INTRO: The Old Testament book of Jeremiah may be one of the most difficult to study because it is not arranged in a chronological order. Still, there is one great message to be considered there. It mattered not to which of the several kings under which Jeremiah lived; the message was the same. Jerusalem is doomed! Jeremiahs ministry spanned a period of about fifty years and involved five of Judahs kings. His ministry began when Josiah, a good king, reigned in Jerusalem. When Josiah died, we are told, Jeremiah lamented for Josiah (2 Chron 35:25). The rest of the kings with whom Jeremiah dealt were evil, rebellious men. Jeremiah probably died in Egypt where he was forced to go with a remnant of the people of Judah.
I. SOME OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BOOK
A. First, Jeremiah was a youth when called by God
1. Jer 1:6 - I am a child
2. late teens? no more than twenty?
3. to our young people I would say that the idea of irresponsible youth is not entertained by the Lord ... Jeremiah was called to an incredible task in his youth
B. Second, the mission of Jeremiah was summarized at Jer 1:10
1. when one reads the entire book of Jeremiah, this mission becomes clear
2. it begins, of course, with judgment upon Judah - and restoration
3. but the book entertains the fates of Babylon, Egypt and other nations
C. Third, one sees several interesting object lessons in this book
1. there are almond trees, boiling cauldrons, broken jars, pots of figs, yokes, stones hidden in a brickkiln
2. each has to do, in some way, with the great mission noted in 1:10
3. some were messages to the prophet; others to Jerusalem & Judah
D. Fourth, the little expression Ah, Lord God
1. ill: 1:6, 4:10
2. this little expressions signals Jeremiahs taking exception to something the Lord has said or done
3. it suggests to me a wonderfully comfortable relationship between the prophet and the Lord
E. Fifth, the many references to the north
1. these begin at 1:13 and continue through the book
2. the explanation is at 1:14 - later, the north is identified as Babylon and the coming destruction, captivity at Babylons hands
3. the reason for all of this? 1:16 ... spiritual adultery!
F. Sixth, Jeremiah was not an appreciated prophet, preacher!
1. he was ridiculed, threatened, put in stocks, imprisoned, starved, thrown into a deep pit in the bottom of which was mire
2. there were some of the people who listened and were concerned
3. but when they went to their prophets and priests with Jeremiahs words, their concerns were dismissed (cf. 26:16,21)
II. SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
A. Jer 20:14-18 - ...that my days should be consumed with shame
1. imagine how he must have felt ... he had preached a harsh, unpopular message
2. everywhere he turned his message was rejected, belittled
3. it was, no doubt, difficult for him to appreciate life!
B. Jer 36:20-24 - ...he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire...
1. here was the contempt in which the word of God was held by leadership
2. yet they were not afraid ... some people become so hardened and calloused that the word of God makes no impact
3. 1 Tim 4:1-3 - the seared conscience!
C. Jer 22:8,9 - ...because they have forsaken the covenant...
1. why study from the prophets? why wade through such unfamiliar territory?
2. if for no other reason, to learn how the Lord looks at a broken covenant!
3. we are people of the new covenant ... we were baptized into it ... and if we forsake it, what can we expect of God? Heb 10:26-31
CLOSE: There is so very much more in this great book. But I will close with Jer 26:13 - amend you ways ... obey the voice of the Lord your God. If Jeremiah had one message to share with us, I wonder if this may not have been it!
Cecil A. Hutson
19 January 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)