The Source of this Violence – Jeremiah 7:1-11

My Sunday sermons are not usually motivated by news headlines, but I’m going to make an exception today. Many of you have heard that in Boulder Colorado, last Monday, a man gunned down and killed 10 people. Boulder is about 15 miles, as the crow flies, from the town of Erie, where Molly Kjeldgaard/Pierson lives, and where Shelly Mueller and the boys were visiting just a couple weeks ago. Boulder is about 35 miles from Loveland and about 50 miles from Fort Collins where the Roberts live. Taylor and the Morenos live just a stone’s throw from where that tragic shooting took place. 10 people died – people from 20 years old to 65 – involving just about every age group. One victim was a police officer, someone well-trained to protect himself, and yet he is dead. Anyone – absolutely anyone – could be gunned down by some sin-crazed murderer at any time. “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

In one of the articles I read about the shooting, Vice President Kamala Harris said, “This is absolutely baffling.” And therein is my theme for this message. This is NOT absolutely baffling. It is to be expected. It has become common place. If we insist on flying flags at half-mast for such shootings, we might as well leave them down permanently. The Boulder shooting took place on Monday, May 22. In the six days before that tragedy, there were 8 other mass shootings in this country. On the 16th there were the 8 were killed in Atlanta, and 4 others were gunned down in Phoenix. On the 17th – 5 people were shot in Stockton, California. On the 18th – 8 people were shot in two attacks – one in Gresham, Ore, and another in New Orleans. Then on the 20th there were 17 victims in 3 cities – Philadelphia, Dallas and Houston. Thus far in 2½ months there have been 107 mass shootings with 122 people killed and 325 others wounded. And this doesn’t include all the single and double murders throughout this country. And Ms. Harris says, “It’s absolutely baffling, it’s ten people going about their day, living their lives, not bothering anybody,” and then they are gone.

With a little more research I came across some startling statistics – and I have no trouble believing them. Comparing the summer of the Covid year 2020 and the previous summer, murders were up 42% nation-wide. During the entire second half of 2020, so including the Fall and Winter, murders were up 34% over 2019. In 2020 Seattle murders went from 25 to 41 – up 64% – in one year. Denver murders went from 54 to 77 – up 42%. And in little old Spokane, Washington so far in 2021, there have been 13 criminal homicides. During the same time period last year, there were only 4 – a 225% increase. And the reason you haven’t heard about it is because the local news would rather talk about vaccination sites than significant, life and death events.

President Biden and Vice President Harris are going to continue to tell us that these murders – and particularly mass murders – are the result of the proliferation of hand guns and automatic weapons. Pardon the cliche, but I am here to tell you that these horrendous murders are not the result of more and more guns. As many of you know I don’t own any weapons, and I am not planning on buying any kind of weapon soon. But neither am I going to tell someone that they should not have a gun. I don’t have an agenda in this issue. I’m just stating the facts – guns don’t murder people – people murder people, and they have for centuries. More than 6,000 years ago, Cain murdered his brother Abel, and he didn’t own a 9mm hand gun. The word “murder” is found 37 times in the Bible, and not one of them is related to a hand gun or an AR-15.

No, Mrs. Kamala Harris/Emhoff, banning hand guns is not going to stop murders in this country. The cause is not social, political or a matter of education. The problem is spiritual. And the current governmental administration is not only made up of carriers of this evil murder virus, it is a part of the problem. These people should wear special masks to protect us from their infection. What is the source – the cause – of all this violence?

The first answer is – we are living in the last days, and this to be expected.

I know that this, too, is cliche and has become the standard answer from Christians for just about everything disagreeable to them. But the fact of the matter is that in this case it is the truth. Please return to the scripture which Bro. Austin read earlier – II Timothy 3. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” What do the words “perilous times” mean? These are dangerous times? Deadly times. The “last days” will be characterized by events like that of Boulder and Atlanta, Denver’s Columbine and even Spokane’s Freeman High School. “For men shall be lovers of their own selves… without natural affection…. fierce, despisers of those that are good….. traitors… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” People who love other people are willing to sacrifice to be a blessing to those they love. But when they love themselves more than anyone or anything, they may do anything to please themselves, even to the slaughtering of innocent strangers for nothing more than the thrill or fame. And some do this while “having a form of godliness.” They are religious – Muslim, Catholic, Branch Davidian, conservative “Christians” with a hatred for abortionists. Despite the religiosity of the last days; despite the corrupted forms of Christianity surrounding us, and with the encouragement of various forms of religion – of “godliness” – wickedness prevails. Mass shootings, car bombs, terrorist attacks – domestic and otherwise – should not surprise us as we move nearer and nearer to the “last days” and the day of the Lord’s judgment.

