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Summary: Pentecost 23(B) - Jeremiah plants a message of hope. I. Only God can grow this hope. II. Only God’s hope can grow this joy.

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JEREMIAH PLANTS A MESSAGE OF HOPE (Outline)

October 19,2008 -

PENTECOST 23 -

Jeremiah 31:7-9

INTRO: God called Jeremiah as his prophet for his people. Jeremiah served during the reigns of the last kings of Judah. You may recall that the kings of Judah were very bad kings. These kings were more than bad; they were also wicked and very unfaithful. The kings worshiped false gods. These kings led the nation to worship these false gods. One of these kings had even used the scroll of Jeremiah as fuel to heat his palace room. God inspired Jeremiah to write down his words once more. Even the unbelief of the kings could not stop the message of God. God’s call and mission for Jeremiah was crystal clear. "See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant"(JEREMIAH 1:10). For the most part the preaching of Jeremiah was not going to be pleas-ant. Today’s text has a message of hope. We consider:

JEREMIAH PLANTS A MESSAGE OF HOPE.

I. Only God can grow this hope.

II. Only God’s hope can grow joy.

I. ONLY GOD CAN GROW THIS HOPE

A. These were "dark days" for God’s children. Jeremiah was sent "to uproot, tear down, destroy".

1. The people listened to Jeremiah’s words. They heard God’s warnings. But they did not obey.

2. Instead the people rejected God and his word. God would hand them over to their enemies.

B. Eventually God would rescue his people from foreign captivity, verse 8a. Babylon was to the north.

1. Verse 8b. Many would return even those usually left behind, "the blind, lame, expectant".

2. The Lord would make the return trip bearable for the throngs of people to come back.

C. Verse 9a. There would be weeping for taking so long to repent. They would pray = faith.

1. The once faithless would return believing. Why? How? God had done it all.

2. Verse 9b. God would make joy grow among them. Tears of sadness turn to tears of joy.

D. No matter what happened the Lord God Almighty would always be with Israel to take care of them and lead them. They forgot him, rejected him, and left his goodness. Our sins and sinful nature also always try to separate us from the mercy and grace of our loving Lord. On our own we are lost and condemned creatures. At times it is difficult for some to give credit to God. It is God and God alone who saves us. It is God and God alone who rescues us from the grip of sin and Satan. It is the Lord who holds us safely and securely in the palm of his hand. "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles "(ISAIAH 42:6). Note that it is "I, the Lord" who does all this. Our Lord God grows hope.

E. It is the Lord God alone who can make hope grow. It is only the Lord God who can change our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. It is into those hearts of flesh that God’s message is planted. Messengers of God come and go. The faithful preacher is to point people to Christ. Many today like to point out themselves, their accomplishments, and their books. The only one important is the Lord who makes hope grow. "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow"(l CORINTHIANS 3:6,7). Look around, the world cannot give us hope. The world’s message most often heard is that the "sky is falling".

F. Why is God so concerned about us? Why does God care about the church? God cares about the believer because we are his children. God has made us his children by faith. We are the heirs of Abraham by faith. This saving faith, which is ours, is ours only, purely by God’s free grace. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him"(l JOHN 3:1). God’s great love for us makes his hope grow in our hearts and in our lives not just for our benefit but also the benefit of others.

JEREMIAH PLANTS A MESSAGE OF HOPE.

Only God makes this hope grow in us and for others.

II. ONLY GOD’S HOPE CAN BRING JOY

A. Jeremiah’s calling was to proclaim more judgment than mercy - "uproot, tear down, destroy".

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