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April 24, 2021 12:01 am
The prophet Jeremiah withstood significant abuse--and yet, through the grace of God, he never allowed his suffering to breed bitterness. Today, R.C. Sproul examines the life of this man whose heart was overflowing with godly compassion.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. As soon as he would give the word that God had put in his mouth. He would no sooner stop speaking than all the rest of the professional profits would run around making fun of him and contradicting his message and they preached exactly what the people wanted to hear the story from our own churches revisited those who preach the truth and vilified will tickle people's ears are elevated Dr. RC's role will not be telling us a modern-day story to your own Renewing Your Mind.
Instead you look back in the Old Testament prophet struggled with the persecution that comes with faithfully preaching God's word sure that all of us have experiences in our lives that we regard as unforgettable special moments that stand out because of the impression they make on us for the impact that they have on our lives and and I can remember vividly going with Vesta to the Reichs Museum in Amsterdam when we were going to school there and we went into the Reichs Museum we saw the magnificent paintings.
The masterpieces from all over the world.
The glory is for example in look decent. So on the French Impressionist, but they had one huge hall that was devoted just for the paintings. The original paintings of Rembrandt phone Ron usually regarded as the greatest of the old masters, but there was a small painting sort of very back in one corner that when I saw it just grabbed me instantly slick so they took her hand and grab my heart with the start of the squeeze and the subtitle that was printed underneath the painting said Jeremy S.
Bo Rupert had on Kong from Jerusalem. The caption was saying. Jeremiah laments the destruction of Jerusalem and I have never seen a painting before or since then, my judgment so captures and crystallizes the agony and the poignancy of a man morning as that painting by Rembrandt. It's not by accident.
The Jeremiah has been called historically, the weeping prophet. So often we think of the image of the prophet as a toff, hard-nosed, flamboyant, outspoken wild man that comes on the scene, shaking his fists and then denouncing the people for their sin, and of course Jeremiah was called to participate in that vocation just like the rest of the prophets that there is a sense that when he brought the word of judgment on his own people. He did it with tears and we see in the person of Jeremiah, not an angry young man but a man whose heart was filled to overflowing with godly compassion and I think that it would help us all to spend some time reading the writings of this profit.
We need to acquire some of the sensitivity of Jeremiah Jeremiah, in my estimation was heroic because he had to deal with rejection like you and I will never have to deal with and somehow through the grace of God never allowed the personal abuse that he suffered the become an occasion for bitterness and that to me is is very very significant. Let's look briefly at the life of Jeremiah starting at the very first chapter of his book with the circumstances of his call whereby God commissions him for his vocation. We read his account of his call in the first chapter beginning at verse four and where Jeremiah writes this the word of the Lord came to me saying before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart and I appointed you as a prophet to the nation's God comes to this young man and he says Jeremiah before you were ever born. I consecrated you to a special task before your mother. Even though what you look like I knew you and I set you apart in my plan in my sovereign destiny for you will notice the first word of the response. I like it in the old version here on Jeremiah to this announcement that God gives to him.
His first word is half greatest like if we put this in the vernacular would be like. Yikes. It's like they say he does and is not in a word, it's in!
He says all sovereign Lord.
I don't know how to speak. I am only a child. It's like before it even starts his ministry he's groaning already. Even as a young man he had some idea of the burden that would fall upon him.
If God whatever select him for the role of the prophet and so he groans. But even in the grown who acknowledges God's sovereignty sovereign Lord, at least he acknowledges that for a moment.
This is part of the reason I like Jeremiah is the Jeremiah.
It is so consistently inconsistent, just like most of us seem so humble here sovereign Lord I'm a young man, I can't do this I'm too young. I can't speak am only a boy sovereign Lord sovereign Lord, are you sure you know what you're doing haven't you made a mistake.
