Decisions and consequences

What happens when we focus on our own wisdom, strength, and riches instead of understanding and knowing God? Dive into Jeremiah 9:23-24 and explore the consequences of our decisions, the balance of priorities, and the ultimate call to boast only in the Lord.

Small avatar of sermon author David Loader

David Loader


Transcript (Auto-generated)

Well good morning everyone um if you've got your Bibles in I hope you do if you'd like to turn to Jeremiah chapter 9 um just I just need to make a correction from uh one of the slides this morning is that uh while Dylan was giving the the um the notices came up that the leaders connect was coming up on July the something and uh we have changed that so if you're a leader just take note of that whenever it was scheduled for Sunday or whatever in July it's not going to happen then but if you're a lady you would have received an email um this week saying that we've shifted the leadest connect from that Sunday to the Friday night of our discipleship weekend and so our plan is to have a dinner for the leaders and I think for memory we at about 6:30 we'll uh more details will be coming out then veite sandwiches or whatever else as we're going to serve for dinner so that'll be on the Friday night leaders connect then part of the day Saturday and then Sunday morning as well um we're trying to build on what uh what Edmund Chan has has done a couple of times he's been here by the way we've got Edmund Chan coming back but not this year next year and so we've already locked him in for that day as you're aware Dylan and zali an and I going over to Singapore at the end of August for the last conference that he'll be doing on intentional discipleship making so we're going over to Singapore for uh for that conference at the end of August but somebody has said to us somewhere in the last 12 months but we talk a lot about discipleship but how do we actually put it into practice so when Dave and Dylan and I have been sitting and working out what this program might might look like over the discipleship weekend that's been the most important thing that we've been thinking how do we put discipleship into a practice and so that will be the uh the focus of that um that weekend so I do hope you've already marked it in your diary second third and fourth of August and hope that you can be a part of that long sleeves is not uh anything to do with the Fishel them it was cold this morning wasn't it um my practice I go for a walk just go through my Ser pray through it in the morning it was on a it was 3.9 when I left this morning that was a heat we I've got a text from one of our daughters out you chill said it was minus one out there this morning so I said oh well hope you enjoyed your walk I had my gloves on beanie on okay we um over the last while we have U been looking at um a couple of the Minor Prophets so we looked at habac and Hagi and um this morning we're starting a very miniseries on Jeremiah is one of the Major Prophets I say a miniseries because it's starting today and ending today um it's just today we're going to be looking in just at these couple of verses and you might recall of course that uh we have said about the other two prophets that we read that they called Minor Prophets they call minor not because they um aren't so important but because they're small so remember habac was just three chapters Hagi two chapters Jeremiah's a lot more so he's called a major prophet not because he's more important but uh just because um it's bigger than all the rest and so we um are not going to have a lot of time uh to look at all of Jeremiah we're not going to be looking at all of Jeremiah but I've been spending a bit of time in Jeremiah recent times and there's a lot of real gems in there in um just in a verse here verse there and here are a couple of verses that I want us to be focusing on here at our members meeting last Sunday you would have recall or you might recall that um I used a couple of verses from uh from Jeremiah as their introduction to our members meeting last uh last week as well so let's just think a bit about this man called Jeremiah we have about the call of Jeremiah it's uh interesting that we do have a bit about how God called him and it's back in Jeremiah chapter 1 so if you got your Bibles up you might want to turn back to there and um we understand from the beginning of this that Jeremiah was a preacher's kid um they're always a bit of a at PK past his kids but Jeremiah's one of them but then the call is from Jeremiah chapter 1 and verse four it says this the word of the Lord came to me saying to Jeremiah this is what God Said to Jeremiah before I formed you in the womb I knew you before you were born I set you apart I appointed you as a prophet to the Nations just want you to just use your sanctify imaginations for a moment here that um when God said to Jeremiah when he was calling him before you were even conceived I knew you what do you think that that word knew me when um God said Jeremiah before you even conceived I knew you you think God was saying I knew about you um or that there was even more to it than that and I I reckon there's a lot more to it we're going to come back to this and see something of the significance of this word on knew before I formed you in the word I knew you before you were born I set you apart by poed Jews a prophet to the nation so the question needs to be asked do this principle only apply to Jeremiah and to other special people or does it apply to every one of us because it's an overwhelming thought to think that even before our exception God knew you God knew me it set us apart for a particular task for a role to play in his kingdom in his economy my sense is is that it didn't just apply to Jeremiah or to special people that applies to every one of us that right even before we could see that God knew us didn't just know about us but he actually knew us and for us to think and to dwell