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Summary: The prophet Jeremiah implicitly revealed the responsibilities of the true preacher.

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Intro

One of the pitfalls a preacher or teacher of the Bible can run into is to always read the Bible looking for sermons or a Sunday School Lesson. Oddly enough, such an approach robs the preacher of the very thing he exhorts the congregation to do - that is, spend time with God in the word letting it speak to them. Several weeks ago, in my quiet time, I ran across a text that really stepped on my toes.

Textual- {Historical Background}->"Elegy of Jeremiah over the sins of his people that led to the fall of Jerusalem." The prophet Jeremiah implicitly revealed the responsibilities of the true preacher.

Relational- Book by Paul Powell, Shepherding the Sheep in Smaller Churches.

Quit preaching "feel-good" sermons to meet people’s "felt needs"...

2 Timothy 4:3 is being fulfilled today...stark contrast with Lamentations 2:14.

IMPLICIT IN JEREMIAH’S DENOUNCEMENT OF FALSE PROPHETS ARE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE TRUE PREACHER OF THE WORD OF GOD.

THOSE PRIVILEGED TO PROCLAIM GOD’S WORD HAVE INCUMBENT RESPONSIBILITIES. What are the responsibilities of those charged with preaching God’s Word?

1.) THE PREACHER IS RESPONSIBLE TO PREACH THE TRUTH.

"false"- means "emptiness, vanity, falsehood, lying, worthlessness (of conduct)"

Jer. 5:31 "the prophets prophesy falsely, and the false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ’Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken."

[TR]Closely akin to the first responsibility is...

2.) THE PREACHER IS RESPONSIBLE TO PREACH SOMETHING OF VALUE.

Someone has said that "there are only two kinds of preachers: those who have something to say, and those who have to say something."

I heard the story recently of a chaplain who preached in a mental ward. His preaching was so confusing that one of the patients was heard to say: "there but for the grace of God go I"

One young pastor was reported as saying during the end of his message, "Now if you don’t believe there may be grave eschatological consequences"...Did you mean that they’d go to hell? -Then why didn’t you say so?!

"foolish"[NASB]"deceptive"[NRSV] means: "foolish, insipid, tasteless,unseasoned, whitewash"

Ezekiel 22:28 "Its prophets have smeared whitewash on their behalf, seeing priests rule as the prophets direct; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?"

Too often, we whitewash biblical truths to make them palatable to the modern hearer. {When is the last time you heard a sermon on...sacrificial giving?...the Wrath of God?...Repentance?} Jesus talked twice as much about Hell as Heaven...instead of messages we’re preaching massages! Jer. 6:14 "They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, ’Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace."

Preaching has been described this way: "A mild-mannered man standing before mild-mannered people and exhorting them to be more mild-mannered. But the true function of preaching is to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.

[TR]That leads to the 3rd responsibility...

3.) THE PREACHER IS RESPONSIBLE TO CONFRONT AND EXPOSE

SIN. "have not exposed...iniquity" Amos called the rich women of his day: "cows of Bashan"[Amos 4] Jesus called Herod "a fox"[Luke 13:32]

WHEN OUR LEADERS MAKE UNRIGHTEOUS DECREES IN THE ARENA OF MORAL ISSUES I HAVE A DUTY TO POINT IT OUT REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL PARTY.

Martin Luther - "If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at that point attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested. To be steady in all the battlefields besides is mere flight and disgrace, if a soldier flinches at that one point."

Isaiah says: "Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins."[Isaiah 58:1]

[TR] The preacher is responsible to confront & expose sin. Finally...

4.) THE PREACHER IS RESPONSIBLE TO LEAD PEOPLE AWAY FROM TROUBLE.

The reason the preacher is to confront & expose sin "so as to restore you from captivity" That is what the false prophets failed to do. INSTEAD they proclaimed false & "misleading oracles."

"misleading" meaning: "seduction, enticement, a thing to draw aside"

Remember Zedekiah...prophets told him that he could trust in his alliance w/ Pharoah against the Babylonians...If I "pull punches" for fear of negative reaction...not faithful to YOU or to God!

God says in Jer. 23:22 "But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings."

As a preacher I am RESPONSIBLE TO LEAD PEOPLE AWAY FROM TROUBLE, TO CONFRONT AND EXPOSE SIN, TO PREACH SOMETHING OF VALUE AND TO PREACH THE TRUTH.

Application-THOSE PRIVILEGED TO PROCLAIM GOD’S WORD HAVE THESE INCUMBENT RESPONSIBILITIES.

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