Summary: Ever feel like giving up? This sermon reminds us that God is still in control.
Sunday Morning July 22, 2001 Bel Aire Baptist Church, Hobbs, NM
ALIVE AND AVAILABLE
1. Ever wonder why you are where you are? I have asked God this question many times in my life. For example, when I was working for McDonald’s I would ask God why? To be honest, I still ask that question sometimes. Times like when I have to tell a mother that her baby has died or when I sit with a family watching there loved one take their last breaths. I never know what to say or do in those situations.
2. Or times like when I visit people all week long and I beg people to come to church and on Sunday not only are they not here, but neither is 50% of the church. To top it off, when I say something about poor attendance it usually ends up being my fault somehow.
3. Since I’m on a roll let me get in one more thing. How about when Kevin or I spend 8 to 10 hours preparing a sermon that God has given us and as everyone walks out of here they are telling us what a great sermon it was, but nothing ever seems to really change.
4. I want to make a difference for Jesus so bad, but sometimes it seems so futile.
5. Our text this morning shows us that God is still alive and available. God is still in control. As we look at our text be mindful that God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. Let’s read our text: Jeremiah 29:10-14.
I. The Pain
A. The Israelites
1. The nation of Israel had turned away from God and His commandments once again. God had told them to repent and return to Him, but they refused.
2. So God removed His protection from them and as a result, the nation of Babylon conquered Israel. The city of Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple was torn down. All of the educated and skilled people were taken into captivity and sent to Babylon.
3. Now we hear the Israelites crying out in pain. All hope is gone. This is the end. There is nothing left for us to do but die.
4. In this 29th chapter of Jeremiah, we see the letter that Jeremiah had written to the exiles. In this letter, through Jeremiah, God is giving the Israelites instruction and encouragement.
B. The Church
1. As shocking as it seems to us how often the Israelites failed to follow God, we are just as bad in year 2001, if not worse.
2. Just as the Israelites, Christians blend in with the world. You cannot tell any difference between Christians and the lost. We are like a roller coaster. We are always up and down. We seem to repeat the same mistakes. We seem to always get fired up and then burn out. We seem to be real spiritual one moment and real carnal the next.
3. I have seen this church and several others in Hobbs go from revival to ruin in matter of weeks. This church alone has been through this cycle several times in the last 3 years.
4. I remember my first couple of months here as your pastor. The attendance, the offering, the enthusiasm and concern were all very low. Many of you have told me that you were at the point of leaving. Some of you did leave and have come back. Many of you, deep down, believed that Bel Aire Baptist Church was at the point of death and you may have been correct. Why?
C. The Individual
1. Many of us have hit rock bottom in our personal lives and don’t know where to go.
2. You feel as though you are trapped and you have nothing left to do but die.
3. You have given up. You have lost hope.
4. Maybe you are here this morning searching for something, anything that could help. You have tried everything and everywhere else. You need a plan and you are hoping you can find one today.
II. The Plan
1. God knew these people had given up and although He still had to enforce their punishment, because He loved them so much, He also gave them hope.
2. God tells them to go ahead and settle down in Babylon for a while. He tells them to go ahead and build homes and find spouses for their children. God also told them to not listen to what the diviners and false prophets were saying.
3. In verse 10 we see God telling them that He is going to be true to His promise and in verses 11-13 we see God giving them the plan.
4. Let’s read verse 11-13 and see what the plan was. Notice God says He knows the plans that He has for them.