Jeremiah, so many centuries ago, sheds some light on our current situation. God’s prophet was commissioned to stand in one of the gates of the Jewish temple, through which so many people passed in order to “worship” the Lord. His message was – “repent – after which God will cause you to prosper in the land He has given you.” “Trust not in lying words, saying The temple of Jehovah, the mosque of Allah, the church of Christ.” There is no magical solution to our problems or forgiveness for those problems in the religions of the world. But if you stop your oppression of the stranger and your slaughter of innocent blood – such as the thousands of unborn – then I will cause you to dwell in the land forever. “Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, MURDER, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?”

Behold, you Americans, who trust the lying words of television evangelists and lying false prophets. You steal, commit adultery and murder, burning incense to the gods of the NFL, NBA, the GOP and the DNC. And then you come and stand before God in churches professing to be His, thinking that this absolves you from all your abominations. Verse 14 – “Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.” Verse 19 – “Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?” They say, “This is absolutely baffling.”

Please turn to Isaiah 1 – “Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

Among the other things God says in these scriptures, is that He will withdraw His blessings from the society which mocks His righteousness and His grace. And without those divine blessings, the wickedness of man will explode upon society. Verse 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. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now MURDERERS.”

Ms. Harris is it baffling to you that more than 10,000 innocent babies were going about the business of growing in their mother’s wombs this week, not bothering anybody but their selfish mothers, and then they were gone – murdered?

Isaiah and Jeremiah may have been prophets to Israel, but the principles they teach apply to us as well. The society who rejects God and His Word will be rejected by Jehovah. Not only will we no longer have His blessings, but we will begin to loose His protection as well. And that means more murder, more slaughter, more mayhem. No, Mrs. Vice President, this is not “absolutely baffling.” It is clearly understandable and predictable.

When people reject the evidence of their creation – rejecting their Creator… When a society rejects the authority of God who governs all things including the people of that society… They should expect the wrath of that God – Jehovah.

On the second page of our bulletin for this morning I included an article taken from the internet. It says that Representative Greg Steube of Florida made a statement in Congress which stirred the atheists and God-haters into a frenzy. Steube was speaking about homosexuality and gender denial, but he could have referred to abortion or any number of other hot topics. He said, “The gender confusion that exists in our culture today is a clear rejection of God’s good design. Whenever a nation’s laws no longer reflect the standards of God that nation is in rebellion against him and will inevitably bear the consequences. We are seeing the consequences of rejecting God here in our country today.” That comment drew a response from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) – “What any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.” When the liberals of this country try to say that homosexuality is normal behavior and something to be encouraged, they should not be surprised when God withdraws His protective blessings – as in Sodom. When governments permit, encourage and finance the slaughter of unborn and recently born children, teaching their constituents that life is unimportant, they have no business, when a mere 10 people are killed in a mass shooting to say “This is absolutely baffling.” The abortionists and pro-choice proponents are part of the underlying cause of such events.

II Thessalonians 2 speaks of the upcoming seven-year period known as “the Tribulation.” And it suggests that we are inching nearer and nearer – we are apporaching are the “last days.” One of the characteristics of the Tribulation will be the withdrawal of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. II Thessalonians 2:7 – “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” The God who today hinders social iniquity will one day be taken away. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” So many of our current leaders already believe Satan’s lies, and they are trying to tell the rest of us to believe them as well. It is no wonder that our society is moving closer and closer to “damnation,” because more and more we take pleasure in unrighteousness.

I am adamant in saying that we are NOT currently in the Tribulation, because many other scriptures describe events and characteristics of that day which we are not currently facing. And I believe that God’s saints will be removed from the earth before those horrible 7 years. But…. we are on the brink of the Tribulation, and the world should be able to smell the stench of the smoke which is being ignited. We should be able to hear the “click” as the hammer is pulled back on the revolver of God’s judgment. And one of the characteristics of the Tribulation will be the absence of God’s withholding hand. “He who now letteth” – katecho (kat-ekh’-o) – He who now hinders the flood of wickedness will be taken away, and then there won’t be mass murders every DAY, they will be every hour. We are seeing the beginnings of what is going to become exponentially worse.

Having said these things, I still haven’t answered the question: “What is the source of all this violence?”

Here it is in three simple letters – “S I N” – sin. The psychiatrist might use a different word, but even the God-denying mental professional eventually comes back to something deep within the murderer which brought him to buy and use those weapons. The liberal psychiatrist will, of course, deny what the Bible says. But God, in His Word, tells us that when man left His fingertips, he was innocent and essentially righteous. Adam, our first father, chose to rebel against God, implanting sin within his own heart – which he then passed on to his children, and they to their children, unto the generation in which you and I live. Adam’s eldest son, infected by that sin, murdered his brother, one of the very few human beings alive on the earth that the time. At the time of the first murder, what percentage of the human population were murderers? 10% 5% 1%? It doesn’t really matter because the propensity to murder lay in 100% of all those people, and it still does today.

