1 Timothy 1:12-20
Acceptable ungodliness continues, because most of the people who say they believe in God don’t follow what He tells us, instead they follow the corrupt and ungodly ways of this world, which means that they are accepting ungodliness as being okay, which it is not.
A lot of these people try to live with one foot in heaven and the other foot on the earth, and God will not accept us bringing our sinful earthly ways into the kingdom of heaven.
In a sermon six years ago that contained these same verses from Jeremiah, we discussed the fact that God was disgusted with the people of Judah and Jerusalem for their acceptance of the ungodliness of the world around them.
If we go back even further in time, even to the time when Eve and Adam disobeyed God, we find that people didn’t learn from history; we seemed doomed to follow the wicked ways of our ancestors instead of the heavenly will of God.
So today, as we look at Jeremiah 4:11-28, which was written over two and a half millennia ago, let’s think about the way things are today in the world, and compare them to what Jeremiah was telling the people, then, for God, and realize the Lord is telling us and the people of our society the same kinds of things today.
11. In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people — not to winnow, and not to cleanse,
12. a wind too strong for this — will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.
In other words, God is going to use the force of another ungodly people, Babylon, to come against Jerusalem because they have refused to do the things that God commanded them to do, and He will also pronounce judgement upon Babylon.
13. "Behold, he goes up like clouds,
And his chariots like the whirlwind;
His horses are swifter than eagles.
Woe to us, for we are ruined!"
This is what awaited the people of Jerusalem if they didn’t repent and follow the heavenly will of God, which is what Jeremiah tells them and us next.
14. Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem,
That you may be saved.
How long will your wicked thoughts
Lodge within you?
15. For a voice declares from Dan,
And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim.
16. "Report it to the nations, now!
Proclaim over Jerusalem,
'Besiegers come from a far country,
And lift their voices against the cities of Judah.
The other tribes of Israel had already been taken into captivity in other countries, and they were all that was left of the once great nation of Israel, and if they didn’t repent, they would also be destroyed and the remnant taken into captivity.
And we strongly believe that we are approaching the same state of ungodliness that Judah and Jerusalem were facing, and if we don’t repent and sincerely seek to live in God’s heavenly will, His judgement will befall us, too.
Most people are accepting evil as being normal and it is not, and this is the reason that I am referring to this situation as acceptable ungodliness continues; we are not learning from either God or history.
17. 'Like watchmen of a field they are against her round about,
Because she has rebelled against Me,' declares the LORD.
All we have to do is look around the world, including our own back yard, and we should recognize that we are doing the same or similar kinds of things.
Just think about only one thing, that in heaven there is no pain or suffering or death, and God commanded us to live that way here on earth, and most of our society is inflicting pain, suffering, and death upon millions of humans and billions of animals every year around the world.
Sure, there are some of us who are trying to end this suffering and death, and we can’t give up, but our progress may not be fast enough to prevent God’s judgement from befalling us; we just have to keep plugging away in the hope that others will join us in our effort to bring heaven to earth.
18. "Your ways and your deeds
Have brought these things to you.
This is your evil. How bitter!
How it has touched your heart!"
If we live the ways of this corrupt world, then we will also bring this corruption upon us, but if we live as the peacemaking children of God that Jesus called us to be, then we will bring the blessings of heaven upon us.
It is as we are told as we sow, so shall we reap.
For the vast majority of the world is caught up in what I refer to as “acceptable ungodliness continues” for they keep accepting worldly corruption as the normal way to live, and we need to be cautious that we don’t fall into their ways of life.
19. My soul, my soul! I am in anguish!
Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me;
I cannot be silent,
Because you have heard, O my soul,
The sound of the trumpet,
The alarm of war.
The corruption, injustice, indifference, and violence that is all around us are all part of the problem that the prophet witnessed along with his vision of what was about to befall them, and we need to stand up against these things today, no matter how hard it may seem to be.
20. Disaster on disaster is proclaimed,
For the whole land is devastated;
Suddenly my tents are devastated,
My curtains in an instant.
Isn’t this what is happening to millions of humans and billions of animals every year?
It is if we look at it from their perspective.
Some of the people may deserve what is happening to them, but none of the animals do.
And we strongly believe that if we free the animals from this ungodliness, we will also free most of the people, for we will have brought the peace of heaven to earth.
21. How long must I see the standard,
And hear the sound of the trumpet?
Unfortunately, the standard for most of the earth is corruption and it is being dumped upon us every day, but when we live in the heavenly will of God, the Holy Spirit deflects the evil, so it doesn’t overwhelm us.
22. "For My people are foolish,
They know Me not;
They are stupid children,
And they have no understanding.
They are shrewd to do evil,
But to do good they do not know."
This may well be the case, but we often wonder if these people know the truth, but intentionally follow the lies, and the source of the lies, instead.
23. I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void;
And to the heavens, and they had no light.
24. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
And all the hills moved to and fro.
25. I looked, and behold, there was no man,
And all the birds of the heavens had fled.
26. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness,
And all its cities were pulled down
Before the LORD, before His fierce anger.
This is also where we believe the earth is heading today; are global warming, the storms, the fires, the floods, the droughts, and our chronic illnesses all part of this pending disaster?
We believe it is, and it is mostly part of our own making.
27. For thus says the LORD,
"The whole land shall be a desolation,
Yet I will not execute a complete destruction.
In other words, God is going to save a remnant of the people and part of the land for them.
28. "For this the earth shall mourn,
And the heavens above be dark,
Because I have spoken, I have purposed,
And I will not change My mind, nor will I turn from it."
Is this what we want to befall us?
We hope and pray it isn’t.
In 1 Timothy 1:12-20, which is part of a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy, he discusses the way Timothy and we should be living.
12. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service;
13. even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;
14. and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
Paul is thanking the Lord for saving him from his former evil ways and using him in His ministry.
I also believe that just about all of us have done something in our former life before Jesus that we repented of and received the Lord’s forgiveness and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and that we no longer have any desire to return to that former way of life, at least I sincerely hope this is the case.
Acceptable ungodliness continues in the world around us, and we all have been given some form of ministry for the Lord, and we need to use it to overcome this complacency that accepts evil as good.
15. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
Paul thought he was the worst sinner in the world, and a lot of us may think that we are too.
Just think of how many animals we were responsible for having suffered and died so that we could eat their body parts and secretions, wear their skins, and exploit them in other ways.
They are living beings just like us and like us they want to live and enjoy life, too; this is why we believe we were just as sinful as Paul, and yet the Lord saved us, too.
16. And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
And He does the same for each of us, if we are willing to accept it.
And because of this Paul praises God, just as we should do.
17. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Then Paul entrusts these things to Timothy, as I believe that they are being entrusted to us, today.
18. This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight,
19. keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
20. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over
to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
We believe that we are all capable of being God’s servants, but some of us may not be willing and will fall away as did those two.
We can overcome acceptable ungodliness.
We can bring God’s heavenly will to earth.
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