Jeremiah 4-6, Psalm 14
Though I have been a Christian for over 25 years, until the last 5-6 years I didn’t share my faith boldly or with any consistency. Mark Cahill gave a talk and issued a challenge to those assembled to share the gospel message with one person that week. I took the challenge and now find opportunities everywhere; with my family, at the gym, with my office staff, at the hospital, and especially with my patients. The world doesn’t just need a kind word or a loving look, they desperately need Jesus. Jeremiah was specifically called (Jer. 1:5), though we may not be called to be evangelists like Billy Graham or Gregg Laurie (Ephesians 4:11-12), we have all been commissioned by Jesus, Himself, to share the gospel message in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”. Realize a prophet was told to speak forth the Word of God, we are told to speak forth the gospel message.
Like Jeremiah, we all have many reasons why we hesitate in this commission. In Jer 1:6, he says, “…Behold, I cannot speak…”. God goes on to tell him in Jer. 1:7-8, “…And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you.” Throughout the rest of this book almost every portion is started with some variation of, “the word of the Lord came to me”. For myself and probably for many, we held back sharing for fear of not having the right words, receiving a poor response, losing friends, etc. But Jesus tells us in Luke 12:11-12, “…do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach in that very hour what you ought to say.” Jesus also says not to fear their reactions, in Matthew 10:28, He says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
As we continue to read about the state of Judah, is it really any different than the state of our nation, or for that matter the state of our world. Sin abounded then and does so now. Everyone then was worshiping other gods, the same holds true now. The idols now can be in the form of other religions, for ex. Buddha, Hindu gods, or Allah; but in our society the idols are more in the form of everything else that we choose to love more than God, from our jobs, riches, sports, vacations, even our spouses and children. Those that do hold on to religion usually hold on to the externals of faith without any real heart. The same was true in Jeremiah’s day. In Jer 5:2, he says, “Though they say, ‘As the Lord lives’, Surely they swear falsely.” He goes on to say in Jer 6:20, “…Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, Nor your sacrifices sweet to Me”. Part of the problem then as now were the abundance of religious leaders and false prophets issuing false messages of hope. In Jer. 5:31, “The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And my people love to have it so…”. In 6:14 these same false leaders were, “Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. Jesus, in Matthew 23 made the same statements about the religious leaders in His day. We are surrounded now by religious leaders who practice a form of religion without any heart along with many others who want to avoid any mention of sin in order to keep their message positive.
Jeremiah was announcing judgment to the nation of Judah which was soon to come at the hands of Babylon. He is often called the weeping prophet, for this news devastated him. We now have a more complete story and revelation in that we now have in our hands the Bible with all 66 Books, which include the Gospel message of Jesus along with what to look for in end times. He wept over the destruction of His nation, how much more should we be weeping for all of those who surround us who, not knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior, will spend eternity in hell. Just like Jeremiah knew it was coming, so do we. In chapter 3 of Jeremiah the prophet makes a plea for repentance to stop the judgment. Jesus began His public ministry also calling for repentance, in Matthew 4:17, “…Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Realizing this, we have a literal army of believers who have the capability and the commission to spread the gospel message, yet who for whatever reason, hold back. May we respond like Isaiah did, in Isaiah 6:8, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us? Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” As we do so, may we remember that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, as Paul reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: