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Text: Jer. l6:10-12; 17:5-8
Title: “The Sin of Judah”
Subj: To show the importance of remaining true to God for our children’s sakes.

Intro:  The Bible says, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”  (Lk. 18:8)
There is a popular bumper sticker traveling the roads of Florida that states, “I am out spending my children’s inheritance.”  That is funny if it only refers to wealth, but when it refers to spiritual treasures, given by God to His children, it is a sad commentary. 
When I trusted Christ back in 1976, I remember a particular verse that was very difficult for my mind to grasp.  This was back in the time when Bible prophecy was a regular subject for preaching, and much of that preaching centered on the catching away of the saints and the second coming of Christ.  To say the subject was thrilling to my soul is an understatement!  I was excited!   I looked for and longed for that great “gettin’ up morning,” when “the dead in Christ will rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”!  (1Th 4:17).  That passage thrilled me, but the passage that troubled me is the one found in Luke 18:8,

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”
 

How, I thought, could Christianity ever come to such a condition that faith would be in such short supply?  That even our Lord states that He is not sure He will be able to find it upon His return? 
Faith is simply trust in the word of Another, and that Another is God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  For the saved faith or trust is the glue that binds us to Christ, but I am fearful that it is no longer Super Glue, but Post It Note Glue!  Where once I could not grasp that, “when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”, now I see failing faith wherever I look.  And failing faith leads directly to forsaking God.  And forsaking God leads directly to sin and is sin.  And sin leads directly to the suspension of the blessings of God, the hand of God in chastisement, and the visitation of the sins of the fathers unto the third generation of the children.

The Bible says, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” 

Today, it appears that our faith is turning into foolishness.  The devices of the Devil have persuaded many that the thin red line between right and wrong has been changed to grey.  It is no longer, “is this activity of my life in line with God’s Word?”, but “this is what I want to do, whether God approves or not, but I am sure He doesn’t mind.”  It is no longer, “what does God want me to do,” but “what do I feel like doing.”  This worldly attitude is having disastrous effects on our testimonies, and is setting the standard by which our children and grandchildren will live their lives.  Every action of our lives has immediate, individual and cumulative effects on those we come in contact with.  Therefore; the Bible says, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”   

Text: Jer. l6:10-12; 17:5-8 – “The Sin of Judah” -- Prayer 

 I. THE GOD OF JUDAH (v10) (if we take God out, nothing else matters)
     A. Who This God Is
          1. Lord (“Jehovah, the ever present, self-existing, covenant keeping God”). 
               a. Jehovah is Yahweh (YHWH), to the Jew the unpronounceable name of the living God. The derivation of the name Jehovah is lost in the mists of time, but the meaning is clear, “I (Jehovah) will be all that is necessary as the occasion will arise.”  (blessings for obedience, judgment for disobedience)
          2. God (Elohim, the Supreme Being and Creator who exists in 3 Persons (F, S, HS) “
               a. In the beginning—God!”
               b. The Almighty God who can bring to pass all that is necessary as the occasion will arise.” 
          3. Sandwiched between Lord and God is the personal word, “our.” (Lord our God)
               a. “Our” speaks to Judah’s relationship, responsibility and accountability, and ours
          4. God’s promise
               a. “And it shall come to pass!”        

Note:  Notice that the sin of Judah was not against their birthright, their brethren or their nation, but against their God!  And it was not against one characteristic of God, but against the totality of their God!  Jas 2:10  “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  The equally true corollary to this is that whosoever offends one characteristic of God offends the whole of God.   

II. THE JUDAH OF GOD (17:1) 

Note:  Judah was the fourth son of patriarch Jacob by Leah.  Because of the sins of his 3 older brothers, the honors and responsibilities of the firstborn child were assigned to Judah.  The tribe of Judah was descended from him and given the land around Jerusalem.  From the tribe of Judah came the lineage of king David.  From the lineage of king David came the Christ.  Thus God’s spiritual and dominion blessings flowed through this tribe. 

