Sunday, October 02, 2005


Jeremiah preached at the end of the period of Kings. He preached the Gospel of God’s Free Sovereign Grace in Christ; he preached God’s love and care for his chosen elect. He declared the impending destruction of Judah and the temple, the coming 70 years of captivity in Babylon, and the certain restoration for the elect. Here he exposes all those who undermine his preaching, all those who preach free-will works-religion.
Christ alone, all sufficient in salvation, is the message of the Bible. Christ saved God’s elect to himself by himself for his glory. Only Christ is righteous. God’s elect have no righteousness of their own; they have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them freely, his gift of Grace (receiving Grace is to get what you do not deserve). Christ cares for his loved ones by gathering them to the Gospel preachers he provides to care for them. God is absolutely Holy, in wrath he will justly punish all sin, as a loving father he will chastise his loved ones.

Outline of Chapter 23

23:1-2 - False preachers condemned
23:3-9 - The elect rely on Christ
23:10-15 - Condemnation of false prophets and false priests
23:16-22 - Their false message is that man deserves to be loved by God
23:23-30 - Their false message is self-contrived not God’s Word
23:31-32 - Christ’s care ensures false prophets can not pervert God’s elect
23:33-38 - The reprobate demand that their works save them
23:39-40 - Christ will personally destroy all false preachers

23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

These ”sheep“ are God’s elect. These are the people sovereignly chosen by God before time began to receive his Mercy. They are weak simple needy creatures, unable to care for themselves, unable to save themselves. They are the only people loved by God; they are “the sheep of his pasture“; they are the ones he has committed to care for. Christ is their true shepherd; he has the responsibility to provide total care for them, to feed them his Gospel, to save them from the temptation of this world’s self-righteousness, to bring them into eternal glory with him. False pastors injure God’s loved ones. Pastors, like shepherds, are responsible for feeding their flock; they are to feed the Gospel to the church. The evil activity of these false pastors is shown clearly in the verses below. While claiming to be from God they preach man’s self-worth rather than man’s depravity. They attempt to eliminate man’s need for Christ. Christ condemns them (woe be unto) for their efforts, for damaging his people, for driving them apart, for ruining their unity, for separating them from Free-Grace, for “scattering” them. Christ will punish in wrath all of those who afflict the elect.

By Ray Bennetts