INTRO: The Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) introduces the book of Lamentations with these words: After Israel was carried into captivity and Jerusalem deserted, Jeremiah sat weeping and composed this lament over Jerusalem. We have often referred to Jeremiah as the weeping prophet. We remember that upon the death of King Josiah Jeremiah lamented. What the little book of Lamentations seems to be is the heart feelings of a man who desperately loved Jerusalem as the place where God had put His name ... and who was deeply grieved by the necessity of the desolation of Jerusalem by Babylon.
SOME THINGS WE FIND IN THIS LITTLE BOOK?
1. Devastation described - 1:1-7
a. the tragedy is as that of a wife whose husband dies - widowhood - vv. 1,2
b. she is without friends - v. 2
c. the temple and its feasts are gone - v. 4
d. her beauty is departed - v. 6
e. she is ridiculed and mocked by her adversaries - v. 7
2. Why has this happened? - 1:8,9
a. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned
b. so terrible was her rebellion that the Lord viewed her as disgraced, unclean, filthy
c. at 1:5 - for the multitude of her transgressions
d. what a terrible condition is described in these words: she had no comfortor
3. All that has happened is vindication of Gods righteousness - 1:18
a. no doubt there those who simply could not understand why such a thing was happening
b. there are none so blind as those who will not see
c. Jer 35:15 - they had been warned over and again - and just were not listening
d. it was not any capriciousness on Gods part which resulted in Jerusalems fall - it was the rebellion of the people against Gods commandment!
4. Few sights are as depressing as the righteous who fall - 2:15
a. the enemies of righteous people take great pleasure in the fall of good folks
b. here are the enemies as the make fun of Jerusalem for its previous claims to be the joy of the whole earth
c. 2 Sam 12:14 - rest assured, the enemies of God and His people are watching and waiting for a slip up
d. I wonder if we are as aware, as careful as we ought to be? do we realize the tragic effect of a Christians fall? the ruined or damaged influence?
5. Still, our hope is in Gods faithfulness - 3:22-26
a. the very faithfulness of God which punishes unrighteousness is the faithfulness which rewards and blesses righteousness
b. out of the weeping the prophet remembers the Lords mercy and compassion
c. he knows that the Lord is good to them that wait upon and seek Him
d. so often we agonize in our frustrations in life - we are agitated, despairing, even fearful - we need to both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LordI
6. So, where do we go from here? - 3:40,41
a. we have to come to terms with the fact that God is right
b. we have to come to terms with the fact that complaining about punishment for our sins will not help
c. we must look at ourselves, test our ways and turn to the Lord!!!!
d. this is always the formula ... repentance
7. What happened to bring Gods people into this state? - 4:13,14
1. it was clearly the failure of the spiritual leaders of Israel
2. were the people accountable for their sins? Yes, that fact is inescapable
3. but it was the utter failure of the prophets and priests who had given themselves over to totally secular interests - they had only taught what was popular, what they thought people wanted to hear - 2:14
4. may I suggest to you that this is one of the reasons we must pray for and seek strong and committed leadership ... and preachers
CLOSE: I first thought I would not have a lesson on this little book. The more I read it, however, the more I was convinced I want to bring your attention to it. Hear in it the tragedy and weeping of caused by sin among Gods chosen people!
Cecil A. Hutson
January 26, 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)