Persevere In Serving The Lord    Jer. 37:13-17; 38:3-6, 17-18    May 08,2005
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Introduction
The testimonies I have heard comparing the perseverance of American Christians and those in other lands usually points out the inferiority of our perseverance. Why? The observation comes that it is too easy to be a Christian in America. I do think the number of areas where American Christians face persecution increases every year. Look at the average church in our convention as Sunday Night and Wednesday Night attendances are decreasing in most. I am sad to say I hear to many preachers thinking it would be nice to not have a Sunday Night Service, and I think too many preachers are not persevering in their service to the Lord.

1.    Persevere In The Face of that which is . . False. 37:13-17

A.    Persevere In The Face of being Falsely . . Accused. 37:13-14
    37:13 But when he was at the Benjamin Gate, an officer of the guard was there, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, and he apprehended Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "You are deserting to the Chaldeans." 14 "[That's] a lie," Jeremiah replied. "I am not deserting to the Chaldeans!" Irijah would not listen to him but apprehended Jeremiah and took him to the officials.

B.    Persevere In The Face being Falsely . . Abused. 37:15-16
    15 The officials were angry at Jeremiah and beat him and placed him in jail in the house of Jonathan the scribe, for it had been made into a prison. 16 So Jeremiah went into a cell in the dungeon and stayed there many days.

C.    Persevere In The Face being Falsely . . Analysed. 37:15-16
    17 King Zedekiah later sent [for him] and received him, and in his house privately asked him,
"Is there a word from the Lord?" "There is," Jeremiah responded, and he continued, "You will be handed over to the king of Babylon."

    It is not usual today for a Christian to face false accusations; and false accusers are becoming more prevalent. Jeremiah faced much that was false. He faced false accusations, abuse, and analysis. He was accused of deserting to the enemy simply because he delivered God's message of judgement. That led to him being abused with beatings and placement in a dungeon jail. The king asked "Is there a word from the Lord," but then analysed the message falsely, as he did not accept it as being from the Lord. Do we persevere in giving the message of God when it is denied, or ridiculed? Some make a smoke screen of criticism just to try and stop us from sharing; but privately rehash our words. We need to persevere.
 

2.    Persevere In The Face of that which is . . Forced. 38:3-6

A.    Persevere In The Face of Forced . . Captivity. 38: 3
    38:3 This is what the Lord says: 'This city will most certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon's army, and he will capture it.'"

B.    Persevere In The Face of Forced . . Conviction. 38: 4-5
    4 The officials then said to the king, "This man ought to die, because he is weakening the morale of the warriors who remain in this city and of all the people by speaking to them in this way. This man is not seeking the well-being of this people, but disaster." 5 King Zedekiah said, "Here he is; he's in your hands since the king can't do anything against you."

C.    Persevere In The Face of Forced . . Chastisement. 38: 6
    6 So they took Jeremiah and dropped him into the cistern of Malchiah the king's son, which was in the guard's courtyard, lowering Jeremiah with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.

    Jeremiah persevered in the face of forced captivity, conviction, and other chastisement. He is certainly an example to all believers. When everything we do seems to be rejected by the multitudes it is tempting to give up, and just flow with the crowd. But the Lord did not call us or Jeremiah for such action. Jeremiah's forced captivity came as they forced a conviction upon him. This resulted in chastisement including an undesirable mud bath. Compare what we have forced upon us because of a stand for the faith; then ask dies it compare?
 

3.    Persevere In The Face of that which is . . Frightful. 38:17-18

A.    Persevere In The Face of Frightful . . Confrontation. 38:17
    38:17 Jeremiah therefore said to Zedekiah, "This is what the Lord, the God of Hosts, the God
of Israel, says: 'If indeed you surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then you will
live, this city will not be burned down, and you and your household will survive.

B.    Persevere In The Face of Frightful . . Choices. 38:17
    18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city will be handed over to the Chaldeans. They will burn it down, and you yourself will not escape from them.' "

    Few of us enjoy frightful experiences in our life. Jeremiah face a frightful confrontation and then a frightful choice. How would you persevere in the assignment to confront the king telling him to turn or burn? Follow that with the choices God offers, and you announce them. We might say it is a choice between a rock and a hard place. If you did it would your knees knock, and your teeth chatter? Jeremiah give us an example of one who did Persevere In Serving The Lord. Amen? Amen!