Jeremiah #55 – An exposition of Jeremiah 40:1-41:18. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, March 8, 2009.
The history of the church has been a history of persecution. The first Christians were hunted by Roman Emperors and scattered across the Middle East. During the Middle Ages Christians were surrounded by Barbarians. During the Reformation period Bible-believing Christians were branded as outlaws. Things are really no better today. Today in the Middle East and other parts of the world Christians are opposed by radical Islam. In China the church is oppressed by Communism. In Europe and the United States the church is marginalized by atheism and secularism. It is not easy to be a follower of Christ in today’s world. Thus we join our voice with believers through the ages declaring, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
We live in a post-Christian culture. A culture in which nothing is sacred. Not marriage or family. Not the church and its worship. Life is not even considered sacred. The paradigm has shifted. Old loyalties have been forgotten. Former worldviews have been cast aside. A “new morality” (which is really just the old immorality) has taken hold. The church, once a major player on the world stage has been relegated to a utilitarian role. How should we respond? What are we to do?
Do we fight? Do we assume the mentality of warriors and seek to recapture the culture for Christ? That is certain the attitude of a large number of folks. I do not deny that we are in the midst of a “culture war.” So I understand the attitude. But I wonder if our pursuit of reclaiming America’s Christian past is more the result of a romantic dream than a reality. Yes there is no denying that our founding documents rest solidly on a Judeo-Christian foundation. But American has always been made up of saints and sinners from her earliest days. In addition we now face a culture sees the Constitution as a “living” document that grows, learns and changes over time. It doesn’t matter what the framers thought or what they meant. That was then and this is now. Thus through the rewriting of the Constitution the church is pushed aside and no longer has a role to play in government or national affairs.
Well does that mean we throw up our hands and surrender to an increasingly secular culture? Do we abandon the public square and retreat into our churches hoping they will leave us alone? No I’m not suggesting that at all.
But I am saying that a warrior spirit determined to gain political clout will not usher in a great sweeping revival. No lasting change will come as a result of our getting our guys in office. At the same time life is not going to improve is we slip quietly into the night and withdrawal from public life.
What I’m saying is that we must be faithful to believe, live and preach the gospel. And we must do so having embraced a sound remnant theology. Our text this evening is found in Jeremiah chapters 40 and 41.
Text: Jeremiah 40:1-41:18
What is clear from these two chapters is this…
Thesis: God always preserves a people for His own glory.
God’s people may well be besieged, attacked, opposed and scattered throughout the earth but they will never be lost. God always preserves a remnant.
These 4 things constitute a sound doctrine of the remnant.
- God always preserves a remnant. (40:1-8, 11-12)
- God always provides for His people. (40:9-10)
- God always keeps His word.
- Whether the danger is from without or within, the remnant belongs to God and His purpose will prevail. (41:11-15)
Our great need is not the development of a warrior culture to “take back” society. It isn’t the development of church growth strategies but rather the recovery of a sold remnant theology. Don’t read that as an escapist mentality or as “poor little ol’ us.” I mean it in the sense that because God is for us who can stand against us? I mean it in the sense that the gates of hell cannot prevail. I mean it in the sense that no matter how bad things get or how powerful the enemy – God will always have a people.