- Morning worship online has moved to start at 10am and JAM at 11:15am on the Zoom platform.
- You may want to use some of the Engage Worship resources for daily worship during this week.
- The Messy Church At Home information is available on our website.
- We will be continuing the Prayer Livestream at 7.00pm on Sunday’s. This will be another significant time of national prayer for us. Please join in and, if you don’t already do so, would you let your fellowship know about this and put it on your social media. Click here to access.
JAM Kids’ focus:
Here is the new video series from Out of the Box for JAM Kids age group.
Worksheet 1 to accompany this talk
Call to worship
I will exalt you, my God the King;Psalm 145: 1-7
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty –
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works –
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
We are grateful to Margaret Clark for selecting the songs for worship for this service
Our opening song of praise and worship is:
We continue to worship the Lord in our second song of praise and worship:
I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
Heavenly Father You are an awesome and majestic God who is worthy to receive all our praises and worship today. We come recognising the sense of privilege that is ours to enter Your holy presence today. We come, though, with confidence because we come in the name of Jesus Your Son our Saviour who gave His life for us on the cross, dying in our place. As we are so thankful for all these blessings we remember the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 8:31, who declared:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
Cleanse us afresh from our sins of the past week we pray and fill us with the power of Your Holy Spirit to live for You in this new week. Speak to us today we pray from Your Word, for Jesus’ name’s sake, Amen.
Let us say together the words Jesus taught His disciples when He said:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever Amen.
Song – Fairest Lord Jesus
This Time Tomorrow
We’re David and Helen Heron, living in Stowmarket, Suffolk where we are calling you from today. As you can tell from our accents, though, we originally come from Scotland! We worked in Peru, South America for 17 years with a mission agency called Serving in Mission (or SIM). Originally we were involved in a programme training church leaders, then moved into leadership and administrative roles.
Our three daughters, Kat, Louisa and Suzie all grew up in Peru. In 2009 we felt the Lord would have us return to the UK. My mum needed care and came to live with us for five years and then moved into a nearby Care Home where she lived for another two years. I spent time caring for her and serving as secretary in our church and working part time for another mission organisation. Our girls have all married and we now have two grandchildren, who live in Edinburgh.
I have continued working with SIM and for the last ten years have been the International Personnel/HR Director. SIM has just under 4,000 workers – half of these are employees who work in our hospitals, schools, theological colleges, sports ministries, etc, as well as our offices. The other half are what we traditionally call missionaries – people who are sent by their churches to take the gospel to other parts of the world. SIM supports churches who send missionaries by linking the church with a team in a particular country or ministry.
This section of your service is called ‘this time tomorrow’ – so what do I actually do? Firstly, I don’t provide direct HR services or support for all our 4,000 workers! SIM functions in teams in each country and each one has an HR or Personnel Coordinator. My role is to oversee our global HR policies and practices, and a lot of my time is spent training and providing advice and support to all our HR people so they can look after their teams well. Since we work in about 60 countries and have over 70 nationalities in SIM, a lot of my work is focussed on how an organisation functions globally.
But looking after SIM people is not an end in itself. The purpose of SIM says:
That’s what we are about and that’s what SIM’s people are about. My role is to ensure our workers are well managed and cared for so they can concentrate on the task at hand. Also, with so many people in SIM the increasing amount of employment legislation today means we need to ensure we are compliant with local laws regarding our people (and they vary across the world!)
So what will I be doing tomorrow? I looked at my diary and found I have a committee meeting for the ‘Membership Recommendation Committee’. Sounds boring? Not another Zoom meeting! Actually it is one of the most encouraging things I do – this is the committee that reviews the selection process for people joining SIM from some of our newer sending countries.
Tomorrow we will be (hopefully) be recommending three new people as members of SIM – they all come from West Africa. Two weeks ago we recommended another nine people to join SIM – two families are going to an unreached people group in Africa, one family are coming to Glasgow (yes, SIM now receives people into the UK to work with churches in multi-cultural communities). Our West Africa sending office is one of our fastest growing offices.
