Sophisticated Fire

Jer. 7:30-34, Gal. 5:16-23 Jeremiah describes the wickedness of Judah as beginning in the sanctuary. When people turn from listening carefully to what God says to do, they necessarily begin to substitute their own ideas, their own inventions and innovations. And this inevitably results in imitating unbelief and idolatry. It seems like an extreme, unthinkable…

Safe in the Circle

Jer. 4:1-10, Gal. 3:10-14 Jeremiah says that if Israel returns to the Lord, they can be saved. This returning to the Lord is described as breaking up fallow ground and circumcising the foreskin of their hearts. But if they don’t do this, the wrath of God will come like fire that cannot be quenched. God…

The Threat of Grace

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Jer. 1:1-10, 1 Cor. 13:1-13, Lk. 4:21-30 Introduction Epiphany is the season that celebrates God’s glory bursting out into this world through Jesus. This began at His birth, but it went public at His baptism, in His miracles, and through His preaching and teaching the Scriptures. In many ways, we can…

Good News for 2016

[Note: sermon audio is here] Second Sunday in Christmas 2015 Jer. 31:7-14, Eph. 1:3-14, Jn. 1:1-18 Introduction As we embark as a congregation on this new calendar year, I want us to begin where Christians must always begin with the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. If this diamond has many sides to its glory…

God Provides the Lion and the Lamb

In Revelation 5, John weeps because there is no one worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals. But one of the elders calms him and says, “Do not weep. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals”…

Fat Souls

Second Sunday in Christmas Jer. 31:7-14, Eph. 1:3-14, Jn. 1:1-18 Introduction As we begin a new year in a new building with many new opportunities and challenges, we want to look at where we are as a congregation and address our particular situation. If we have one resolution as a congregation this year, let it…

Believing Babylon

“Consider the likelihood that these three stories [Daniel 1-3] were in circulation for ten or more years before Jerusalem was destroyed. For ten years Jeremiah and his associates were able to tell the citizens of Jerusalem and Israel that God was working to convert the Babylonian empire. For ten years it was clear that the…

Israel as a Prophet

If the prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel are marked by rituals and charades that symbolize what God is doing or about to do with His people, this applies back in time and biblical history to some extent to those rituals and charades that God instituted among His people. When He instructs Moses to instruct the…

Exodus Enacted: Passing through Animals

I’ve never been a big fan of the fairly common exegesis of Genesis 15 where Yahweh has Abe cut up the animals and passes through the halves of animals as the smoking oven and burning torch. The common take is that this covenant making ceremony (which it obviously is) consists of making a ‘self-maledictory oath’,…

Israel as the Wine of God’s Fury

In Jeremiah 25:15ff, the prophet describes how Yahweh will make the nations drink the wine of his fury. But this all follows on the heels of the promise that Jerusalem will go into exile for 70 years. The implication is that Israel is the wine of God’s fury. Israel will be scattered into the nations,…