Application:  Our God is the same God as that of Judah, so we should have no trouble relating to this passage.  And though God is not done with the Nation of Israel, we, the saints of God, have become the present day people of God. 
1 Pe 2:10 “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Therefore, by application, our responsibility to God is no less important than Judah’s responsibility was.  God’s spiritual warnings to Judah can be taken as God’s spiritual warnings to us, for “I Am the Lord, I change not.”. 

     A. What God Revealed to Judah (v10)
(God knew what they were going to say!)
           1. They were given the Word of God (v10), which showed them that: (10a)
               a. God pronounced (“declared”) great evil (“distress, adversity”) against them (v10b) for their sins (for them, loss of land.  for you, loss of fellowship)
Ga 6:7  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
1 Co 5:5  “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
               b. What the Bible said was iniquity (“to bend, twist, distort”), they thought was normalcy (v10c)
               c. What they considered normalcy certainly could not be a sin against the Lord (v10d)
                   1) Our God (in other words, what we do as the people of God should be acceptable to God) 

Note:  Herein is our problem.  It is not that each person here tonight is in outright rebellion against God, though some may be, but that we have gotten into the habit of “tweaking God.”  In other words, we attempt to “fine-tune” God to our way of thinking, acting, etc., based on the false doctrine that if I do it or want to do it, as a child of God, it must be acceptable to my God.
In Christianity this false attitude is called grace liberty, that is, under grace you have the liberty to follow your conscience as long as there is not a clear prohibition in scripture.  But the Bible teaches that you only have the liberty to do right according to God’s standard. Your conscience is not your guide, the Word of God is.  God does not have to say “Don’t go to the movies” for going to the movies to be wrong.  And there are hundreds of other activities of the body, mind and spirit that are sin without God having to spell them out!
I Cor. 8:9,11,13  “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. ... But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. ... Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend (“trip or fall; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey”), I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” 

III. THE SIN OF JUDAH (v11-12)
      A. The Parents were to Blame for the Spiritual Condition of Their Children (v11) 

Note:  “It’s not my fault; I did the best I could!”  Yes, you probably did the best YOU could.  But what you should have done is the best God could!  If you raise your children according to God’s Word, each generation of Christians should be spiritually better than their parents.  Conversely, each generation of the lost will generally be more worldly/wicked than their parents.  Since God commands saved parents to “bring up a child in the way he should go...” (Prov. 22:6), the opening salvo of this message is aimed at the parents.

The parents have:
           1. Forsaken (“departed from”) God.  “But I have not departed from God!”  How far do you have to depart to have “departed”?
           2. Walked (“to follow”) after other gods.  “But I have not followed after other gods.”  How far do you have to walk to have “followed”?
           3. Served [“as subjects”] other gods.  “But I have not served other gods.” How much do you have to serve to have “served”?
           4. Worshipped (“bowed down to”) other gods.  “But I have not bowed down to other gods.”  How low do you have to bow to have “worshipped”?
           5. Where did this lead?
                a. Forsaking God further 

Note:  The forsaking of God lead to idol worship which lead to further forsaking of God.  Don’t tell me that sin does not have consequences! 

                b. Not keeping (“observed, given heed”) God’s law (“direction, instruction”)  (Now you are on the wrong path and the slippery slope!)
          6. The parents’ forms and places of false worship (altars = place of heathen sacrifice, groves = “places of idol worship”, green trees = “places that sheltered idols”, high places = places of illicit (“not sanctioned”) worship. (17:2)
               a. Burned into the children’s memory bank (sub-conscience)
               b. Rekindled in the parents;’ memory bank whenever they see a reminder of their worldly lifestyle. 

Note:  “As a worldly Christian you cannot forecast the actual extent or nature of the destiny that you are right now working out” in your own life, your children’s lives and, thus, your grandchildren’s lives.  You have no idea of the damage you are doing to yourself and others by straying off the “narrow road that leads to life.”                

