Learn Not The Way Of The Heathen


Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Sept. 26, 1999, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia:

By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 10:1-5

Text: Jeremiah 10:2

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

Introduction: When I read verse two to you, you may think, “I’m not in the jungles of Africa. How would I learn the way of the heathen, anyway?” Well, the heathen are not just the uncivilized tribes of a faraway land. The heathen are our NEIGHBORS.

You see, in scripture the term, “heathen,” simply means GENTILES, those who are not descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Americans are not Israelites; therefore, they are heathen. We Christians are in danger of becoming too Americanized. We are, therefore, in great danger of becoming too HEATHENIZED.

When the Bible commands, “Learn not the way of the heathen,” it is a warning against the customs of unregenerate, ungodly American culture!


Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

A. Don’t learn the DEEDS of their worship
* The Bible speaks in Jer. 10:3 of their “work”
* This reminds me that the way of worship of heathen Americans is to work for salvation — self-righteousness

B. Don’t learn the DECORATION of their worship
* When I started really studying my Bible after God called me to preach, I became alarmed at how closely Jer. 10 resembled the Christmas tree. It was so close that in 1973, I decided I would never again put one up in my house.
* It is characterized by riches — “silver and gold” — extravagance (supposing that gain is godliness – 1 Tim. 6:5) in Jer. 10:4

C. Don’t learn the DEADNESS of their worship
* Jeremiah 10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
* They have no new birth, no eternal salvation, no Holy Ghost power, no separated living …


Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

A. The wisdom of heathen America is distructive
* The wisdom of America approves sodomy, divorce, pornography, condoms for kids, abortion, and government-trained children (public schools), but it is killing the institution of the family.

B. The wisdom of heathen America is deceitful
* It professes to be necessary – for financial success, for status in the community.
* College education is a joke. I wouldn’t send my child to any heathen school or college … especially a liberal arts college. If I considered it at all, it would be for a trade or skill like at technical schools.

C. The wisdom of heathen America is devilish
* “after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
* James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.


Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

A. Their purpose for working is wrong
+ Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
+ 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

B. Their plans for working are wrong

C. Their priorities for working are wrong
+ It is wrong to sacrifice your service to God at the altar of money
+ It is wrong to sacrifice your relationship to your family at the altar of money


Romans 16:19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

Revelation 2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

A. You don’t need to know the terminology of their wickedness

B. You don’t need to know the techniques of their wickedness

C. You don’t need to know (especially by personal experience) the tragedies of their wickedness
+ If you learn about it, learn about it from scripture, not by experiencing it.
+ The way of transgressors is HARD – Prov. 13:15
+ If you learn about it, learn from the experiences of others, not by experiencing it yourself – Gal. 6:7
+ 1 Corinthians 10:6-10 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
+ 5. Learn about the bad CONSEQUENCES of sin by reading the Bible and seeing the results of sin in the lives of your family members and friends. But don’t COPY them!!! Don’t FOLLOW them!

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