Summary: This sermon looks at God's object lesson on faithfulness found in Jeremiah and how it secures God's blessings, determines eternal rewards, and is a requirement for ministry. It explores God's faithfulness even though we're not as faithful as we should be.
The Way of the Faithful
As I have mentioned, during this year we’ll be exploring in more depth those doctrines that I’ve identified as being covered over by Satan in a sermon series which is the basis of the book I’m presently writing called “Wells Of Living Water.”
And the point is that we as the church and believers need to open them back up if we’re ever going to see that revival and renew that we’ve been praying for.
Today we’re going to be looking the Rechabites during a time when the nation of Judah had turned its back on the Lord and His ways as outlined in the Torah, or God’s word and commandments.
What we’re going to be looking at is God’s object lesson on faithfulness as the prophet Jeremiah invited the Rechabites to have a drink, and through their example of faithfulness we’re going to see God’s blessing, but also God’s pronouncement of judgment upon the nation of Judah for their unfaithfulness.
Read Jeremiah 35:1-2, 5-19
To get a backdrop on why God chose the Rechabite tribe for this demonstration, it’s necessary to understand their history.
It began two hundred years earlier with Jonadab, the head of the Rechabite family. He lived in Israel during the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. It was a sad time in Israel’s history as the nation turned even further away from their worship of God, along with the idolatrous worship of Baal, whose worship involved lavish rites, drunkenness, immorality, and even child sacrifice.
After Ahab’s death, his son acted just as wickedly with his mother Jezebel at his side. After 12 years the prophet Elisha anointed Jehu as the next king over Israel, and Jehu was joined by Jonadab to rid the country of Ahab’s family and friends.
In essence Jonadab had a bird’s eye view of the destructiveness of this sort of lifestyle. To protect his family in the years and centuries to come he had them swear an oath to keep themselves from wine, and forbid them from building homes or planting crops. Instead they were to live in tents and raise livestock.
And after two hundred years his family remained faithful to their oath. In like manner God is testing our faithfulness as well. Will we remain faithful? Notice again what God says to the people of Judah.
Read Jeremiah 35:12-16
What we see is a sad parallel to today’s church. You see, there exists a temptation that happens over time, and that is our zeal, faithfulness, and obedience to God and His word begins to wane, which is what we see throughout the history of the church.
The Methodist church is no longer as Wesley had envisioned, and if Martin Luther saw what had become of the Lutheran church, he’d probably post his challenge on its doors as well as the doors of the Catholic Church.
But the same can also be said for almost every Protestant denomination out there. That’s because we’ve left that first love relationship for religious tradition. But the church isn’t a bunch of denominations; rather it’s individual Christians gathering together to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.
So how’s our zeal, faithfulness and obedience been holding out?
When we look at the first church we see they began well. They were faithfully sharing the faith and people were being added to the church, or saved on a daily basis.
Unfortunately this is one area that today’s church has been less than faithful in. We’ve received the blessings of salvation and now it’s like we want to hoard it all to ourselves. We get healed, touched by God hearing His words of life, but we’re keeping silent not sharing all the wonderful things God has done and is doing in our lives.
It seems like we’ve bought into the lie and world’s philosophy that faith is something that’s personal and needs to be kept personal. But it’s not. It’s active and alive, and the Bible continually commands us to be sharing our faith to everyone and at all times.
But this isn’t something new. After such a good start, the first church soon found itself in the same boat. They were keeping this good news to themselves, or better yet, only telling it only to those of the Jewish faith. They weren’t faithful to the Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations.
And because of their unfaithfulness God sent persecution to get them up and out, and the gospel then spread to the four corners of the earth.
So how faithful are we?
• How faithful are we in our giving and meeting the needs of others who are in need?
• How faithful are we in our fellowship? Are we attending church on a regular basis and involved in some small group. The Bible describes the first church meeting not only in the temple daily, but also house to house?