In My Heart Like A Fire

Sunday, September 01, 2013, 4:07 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me this morning with the song “Should I Not Preach Jesus” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 18-20 (NIV). I will quote selected passages.

Potter and Clay

Believers, our relationship with God/Jesus Christ is described here as like the relationship between a potter and his clay (Cf. Rom. 9:21; 2 Co. 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:20). Just as the potter shapes the clay and molds it into the shape he deems best, God/Jesus Christ is in the process of molding us and shaping us into the image (likeness; character) of Jesus Christ.

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. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. ~ Jer. 18:4-6

Even though we are God’s children by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, and we are forgiven of our sins, set free from slavery to sin and from eternal damnation, we are still capable of sinning against God. This is why Jesus said that to come after him we must take up our cross daily and follow him (See Lu. 9:23-25), and it is also why John said that if we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (See 1 Jn. 1). And, it is also why Paul said that we must walk by the Spirit so we will not gratify the desires of the flesh (See Gal. 5:16), and it is why he said we must walk in the way of love (Eph. 5:2). It is also why John encouraged Christ’s followers to walk in the truth and in obedience to Christ’s commands (See 2 Jn. 1:4-6; 3 Jn. 1:3-4), and in purity of relationship with Jesus Christ, without mixture with sin, idolatry and the ways of this world (See Rev. 3:4).

Yet, although we who have believed in Jesus Christ have these encouragements, and even though we have the Holy Spirit living within us encouraging, guiding, directing, counseling and convicting, still some will wander from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ and will follow after “other gods,” i.e. anything in this world which takes the place of, or which supersedes our pure devotion (faithfulness; commitment) to Jesus Christ as our only God and Savior. They will fall back into sin and will become entangled once again in the ways of this world.

In other words, they (the clay) will become “marred” in the hands of the Potter. So, the Potter (God/Jesus) warns again against falling away, and he invites repentance and obedience once more; that we should reform our ways and our actions. If we do not repent of our idolatries and spiritual adulteries, our Potter does have the right to reshape (revive) us as he deems best. In other words, the Bible says the Lord disciplines and reproves those he loves, so we should be earnest and repent (See Rev. 3:19). And, as always, God’s purpose in disciplining his children in such a way is to bring them back into a submissive and obedient relationship with him so that he can restore and renew them.

It’s No Use

“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.’” ~ Jer. 18:12

Yet many who have professed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who have been entrapped by the ways of the world once more will, in essence, if not in their words but by their actions, say “It’s no use. We will continue…” And, even though they know that what they are doing is wrong, they will keep on sinning and doing what the world does, which is why, I believe, so many have gone to following a false grace gospel which teaches we don’t have to repent (turn from our sins) and we don’t have to obey Christ and his commandments. They teach that, since we are under God’s grace, all our sins are covered so no worries. While it is true that true faith in Jesus Christ guarantees us the hope of eternity with God and that we don’t lose our salvation by the mere act of committing a sin, many will use God’s grace as a free license to continue in willful sin without remorse, yet Romans 6 alone shoots that theory (Cf. Jude 1:4). We also learn in Titus 2:12 that grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

Pay No Attention

Since so many are following the ways of this world and are living immoral and/or sinful lifestyles while they maintain a testimony that they are saved by grace, and since so many are destroying the truth of the gospel by diluting it to make it more convenient, comfortable, less offensive and less convicting, many are also on an all-out attack against those who hold to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and so they do all they can to try to silence them.

“So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.” ~ Jer. 18:18c

Yet, God is not discouraged by these attacks, nor is he surprised by them, nor does he take a back seat and curl up and die just because his gospel is under attack, and neither should we! He encouraged Jeremiah, even though there were literal plots against Jeremiah to take his life, to go proclaim to the people and their kings that God was going to bring judgment (disaster) upon them (See Jer. 19). The reason for this judgment was that God’s people had forsaken him and they had turned to follow after other gods, i.e. the gods of humans, and because they had shed innocent blood.

For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. ~ Jer. 19:4

I believe this is a present indictment against the church here in America today. I believe the institutional church, overall, has turned to follow humans instead of God; to follow marketing schemes for how to build businesses of men, instead of relying upon Christ to build his church his way; and they have turned to entertaining sinners instead of preaching the cross of Christ as applied to our lives in death to sin and resurrection (rebirth) to new lives in Christ Jesus, free from the control of sin over our lives, and free to walk in faithful obedience to our Lord Jesus and to the truths of his words. The institutional church here in America is also in a yoked relationship with the U.S. government, which is following Satan, and which is involved in the murdering of innocents throughout the world, so the institutional church shares in the government’s sins, which is why the Lord Jesus, I believe, is calling his true followers to come out from her (the government and the worldly church) and to be separate (See Rev. 18:4; 2 Co. 6:17).

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.’” ~ Jer. 19:15

A Fire Shut up in My Bones

Jeremiah was beaten and put in the stocks for preaching this message. Yet, Jeremiah continued to give out God’s messages. Amen! Yet, Jeremiah was human just like you and me, i.e. he bled just like we do; he hurt just like we do. He was not unaffected by these verbal or physical attacks against his life, and against God’s words. He felt the pain of unjust suffering. He shared in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings as a servant of the Lord and as a messenger of the Lord. He did not like giving out messages of judgment any more than any one of us would. He did not wish for disaster to strike. That is why he pled with the people to turn from their sins and to obey God, because he knew God’s words to be true, and he knew God would do all that he said he would do. He loved the people. That is why he continued to give out God’s messages even in the face of much opposition.

I am ridiculed all day long;
everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I cry out
proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me
insult and reproach all day long.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot. ~ Jer. 20:7b-9

We should take much encouragement from this. If we are preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ (Cf. Eph. 2:8-9; 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6; and 1 John, et al), and we are presently facing rejection, persecution, false accusations, and strong opposition to those gospel messages, we should not grow weary, lose heart or give up. We should be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power and we should put on the full armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, for truly our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against Satan and his evil forces (see Eph. 6:10-20). And, we should be like Jeremiah in that we cannot keep the fire of the word of God within us but we must share it. Human lives depend upon it!

Should I Not Preach Jesus
An Original Work / July 4, 2013

Based off 1 Corinthians 9:16-10:13

Woe to me should I not preach Jesus.
I’m compelled to preach the full gospel.
I make myself a slave to ev’ryone
To win their hearts to Christ.
All this I do for my Lord Jesus,
And for the sake of His Name;
Do it for the sake of His gospel,
So that I, its blessings gain.

Scripture notates the sins of others;
Written down for us as examples
To keep us from setting our hearts
On evil as did those of old.
Do not worship other gods of man;
Do not give your hearts to them;
Not partake in immorality.
Do not test your Lord and King.

So, be careful if you think you are
Standing firm in your faith in Jesus.
God has given his word to warn us,
So through faith we will not fall.
No temptation has o’ertaken you
Except what is commonplace.
God is faithful to not let you be
Tempted past what you can bear.
He gives the way of escape.