Jeremiah 1 Sermon: Make No Excuse — The Person God Uses | Lifeway (2022)

Sermon series: The Person God Uses

  1. Make No Excuses: Jeremiah 1
  2. Let Your Heart Be Broken: Jeremiah 8, 9
  3. Rise Above Discouragement: Jeremiah 20
  4. Sermon: Persevere in Obedience: Jeremiah 37, 38

Scriptures: Jeremiah 1:4-14, 17-19


We are skillful at the art of making excuses, aren't we? "I don't know how." "I didn't understand." "I couldn't find the right tools." "The voices told me to clean all the guns today." "I threw out my back bowling." "I have a Doctor's appointment." "There's been a death in the family." "The hazmat crew is here and won't let me out of the house." "I have a relative coming in from Hawaii and I need to pick them up at the airport." And, my all time favorite: "When I got up this morning I accidentally took two Ex-Lax in addition to my Prozac. I can't get off the john, but I feel good about it."

In the Christian world, we can find all sorts of excuses not to obey God's voice: "It's the preacher's job." "It's not my gift." "I've already served, let someone else do it." "I'm too busy or too tired or too old or too young."

It has been said, "Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in them seldom go far." Ben Franklin wrote, "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." Gabriel Meurier stated, "He who excuses himself, accuses himself."

Jeremiah had every excuse ready when God called him to be a prophet. His excuses are often our excuses for not heeding God's voice when he calls. Countering each excuse was a promise from God.

I. The Excuse: The Task is Demanding

Jeremiah was called to be "a prophet to the nations" (Jer. 1:5), not a priest like his father and his grandfather. A prophet was a chosen and authorized spokesman for God who declared God's Word to the people. We often think of prophets as people who can tell the future. But a prophet spoke messages to the present that had future ramifications. They were forthtellers more than they were foretellers, exposing the people's sins and calling them back to their covenant responsibilities before God.

(Video) The Person God Uses Makes No Excuses

Being a prophet was more demanding than serving as a priest. The priests' duties were predictable. Everything was written down in the law. The prophet never knew from one day to the next what the Lord would call him to say or to do. The priest worked primarily to preserve the past. The prophet labored to change the present so the nation would have a future. Priests dealt with externals - rituals, sacrifices, offerings, services - whereas the prophet tried to reach and change hearts. Priests ministered primarily to individuals with various needs. Prophets, on the other hand, addressed whole nations, and usually the people they addressed didn't want to hear the message. Priests belonged to a special tribe and therefore had authority and respect, but a prophet could come from any tribe and had to prove his divine call. Priests were supported from the sacrifices and offerings of the people, but prophets had no guaranteed income.

Jesus, too, was called to be a prophet. He traveled from place to place challenging the people to change so that their future in heaven would be guaranteed. Jesus spoke to the hearts of people. Most did not accept his message of repentance, for they did not want to change.

The Promise

God may assign you a demanding task, but his call keeps us going when we don't want to go and are ready to quit. We have the promise of God's purpose. "I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born'" (Jer. 1:5). The verb know has much more meaning than simply being aware of. It carries the idea of recognition of the worth and purpose of him who is known. God knew Jeremiah, chose Jeremiah, and appointed Jeremiah. He was known by name, hand-picked by God, and commissioned to serve. Those acts give one a great sense of purpose. The promise of God's purpose allows us to let go of our own plans and to receive God's plan without fear. Like Jeremiah and Jesus, we need to accept that our future is not our own. We are God's. He has a distinct plan and purpose for our lives.

II. The Excuse: My Talent is Inadequate

"But I protested, ‘Oh no, Lord, GOD! Look, I don't know how to speak since I am only a youth'" (Jer. 1:6). Jeremiah felt inadequate as a public speaker. By the way, this excuse was shared by Moses (Ex. 4:10).

When they heard the news that I was called to preach, most people in my hometown thought the news bearer had made a mistake. "Surely, you don't mean Ricky is called to preach. You must mean his twin brother Micky. Ricky is too quiet." When God's call came I felt honored but extremely inadequate. My lack of talent was obvious. My quiet, shy nature was a detriment.

I felt a lot like, Calvin Miller, pastor and author. He wrote about his call:

"I was so inferior, even the neighbors noted it and pointed it out to my mother as I grew up. In my late teens, one of my sisters felt led of God to help me get in touch with myself by telling me that in her opinion, which was as inerrant as the King James Bible, that if God called me to do anything he must have had a wrong number. When I told my preacher I was called to preach, he didn't necessarily feel that God had a wrong number, but he was concerned that I might have had a poor connection."

