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THE MESSAGE OF JEREMIAH

by Dr. Robert Hymers

A sermon preached on New Year’s Night, January 1, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now” (Jeremiah 17:13-15).


This is New Year’s Day. I can think of nothing more important to speak on tonight than these words of the prophet Jeremiah, as they apply to our nation, our allies, and to you as an individual.

The prophet Jeremiah was called to preach when he was very young. In fact, God chose him to be a prophet before he was born. His message was very severe, that the Jewish people would be driven out of their land and become slaves in Babylonia. He was rejected by nearly all of his people, hated by them, beaten by them, put in stocks, imprisoned, and charged with being a traitor. But his warnings came to pass when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews went into Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah was then forced to flee to Egypt with a small remnant of his people, where, tradition tells us, they stoned him to death for his preaching. He reminds us of the great pre-Reformation Protestant, John Huss, who was burned at the stake for his preaching, and of Latimer and Ridley, the great English preachers, who suffered a similar fate for proclaiming the gospel in that dark time.

Dr. McGee quoted W. G. Moorehead, who said,

It was Jeremiah’s [calling] to prophesy at a time when all things in Judah were rushing down to the final and mournful catastrophe… It was his [calling] to stand in the way over which his nation was rushing headlong to destruction; to make an heroic effort to arrest it, and to turn it back; and to fail, and be compelled to step to one side and see his own people, whom he loved…plunge over the precipice into the wide and weltering ruin (quoted by J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, volume III, Thomas Nelson, 1982, page 351).

I feel that we are living in a similar time in America. We seem to be the strongest nation on earth, but there are cracks in our national foundation. We have slaughtered over 50 million babies through abortion, on the heathen altar of secular humanism. Our churches are crumbling, filled with carnal, unregenerate people. Many of our preachers are weak, have little vision, and few answers. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “We have become too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

America, and the Western world, is in much the same situation that Judah was in during the time of Jeremiah’s preaching.

We cannot go through the entire book of Jeremiah and point out the similarities in a short sermon like this. But I am lifting out three verses from the seventeenth chapter which, I think, give an overview of what the prophet said and experienced, and its application to us today.

I. First, Jeremiah spoke of the fate of those who depart from the Lord.

Please stand and read Jeremiah 17:13 again out loud.

“O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 17:13).

You may be seated.

I must confine my comments to you as an individual, for the prophet spoke directly to you when he said,

All that forsake [the Lord] shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth,because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters”
      (Jeremiah 17:13).

“All” that forsake the Lord shall be ashamed. “All” that depart from Him shall be “written in the earth.”

“Written in the earth” - what does that mean? Why, it means, says Matthew Henry,

They shall soon be blotted out, as that which is written in the dust. They shall be trampled upon and exposed to contempt. They belong to the earth, and shall be numbered among earthly people, who lay up their treasure on earth and whose names are not written in heaven…They deserve themselves therefore to be condemned, as Adam, to red earth, to which by the corruption of their nature they are allied [united and related], because they have forsaken [the Lord, the fountain of living waters], which is so well-watered. Those that depart from God are written in the earth (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, volume 4, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, pp. 411-412).

“They that depart from me shall be written in the earth,because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 17:13).

John Calvin, the great Reformer, said,

Let…every one of you claim for himself what he pleases, but your name shall be on earth, and shall be blotted out of heaven; [for] there will be no inheritance for you…in the kingdom of God (John Calvin, Commentary on the Prophet Jeremiah, volume I, Baker Book House, 1998 reprint, p. 364).

Thus, you who have rejected Christ will one day “be ashamed.” When God casts you out of His kingdom your name will be “written in the earth,” not in the book of life in Heaven (cf. Revelation 20:12).

In that unpleasant situation, you will find your name written only on a tombstone in the earth, not written in the book of life in Heaven. The Pharaohs of Egypt had their names written on earth, in the stones of the Pyramids, but their names were not written in the book of life in Heaven.

And you, too, will come to such an end one day soon. They will place your body in a grave “in the earth.” They will put up a small marker “in the earth,” with your name on it. But soon no one will go to see your grave. No one will remember your name. You will be as forgotten and God-forsaken as the Pharaohs of Egypt.

“written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 17:13).

The very names of those who opposed the preaching of Jeremiah have, for the most part, been utterly forgotten. They went into the earth, and no one remembers them today. But,

“In hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23),

and so do they. They paid little attention to God, and virtually none to Christ, and now their only worldly memory lies in the fact that their names are “written in the earth,” while their long-forgotten souls are tormented eternally in “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

Will that happen to you? Great God! I hope that it does not! I hope with all my heart that you will awaken and throw yourself on Christ - who alone can pardon your sins and give you eternal life.

II. Second, Jeremiah spoke of the faith of those who are saved by the Lord.

Please stand and read Jeremiah 17:14 aloud.

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).

You may be seated.

