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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
Title:The Certainty of God's Promises Fulfilled in Christ
Text:Jeremiah 33:14-26 (View)
Topic:God's Covenant faithfulness

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Jesus Came, the Heavens Adoring

Sing to the Lord, Sing His Praise

What Child Is This, Who Laid to Rest

Gentle Mary Laid Her Child

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

 “The Certainty of God’s Promises Fulfilled in Christ” 
Jeremiah 33:14-26
You have heard, probably many times, that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. But Jeremiah 33 teaches two more certainties. In this passage, the Lord teaches us that He will be true to His promises as surely as the sun rises each day and as surely as the sun sets. That was true for the first coming of Jesus when He was born in Bethlehem so long ago. And it will be true for His second coming, when every eye will see Him and every knee bow before Him, acknowledging He is Lord of all to the glory of God the Father. 
We read part of God’s promise in verse 14: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.’”  In the historical setting, it was a promise to the people of Judah and Jerusalem that they would be restored as a city and nation after their captivity in Babylon. They would again have a king and priests. But the passage (along with a parallel passage in Jeremiah 23:5, 6) encompasses far more than the historical setting. In a real sense the promise goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. The promises here in Jeremiah 33 go back to the words spoken to the serpent, when the Lord said, in Genesis 3:15,  
“I will put enmity 
between you and the woman, 
and between your offspring and hers; 
he will crush your head, 
and you will strike his heel.”   
That promise is fulfilled in Christ. Even the imagery of the blood shed for animal skins to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness points to – foreshadows – the shed blood of Christ and the clothing of righteousness for all who have saving faith in Him alone. 
The promise of our text is fulfilled only through Christ. He is described as the Branch from David’s line in verse 15: “In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line...” That righteous Branch is Jesus. Matthew 1:1: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham…” By His birth, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of verse 15. He is the Branch that sprouts from the line of David. 
Verse 16 adds another prophetic description of Christ: He is the Lord of Righteousness: “In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.” Christ alone is righteous. The only righteousness you and I have is the imputed righteousness of Christ. In the words of Martin Luther, we have “an alien righteousness,” that is, a righteousness not our own, but the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by God’s grace through the gift of saving faith in Christ.
Christ alone is the doorway to heaven, the Redeemer of lost sinners. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. Apart from saving faith in Him, no one comes to the Father (John 14:6). Our ultimate safety and security, written about in verse 16, is only found in Christ and will be perfectly realized not in the Judah and Jerusalem here below, but in the Jerusalem above, the new heavens and earth yet to be revealed.
How He Fulfills the Promises 
We see, then, that the promises given to us in this text are focused on Christ and the salvation and security that His people have through the gift of saving faith. These are truly wonderful promises! They are linked to God’s promise in the Garden of Eden to crush the serpent – to crush Satan – and bring redemption to sinners like ourselves. 
But how are these great and precious promises fulfilled? Verse 15 gives us part of the answer: “I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” To do what is “just and right in the land”, the Righteous Branch from the line of David – the eternal Christ who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, “very God of very God” – would take on human flesh and do what is just and right by being our perfect Prophet, Priest, and King. 
Verse 17 speaks of kingship: “For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel…”  That prophecy points to the eternal kingship of Christ Jesus. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One before whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess His Lordship to the glory of God the Father. He is a king not just over Israel, as David was, but He is King over every nation, tribe, and tongue. 
But in addition to kingship, verse 18 points to priesthood – “nor will the priests who are Levites ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.”  Jesus was a descendant of David, not Levi. By His death and resurrection, Christ put an end to the Levitical priesthood. And rightly so, because the priests in the Old Testament, in the Levitical priesthood, could never make a sacrifice that could atone for sin.  
But Christ, who has an eternal priesthood – in the order of Melchizedek, not Levi – made the only acceptable sacrifice for sin. Hebrews 7 contrasts the priesthood of Levites with the eternal, perfect priesthood of Christ. Hebrews 7:23-27: “Now there have been many of those priests (Levitical), since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 
Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” 
The promise of a Redeemer – the promise of a great High Priest – could only be fulfilled by Christ because only Christ Jesus is both eternal God – and thus able to atone for sin – and truly human, to perfectly represent us. But to do so he needed a human body. And that is why the eternal Christ took on human flesh.  
Hebrews 10:5-7 explains it this way as the Holy Spirit gives the account of Christmas in the words of Christ: 
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: 
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, 
but a body you prepared for me; 
with burnt offerings and sin offerings 
you were not pleased. 
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— 
I have come to do your will, O God.’” 
And what was His Father’s will? What was written in the scroll? The scroll contains the words of Isaiah 53:10: “Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and …the LORD makes his life a guilt offering…”  By His guilt offering – the sacrifice He made at Calvary – you and I are reconciled to our triune God through saving faith in Christ alone. The manger was the first step toward the cross, and the cross was the purpose of His birth. As the angel said to Joseph, (Matt 1:21) “You are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”  
The purpose of Jesus’ birth, as the first step leading to the cross, is recorded throughout Scripture. Even the gifts of the Magi point to the eternal Kingship of Christ, His high priesthood, and His atoning work at Calvary. You children remember how Matthew described those gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. They were significant gifts. The gold pointed to the kingship of Christ. The incense pointed to his high priesthood as our intercessor. Just as smoke rises from incense, so too our prayers rise to heaven, and are sanctified and purified by Christ as we go to the Father in the name of the Son by the Spirit’s power.  
Those gifts of the Magi were understandably great gifts. But the myrrh? Myrrh was common. It was used in a variety of ways, as a deodorizer, as a pain killer, and above all, it was used to mask the stench of death. When Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus, they wrapped His body in about seventy pounds-five pounds of myrrh and aloes in accordance with Jewish burial customs. The wise men – the Magi – were truly wise: By God’s grace they recognized the high priesthood of Jesus, not only by His intercession at the right hand of the Father as He sanctifies our prayers and intercedes for us, but they recognized His high priesthood by the offering of Himself as the only acceptable sacrifice for sin. 
But in addition to being our great High Priest and Eternal King, Jesus is also our perfect Prophet. John 1:14 describes the birth of Jesus this way: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 
And John chapter 1:10-13 describes how “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” 
Those are verses of great comfort and assurance. They assure us that all who receive Christ with saving faith are adopted into the family of God. By saving faith in Christ we are not only saved from sin but are adopted into God’s family with brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus becomes our elder brother, as well as our Prophet, Priest, and King, our Savior, and our Lord. And as members of God’s family, we are heirs with Christ:  
Romans 8:17 – “Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” 
Galatians 3:29 – “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
And 1 Peter 1:3-5 promises us that In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 
The Certainty of God’s Promises 
The promises in this passage – as well as the promises in all of Scripture – are truly awesome, wonderful, gracious promises! But how do we know that they will become a reality in your life and mine? After all, we have all looked forward to promises made, and have been disappointed when they were broken.  
But in verses 19-21 the Lord assures us of the certainty of His promises being fulfilled: “The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: This is what the LORD says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.’”
In other words, the righteous Branch from the line of David would not be born. Our sins would not be forgiven; we would face eternal condemnation. But the Lord guarantees that will not happen. He goes on to promise in verse 22, “I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’” 
And He drives the promise home in verses 25 and 26: “This is what the LORD says: ‘If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’”  And we are those spiritual descendants, for “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29)
The certainty of God’s promises makes the old saying about death and taxes trite and simplistic. The certainties of Jeremiah 33 go far beyond the familiar quote. These two certainties are that the sun will rise and the sun will set. And that will happen day after day until the last Day – that great and glorious Day when Jesus returns and will end history as we know it. Then no longer will the sun be a mark for the day and the moon for the night, for as Revelation 21:23 tells us, “The city – the heavenly Jerusalem, which is what verse 16 ultimately focuses on – does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” 
