Summary: Most of us may remember a movie by this same title. In fact there were several “Back to the Future” sequels. In the movie starring Michael J. Fox and Claudia Wells, after traveling back in time, they found that the only way to return to the future was to
Subject: Back to The Future
Text: Jeremiah 6:16, 17
“Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ’We will not walk in it. I set watchmen over you, saying, ’Give heed to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ’We will not give heed.”
Introduction: Most of us may remember a movie by this same title. In fact there were several “Back to the Future” sequels. In the movie starring Michael J. Fox and Claudia Wells, after traveling back in time, they found that the only way to return to the future was to recreate the system and follow the same principles that led to the successful journey in the first place. One of their greatest challenges was recreating the speed and momentum needed for time travel.
Jeremiah was the prophet who God called before his birth. The name Jeremiah means “Yahweh hurls”. What an accurate picture of his ministry! He was called to ministry at age 7, begin his public ministry when was about 20, and his ministry extended over a period of about 50 years in all. Jeremiah serve Judah and Jerusalem for many years, and most of those years were filled with misery. The years Jeremiah serve under Josiah, a godly king were the most happy in his career.
Although much of Jeremiah’s prophecy was about impending judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem, they always included a call for national repentance and the promise of possible restoration. It is easy to sit around and talk about the good ole days, especially, when the present days seem bleak, with little hope of returning to former glory. The prophets during Jeremiah’s day were offering conflicting reports. Some were predicting coming blessings, while other were predicting certainty of calamity without repentance and turning back to God.
What do you do when the so-called experts don’t agree? Can you imagine serving in congress today? They hear countless reports on the economy, but none of the experts agree. If the experts knew so much, how did we get into this mess in the first place?
In today’s text, Jeremiah offers some sound advice, I believe. This advice is not limited to Israel of old, but it is for the church today. If Judah and Jerusalem would have any hope of returning to a glorious future, they must examine themselves. Since they were in doubt, Jeremiah advices them to “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it,..”
Jeremiah is not suggesting an old way of doing things, but a recovery of successful principles that caused Israel to become a great nation in the past. What principles were used to make Israel a strong, successful nation? What made them the people of God? Jeremiah would say to the church today, what principles made the church successful in the past? What made the Methodist Movement successful in Charles and John Wesley’s day? I believe If we can rediscovery those way, there is a glorious future ahead for the church today.
The founding father of Methodist movement, John Wesley built the faith community around three simple rules: “Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God.” No matter what time period we live in, those three simple rules still apply. There are some underlying, foundational truths we need to revisit. We must ask ourselves some probing questions. What are some of ways that were used to build this great movement? How can we use them on the road to recovery?
2Ch 7:14, 15 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. (RSV)
God desires to heal the land. God desires to be attentive to our prayers, if we meet the condition. There is another promise in Haggai 2: 8, 9 which says;
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.”(RSV)
God clearly states, that the economy is not the problem. The gold and silver belong to God. Then He promises that there is splendor, or “glory”, says the King James that is far greater than what we have experienced so far, awaiting us. This is a call to a glorious future! I want us to embrace that promise for our personal situation. How do we get there? What did they do that cause them to be successful?