One Calling by Rick Burdette
ONE CHURCH – One Calling
Jeremiah 1:1-10 (p. 522) June 26, 2016
Jeremiah is often called, “The Weeping Prophet.” He is brokenhearted about the condition of God’s people…and the message he has to deliver to them from the Lord.
And his most famous prophecy is Jerusalem will fall. In fact this book begins and ends with this heartbreaking message.
For 40 years Jeremiah speaks to the kingdom of Judah. From the end of the Assyrian Kingdom until Babylon lays siege to the Holy City from about 626 BC to 587 BC.
Remember, the Israelites have been split into 2 kingdoms: Israel and Judah, Jeremiah’s ministry spans the reign of 5 kings…from Josiah who calls the nation back to repentance and God’s Word, to Zedekiah under whose reign Jerusalem falls and Solomon’s temple is destroyed.
He has been compared to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament because he continually challenged the people of Judah about their sin…and the impending judgment that was coming because of it.
JEREMIAH 1:11-19 (p. 522)
Like a branch about to bear fruit…like a tilted pot of boiling water about to be poured out…consequences were coming.
These consequences would not be directed at the pagan nations that surrounded Israel and Judah…They were coming upon those God had called that had forsaken their calling…and forgotten who called them.
Verse 13 in Chapter 2 says “My people have committed 2 sins. (One) They have forsaken me, the spring of living water and (two) They have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
I. FORSAKING GOD AND LIVING IN OUR OWN WISDOM DESTROYS OUR CALLING
The Israelites had a history where God had called them…It was a covenant relationship that began with Abraham leaving his homeland and heading to the place God promised to him and his descendants. Moses received the plan after the Israelites were rescued out of slavery in Egypt…God provided his presence and protection through the wilderness and through Joshua as they entered the promised land and took possession of it…but after all this they forgot God…they forgot who provided it all..They forgot and forsook His laws…and they began to worship other gods…They were no longer unique…they didn’t want God’s Living Water anymore…They chose to dig their own cisterns.
God would allow the Babylonians to pour down on Jerusalem like boiling water from a pot…the temple would fall…and once again slavery would be the result…Jeremiah cried out for God to His people in warning for 40 years.
Please remember, the covenant with Israel in the Old Testament was just the precursor to the Kingdom of God, His Church in the New Testament.
The writer of Hebrews says, “The Old Covenant was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect) and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:19)
What this clearly means is I can give you a list of rules but that list doesn’t have the power to make you obey…and it can do nothing about the consequences you or I suffer when we break them…
God’s remedy in the Old Testament was an animal sacrifice to postpone the punishment. God’s answer for the Church…His kingdom was the sacrifice of His son to pay for all the consequences of every one who had broken the rules…for those who had postponed the punishment in faith…and those who would accept this payment of grace through faith.
Here’s what Jeremiah prophesied concerning the New Covenant:
JEREMIAH 31:31-33 (p. 548)
Tablets of stone would be replaced with the Holy Spirit…a list of laws would be replaced with God’s indwelling Spirit…Solomon’s temple would no longer house the Holy One…our bodies would become the temple He lives in…The Kingdom of God wouldn’t be in Jerusalem…according to Jesus…The Kingdom of God would be in us.”
Israel’s power wasn’t in how big and influential they were among the nations…Israel’s power was in their calling from God.
So it is with God’s people the Church…The Apostle Paul writes these words to the Corinthians:
1 CORINTHIANS 1:26-31 (p. 793)
For me to remember what I was when God began to call me is easy. I wasn’t wise, I wasn’t influential, I wasn’t noble…I was a fool chasing shameful things…A 17 year old pothead who had dropped out of High School and was washing dishes at the Campbell House. A rebel bound for Hell…The epitome of lost.
And God began to “call” me to Himself…Why He would want to, can only be answered in grace. He sent people into my life that spoke Good News. He used circumstances and situations. He made Himself evident. He broke my hard heart…and I chose to answer His call with repentance and baptism on January 17, 1978. I knew without a doubt why He called me. “It was to testify that if He can save me…He can save anyone.” I’ll never forsake that calling…or forget whose power it took…He chose to love the unloveable and rescue the unrescuable! Gratitude for this is the foundation of everything I am or ever will be. These words describe my calling.