on that even if we're to do that for the a few days in the coming week I'm sure that will have a massive impact on your life and on mine as well you see when it comes to call we um sometimes think that only some people uh are called to the Tas so we think of people like what Pastor Dylan is called to be a pastor Pastor D's called to be a pastor um and so some people called to be missionaries to be pastors or to be whatever but it's a lot more than that because it seems to me my reading of the Bible my understanding of God that God calls all of us to be whatever God called Daryl to be a locksmith God called Pete to be a bus driver and so the the list could go on and on and on and so wherever we are whatever our task is to understand these two principles as being key and important one is even before I was conceived God knew me and secondly he's placed a calling on my life to doing whatever I'm supposed to be doing whatever I'm doing and so it's important that even when we are thinking particularly of uh of our lives and I think particularly as our young people as they sort of get towards the end of school um and go to like the guidance officers or whatever that more important than that that we're praying with them and saying what is that God is calling you to and uh not only to do but to be what is God calling you to be and to do so this is Jeremiah Jeremiah's responded positively to call that God has placed on his life before I knew you Jeremiah I knew you and I've called you so the these are words to you and to me today and so we over to a bit more Jeremiah about this Jeremiah's called the weeping prophet and uh you to know what I was called the weeping prophet because he was just so concerned and overwhelmed for the uh for the the nation of Judah that just brought him to tears because of all their um all the stress all their sinfulness and the coming judgment which God had uh had been had said it's going to come their way so Jeremiah sent to warn the the people of Judah judgment is coming because of your sinfulness and when Jeremiah looked around he um he became just so overwhelmed with the sinfulness of uh of his country that have brought him to tears which is a different response to often what you and I have what we generally have to our society today because we far more want to point the finger and be judgmental ourselves rather than to have this overwhelming concern and to even be crying about the state of our state the state of our nation the state of our city of uh Morton whatever we call these days at Kabul chamar field is that are we more inclined to point the finger in say what's the government doing about ought to be brought to tears and say God this is this is really really bad um that's not clicking through at the moment so um I'm not sure um you want to have another go yeah go forward it's working out okay I can preach thought we had to shut up and go home right now um not quite okay so Jeremiah's called the weeping prophet because he's brought to tears again and again because of the sinfulness of uh of Judah and um there's this message of judgment on Judah for their extensive idolatry so how do we um where do we place him we just looked at habac a few weeks ago and so you'll see that habac was there uh he um his uh time of his prophecy that he um prophesied from about 609 to 598 BC whereas Jeremiah was over a far longer period so started early at 6:30 and finished at about 580 so Jeremiah's for like about 50 years that uh that he's bringing this message now that's not surprising that God in emphasizing his message will send along two mess messes Messengers to convey the exact same message to his people in fact I I actually find that personally um a helpful thing for my understanding as well is that often when I think God has spoken to me often I ask for some sort of confirmation in some way as well and so uh I might sense that God is saying to me as I read a passage of scripture um and I think God I wonder whether you can confirm that this is a word from you to me and and be on the lookout to see how else he might confirm that might be through the reading through the words of somebody else through this overwhelming sense of um of conviction whatever so this is Jeremiah the weeping prophet for an extended period of time told not to marry um that uh that he's prophesying and telling the people of Judah again and again for this period of time because of your idolatry because of your idolatry God is going to bring judgment on you um that message of course applies to us today too don't think that we're going to escape anything there's no such thing as a secret sin as far as God is concerned we can keep sin away from the people sing around keep sin away from our family even from our spouses sometimes secret sin but the Bible tells us that the 's coming when everything will be laid open before God and so now we come down and we're just plucking out these two verses just trying to give it some context we're just picking out these two verses to to look at this morning in Jeremiah 923 and 24 so they're up on the screen and so I'm going to read them and I'm just asking you if you're reading it in your Bible and you've got a pen there um which I hope you've got that too along with your notebook that a highlighter or whatever that you just circle what you think might be key words or just think about them or if you've got your your um device I know you can highlight them in there as well this is what Jeremiah 9:23 and 24 says thus says the Lord so God speaking again says this let not the wise man boast in his wisdom let not the Mighty Man boast in his might let not the rich man boast in his riches but let him who boast boast in this that he understands and knows me that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love Justice and righteousness in the Earth for in these things I Delight declares the Lord just to help us to uh understand we might be familiar with those words let