Conform To The Lord's Purpose      Jer. 18:1-12,15-17      April 10, 05

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Introduction
    Most of society claims they do not want to conform to anything, especially Christian
principals, but look at their lifestyles. Who has much sorrow, and a dependency of alcohol, drugs etc.? It is those who refuse to conform to the Lord's purpose. Even some Christians do not display in their daily life the standards of Christ. I just talked with a lady who has a very disappointing life; part of the reason she has had such a life relates to "so called" Christians not conforming to the Lord's purposes. I must hasten to say none of us give a perfect example every day of our life, but our goal needs to allow the Holy Spirit to radiate through every expression of our life. This possibility arises as we seek to Conform To The Lord's Purpose.
 

1.    The . . Picture of Conforming to the Lord's Purpose. 18:1-4
    God brings a likeness from the potter's house and hand. The house represents the place where decisions are made; God makes His decisions in heaven, and not on earth. So God tells Jeremiah to go to the potter's house; there he will see the craftsman deciding what to make and how to make it. Jeremiah watches the hands expressing the work and will of the potter's intentions. The clay has not responded as the potter desired, and a flaw causes him to use this clay to make a different kind of Jar. Does God change His plans? Many have debated that thought for centuries; At this time in my spiritual journey I am willing to say I believe God is in ultimate control, and He is not surprised by the end product.

A.    Conforming through A Picture In the Potter's . . House. 18:1-2
    1 [This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 "Go down at once to the
potter's house; there I will reveal My words to you."

        1.    The . . Coming of the Lord. v 1
            "[This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:. . ."

        2.    The . . Command of the Lord. v 2 a
            "Go down at once to the potter's house;. . ."

        3.    The . . Communication of the Lord. 2 b
            ". . . there I will reveal My words to you."

B.    Conform Through A Picture In the Potter's . . Hand. 18:3-4
        Can you see the parallel between the potter's work and will with the clay, and God's work and will with Israel? A difference comes as God allows Israel a response to His will, and the clay does not have a willful response. Like the potter God is in control, but He makes a covenant with Israel. They can be blessed by their obedience to the covenant, or constrained by their disobedience.

        1.    The Potter's Hand Demonstrates his . . Work. v 3
            "So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, working away at the wheel."

        2.    B.    The Potter's Hand Demonstrates his . . Will. v 3
             "But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter's hand, so he made it
                into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.
 

2.    The . . Parallel of Conforming to the Lord's Purpose. 18:5­10

A.    A Parallel between the Potter's . . Work and God's. 18:5­6 a
    5 The word of the Lord came to me: 6 "House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter

B.    Parallel between the Potter's . . Will and God's. 18:6 b -10

        1.    The . . Control of God's Will. v 6 b
            ". . . [this is] the Lord's declaration. "Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand,
            house of Israel.

        2.    The . . Covenant of God's Will. v 7-8
            "At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will
            uproot, tear down, and destroy [it]. 8 However, if that nation I have made an
            announcement about, turns from its evil, I will not bring the disaster on it I had
            planned.

        3.    The . . Constraint of God's Will. v 9-10
            9 At [another] time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom.
            10 However, if it does what is evil in My sight by not listening to My voice, I will
            not bring the good I had said I would do to it.
 

3.    The . . Protest to Conforming to the Lord's Purpose. 18:11-12
    If people protest they should know what they protest against. The Lord presented His
covenant, and the people rebelled; so the Lord presents His protest with a plan and a plea. He desires Israel to turn from their evil ways and deeds. What does Israel do? They say ". . . We will continue to follow our plans, . . .". Looking back on their protests causes a sadness; but do we sometimes act similarly?

A.    The . . Protest Plan and Plea of God. v 11
    11 So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.

B.    The . . Protest Plan and Perfidy of Israel. v 12
    12 But they will say: It's hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will
continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart."
 

4.    The . . Prohibiting of Conforming to the Lord's Purpose. 18:15-17
    Why do people fail to receive the blessings of God? Could we be the cause? Israel's
conduct caused the prohibiting of God's blessing in her life. The normal consequences of rebellious conduct  is the prohibiting of the flow of God's blessings to an individual or to a nation. Let us work so we will Conform To The Lord's Purpose Amen? Amen!

A.    Prohibiting through . . Conduct. v 15-16
    15 Yet My people have forgotten Me. They burn incense to false [idols] that make them stumble in their ways-- in the ancient roads-- to walk on [new] paths, not the highway.  16 They have made their land a horror, a perpetual object of scorn; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and shake his head.

B.    Prohibiting through . . Consequences. v 17
17 I will scatter them before the enemy like the east wind. I will show them [My] back and not [My] face on the day of their calamity.