Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. We're continuing a series from Seminary Chapel on proclaiming the invincible word in a cancel culture. Today's speaker is Dr. Mark Bottori, Executive Director of Gospel Fellowship Association Missions. All right, I'd like to invite all of you to open your scriptures this morning to Jeremiah chapter 20, and I'm assuming that the majority of us, if not all of us, have already told the Lord, Lord, here am I. I will do whatever, I will go whatever. Father, I'm your servant to use as you would deem your will. Okay, I'm launching out on that assumption that you would not be here today studying in the seminary, preparing yourself this way, if you had not already committed yourself that way to the service of the Lord. But I don't know how many of you have really considered what all that means. Now, I was assigned the topic, the proclamation to self when doubting your call.
What do you do when you doubt your call? How do you handle the discouragements of ministry? Throughout the history of the servants of the Lord, that we find that they themselves experienced the depths of discouragement and many of them led to the doubt of their own call.
William Carey, we know, this missionary statesman. One biographer wrote about him and said that he experienced many times sheer black depression. Spurgeon, you realize out of 39 years of ministry, you know how many times he resigned? 32. He was ready to quit 32 times out of 39 years of ministry.
David Brainer, deep bouts of melancholy. He often wondered if God would ever do anything through him. The beginning of his ministry, there was just dismal. The doubts, maybe I've missed my call and maybe Simpson and the list can go on and on and on. John the Baptist, I've often thought of this, you know, when he was finally put into prison, the disciples came and John asked them, is this the Christ or should we seek another?
Just wondered at that moment of, have I wasted myself? The disciples themselves, John 21, after the resurrection, even after the resurrection, and there was a time there, spent a time when Christ had not appeared and we find Peter saying, I'm going fishing. I'm going back to my former bed. I'm just going to go fishing.
I'm hungry. And the other disciples said, we're going to go with you. Now what motivated that? They had been given such wonderful prospects and promises of what God was going to do, but Mark 16, 8 says they were afraid at that point. Verse 11, they believed not. Verse 13, neither believe they them. Verse 14, they believed not.
Discouragement. Wondering and questioning, did we make the wrong decision? I mentioned in the beginning how that, I have to trust and believe that all of you at one point have made that decision. I will serve Jesus Christ.
I will follow him wherever, do whatever. Do whatever. Jeremiah, I like to look at this passage as Jeremiah's letter of resignation. We see him also, and we're going to get into that passage a little more, but to the point he says, this is not working out like I thought. I might as well quit.
Might as well just throw in the towel. A couple years ago, I was talking with a young man who was studying for the ministry here. As we got a little more into his plans, he thought it was very wise for him to approach his preparation this way. He said, I'm preparing for the ministry, but I'm majoring in business. Just in case the ministry doesn't work out, I'll have something to fall back onto. What do you think?
You know what's going in my mind at that moment? You might as well just go into the business, because at some point, like the disciples and Peter saying, I'm going fishing. Because I can pretty much guarantee all of us as we go into the ministry and serve Christ, there are going to be moments when there's there are going to be moments when there's great disappointment, discouragement, and even times when you would doubt your call. You know Jeremiah, we esteem him, we look at him as this great prophet of God, but he was discouraged and possibly even doubted his call at this moment. You know, discouragement can come by disqualifying sin. Discouragement can come upon a servant of Christ by a distracted focus, by a disobedient heart, by discouraging results. But here in Jeremiah, we can find that his discouragement came, as we find here in this passage, by two things. First of all, by the adversity, by adversities that were from without.
A faithful man, and this often happens, we faithfully serve, we faithfully give our lives to serve Christ, but it somehow doesn't work out the way we've envisioned it. We go back to chapter 19, the last verses that we find Jeremiah prophesying, verses 14 and 15, and it says that, thus said the Lord of hosts, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns, all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks. He prophesied against them. And we get into chapter one of, verses one and two of chapter 20, we find that Pashor, the son of the high priest, a leader, he took Jeremiah, and it says he smote him.