me read it that those couple of verses again but this time in the Amplified version have you picked out some key words in there here it is in the Amplified version thus says the Lord let not the one who is wise and skillful boast in his Insight let not the one who is mighty and Powerful boast in his strength let not the one who is Rich boast in his temporal satisfactions and Earthly abundance but let the one who boasts boast in this that he understands and knows me and acknowledges me and honors me as God and recognizes without any doubt that I am the Lord who practices loving kindness Justice and righteousness on the earth for in these things I Delight says the Lord so what words have you um highlighted here are some that I've highlighted so um you might be able to see hope you can see that from back there sure you can not uh you need to go spec saes or something like that here's some words that I've highlight highlight them in my Bible here boast wisdom might riches understands and knows love Justice and righteousness only highlighted the boast once here but if you read that you'll see that uh the word boast actually occurs in these couple of verses five times um and it's um three things about which people are boasting about and um God says don't boast about them but let him who boast boast about this so what do we understand by this now remember that I said about God said to Jeremiah before I formed you in the womb before you conceived I knew you and I ask you just to think very briefly what do you think that word new means does it mean knowing about or does it mean more than it come to conclusion it means more than that and now we find here that him who based in this that he understands and what n me did you make that connection so in chapter 1 verse 5 God says I knew you and now here in chapter 9 and verse 23 24 God says let him who boast boast that he knows me so do you think that's knowing about God or do you think it means a lot more of course it means a lot more there's different words in the original language Al just written in Hebrew but um and so there is a word which talks about knowing about someone but knowing about somebody is far different from actually knowing them um we look around here we could say we know about somebody we know bit about them but that's different from knowing about them to actually knowing them so if I want to get to know somebody how do I do that well you know that uh to get to know somebody one that I've got to start spending some time with them and I've got to open myself up to them and this is what God has has done is that God is a self-revealing God he reveals himself to us it's a whole study in itself how God has revealed himself to us but we um so we need to spend time with one another we also need to be vulnerable we need to be asking questions we need to share things together so there's a lot of parallels here in how we get to know someone else and to how we get to know God and we're going to come back to that a little later as well but the thing is is that there's this word boast appears as I've said these five times what do we understand by boast we all know what boast means we know somebody who boast that bragging all the time and all the time is that they're always talking about it how good am I look what I've achieved and all of these things and so In this passage in these couple of verses God is picking up this whole idea of what what we've got bragging rights about uh what do we brag about what do we base about what's really really important to us and what we understand here is that is this is that there is this contrast in these couple of verses that God is pointing out is that you've got a few things that you can boast about and these first three things that are listed here when you stop and recognize or start thinking about it you realize how self centered all of these these three things are is is that these verses are talking about somebody who is standing up and saying I've made it look at me let not the wise man boast of his wisdom say the wise person say look what I've achieved or the strong man boast of his strength off to the gym every day him who boast B of his riches rich man look at my bank account or look at the three cars I've got parked in the Caravan the boat and uh whatever else uh that we have here is that these are really self-centered ideas here it's talking about profession how good somebody is about their position um how strong they are and uh about their positions everything that they own and this is one of the things that God is having a go at the people of Judah about and he wants it to bring it to their attention and he does this through Jeremiah the prophet and Jeremiah speaking the words of God says some of you people are boasting and saying how good you are and you're boasting about how wise you are about all your education you're basing about how strong you are the power that you carry in society you're boasting about all your possessions but these are not things which God is interested in instead God is saying if you want to base take your eyes off of yourself because we don't should not in God's economy talk be talking about a self-centeredness but rather about being God centered let him who Bast basted about this both that they that we understand and that we know him so it's that talking about it's talking about a growing intimacy with him it's talking about understanding and knowing him um we uh have already tried to make this distinction between knowing about somebody and knowing them but also is this added thing here is about not just knowing somebody but understanding them as well uh to do whatever we can to understand uh somebody as best we can um so when somebody who we know who we know very well when they behave in a particular way we can understand this is they've responded this way because we know we know that past it experiences we know their nature their character or whatever um we know