Summary: Our Calling, God's Providence, God's Word
ONE CHURCH - One Calling
Jeremiah 1:1-10 (p. 522) June 26, 2016
Jeremiah is often called, “The Weeping Prophet.” He is brokenhearted about the condition of God’s people…and the message he has to deliver to them from the Lord.
And his most famous prophecy is Jerusalem will fall. In fact this book begins and ends with this heartbreaking message.
For 40 years Jeremiah speaks to the kingdom of Judah. From the end of the Assyrian Kingdom until Babylon lays siege to the Holy City from about 626 BC to 587 BC.
Remember, the Israelites have been split into 2 kingdoms: Israel and Judah, Jeremiah’s ministry spans the reign of 5 kings…from Josiah who calls the nation back to repentance and God’s Word, to Zedekiah under whose reign Jerusalem falls and Solomon’s temple is destroyed.
He has been compared to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament because he continually challenged the people of Judah about their sin…and the impending judgment that was coming because of it.
JEREMIAH 1:11-19 (p. 522)
Like a branch about to bear fruit…like a tilted pot of boiling water about to be poured out…consequences were coming.
These consequences would not be directed at the pagan nations that surrounded Israel and Judah…They were coming upon those God had called that had forsaken their calling…and forgotten who called them.
Verse 13 in Chapter 2 says “My people have committed 2 sins. (One) They have forsaken me, the spring of living water and (two) They have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
I. FORSAKING GOD AND LIVING IN OUR OWN WISDOM DESTROYS OUR CALLING
The Israelites had a history where God had called them…It was a covenant relationship that began with Abraham leaving his homeland and heading to the place God promised to him and his descendants. Moses received the plan after the Israelites were rescued out of slavery in Egypt…God provided his presence and protection through the wilderness and through Joshua as they entered the promised land and took possession of it…but after all this they forgot God…they forgot who provided it all..They forgot and forsook His laws…and they began to worship other gods…They were no longer unique…they didn’t want God’s Living Water anymore…They chose to dig their own cisterns.
God would allow the Babylonians to pour down on Jerusalem like boiling water from a pot…the temple would fall…and once again slavery would be the result…Jeremiah cried out for God to His people in warning for 40 years.
Please remember, the covenant with Israel in the Old Testament was just the precursor to the Kingdom of God, His Church in the New Testament.
The writer of Hebrews says, “The Old Covenant was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect) and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:19)
What this clearly means is I can give you a list of rules but that list doesn’t have the power to make you obey…and it can do nothing about the consequences you or I suffer when we break them…
God’s remedy in the Old Testament was an animal sacrifice to postpone the punishment. God’s answer for the Church…His kingdom was the sacrifice of His son to pay for all the consequences of every one who had broken the rules…for those who had postponed the punishment in faith…and those who would accept this payment of grace through faith.
Here’s what Jeremiah prophesied concerning the New Covenant:
JEREMIAH 31:31-33 (p. 548)
Tablets of stone would be replaced with the Holy Spirit…a list of laws would be replaced with God’s indwelling Spirit…Solomon’s temple would no longer house the Holy One…our bodies would become the temple He lives in…The Kingdom of God wouldn’t be in Jerusalem…according to Jesus…The Kingdom of God would be in us.”
Israel’s power wasn’t in how big and influential they were among the nations…Israel’s power was in their calling from God.
So it is with God’s people the Church…The Apostle Paul writes these words to the Corinthians:
1 CORINTHIANS 1:26-31 (p. 793)
For me to remember what I was when God began to call me is easy. I wasn’t wise, I wasn’t influential, I wasn’t noble…I was a fool chasing shameful things…A 17 year old pothead who had dropped out of High School and was washing dishes at the Campbell House. A rebel bound for Hell…The epitome of lost.
And God began to “call” me to Himself…Why He would want to, can only be answered in grace. He sent people into my life that spoke Good News. He used circumstances and situations. He made Himself evident. He broke my hard heart…and I chose to answer His call with repentance and baptism on January 17, 1978. I knew without a doubt why He called me. “It was to testify that if He can save me…He can save anyone.” I’ll never forsake that calling…or forget whose power it took…He chose to love the unloveable and rescue the unrescuable! Gratitude for this is the foundation of everything I am or ever will be. These words describe my calling.