Date: 28 September, 2018
Text: Jeremiah 38:14-23
Title: The Terms of Surrender
I've mentioned that we are listening to Darlen Diabler Rose's autobiagraphy "Evidence Not Seen." We've have just come to the end of the war and Japan has accepted the Terms of Surrender.
"Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction".
Emperor Hirohito sought to get different terms of surrender....
On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM local time, the United States detonated an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Sixteen hours later, American President Harry S. Truman called again for Japan's surrender, warning them to "expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth."
9th August, 1945 - the second atomic bomb on the Japanese City of Nagasaki.
15th August - Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded address announcing the surrender of Japan to the allies accepting the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
War is horrible - peace is wonderful - praise God we now have friendship through unconditional surrender where once we were bitter enemies.
Did you know that man before He is reconciled to God - is the sworn enemy of God.
Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
God has terms of surrender whereby we can come to peace with him.
ill. In the old days, when a fort would surrender they would raise the white flag. "In the Roman Empire, the historian Cornelius Tacitus mentions a white flag of surrender in AD 109. Before that time, Roman armies would surrender by holding their shields above their heads. The white flag was widely used in the Middle Ages in Western Europe to indicate an intent to surrender."
We must surrender to God. Have you waved the white flag to God? HAVE YOU ACCEPTED HIS TERMS?
I. You must sincerely seek the terms.
Exp. In times of war - the opposing sides sit down at the negotiating table. If you don't sit down and talk you will never make peace.
ill. I speak with people frequently who admit they will go to Hell. They aren't going to church. They aren't reading their Bibles, They aren't dealing with sin in their life, THEY AREN'T AT THE TABLE.
Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
A. Seek them from a man of God.
14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of the LORD:
Exp. Let me point out Zedekiah is an BAD example. BUT, He does some good things. He went to the right place to hear the terms of surrender. He found a man of God.
ill. Last week - God brought a man of God, Philip, to the Ethiopean Eunuch.
God brought Peter to Cornelious (seeking God)
God brought Paul and his missionary team to Lydia - vision Man of macedonia (in answer to the prayers of Lydia and others)
Act 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
app. Are you uncomfortable in church - get there anyway? Are you uncomfortable around Christians - seek them out anyway?
ill. William Wilberforce - convicted that evangelicalism was right and that the dissenters from the church of England - were true men of God - Sought out John Newton secretly and came to saving faith in Jesus - IF YOU ARE LIKE NICODEMUS - go by night - but go to the man of God.
B. Seek them in their entirety.
and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me.
ill. Jeremiah had been put in prison and released so many times that the story get's a bit confusing. He is put there because he unfailingly gives the truth of God's Word. His message - God is going to deliver this city, Jerusalem into the hand of the Chaldeans - unless you repent. The King of Babylon is coming....
exp. ZEDEKIAH RIGHTLY SAYS DON'T HIDE ANYTHING FROM ME. (He said it for the wrong reasons - but he said it.)
question: Why would you want to listen to lies?
Jer 23:16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
Jer 23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
Jer 23:26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
question: Is our world so foolish as to believe because man says God says that God said it - WHEN WE HAVE THE WORD OF GOD IN OUR HANDS?
app. Our world is that simple - but you don't have to be? Seek the entire truth!
C. Seek them without animosity.
15 Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death?
exp. Jeremiah as God's messenger rightly feared for his life.
quote from sign: My dad is a gifted pianist - but I remember a funny sign in our garage that said, "Don't shoot the piano player - they are doing the best they can."
exp. Don't shoot the messenger - the message is from God! BUT MAN TAKES OUT HIS ANGER AGAINST GOD BY TROUBLING GOD'S SERVANTS.
Jeremiah - Jer 37:18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?
Elijah - received a message from Jezebel after God sent fire on Mt. Carmel and they had killed the prophets of Baal.
1Ki 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
Paul - Gal 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
app. If you are going to seek the terms - don't despise the messenger who delivers them.
D. Seek them to fully obey them.
and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me?
exp. Jeremiah knew that this king would not submit to God's terms. He wanted a Chrystal ball to reveal his future - not to change his destiny.
exp. Zedekiah was only prepared to meet Jeremiah's concerns half way.
16 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the LORD liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.
question: If you knew the future - would it change you today?
ill. King Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon who is on the other side - warned by God through Daniel that he would become a wild man for 7 years if he did not humble his heart to obey God.
Dan 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
exp. These are not fairy stories written to teach us morals - they are real men who suffered real consequence - BECAUSE THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF THE FUTURE - DID NOT CHANGE THEM.
app. How sincerely are you seeking God today?
Has the knowledge of Heaven and Hell brought you to obeying salvation?
Has your knowledge of the holiness of God and the judgment seat of Christ made any difference in the way in which you obey God's Word.
II. You can not negotiate the terms.
Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
ill. At times in evangelism I'll ask a false teacher - would you then stand in judgment upon God? (Because they have said if God is a God of hell they reject Him. Or if he can't see that they are good they don't want Him.) WE ARE NOT GOD - GOD MAKES THE TERMS OF SURRENDER.
