You have a purpose, but you have to walk with the one who made you to discover it.Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**
CREATED FOR THIS
Today’s sermon does have a question we are trying to answer. For those of you who listen regularly, you know that is nothing new. I tried to answer a question based on the text every week. But today’s question I cannot ask it yet.
As we work our way to the question, we will be looking at the prophet Jeremiah. And Jeremiah is perhaps the prophet I relate to the most, by reading the entire book you will see why. But the text for our message will give a glimpse.
READING THE TEXT: Jeremiah 1:4-10
4 The word the LORD came to me: 5 I chose you before I formed you in the womb. I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. 6 But I protested, “Oh no, LORD God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am a youth.” 7 Then the LORD said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. 8 Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to rescue you. This is the LORD’s declaration. 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with my words. 10 See, I have appointed you today over the nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.” (CSB)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
IN THE TEXT:
The key verse from this section is verse 5, “I chose you.” Why this is important and how it applies to our lives we will get to in a few minutes. However, do not neglect an important detail in verse 4. “The word of the LORD came to me.” We are not told how, but Jeremiah believes that the words here and throughout his ministry are not his own, but from God. And as Jeremiah encounters resistance, this will be the prophet’s defense. In chapter 26, Jeremiah is in custody for sharing God’s message, and he says to his captors, “I am in your hand; do to me what you think is good and right. But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, it is certain the LORD has sent me to speak all these things.” (v14-15)
Our text is God’s initial word to Jeremiah. Words that are critical in understanding the book, and helping us see what this is has to do with you and me.
***Overcoming the objections***
God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet in verse 5. “But I protested, ‘Oh no, LORD God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.” (verse 6) Jeremiah objects to be chosen for this task. Of course, this is not unknown. Anyone who is called by God to do any task on His behalf is fully aware they fall short in being qualified for it. The prophet Isaiah tells God, “I am a man of unclean lips from an unclean people.” (Isaiah 6:5) In the case of Jeremiah, he objected based on his age and inexperience. We do not really know how old Jeremiah is here, but the events covered in this book are over a period of a least forty years. Nevertheless, his age and inexperience would be a barrier to many who would hear his message.
Jeremiah is not given much time to wallow in his objection, God says to him, “Do not say, ‘I am only a young man.’” (verse 7) God tells Jeremiah that his inadequacy was irrelevant. He was sending Jeremiah and the message would be God’s message. The prophet’s job was to be obedient to God’s call. As far as Jeremiah’s fear of not being heard, God assures him the people were not going to listen to him. But God wanted Jeremiah to share anyway.
***Affirming the objectives***
With Jeremiah’s objection out of the way, God moves to affirming Jeremiah’s call and the objectives in the message. Jeremiah writes, “God reached out and touched my mouth.” (verse 9) The prophet is given the words from the hand of God so that fear would not rule him. For Jeremiah to accept this holy calling from God, it would require a holy life on his part. Love is the critical component to holy living, only love chooses obedience over fear.
God would give Jeremiah the message, really the messages. Jeremiah would share them. Now, Jeremiah does not become God’s robot. He is still a person, but as a person Jeremiah finds purpose in answering God’s call. Theologian, Andrew W. Blackwood, Jr. wrote, “God’s initiative does not destroy man’s responsibility; quite the contrary. God has acted; therefore, man is responsible to act.”
The words of God in Jeremiah’s message were “uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.” (verse 10) Notice the message is not all “sunshine and rainbows.” It is more a message saying that there is hard work to be done as the world burns around you, and that one day you will see the sunshine and rainbows break through the ashes. The people would have to hear and respond to God just as Jeremiah had to respond to God’s call.
FROM THE TEXT:
*** What is God saying to Jeremiah in verse 5? ***
God tells Jeremiah in verse 5, “I chose you.” Jeremiah did not pick this life or purpose for himself; this drive is a divine call. This purpose was on God’s mind before any cells began to gather into life in the womb of Jeremiah’s mother. From the moment Jeremiah was on God’s mind, to his birth, and up to this point and beyond, God had “set apart” Jeremiah for this calling. Jeremiah was appointed to be a prophet by God, and until Jeremiah yielded his life to God and His call it would be incomplete.
*** How does this apply to my life? ***
First, you have a place with God. You were not an afterthought, patched together from spare parts in a madman’s laboratory. God made you for a purpose, but you need Jesus to find it. He is the light that shines in the darkness, the same darkness that blinds your eyes from seeing the answer to “why am I here?” or “how can I go on from this point?”. Keep in mind, it is not enough to say the sinners’ prayer and out pops your purpose. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the starting line. To uncover the answers to the “why” and “how” questions require a life commitment. Purpose is only discovered and fulfilled in living for Jesus. This is a call to everyone.
Second, some are called to be God’s messengers. In Mark 4, Jesus tells a parable to his disciples and a curious crowd. It talks about a farmer walking along tossing seeds and those seeds falling onto all types of different soils. Some fall on the pathway, others in thorny bushes, and then there were seeds that fell on rocky ground. There were some seeds that fell on fertile ground and grew, but a lot of the seeds were lost to soils that were unsuitable for life. Regardless, stop and think where those seeds come from? Healthy plants from the good soil.
In that parable, God/Jesus is the farmer. Often the seed is referred to as God’s word and the soil is our hearts, but the trouble with that is God never wastes His words. They always serve a purpose. Another problem is none of our hearts are good soil, it is miracle we ever hear God to respond. But in other parables, Jesus refers to us as plants. What if you and I are the seeds? Seeds that God expects to grow no matter where they are planted. Many seeds will stay and grow in the fertile ground, but some God will take and toss into the worst conditions to grow a garden.
God’s messengers are those seeds that are collected up and scattered all about. They must be willing to fall and die if necessary where God plants them. It is not their job to clean up the soil, only the farmer can do that. There job is to grow where planted and hope their life is used to produce seeds.
There might be someone listening here that God is calling to be his messenger. You are saying to yourself, “but I…” followed by any phrase to describe your shortcomings. Even though you have this objection, it does nothing to silence this divine compulsion inside your heart and mind. Know today that objection that is hindering you from answering God’s call is irrelevant. All God expects of you is to be obedient and grow where He plants you.
BEYOND THE TEXT:
Here is the question I could not ask at the beginning. It is a question I have already answered and keep answering. It is, “if Jesus is calling you, will you answer?”
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"