Parkerville Baptist Church
Staying Faithful in the Seasons of Life - Part 3
Jason Brooks continues our series, "Staying Faithful in the Seasons of Life".
Locations & Times
Expand
  • Parkerville Baptist Church
    910 Seaborne St, Parkerville WA 6081, Australia
    Sunday 9:30 AM
About Parkerville Baptist Church
Expand
Why we exist …
Love God, love others, make disciples … that’s the commission Jesus left his followers.
At Parky, it’s our mission to do this by sharing our lives and creating pathways that inspire people to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

Visit www.parkerville.church to learn more about our church.
We have four seasons throughout the year and currently we are in the coldest and wettest season, namely winter. In like manner our own lives have various seasons. There are seasons of joy and seasons of sorrow, there are seasons when we are faithful and seasons when we stumble and fall, but through all these times God’s will is working through us!

Many of us are familiar with the passage of scripture found in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”, but what exactly does this passage mean and how is it to be applied?

Some say this passage promises riches, others say this passage promises health, whilst others say it means your life is heading for good times! I wonder what the correct response ought to be if someone were to cite this passage to you? Would you respond with thankfulness, or would you respond with frustration and perhaps even anger! This depends on how the passage is understood and what season of life you are going through at the time.
What does this verse mean and how is the passage interpreted today by many Christians?

Wealth?

Health?

Happiness?

Life problems fixed?

House, car, family life fixed?
Is it right to let someone subjectively understand this passage of scripture?

Quite often as Christians we can throw bible verses out like good luck charms! Sometimes we align more with the pop psychology of the day, where we must always feel good and never despair.

We can minimize someone’s experience by giving them feel good quotes!

Sometimes what is needed is to sit the person in the ashes, to share their experience, to feel their pain and to ask "why on earth is this happening God? Why am I in this place right now? Why is everything crumbling around me?"

What is your will for me right now?
What is the context of the passage?

What do people mean when this verse is cited. Do they mean we will prosper with wealth? We might say, no not in that way…not that kind of prosper.

But the answer is yes and no and depends on what covenant we are under. If we were under the covenant made with Israel in Deuteronomy 28 God said He would bless the Jewish people in the land of Israel if they obeyed, and if they disobeyed they would be sent into exile, to be dispersed from the land of Israel to another nation, they would be dispersed around the world.
But what did the Jewish people think when God said this. They knew the covenant.

God promised their children would be blessed.

The land will produce will be blessed.

Their enemies will be defeated.

The nation will be prominent above all nations.

In other words, they expected to be blessed in health, wealth, and power.

This is not the same promise under the new covenant with Christ.
But it’s more than that, the context is more than that

The entire book of Jeremiah is a condemnation of the Jewish people and their disobedience before God. By the time we get to chapter 29 many of the Jewish people have been exiled to Babylon. Jeremiah writes a letter to them instructing them to stay put, to build houses, have sons and daughters and to pray for the city. To make themselves comfortable. V 10 says they will be there for 70 years!

The context of Jeremiah 29:11 is the Jewish people rebelling against God for such a long time that they are being judged and sent into exile, almost like a prison sentence, but then God says after this time I will bring you back into the land of Israel, He says I will confirm my promise to you.

"For I know the plans I have for you," this is the Lord’s declaration. "Plans for your shalom, not for disaster, to give a future and a hope!"

Even though the Jewish people were in exile, God had not forgotten them nor destroyed them. It’s God’s will that held them in a place of exile, there is a reason for it, time to reflect!

70 years, the land of Israel was to rest they were supposed to the let the land rest every 7 years, 490 years the Jewish people had been in the land, and they were to let the land rest every 7th year from an agricultural perspective, but they didn’t.
Some died in exile

The fascinating thing about this chapter is that many of them going into exile would not see the promise of God fulfilled. They would not see the day of King Cyrus and his decree to let Israel return.

What does that mean, that many of them died in exile because of their rebellion?

What does that mean for us? When people use this verse to encourage believers in Christ that things are going to get better, how do we know?

What does it mean when we apply it to us? Does it mean we can die in a spiritual exile? Whilst we have the Spirit of Christ, we may not know an external peace In this life and it might be a disastrous life for us.

Internally we may know the peace of Christ

But, externally because of our sin we may never have reconciliation with those around us. We may never have the life we desire. The desires of your life may never be fulfilled.
There were false prophets telling people what they wanted to hear

The other interesting thing about this book is Jeremiah 23, particularly verses 9-32.

There were false prophets in Babylon. We are not told exactly what they were saying, but it might have been that they were saying to those in exile that they would return soon.

Jeremiah 23:16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord."

They had dreams that pleased them and surrounded themselves with prophets that told them what they wanted to hear (tickling the ears!)
Application: God’s working through our sin

If we sin before God then repent seek forgiveness, but do not give up hope. I think often we look for a specific direction from God and His will.

God, which job should I choose?

Which partner should I choose?

Which car should I buy?

Which socks should I wear today?

We agonise often over what choice to make (perhaps because we are bombarded with choice (FOMO). Perhaps God is not as concerned with every intricate choice we make, but more how we conduct ourselves in the life we live.

You might reflect on your life today and look back with regrets on the choices you made - if only I made this choice or that choice. If only I chose this job instead of that one. If only I moved to this place.

The question is not to ask which direction, but did I conduct myself well, did I honour God, was I obedient in all things?

We can think about God’s will and ask what God wants me to do.

When the better question to ask is: as God’s will is worked out in my life, will I obey no matter what happens?

Podcast

Listen to the podcast of this message

http://parkerville.church/sermon

Online giving

We’re reliant on the giving of those committed to our community to fulfill our mission of helping people become wholehearted followers of Jesus, and we’re deeply grateful for your participation. GiveWay is a convenient, secure way to give your tithings/offerings/fees to Parkerville Baptist Church. Payments are anonymous and can be given by direct deposit or Visa/MasterCard. Recurring payments can be made or a one-off payment.

https://www.giveway.org.au/bfsgiveway/Parkerville-Baptist-Church-iGive