Another team I am on at the moment is a group made up of ten people from across the SIM world who are looking at the medium to long term effects the Covid-19 pandemic may have on SIM ministries and operations. We have been developing tools to help our Country Directors carry out some scenario planning, and also planned a major relief project to help countries where they are involved in supporting the most needy in their communities who have been seriously affected by strict lockdowns, plus supporting our hospitals to have all the PPE they need to treat Covid-19 patients.
Jesus’s commission to his disciples was to go to Jerusalem, Judea and to the ends of the earth, and that remains the commission for the church today. It’s the ‘going to the ends of the earth’ part that SIM partners with churches to carry out and that is a huge challenge right now.
- We have new missionaries ready to go overseas – and can’t
- We have people who were on home assignment and can’t get back to their regular ministry, and are also limited in what they can do on home assignment
- We have people who want to go on home assignment and can’t
- We have people stuck who were travelling when lockdown happened, and families in different countries
You get the picture.
Of course, people are being creative – and joining you on this Zoom is an example. We were planning visits to supporters and churches this year – and can’t go anywhere.
So our ministries are changing and adapting. Theological colleges and pastor training initiatives are going on-line and some are seeing many more students engaging. Of course, not everyone has access to good technology like this (as you know!) and some work has to be done by phone or Whatsapp – not always ideal.
However, what we are hearing across the world, and you see it in your own community – are the people who are affected by lockdowns, in particularly those who are experiencing the lack of basic needs like food and without basic supplies. Particularly just now in South America and South Asia there are millions of people who earn their living on a daily basis – if they are locked down and can’t work then they don’t eat. So in countries like Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia people have to go out and earn some money, including selling food – so there is real hardship, a tight lockdown, and yet the virus is spiralling ever upwards.
In these countries SIM is working with churches to buy food in bulk and distribute it to the most needy. They include some bible portions and chat with people (from a distance!) as they visit them. In South Africa people are sewing face coverings and cooking hot meals for people. We see this happening in our own country, but the levels of poverty and need in some of these other countries is desperate. SIM is not a relief agency, but we have strong partnerships with churches and are able to work with these churches to help the most needy in their communities.
So our ministries have had to change and adapt. You know all about this because you have had to do it too, just like all churches in the UK and in most of the world. History tells us that in previous times of pandemics the gospel has spread and churches have grown. We pray this will be true of these days in which we are living, both for you in Broughty Ferry Baptist Church, for Cedars Church where we belong and right across the world.
All Age Talk: Isdale Anderson
Well the wait is almost over! The barbers and hairdressers are opening on Wednesday! The first Sunday that I led a service on Zoom I said that it could be a while before we could go for a haircut – and so it has been – a whole 11 weeks! During lockdown we have had to wait for lots of things – not just for haircuts, but to get a hug from our Granny or Grandpa, to get to mix with our friends, to go to the shops and of course to go to school! It’s not easy waiting for things is it? It’s bad enough at Christmas time or when it’s our birthday. We have let our mum or dad know what we would like as a present but then it takes for ever for Christmas Day or our Birthday to arrive. And even then sometimes we are disappointed because we don’t always get what we asked for!
Some people feel that way about prayer. They ask God for things but they say that God doesn’t answer their prayers because they don’t get what they want. That’s not really true. Just because you ask for something doesn’t mean that you haven‘t had an answer. I mean, do you expect your mum or dad to give you everything you might ask for, for your birthday or Christmas? We might think that it would be nice if they did, but we know pretty well that it’s unlikely. You might ask – but your mum or dad might say NO – what you want is too expensive. They might say that you’re not old enough yet for what you’re asking for so you’ll have to WAIT.
Some people wonder if Jesus had a sense of humour. I think he did. He once asked some parents if when their children asked them for a fish supper they would give them a live snake instead! Or if they asked for a boiled egg, they would give them a scorpion! I can imagine his listeners laughing and saying “Don’t be silly, we wouldn’t do that!” And Jesus said, “Of course you wouldn’t! Even though you are not perfect, you still know how to give good things to your children. How much more then”, Jesus said, “can you rely on your perfect loving heavenly Father to give good things to those who ask him.”
