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GOD’S REMEDY FOR FAILURE

Sermon Starter

This morning’s sermon is around one of the world’s most beloved Bible verses, Jeremiah 29:11. A website at www.TopVerses.com ranks this verse 29th in the world’s favorite Bible verses. For those who tend to obsess on their failures and forget God’s victories in their lives, this verse is a soothing balm.

Failure is one of mankind’s four primal fears:

  1. 1)   Death;
  2. 2)   Suffering;
  3. 3)   Lack;
  4. 4)   Failure / Rejection

Who hasn’t failed at some time in their lives? You and I certainly have failed and God’s children in this text have as well. Jeremiah explores failure and gives us pragmatic answers to some of life’s most difficult issues. Here is an exegetical look at the verse with human history and nature in mind.

 

Pastor Phil   <><<

 

 

July 27, 2008 - Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland

GOD’S REMEDY FOR FAILURE

Jeremiah 29:11-14

“It’s easy to forget the incredible work of Christ for us when the world is shouting curses at us and reminding us of our failures.”     Pastor Phil   

 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

(TopVerses.com ranks this verse 29th of world’s favorite Bible verses)

 

BACKGROUND:

Time is 627 BC, when Jeremiah is called to prophetic office

Jeremiah is prophet to the Southern Kingdom, Judah

Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, has taken God’s people captive as slaves

 

I.  TWO HUMAN MISTAKES OF GOD’S PEOPLE

              A. They thought they would never end up in Babylon

                            1. Judah was PROUD, Overconfident, Self-Assured

                                          a. Pride is at the root of all addictions

                                          b. Worldly pomp and Idol Worship

                                              “I can do this MY WAY!”

                            2. Guilty of a FALSE CONFIDENCE in they wrong things

              B. They thought they would never GET OUT of Babylon

                            1. Babylon is the ultimate symbol of CAPTIVITY

                                          a. Took God’s people hundreds of miles from home

                                          b. They were assimilated, (Eg. SciFi’s “BORG)

                            2. Despair and Hopelessness: twin scourges of captivity

                                          a. Addictions seduce their prey into captivity

                                          b. Start with Pride and end in Emptiness

 

II.  TWO PROMISES GOD MAKES IN THIS VERSE

              A. God will not always do what we expect Him to do

                            1. God isn’t our personal “Bell Hop”

                            2. His timing isn’t our timing

                            3. He does operate in mysterious and unexpected ways

              B. God will always do what He says He will do

                            1. His promises are sure – Numbers 23:19

                            "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should

repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He

not make it good?”

2. He keeps His Word I Isaiah 40:8

      “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."

 

          

III.  GOD IS THINKING ABOUT YOU ALL THE TIME

“For I know the thoughts I think toward you. . .”

              A. We are often thoughtless toward each other

                            1. Indifferent               2. Self-Centered

                            3. Inconsiderate        4. Lacking in Empathy

              B. God isn’t like us

                            1. He thinks about you        2. He considers you

                            3. He knows you                     4. He remembers you

                            5. He knows who you are and where you are

              C. Our memories of one another are for negative things

IV.  GOD NEVER FORGETS HIS CHILDREN             

  1. A.     God’s cognition/thinking mentioned 3 times in this verse
  2. B.    God is making it personal with Israel

                            1. He makes it personal with you

                            2. He hasn’t forgotten you

              C. Jewish people in captivity needed God’s REASSURANCE

                            1. One of God’s prophet’s chief tasks

                            2. Reassuring discouraged people

              D. God has a PLAN

                            1. Does God have a plan for your life?

                            2. Are you following His plan?

V.  GOD’S THOUGHTS TOWARD US ARE GOOD

“thoughts of peace and not evil. . .”

            A. Translations:

                            1. “Plans to take care of you and not abandon you. . .” MSG

                            2. “Plans for well-being and not for trouble.” NLV

                            3. “Plans for good and not disaster.”

B. Everything God sends is timed and measured

              1. God has plans for every event in our lives – Rom. 8:28

              “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love

              God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

                            2. “Even though you’ve messed up, God still loves you and has plans for you.”         

VI.  GOD INTENDS TO GIVE US A FUTURE FILLED WITH HOPE

“to give you a future and a hope. . .”

A. It took God’s people 70 years of captivity to see fulfillment

B. God has no unfinished plans for you – Isaiah 46:9-11

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am

God, and there is none like Me. . .Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to

pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.”

VII.  GOD’S LESSONS THROUGH FAILURE

              A. God uses pain and failure to purge us of our sins

              B. God uses suffering to test our faith

              C. God uses difficult times to humble us

              D. God uses hardship to prepare us for ministry to others

              E. In the furnace of affliction we learn and develop God’s character       

 

 

GOD’S REMEDY FOR FAILURE, Text:

Jeremiah 29:11-14

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

12  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

13  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

14  I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

 

  

FAILURE ILLUSTRATIONS:

Thomas Edison's manufacturing facilities in West Orange, N.J., were heavily damaged by fire one night in December, 1914. Edison lost almost $1 million worth of equipment and the record of much of his work. The next morning, walking about the charred embers of his hopes and dreams, the 67-year-old inventor said: "There is value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Now we can start anew."

 

Will Rogers' stage specialty used to be rope tricks. One day, on stage, in the middle of his act, he got tangled in is lariat. Instead of getting upset, he drawled, "A rope ain't so bad to get tangled up in if it ain't around your neck." The audience roared. Encouraged by the warm reception, Rogers began adding humorous comments to all his performances. It was the comments, not the rope tricks, that eventually made him famous.

 

In 1902, the poetry editor of Atlantic Monthly returned a stack of poems with this note, "Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse." The poet was Robert Frost. In 1905, the University of Bern turned down a doctoral dissertation as "irrelevant and fanciful." The writer of that paper was Albert Einstein. In 1894 an English teacher noted on a teenager's report card, "A conspicuous lack of success." The student was Winston Churchill.

 

The great inventor Charles Kettering suggested that we must learn to fail intelligently. He said, "Once you've failed analyze the problem and find out why, because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you don't want to fail is the last time you try." Here are three suggestions for turning failure into success:

1. honestly face defeat; never fake success.
2. Exploit the failure; don't waste it. Learn all you can from it; every bitter experience can teach us something.
3. Never use failure as an excuse for not trying again.

You may not be able to reclaim the loss, undo the damage, or reverse the consequences, but you can make a new start--wiser, more sensitive, renewed by the Holy Spirit, and more determined to do right.

Charles Kettering.