Better you better check that list again to see if that's really my name. Are you sure you're not confusing me with some of the same thing that Moses did is arguing with the one whom he just acknowledged as his sovereign Lord. I was the sovereign Lord respond, but the Lord said to me, do not say I am only a child. You must go to everyone I send you to and say what ever I command you that is an order and he said do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. Is it interesting that God no sooner calls Jeremiah to preaching that the next breath he talks about fear and the need for Jeremiah to be rescued as a tell you anything about the perils of being a prophet in Israel. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and he said to me now.
I have put my words in your mouth while when we read the rest of this book we have to understand that we are not reading the insights of Jeremiah with the words that come out of his mouth are prefaced by the classical prophetic formula, thus saith the Lord. I touched your mouth so that I'm putting my word in your mouth so that when you speak. Jeremiah you speak with nothing less then why authority listen to the agenda. I'm going to point you to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow to build and to plant what he saying is Jeremiah I want you to go to your culture to all of the authority structures of your culture to the church to the priests to the prophets, and to the palace of the king and I want you to apart the current structures and institutions of Israel because they make me sick.
I want a Reformation in this country and before you're going to build your going to have to tear down so Jeremiah says I and he goes and he carries out this man. One of the first things he has to do is to go to the temple, not with his agenda, but with God's words in his mouth and he gives one the most famous sermons that's ever found in the Bible called Jeremiah's temple speech in which he comes there to the temple sorting there in the presence of the people assembled at this holy place, he cries out, saying, thus saith the Lord, you people come here to the temple and you say this is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord three times that is the principle of Hebrew repetition to emphasize a point he makes a mockery of saying the new people just walk around here say this is the temple work.
You're just like this is a temple newcomer. Here's a company toward the temple on the table. Then he says you trust in lying words. Words that cannot profit you and like Jesus.
Much later, Jesus had the same message divorce final themselves about the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus arrived the day is coming when there's not everyone stone left on top of another, because God's gonna tear at the keep in mind that the great threat in the minds of the people in this day was the threat of invasion and of captivity, the northern kingdom suffered the fate of falling before the southern king and the people in Jeremiah's country were convinced that God would never allow those people to be carried away in captivity and so Jeremiah said guess what folks, the temple was going. The nation is going Jerusalem will fall and you are going into captivity. You talk about bad news.
It's like somebody would get on the national television today and say all right America listen to this is your future in two weeks. The Russians are coming there to destroy your cities to take over the churches there to take over the government. Would you be happy to hear. I sure would want to hear the thus oppose after this fella gets on the news and tells you that as soon as he stopped speaking. They would then switch to 15 different news analysts that tell you their ideas and their evaluation of what the messenger has just given and they would tear the guy to shreds and they would give us the full assurance what you don't have to worry about is not on behalf of this guys a doomsday prophet, forget it. You know why you call doomsday profits. Jeremiah's because Jeremiah was a doomsday prophet, that's what.
But what happened as soon as he would give the word that God had put in his mouth, which was the truth he would no sooner stop speaking than all the rest of the professional prophets would run around making fun of him and contradicting his message and they preached exactly what the people wanted to hear. We read and in the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah. Some of the flavor of how he felt about that. Let's go back down to verse 21. I did not send these profits yet they have run with their message.
I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, they would've proclaimed my words to my people, I would've turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.
Then he says in verse 25 I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name they say I had a dream I had a dream, how long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets who prophesy the delusions of their own minds. They think that the dreams that they tell one another will make my people forget my name. Just as their fathers forgot my name through Bill worship right here is a verse that has been branded in my mind since the first time I've ever read. It let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream. Let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. Women who were pastors here this word of God. I can remember when I was in seminary, I was shocked to the point of almost total disillusionment at the unbelief that was apparent in the theologians of our day and in the teachers of art and I was so hurt and then angry about how I read this verse coupled with the psalmist says, fret not thyself about evildoers and and what God was saying to me was I look at their false prophets running around.
Don't worry about that's not your concern. If they want to tell her dreams looked on drinks. Your job is full is to preach the word of God faithfully and every time you preach it.
15 other guys stand up to contradict to that. I'll take care that unless if I go you and take care, don't worry about it as I know you will take care of it. But that's the thing that drives more ministers to compromise than anything else.
