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2-13-22 “The Blessing of Faith”

“The Blessing of Faith” (Jeremiah 17:5-10)

David Peterson / General

Jeremiah 17:5–10

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Faith is the most important gift we can pass on to our children. Faith comes from exposure to the one who is trustworthy and leads to great blessing but must be contended for everyday because of our sinful nature.


I. The Success of Faith (Jer. 17:8)

There’s a sports personality named Bill Simmons. He’s on the television now, but I loved it when he was just a writer. He’s coined a few phrases, like “The Tyson Zone,” which describes celebrities who could do literally anything and you wouldn’t be surprised.

So Simmons ca me up with a concept that basically covers a lot of biblical ground, though I can’t guarantee he’s aware of his influences. It’s called “Christian years” for athletes, and here’s how it works. Think about Mariano Rivera, who recently retired from the New York Yankees at age forty-three as the best closing pitcher in baseball history and was still pitching like a player half his age. And on the other hand, you’ve got a guy like Dennis Rodman, the former basketball player, who hasn’t honored Jesus with his body, and when he was forty-three he looked freakishly aged already. So you compare these two elite athletes, at similar points in life, and you want to know why they’re so different. The answer is Christian years. Bill Simmons would remind people that sure, Rivera was technically post-forty, but he’s post-forty in Christian years. As opposed to party years, drug years, sleeping-three-hoursa-night years.

If a secular sports writer gets it, we can get it. The way we walk matters.

Source: Daniel Fusco, Honestly (Tyndale, 2016), page 83 (cited at

II. The Source of Faith (Jer. 17:8)

1. Psalm 1 parallel — delighting and meditating on the law

2. Emphasis here — the personal, experiencing the faithfulness of God

III. The Struggle of Faith (Jer. 17:9)

Kay Warren Sees Human Capacity for Evil

The first time I visited Rwanda, I went looking for monsters, albeit a different category of monster—the kind that isn’t relegated to B movies. I had heard about the 1994 genocide that had left one million people dead—tortured, raped, viciously murdered—and somehow I thought it would be easy to spot the perpetrators. I naïvely assumed I would be able to look men and women in the eyes and tell if they had ben involved. I was full of self-righteous judgment.

What I found left me puzzled, confused, and ultimately frightened. Instead of finding leering, menacing creatures, I met men and women who looked and behaved a lot like me. They took care of their families, went to work, chatted with their neighbors, laughed, cried, prayed, and worshiped. Where were the monsters? Where were the evildoers capable of heinous acts? Slowly, with a deepening sense of dread, I understood the truth: There were no monsters in Rwanda, just people like you and me. …

Before that trip, I can’t tell you the number of times I reacted to evil I read about or witnessed by saying, “I would never do that!” But thousands of years of bloody human history prove differently. Fifty-four years of my own history prove differently. We are all proficient in our ability to conceive, plan, and execute evil. Of course, we don’t call it evil when we’re the ones involved. But it is. As French writer La Rochefoucauld observed, “There is hardly a man clever enough to recognize the full extent of the evil he does.” You might as well face the shameful truth: You and I, put in the right situation, will do absolutely anything. Given the right circumstances, I am capable of any sin. I’ve grown more afraid of the monster lurking in the dark corners of my soul than of any monster lurking in the dark corners of my house.

Source: Kay Warren, “The Only Hope for Monsters,” Christianity Today magazine (October 2008), p. 98

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”




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