(Video) "No Excuse" (pt 1 of The Person God Uses)

God has a way to overcome weakness and our insufficiencies, doesn't he? I have learned over the years, however, that the person most aware of his own inadequacy is usually the person most dependent on God's all-sufficiency. My inadequacy has caused me to rely upon God. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. His glory is manifested through my flaws.

The Promise

Our talent may appear inadequate, but God always equips those he calls. We have the promise of God's provision. "Then the LORD reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with My words" (Jer. 1:9). The touch was not so much to purify as it was to inspire and empower. It was symbolic of the gift of prophecy bestowed on Jeremiah.

Jesus experienced this touch in a visible, yet profound way. Following his baptism, immediately coming out of the water, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended on him like a dove. And God spoke, "This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him" (Matt. 3:17).

God blesses not the silver-tongued orator, but the one whose tongue has been touched with coals from the altar. God uses not the most gifted and talented person, but the one touched by the hand of God. God uses the most unlikely persons to shake a church or a community or a nation. Never underestimate the power of the touch; especially when God does the touching.

III. The Excuse: The Time is Not Right

Jeremiah said to God, "I am only a youth" (Jer. 1:6). The word youth - unfortunately rendered child in some versions of the Bible - ordinarily denotes a young, unmarried man in his teens or early twenties. Most scholars think that Jeremiah was around 20 to 25 at the time of his call. His reply is not so much revealing his age as much as a deep sense of immaturity. He felt inferior, inexperienced, and intimidated by the size of the task to which God was summoning him.

The Promise

God's call may come at an inopportune time, but he never sends forth his servant alone. We have the promise of God's presence. "Then the LORD said to me: Do not say, ‘I am only a youth,' for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the LORD's declaration" (Jer. 1:7-8).

Please note the condition to this promise. Before Jeremiah could experience God's presence, he had to go where God sent him, speak what God told him, and reject fear. Someone once said that when God calls us to a task, he does not give us a road map to follow and then leave us to our resources. God walks with us. His presence gives us the strength to stand in the face of every assault.

(Video) Make No Excuses, Be the one God uses

Jesus felt that same Presence. He and the Father were one. He could go on because God walked with him.

What a difference it makes knowing that when we are being sent, someone is going with us. We know we do not have to walk the lonesome road alone, that we have a traveling companion.

IV. The Excuse: The Teaching is Dangerous

The Lord did not give Jeremiah a joyful message of deliverance to announce, but a tragic message of judgment. Consequently, Jeremiah would be misunderstood, persecuted, arrested, and imprisoned. More than once his life was threatened. The people did not want to hear the truth. Jeremiah told them plainly they were defying the Lord, disobeying the law, and destined for judgment.

God used the image of a boiling pot to communicate his coming wrath. "Again the word of the LORD came to me inquiring, ‘What do you see?' And I replied, ‘I see a boiling pot, its lip tilted from the north to the south'" (Jer. 1:13). Jewish homes would have a fairly large, wide-mouth washing or cooking pot. The unusual thing about the pot Jeremiah saw was that it was not level. It was titled away from the north. The pot could at any moment spew its boiling contents toward the south, scalding the people of Judah. The pot represented the nation of Babylon that would invade and conquer Israel. The reason for the judgment was Israel's idolatry and rebellion against the God's righteous will.

Jesus' teaching contained mercy and judgment, grace and punishment. Jesus' teachings were dangerous, too. In fact, it was his teaching that cost him his life.

The Promise

What God says through us may be dangerous, but God gives us the strength to endure. We have the promise of God's prevailing. "Today, I am the One who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land - against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the population. They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you" (Jer. 1:18-19).

Notice the architectural terms: a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls. They are solid and unshakeable like the God who conceived them, and the prophet whom they would come to characterize. God reassured Jeremiah: Attack you they will; overcome you they can't.

(Video) Unqualified, But Chosen | Jeremiah 1:4-10 | 10.4.20

The person who stands with God will prevail. Someone once said: "One with God is a majority." Alone we are helpless. With God we prevail.

In the days of the Roman Empire, the great Coliseum of Rome was filled to capacity with spectators, coming for the state games, watching human beings battle against wild beasts or against one another until one or both died. The crowd found its greatest delight in the death of a human being. When Honorius was emperor of Rome, in A.D. 404, as the vast crowd watched the contest, a Syrian monk by the name of Telemachus leaped onto the Coliseum floor. So torn by the utter disregard for the value of human life, he cried out, "In the name of God, this thing is not right! In the name of God, this thing must stop."

