March 21, 2021

Need the middleman

Need the middleman

Who supposed to go to God for me? This is the question we try to answer looking at Jeremiah 31:31-34, also looking at why Josiah's national revival attempt failed.

Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
31 Bluebird Lane, Greensburg, KY 42743

Christian Podcaster Association


**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**




Jeremiah 31:31-34:


31 “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, form the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (NIV)


This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.




This Lenten season, we have been working our way through the Old Testament, looking at God’s words that tell us “never again.” These are the words being fulfilled in all the familiar passion scenes found in the gospels. As we study today’s passage, we will be trying to answer the question, “who is supposed to go to God for me?”



***(v31-32) THE OLD COVENANT***


The prophet Jeremiah lived through the fall of Jerusalem. What is interesting about that is Jeremiah received his call from God five years before King Josiah would launch a campaign to reform the kingdom from idol worship. Josiah knew their behavior had upset God and he sought to use his political influence and means to ignite a national revival. Jeremiah was alive for this attempt, only to see the fires meant for revival bring destruction.


Why did a national revival attempt, with the approval and leadership of the king, fail? Because the king could only influence external activities. Meaning, people could put on a show that pleased the king but with no real desire to change. They would follow the rules as group slogan that pumped up the crowd, but neglected what was necessary for a national revival to take place. Personal commitment.


The Jews were God’s chosen people. He had made a covenant with them, rescuing them for slavery in Egypt. God demonstrated to them and us that He brings salvation. But the Jews broke the covenant. It was not God who broke it because of their sin, it was the Jews’ chose sin over the God who saved them. Jeremiah saw the way they sought reform needed reform.


***(v33-34) THE NEW COVENANT***


God tells Jeremiah how he is going to bring about reform to their reform. In verse 33, Jeremiah writes God declaring, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” Reformed reform would be more than remembering the Law, it would be fixed in the very DNA of their being.


On Mount Sinai, God wrote the Law on stone tablets. These words could be seen with the eyes and known as rules to not break. They are not broken because there are consequences for doing so, sin. God does not like sin, and so to keep God happy with them and keep the blessings coming they follow the rules. But this is not love. This is following the rules to play the system. Reformed reform is the law placed at the core of a person, the place that is fountain of all a person does so following the rules is a natural expression of their love for God.


The key to reformed reform, having the law at the heart of person is knowing God at the deepest level. That word “know” means to know by observing and reflecting and to know by experiencing. (Vines Bible Dictionary) It is a person seeing God’s law and reflecting on why it is good, but then experiencing His goodness for themselves. What makes God good? “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Knowing God is to see He is good and experience Him by knowing He has forgiven sin. Reformed reform is a person knowing at the core God has forgiven their sin, and because of this radical love they live out the law to demonstrate their own love to God.




What does this have to do with the idea of a middleman? Or answering our question, “who is supposed to go to God for me?” It is unraveled in understanding what God is saying through Jeremiah about the old and new covenant.


The old covenant only promoted reform, but not enough to bring about revival. God gave the Ten Commandments so we would never again have to wonder about the expectations. But to truly live up to these expectations is more than simply following the rules. Following the rules is based on consequences and fear of them. When we are afraid of God we cannot know Him.


But the way of grace is based on God and His forgiveness of your sins. It is your sin that makes you fear God and your sinfulness that keeps you from coming to Him. However, when you see God’s forgiveness change someone from the inside out and then experience it in your own life the love is overwhelming. Your respond to God’s love is an inward motivation driven by your own love for Him.





Who is supposed to go to God for me? Verse 34 says, “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,” because they will all know me.” Never again is there any need for the middleman. You do not a pastor, a priest, or anyone else.


Jesus is proof of this. God in the flesh, Jesus died so you can be assured your sins are forgiven. He is the radical love of God. The new covenant was established in His blood, the new covenant that you can see transform others and experience for yourself. But nobody else can know God for you, you must go to God just as you are. And you can do so with confidence knowing your sins are already forgiven, the only thing holding you back is you.