Pat Quinn / Dec 1, 2019 / Jeremiah 17:5-15
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
Society has many answers for the question, What’s wrong with us? But they’re all the same: they say that the problem is not me but what is coming at me. Only God has the answer to that question, and it’s a hard one to hear. But He has the cure too, and it’s glorious.
Last Sunday Pat Quinn preached from Jeremiah 17:5-15. Here we see three things that God says about what’s wrong with us…
1 Our hearts are what’s wrong with us. In verse 9, God locates the problem there: “The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Though there are secondary influences (our bodies and environments, relationships, the culture, trauma), and though there are spiritual influences (the enemy!), the primary problem is the heart.
Jesus taught this too. In Luke 6, he concludes his teaching about trees bearing good and bad fruit by saying, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” In Mark 7, speaking of our sins, he says “all these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Like water in a bottle, our sin comes out of us when we are struck, squeezed, or tipped. It comes out because it was there to begin with.
2 False worship is what’s wrong with us. In verse 5, the Lord says that when we turn our hearts toward man and the flesh, we turn them away from God and so we are cursed. Our entire being is spiritual, and so we will worship someone, and because we are fallen, we will worship anyone but Christ.
And though it could be other people that we worship, it is most often ourselves. We see it in our legalism, our mysticism, our activism, and even our biblicism. Though these take different forms, they all have ME at the center instead of God.
3 Oppression of others is what’s wrong with us. Verse 11 tells us that those who get riches by injustice will, in the end, lose it all and be counted fools. This does happen on a macro level: corporations and dictators may get rich “but not by justice”, but on the micro level it happens every day. We do not naturally love others, but our “routine forms of hatred” come very naturally. Our gossip, manipulation, sexualizing, comparing, and all the ways in which we “love as the gentiles do” only leave us as empty fools in the end.
Only God can tell us what’s wrong with us. He searches our hearts, tests our hearts, and gives to every man according to his deeds. We know that the heart that turns from Lord is cursed: “He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” (v.6)
The right response is that of the Philippian jailer: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). In verse 15 we see that only God’s word can diagnose and save: “Behold, they say to me, ‘Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!’” In verse 14 we see that we must own the diagnosis: “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.”
And so Jesus is our only hope. Why? 1) We are cursed, but Jesus redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for us. 2) The heart is deceitful, but Jesus’ heart was perfectly whole, and he gives to us a new heart. 3) All who forsake God shall be put to shame, and though we forsook Him, Jesus took our shame so that God would never forsake us.
Unbelievers and believers alike, own the diagnosis. Cry out, “Heal me! Save me!” and Jesus Christ’s wounds will heal and save. Jesus is the glorious cure for all that is wrong with us.