       B. The Children were to Blame for Their Own Spiritual Condition (v12)
            1. Done worse (“be more evil”) than your fathers (what the parents due in moderation, the children will do to excess)
                a. Walk after (“following”) the imagination (“lust & stubbornness”) of your evil hearts (“inner man”)
                b. Would not hearken (“listen to, obey”) unto God 

Note:  Children, if you have parents that are not raising you according to the Word of God, then you raise yourself according to the Word of God.  If you need a spanking for wrong doing, and your parents won’t spank you, then you come to Bro. Darst and I will spank you!
God says, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Pr 19:18
God says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”  Pr 13:24   

         C. The Nation was to Blame for Its Own Spiritual Condition (17:1)
              1. The combined sins of the parents and children were
                  a. As to themselves, graven (“engraved”) on the [stony] table of their heart.
                      1) This was not a tendency to sin, but the sinful practices themselves
                      2) This is passionate earnestness, and as indelible as if engraved 

PC:  “Sin leaves a record of itself.  It is not an isolated act.  It begets consequences, plants memories, creates guilt.  The record remains even if we do not read it.  God stills notes it, and will some day confront us with it.” 

                  b. As to God, graven on the horns of the altar (that which defends the corners, especially as it relates to protection and provision) (form of religion, especially as it relates to a sacrifice).   

Note: These could be engraved on heathen altars, or engraved on God’s altar, but the sense is; God, this is what I am doing, and I determine that You must approve of it, or at least, You are not concerned about it, for I have engraved it on Your altar!
Our sin desecrates the altar of God and sacrifice of Christ. 

IV. THE CURSE OF GOD ON FORSAKING (17:5-6)
      A. The Curse (“invoked punishment”)
          1. On Those Whose Hearts Depart from the Lord (v5)
               a. By trusting (“putting confidence”) in man
               b. By making (“appointing”) flesh (“mankind”) his arm (“symbol of strength”)
                   1) Here is the vanity and perishableness of man and all earthly things
                   2) Here is the complete opposite of the Spirit-led life. 
A Christian’s prayer should be: “O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee: be Thou [our] arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.”  (Isa 33:2)
           2. The Punishment (v6)
               a. Shall be like the heath (“low growing, gnarly shrub; like one naked, destitute”) in the desert
               b. Shall be blind to good that comes (shall not see or perceive)
               c. Shall inhabit (“dwell”) the parched places (“dry regions”) in the wilderness.
                   1) Salted and uninhabited (“barren”).  Lonely and solitary 

V. THE BLESSING OF GOD ON REMAINING (v7-8)
     A. The Blessed (v7)
          1. Man that trusts (“confident, bold, secure”) in the Lord 
          2. Man whose hope (“trust, confidence, refuge”) the Lord is 

Note:  The words “trust” and “hope” come from the same root word.  “Trust” is an active word, while “hope” is a word of continuance.  In what do you trust?  In Whom do you hope?   

     B. The Benefit (v8)
          1. As a tree (not a shrub) planted by the waters (provision, “nourished and refreshed”) (not the desert)
          2. That spreads out her roots by the river (growth & security)
              a. Shall not see (“perceive”) or “fear” when heat comes (confident)
              b. Her leaf shall be green (spiritual plenty & health)
              c. Not concerned or anxious in the drought (lean times) (secure against trouble)
              d. Never cease from yielding fruit (unbroken spiritual health and results)
Gal. 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” 

Concl:  “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”  The sin of Judah was in forsaking their God.  The sin of Judah was in trying to “tweak” God to bend to their self-centered desires.  The sin of Judah involved the parents rearing their children to desire the things of this pagan world rather than the things of God, and so their sin was passed down to the 3rd and 4th generations.  The sin of Judah was to justify their sins and bring them to the altar of God, as if God was duty bound to approve of them.

Christian, it is time for some serious realignment of our priorities.  It is time to forsake the “Sin of Judah,” for the blessings of God.  I’ve said enough—you know what you need to do. 

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