in God’s House, your unreformed life can be excused. Worship is no replacement for obedience.

The people came to the right place and used the right words. But their lives were not right (Jer 7:9).

They both omit their responsibilities (Jer 7: 5-6) and commit sins (Jer 7:9).

By coming and using the temple in the wrong way, it has become a “den of robbers” (Jer 7:11).

Pray and reflect over this passage. It is not an excuse to welcome visitors badly or to judge another member harshly. It reflects what is more important in the heart of God. God’s house and the Christian religion should never be used to provide false security. Worship is about the whole of our lives.

In this year where we are to "pursue the heart of God," it is important that we prayerfully weigh over what is most important in His heart. Be less concerned about the church. Be more concerned with your life. For it is reformed lives which will reform local churches in the city.

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