The word smote really means that he severely beat as to destroy, or as to murder, to kill. Because he prophesied as he did, he took this man, he took the prophet, and severely beat him, and then threw him in stocks, threw him in the prison, the dark, dingy, moldy dungeon in the prison, and chained him to the wall. We get into, continue on here in chapter 20, verses three and onward, it says, and it came to pass on the morrow, the next morning, the next day. He said, all right, pull Jeremiah out of the prison, now let's ask him. But Jeremiah came forth, and he went now for four more verses, I mean condemning the city, condemning the man. In fact, he says that Jeremiah told him, verse three, the Lord had called thy name, had not called thy name Pashor, which means the giver of freedom, but, meaning the cause of terror on every side.
Sounds like some politicians we know, are aware of. I mean, on every side, causing disruption and terror. All right, now Jeremiah's speaking the word of the Lord, the prophecy, against the very man the day before beat him, and threw him in stocks, and now he comes out the next day with greater boldness.
I mean, he really lets into this man. Verse five, he'll deliver all the strength of the city, all their labors, all their precious things will be given over to Babylon, and, Pashor, you will die in Babylon, all your friends and family. Well, what do you think he did at that moment? I want you to notice from verse six to verse seven, we go from verse six to prophet, bold proclamation, but then we see in verse seven, Lord, you deceived me. So I wonder, what happened between six and seven?
You know, I can pretty much guarantee probably what happened. Pashor whooped the guy again, beat him to bloodiness, and bruised, and threw him once again in jail, and put him in the stocks, and chained him to the wall. Here's Jeremiah going, Lord, you deceived me. I'm faithfully doing what you asked me to do, but look what's happened. Is this the way you treat your servants?
You deceived me. Jeremiah 11 19, Jeremiah described himself as being as an ox to the slaughter. Okay, so what caused Jeremiah's discouragements? Mentioned was the adversaries from without. He suffered physical violence, something we have not had to experience in our country yet. You know, I think of, and I've heard stories of North Korea, how they will go in and there will be a church that they will find having church services, and they will take them out into the street starting with the pastor.
They will steamroll them. How does that affect you? I envision as they pull the pastor out, and then one of the brethren said, no, me first. Listen, faithfulness to God's call may cause and may bring upon us such difficulty and attacks. There was the attacks from without that was upon him.
This past weekend, speaking with the pastor of the church, I was up near Milwaukee. He was telling me about years ago there had been someone who'd passed some false information about him. He was affected by verbal abuse, not just physical abuse.
It was verbal. And the same with Jeremiah. We can find that the people stood against him. They rejected him.
They rejected his message. I wrote the verse down. He said, this is the verse that sustained him. And folks, if not anything else, you know, often we think at a lot of those preparing the ministry, in fact, I thought this one time as a young man also, man, I want to be a pastor.
I want people to like me. If I can be a pastor, everybody will like me. Have you ever thought that?
It doesn't work out that way. Well, here, Nehemiah, you know, he was the weeping prophet. The book is full of his tears that he shed for the people that he gave his ministry heart to, but they rejected it.
Sometimes the physical attacks don't hurt as much as when the people that you love turn on you. And that's what this pastor said. But years later, the Lord redeemed his testimony. But this is the verse he used. He says, Proverbs 29, 22 through 23, he says, an angry man stirs up strife and a hot-tempered person abounds in wrongdoing. A person's pride will bring him blow, but a humble spirit, he will obtain favor. And he found, he said, he kept quoting that, that he would respond in humility.
He would respond correctly. And the Lord did redeem him. So there was attacks from without, but there were attacks from within. And by the way, also, these are the most devastating. I mean, people can speak against us. People can harm our bodies.
And I think that's the most devastating thing. I mean, I mean, people can speak against us. People can harm our bodies. But when we begin with the wrong attitude, or we have that victim mentality, poor me, everybody's against me. See, the inward attitudes can do more to damage our ability to minister to the people than just about anything else. But they're abusing me. You know what? I've often thought this. The best way to tell if a man's got a servant's heart is to find out how we react when we see people treat him that way.
What do we do when people respond to us in such a negative way? I'm all alone, he said. Chapter 15 verse 17 says, I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced. I sat alone because of thy hand, Lord.
