September 23, 2018 – 18th Sunday After Pentecost
by Pastor Pete Scheele
Read Jeremiah 11: 18 – 20
Grace and peace to you as you learn from God’s past about your future, from God, our Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The ball is snapped and the quarterback drops back with only seconds to scan the field and find the open receiver while the defensive lineman and a linebacker or two are closing in on him quickly. The pocket is a precarious place. The quarterback can see the rusher in front of him but he cannot see behind. That’s why, for a right-handed quarterback, the Left-tackle is so important, because he is protecting his blindside. Many of you may have seen the movie, that came out in 2009, called ‘the Blind Side’ about Michael Oher who grew up as a homeless boy in Tennessee and was rescued by the Tuohy family. Now the Tuohy family is an amazing Christian family, who not only brought Michael into their family but helps him as he enters a Christian school, where he learns how to play football and ultimately receives a scholarship to play for the University of Mississippi and becomes a NFL player for the Ravens, Titans and the Panthers. Now Michael Oher is tough and strong, but one of his greatest qualities is that he loyal. He’ll do just about anything humanly possible to protect his quarterback’s blind side. So, who’s protecting your blindside? That’s the question the Jeremiah had to learn about from God’s Word and that is the question that we will be learning about through God’s Word today.
“The Lord made it known to me and I knew; then You showed me their deeds.” (Jer. 11:18) What has the Lord made known to you this day so far? Hopefully you have learned, at the beginning of our service, that you are a sinner and need to confess your sins to God each and every day, not just on Sunday. Why do we need to confess our sins to God each and every day? Well Apostle John tells us, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 Jn. 1:8-10) We live by God’s grace and without God’s forgiveness we are lost in our sins and doomed to damnation.
The people of Jeremiah’s time were in the same situation that we are today, they didn’t want to hear about their sins, but they wanted to hear about all the good that God was going to do in their lives. Jeremiah was sent into the time of Israel when the Kings and the priests were not leading the people to God but away from Him. That’s the same problem we have today. The world we live in and its leader are not leading us to God. Jeremiah was the strong prophet of God who told God’s people the truth, they were sinners and they were not following the ways of God, but the ways of the devil that would lead them to damnation. Because Jeremiah’s message to the people was not what they wanted to hear, they were looked for ways of getting rid of Jeremiah. Jeremiah knew that the people didn’t like the Words of God about their sin and their need to repent or they were headed for destruction, but he thought that his friends and relatives from his home town were with him and not against him. That’s where Jeremiah was blindsided! God revealed to Jeremiah that His friends from his home town were plotting to kill him. These were his friends that he had trusted, he thought they understood what he was doing but instead they were taking advantage of his friendship and plotting to kill him so that they would not be reminded of God’s way and how they were headed for damnation.
When God gave Jeremiah the understanding of what his friends were plotting to do Jeremiah responded with these words, ‘But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.”’ (Jer. 11:19) The world and the devil today have the same scheme to get God’s Word out of our lives and lead us into our own destruction. That puts us into the same situation that Jeremiah found himself in as he proclaimed God’s truth to the world, the truth about the life God wants us to have.
The Words of God through Jeremiah are also words that tell us about Jesus, our savior. Jesus was led like a gentle lamb to the slaughter, but He was not blindsided by His friends. No, Jesus knew that His closes friends, His Disciples, those who had been His close companions and friends, where going to dessert Him when the time for His death was near. Jesus knew that the Priest and Scribes, who were supposed to be getting the people of Israel ready for His coming, would be the ones who would be arranging for His death and total destruction. Jesus wasn’t blindsided by this like Jeremiah because He had no weaknesses and understood the nature of sinful man, the world and the devil.
The difference between Jeremiah and Jesus is that Jeremiah still trusted in the things of this world, while Jesus knew that all the world is totally corrupt and looking for ways of destroying Him. Jesus knew that His mission in this world was to lead a perfect life so that He should be that perfect sacrifice for all our sins. Jesus wasn’t blindsided by the leaders of the temple plotting to kill Him because He knew that it would be by His death on the cross of Calvary that He would conquer sin, death and the power of the devil for all of us. He knew that by His resurrection He would open the doors of heaven for us now and for all eternity through our faith in Him. In fact by letting the people of the world lead him to His death he was going to blindside them.
The people of Jeremiah’s hometown were plotting to destroy him so that they didn’t have to hear God’s words of calamity and destruction because of their sins. Yet, Jeremiah called them called them to repent of their sins and receive the grace, mercy and love of God in their lives. The people of Jesus’ time had the same thoughts but they didn’t understand that by Jesus’ perfect life they were going to be set free from the slavery to sin and given the loving relationship that they had lost because of their sins. They didn’t understand that by Jesus death on the cross of Calvary they were going to be given an exodus from their sins and brought to the Promised Land, the heavenly home God wants us all to have now and forever. Jesus accomplish His mission in this world and was not blindsided by the deceit and evil of this world so that He could be the one who will protect us from being blindsided by those who want to bring us to destruction. By Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we are given the assurance of our eternal life so that we can call others to repentance and receive the forgiveness of their sins. This is the message of Good News that gives us hope from God’s love, peace and joy now and forever.
Jeremiah was saved from the plots against him by God and he saw the destruction that God told the people would happen to them if they did not repent of their sins and return to God’s ways. Jeremiah was saved by the love of God for him as he held onto God’s Word and he gave praise to God by saying, “But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for too You have I committed my cause.” (Jer. 11:18-20)
When Jeremiah looked back at the whole affair, he realized that it all stemmed from the unrighteous judgment of the hearts of the people of Israel, they were blindsided by their sinful nature. Those who plotted against Jeremiah reacted only to what they heard and their evil nature. They couldn’t know what was in Jeremiah’s heart. Jeremiah, too, only knew what was in his heart and mind, but couldn’t see beyond that. It is only an omnipotent God who sees the whole picture and can judge with righteousness.
God is never blindsided. When He looks at us, He sees our weaknesses that we can’t see. He sees the danger long before we ever do. He is the God who know all. He sees the impact of our sinful nature, and He sees the folly we will fall into when we trust in our own judgments and not His. We may thing that we know everything about ourselves, but that is just because we can’t see our blindside. God know everything. When God looks at our lives, He sees our complete and utter failure to see our own weaknesses that is leading us to our destruction and He comes help us. God knows our blindside and has taken care of it for us. That’s the reason that God sent us a Savior, Jesus Christ. He sent Jesus into this world to redeem us from all the times that we get blindsided by our will that lead us to eternal death. Jesus has our blind side and will protect us from the evil one of this world, and saves us from our own destruction.
Like Jeremiah, Jesus was a hometown boy; he had great compassion for those around Him and He spoke God’s truth to them. Jesus’ listeners plotted to kill Him, too, and they succeeded by nailing him to a cross. But their plot was foiled, for Jesus broke the chains of death by His perfect life to rise from the grave and setting us free from sin, death and the power of the devil. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has delivered us from the sins we know and the ones we don’t know. Jesus has our blindside and is there to guide us to the path of life forever.
By ourselves, we cannot protect our blind side, we need help and Jesus is the only one who can help us. We will be constantly plagued by the fact that we cannot see our unknown sins, our weaknesses until it is too late. Our weaknesses will not kill us though, because we have one who walks with us and is behind us all the way. His righteousness has been given to us as a free gift from Him and His righteousness protects us despite our blind sides. Through God’s Grace, mercy and love, for Jesus’ sake, we have been judged righteous and in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit we have been given a new life under the protection of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word. This Good News is the message that we have been given the ability to share with our world, just like Jeremiah. Like Jeremiah we have to first convince them that they need a savior, because they are sinful by nature and through their repentance and acceptance of God’s Word they will receive this new life with us in the love, peace and joy of God now and forever. Amen.