Summary: God was giving Jeremiah a chance to be a messenger of hope. There was to be a new covenant. But when was this covenant to take effect and who would be part of it?
OPEN: I recently ran across a “good news” “bad news” joke for preachers:
Good News: You baptized four people down at the river last Sunday
Bad News: You lost 2 others to the river’s current
Good News: You finally found a choir director who did things your way.
Bad News: The choir mutinied
Good news: The Women’s group voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad news: The vote passed 21-20.
Good news: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad news: You were on vacation.
Good News: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons
Bad News: Mrs. Jones is also wild about the "Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
Good News: The board just accepted 100% the job description just the way you wrote it.
Bad News: They also formed a search committee to find someone to fill the position.
APPLY: Jeremiah has the distinction of being known as the “weeping prophet” and with good reason… it seemed (even to Jeremiah) that all he ever talked about was bad news. At one point Jeremiah cried out: Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction...” (Jeremiah 20:8 (quickview) ).
It seemed that every time he opened his mouth he declared judgment and destruction and death.
But here in this part of Jeremiah, all that changes. In this section of his book, Jeremiah is allowed to give a message of hope.
In fact God promised them: “I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place. From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.” Jeremiah 30:18-19 (quickview)
In the midst of all of these words of encouragement Jeremiah introduces what I believe is perhaps one of the most important statements in all Scripture. You’ll find it in chapter 31:31-35 (REREAD)
God was telling Israel, through the prophet Jeremiah that something new was coming. A new Covenant - or a new contract – that would bring a dramatic change in God’s relationship with His people.
I. When was this New Contract to take effect?
The Book of Hebrews tells us that you and I are living under that contract it right now!
In other words, when Jesus died on the cross the blood that He shed was His signature on the bottom line of this New contract.
(PICK UP A COMMUNION CUP) In fact, every time you take of communion, Jesus said that you should remember that He paid for this new contract with His blood: