Galatians 2:20-“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Jeremiah 1:4-10 4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 6 “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” 7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
This morning’s message is for everyone in this house, but it is especially timely for our teenage and young adult population. For the next 26 and a half minutes I want the attention of every young person in this building. This could be a defining day in your life. Turn to your neighbor and tell them, “It’s about to get real.”
I am sick and tired of hearing stories of how Satan is stealing the worth, the identity and the value from our young people. I am heartsick over stories of how young people are checking out due to bullying and cultural lies. I am heartsick over stories of how young people are settling for less than their God-given destiny because of labels, drama, innuendo, gossip, and slander. I am heartsick over the stories of drug use and overdose and brokenness that result from people who don’t know who they are, why they are here, and what they can become and possess. I am heartsick over stories of girls throwing themselves at boys because they need male attention and affirmation. I am heartsick over stories of cyber bullying, cyber sexting, cyber drama, and cyber threats that are made by people who have allowed themselves to become pawns of Satan! I am heartsick of good being called evil and evil being called good. I am heartsick that Christian young people are being deceived and are having their spiritual identity and their personal significance stolen from them. This morning I wage war on the powers of darkness and the enemy of our soul who is the enemy of our significance because WE WERE MADE FOR MORE! (I’m glad I got that out of my system!)
The Old Testament is filled with stories about people called Patriarchs, Prophets, Priests, Judges and Kings. Today’s text is about one of the Prophets named Jeremiah. In his exchange with God, he learns he was made for more.
Look at what God said to him in verse 5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. You know what this verse tells me?
- You are distinguished. You are set apart. You stand alone as unique and special. The definition for distinguished is: successful, authoritative, and commanding great respect
You are distinguished! What makes you special? What makes you distinguished? You were hand-made by God. Scripture tells us that our original parents (and we all have the same pair) were made from dirt. Dirt isn’t very distinguished! Dirt doesn’t sound important. It isn’t. But it is what happened next in Genesis 2:7 that changed everything! God breathed into Adam the breath of life and when He did, man became a living soul. Man became more than dirt. Man became distinguished dirt! More than that. Man became alive with the image of God stamped on their lives. Wouldn’t we all agree that God is distinguished? Okay, then we, who are hand-made by Him in His image are also distinguished.
The value of something is dependent on two things: Something’s value depends on what someone else is willing to pay for it. Our church is currently for sale, right? And while I think it is easily worth ten million dollars, and it is listed for only 1.3 million (what a steal, right?)reality is that it is really only worth what someone is willing to pay for it! The other consideration is who owned the item previously. I looked up some information on celebrity memorabilia and learned that three X-rays of Marilyn Monroe’s chest were sold for 45,000! Darth Vader’s helmet went for 115,000.00. The Dukes of Hazard star, John Schneider, sold his personal General Lee car for 9,900,500! Dorothy Gale’s Ruby Slippers, worn by Judy Garland in the movie, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” brought in 666,000! I have some shoes I would be willing to sell, how about you? I wonder what I could get for a pair of mine? Maybe .50 at a garage sale! Maybe!
So, value is based on what someone is willing to pay, and it is based on who owned it previously. Based on these two criteria, what’s your value? How much are you worth? The Scripture say, “You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him” (1 Cor. 7:23 NIV). Who owns you? What was paid for you? Christ owns you and paid for you with his life. God exchanged his own Son for you. The cross proves your value. God says I love you this much. Jesus gave his life for you. And Jesus didn’t die for junk.
There is a story of a visit by the president of the United States to a nursing home. The president entered the facility with his entourage and was received with delight by the elderly residents. As he went from person to person in the living area, he noticed a woman in a wheelchair who seemed rather disinterested. Months of campaigning for election had taught him how to “work the room,” and he did not want to offend someone who might be around to vote in the next race. He approached her, smiled, patted her shoulder, and gently squeezed her frail hand. She smiled back but said nothing. “Do you know who I am?” the president asked. “No,” she replied, “but if you’ll ask the lady at the nurses’ station over there, she’ll tell you.”
