CORNER LOT OFFERING RECAP
Good morning! How’s everybody doing? Happy Memorial Day Weekend.
My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Before we get into our passage this morning, I want to take a minute or two and quickly recap our very important announcement we gave last week (just in case you were gone last Sunday)
If you haven’t heard yet, an opportunity has come up that we never thought was going to be possible.
(Corner Lot slide)
The Corner Lot immediately north of us (where the Shell Gas Station used to be…in purple on the screen) has become available, and we were able to put an offer on it before it went out on the market.
We currently are in a Purchase Agreement with the Seller which will allow us to hopefully close on this property this summer.
This is HUGE for our church! Absolutely huge.
Parking is a challenge here, especially in the long-term.
Right now we’re projecting we could be up to 100 parking spots short when we expand someday, and this property solves that problem completely!
It’s a God-thing!
The property itself costs 1.3 million, our bank will give us a loan for 1 million, and so we are attempting to raise $300,000 for a down payment.
Just like King David in the Bible asked his leaders to give first to the work of the temple, we did the same thing, and our leaders have already given $192,000.
(Special Offering Slide)
We need to raise, the rest of us, as a church, $108,000 to acquire this land for our future, and to make sure we don’t lose this to someone else.
So, NEXT WEEK, on June 5th, we’re going to do a 1-day Special Offering at the end of our service, and we’re going to pray the impossible, and ask God to help us bring together $108,000 in one day.
So, please be praying, seeking God on this.
Can you give? 50? $500? $5,000?
If you are going to be out of town on the 5th, you can give online or through the app (just make sure you select the “Corner Lot Fund”)
If you can swing it though we prefer that you either
A) Grab a special Corner Lot Offering Envelope from the lobby table and give today via check
Or B) You can drop off a check at any time this upcoming week at our church office.
That way you won’t lose 3% of your gift to VISA, which, I’m sure they’re a great company, but, you know ☺
If you have any questions, ask me or any other leader after the service.
All right, last week we finished our series on Philemon, and next week we are starting our big Summer Series where once again we will be studying an important figure in the Old Testament.
This summer we are going to study the life of Joshua!
(Joshua Series Slide)
It should be fun.
There are many amazing stories in the Book of Joshua from the Battle of Jericho, to Rahab and the Spies, the sun standing still, the 12 stones from the parted Jordan River, and more!
I’m really looking forward to it.
That all starts next week on June 5th!
(But I have Spoken Slide)
So, we have this one week interlude in between Philemon and Joshua, so I’ll be teaching today on a pretty obscure passage from the book of Jeremiah
I’m fairly confident that you’ve probably NEVER heard a teaching on Jeremiah Chapter 35 and Rekabites before, so this should be fun ☺
This passage really struck me when I was reading it in my own Bible reading time at breakfast about 6 months ago, and I made a note to myself to preach on it when I had a chance.
It’s quite relevant for our culture today.
Plus, I want to show you that ALL of God’s Word speaks.
Even random chapters from deep within the book of Jeremiah.
Okay, before we actually read Jeremiah chapter 35, let me give you some historical context so you know what’s happening around this passage.
About 1,000 years before Jesus, God’s people, the Israelites, had split into 2 countries.
The northern kingdom was called Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, Judah.
This story takes place about 600 BC
Only the Southern Kingdom of Judah, whose capital is Jerusalem, is left.
However, Judah is in perilous times at this point.
As I tell you about that, go ahead and grab a Bible
Nebuchadnezzar and his powerful kingdom of Babylon are on Judah’s doorstep, having already exiled elites like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Babylon is now threatening to destroy the city of Jerusalem and exile everyone else to Babylon
Meanwhile, God has been using Jeremiah the prophet to constantly warn the people to repent of their evil ways, stop worshipping idols, and come back to Him.
If they would just trust God, they would be okay.
But the people continually refuse to obey God.
Let’s take a look now
(Jeremiah 35:1-5) – NIV
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah: 2 “Go to the Rekabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the house of the Lord and give them wine to drink.”
3 So I went to get Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons—the whole family of the Rekabites. 4 I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the room of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah the man of God. It was next to the room of the officials, which was over that of Maaseiah son of Shallum the doorkeeper. 5 Then I set bowls full of wine and some cups before the Rekabites and said to them, “Drink some wine.”
(But I have Spoken Slide)
Okay, so who are these Rekabites and why does God want Jeremiah to ask them the Rekabites to drink wine in front of everyone at the temple?
This is a curious scene!
The Bible tells us that the Rekabites actually can trace their ancestry back to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (they’re like cousins to the Israelites)
And so the Rekabites followed the Israelites through the desert, and into the promised land.
And they had lived among the Israelites, as devoted followers to the one true God, ever since.
But what’s the deal with the wine?
Let’s keep reading:
(Jeremiah 35:6-11) – NIV.
