Sometimes you just need to take a break from carnage that is modern politics. Over the summer, my church conducted a weekly Bible study series entitled “Faith over Fear”. Several of our Sunday School and Bible teachers taught on a particular “fear” topic. As one of those teachers, I covered “Fear of Delivering and Unpopular Message”, focusing on Jeremiah 1.
Delivering an unpopular message has become a daily occurrence for many of us. If you find yourself speaking against binary choice politics, Donald Trump, or the two major parties, you have probably found yourself at odds with untold numbers. However, in these times it is important to remember the big picture. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no greater call than to deliver His message.
Stand and Deliver
When teaching this lesson, I asked my group if anyone had been in a job for 45 years. One hand went up. Then, how about being in a job where no one likes you and no one wants to hear what you have to say? That was Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called by God to speak to his people, in approximately 626 BC. He spent the next 45 years calling out his people and proclaiming the wages of sin. This was not a message the people wanted or appreciated. In the end, Jeremiah would die, having been kidnapped, as a captive in a foreign land. Despite the personal toll, Jeremiah remained faithful to his call. Through the rejection, despair, and hostility, Jeremiah carried out his mission. What can we Christians learn for his example?
Modern Day Prophets
We are living in a world of moral relativism. God’s message of love, through Jesus Christ, is now considered hate speech. Even today, we remain a people with an unpopular message that is attempting to be silenced. How do we respond? What can we learn from Jeremiah’s calling?
In the course of Jeremiah 1, God makes four promises: 1) Being reluctant to speak the name of the Lord in the face of skeptics leads to more fear and marginalization; 2) Opposition will be real; 3) Those who are faithful will prevail; and 4) If you are faithful, you will know the presence of the Lord, and He will rescue you.
I am of the firm belief that as the church has attempted to conform to culture, the more culture has declined. By almost any metric, the number of self-identified Christians is falling. The number of unaffiliated and atheist continue to rise. The speed at which these numbers are changing seems to be directly correlated to disengagement and conformity by the church.
Christians live in fear of being labeled racists, sexists, bigots, homophobes, etc. The reluctance to speak the truth of the Word has led to fear and marginalization. Christians face real opposition to His message. However, in the face of the opposition, God commands us to be strong. Jeremiah 1:17-19:
“Now get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them. Today, I am the one who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land-against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the population. They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you.”
I like to think of these verses as God’s “Cowboy Up” speech. With God’s help, His message of hope and love will prevail.
Of Hope and Love
The message we are called to deliver today is the hope and love of Jesus Christ. Is it, at times, an unpopular message? Yes. Is salvation through Jesus Christ an exclusionary message? Yes. Will this message be offensive to some? Yes. Just because the answers are yes, does not mean we should refrain from sharing The Truth. And, what is The Truth?
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7
Therefore, proclaim it loudly and without fear. Proclaim it with love. We are called to share the Good News with the world. God has fortified us and we will prevail if we allow Him to strengthen us. Some things are more important than Donald Trump’s tweets, the republican and democrat lies, and celebrity gossip. Salvation hangs in the balance. This is the greatest calling of all.
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JD Rucker – EIC