Vs. 1, “The word of the LORD came to me…” Jeremiah’s first message would be a message of tender exhortation to turn back to God. It reminded me of our Youth message this past Sunday about drifiting along. Jeremiah would use many picture illustrations of how God’s people had turned from Him. From an unfaithtful wife, broken cisterns, a plundered slave, a stubborn animal, a degenerate vine, a defiled body, an animal in the desert, a disgraced thief, a prisoner of war…Jeremiah would try his best to help them see their folly. Why was judgment coming to the nation of Judah? Because the people were unfaithful to God and had mixed the worship of God with the worship of idols.
Regarding application…Denial of Sin. Vs. 35, “you say, ‘I am innocent; he is not angry with me.’But I will pass judgment on you because you say, ’I have not sinned.“ What keeps a person seeking holiness? I believe they never forget what they are…a sinner. The apostle Paul was able to do so much because he called himself the chief of sinners. When we approach God, we should be like the tax collector who bowed his head and confessed he was a sinner. Yet, I think so many of us are like the Pharisee who stands before God proud of what we have accomplished so far! I believe that is why Jesus would exhort us to take up his cross daily. We need to die each day to ourselves so that sin cannot penetrate our being and rule our lives. Denying sin and turning from sin are two different things. Take a moment today and consider your own life & the sins you may have still lingering around. Let’s confess them to the Lord & let his grace heal the scars of sin. Let’s be careful to stop drifting along…
Gaius was obviously a very good man who opened the doors to many travelers and Christian workers. Others were impresed by him and were encouraged by his generous heart. But we see another person in Diotrephes, whose motto seemed to be, “I must increase!”. He was a proud & arrogant man who challenged the authority of the church leaders. He was a man who did not help others and even threw some people out of the church.Vs. 5, ”
Regarding application…Evil in the Church. Vs. 11, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God…” Struggles outside the church can be harmful…struggles within the church can be devastating. Diotrephes was out of control and was losing his moral standards & biblical standards. He definitely was not loving others and hit was hurting the church. When was as Christians imitate the world’s standards, it not only affects us…it effects everyone. When I first began as a youth director, there was a young man who had already graduated from high school, but he would come periodically to church. He was (from the world’s standard)…cool. All the boys wanted to hang out with him…he was rich, drove a nice car, physically intimidating, etc. He found it very funny to make fun of the younger boys. He would poke fun at their acne, or their height…and all the boys would transform themselves to his attitude and start laughing along and poking fun. It was an interesting phenomenon because they wouldn’t do this with each other until this young man would come. No matter what age, we are all very impressionable and if a charismatic (impressionable) person comes into the church and starts to imitate the world…it’s something we must be very careful of. Let’s look out for each other and makes sure that we are not imitating the world…but rather, imitating God.