Jeremiah 18:1-11 

Verses 1-3, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.”

Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before.

If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders. I hear people saying, “We need angry leaders today!” or “The time has come to practice militant Christianity!” Perhaps, but “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, pp. 75-76.

Jeremiah went to the potter’s house not to preach a sermon, but to receive a sermon. This was not a sermon to hear, but a sermon to see from God Himself.

Matthew Henry said, “Those who had a sermon need not study them, if given by Divine Inspiration.”

There is a national and a personal application to what Jeremiah saw:

  • He applies it to the person verses 1-4.
  • He applies it to the nation in verses 5-9.

The first thing Jeremiah saw was the potter making a vessel, and something caused it to be marred. So “he made it again.”

God is saying that we are like clay in the potter’s hand, and like the clay, we resisted, but God is a God of a second chance and opportunity – “He made it again.”

According to verse eight, God may even repent of the judgment upon the nation (change His mind), if they will turn from evil. On the other hand, God may also repent of the good with which He would bless them according to verse ten. God is saying to the nation and individual, “I am trying to make something great out of you.”

God can make something beautiful out of clay, and God can make something beautiful out of the Christian who is pliable.

Jeremiah was quick to do what God said in verse two, and look at what he did in verse three, “Then I went down to the potter’s house.”  That’s a real working faith:

  • Obedience is essential to hear the voice of God.
  • God speaks to us through the routine things in life.




Amos 3:4-8, “Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” 


John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” 

We must do it today, while it is yet day, because tomorrow may never come.


Acts 4:20, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 20:22-24 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

Paul always made the message urgent, and he had the power to command and control because he made the message imperative.

1 Corinthians 9:16, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”

Let’s make our message urgent in our ministries.


The time was the 19th of May 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. The day has gone down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day. For at noon the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, one Colonel Davenport, came to his feet. He silenced them and said these words: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought.”  Robert P. Dugan, Jr., Winning the New Civil War, p. 183.

“. . . it is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shooting at you.” Woodrow Wilson

When the Thatchers moved into Number Ten Downing Street, the British Prime Minister’s official residence in London, a reporter asked Denis Thatcher, “Who wears the pants in this house?” He answered, “I do, and I also wash and iron them.” It is a Secret worth knowing and remembering that the truest, and, indeed the only possible, preparation for life’s duties or trial, is made by simple fidelity in whatever each day brings. a day squandered anywhere may prove the dropped stitch from which the whole web will begin to ravel. One lesson neglected may prove to have contained the very knowledge for the want of which, far along in the course, the student may fail. One opportunity let slip may be the first step in a ladder heading to eminence or power, but no higher rounds of which can be gained, because the first was not taken. We never know what is important, or when we are standing at the open doors of great opportunities in life. The most insignificant duty that offers may be the first lesson in preparation for a noble mission; if we despise or neglect it, we miss the grand destiny, the gate to which was open just for that one moment. Indeed, every hour of life holds the keys of the next, and possibly of many hours more; to fail of our duty in any one of them, may be to lose the most splendid opportunity through all life to the end. Miller.

What should we be like when duty becomes a part of us?


Jeremiah 20:9, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”

Job 23:10, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Isaiah 48:10, “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

1 Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” 

God uses fire in several ways throughout the scripture:

  • Eternal fire Isaiah 33:14.
  • Divine judgment 2 Kings 1:10.
  • As a purifier. Our work is tested. 1 Corinthians 3:13.
  • As a symbol of Divine presence and power 2 Kings 19:12.



Matthew 16:24-28


Think about counting the cost, and on verses.

In verse 2, will means that we must will to follow Jesus. That is, there must be a desire, wish, resolve and determination to follow Him. In other words, it must be a deliberate choice. 

Deny does not mean to deny oneself the luxuries of life such as: ice cream, fancy car or home, but it means a denying of self. That is, taking self out of the picture and putting Christ in our place. 

Take up his cross is not His cross, but your own cross. Christ has taken up His cross, and now it is our turn.

Follow me means to go where He would go and do what He would do.

One of the most tragic events during the Reagan Presidency was the Sunday morning terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which hundreds of Americans were killed or wounded as they slept. Many of us can still recall the terrible scenes as the dazed survivors worked to dig out their trapped brothers from beneath the rubble.

A few days after the tragedy, I recall coming across an extraordinary story. Marine Corps Commandant Paul X Kelly visited some of the wounded survivors then in a Frankfurt, Germany hospital. Among them was Corporal Jeffrey Lee Nashton, severely wounded in the incident. Nashton had so many tubes running in and out of his body that a witness said he looked more like a machine than a man; yet he survived.

As Kelly neared him, Nashton, struggling to move and racked with pain, motioned for a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote a brief note and passed it back to the Commandant. On the slip of paper was but two words — “Semper Fi” the Latin motto of the Marines meaning “forever faithful.” With those two simple words Nashton spoke for the millions of Americans who have sacrificed body and limb and their lives for their country — those who have remained faithful.  J. Dobson & Gary Bauer, Children at Risk, Word, 1990, pp. 187-188.



There are two ways that something can be sanctified:

  • God can sanctify it and set it apart.
  • When we make a promise to sanctify ourselves. Joshua told the people to sanctify themselves in Joshua 3:5.

When we set something apart for God or we make a promise to Him it becomes a very sacred thing, much as the tithe.

The tithe is that part which belongs to God. It really is not ours to give because it is already His. If we do not give it we are guilty of theft and lying just like Ananias and Sapphira.

For example if we promise to give some money for the building program and do not give it we are guilty just like the bank robber is guilty of stealing from the bank.