Of course sometimes we might ask God for what we think are good things e.g. like someone who is ill to get better. We might be very disappointed when it doesn’t happen. God may not have said NO. He might be saying “Not yet” and we have to wait. However sometimes we have to accept that we don’t know what is best and just trust God to answer as He knows is best. It might be Yes, it might be No but it might also be Wait. The important thing is that we don’t give up praying or trusting God to do what He knows is best.
All Age Song
Prayers for others – Helen Heron
Lord God, Heavenly Father, we come before you today in praise and adoration for your holiness, love and mercy. We acknowledge you as Sovereign Lord over this world and we are thankful that you are in control of all things. We praise you that you have loved us, and have opened up a way for us to come to you through the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank you for the security we have in knowing that you are our Lord in this world and that we know the promise of eternal life in the future. Your desire that all nations, tribes, languages and peoples will one day worship you is still your desire and your commission to us to go to our ‘Jerusalem, Judea and to the end of the earth’.
Lord I pray for the fellowship here in Broughty Ferry. I pray for their witness in the community through the Food bank and all the other ways in which they are reaching out to people. We pray that people in this community may be protected from coronavirus, that you would provide their daily bread and needs and most of all that more people would come to know Jesus as their Saviour. Give strength, energy and creativity to the church leaders here and be at work we pray.
Lord we pray that you would constraint this virus which has devastated our world, indeed we pray that you would take it away, bring it to a speedy. Whether this is through your direct intervention, through the skill of scientists and doctors or through other means of your choosing we pray that no more lives will be lost or people suffering debilitating after effects. And Lord, while we are in this situation we pray for your strength and protection.
We pray for people in South America and in South Asia – countries where the economies are being devastated by lockdown but where case numbers are rising. We pray for hospitals and medical staff who do not have the resources to cope with patient numbers, and for people who are sick but cannot afford hospital or oxygen and are treated in chairs outside the hospital for lack of beds. We pray for your church in these countries to rise up and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are suffering. We bring before you the refugees and poorest people in Peru and Bolivia and pray that the food parcel and gospels that are being distributed weekly will not only bring physical comfort but also the light of the truth of the gospel. Give strength and perseverance to the SIM team members and churches, and provide financially for these ministries.
Lord we bring before you those who have become more vulnerable in these times – those suffering domestic abuse, and those who are at greater risk of human trafficking which we know is increasing. We pray that people in desperation will turn to you and know the greatest liberty of a relationship with Jesus.
We remember those who have answered you call to serve you in other countries but who cannot travel at present. We pray for those who are trying to raise prayer and financial support that they will find ways to connect with potential supporters even though they can’t travel and meet people in person. Lord you called us to go to the ends of the earth and so we pray that the gospel will still go out to all nations and that you will show us how to do that in these times.
So be with us, comfort, strengthen and equip us for your service. In Jesus’ name, Amen
In our Baptist Union of Scotland we also remember to pray for:
Jim Purves (Mission & Ministry Advisor, BUS) – Join in giving thanks for creative movements in mission and ministry across our Union of churches. We pray for attentiveness within churches to the leading of the Holy Spirit, walking in obedience to our Father and pursuing the way of Christ. May God grant wisdom when guidance is sought for pursuing excellence in Jesus’ name.
Granton-on-Spey BC – We give thanks for the church family at Granton-on-Spey Baptist. We pray for the church as they seek to serve and bless the local community.
Greenock BC – Please pray for wisdom as they seek to pastor those who are bereaved, hospitalised, and seriously ill in these days of lockdown and social distancing. They are thankful for the sense of oneness as a fellowship that is being maintained though regular phone contact and video conferencing facilities. They are also learning of some who are watching to their services who would not regularly be churchgoers.
