Against Wind and Tide
Sermon Series: Against Wind and Tide
Colossians Jer. 1:1-5
Today begins a new series in the book of Jeremiah, a “major” prophet whose work is the longest in the Bible. Jeremiah represented the active voice of God to the people. The goal was for God to be the Lord, and for the people to be God’s people. God chose Jeremiah as a messenger in 627 BC, a terrible time in Israel’s history in which the nation was divided into two kingdoms (the northern Israel and the southern Judah). Surrounded by pagan nations, God’s people embraced pagan ways and forsook God. This corruption led to Israel’s enslavement by Assyria. Jeremiah enters one hundred years later to prophesy to Judah, warning the southern kingdom of an impending, 70-year exile into Babylon due to Judah’s corruption.
Jeremiah’s message, quite unpopular and widely ignored, was two-fold: 1. Repent and return to God, for Babylon is coming, and 2. Yield to the enemy, for God is causing this entire situation. The prophet lived a hard life without friends and was persecuted by many enemies.
Point 1: What Do We Hope to Gain from the Book of Jeremiah?
Unlike the character Mr. By-Ends from the Christian allegory Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, the prophet Jeremiah lived against “wind and tide”-- the calling on every Christian’s life. Mr. By-Ends did not “strive against wind and tide,” but rather lived for self-interest and self-protection. Jeremiah, on the other hand, was not “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph. 4:14). Instead, Christians are to maintain unity in the Spirit, know Christ more, and mature into the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4: 11-13). The “winds and tides” of false ideas (doctrines), cultural pressures, temptations, etc. possess an unusual force that can blow us off the road. By studying the book of Jeremiah, we hope to gain discernment and courage to stand against wind and tide.
Point 2: How Does Jeremiah Help Get Us There?
Jeremiah was compelled by the Word of the Lord, so we, too, must be compelled (v. 2, 4). The Word of the Lord functioned as the power of God in his life. As Christians, we have the Living Word of Christ who has come to mature us “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:.13). Additionally, Jeremiah’s message prepares us to stand against wind and tide as we repent and return to God, for His appeal compels us (2:1, 7, 14, 17, 20, 21, 3:19). Lastly, Jeremiah’s hope strengthens us. The great future hope (29:10-14) of salvation through judgment ultimately culminates at the cross. Jesus is the prophesied “righteous Branch to spring up for David [who] shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (22:14-16).
Jeremiah’s day is not our day. However, Jeremiah’s message is for us today: We must learn to live as the people of God who understand that this world is not our home. Jeremiah helps us recognize our desire to experience the active presence of God in our lives.