Today’s Reading: Jer 7:30–9:26, Col 3:18–4:18, Prov 13:1–25
Today’s Theme: Seasoned with Salt
One of the main themes today is the depraved nature of man in his sin and backsliding. We also look at the importance of our words and conduct. In the NT reading, we are told to season our words with salt.
We are called to be able to give a reason for our hope, and to walk and talk in a way that is compatible with the Gospel. By being deliberate in seasoning our words and lives in this way, we will naturally guard against deliberate sin and backsliding.
In a sense, the effort we make in seasoning / preparing ourselves, acts as a preservative to us just like salt.
Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return.(Jeremiah 8:5, ESV)
Perpetual backsliding seems to indicate a complete falling away and that it is something that happens over a period of time, rather than in one faithless act.
Backsliding is often a slow burn, so stem the tide now, plug the holes and let us humble ourselves before we get swept away in progressively sliding back from God.
I have paid attention and listened, but they have not spoken rightly; no man relents of his evil, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turns to his own course, like a horse plunging headlong into battle.(Jeremiah 8:6, ESV)
Lord, keep us from this folly. We need to be humble enough to accept correction and instruction. If we always think “but what did I do”, then it is possible that we are walking in pride.
Like the passage says; those who do not accept that they have done wrong and cannot be instructed, are like horses running headlong to their own death.
The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them?(Jeremiah 8:9, ESV)
This is true of all those who reject God’s word, they are without wisdom. True wisdom comes from God and is revealed best in His word.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.(Jeremiah 8:11, ESV)
An epidemic of the health, wealth and prosperity Gospel. One of the major problems with this and other perversions of the Gospel, like universalism, is that they give the people a false sense of peace with God.
The only one who gives true peach with God is His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said I leave my peace with you and it is not like the world’s peace.
The call of the Gospel is not just to a one time decision for salvation, but to a life of repentance, and to live at peace with God and man. We are not saved to be spoilt brats with bad behaviour and high demands.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among the fallen; when I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the Lord.(Jeremiah 8:12, ESV)
Lord, keep us from the callous brazenness of rebellion and debauchery.
Mourn for the lost
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?(Jeremiah 8:20–22, ESV)
Like Jeremiah, we should mourn for the lost and for the wayward church. Thank God that Jesus is the balm in Gilead.
May truth and justice reign
They bend their tongue like a bow; falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, declares the Lord.(Jeremiah 9:3, ESV)
In some ways this sounds like our country too, so we need God’s mercy over every nation where falsehood has taken hold in the government. Pray that truth and justice will reign.
Everyone deceives his neighbour, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity.(Jeremiah 9:5, ESV)
The consciousness of our depravity is apparent in this verse, we are not just victims of sin, we are the perpetrators of sin. Without Christ we are all assigned under God’s wrath, because of our conscious, deliberate, wilful, rebellious sin.
Our culture would have people believe they are guilty of nothing and that everything is either another person’s, or something else’s fault (e.g. society, demons, curses etc.).. We need to accept the guilt that is rightfully ours for our sin, and in light of that, seek God for mercy, forgiveness and transformation.
Don’t refuse to know the Lord
Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the Lord.(Jeremiah 9:6, ESV)
The conscious choice of man in refusing The Lord, is made clear here. We need to realise that our sin is not some momentary slip from conventional standards, it is open rebellion against the King of Heaven.
Called to obedience
And the Lord says: “Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them.(Jeremiah 9:13–14, ESV)
This is why judgement came, because of disobedience. We are called to obedience to God’s ways and word, this is not legalism as some would assert, this is just new life in Christ. Why would we not want to obey God, if we are in a loving relationship with Him and our nature has been transformed by the Holy Spirit?
The privilege of knowing the Lord
but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”(Jeremiah 9:24, ESV)
How privileged I am to know You Lord. Let us boast and rejoice in that today.
Be circumcised in your heart
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—(Jeremiah 9:25, ESV)
Even from the OT the Jews were taught that circumcision was really a matter of the heart. This is why the bible says a true son of Abraham is one who believes God’s promises and is circumcised in their heart.
Don’t be harsh
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.(Colossians 3:19, ESV)
Lord, help us as husbands to not be harsh to our wives, but to love them.
Don’t provoke your children
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.(Colossians 3:21, ESV)
Lord, help us to encourage our children and not challenge and set them up against other children, for example, but instruct and nurture them in the truth.
Provoking our children can come in so many forms, including; neglecting them, ignoring them, being too harsh with them, leaving them to their own ways, being too soft on them etc.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,(Colossians 3:23, ESV)
This is really important when doing any task at work or church, we should do it sincerely and heartily unto the Lord.
You are serving Christ
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.(Colossians 3:24, ESV)
Lord, help us to remember and not lose sight of this. We should be encouraged by the truth that all our serving WILL be rewarded.
Be watchful and thankful
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.(Colossians 4:2, ESV)
This is the attitude we should have when we pray, we should be watchful by being alert to the prompting of the Spirit, and thankful in faith that God has already answered.
Use time wisely
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.(Colossians 4:5, ESV)
Time is a precious and fleeting thing, we should make the best use of it.
The way we talk matters
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.(Colossians 4:6, ESV)
We are all called to watch the way we talk. We should ensure that the very words we use and the tone that we talk with, is in keeping with the Holy Spirit.
As Christians we can’t just blurt out whatever comes to mind, we need to season our words, think about and prepare in our hearts what we will say, as we are led by the Holy Spirit.
We should not use derogatory language, crass jesting or thoughtless words, instead we are called to apologetics which is the measured, mature and reasonable response to those who have questions about the hope we have in Christ.
Taking time to meditate and study will help us all, in this call to “know how to answer each person”.
Struggle for the saints
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.(Colossians 4:12, ESV)
As well as having a heartfelt desire to see God’s people grow through teaching, fellowship etc., this should be accompanied with this type of struggling / fighting in prayer for them, to that end.
Guard your mouth
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.(Proverbs 13:3, ESV)
Lord, help us to guard our mouth and to be less talkative.
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.(Proverbs 13:4, ESV)
The choice is diligence or sluggishness, I chose diligence.
Gather little by little
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.(Proverbs 13:11, ESV)
Lord, help us to apply this principle to our finances.
Hope in God
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.(Proverbs 13:12, ESV)
God will fulfil the desires which are in line with His word and Spirit, so place your hope in God because He NEVER fails.
A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.(Proverbs 13:19, ESV)
This is why accomplishing a task feels so good, it is sweet to the soul.
Walk with the wise
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.(Proverbs 13:20, ESV)
Wisdom rubs off, so stick around wise people.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Colossians 4
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