In other words, if we fail to keep a promise we are just as guilty as the one who did not tithe.

God gave Adam and Eve nine-tenth of the garden and they decided to take God’s part as well. They were guilty of taking that which belonged to God. God never sanctifies anything without using it. He uses all those things that have been set apart as well as the tithe. If we touch anything that belongs to God we are just as guilty as Uzzah when he touched the Ark to keep it from falling off the cart.

Illustrate the story: The Philistines stole the Ark of the Covenant for seven months and used it for their own purposes. Whenever they took the Ark people got sick or would die on the spot. It was taken to Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron and sent it back to the Israelites because death and destruction followed wherever they took it. The Ark was sent back on a cart, and Uzzah the son of a priest reached out to keep it from falling. God killed him for touching what belonged to God. The Ark should never have been put on the cart, because only the Kohathites were allowed to move it. They were not allowed to even look at it, because it was holy and belonged to God. Uzzah died for the same reason that Ananias and Sapphira did; he touched that which was holy, sanctified and set apart.

You will remember Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron were killed for profaning the Altar of Incense. They offered strange fire before the Lord and God killed them for it (Leviticus 10).

It is not a matter of not giving the tithe, but the matter of taking what belongs to God. Using the tithe for personal advantage is like using God’s Altar for sinful purposes. In other words, it is no more sinful to cuss and drink than it is not to tithe.

Romans 12:1-2, 6 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. V. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.

If you have ever presented your body as a living sacrifice, your life becomes as holy as the tithe. Why? Because it belongs to God!

If you gave your life to God, you decided to set it apart for God, and if you take it back you are committing a sin, because the word sacred means belongs to God.

In closing, those who never surrender all to God and sanctify themselves will never know what true sanctified living and giving is all about.


Acts 5:1-11

In chapter four Barnabas had given a large amount of money to the church. It was the talk of the church as well as the whole city. Everyone was talking about it, because Barnabas was a true man of God and set the example for the others to follow.

Then in chapter five Ananias and Sapphira probably thought this is a good way to get attention for themselves. I believe it was their pride that caused them to lie about the giving. The amazing thing is that they did not have to lie because the money they gave was a promise and not a required amount.

Their promise was to give some money from land they had sold. They gave less than their promise and lied to the Holy Ghost about it. The end result was that God killed them for lying about the amount they had given.

They did not have to make the promise but chose of their own free will to do so. The service must have lasted quite some time, because God killed Ananias three hours before Sapphira.

In verses 5-11 fear came on all them that heard these things.

Why did God kill them? In the Old Testament it was always a sin to touch that which was holy. The word holy is synonymous with sanctified, and it does not mean perfect or without sin. It simply means to be set apart for a particular purpose.

Illustrate: with pulpit, piano and pews are sanctified – set apart for a particular purpose.

Even the pastor of the church is set apart for a purpose, even though he himself is not perfect either, and God’s call is without repentance. Holy means sanctified for the Lord forever.



But bring them up

Place them under such discipline and instruction that they will become want to obey and fellowship with the Lord.

In the nurture

The word used means, training of a child by means of education, instruction and discipline. In this case it means that they are to train up their children in such a manner as the Lord would approve; that is, they are to educate them for virtue and their faith.

 And admonition

The Greek word Nouyesia means, literally: putting in the mind; then warning, admonition, and instruction. The sense is that they were to put them in mind of the Lord of his existence, perfections, law, and claims on their hearts and lives.

The reason this is so important is that this command is positive, and is in accordance with all the requirements of the Bible on the subject. To fail to do it God’s way means:

  • The child will grow up without any instruction in the Bible.

That is about the same as to plant a garden to without any care after the

planting, and would soon be overrun with weeds, and thorns.

  • Men instruct their children in many things, and why not teach them the Bible?

They teach them how to do all kinds of things: how to make money; how to avoid all kinds of things. Why not teach them to obey the commands of God?

  • Men teach by example, by carnal remarks, and by the neglect of things that are important.

A man who does not pray, is teaching  his children not to pray; a father who neglects going to church, is teaching his children to neglect it; the father who does not read the Bible, is teaching his children not to read it.

  • Faith in God and the Bible will make the mind of the child honest, diligent, open to conviction, and ready to follow the truth of God’s word.

Let me say this while we are on the subject: To instill the truths of the Bible is not to make the mind narrow, prejudiced, and unwilling to perceive the truth. On the other hand it is superstition, bigotry, infidelity, and all error and falsehood, make the mind narrow and prejudiced.

  • If a father does not teach his children truth, others will teach them error.

The young skeptic that the child meets in school or in the street; the ungodly teacher; the hater of God; the unprincipled movie stars, rock stars and television stars will teach the child.

You tell me, isn’t it not better for a parent to teach his child the truth of the   Bible than for a stranger to teach him error?

  • Teaching the Bible in the home is the most important of all subjects, and therefore it is of most important that children be taught truth.

If the father or mother does not do it, who will? And how does a parent do this?

  • By faithfully instructing them in the doctrines of the Bible.
  • By taking them to Sunday school and church, where they will be taught the truth. Notice that I said, by taking them, not merely sending them to church.
    • By a Godly example in the home. Understand that all teaching is valueless without the example in the home.
    • By prayer for the Divine help in these efforts, as well as praying for their salvation from the cradle to the grave if need be.

In closing let me say that these duties are plain, simple, easy to follow, and are such as a man is able to perform. On the other hand, if neglected, and the soul of the child is lost, a parent has a most fearful account to give at the judgment seat of Christ.

Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.