The spectators became enraged at this courageous man. They mocked him and threw objects at him. Caught up in the excitement, the gladiators attacked him, and a sword pierced him. The gentle monk fell to the ground dead.

The entire Coliseum fell silent. For the first time the people with the insatiable blood-thirst recognized the horror of what they had called entertainment. Telemachus kindled a flame in the hearts and consciences of thinking persons. History records that, because of his courageous act, within a few months the gladiatorial combats began to decline, and very shortly passed from the scene. Why? Because one man dared to speak out for what he believed was right. His message was dangerous, for it challenged the pleasures and enjoyments of the people. Though Telemachus died, his message prevailed.

V. The Excuse: Do I Have to Go Now?

God was expecting immediate action from Jeremiah. God said, "Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you" (Jer. 1:17). In Jeremiah's day the men had to tie their loose robes together with a belt in order to run or to work. Jeremiah was in for a struggle. He had a fight on his hands. So the phrase "dress yourself for work" or "gird up your loins" was a metaphor that meant "Get ready for action!" Today we would say, "Roll up your sleeves!"

God called Jeremiah to act. He was called to move out among people. He was called to deliver an offensive message. He would not be welcomed, nor would he be accepted. He would anger his hearers.

The Promise

God expects obedience, immediately, if we don't, we are in danger of God's wrath. We have the promise of God's power. "Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them" (Jer. 1:17). Immediate obedience is the only appropriate response when God calls.

(Video) Jeremiah 01, Call of a Reluctant Prophet, Jeremiah 1:1-19

Jesus obeyed. Whatever you think of Jesus, remember this, his heart was a willing and obedient heart. He always did what his Father directed. There was no hesitation, no questioning, no circumventing. Only immediate action.

Has God called you? Then he will fulfill his purpose in you, he will equip you, he will enable you, he will protect you, he will accompany you. Are you obeying his commands? Then he is with you to protect you. Are you sharing the word? Then he will accomplish his purposes no matter how the people respond.


Who made excuses to God? ›

He was instructed to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let God's people go. Moses then gave his five excuses to God.

Who in the Bible made excuses to God? ›

10, italics added). God had a plan to deliver His people; His plan was Moses. How would Moses respond to God's call? He immediately began to make excuses.

How do you deal with discouragement sermon? ›

How to Handle Discouragement - YouTube

What are the 5 excuses of Moses? ›

Here are Moses' five excuses and God's response to Moses and to Christians today.
  • Excuse Number 1: Moses' Question: Who am I? ...
  • Excuse Number 2: Moses' Question: “Who has sent me?” ...
  • Excuse Number 3: Moses' Question: “What if they won't believe or listen to me?” ...
  • Excuse Number 4: ...
  • Excuse Number 5:

What are the consequences of excuses? ›

Making excuses can also lead to the following consequences: Lack of responsibility and growth. Self-limiting beliefs. Massive regrets.

What are the dangers of making excuses? ›

Here are a few things that can happen when you make excuses:
  • You lose the respect of your team. If you're blaming your team for things that go wrong, they're not going to go out of their way for you. ...
  • You lose the respect of those above you. ...
  • You lose the respect of your clients. ...
  • You lose respect for yourself.
Mar 11, 2021

What do they say about excuses? ›

It makes people feel better about themselves

Because of this, we do things to make ourselves feel better. We like to feel better, especially when it comes to our own self-esteem. Excuses make us feel better because they give us a rationalization to our actions. They serve as internal validation.

What does the Bible say about making excuses KJV? ›

Luke 14:18-20

18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

How do you overcome the spirit of discouragement? ›

Hold on to God's promise and plan for your life. Learn the habit of giving thanks. It is hard to be discouraged with a thankful heart. Remember what God has done for you in the past and encourage yourself in the Lord.

What are the things that discourage us? ›

There are at least four distinct causes for discouragement.
  • Fatigue: We Can Become Worn Out (Neh: 4:10) The first reason that these people got discouraged is simply this: They were worn out. ...
  • Frustration: We Can Become Weighted Down (Neh. 4:10) ...
  • Fear: We Can Be Wrought Up (Neh. 4:11) ...
  • Failure: We Can Be Written Off (Neh.
Jun 17, 2018

How does discouragement affect our faith and relationship with God? ›

It guides us to truth and helps us see that God wants us to be encouraged. But moments of doubt and discouragement help us grow closer to God and fully appreciate and embrace the life He offers. “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.