The passage from Jeremiah 33 taught the people of Jeremiah's day that the birth and ministry of Jesus would be as certain as the sun rising and the sun setting. And what was true of His first coming is true of His second coming. The earth won’t be destroyed by a meteor or other cataclysmic catastrophe. Day and night will continue until Jesus returns – not as an infant, not as a man of sorrows, not as a sin offering, but as the glorious Lord of righteousness.   
Many will be surprised. They will be as surprised as the people back in the days of Noah. But God’s people – you and I – have no reason to be surprised. Instead of the shocked surprise of those in the world, you and I are to look forward to His return rejoicing that every promise made by God is fulfilled in Christ. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20). Not only in an advent season, but always, we are to rejoice at the first coming of Christ and look forward with eager anticipation to the Day when He returns.  
The people who took to heart the teaching of the Old Testament prophets rejoiced to see the prophecies fulfilled with the birth of Jesus. The Holy Spirit had revealed to one of them, Simeon, that he would not die before he had seen Jesus. Moved by the Spirit, he went to the temple courts when Jesus was being presented on the fortieth day, in accordance with the Law of Moses. When he saw the baby Jesus, he took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, 
you now dismiss your servant in peace. 
For my eyes have seen your salvation, 
which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 
a light for revelation to the Gentiles 
and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32) 
And Christians who are still living when Jesus returns will rejoice greatly, just as Simeon did at the first coming, even as unbelievers are terrified. Jesus described that day this way in Luke 21:25-28: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 
The reason for the first coming – the redemption of sinners like ourselves – is inseparably linked to the second coming. As surely as the eternal Christ was born in the flesh, lived, suffered, died, rose again, and ascended into heaven, so too is the certainty of His return to judge the living and the dead. At that time He will usher in eternity in all its glory for those who by grace have saving faith in Him alone. And at that time He will consign those who have rejected Him to their eternal judgment. Those truths are as certain as that the sun will rise and the sun will set.  
May you and I always be ready for that awesome Day. We rejoice in the birth of Jesus. Advent is a wonderful time of year! But Scripture emphasizes the second coming far more than the first. Do you realize that in the Bible, there are eight references to the second coming for every single reference to the first? 
By that ratio of eight to one, Scripture is telling us to look beyond the manger to the cross and the open tomb, to the ascension, and then beyond to the glorious second coming of Christ. If you are a believer, you will find great comfort in these truths!  
And if you have never put your faith in Christ alone for salvation, know that now is the day of salvation. There is no time like the present; tomorrow could be too late. In the words of 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2: “As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he (God) says, 
‘In the time of my favor I heard you, 
and in the day of salvation I helped you.’  
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 
Have you experienced the salvation that is only found in Christ? Have you, by God’s grace and Spirit’s power, placed your faith in Christ alone? Has your life truly been transformed? Are you a new creation in Christ? If so, rejoice at the certainty of the promises God has made! Rejoice in the blessed assurance that we who have saving faith will be among the great multitude saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone – rejoicing in His first coming and eagerly looking forward to His second coming! Amen. 
Sermon outline:
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious
promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.’” – Jeremiah 33:14
             “The Certainty of God’s Promises Fulfilled in Christ”
                                Jeremiah 33:14-26; text: 14-16
I.  All the promises of Scripture are fulfilled in Christ, including that:
      1) Redemption will come to Israel and Judah (14), the “Israel of God”
          (Romans 2:28, 29; Galatians 3:6-7, 29; 6:16)
      2) Redemption is through Christ “the Righteous Branch” who “does
          what is just and right in the land” (15) by being:       
           a) Our King in the line of David (17)
           b) Our eternal High Priest (18) in the order of Melchizedek
               (Hebrews 7:11-28)
           c) Our Prophet as the Word who became flesh and dwelled among
               us (John 1:14)
       3) The fulfillment of the promises is as certain as the rising and
            setting of the sun (19-22, 25-26)
II. Application: Just as the first coming was a reality, so the second coming
     will be a reality. Our focus, whether at Christmas or anytime, must go
     beyond the manger to the cross, the empty tomb, the ascension, and the
     certainty of His return (Luke 21:25-28; 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2)


* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Ted Gray

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