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Jeremiah

During the 2015-2016 school year at Grace Baptist Church (Manhattan, KS), I teach a class on the book of the prophet Jeremiah. Here you can find links to the class syllabus and all class presentations.

Serving with a hurting heart
Jeremiah presents a challenge to every reader to examine his or her life. Mere lip service is not enough when it comes to believing in Jesus Christ. Nor is it enough to be religious. Proper piety is not enough. When someone believes in Jesus, there should be a real change of heart. That is, a heart-felt transformation that begins internally and becomes displayed by new desire to obey the king.

Join us in class Sunday mornings at Grace. If you can't make it to the actual class, return here for new presentations and class discussions. Our prayer is that the Word of the Lord as given to Jeremiah will produce a changed heart.

Links:

Class Introduction : This brief document offers some information about the message, life and times of Jeremiah and prepares us for an in-depth study of the book.

Class Schedule : There is no guarantee, implied or otherwise, that we will be able to follow this schedule. In fact, it's been changed once, but we are still planning on finishing on time.


Class Presentations:

We bring our study of Jeremiah to a close with a look at the final chapter, which is actually an appendix. Why was this chapter included, what's the point of this chapter, and how does this chapter function in the larger structure of the Old Testament are the questions we attempt to answer in our final class.



Here are links to the presentations from previous weeks' lessons, beginning with the most recent:
  • The next portion of Jeremiah, chapters 46-51, concern the nations. These "oracles to the nations" contain God's Word to several nations around Judah and Babylon, including Egypt, Moab, Edom, Ammon, Philistia, Eram, and even Babylon itself. Our time in class will be spent looking at these oracles and using them to further our own biblical view of history, which is important for informing our beliefs about God and his plan. (Part one of two)
  • After the destruction of Jerusalem came chaos for those left in Judah. The Babylonian-appointed governor of the region, Gedaliah, has been assassinated, and the criminals fled to Ammon. Those that are left to pick up the pieces come to Jeremiah and ask for God's guidance. But will they listen to what God says? Apparently, the human heart has difficulties following the Lord's direction. At least, that's the lesson we learn from this portion of Jeremiah.Jeremiah has been predicting it for decades and it finally happens. The city of Jerusalem falls to the Babylonians, and the Lord seems to disappear. But He is not gone; it only seems that way to those being taken into captivity. We see these events unfold in this week's lesson. We also see God's care for his faithful prophet and for the foreigner who cared for Jeremiah. Then, chaos comes as the great kingdom disintegrates before our eyes.
  • Jeremiah does not fit the mold of what many moderns consider to be a successful ministry. He does not have a large following, most of those to whom he preached rejected his message, and he ended his career under arrest. He even spent time at the bottom of a muddy cistern for his efforts. Yet, there were some who listened and even a foreigner from Ethiopia who helped save Jeremiah's life. That is part of the lesson we learned from chapters 37-38, a story of Jeremiah and the pit.
  • God's Word endures. Scripture has been maligned, attacked, and even ignored. Scripture cannot, however, go away or be destroyed. The Word endures, as we learn in the lesson of chapter 36.
  • In Jeremiah chapters 34-35, the Lord shows his people what it means to keep a promise. In chapter 34, the people broke a covenant promise they had made to free their slaves. In contrast, the Rechabites show Judah in chapter 35 that it is possible to keep a covenant promise for generations. Our lesson this week will deal with promises made, promises broken, and promises kept.
  • After introducing the idea of a New Covenant, the book of Jeremiah begins a collection of prose passages describing events in Jeremiah's life. The first section in chapters 32-33, continues the book of consolation. In brief, this week's lesson looks at a question of real estate and why purchasing a field shows God's commitment to the future of his people.
  • Some say the heart of Jeremiah's message is his presentation of the New Covenant in chapter 31. In today's lesson, we take a look at this brief passage that carries enormous implications for our relationship with the Lord. We ask the question, "What's new about the New Covenant" and take a look at where the concept came from in order to better understand its application in our lives today.
  • God restores, God redeems, God returns everything back towards the perfection of creation. In this week's lesson we see the path from tears to joy and we discuss how prophecies from 2600 years ago affect our lives today.
  • With chapter 30, the book of Jeremiah takes a decided turn from tearing down towards building up. The four chapters, 30-33, are frequently referred to as the Book of Consolation, as the Lord announces how He will restore and heal his people, Israel and Judah. This week's lesson looks closely at how the fortune's of God's people takes a definite turn towards the good.
