Last Sunday (2/12/17): Called by the Word (Jeremiah 1). Read Jer 1:4-5, 12. There may be no greater fulfillment in life than to live out our calling on the basis of the Word of God.

Big Idea: (1) God is very serious about sin/idolatry/adultery. It leads to devastating consequences.

(2) Abandoning God and turning to idols is like abandoning a loving faithful spouse for other sexual partners. [Alternate titles: Forsaking the Spring of Living Water; God, the Jilted Lover; An Emotionally Wounded God; God Feels the Pain of Betrayal.]

Key Themes: a) Forsaking God is foolish and stupid, with devastating consequences.

b) When his people forsake God, God is hurt emotionally because of his undying love for us.

"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water" (Jer 2:13).

Big idea: (1) God does not choose us because we are good. But because God chooses us He makes us good.

(2) Those servants God appoints for difficult tasks do not cop out or bail out no matter the difficulty or opposition, for God empowers them with his presence.

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew (chose) you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations'” (Jer 1:4-5).

A Fire in My Bones. "But if I say, 'I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,' his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bonesI am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot" (Jer 20:9).

Key Themes:

  • The word of God plays a critical role in Jeremiah's call. The word of God would proclaim both destruction and restoration.
  • God choose Jeremiah to be his prophet even before he was born.
  • God reassures Jeremiah by promising the power of his presence, which will deliver him from those who will oppose him and his message.

Isaiah 63-64 contrasts The Bloody Warrior God and the Ever-Loving Lord. Very briefly, the bloody, gruesome and very disturbing imagery (63:1-6) suggests how seriously God regards sin. Yet He is also forever lovingly committed to his sinful people (Isa 63:7). Whitney Houston's poignant song--"I will always love you"--expresses God's sentiment toward his people. God always loves you no matter how much you might cling to your sin. If we believe this, the power of sin begins to dim and diminish in our lives. On the cross, Jesus believed that his Father always loves him, even though at the moment he was utterly forsaken (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34). This is the majesty and mystery of the Cross. Do you believe that God loves you when you're going through an unbearable trial?

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word" (Isa 66:2b).

Theme: Christians often think and communicate to others that the primary distinction in the Bible is between Christians and non-Christians. But in fact the primary distinction in Scripture is not between believer and non-believer (Jew and Gentile, or Christian and non-Christian), but between a true worshiper of God and a false worshipper, between a true Jew and a false one (Rom 2:28-29), between a true Christian and a false Christian (Mt 7:21, 24, 26).