6 But they replied, “We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab gave us this command: ‘Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. 7 Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.’ 8 We have obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine 9 or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab commanded us. 11 But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded this land, we said, ‘Come, we must go to Jerusalem to escape the Babylonian and Aramean armies.’ So we have remained in Jerusalem.”
(But I have Spoken Slide)
Okay, so again, this is around the year 600 BC.
About 250 years before that, Jehonadab, an important Rekabite helped Jehu purge wicked Ahab and Jezebel’s family from Israel and helped the Israelites get back to worshipping God instead of the Baals and idols.
If you’re new to the Bible, and none of that made sense to you, that’s okay.
Read 1 Kings in the Bible this summer, it’s great!
The main thing you need to know is that this group of Rekabites, 250 years earlier, had an inspirational leader named Jehonadab.
And Jehonadab instructed all of his family members and future descendants that they were to NOT:
Or have farms
But instead, they were to be wandering nomads that lived in tents.
Let me pause for a second because some of you are sweating.
You’re thinking, “Oh no, my wine tasting days are over”
Ha, you take that up with the Lord, but listen, this is not a passage about whether wine is sinful or not.
If it was, you would need to be equally nervous about owning a home. ☺
By the way, if you’ve never been trained before in how to study meaning in God’s Word, or the author’s intent (we would say), sign up for our Studying God’s Word class this summer!
You’ll learn how to do this!
But here’s the thing: This is a passage about obedience, not wine.
The Rekabites views on wine and home ownership, etc. were a self-imposed, family conviction.
And you might have some of your own personal convictions like this on how you need to honor the Lord, but you wouldn’t put it on everyone else.
God himself did not command the Rekabites not to drink wine.
A modern day parallel to the Rekabites would be the Amish.
They are each groups of people who have, for generations, passed down customs where they believe they are being extra devoted to God by shunning the easy life of comfort.
And so Jehonadab tells his family to live this unique way regarding living in tents and not drinking wine, and for 250 years (much like the Amish) his descendants obey him and live this way.
And so Jeremiah the Prophet brings the Rekabites into the temple where presumably tons of people are watching, including all of the religious leaders.
And he says, “Here’s some wine for you Rekabites to drink!”
It’s a test.
Now, the Lord knows it’s a test they aren’t going to fail (God doesn’t tempt us).
It would be like you coming on stage and asking me to put on a Packer’s Jersey
I would say, “Does anyone have a lighter?”
Similarly, the Rekabites aren’t going to fail this test, and they don’t.
The Lord is actually setting them up for success and praise.
And so the Rekabites basically say: “No, we’re not going to drink wine!! We’ve been obeying our ancestor regarding this for 250 years!”
So why is God doing this?
God is making a point, not about wine or home ownership, or farming, but about obedience.
Let’s keep reading.
Verse 12 now
(Jeremiah 35:12-16) – NIV
12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying: 13 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. 14 ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened to me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.’
(But I have Spoken Slide)
God is using the Rekabites as a lesson.
It’s like a real-life parable playing out in front of everyone’s eyes.
He is saying, “These people, the Rekabites are SO obedient, that they obeyed their ancestors’ commands about wine and living in tents, even though he only said it ONCE, 250 years ago!”
“BUT I HAVE SPOKEN,” says the Lord Almighty, the King of Kings, Creator of the Universe.
And not just once, “again and again….I HAVE SPOKEN…”
“And yet, you do not obey me.
God is teaching us:
“If the Rekabites can faithfully obey these man-made laws from their earthly forefather, how is it possible that we don’t obey God-made laws from our heavenly Father?”
And I think God would ask us similar questions today:
Why is it that so few of us fully trust in His Word anymore?
Or more importantly, live it out?
Notable pollster George Barna says that even though 70+% of Americans say they are Christians, only 6% of Americans have a Biblical worldview anymore
Biblical Worldview means they can answer a few basic questions about how are we sinful, who gets saved, who Jesus actually is, etc.
But many in our day, and many in the church, some even in this room, would say, “Yes, I like God, I want forgiveness, but I don’t agree with Him on this issue or that issue (or I won’t follow Him when it comes to this in my life)
Sometimes we don’t say that outright, but our lives tell a different story.
Let me give a few hard topics for example.
The Bible speaks ever so clearly on issues of money for example.
Jesus speaks about it almost more than any other topic.
And yet for most people in their room, your blood pressure just went up.
Why is that SO many Christians aren’t following Jesus here? In this area?
Is it because we don’t know?
For most of us, we just think we know better.
We say, “Well with my situation, and what I need to factor in…”
We’ve thought about it, and with our actions, we’ve spoken.
But God says, “But I have spoken!”
Your Savior, the King, the Creator has spoken.
What does that mean to you?
Or take sex for example, the great obsession of Western Culture
God is not wishy washy or unclear when He speaks on how He wants us to believe and live on this issue.
He is Crystal Clear.
