Monday 23 November 2015

The Book of Jeremiah: A Word for our Times

We had a conference in Sheffield recently and one of the main themes was the Book of Jeremiah. What a treasure trove this book is. It is full of the gospel and gospel promises for the coming Christ, as well as revealing the right way to God; the One who is the "fountain of living waters" (Jer 2:13).

The Book of Jeremiah has probably been under the shadow of Isaiah in the recent church, in a similar way that Hebrews has probably been under the shadow of Romans. However, in the church we need the whole counsel of God and this includes teaching from all Scripture. This includes reading and preaching from Bible books such as Jeremiah, Song of Songs, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, 2 Thessalonians and Job. Of course we do not underestimate the great usefulness of the most commonly preached Books of the Bible, but we need a full biblical diet for the church to grow to maturity.

Have you ever considered that in the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, that some people compared him to Jeremiah? As Jeremiah exposed the sins of Judah, Jesus exposed the sins of Judah. As Jeremiah predicted the downfall of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews, so did Jesus perfectly predict the overthrow of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews from the land they had lived in. Hear Matthew 16:13-14 "Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets".

It is interesting that there are not many commentaries on the Book of Jeremiah. I have John Calvin, Matthew Henry and some other selections on this book. I know that there are others, but the content of Jeremiah's teaching has been a neglected subject. Given the rise of apostasy, deception, false teachings, open and defiant sin against God's moral law in the West, it is probably time for this book to be preached again. When I last read the book of Jeremiah, I was so gripped, I could hardly put it down. How about reading the book again? For those who are teaching elders in God's church, how about considering preaching from this book, even it is simply for occasional sermons?

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