Let's look at verse 1, "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ". James was not always a servant of God. James was the half-brother of Jesus, born to Mary and Joseph. If your brother was the son of God, you would think James would have deep reverence for him and worship the ground he walked. However, John 7:5 says "For even his own brothers did not believe in him." James wanted Jesus to 'show himself' to the world. He encouraged him to be a public figure. He wanted to ride the coat tails of Jesus' popularity. Essentially, he wanted Jesus to be his servant. What makes us blind to see Jesus? 2 Corinthians 4:3-4,”…The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." Our pride, lust of the world blinds us from seeing Jesus. Jesus could be right in front of us waving; still we would not recognize or believe him. The Pharisees saw him yet, did not believe him. In fact, they hated him without reason (John 15:25). His disciples saw him, yet did not believe him. We can go to church or attend Bible study, yet not know who Jesus is.
Big Idea: (1) Those who reject a relationship with God and refuse to repent will experience the terrible wrath and judgment of God.
(2) The visions of judgment are so horrific that Jeremiah can hardly bear them. Once judgment comes, there is no escape.
(3) Refusing to obey God is indeed very foolish, for even the sea obeys God.
In the church we often focus on the positive side of the gospel, stressing eternal life and forgiveness of sins. However, Jeremiah (particularly 4:5-31) forces us to see that unrepentant sin, open defiance of God, and refusal to listen to him will result in experiencing the terrible wrath of God. Jeremiah also emphasizes that God continues to plead for repentance, even as the judgment unfolds.
- Ch. 1: The call of the prophet. (The Call and the Word of God)
- Ch. 2: The charge of idolatry/spiritual adultery. (Spiritual Adultery)
- Ch. 3: The calls for repentance, but there is none.
- Ch. 4-6: The consequent and inevitable judgment. The Babylonian invasion is the means that God will use to pour out his wrath.
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).