First Lesson: Jeremiah 31:27-34
27 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. 28 And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD. 29 In those days they shall no longer say: "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." 30 But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.
31 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt--a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the LORD," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 18:1-8
1Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.' 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.' " 6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
Sermon: Internal Guidance
The prophet Jeremiah said we have an internal navigational system. The people of God did not need to read God's laws from tablets of stone. God's way is written on our heart. We have been given a spirit of God's law... (31:31-34).
"Character" has to do with who you are when nobody is looking. Character is who you are down, deep. Or as Jeremiah said, character is "written on the heart."
Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent, not to lose heart, to seek justice even in the face of adversity. How is that working for you. Do you believe that you have a just judge, a favorable God, who stands with you?
Jeremiah looked forward to the day when there would be a restoration of the people and the land. We are given a deep knowledge of God's ways, if we will only listen to our heart. We know what God wants. The question is, do we trust? You know what is right and what is wrong. God speaks. We know what is wise and what foolish. We know the reward and we know the cost.
Jeremiah believed that God is full of love.
First Lesson: Jeremiah 29: 1, 4-7
1 These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 4 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; Plant gardens and eat what they produce.
6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 17:11-19
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.
12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
Sermon: Authentic Gratitude
Out in Samaria, beyond the boundaries of Israel, Jesus met ten lepers. He healed them and sent them on to show themselves to the authorities in the temple. Jesus was amazed by the gratitude of one, the one who wasn't even Jewish, the one who was a Samaritan.
The word salvation in Greek means "healing."
Our word salve, the ointment that you spread on a wound, comes from the same word. To be saved is to be healed.
So we have in this story ten people suffering from a dreaded skin disease, and they are healed. Jesus reached out and cured their illness.
The first part of this story is the healing story.
The second part of the story, verses 15-19, is the story of surprising gratitude by an outsider, the Samaritan. "Your faith has made you well" (17:19) says Jesus.
What does "made you well" mean?
...Not the healing of the man's leprosy. The other 9, who didn't return, were healed from their leprosy - but were they "made well?" Were they made whole? This Samaritan was made well through praising God.