Dr. Gill said,

Sins are diseases; healing them is the forgiveness of them; God only can grant this… save me and I shall be saved; with a temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation; save me from the corruptions of the times, from the designs of my enemies; preserve me to thy kingdom and glory: there are none saved but whom the Lord saves… (John Gill, D.D., A Exposition of the Books of the Prophets of the Old Testament, volume I, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, p. 500).

Scoffers and unbelievers reject “the fountain of living waters,” but those who wish to be saved come to the Lord for salvation. The person who sees his need and feels his helplessness to save himself, will cry with the prophet, “save me, and I shall be saved.” Then, when he is saved, he will say, “for thou art my praise.” You will praise the Lord, and Him alone, when you experience salvation in Christ.

When Peter was sinking in the sea, he cried out

“Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30).

The Bible says that Jesus

“immediately…stretched forth his hand, and caught him” (Matthew 14:31).

Jesus immediately took ahold of him and saved him when he cried out from his innermost soul, “Lord, save me.”

It is as true tonight as it was that night on the stormy sea. Jesus will “immediately” save you if you come to Him in desperate need.

And it was no temporary salvation that the Lord granted to Jeremiah. The Lord saved him, though he was hated, beaten, put in stocks, imprisoned, and even stoned to death. The grace of the Lord took him through all these trials, and even through death itself. When his soul departed from his body to meet the Lord, he could still say, “for thou art my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).

Yes, justified! O blessed thought!
   And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
   And glorified, I too, shall be!
(“Complete In Thee” refrain by James M. Gray, 1851-1935).

III. Third, Jeremiah spoke of the flippancy of those
who reject the word of the Lord.

Please stand and read verse 15 aloud.

“Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now” (Jeremiah 17:15).

You may be seated.

Here we have two different attitudes. In verse fourteen we see, pictured in Jeremiah, the person who cries, “save me, and I shall be saved.” In verse fifteen, we see pictured in those who heard the prophet, but who said, “Where is the word of the Lord?”

In the sight of God, all mankind is divided into these two groups. Oh, yes, there are many religions and many viewpoints, but in God’s sight there are really only two groups - those who come to Christ for salvation, and those who do not. And the Bible calls those who do not come to Christ “scoffers.”

“Where is the word of the Lord?” Why, it was the very words the prophet spoke to them!

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21).

They were confronted by the Word of God, and they rejected it.

“Where is the word of the Lord” tonight? Why, it is in your very hands? The Bible itself is the Word of God!

“We have…a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed…” (II Peter 1:19).

Pay attention to what the Word of God says! For the Holy Scriptures

“are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).

But the people to whom Jeremiah preached reacted with flippancy. They were presumptuous, without respect, foolish, silly, inconsiderate, smart-talkers, flippant. With great impertinence, and disrespect, they flippantly said,

“Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now”
     (Jeremiah 17:15).

They remind us of the flippant scoffers “in the last days,” who say,

“Where is the promise of his coming?” (II Peter 3:4).

“Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now”
     (Jeremiah 17:15).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

Ah, it came. What the prophet uttered came to pass, and it was not long before these people were in chains marching to Babylon [as slaves]. The Jews said the same thing when they heard Christ’s prophetic words, “Let it come.” Indeed, they went further, and flippantly, with a shuddering boldness, cried out, “Let his blood be upon us,” and it came upon them! In forty years their city was in dust, and those who were left from the terrible slaughter of Titus were being marched to Rome as slaves. So, too, will come an end of this age. Man may speak scoffingly of the second advent [coming] of Christ and of the day of judgment, saying, “let it come,” but, oh, it will come (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., quoted in The Fight of Faith 1939-1981, by Iain H. Murray, Banner of Truth Trust, 1990, p. 330).

“Let it come now”? What arrogance! What utter foolishness! When it comes, we are told by Isaiah,

“The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall…go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth” (Isaiah 2:17-21).

“Let it come now?” Oh, but when judgment comes, there will be no time nor inclination in your heart to seek Christ. You must come now - in the day of grace - and trust in Christ now. The Bible says, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). On your death-bed you will doubtlessly be full of pain killers. Too late then to come to Christ. In the day of judgment, you will be so filled with mortal fear that your mind will not grasp the Saviour. The time to come to Him is now. He died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He has risen from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus now - while there is still time.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Complete in Thee” (by Aaron R. Wolfe, 1821-1902;
refrain by James M. Gray, 1851-1935).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE MESSAGE OF JEREMIAH

by Dr. Robert Hymers


“O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now” (Jeremiah 17:13-15).

I.   Jeremiah spoke of the fate of those who depart from the Lord,
Jeremiah 17:13; cf. Revelation 20:12; Luke 16:23; Matthew 25:46.

II.  Jeremiah spoke of the faith of those who are saved by the Lord,
Jeremiah 17:14; Matthew 14:30-31.

III. Jeremiah spoke of the flippancy of those who reject the word of
the Lord, Jeremiah 17:15; II Peter 1:21, 19; II Timothy 3:15;
II Peter 3:4; Isaiah 2:17-21; Hebrews 4:7.