somebody well when um when uh we comes the birthday time or Christmas we know them well enough where we know what we can buy them as a present I look around here because I know a lot of people that folk when it comes to your birthday I wouldn't have a clue what to buy you um I don't even know to buy our own family that's what you have a wife for I understand is H to choose those sorts of things could go on along there but I'm sure that you in your position with your spouse is a far better example of understanding than I am in in this way but uh but who understands and knows God so by our spending time with God that we have this growing intimacy with him and that when God God behaves in a particular way that we understand why and sometimes that's a mystery sometimes we don't understand and that's okay because we find that in all our relationships as well self-centeredness leads to this I'm bragging about my profession about my position about my positions but when somebody is God centered and there's a growing intimacy with him in our understanding and knowing that results in what kindness Justice and righteousness or it results in right relationships right decisions and right living and you see this this amazing contrast that God is saying to Judah through uh through Jeremiah saying you can live a god- centered life or you can live a self-centered life and the two are like chalk and chains and this is how if you live a self-centered life you're focused on yourself and all your achievements and position and everything else or you can focus on God when we focus on God we take our eyes off ourselves and we're looking at others and that we looking how do we relate right with others how do we make right decisions concerning others how do we live alive so that we are the sort of people that others like being around this is a decision which the people of Judah had to make it's not just a position which the PE decision rather that the uh the children the Judah people needed to to make but 2 and a half thousand years later this is the sort of decision which you and I have to make today we have to make a decision whether we're going to live a god- centered life or a self-centered life and it's it's not just by the way we do need to make that initial decision where we decide am I going to live for myself am I going to live for God and when we decide that we're going to live for God that's the that's the the first and the most fundamental decision but what we also discover is it's a dayby day decision as well that uh that we continue to make as well now I just want to come back a bit to these three things um about uh what it pointed out is negative about wisdom strength and riches because when you look at wisdom strength and riches there is nothing actually wrong with those things parts of the Bible speak very highly of all of these three things so the problem is not in having these things of being wise and strong and and being rich it's it's not a case of of they're wrong in themselves but what becomes a problem is when they get out of out of order in our lives that is is that they become the focus they become the goal of our life they become the things which we are bragging about they become the all consuming thing for us and uh they become number one and God has pushed down God is saying let me be number one and these things that's okay if God blesses us with any or all of those or something else that's okay but make sure that God is number one so we've got to decide that we need to understand this about making decisions that every decision that we make including this one and we're focusing on this decision but every decision that we make has its consequences you can make a decision about something and it's up to you to decide but while you make the decision you can't decide the consequences the consequences come as a result of the decision which we make so every decision we make has consequences we can make a decision but we don't determine the consequences of that decision nobody ever did or ever will escape the the consequences of their choices so it's important that we make right decisions we get on a on a bus thinking that we're going somewhere and we decide to get on this bus and actually the bus is going to destination B when we want to go destination a there's nothing we can do about it other than to get off that bus go back to where we started and to make the right decision understand that so we make a decision but once a decision is made the consequences are as the result of every decision in life is like that and so we come to this point of what we're talking about this morning about making this decision we're going to make a decision to live a self-centered life or we're going to make this decision to live a god- centered life we know what the self-centered life looks like we've got some clues of that but we also know what a god-centered life looks like because we have uh we've got some insight into that too so we decide which way we're going to go once we decide F the consequences are out of our hands Judah the people there as a nation decided we're living the self-centered life judgment is coming and it's the same today you choose to live a self- seted life to leave God out of it and judgment is coming the Bible makes that quite clear so what does this process look like about making the right decision decision for god um I going to just suggest three things one is this whole area of priority and the priority number one is this whole idea of boasting in God verse 24 says this but let him who boast Bas about this that he understands and knows me my encouragement to you School holiday so got a lot of extra time on your hands probably some of us um to memor R Jeremiah 9:23 and 24 and then if you don't have think two verses is too much or once you've learned that here's another very important verse to learn is Matthew 6:33 you know what it says what's it say Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you