So, You Didn’t Like the Sermon?

JeremiahAn exposition of Jeremiah 26:1-24. This Message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, July 27, 2008.

It seems that every few years there is one that captures the nation’s imagination.  Headlines read, “Trial of the Century.”  In the 1920’s it was the Scopes Monkey Trial.  William Jennings Bryant and Clarence Darrow squared off in an epic debate over creation and evolution.  In the 30’s it was the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.  In the 1970’s everyone was glued to the television set as the Watergate Hearings played out before a watching public.  And who can forget the media circus known as the O.J. Simpson trial?  All high profile cases in which the nation gets “caught up.”  Everyone knows about it and everyone has an opinion.  All demand justice but there is some disagreement over what constitutes justice.  But there is one high profile case that especially grabs my attention.  One that causes me to sit up and take notice.  It is about a congregation that took its preacher to court…and demanded the death penalty!  Our text this evening is found in Jeremiah chapter 26.

As we come to chapter 26 we find another account of his “temple sermon.”  It is the same message as he delivered back in chapter 7.  Now whether this is the same sermon and the emphasis this time is on the reaction to the sermon rather than the message itself or whether this was the same message delivered on another occasion we are not certain.  I’m sure, like all good preachers, he repeated sermons as often as possible!  I had a seminary professor who said, “If it was worth preaching the first time, it’s worth preaching again.”

What we do know is that the crowd didn’t care for the sermon. They rushed him in order to kill him but the authorities intervened. A trial follows. As we walk through chapter 26 we see…

Jeremiah’s experience with an enraged congregation reminds us of some valuable truths.

  1. Faithfulness to the Word of God my put you in great danger (26:1-11).
    Jeremiah was learning what I’ve been saying for years, “Preaching can be hazardous to your health!” If you are going to be faithful to the Gospel, faithful to live and speak the Gospel, it will cost you. It may very well place you in great danger. How will you respond? What will you do?
  2. When falsely accused and threatened the godly concern themselves with God’s glory and the integrity of His name and not their personal well-being (26:12-19).
    He basically pled not guilty by reason of obedience! What I find really interesting is that he did not defend himself. In fact he took the opportunity to repeat his message!  26:12-13
  3. Ultimately, our fate rests in the hands of our Sovereign God (26:20-24).
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