The fact that when you do speak the word of God faithfully you got 15 guys screaming and who the people want to follow those guys because their preaching what the people want to hear now. So Jeremiah just sales through all of this right can take if they know that they all preach against not only to the prophets preach against him, but the priests and the politicians get together they enter in a conspiracy to have Jeremiah assassinated. They try to kill him and then they capture him.
Another occasion, and they put him in the stocks.
Remember the picture of of the ancient world where the people would be in the stocks in her hands or through those wooden things in their finger through their and everybody comes along and last of them throws tomato salad and spits on the Eric Harris Jeremiah, God's own prophets reduced to a public spectacle of utter humiliation. Howdy respond, oh Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived. Those of you been here for you. I her record that passage a thousand times because as a clearest example of biblical redundancy that I can point our Lord has deceived me, and I was deceived.
How unnecessary is that last clause of God deceive you to our city.
If there's no doubt about the fact exposure to say but Jeremiah has said loan may and I am overwhelmed. It's like Jeremiah said, God it's not fair. You really didn't let me in on what this was gonna be like if I really would've understood this. I will give Morrison more than all sovereign Lord, I would've said no no no sovereign Lord and in his recess. I ridiculed all day long.
Everyone mocks me whenever I speak I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me what same fortune respect the Lord of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long so I said I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name you're done, I'm done some tireless and I'm this could be real subtle about my Christian faith. I'm not, like gangbusters I would try to charm people into the kingdom of God, because who needs to be a prophet are just not mention the name of Jesus.
I'll just be a Secret Service Christian. I'll show them by my life. There is not no danger, and that folks okay because nobody's life and here is so pure that it threatens anybody as the word of God that brings the coast on your head.
That's where the price tag is that you have to open your mouth.
Since Paul tells us those who believe with the heart and proclaim the maps those are the children of God. Jeremiah says I'd I was all excited as a young man I was full of visions of idealism and I was going to go bust everybody to get this war one and 90 day's but he goes on and on and on and I am in derision and reproach and humiliation every single day and I'm sick of it. I'm turning my prophets card God I clicked only ministers are on his room and I noticed several if you have never felt that in your ministry, chances are you quit being prophetic years ago. But if you have been faithful to the word of God on how much faith you have on a homicide of occasion fills your soul if you never had these feelings as some 02 I cleaned that every time I say thank you God for letting me see that other men feel like I feel because there's not on the week goes by in my life that I don't seriously consider retiring, quitting, say, all God, let me get all of my life's work and out of this because there is no glamour in it through my sis a I can relate to ministers but can't see because the word of God is shot up in my bones like fire and I can't click when then put his lips and put his word in his mouth be stillborn.
Jeremiah swallowed it and got down into his bones is like fire in there.
You can't quite I want to quit for about 15 minutes. When I said okay let's go up.
I I think God the Jeremiah was a human the just like us who was frightened just like we are who enjoyed humiliation about as much as you would humiliation who wanted to be loved and received by his fellow countrymen as much as you want to be loved and received by your fellow countrymen was only one thing more important to him and that was the face of the I need an example like that to live my we all need an example like to live by is so easy to want to give up and we we see the beginnings of persecution in our own times for the church is being told not to hold services pastors even being arrested and fined. Fear may cause some to back away from speaking the truth, but may the fire of God's word burn in our bones just like it did for Jeremiah were glad you joined us today for Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul was reminded is how the Old Testament connects to the New Testament and how all of Scripture applies to our lives today. That's why recommend a resource offer to you when you contact us today with a donation of any amount. We will send you RC series duster glory and 57 messages. He helps us see how every book in the Bible is one cohesive narrative. The story of God bringing the people unto himself will send you the full series when you give a donation of any amount to leader ministries a plus will include a disk containing the study guides for each message again is titled duster glory and you can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or firstname.lastname@example.org when we do face trials and hardships.
There is one man of the Bible whose faithfulness brings us great encouragement. I hope you enjoy this next Saturday is Dr. scroll examines the amazing faith and courage of Joe here on Renewing Your Mind