Month: October 2017

Jeremiah 22-23, Titus 1

Jeremiah 22:5

But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the Lord, “that this house shall become a desolation.” ’ ”

There is no other name higher than the name of the Lord.  When God swears by Himself…you know that He means business.

Jeremiah 22:15
“Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, And do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.

The father here is a reference to Josiah, the great and very good king who brought about religious reform by reintroducing the word of God which had been forgotten.  He got rid of the high places and reinstituted the Passover.  Unfortunately it was short-lived.  The people never truly repented and when his son took over, they were right back where they had started.

Jeremiah 23:1–2
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord.

Notice that the Lord is not saying they quit feeding the people, He is saying that they were feeding them the wrong things.  There are so many teachers like this in the world today.  They teach the people, but unfortunately, they teach them the wrong things.

Jeremiah 23:5–6
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

What a glorious bit of prophetic Scripture this is about Jesus.  He is our righteousness.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Jeremiah 23:9
My heart within me is broken Because of the prophets; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, And like a man whom wine has overcome, Because of the Lord, And because of His holy words.

Jeremiah’s heart continues to be broken because of the false prophets who were misleading the people.  When I think about false teachers today, I am saddened that people say nothing about such teachers, somehow suggesting by their silence that their teaching is alright.  The only teaching people need today is the unadulterated word of God.

Titus 1:5
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—

Titus is considered a pastoral epistle, a letter to Titus who was a leader (pastor/elder) in the church.  Here we see some of the same qualifications as we saw in 1 Timothy 3.  It is also a verse which seems to speak of a plurality of elders.

Titus 1:16
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

It is one thing to have made a profession of God, however it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do what the word says you should do.  It disqualifies us for any good work we could hope to accomplish for the Lord.

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Jeremiah 20-21, 2 Timothy 4

Jeremiah 20:7

O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me.

Imagine how Jeremiah must have felt being made fun of and taunted day after day.  He is growing weary and beginning to question why the Lord has allowed such a thing.

Jeremiah 20:9
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.

Here is where Jeremiah finally has enough and determines that he will not make mention of the Lord anymore.  He is done.  However, God’s word was so strong in his heart that he could not hold it back.  I pray that this is the way the word of the Lord would always be with us.  We would never be able to hold it back.  That it would be like a fire burning deep within us…so much so that we have to speak it out.

Jeremiah 21:2
“Please inquire of the Lord for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon makes war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to all His wonderful works, that the king may go away from us.”

This was wishful thinking on their part.  The Lord had already spoken His judgment to them.

Jeremiah 21:5
I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger and fury and great wrath.

Notice here that Nebuchadnezzar is not the problem here.  The Lord says it is Him that they are dealing with.  The Babylonians are simply the took the Lord uses.  They are an instrument of God’s wrath towards their willful disobedience.

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

These are the very last words we have of Paul.  Sitting in a prison awaiting his execution, he exhorts Timothy to ‘Preach the word’.  Oh that we might take to heart his words and purpose to do the very same thing.  Preach the word!  May the Lord help us to do this till the very end of our lives.

2 Timothy 4:5
But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

I want to be able to say at the end of my life that I fulfilled my ministry.  This was Paul’s exhortation and a good reminder to us.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

At the end of our lives…we want to be able to say that we have fought the good fight, finished the race, and even more importantly…kept the faith.  Oh Lord help us to keep the faith, no matter what trials and difficulties we are going through.

2 Timothy 4:13
Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.

I love this picture of Paul at the end of his life, wanting the parchments.  No doubt wanting to study and meditate on the Scriptures up until the very end.  May it be so with us as well.

Jeremiah 15-17, 2 Timothy 2

Jeremiah 15:1

1 Then the Lord said to me, “ Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth.

Imagine how Jeremiah must have felt here. Remember that Jeremiah, in his 40 years of ministry didn’t have a convert. However, the Lord indicates that it wasn’t him, but rather it was the stubbornness of the people. Prophets were always faithful to speak the word of the Lord no matter how it was received.

Jeremiah 15:6
You have forsaken Me,” says the Lord, “You have gone backward. Therefore I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am weary of relenting!

We have talked about this before. There comes a time when we press the Lord to the point where He says, enough is enough, and an not going to put up with your sin anymore. That is a very dangerous place to be.

Jeremiah 15:10
10 Woe is me, my mother, That you have borne me, A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, Nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me.