Several generations after Isaiah and Jeremiah, the Lord Jesus was speaking to the same sort of people. In John 8:34 – “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin,” but “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me (to murder me), because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your Father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your Father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. YE are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a MURDERER from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

What is at the root of the mass murders in Boulder last Monday? It is because that gunman, Ahmad Al Aissa (iessa), is a child of the devil. That is not a racist statement; it is not based on the man’s religion or lack of religion. It is based on the words of Christ. And I would say the same thing about Robert Aaron Long, who it appears killed the 8 people in Atlanta. Those murders – any of the recent mass murders in this country – were not a direct result anyone’s religion. They were not a direct result of our American culture with its violent video games, television show and lust. Simply put, those murders were committed by people whose shriveled hearts were dead in trespasses and sin. They were committed by people whose only love was towards themselves. They were committed by people whose hearts belong to Satan. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks of MURDER, he speaketh of his own: for he is a MURDERER, and the father of MURDERERS.”

From where do these mass murders come? Where do they originate? They are the natural outflow of sinfully corrupt human flesh and Satanically controlled hearts. Turn to Galatians 5:17 – “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, MURDERS, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

Now let’s do a little spiritual math. Human flesh lusts against God’s Spirit – the flesh rebels, fights, quarrels and flaunts itself against the Spirit. And some of the results of an unrestrained flesh are hatred, variance, wrath, strife and murder. Only those who are Christ’s people have the ability to crucify that flesh with its affections and lusts. In other words, anyone who is not one of Christ’s, is potentially a murderer – even a mass murderer.

Please turn now to Romans 1:20 – “The invisible things of (God) from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they (all mankind) are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections (– to their homosexuality) … and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Verse 28 – “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, MURDER, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Paul speaks of those people who take pleasure in them that do those things which are worthy of death. I am reasonably sure that the man who killed those Coloradans knew of what took place in Atlanta. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he was excited, perhaps thrilled by what he knew of those murders. Perhaps he wished that he could have the same notoriety as Robert Long in Atlanta. But whatever he knew of the true and living God he rejected, and the Lord gave him over to his reprobate mind. The last I heard – no one knows why the man did what he did – his motive is yet unknown. But for all intents and purposes his motive is not important. The man’s problem was deeper than anger, poverty or oppression – it was sin and his personal godlessness. YOU may be shot and killed tomorrow by someone – for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

The sin problems is a problem of all men and women everywhere until they are born again. In this hate-filled world – murder is just around the corner from every one of us. Many whites hate blacks and Asians, and some blacks hate you for the color of your skin. The poor hate the rich; the unemployed hate the employed; liberals hate the conservatives; and many Republicans hate the Democrats. 1 John 3:15 says “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” If you have not been born again to eternal life, then you are a murderer at heart and a potential mass murderer. You may get mad at me for saying that, but I believe it to be true, based upon the Word of the Lord.

Our liberal leaders, whether in government, education or psycho-science, are trying to tell us that if we rid the world of hand guns and automatic weapons, violence would come to an end or at least be reduced. As I say, “that is not true.” Numbers 35 spends a considerable amount of time on the subject of murder, and there isn’t one hand gun mentioned. Numbers 35:16 – if someone “smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer… And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer… Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer… Or (if) in enmity (he) smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer… Verse 30 – “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.”

President Biden is telling us that without guns our nation would be a safer, less violent place. In other words, the problem is social, environmental – circumstantial. If we take away the easy opportunities for murder, like the use of guns, then murder will come to an end. The Lord Jesus indirectly dealt with that issue when He said in Matthew 15:17 – “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?” Applying that statement – It’s not what we read, or eat, or watch on TV, which make us do evil things. Even though watching violence or participating in controlled violence like football, stirs the heart toward violence, these things are not the root cause. It’s not whether a man can buy an AR-15 at a gun show which makes him a mass murderer. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth or from the murderer’s hand “come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, MURDERS, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.”

The problems of our society are heart problems, not social, mental, educational or even self-esteem problems. That is why “ye must be born again.” “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications … and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.” But they not only defile us, they condemn us to eternal damnation.

In the last chapter of God’s word, the glorified Lord Jesus says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” In other words, when the sinner comes acknowledging his wickedness and trusting Christ for saving grace, the Son of God, the “Water of life,” will give him a new heart. And then the Lord says, “And I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and MURDERERS, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Going back to my original question: “What is the source of today’s constant violence?” The answer is sin – the corruption which lays in the heart of every human being. There is a solution and that solution is new life in Christ. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Some of the old passing things include hatred and murder – violence.

Everyone within the sound of my voice is either a potential murderer or a potential victim of violent crime. The need of both kinds of people is Christ the Saviour – either in keeping us from our sin and its judgment or preparing us for when the sins of others fall on us and we are sent into eternity. Are you still in need of the new birth – regeneration? Come to the Saviour this morning in repentance and faith. Come to the cross for the blessing of a new heart and eternal life. Again, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” But if you are not in Christ, you are lost. “These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.”