When we hear that something is “new and improved,” we would do well to ask hard questions and exercise discernment. Especially when considering theological truth. In the midst of Jeremiah’s Book of Consolation in Jeremiah 31:31-34, God promises a New Covenant – a promise formative in the history and theology of the Church. But just what is ‘new’ about the New Covenant? How ‘new’ is it? And why was something ‘new’ needed? Listen to “What’s New About the New Covenant,” as we examine Jeremiah 31:31-40 and consider what is ‘new’ about the New Covenant and why it matters.
Jeremiah spent four decades warning of Judah of judgment and exile. Through warning after warning, God called the people to turn back to Him, but they would not. They sought comfort down every path except the path of faith and repentance. But God did not forsake them. When hope seemed lost, God gave the prophet Jeremiah a word of comfort for the people. But to take comfort from God’s promises, we must receive them. We must believe them by faith. We must turn back to Him. We must rest in the assurance that Our Father has it all together.
Listen to “Taking Comfort,” as we examine Jeremiah 31:1-30 and consider how God calls us to receive and experience the comfort He offers.
God instructs Jeremiah to speak words of consolation to fallen Judah. And not just speak them, but write them down. Words for them and for us! Jeremiah spent four decades warning of judgment and exile. Now, when hope seems lost, he opens a new chapter – the Book of Consolation. In the midst of the longest, and most sorrowful book in the Bible, we find bright promises of God’s grace. Jeremiah 30-33 is often called the ‘Book of Consolation.’ Listen as we examine Jeremiah 30 and consider how God calls us and consoles us with grace in the midst of judgement.
After the fall of Jerusalem, the people of Judah lived as resident aliens in Babylon. They were not merely collateral of war, the Lord sent them into exile. He had a purpose for them among the Babylonians, to reveal His glory and seek the “shalom” of the city where He sent them. We see in their exile the paradigm and paradox of the Christian life as they are placed by God’s providence in the midst of pagan Babylon, yet called to remain distinct as God’s covenant children. Listen as we examine Jeremiah 29 and consider its instruction and comfort to us regarding how we are to live faithfully as resident aliens in a land that is not our home.
God instructed Jeremiah to warn Judah, if they would submit to His discipline at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, they would live. But nothing provokes conflict in the church like a sermon on submission. Jeremiah is opposed by a false prophet and called a liar. Everything he said was contradicted. And the yoke was wrenched from his neck and broken.
Jeremiah often complains and confronts, so his response here is remarkable. With gracious, prayerful wisdom the prophet rebuts the false teacher and disarms his false gospel. Jeremiah’s life is quite literally an open book. We often see his anger, but here we may observe a godly example of how to handle conflict within the church. An example worthy of imitation. Listen to “Conflict Management” as we examine Jeremiah 28 and consider how to respond to conflict within the church.
How will we respond to the Lord’s discipline? When afflictions come. When frowning providences are the only providence we know. When we encounter many trials of various kinds? Will we be like the God’s enemies in Psalm 2 who say, “Let us burst [His] bonds apart and cast away [His] cords from us.” Or like God’s sons, who will “take [His] yoke upon us, and learn from [Him].”
The Lord chastised Judah in Jeremiah’s day. But the people were not content to submit to the God’s discipline. They plotted rebellion. And Jeremiah warned them with a powerful illustration. If they submit to discipline they will live. But if they rebel, they will experience the just punishment of God. What about you? How will you respond when God lays a heavy hand upon you? When he brings discipline because of sin? Will you submit? Will you put your neck under the yoke? Listen to “Under the Yoke” as we examine Jeremiah 27 and consider what it means to submit to the Lord’s discipline.
We love to proclaim and sing about being the salt of the earth and a city set on a hill, but Jesus speaks of this as a faithful response to persecution. Today’s cancel-culture wants to silence the gospel and the truth of God. How are we to respond? Are we to soften our message? Conform it to the differing expectations of culture? Reassess our calling or the sphere in which we execute it? These are all questions Jeremiah faced. In Jeremiah 26, the prophet preached one of his earliest and most memorable sermons. Jeremiah was probably optimistic as he preached. But the moment the sermon ended the cancel-culture attacked. “You shall die” was the response of the religious establishment. “Jeremiah, conform or be cut off.” How would Jeremiah respond? How will we respond? Listen to “Worst Case Scenario” as we examine Jeremiah 26 and consider the Jeremiah’s response to the cancel-culture of his day.
Jeremiah was told to take the cup of the wine of the wrath of God and to make all the nations drink of it. Its effects are terrible. And no one can refuse. But there is another cup. For those who choose wisely — who trust in Christ, not in themselves, who acknowledge God’s righteous judgment of sin, yet plead for His mercy upon sinners, there is the cup of blessing. What cup will you choose? The cup of the fury of God’s wrath? Or the cup of Christ? Listen to “Choose Wisely” as we examine Jeremiah 25:15-38 and consider the choice God gives us between grace and judgement.
To practice adulting, you don’t actually have to be an adult. You only have to play-act at responsibility long enough to make the post. When “adulting” becomes mundane or challenging, we can step out of the hashtag. Adulting gives us the perfect cover for evading hard things. Avoiding responsibility it is at the core of mankind’s fallen, sinful nature. We love to take cover in immaturity and irresponsibility, but faith calls us to grow, mature and to take responsibility. The scriptural remedy for sinful failure is confession and repentance, not excuse making. Christians take responsibility for sin, even if we have a good excuse. Jeremiah called to the men of his day and us to repent. When God declares our sin, it is not enough to merely ‘adult.’ No, it is time to take responsibility through confession, repentance, and faith. Listen to “Taking Responsibility” as we examine Jeremiah 25:1-14 and consider the call to take responsibility through confession and repentance.
In our human pride, the doctrines of election and reprobation are indeed “horrible doctrines.” Yet as we carefully consider what the Bible says about the total depravity of our fallen condition, these “horrible doctrines” soon become “doctrines of grace.” Were God to base His decision to save on anything in us, we would be hopelessly doomed. The early American pastor, Jonathan Edwards, once declared, “we contribute nothing to our salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” And Jesus taught that “unless a man is born again [from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Those horrible doctrines, which at first fill us with indignation and accusation toward a Holy, Sovereign God, become gracious doctrines when the Holy Spirit enables us to see the depth of our sin. Listen as we consider the comfort and power of God’s calling and election from Jeremiah 24.