Jeremiah 23:16-17 – “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. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.”
It is not just the absence of preaching that causes it to be difficult to reach people. Helping someone who has never been exposed to truth can often be rather simple and effective. However, the thing that makes it more of a challenge is the presence and popularity of FALSE PROPHETS and distortions of the truth. This is not only true regarding the message of salvation, but also the message of Church loyalty, separation, etc. Jeremiah’s message was, “Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you.” We are not to listen to false teachers or preachers. Their message is not from God, but rather “a vision of their own heart.”
Why would people so readily believe the message of false teachers? There are probably many reasons, but at least one is found in our text. The untruths of these prophets can be more appealing than truth in the ears of the unsaved or unspiritual. Notice Jeremiah’s words as he speaks for God, “They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” These false preachers were telling those that despised God that they would have peace, and to those that walked after the desires of their own heart, “No evil shall come upon you.” In essence, they were saying, “God does not care what you do. Do as you please. There will be no consequences for your sinful or sensual decisions.” This is in great contrast to a true man of God who says, “Thus saith the Lord.”
We have a similar situation today. Many are claiming God’s authority and preaching contrary to His Word. God’s Word is still the final authority. Without His Word, we have no message. Preaching against sin and calling Christians to holy living is becoming a thing of the past.