But just like the people of Jeremiah’s time, we are pulled in by a changing culture.
And to many of us, the Bible’s views feel more and more outdated, antiquated, and maybe out of touch.
And we say, “The culture has…kind of spoken”
But God says, “But I have spoken!”
Again and again…
And we struggle to live in obedience to God.
We all do.
I know I do.
And it’s not because we just don’t know how to be dedicated or sold out for something.
This is in part why God uses the Rekabites
Just jump on social media for a nanosecond.
There are plenty of secular people out there who are 100% committed to their social issue, and they will never waver.
They’re at every protest, every march, constantly talking about it online, and they don’t care if 80% of America disagrees with them.
They believe and are committed to their cause.
And yet here we are, as God’s followers, trying to curry favor with society and blend in.
This is why Jeremiah brings in the Rekabites in front of everyone.
The Recabites remained true to their values despite what was put right in front of them
And remember it was only their ancestor who had spoken to them.
But God is saying, “But I have spoken! Do you not trust me?”
So where do you just need to trust God again?
Maybe it’s just a belief that you know isn’t that popular.
Can you trust that God knows better?
Maybe it’s a sin that you’ve been pursuing.
And you know that God doesn’t want you heading in that direction.
You know that you’re not obeying Him…
Look at verse 15 again and hear it as if God Himself is speaking to you:
(Jeremiah 35:15a) – NIV
Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them.
He calls us to repent.
To turn from our wickedness.
(But I have Spoken Slide)
Because our sin, our lack of trust…grieves Him.
It reflects poorly on Him.
And because His way is better!
We obey God because we trust that God’s ways are right and they are good!
And HE HAS SPOKEN.
Will we trust that He knows better than we do?
THE BLESSING (verses 17-19)
All right, our chapter ends with a warning & a blessing
(Jeremiah 35:17-19) – NIV
17 “Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.’”
18 Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ 19 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.’”
(But I have Spoken Slide)
In other words, as a blessing for their obedience …they will always have family members who are serving the one true God.
That is the greatest of blessings.
But for the others, time has run out.
Babylon is coming.
Their city will be destroyed. The temple destroyed. The people carried away.
They could have changed that, but they kept listening to everyone but God”
You better believe they were saying,
“But this religious expert has spoken”
“This famous family has spoken”
“My neighbor has spoken.”
“My heart, my feelings have spoken.”
And God says, “BUT I HAVE SPOKEN”
And eventually they reap the destruction from sowing a life where they think they know better than God
And that warning now comes to us.
To our nation.
To our families.
To our own individual lives.
If we continue to think we know better than God, that kind of arrogant thinking will only lead to our downfall.
You must trust God, even if you’re the only one doing so.
He has spoken.
And besides, what good are the temporary delights on earth when eternity is coming?
What good is the acceptance of the culture and everyone around you?
At your death, when you see everything clearly, and you see that God is right, will you still want to be on the side of this “flash in the pan” culture that will soon be forgotten and destroyed by its own sinfulness?
Or will you be on the side of the King who never changes?
God has spoken, trust Him. Obey Him.
And you can do so because He is right.
You can do so because He is Good.
And, you can do so because He is merciful.
Some of you in this room are rebelling against God.
He has spoken, and you are running the other way.
And today, you need to come back.
And the Good News is that you can!
He will forgive you, wrap you in His arms, take you back, and walk with you again on the right path.
But He does want you on His path.
Because He knows that YOU, on HIS path, walking with HIM, is the best thing for you.
So come back to Him.
He knew you would do this. He did.
And even then….He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for these sins….the sins of mistrust and disobedience.
And He calls us to repentance.
That is to turn from your sin and come back to Him.
Back to His arms again.
Back to trust His voice again.
Repentance is a walking away from your sin, but it’s not a turning to legalism, or you trying harder, or becoming a good person.
It’s a walking away from your sin, to a full trusting of God again!
And letting Him guide you and empower your to live for Him.
And so if you need to do that today, I invite you to take action on that.
You’ve heard me say often to people thinking about following Christ for the first time, that sometimes we just need a line in the sand moment.
Sometimes, as believers, we just need that too.
We need to literally start walking in repentance.
This is your call.
God says, “But I have spoken,” now come home…and trust me again.
“I forgive you. You cannot outsin my grace, but come home to trusting ME again. ”
And if you need to repent, to let go of a sin, to tell God, “I have been trusting in myself, and not you, but YOU HAVE SPOKEN, and I want to trust you again, Father”…
…what I want you to do during our last song is to come to the altar.
It’s a Christian altar call today.
An altar call of repentance.
During this last song, I want you to walk to the front, by the stage.
You can stand, you can kneel.
But I want you to come and pour your heart out to God as we sing.
And then I’ll pray over the group at the end…whether it’s 1 of you or 20 of you.
If you need to trust God again, obey God again, come.
And if you need to know Him for the first time, our follow-up team will be in the front right corner after the service.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.