18 August 2007

Preach the Word in Season and out of Season

Jeremiah the Weeping Prophet
By Mike Andrews


The churches today are full of people who don’t care or don’t want to listen to men preaching God’s Word. 2Tim 4:3 "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions". The church today is not much different than the times of the prophets who were preaching repentance and pleading for the nation of Israel to return back to God. Jeremiah, also known as the "weeping prophet", was the writer of the two Old Testament books Jeremiah and Lamentations. He was an ambassador sent by God to the house of Israel. Jer 7:3 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place."
Jeremiah didn’t volunteer to become a preacher of the Word. The office for this (being a prophet) was reserved for those who were divinely called. Jeremiah was one of those privileged men; he was divinely given a high calling by God. Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." He was a prophet who had the daunting task of warning the nation Judah of God’s impending judgement. Jeremiah had to preach to a nation that was worshipping other gods, living sinfully and disobediently before God, listening to many false teachings and, as seen in Jeremiah 17:9, their hearts were wicked and deceitful. Jeremiah’s life reflected his preaching. His passion and concern for the nation was always evident at the beginning of the messages that the Lord gave him. Many times Jereimah would cry over Jerusalem Lam 3:48-49 "my eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of the daughter of my people. "My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite" This verse emphasizes the greatness of his grief and troubled heart at the afflictions of his people, and shows the vast amount of tears he shed on their account. Here the prophet is speaking his own words (not part of a prophetic message from God), expressing the anguish of he felt in his soul, and the flood of tears he shed. Unfortunately, our churches today are lacking men like Jeremiah who are passionate, showing their love for others through their preaching. They need a deep desire of restoration for the congregation so they can grow spiritually and understand the importance of obedience and reverence before a holy and perfect God. Jeremiah’s tears also serve as a reminder of the utter hopelessness of a person without God.
Preachers today need to follow the example of great Biblical men of the past like Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel and Jeremiah when it comes to dealing with people and their salvation. Jeremiah concentrated on the current problems as he labored to turn the nation back from the point of no return. John MacArthur said "Jeremiah’s life, his calling, and his experiences all combine to give a picture of God’s planning and purpose to carry out His will". May the men of God in our churches today consider carefully what Paul said to Timothy in 2Tim 4:-2 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. Just preach My Word! Richard Baxter says "I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men."

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