A sermon about chosing, based on Jeremiah 31:7-14 and several New Testament passages.
People who don’t know God sometimes say that they can’t believe in Him because of all the bad things in the world (e.g. David Attenborough and the eyeball-burrowing worm; he
Jeremiah 31 – Meaning at the Time
But God never promised us a perfect world, a world free from suffering and the effects of sin. Notice what Jeremiah says:
“For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.” (Jer 31:11)
God promises to ransom/redeem Jacob, His people in exile, from a stronger people, either the Assyrians or Babylonians; note that this is a concrete promise referring to real events, not some vague nicety. However, God does not promise to make ‘us’ stronger than ‘them’, but merely to rescue us. The stronger peoples, who do not know God, will remain. We should not, therefore, expect a perfect world. John points out that many Jews failed to recognise Jesus as Messiah, and Jesus himself tells us that poverty and war will always be with us. Not everyone will know God. Life is not fair.
Meaning for Today
This unfairness also raises questions amongst people. Some ask what have Christians done to deserve this favour? Why, in this age, which worships individual choice and equality, is this salvation not equally available to all? John’s Gospel tells us that it does not depend on inherited rights, but on recognising Jesus: “… his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him … he gave the right to become children of God …” (John 1:11b-12). Anyone can be saved if they receive Jesus.
Some Christians want to make the world perfect in their own strength, in their own understanding. Perhaps the evangelical want to see everyone accept Jesus as Lord. Perhaps the legalists want to see all Christians obey God’s will perfectly. Perhaps the liberals want to see all social ills and injustices wiped out. Perhaps the ‘Universalists’ would like all to be saved regardless of their belief in Jesus. All of these groups will be disappointed – none of them will be able to celebrate victory. As nice as these ideas sound, they are not real, and they are not part of God’s plan.
The response that is required of us at Christmas is to celebrate being part of God’s chosen people. We recognised God in Jesus and believe in who He is. For that reason alone we are saved, we have bought
Today, therefore, the people of God are not to waste time waiting for a perfect world that we can’t make, or questioning God’s wisdom in granting salvation as He chooses. Today, we are to celebrate what we already have, the salvation and hope of Jesus, the promised Messiah. We really are different from other people, only because we recognise Jesus for what He really is – God and man. We chose to accept Jesus as Lord and so to become the Chosen people of God. Happy Christmas!
 Matthew 26:11 “The poor you will always have … ”
 Matthew 24:6 “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars … [in the end times]”
 To the point where it damages society!
 Ephesians 1:3-14.