we can even apply that to these vers vers here seek first the kingdom of God that we not understand God seek first the kingdom of God and all these things what wisdom strength and riches all these things will be added in the proportion that God thinks he can trust us with so I don't think that just because we put God first we're going to be millionaires tomorrow uh most of us uh could not be trusted with that amount of money so God says going to keep you at a at a level he promised to supply all our needs not all our wants but seek first the kingdom of God is to have God as the number one priority in our life that is to have this God centered life to realize that that that's the number one and everything else falls into into place underneath how do we know what's really number one in our life and I had a catch up with uh some people recently hadn't seen them for quite a while and uh just over coffee chatting and the the guy said to me he said I really want to do a study sometime it's not a pastor by the way but uh but he said I really would like to do a study sometime between what people say they believe and what people actually believe oh I said that's an interesting one so you're saying how how people live on Sunday to how they're living on Wednesday yeah something like that but I just think that'd be a real interesting study to say okay what do you say that you believe and how does that impact your life what do you actually believe because it's actually what you believe uh how you live out your life actually really shows what you truly believe now how can we do that I've got a fourt test which I've quoted previously I said from time to time and you might want to put these down as the four T's as four things which show what what are priorities in our life so they're not in any particular order I just say them as I remember them there a time test the talk test the treasure test and the talent test so what I'm talking about here is not that we're making these things that they're always there but what do we make space for to put these in so when it comes to time we all live busy lives and we don't have time for anything however if something comes up we will make the time for it uh you know what the sort of thing that I'm talking about is said ah too busy for for that and I know that I do have time for this you see it's never a question of whether I've got the time or not question is how important is it to me that makes that difference because if it's really important to me I will make the time well it's the same with the treasure so it's Time treasure is what I do with my money many of us have this problem with we've got too much month at the end of our money if you know what I mean but uh we so all our money is spoken for however if a deal comes up in some area you know what we can always find a bit of extra money to spend on that you know what I'm saying and the same too with uh with our talk is that well we haven't got much of a conversation to have but if the topic gets on to a particular thing ah we've got a lot to say well in the Army we had one of our guys above us one of our officers who justed to try and make us work but we always knew that if we could get him talking about greyhound racing uh we could relax and we'd have nothing to do but just to sit and be bored with him talking about Greyhounds so it's a choice do will we work or we get bored listening Greyhounds and you see always see that's the focus of his life and the same with Talent with what our effort what do we put our effort into you see here is a proof of the difference between what we say we believe and what we actually believe and the thing is if God is number one we'll find that we will always have time for God we'll always have money for God we'll always working for God and we'll always have the other one I forget the other one which I didn't say I forget the other three but you know I'm saying written them all down I'm sure and so this is important and we also need to remember that when we become a part of the kingdom of God With God is number one is that it's impossible to do that in our own strength agree um living the Christian life is not hard it's impossible to do on our own and so we know that when we seek first the kingdom of God that uh when we become a Christian that God comes and indwells us through his spirit and we know that his Spirit IND dwelling us empowers us to do all of these things whatever God has called us to so that's the number one process is this the number two is this idea of balance making sure that things like uh like wisdom and strength and riches making sure that that uh they have their right place in our lives more and more I feel I've come to realize that the Christian life has a lot to say about balance and keeping perspective and whatever and in 2 Corinthians 418 it says this things that are seen don't last forever but things that are not seen are Eternal this is why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen um so there's there's a focus there's a balance remember what the old saying is you can't take it with you and you can't a lot of stuff except eternity it's important that we have that in our mind and thirdly there priority in our life God is number one balance living the balance life and thirdly the nurture knowing and understanding God develop your relationship with God I want to just say three things about this developing our relationship ship with him it takes effort it takes patience and it takes perseverance it takes effort um some people think that it's all about me and they just worked so hard and they realize that the Christian Life is a failure trying to do it that way but there are others who just sit back in the easy chair the leg rest comes up think well God I'm yours do whatever but God doesn't work that way either it's God and me working together those of you remember my willb illustration if you can't remember it come and