  • God has plans for his people. Even bigger plans than we can imagine. In this lesson, we see how God encourages us by assuring us He will keep his promise. Israel had disobeyed and God sent the people into exile in Babylon. But that does not mean God abandoned his plan, a plan for their welfare, as well as ours. That plan culminates in the messiah-king, the son of David, who we know now as Jesus, our redeemer. So be glad God completes his plan through Israel for our welfare.
  • Oh, the life of a prophet. In three short chapters we see Jeremiah threatened, opposed, attacked, and protected. This presents us with a challenge to remain faithful to what the Lord has called us to, despite opposition, misunderstanding, and even danger.
  • Figs and a wine cup full of God's wrath. This sounds like a different kind of lesson from Jeremiah and it is. We are surprised to learn the Lord will work for the good of those who have been taken away in exile. The promise of God's salvation is not ended by the people's rebellion against the Lord.
  • Several kings ruled during Jeremiah's ministry. Each one was unique. Jeremiah had a message from the Lord for each king. None were perfect, so Jeremiah spoke of a coming king that would bring justice to the poor and oppressed, a root of Jesse to sit on David's throne. 
  • Sometimes we get discouraged. Jeremiah certainly did. In this week's lesson we discovered that Jeremiah felt defeated and cheated by God. But then he learned a valuable lesson that the Lord is victorious. So we trust in Him.
  • Jeremiah visited the potter. The lesson he learned is slightly different than what Isaiah learned in his trip to an earlier potter, Jeremiah discovered there is something about the clay in the potter's hand that could change the result. So we pray we remain pliable and yielding to the potter's hands.
  • Our hearts can be healed! In week 13, Jeremiah teaches us about the condition of the human heart. It is sick beyond repair. But God can heal it if we turn to him.
  • Our 12th week of class finally offers a glimpse of a hint of future restoration for God's people. The Lord will not forget his covenant with his people, but will restore them. Even here, however, this glimpse is couched in terms of judgment.
  • Bearing the pain of proclaiming God's message of judgement to a rebellious people took a tremendous toll on the emotions of the prophet. He expresses his pain in a lament, as we see in our lesson from November 1. God reminds Jeremiah that his Word is all powerful and calls the prophet to return to the Lord, promising restoration and strength to complete his task.
  • On October 25, our class experienced the most emotional portion of Jeremiah that we've studied up to this point. In Jeremiah 14:1-15:9, we again saw the grief and sadness that are the results of the people's disobedience. For several weeks now, the message of Jeremiah has grown harsher and more difficult to read. This week's lesson shows us a people that had gone past the point of no return in their covenant-breaking attitude. It was too late for them to return to the Lord. Without explanation or supporting graphics, we just let the text and the grief it produces wash over us in class.
  • A ruined waist-cloth was the focus of our October 18 class. In Jeremiah 13, God compared his people to a fine clothing that he wanted to show off. But their disobedience ruined them for that purpose. 
  • In Jeremiah 11:1-12:17, we learned how the people of the Lord had broken their covenant with God, and how this paralleled Jeremiah's broken house. Even Jeremiah's own family was plotting against him. This was the focus of our October 11 class.
  • In our October 4 class, we saw a glimpse of God's broken heart for his people. All this talk of covenant breaking, disobedience, and judgement leads to the Lord's anger that his people won't acknowledge him as lord of all. Even more, however, this all leads to the Lord's broken heart and weeping. In Jeremiah 8-10, we see the tears of God over his rebellious children.
  • On September 27 we took a trip to the temple in Jerusalem, where Jeremiah gave an impassioned message about our worship. He reminds us it is possible to follow the correct forms of worship, but still have a heart that is far from God. Instead of trusting our traditions, or our religious catch-phrases, we need to totally trust Jesus.
  • From September 20, we took an overview of Jeremiah 4:5-6:30. In this passage, God describes the coming destruction, which is a result of the people's unfaithfulness to the covenant. Their disobedience led to the curses of the covenant as described in Deuteronomy 27-28. Thankfully, today believers are spared this wrath because Jesus bore it all on the cross in our place.
  • From September 13, we looked at Jeremiah 3:6-4:4 during week four of our study of Jeremiah. In this passage, the Lord calls his people to return to him for redemption.
  • From September 6, this is the week three presentation of Jeremiah 2:1-3:5. In this passage Jeremiah proclaims divorce proceedings between God and his bride, the nation of Judah.
  • From August 23, this is the week two presentation on Jeremiah 1, where a young lad finds out he is destined to be God's prophet to the nations.
  • From August 16, this is the presentation of our class introduction, with an overview of the historical background to the book.

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