A. You can not negotiate the terms of God's blessing.
17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel;
1. God's blessing is conditional upon obedience.
If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes,
exp. God had sent the king of Babylon and he would be victorious.
Jer. 37:9 Thus saith the LORD; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart.
10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
note: Since God would be victorious over their disobedience - they just needed to surrender. BUT the blessing is conditional upon surrender - IF!
ill. Moses - 26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
App. Friend - nobody in Hell will say that God is to blame - IF they had obeyed they could have had God's blessing.
2. God's blessing is consequential after obedience.
then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house:
exp. The blessing would not come and they would not realize it's power - UNTIL THEY STEPPED OUT BY FAITH IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD.
quest. Do you expect to know the truth of God's promise without trying it?
ill. That is like wanting the other army to put down their arms before you have put down yours.
ill. Like pharoah - who every time the judgment came - he asked for mercy - as soon as it was received - he hardened his heart more against God.
app. Do you feel the pressure which alone is responsible for pushing you upon God. Do not be deceived into thinking that God will remove it - until you surrender to Him.
ill. Eddie - God if you will just take this burden away I give my life to you. He accepted God's terms - and God accepted His!
B. You can not negotiate the terms of God's judgment.
1. There is only one choice which is right.
18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes,
exp. Zedekiah had one right choice. Lay down arms and surrender to the king of the Babylonians.
note: Friends, we have one right choice - obey God implicitly - salvation, sanctfication, service...
Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
ill. Hearing the leader of UKIP righly speaking about the idealogy of Islam - but then hearing him say that he does not like those who claim absolute truth or totalitarian ideology. (I don't want to misquote him....However...
app. If you don't like absolute truth or totalitarian ideology - you won't like God. You can go many ways - but the only right way is when you come to Him on his terms.
2. There is collateral damage.
...then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand.
exp. Zedekiah wasn't alone in his disobedience. HOWEVER, he could have led in obedience. Hew as the king. There would be much collateral damage in his disobedience.
def. "During a war, the unintentional deaths and injuries of people who are not soldiers, and damage that is caused to their homes, hospitals, schools..."
app. Friend - What about your neighbors, your city, your family, God's glory,?)
III. You will not receive popular terms from God.
ill. Brexit - everyone wants the best slice of the pie. They want terms that are popular with their people - so that - (some of theme have vain desires - everyone will look highly upon them for the negotiations. ) Hopefully others want the good for the nation.
exp. Zedekiah didn't care about the nation - or he would have accepted God's terms - He wanted a popular decision.
19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.
exp. How many people will someday be in Hell for rejecting God's terms because of what others would think or do IF THEY ACCEPTED THEM.
Pro 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
app. let's be clear - God's terms are not popular BEFORE SALVATION but aftewards you will see that they are popular with God's children.
ill. Francis Crosby - Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”
IV. You have every reason to trust God's terms.
20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.
exp. I love the heart of Jeremiah the weeping prophet. He had no encouragement and it seemed evident that there would be no condition of peace accepted. AND YET FOR LOVE OF GOD AND HIS PEOPLE HE PLEADED WITH THE UNGODLY KING!
App. Would it help if I got on my knees this morning and begged you to come to peace with God? Don't fear men - accept the gracious terms which God has given and HAVE PEACE WITH GOD
V. You are making a decision when you reject God's terms.
21 But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that the LORD hath shewed me:
exp. You may say, well I'll wait - there comes a point where you can no longer accept God's terms.
1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it.
2 And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.
exp. For two and a half years - IN GOD'S MERCY - Zedekiah could have accepted God's terms - but when the destruction began peace was no longer possible.
note: The tribulation is coming. Hell is coming. Death is coming.
app. Don't decieve yourself - IF YOU WON'T ACCEPT HIM TODAY - why would you accept him tomorrow - WHAT IF THE CONVICTION LEAVES? What if you no longer take time to consider the terms and you depart from the table! (You have made your decision.)
VI. You secure God's judgment by refusing the terms of His mercy.
exp. Jeremiah told the king exactly what would happen if he refused God's terms.
22 And, behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah's house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes, and those women shall say, Thy friends have set thee on, and have prevailed against thee: thy feet are sunk in the mire, and they are turned away back.
23 So they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans: and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire.
ill. Zedekiah's 39:4-8
4 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.
5 But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.
6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.
7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.
8 And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem.
exp. The last thing Zedekiah saw was the face of his son's anguish as they lost their lives in front of him. His blind eyes would be tormented as long as he lived for his refusal to obey God's terms of surrender!
app. The last thing you'll see before you are cast into hell - are the loving eyes of the SON OF GOD who's nail pierced hands and thorn scarred brow will remind you for all eternity of your refusal to take God's mercy.
conclusion: If you aren't on God's side - you are His enemy. He offers to you terms of surrender.
1.) Are you sincerely seeking those terms? 2.) You can't negotiate the terms.
3.) They won't be popular terms. 4.) You can trust God's terms.
5.) You are making a decision right now. 6.) You secure judgment when you refuse mercy!