1 TIMOTHY 1:12-17 (p. 829)
The evil one would have us try to start this journey with little gratitude…or try to make us forget that gratitude over time…both will destroy the power behind our calling…and its purpose…because:
II. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR US ALL
“God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are – so that no one, may boast before Him.”
Jeremiah thought of himself as a nothing, a nobody…“I don’t know how to speak, I am too young.” (Jer. 1:6)
Maybe that’s been your thought, “I’m too young…I’m too old…I’m too poor…I’m too hurt…I’m too…anything!
But the word of the Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5)
And before you use the excuse…“Well He’s just talking to Jeremiah!” He’s just calling him.
Peter said, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. The promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
I believe the foundation behind God’s plan is “He isn’t willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance…He’s not slow in keeping His promise…He’s patient.”
(2 Peter 3:9)
Because of this, I believe He calls every one of us to repentance…He sends people with the message of Good News…His Holy Spirit cuts our hearts in conviction of sin…Now we decide whether to come home or stay in the pig pen. We decide to surrender, be baptized into Christ’s death burial and resurrection…receiving the promised gift of the Holy Spirit…or we harden our hearts to His call and turn away.
But if we turn to God…open the door when He knocks…and repent and are baptized and fulfill with His Spirit…it’s for a purpose…
“GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…and I will be with you to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
In the same way He told Jeremiah to go to everyone I send you to and say what I command you to say. He does for each person whose answered His call…same God, same plan.
The reason many never do this or stop living within God’s plan is the same reason Israel forgot and forsook God’s call.
Once they had security, safety and comfort they forgot about Egypt and slavery. They forgot who had rescued them and brought them to the promised land. They decided to dig their own broken cisterns and worship the same gods that everyone else did. Instead of thirsting for God who is the spring of living water…they filled their Tervis with self sufficiency and pride. “We’ve got it on our own now God…we don’t really need you now.” And the consequences were devastating. All nations were supposed to be blessed through Israel and their covenant relationship with God…but that wasn’t going to happen when they forgot Him and His plan.
Jesus said that The Holy Spirit is living water which fills every believer’s soul…He’s saying this to a woman who’d had 5 husbands and was living with a guy she wasn’t married to. A Samaritan…a non-Jew…He says whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) He describes this as “the gift of God.”
The purpose of this gift is to provide living water to people like this woman who are thirsty for hope…people who have looked for it in relationships and worldly cisterns…but all the water has leaked out.
Is your life a living water spring to a lost world? Does the gratitude of your salvation pour out into compassion for those who are dying? Because this is God’s plan to save the world.
[One of my least favorite pictures I’ve ever seen was this one after the Orlando shooting in a gay night club where 49 people were killed and 53 injured by an Islamic radical terrorist.
The caption above it said, “I’ve got your tolerance right here.”
I’m not totally sure what the poster of this picture meant, but I know what I thought when I saw it… “Let’s kill all homosexuals.” I wrote this:
My heart has been broken in many ways this weekend by the evil that transpired in Orlando, but I continue to trust my beautiful, loving, and wise Savior. I seek the answers that lie in between having a loving and compassionate heart like His while trying also to rely on His Word of truth when it comes to our need for redemption.
May the heart and desire for sin to be dealt with with punishment and death never beat in my chest. I know without a doubt Jesus paid for all our punishment with His death, burial and resurrection….He paid for the wages of my sin…all our sin….and I believe He is able…able to forgive, able to change, able to transform and renew.
“Lord God, It is my fervent prayer that you will let me and every other person who claims to follow in your steps to love…when we try to feebly speak your truth….let it be with love and a hope of redemption. Lord God help me fight the evil one and his schemes, but always with the knowledge it’s never against flesh and blood…but dark spiritual forces which hide your glory from the world…help me Lord to love even when I disagree with someone….Lord God, help me to never expect those who are not led by your Holy Spirit to think like those who are….O God, give me your heart, mind, strength and purpose. O Lord God let me be consumed with your grace”]