Hamilton BC – They are thankful to God that even in these difficult times, He has been faithful to each of our congregation. Although they cannot meet together in the Church building, they are blessed by the preaching of God’s word online with many more tuning in. “We rest on His unchanging grace, in every high and stormy gale”
We pray too for the other Christian churches in our local communities and across the land. In this summer season we pray that You would grant each local congregation wisdom about what services and activities they can plan to relaunch or begin in the later part of this year. Help us all to remember the necessity to balance outreach and community ministries alongside our worship services and smaller group meetings and discipleship programmes. In the midst of our rest or continued work help us always to continue to pray for God to be at work in our midst in the coming days.
We now pray for other people with particular needs that are connected to our own congregation: We ask that you would comfort those who have been bereaved in recent weeks. Help them to come to terms with their loss and to know Your presence with them each step of the way. We remember those with ongoing health problems, particularly those that have been waiting a long time for hospital treatment or operations. We remember in particular Grace C recovering at home after breaking an ankle this week. We also pray for a full recovery for Nina G after her time in hospital as well.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. 11 ‘Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, “This is what the Lord says: look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.” 12 But they will reply, “It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.”’ 13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:
‘Enquire among the nations: who has ever heard anything like this: A most horrible thing has been done by Virgin Israel.14 Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters from distant sources ever stop flowing?
15 Yet my people have forgotten Me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths. They made them walk in byways, on roads not built up. 16 Their land will be an object of horror and of lasting scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will shake their heads. 17 Like a wind from the east I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them My back and not My face in the day of their disaster.’Jeremiah 18: 1-17
Jeremiah 18:1-17 The Potter and the Clay
Have you ever taken the time to watch a skilful glass-blower shaping the molten glass in to a beautiful vase or some other magnificent creation? Or have you observed a potter taking an ordinary lump of clay and moulding and shaping it into a bowl or jar or some other creation that would be of use and value once the potter’s work has been completed.
There is a real joy and pleasure to be gained watching a master craftsman or woman at work. Many hours have practice have enabled them to master techniques for shaping and moulding the material with which they are working. If your observations take place at a venue where members of the general public can also have a turn, for example, at transforming a lump of clay using a potter’s wheel then it quickly become apparent that the task in hand is so much harder than it appears in the hands of a skilful potter. Even the best efforts of an amateur volunteer fall short of the goods produced by one who has mastered their trade.
In the book of Jeremiah there are a lengthy series of messages to a people who largely paid lip service to the claims of the God of Israel on their lives. If there had been civic censuses taking place during these years a large majority would have ticked the Jewish religion option in any question about religious or philosophical convictions. Like in our own society until recent decades only a relatively small minority would have ticked an agnostic or atheist option. However, Jeremiah knew from the crushing indifference to his messages that it was a nominal Judaism at best that was practised in this nation.
Very few people were taking God seriously or prioritising a commitment to following the God of Israel. No matter how passionately he preached or pleaded with them the response was usually the same. The account in Jeremiah 18:1-17 is one of the messages preached in Jerusalem during the years that preceded the devastating war with the superpower of the day Babylon (Iraq) and its rejection along with Jeremiah’s other messages led to the inevitable fall of the city; and to the subsequent exile of most of its prominent citizens for the rest of their lives in Babylon. Let us look briefly at this message then and its significance now for us today as well.
1. The potter at work (Jeremiah 18:1-4)
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you My message.’ 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
(a)A familiar sight (Jeremiah 18:3) The image of the potter at work was a common sight in the Holy Land at that time. In the Middle Eastern climate work was carried out mainly outdoors, although sometimes shaded from the hot sunshine. Jeremiah was not told what he would see, but was asked simply to visit this place of work and observe the potter at work.
The potter’s wheel was literally two stone wheels on a vertical axis. The lower of which was spin by kicking with the feet and the upper one was where the clay was moulded by the potter. In later centuries the apparatus was made out of wood to make it easier for the potter to move. Archaeological digs in Israel regularly unearth vast quantities of pieces of pottery that play a significant part in determining the dating of particular excavations. There were at different times a wide variety of types of pottery in use so this can on occasions be particularly helpful in determining the dating of layers of sediment. However, the word used here for pot is simply an incredibly common basic household item produced in large quantities. It is an ordinary pot on which the potter is investing his time and creative skills, not a luxury item for a wealthier customer.
This is important because of the message Jeremiah will seek to draw out of what he has seen for the lives of the ordinary residents of Jerusalem with respect to their relationship with God. This imagery of God as the potter and the clay representing Jewish people or humanity is very familiar to readers of the Bible. In Genesis 2, the Bible passage that focusses on the creation of humanity by God used this imagery.
Genesis 2:7: Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. The word translated as formed in Genesis 2:7 was used in Jeremiah 18, but also elsewhere in the Bible to refer to the work of the potter, for example, Isaiah 64:8: Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of your hand, though it was also used in Isaiah 44:12 to describe the work of the blacksmith on metals. The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. The emphasis is on the ordinariness of the scene and of the material being used to fashion something else. God was preparing Jeremiah to deliver a message to other ordinary people not just a select few from within the wider population.
(b)A problem to overcome (Jeremiah 18:4) But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. The crux of the matter is seen in this verse with two obvious points to be made from what Jeremiah had observed. The first is that the potter is obviously in charge of proceedings. He has the final say with respect to the use of the raw materials with which he is working.
However, it appears that this potter began with a particular plan possibly to fulfil a customer order for a particular kind of pot that he intended to make first that day. Things did not work out as he planned. There seems to have been a problem with the texture of the clay or something else that led him to change his mind and rework the clay into a different kind of pot. The experienced potter was able to adjust his work schedule to produce something of value from the clay with which he was working. There was no loss, simply an adjustment to the circumstances before him. The end result was the successful creation of a different kind of useful pot that a customer would purchase.
2. The power of God (Jeremiah 18:5-11)
(a)The lesson to be learned (Jeremiah18:5-10) 5Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
What was the point of Jeremiah’s visit to the potter’s house? It was not an excursion on a day off or a form of relaxation, though it is not impossible that Jeremiah did enjoy watching a master craftsman at work. The lesson to be learned was that God is ultimately in control of His world and the course of history. Nations and empires will rise and fall in the permissive will of God.
Although, God wanted to communicate here that not everything was ‘set in stone’; the message here was for the nations more than for individuals, although it is easy enough to apply it to individual lives. God was saying that a nation that does wrong and commits seriously evil acts may fall under His judgement, but if there is genuine repentance for that wrongdoing then the proposed judgement may be postponed or even cancelled altogether.
By contrast, if a nation was being honoured by God for the good choices it was making, these blessings could be lost if that nation turns its back on God and His holy standards. God may accomplish His goals through the use of other people or nations, if His original intended choices are unwilling to honour Him in the way He was intending. In any case in the Old Testament era God was not restricted to using Jewish people to accomplish His goals. There were plenty of cases where individuals of other nations were responsible for some amazing acts. The Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great is a classic example.
Isaiah 44:28: [God] who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and he will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt’, and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’ Or Isaiah 45:1: This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of…
This incredible man who overthrew the mighty Babylonian Empire believed in human rights centuries ahead of his time and released captive populations to return to their homelands. The Babylonian rulers came to believe in the myth of their own invincibility and would pay the price as their empire was lost. Nations, even networks of churches too, if they stray from their solid biblical and moral foundations raise serious questions about their own futures.
A nation or a church enjoying God’s favour does so while it operates in the right way. If God’s way is rejected and His standards ignored then there will be consequences. The Covid-19 virus pandemic has minded us of our own mortality and that society as we have known it for several generations no longer can assume that medical science can prevent all these disasters taking place. After all, there have been so many warnings by the medical profession over the last couple of decades that some form of health crisis was almost inevitable in the future. But how many people really believed that in their lifetime we would see an event like the Covid-19 virus pandemic?
Recent events are a wake-up call about what is really important. However, the question is how many people will quickly forget as soon as this crisis is over and return to living exactly as before? And how many will seek the living God and want to live their lives His way?
(b)The challenge to be heeded (Jeremiah18:11) ‘Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, “This is what the Lord says: look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.
