“Therefore thou shalt speak these words unto them; but they will not hearken unto thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. (Jeremiah 7:27)
In our text we find God giving a commission unto a man that was known of Him before he was formed in the belly and was called to God’s ordained purposes at that same time! There is much to be learned from this but we will stick to the purpose of this post.
God commissioned this man, Jeremiah, to be His prophet among the Jewish backsliders. Typically when a man is called to the ministry he comes with great hopes. He longs to be used of God to call many people to God. There is nothing wrong with this hope as election promises the minister that God still has many to save.
That was not the case of Jeremiah. God told Jeremiah whom to go to with His Word. God even gave Jeremiah the Words to speak but with the caveat that none would hearken unto him nor to God’s Word of repentance.
This may surprise many today but the Jeremiah ministry is still in effect. while it is certainly true that God still has many of His chosen to save He also has given the ministry to some not to call to salvation but to stand as a witness against those that will not hearken unto God’s invitation. Do we forget what the Master told His 2 x 2? He told them to kick off the dust from their feet as a witness against those that refuse the invitation of God.
When a man of God is called to a new church they go forth in hope of seeing a flourishing ministry and that is a godly hope. These same godly men are heartbroken and question their calling when the church seems to “flounder” with them at the helm. My heart brakes for their self doubt. I would encourage such beloved brothers in Christ to remember that God’s ways and thoughts are not ours. Could it be that God sent a faithful servant not to see a ministry flourish but to close down a ministry that God desires to be closed down? I would further encourage you with this word, “God always causeth us to triumph in Christ…For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, AND IN THEM THAT PERISH: to the one we are the savour of DEATH UNTO DEATH; and to the other the savour of life unto life. AND WHO IS SUFFICIENT FOR THESE THINGS?
Paul further more teaches us, that in terms of preaching the Gospel and it effects, that one plants the seed and another will water the seed bit it is God Who gives the increase so he that plants and he that waters are nothing. This is not to discourage the preacher or the witness but it is meant to help us to see things in the right light and to make certain that God get all glory.
We remember hearing a program on a local Christian radio station. They were airing a program called “Unchained” and on this program they would act out the events that led up to a person coming to Christ. We remember this one that dealt with a student that was attending Hyles Anderson Collage. This student was having a rough time in his “soul winning” attempts so he went to speak with Jack Hyles. Hyles began to tell this young man all the reason he is “FAILING” in his soul winning. This “school” puts out thousands or preachers a year and that is a thousand preacher believing one can fail in their “soul winning.” These thousands of many uncalled preachers then take this heresy to there churches. This is another reason churches are powerless today.
Beloved brethren, one does not fail in one’s ministry if they remain faithful to God, to His Word, to His ways, and to His works. If one remains BIBLICALLY faithful to the flock of God and if one never forgets that it is God’s church and not one’s own.
The Cross of our Lord stands as a witness against unbelievers as much as the power of God unto salvation and so is the preaching and the preacher thereof.
Another word of encouragement from Isaiah, Gods Word will never return onto Him void but it will always accomplish His and it’s purposes and pleasures and this must be true of His called ministers that remain faithful in the face of temptation. While we must always fight off temptations of the flesh this is not the temptation I speak of. I speak of the temptation to be like the world in our attempts to grow the church or to bribe the lost with worldly attractions. Brethren, do you not see that by doing these things we state that the Gospel is not good enough. We also confess our disbelief in His Word when He states that the Lord will add daily to the church such as should be saved.
Several years ago Rick Warren wrote a dangerous book called “The Purpose Driven Church” and it was a best seller. In fact, it got rave reviews in the business sections of the new papers. Brethren this is not good, “woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you.” Where is this man today? He is one of the leading forces behind Chris-lam, a religion that combine Christianity and Islam. The other animal err man behind this abomination is a man that preaches err rather spews Christ has converted to Islam and will return to execute all Christians! Warren is also leader (I won’t call him pastor) of Saddle-back church in California, another mega church.
When God called preachers of small congregations or house/home churches look at men like Warren and Hyles and Hybles, who I believe said he was wrong with his small group movement, and compare themselves it could become easy to doubt one’s own ministry. Beloved, Paul counsels thee not to compare yourself with others and this would include comparing ministry size with ministry size. You are where an All knowing, All Wise, and loving God put thee. Be like Paul and thank God Who has counted you faithful putting you in the ministry…for there is no greater honour.
In closing please remember our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for His Name’s sake. Paul charges us in the beginning verse of Hebrews 13 to remember those in bonds and imagine yourselves as being in bonds with them and in their bodies enduring the suffering of Christ.