We get a vivid picture here is what the life of a prophet entailed. We mustn’t expect any less as we purpose to share truth with others.

Jeremiah 15:16
Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

I love this verse. I was thinking of it just the other morning. How do we get God’s word into us? We digest it. We literally take it in as if it were food. For indeed it is spiritual food which nourishes our very soul.

Jeremiah 16:1-2
1 The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, 2 “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.”

The Lord told Jeremiah that he was not to marry. He knew that for Jeremiah to be married and have children would create an undue burden on Jeremiah. Marriage is a very good thing, but only when the Lord directs it, and sometimes he doesn’t. The apostle Paul said, 1 Corinthians 7:8, “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;” He knew that marriage and ministry created great strain on a marriage.

Jeremiah 16:10-11
“And it shall be, when you show this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the Lord pronounced all this great disaster against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God? ’ 11 then you shall say to them, ‘Because your fathers have forsaken Me,’ says the Lord; ‘they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshiped them, and have forsaken Me and not kept My law.

It really is not that difficult to discern why difficult things come upon us. Disobedience. It will get is into trouble every time. Oh, it may not happen immediately, but that is the mercy of God giving us an opportunity to repent. But wait, and trouble will quickly follow.

Jeremiah 16:17
For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.

The Lord sees all!

Jeremiah 17:9
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

We cannot trust our hearts. The Lord knows them and knows that they cannot be trusted. This is why we need Jesus. He and only He is the one who can change the heart. If a person doesn’t think his heart is wicked, he deceives himself.

Jeremiah 17:14
14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise
.

I love that the Lord is my praise. By the grace of God, through my faith in Jesus, He has become my praise. We should tell him that often. That He is our praise!

2 Timothy 2:2
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

I love Paul’s letter to Timothy. They are so powerful and applicable to how a church should be pastured. One of the keys he says, to a strong and effective church is ‘faithful men’. When we find such men, we must teach them to give their all to Christ.

2 Timothy 2:4
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

If we want to be good soldiers of God’s army, we must not be entangled with the affairs of this life. This is so much easier said than done. Only brave soldiers will be able to make this break from the world.

2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We must work hard at learning to ‘divide the word of truth’. In other words, we must read, study, and meditate on the word if we expect to receive God’s approval as an ambassador of Him.

Jeremiah 12-14, 2 Timothy 1

Jeremiah 12:1

1 Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?

The Lord always lets us talk to Him about anything.  The only problem comes when we insist that we have our way, thereby suggesting that He doesn’t know what He is talking about.  Jeremiah asks the Lord a question we have all asked or at the minimum thought about.  We must understand that it is not all about here and now.  There is a judgement coming on the wicked and tremendous joy and peace for the righteous.  It is not about this side of heaven but rather about that which is to come.

Jeremiah 12:16

16 And it shall be, if they will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people.

All the Lord wants is obedience.  He is so ready to bless people.  All they need to do is repent and turn towards Him.

Jeremiah 13:1

1 Thus the Lord said to me: “Go and get yourself a linen sash, and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.”

The Lord has Jeremiah do some unusual things in order to demonstrate his love for them and their need to repent and return to Him.

Jeremiah 13:17

17 But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly And run down with tears, Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.

This verse speaks to why Jeremiah was referred to as the weeping prophet.  His heart was broken over those who refused to repent.  Our hearts should be broken for the lost in the same manner.

Jeremiah 14:10

10 Thus says the Lord to this people: “Thus they have loved to wander; They have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will remember their iniquity now, And punish their sins.”

The Lord longs to accept people, He loves them.  Unfortunately, they are prone to wander.  How can we keep from wandering?  Abide in Jesus and walk in the Spirit.

Jeremiah 14:13

13 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ ”

There are teacher who insist that a loving God could not possibly bring judgment upon people.  These are false teachers who are ignorant of the truths in the Bible which speak of the true nature of God.  He is both a God of love and a God of judgment.  It is foolishness to believe otherwise.

2 Timothy 1:6–7

6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The Holy Spirit has given each and every believer gifts.  The question is, are we using those gifts for Him? If not, why not? it could be because a person doesn’t know how to identify them so they can use them.  How do we change that? Through prayer and asking the Lord to show us what those gifts are and how He wants them to be used.  Any fear we have in using our gifts is not from God.  He has given us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:9

9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

We must be careful of thinking that anything we do is according to our works.  Otherwise we will not experience the blessing that comes from being used by God for His good purpose.  WHen we daily surrender to His will, His purpose begins to be accomplished.  This is a glorious experience that makes you want to surrender all the more.

