Jeremiah 7-9, Psalm 15
Often when I share the gospel with someone and it doesn’t seem to take root in the other person, I will think to myself, “I should have said this or that instead”. “If only I would have mentioned this area of Scripture”. There lies the fault in the way I think. In a courtroom scene, we are called to be the witness, not the defense or prosecuting attorney. So our role is simply to plant the seed of the gospel message, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase”. Whether it takes root or not has more to do with the condition of the soil of the heart of the person hearing the message (Matthew 13:1-23 Parable of the Sowers).
We learn about the condition of the hearts of the people of Judah at this time in Jer. 4:4, “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And take away the foreskins of your hearts…” In Jer. 6:10, it goes on to say, “To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised…” Our reading concludes today in Jer 9:26, where it says, “…For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” Paul explains this further in the letter to the Romans 2:28-29, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”
Presently many who consider themselves intelligent like to refer to themselves as “agnostic”. In Latin “agnostic” means ignoramus. In Jer. 9:23-24 he explains the futility of this mentality, “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me…”. Because of the condition of the soil of their hearts, his message and now the gospel message is often not received. Jeremiah was told in Jer 7:27, “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.” Isaiah was told the same thing in Isaiah 6:9-10, which Jesus quoted in Matthew 13:14-15. So, we should not get frustrated, but keep planting the seed of the gospel message. For even Jesus, God Himself, when He was teaching his disciples was rejected. We read this in John 6:60 and 66, “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” But Peter, whose soil was right responded to Jesus’ question in 6:67, “Do you also want to go away?” Peter said in Jn 6:68-69, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” When we share the gospel message we should remember the joy in heaven when even one sinner repents (Luke 15:4-7).
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: