Summary: Tending to the ruins of life. Prayers of wretched truthful passion, not ritual trendy pretense, connect us and keep us faithful to God.
I. INTRODUCTION - Jesus Is Referred To Many Names In OT & NT
A. Rev. 3:14 - He Is Also Called “Faithful And True”
1. Imagine being in 1st century persecuted church – Nero’s persecution
•Matthew - executed by sword in Ethiopia.
•Mark - cruelly dragged through an Egyptian city street.
•Luke - lynched in Greece.
•Peter - crucified upside down.
•Bartholomew - skinned alive.
•Thomas - impaled.
•Barnabas - stoned to death.
•Paul - beheaded in Rome.
2. You would need a God that says, “I’m Faithful and True”
B. “Faithful & True” Linked Together 5 Times In Bible – In Reference To Who God Is
1. Four times in Revelations
Revelation 3:14 (our text)
Revelation 19:11 (read)
Again in Rev 21:5 and Rev 22:6
2. Only Once in OT – i.e., book of Jeremiah – Turn to Jeremiah 42
II. JEREMIAH 42:1-22
A. (Read v. 1-6) Panic-Stricken People Approached Jeremiah Seek God’s Advice
1. Jerusalem was in shambles – destroyed by Babylon
a. most of its citizens deported to Babylon – far away
b. only a remnant left – “survivor”
-grief stricken - from lost loved ones
-homeless – homes destroyed
-defenseless – walls of city destroyed
-unemployed – crops destroyed
-spiritually confused – temple destroyed
c. traumatized bunch on people
d. what they say to Jeremiah is something that John later borrows
2. “Tell us what to do, and we’ll do it” – so far so good
a. (Jeremiah 42:5) “So they said to Jeremiah, “Let the LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything”
b. whenever life’s a mess – that’s a good time to come to God
-- Jesus said, “Come all ye weary…I’ll give you rest”
-- caution: God’s doesn’t want big promises & New Year’s resolutions
-- only thing God wants is --- You!
B. (Read v. 7) Lord Waited 10 Days To Send Them An Answer
1. Don’t you just hate it when you pray – feels like God’s not answering
2. He could have answered it at once, but he didn’t
3. When it seems God isn’t answering – always a reason
4. There’s always “Design in the Delay” & “Significance in the Suspense”
a. not that He doesn’t care
b. usually because he’s preparing the answer or preparing us for the answer
C. (Read v. 8-22) As It Turned Out, Their Original Prayers Were Cheap
1. After 10 days, Jeremiah revealed what God commanded them: to remain in the ruined land of Judah and tend it
2. By then, they had already made up their minds
a. to leave the ruined land and migrate to Egypt
b. where the grass seemed greener
3. Instead of Faithful & True, they were Faithless & Fickle (presumptuous – “God, we are true and faithful – that’s why we’re the remnant – now it’s time for You to show Yourself true & faithful…”)
4. But after only 10 days – they threw in the towel / had minds made up
D. While Some People Are Looking For A God Who Is “Faithful And True”, God Is Looking For A People Who Are “Faithful And True”
1. Faithfulness based on Truth; Truth based on Honesty
2. Honesty before God is the prerequisite to faithfulness to God
a. again, it speaks to how we pray – honestly
- not prayers of ritual pretense – that disconnect us
- but prayers of wretched passion – that connect us
b. so… but how do you pray
- not the quantity of your prayers, but the honesty
- not the intensity, but the intimacy
- question isn’t - “Do you have God’s attention?” but - “Does God has your attention?”
E. God’s Words To People Were Simple: Stay Put, Tend To The Ruins
1. It’s a ruined land – anything but a desirable place
2. But there’s a reason why you’re there, reason why I didn’t let the Babylonians haul you off – reason why you remain behind
3. No, it’s not the Jerusalem of her glory days – but you’re here
4. Tend to the ruins
F. Sometimes God Says “Move On”; But More Often He Says “Tend To The Ruins”
1. Easier to move on, harder to tend to the ruins
2. Takes a people who are truly faithful and true – to stick it out
a. I know some of you hate your job…
b. I know some of you feel trapped in your marriage
c. I know some of you feel trapped in your sick body
d. I know some of you hate school …
G. God Told Them If They Obeyed Him, Stayed Put, Tended The Ruins…
1. Several things would happen
a. God would be with them and care for them
b. God was in charge, not the king of Babylon