I was all alone. And when we start getting this type of victim mentality, we start to make wrong kind of judgments and decisions. I've often thought of Elijah, you know, when he was being pursued by Jezebel. Why was he fleeing? She's going to kill me. She's after my life.
So he goes out under the juniper tree and says, what? Lord, you might as well kill me. I'm going, wait a minute. Does that seem logical to you? Well, I'm going to flee Jezebel's hand.
But Lord, since I'm here, why don't you go ahead and kill me? It makes no logic. The ill logic of how we begin to think when our attitudes are wrong from within, we start making wrong decisions. And by the way, when you're in the moment of discouragement, that's not the time to make decisions.
Because you will also be in danger of responding irrationally. Calvin thought of Jonah. He's on the ship. And what does he tell the sailors? Throw me overboard. I think, you rascal, why don't you jump? Have you ever thought about that? Throw me overboard.
What, he wants to include them and have them murder him? You rascal, jump. And then also I think of what happened when they say, okay, let's throw him overboard. He was probably running around that ship. No, no, no, no, no, no. They finally caught him and throw him in. I mean, irrational thinking.
How many times did Jonah then find himself under the juniper tree? Lord, you might as well just kill me. Come on.
Let me tell you, when you start down the path of those wrong internal attitudes, I'm all alone. I might as well just flee and run. I'll just quit. Flee with these people. I'll quit.
Then we start becoming irrational. Chapter nine, verse two. And we find that Jeremiah says, I will not make mention of him nor speak anymore in his name. I'm done. These people are not listening. I'm just going to quit.
They don't deserve me anyways. I'm going to go someplace else. And he's going to flee. The discouragement will affect our judgment. All right, so we see Jeremiah.
I've got just a couple more minutes. I just want to talk not about the causes of his discouragement, but what was the cure of his discouragement? How did he come out of this? Bible, let me say this. If you don't remember anything else, remember this, okay? Discouragement, when responded to correctly, will not last. The doubt of your call, when dealt with properly before the Lord, will not last. You will understand the power of the call of God in your life and how he uses you. You will see his hand upon you. Just wait.
Don't quit. Jeremiah and the stocks, they're in the depths of that prison, chained to a wall. At one point, he said, Lord, you've deceived me.
You led me on thinking that you would do this, and now look at me. Interestingly, the Lord's servant so often and over the years, we can find as we read their stories, even the men that I read to you at the very beginning, these that I listed, and there's more. Spurgeon, William Carey, all these men. They discovered that the lows always seemed to precede new times of empowering for ministry. David Brainerd, after he slipped into the depths of doubt, an unprecedented outpouring of the Spirit came upon the American Indians, and God used his preaching to reach multitudes of these people for Christ. There was a great powering of his life. That's why we know him today, but he had it. He went through a time of great despair before then.
Discouragement will not last forever. If we respond correctly, God will show his hand in his mighty power. The cause or the cure of Jeremiah's doubt, first of all, is that he returned to the word he was called to proclaim. He returned to the word he was called to proclaim. Now, chapter one, verse eight, he says, the Lord told him, be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee. He said, I am with thee to deliver thee. I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. He called Jeremiah chapter one. In that call, he says, I will be with you. I will defend you.
I will deliver you. But he forgot about that when he was chained to the wall of that dungeon. But he had to go back to the word of God, and that's what gave him the assurance. Chapter 20, verse 11, now says, but the Lord is with me. Here's his testimony. The Lord is with me. He went back and rehearsed God's promise to him when God first called him, as you read in chapter one, verse eight.
The Lord is with me. Therefore, my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail. They shall be greatly ashamed, for they shall not prosper. Their everlasting confusion shall not be forgotten. You see, it was not the power or the will of man that got him out of the discouragement.
It was the power of the word of God that got him out of discouragement. And I'm looking out here this morning, and I am sure most of you here have learned, have made that most wonderful discovery. And by this, what I use, I have a tablet.
This, it works great. When I travel, I've got around here, I'm on the road all the time. But this, the scripture, has become the most wonderful treasure in my life. It's not a book just to study to understand. It's a book to read and understand that it can be applied to our lives. This has become the most wonderful treasure in my life. If you're only looking at this scripture for sermon preparation, for fulfillment of a class requirement, you need to get to the point that this book, you see that it is alive.