What are examples of excuses? ›

Common excuses for NOT making ideas happen:

What do you call a person who always has excuses? ›

The closest word I know of is "malingerer". It really means a person who often fakes illness or inability. – Jeff F.

How do you get rid of excuses? ›

How to stop making excuses
  1. Take responsibility. The first step to stop making excuses is always to realize that you alone control your destiny. ...
  2. Shift your perspective. ...
  3. Uncover your limiting beliefs. ...
  4. Change your story. ...
  5. Find the lesson. ...
  6. Stop overthinking. ...
  7. Define your vision. ...
  8. Set goals.

What does God say about excuses? ›

Romans 2:1. 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.

Why do I make so many excuses? ›

Uncertainty, self-doubt and fear are natural emotions when contemplating change but for some, these feelings can stop them from getting started at all. Instead of making changes they may subconsciously create excuses.

What is the meaning of no excuses? ›

phrase. If you say that there is no excuse for something, you are emphasizing that it should not happen, or expressing disapproval that it has happened. [disapproval] There's no excuse for behaviour like that. [

What is the difference between excuse and explanation? ›

An explanation is designed to give someone all of the facts, and lay out the cause for something. An excuse is designed to push the fault for that thing away from oneself. Make sure that you use explanations frequently, and excuses sparingly. Giving explanations for things is great.

What is the difference between reasons and excuses? ›

Meaning. Excuse is a reason or explanation given to justify a fault or offence. Reason is an explanation, cause or basis for something.

What the Bible says about excuses? ›

Romans 2:1. 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.

Who in the Bible doubted their calling? ›

Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, Elijah, John the Baptist, and the list goes on. They all were doubters. Even Jesus' family thought He was crazy. All the disciples ran away in doubt, not just Thomas.

Did Moses complain God? ›

Moses takes his complaining straight to the Lord, “Hey, God, why have you treated me, your great servant, so badly? I didn't give birth to them! I can't carry them; they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you, O Lord, are going to treat me, put me to death at once.”

Why did Moses doubt God? ›

He was afraid that the people had forgotten God, who he was and what he could do for them. Some had forgotten God, even as today. Many today have no idea of the great doctrines of the Bible, no idea of the basic foundations of the church and the invitation to live a holy life.

What is the difference between reasons and excuses? ›

Meaning. Excuse is a reason or explanation given to justify a fault or offence. Reason is an explanation, cause or basis for something.

Why do people make excuses? ›

Uncertainty, self-doubt and fear are natural emotions when contemplating change but for some, these feelings can stop them from getting started at all. Instead of making changes they may subconsciously create excuses.

What does the book of Jeremiah teach us? ›

As a prophet, Jeremiah pronounced God's judgment upon the people of his time for their wickedness. He was concerned especially with false and insincere worship and failure to trust Yahweh in national affairs. He denounced social injustices but not so much as some previous prophets, such as Amos and Micah.

How old was Jeremiah when God called? ›

He is believed to have been about 20 years old when he was called to prophesy. The prophet said, “The word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.” It is interesting to see the line of kings and the influence they had over the people.

Why is Jeremiah called a weeping prophet? ›

“His message was one of hope and warning. The Israelites were getting away their destiny and God was trying to call them back. Jeremiah was faithful when God gave him a strong word and challenged him to execute that word. They called him the Weeping Prophet because his heart was so tender.”

Why was Moses reluctant to God's call? ›

' ” Moses feared that Israel would reject him if he did not know the specific name of God, who had called him to deliver the nation. Because Israel knew the specific names of the Egyptian gods, Moses wanted to tell the people that the one and true God of Israel had sent him.

What is Jeremiah 11 11 in the Bible? ›

In the King James Bible, the verse reads: "Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them."

What is 11 14 in the Bible? ›

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads: And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. The New International Version translates the passage as: And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.


1. Jeremiah 1 ● A life known and called by God
(Calvary Chapel Ontario)
2. Stop Making Excuses | Sandals Church
(Sandals Church)
3. How To Challenge The Spirit Of Fear (Becoming Undeniable) | Apostle Joshua Selman | God Seeker TV
(God Seeker TV)
4. Overview: Jeremiah
5. Sermon on no excuses for serving God, Moses saved by grace so that he could save others, Exodus 4
6. Jeremiah - The Background and Backbone of the Book [Jeremiah 1:1-3] | Matthew Maher | CCOC
(Coastal Christian Ocean City)

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