see me later if you want to know more about that but God and me working together it's um it's about effort it's going to require effort is that not true of every relationship is that not true of a marriage relationship is that you don't just get married and on the uh day you get married think well that's the end of it we're all good now no but for the rest until death do his part is that it takes effort in understanding and learning and knowing each other in that way so it takes effort secondly it requires patience as well some few years ago an and I were overseas um and we went into fast food place for a snack I can't even remember what it was somewhere and uh we ordered a a coffee or whatever and a snack and uh when I went to pick it up at the cter called the night went up there there was another little tart or something there with it and I said oh we didn't order that I know but uh this is yours because we didn't get it to you in time I said I'm not worried about time tourists we got all the time in the world no the company policy is is if we don't get it to you in 1.5 seconds whatever it was don't remember the time then we're responsible at it's our fault so we've got to give you something extra so I don't need it ah sorry it's yours take it so we did uh but you understand what I'm saying is this is that we live in this fast food fast everything um Arrangement if we go to a fast food place order a hamburger it's not there in in that amount of time we um we think what's wrong with this place when it comes to spirituality there's no Drive through spirituality there's no driveth through spirituality there's no driving up say God I want to be spiritually mature and he says pick it up at the next window and off we go we're spiritually mature it doesn't happen that way F it's it's a lifelong and to be patient you're a baby in Christ then you need to learn how to sit up how to crawl how to walk how to run how to run distance spiritually it's the same as this whole idea whole idea of um of being patient sometimes we get impatient and it's all right to have a Godly impatient God I want to be further down in my relationship with you but to be patient allow him to work at his pace and to persevere as well is talking about stickability you know you will fail from time to time as I do still but it's not the end we fall down we stand up the power of God and we just keep going it's stickability it's a perseverance in all of that I just put in a bit of a plug here prayer discipleship weekend how that works out in practice we talk about spiritual talk and uh and on the Sunday morning I'm going to be leading a session on spiritual talk which I really really encourage you to be not because I'm tell you but because this is an important part of developing your spirituality so it it comes back to something like this I was a young I think it was even pretty sure it was even before we married I think Anna and I were going together um I wanted to go a bit further in my spiritual life um I um had to call to college I was still in the Army at the time though but to be a pastor and um I actually went to a youth pastor at the time and um I said I just really want to get on more with God and uh something I can't remember the exact words but to just to grow a bit more what should I do and he did not know how to answer me U he said if you got any sin in your life and I said no when I said well you know day to day stuff but there's no biggies in my life uh he says well all I can suggest you do is just um pray more and read the Bible more I'll see you later now that's not bad advice that's good solid advice but when it comes to spiritual type can be a lot more that can be involved in that in understanding just like any marriage relationship or any any relationship is that how we get to know one another can change from person to person and in the same way in our getting to know God is that it can vary from person to person and so I've got some tools and some ideas and we're going to be talking about that something which will help you as I've taken others through this uh PR previously and some it's just been like a light bulb for others it's been tears there's things as people ah this is how I develop in my relationship with God key thing Saturday morning on the um 3rd of August or something like that have I given you something to think about yet you're all right if we quit now let's just refresh ourselves with this verse and on through thus says the Lord this is what God says let not the wise man boast in his wisdom let not the Mighty Man boast in his might let not the rich man boast in his riches let him or who let him or who who boast boast in this that he or she what understands and knows me let's pray oh Father there's so much that we want to know about you and we take that example of Jeremiah that even before we were conceived before we even thought of in our parents' eyes you knew us and that you called us my prayer is that each of us today Lord that as we make that decision to live a god- centered or self-centered life that in every circumstance in the key issues of life that we will always choose you choose God set your prayer this morning by the power of the spirit God can do a work in you for some people maybe this morning it's going to be the very very first time that you need to make that decision to choose God for others it's a commitment for others it's a day byday thing if you need any thought or help or discussion about this somebody to pray with you please see someone before you go this morning one of the pastors somebody here somebody from church ccil one of the leaders in the church somebody who's a good Christian friend say this is how I want to choose God will you pray with me and keep me accountable in this area father you word says that those who honor you you will honor we decide to honor you the consequences of that decision you'll honor us we pray this in the name of Jesus our savior. Amen.