It is alive. And it does work in our, there are, I'm a morning guy, I'm up, I'm 4th or 3rd this morning, I'm wake, I'm just, I'm up. And this is great because I used to get up and go to my little study and open up and have a cup of coffee or something.
Now I can just open this up and it lights up and boom, I can still stay in a nice, warm, comfortable bed. And I just look forward to it so much. Do you have that relationship with this book, my friends?
If you don't, start. And this will sustain you more than anything else in your Christian life. This will keep you anchored to God's purpose. No matter what comes, no matter what happens, this will give you that strength that is needed. So he returned to the Word he was called to proclaim, but also returned to his call to proclaim the Word.
I'm going to do this. It says in verse 9, it says, But his word was in me as a burning fire shot up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing. And I was weary with forbearing.
He said, I was weary of resisting that. It became so alive in me, I could not resist it. Of course, I'm reading King James and it says, And I could not stay. I couldn't stay there. In other words, that means I couldn't stop. This is something that so overwhelmed me that I had to do it. And, ladies and gentlemen, again, this book is the thing that will empower you to do what Christ has called you to do.
Whatever difficulty, whatever circumstance, whatever wall you may be chained to one day for preaching the truth of the gospel, it is this book that will sustain you over everything else. But see, he had to go back to his call. He had to go back to when God said, I'm calling you. Before you were born, I called you. And there are times when that's what we need to do. We go back to that moment when God laid on our heart.
He made it clear that he wanted us to serve him in this way. Years ago, and by the way, I've been the executive director for 31 years. That means I have I've worked through a lot of situations with missionaries. Oh, they're on deputation and, Brother Mark, this just is not working out like I thought. I begin to wonder if God's really called me. What's the problem? Well, you know, I've been to, you know, 25 churches.
There are only 10 of them taking me on for support. Well, great. Wonderful. No, but I'm doubting my call. I'm not sure.
How do I... I say, well, okay, brother, let's... Do you remember when God called you? Oh, yes, yes, I do, I do. Remember how God confirmed that in your life? Oh, yes, God's people confirmed. I said, so now, what has changed? Well, nothing.
There's your answer. Returning to that moment of God calling... Put that in your heart and mind. Sometimes it is one moment, one spot, one particular point in time. Sometimes it may be that it was a... Over time, he really revealed this to you, what you should be doing.
But keep that in your mind. And Jeremiah, he stood up again and continued to preach. Now, by the way, we know the book of Jeremiah doesn't have a happy ending. It's about the unraveling of a nation. It's a sad story of the decline of God's people from faith to idolatry to exile.
It doesn't have a very happy ending, but he continued faithful. And by the way, this book becomes a great book for our generation. As we live in a post-Christian generation, we need men and women who are going to stand up and stay true.
Even though there may be the physical assaults, there will be the words spoken against us, the opposition. We need a generation that will really, that will remain faithful to the word and their calling, even in times like this. Jeremiah, he doubted, he got discouraged and doubted.
But in the end, he could do none other than to do what God has called him to do. Let's determine to be that generation. Now is our moment in history. Now is our opportunity to be like Jeremiah. What are we going to do?
I say, let's determine right now, we are going to stand for Christ. And when we get discouraged, we will go back to the word. We'll reconfirm our culture, we'll go back to the word. We'll reconfirm our call and keep going. There will be times as you might, God has abandoned us. We'll say, Lord, you were unfaithful to me.
Where are you at? But then he'll come through and show himself faithful and powerful. But it takes our ability to be that generation. And that's the need right now of our generation, of your generation, to be a Jeremiah in a post-Christian culture that will do all it can to make us conform to them. Let's stay faithful to God and his word. Father, I pray that you'll bless now and help us to understand that discouragement and doubt, when we respond correctly to it, will not last forever. But you will give us once again strength, confidence, boldness, and power to do what you've called us to do. This is our moment in history. May we be found faithful. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to a message preached by Dr. Mark Batori, Executive Director of Gospel Fellowship Association Missions. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the series, Proclaiming the Invincible Word in a Cancel Culture, here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-24 20:53:12 / 2023-05-24 21:02:56 / 10