2 Timothy 1:12

12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Keep in mind, that Paul is writing this from a prison in Rome.  It is the last letter we have record of him writing.  He was executed shortly after writing this letter.  Clearly, he understood his mission and was committed to the very end…praise God! Oh that we would believe and be persuaded in the things of God in the same manner.

Jeremiah 9-11, 1 Timothy 6

Jeremiah 9:1

1 Oh, that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people!

May the Lord give us such a heart for the lost and those who are rebelling against the Lord. We must pray for them, and believe that the Lord will be faithful to draw them to Himself.

Jeremiah 9:9
Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord. “Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?”

The Lord is obligated by His own word to punish for wrong doing. People say that this isn’t fair. However, it is completely fair, because He is the One who created us. I love what the Lord said in Ezekiel 18:25, “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair. ’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?”

Jeremiah 10:6-7
Inasmuch as there is none like You, O Lord (You are great, and Your name is great in might), 7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You.

There is none like the Lord! Do you believe that? Do you live your life like you believe that? Oh how important it is that we allow the Holy Spirit to remind us about tis wonderful truth.

Jeremiah 10:12-13
He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. 13 When He utters His voice, There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:“And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”

I love these vase which speak so loudly of who God is and how He created things by His spoken word.

Jeremiah 11:11
Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them.

The ‘therefores’ in the Bible are so important. They are not just placed their without reason. They speak of something that is happening because of what preceded it. Why did God bring this calamity upon them? Because they rejected His truths. Therefore, they had no one, absolutely no one to blame but themselves.

1 Timothy 6:6-7
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

These verses remind us of the reality that when we die, we will either go to be with tell in heaven, or separated from the Lord in hell. No matter what we have done, or stored up for ourselves on this earth, none of it will go with us when we die. This sobering truth should draw us close to the Lord

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

It is important to make the distinction here that it is not ‘money’ which is evil, but the unhealthy love of it. Think about many of the problems today and how many of them are linked to people’s pursuit of making as much money has possible. We must guard our hearts from having an unhealthy attraction to money.

1 Timothy 6:20-21
20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

What a great way to end this first letter of instruction to Timothy. We must guard what we know to be true. It is God’s word that puts and end to the foolishness of what is falsely called knowledge.

Jeremiah 6-8, 1 Timothy 5

Jeremiah 6:15

15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD.

One of the great tragedies of our day is that there is no longer any shame. People do things in public that at one time were unheard of. When people are no longer ashamed of immoral behavior, we are all the closer to the end.

Jeremiah 6:17
17 Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’

Pastors and teachers of God’s word are called to be watchmen in the times in which we live. How sad it is that God has established watchmen, pastors and teachers who sound the trumpet and yet no one listens. Sadder yet, are those pastors and teachers who sound a false trumpet that misleads people.

Jeremiah 7:11
11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.

Jesus made reference to this verse when He saw the merchandising that was taking place in the temple area. We read about it in Matthew 21:13, And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

Jeremiah 7:16
16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.

The thought that a person could grieve the Lord to the point of the Lord saying not to pray for them is unimaginable. However, this is precisely what happened to Judah. We must be careful that we don’t test the Lord in this area. We must keep so close to Him, always allowing His kindness to lead us to repentance.

Jeremiah 7:24
24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

Whenever a person follows the dictates of their own heart, it will lead to great problems. Apart from the Lord our hearts are deceitfully wicked and following such hearts will only lead to evil.

Jeremiah 8:8
8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood.

There are many false pens in the hands of false teachers today. How do we guard ourselves from falling into such teaching. Always measure it against the Word of God, the Bible. If it doesn’t line up with the Scriptures…have nothing to do with it.

1 Timothy 5:3
3 Honor widows who are really widows.

This is a great verses about caring for widows. It is very clear on who is and who isn’t a legitimate widow and the churches role in caring for them.

1 Timothy 5:8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Paul has some stern things to say about a Christian man who does not take care of his household. He is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:17-18
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.

These verse have some clear things to say about pastors. Remember that the term ‘elder’, ‘pastor’, ‘shepherd’, ‘overseer’, and ‘bishop’ all refer to the same office. These verse have much to say about their role and how they are to be respected.