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Summary: Can people go so far in sin that they become virtually incapable of repentance?

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PAST THE POINT OF NO RETURN

JEREMIAH 14-20

INTRODUCTION: Let’s do a quick review. Look at Jeremiah’s tasks. He has been created by God and called by God. He has been conditioned, positioned and commissioned for his tasks. Look at his travels. He has left his shelter to go to the square. From the square he went to the sanctuary. From the sanctuary he hits the streets. Now he goes from the streets to the society (see 17:19). This is a place where the maximum number of people and leaders would be. Look at his teachings. He is God’s prophetic voice calling the people to repentance. He faithfully preaches God’s word as it came to him. Look at his treatment. Jeremiah had been ignored, rejected, ridiculed, threatened and plotted against. At times he thought he was a complete failure. He wanted to quit various times. Jeremiah is so relevant to our day. His ministry is our ministry!

Let’s pick up in Chapter 14. Let me pose a question. “Can people go so far in sin that they become virtually incapable of repentance?” The answer is yes!

I. JUDAH’S DISASTER

Judgment is falling. God is withholding His blessings and protection.

A. The Severe Crisis (14:1-6). Note the “drought”. Confusion, grief, desperation, despair and dismay gripped the land. People were finger pointing. There was a drought of water because there was a drought of the word. Jeremiah directly tied the drought to the divine.

B. The Sincere Cry (14:7-15:9). This is known as Jeremiah’s laments.

1. Confession (14:7-12). He connected the drought and the dilemma to disobedience.

2. Cause (14:13-18). See the phony preachers, false prophets and gullible public. See 5:30-31.

3. Covenant (14:19-15:9). God had always kept His end of the bargain. The people had failed to keep theirs. While repeatedly breaking God’s commands they assumed they could always count on His favor. They didn’t hesitate to emphasize his obligation but constantly ignored their duties.

C. The Sovereign Choice (14:11-12). See 7:16; 11:14; 15:1-4. This sounds harsh and cruel but remember they had abandoned, forsaken, ignored, rejected, disregarded and scoffed at God. They had become corrupt legally, judicially and politically. God tells Jeremiah, “You can call in the greatest saints to pray but to no avail.”

II. JEREMIAH’S DIRECTIONS

A. No Marriage (16:1-4) This is not temporary but permanent. This is a symbolic act. The future was so bleak he should not subject a family to it. Jeremiah, like the nation, would lead a lonely, solitary life. There will be times when God asks us to give up our plans for the sake of the Kingdom. This is not a commentary to follow or a model to implement. God established the institution of marriage. Celibacy was the exception.

B. No Mourning (16:5-7) Show no comfort. That’s cruel. Imagine a pastor doing this? This would isolate and alienate the prophet. He would be accused as uncaring. Why this command? God was withdrawing His comfort. God wants to comfort us but how can He when we ignore Him?

C. No Merriment (16:8-9) No celebrations for Jeremiah. This would further alienate. It would tarnish his reputation. He was to have no social enjoyment. Why? The message is “Life as they had known it was coming to an end.” It’s time people got serious about the moral and spiritual conditions of the land.

III. JEHOVAH’S DESIRE

A study of the book reveals a people of idolatry, immorality, irreverence and

indifference. They had no shame and saw no need for divine help.

What was their problem? The same as ours - see 17:7-9. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart! Many say today, “People are basically good.” No they are not. We are basically evil. That’s why Jesus came to die on the cross! There is only one who understands our human nature and condition – see 17:10.

Now come with me to Chapter 18. The greatest gift of life is life itself. The second greatest gift in life is a second chance. Always remember that sovereignty is always tempered with love and mercy. In Chapters 18-20 there are three subjects referenced. I only want to deal with the first. Look at Jeremiah’s visit to the potter’s house. It captures well God’s desire for His own.

A. The Meeting (18:1-4) He doesn’t go to deliver but to develop a message. God meets us in the most common places.

B. The Meaning (18:5-6) The clay was spoiled, marred and flawed. What would the potter do? Instead of casting it aside, he reworked it into another vessel. He turned or changed directions.

C. The Mystery (18:7-10) We have the freedom. He has freedom to change his purpose. The word “repent” means a change of purpose.

D. The Message (18:11-12) It’s not the flaw that matters but the Father.

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