Jeremiah wanted to warn the Jewish leadership in the royal court as well as the religious leaders in the Jerusalem Temple that if they failed to live God’s way that they too might lose not only their positions but also their country and end up dead or in exile. This passage teaches strongly that fatalism and resigning ourselves to ‘what will be will be’ is not an option.
We can make a difference both individually and collectively if we choose to do so. God in His sovereign will chooses to allow us to make responses to His invitations to us to follow Him. A person who has gone their own way and lived without reference to God, but who now invites Him to direct their lives will obtain His favour. By contrast a person who once lived for God but who now wants nothing to do with Him, will earn His displeasure. This was not a popular message when Jeremiah preached it to the open air audience outside the Temple in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 7); it will not be a popular message today either. The question each one of us has to ask is this: which way will I go? Will I follow God’s way or make my own choices?
3. The predicament of the people (Jeremiah 18:12-17)
12 But they will reply, “It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.”’ 13 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘Enquire among the nations: who has ever heard anything like this? A most horrible thing has been done by Virgin Israel. 14 Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes? Do its cool waters from distant sources ever stop flowing? 15 Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols,
which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths. They made them walk in byways, on roads not built up. 16 Their land will be an object of horror and of lasting scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will shake their heads. 17 Like a wind from the east, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back and not my face in the day of their disaster.’
What was the response of Jeremiah’s hearers to this stirring message? Did they want to heed this solemn warming that God would not be mocked? Sadly, but no surprise they heard the message and rejected it. But they will reply, “It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; (Jeremiah 18:12) The words uttered and reported in Jeremiah 18:12 suggest that these people were not taking Jeremiah’s words too seriously. They did not believe that their nation could fall under the judgement of God. That was such an old-fashioned idea! They were rejecting out-of-hand the fact that actions will have consequences.
A person may do something inappropriate for a long time and get away with it, but other people may do the same thing for a short time and have their lives devastated by it. The taking of illicit drugs is an obvious example in our society today. Here the issue was this: would the nation of Judah (southern Israel) take seriously God’s message to them through His servant Jeremiah? The same challenge comes to us today? How seriously am I taking God’s call to me to follow Him, to put my faith in trust in Him through Jesus?
The response was predictable. But God through Jeremiah declares that it is so unnatural to behave in that way. After all nature has a set course of seasons that follow one after another. For example, he writes, Mount Hermon in Southern Lebanon, now on the Israel –Syria border, is constantly covered in snow on its high peaks all year round. The cool waters of the River Jordan that flow down the valley from this magnificent peak are constant.
Yet the behaviour of God’s people in the Holy Land was inconsistent at best and their attitudes displayed indifference at worst. Jeremiah pleaded with them to turn back to God but they chose not to do it. In time it led to the destruction of their country and exile in Babylon for many. They could not say they had not been warned. The challenge comes back to us in this generation: Will I commit myself to follow Jesus and give Him 100% dedication in His service? This is what He is seeking from each one of us. I hope and pray that each one of us will willingly put our faith and trust in Him, for Jesus’ sake, Amen
Our song before we come to communion is:
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus invites all Christian who have committed their lives to follow Him to participate in this act of worship. The apostle Paul wrote these words of Scripture in I Corinthians 11:23-26 to guide our observance of Communion.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Prayer: Choose your own words of prayer to give thanks for the bread and wine that represent the costly gift of His body and blood for us.
Take the bread: Jesus said: ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
Take the wine: Jesus said: This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’
Our closing song is:
Thank you Lord that You are in charge of Your world and indeed in overall control over our lives. Like the potter of old working with the clay, You desire to create something beautiful in and through each of our lives in the coming days. Help us respond to the guidance of Your Holy Spirit in the way we ought to live our lives both individually, in our families and collectively as a church family.
By faith we believe that You have great things in store for us in the coming days as we yield our lives to You. Guide and direct us in all that we seek to accomplish this week, for Jesus’ sake Amen.
Benediction: The Grace
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore, Amen
Remember tonight the national online prayer service at 7pm.