160814 Jeremiah 23:23-29

Last Updated on Monday, 15 August 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Jeremiah 23:23-29
Theme: Speak the Word Faithfully!

In our worship services last week, based on the word of God, we answered the question: What is faith? The Bible teaches us that faith is that free gift of our God in heaven, created in our hearts by God the Holy Spirit. The tool the Holy Spirit uses is the powerful Word of our God. Today we want to focus our attention on that Word of our God. Not only does the Holy Spirit use God's Word, but so do we. On a regular basis you and I use the two great teachings found in the Bible: the Law and the Gospel. You and I speak the Law of God to remind ourselves and others of our sinful state before the holy, perfect God. You and I speak the wonderful Gospel message of full and free forgiveness of all sins, through the only Savior, Jesus Christ. We do this, always being faithful to the Word of God. You and I are careful to preach and to teach only what our God says in his Word. Today, all of us here, receive the encouragement from God's Word in Jeremiah chapter 23: SPEAK THE WORD FAITHFULLY! You and I will speak the word faithfully, DESPITE OPPOSITION and TRUSTING IN GOD'S POWER.

The portion of God's Word before us this morning is taken from the middle of Jeremiah's prophecy. Jeremiah was a prophet sent by the Lord to speak the Word of God to the people living in Judah. For over 40 years Jeremiah faithfully spoke that Word. He did this despite some very strong opposition. Many times he was thrown into jail and mistreated for his speaking of God's Word. Prophets that were lying to the people of Judah accused Jeremiah of lying to them. The people did not want to hear what Jeremiah was telling them and listened to the lying prophets instead.

Despite great opposition, Jeremiah faithfully spoke the Word of God to the people. Do we ever feel like Jeremiah? Do you face opposition to your sharing of God's Word? Certainly you and I know that we will face opposition to speaking God's Word faithfully from the sinful, unbelieving world. But there are also things that can oppose the faithful speaking of God's Word within our own congregation. For example: when you make the personalities of our pastors or teachers or the other leaders of our congregation more important than the message of God's Word that they are sharing, you oppose the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God.

Every time you break the 8th Commandment by speaking lies about a fellow member, by giving them a bad name as you talk about them with others, by not speaking well of them, by not defending them or taking their words and actions in the kindest possible way, you oppose the Word of our God.

If the rest of our congregation makes a decision that you don't happen to agree with, and all you do is grumble and complain about that decision every chance you get, you oppose the Word of God. Please don't misunderstand me: I am not saying that we will get along with everyone in the same, perfect way. I know that there will be many different opinions as to what should be the focus of our congregation. But when decisions are made by the majority, even if they are decisions I don't happen to agree with, you and I are to offer our support and "get behind" that decision.

While we are bound to have our differences, yet I am 100% certain that there is one thing that all of us agree with: The proclamation of forgiveness for all sins through the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the most important task we have as a congregation. United together through the forgiveness that Jesus won for you and me, we will face the opposition that we receive from other people or other things both outside and inside our church. All our God asks of you and me is to be faithful; to faithfully speak the Word of God despite opposition.
All this opposition to the Word of God is not new. Since the fall into sin there have been those who oppose God and his Word. In Paul's first letter to Timothy we read, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." Opposition will continue throughout these "Last Days", we are told. However, it is not our word verses their word. It is not our logic verses their logic. It is the powerful Word of God that you and I speak and share. Remember the promise of our God in Isaiah 55, "So is my word that goes out from mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." We have the promise of our God that his Word will accomplish what he wants to be accomplished. So you and I speak the Word faithfully; trusting in God's power.

Remember how God described the power of his Word in Jeremiah chapter 23, "'Is not my word like fire,' declares the Lord, 'and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'" Think of the power of fire. It can burn an entire house down to the ground in a very short matter of time. Think of the large hammers which they are using during the road construction projects in our area. Those powerful hammers can destroy huge chunks of cement, and turn them into the smallest pebbles. As Christians, the tool which you and I have to use is even more powerful than any hammer or fire. You and I have the powerful Word of our God in our hands. The Word of our God has the power to smash to pieces the heart hardened by sin and unbelief that doesn't think it needs a Savior. The powerful Word of God warm the heart of the repentant sinner with the wonderful Good News of forgiveness.

Without any apologies, and trusting only in the power of our God's Word, you and I go out into the world speaking the message of the Bible. You and I share with those around us the great need we all have for a Savior. Our sins did separate us from our God. Yet, through Jesus Christ alone there is forgiveness for all our sins. Through Jesus Christ we have the power to share with others that same message of forgiveness. As Jesus said in the Gospel lesson, when you and I faithfully proclaim the Word of God, trusting only in his power, we may turn some people away. Some will choose to reject what God says to us in his Word. But we are not to let that hinder our proclamation of the Word. We are to speak that Word faithfully; trusting only in the power of God to accomplish what he desires. As Paul writes to the Romans, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."

In just a few weeks, on Sunday, September 11, we will begin our "fall" schedule. Our weekly worship times will be on Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:30 AM, and on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM. You and I will have the opportunity to further study the Word of our God in our various Bible Classes and Sunday Bible School classes. Are there certain questions or concerns you might have as you live out your days here on this earth? Do you feel the temptation to give in to those who oppose the Word of God? Come, and hear the Savior answer your questions and calm your fears. Come, and your faith in Jesus Christ as your only Savior will be strengthen as you hear his Word proclaimed in our worship services, as you receive the Lord's Supper and as you study his powerful Word. There is no greater weapon to fight off those things which oppose us or oppose the spreading of God's Word. As you and I spend time in God's Word together, may we all keep these words of our Lord always before us, "Let the one who has my word speak it faithfully." Amen.

 

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

Television Broadcast
Thursday at Noon & 7:00 P.M.
Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985

 

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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