Do you know who you are? If you ask Jesus he will tell you. You are distinguished! (http://www.lifeway.com/Article/sermon-living-stone-holy-nation-1-peter-2)
Did you know 1 Peter 2:9 tells us that believers are a chosen priesthood, a royal nation, a people belonging to God? God has chosen us! What does that say about the way He views us!? You see, our worth isn’t based on anything we are or can do, but it is based on the value of the One who has created us and the price He paid for us. He has set you apart. You are distinguished.
- You have a destiny. Look again at the end of verse1, I appointed you as a prophet
to the nations.”
Who gets appointed to do stuff? The person who gets appointed to a position is someone the appointer has great confidence in. It is someone the appointer believes can get the job done. It is someone the appointer has worked with and has invested in and believes in. Jeremiah was appointed to be a prophet to the nations. What has God appointed you to do? All believers have been appointed by God.
John 15:16 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
You have been created by God with special gifts and talents and with a unique personality to bear fruit in your life, to do good things in your life. Did you see the word “masterpiece?” Apparently, God is pretty proud of His work and considers you a WORK OF ART! You are that, and you are more than that because you are also a WORK OF HEART. You were fashioned and formed for something special in the heart of God!
No one got the memo better than Jeremiah. He heard God clearly in chapter one because by the time we get to chapter 29 we read his words that we have now quoted time and time again, that we have put on Pinterest, and on the bumper of our car, and have hidden in our hearts!
Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Don’t underestimate yourself. You can go places! You can accomplish things! You can live a life of significance and impact! God has a plan for your life! God has an appointment for you! You have a place! You have a destiny! There is a reason you are here! You aren’t an accident! You were purposed by God for a purpose!
Listen, in this moment you may underestimate yourself, but hear me, you can never overestimate God. He has big plans. Big! As you pursue your relationship with God you will discover more of your value, worth, and destiny—like reading the rules of the game like Life or Risk or my personal favorite, Candyland—the game strategy and the rules were created by someone. The game creator knows what it takes to win the game. In order to play the game correctly and well and in order to win, you have to know what the game creator intended, but here is the good news! You can know! can win! You
I don’t know what your purpose is, but I know God will be faithful to reveal it to you if you want to know what it is! Jeremiah 29:12 gives us the formula. As we pray and seek God with our whole heart, He will reveal His purposes for our lives. It is worth investigating. It is worth knowing because it is in understanding that purpose and in living out that purpose that we find contentment, joy, satisfaction and a sense of significance. If you are searching for your significance in this life, begin your search with a full-out pursuit of knowing God. He wants to reveal your destiny to you.
Young people, perhaps we have done you a dis-service as parents. Perhaps we have passed on some faulty information to you.Allow me to share: I grew up in the generation where we were told, “If you can dream it then you can do it.” Um, not really. How many of you adults dreamed of being a rock star when you were ten? How many of you have had a number one best-selling album? How many Miss America’s are present here with us today? I didn’t think so!
We were also told, “You can be anything you want to be.” No, you can’t. I have said it before and will say it again, “I will never be an Olympic gymnast.” Now, I know that at 48 you can understand why that is a true statement, but listen, even if I was 30 years younger and 60 pounds lighter, I would never be an Olympic gymnast. Even if I had dreamed about it every day since I was two, and even if I hadtried to seriously train for it, I would never be an Olympic gymnast. I know short girls seem to make for good gymnasts, but I am a short girl with short arms! I would never make it around those parallel bars without kicking myself in the head and knocking myself out and the last time I checked, you had to be conscious to be an Olympic gymnast. So, no, you can’t be everything you want to be, but you CAN BE everything God wants you to be!
You have a God-given destiny, something God has wired you to do, something God believes you can do, and something God will help you figure out and accomplish if you will pursue Him. Did you ever notice that every facet of this human experience is designed by God to lead us back to Him? He is pretty brilliant. Because He wants a relationship with us, He creates opportunity after opportunity after opportunity for us to interact with Him and finding out our destiny is just one of those opportunities!
- You are to have dominion. Dominion means “authority, power, and command.”
You are not a peon. You are not insignificant. You are not small. You are not inconsequential. You are to occupy a place of prominence in this life. You are to make a mark in some way. You are a person of influence and power-not in and through yourself, but in Christ’s authority and power that He wants to share with you. Quit selling yourself short.
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.
Jeremiah had been selling himself short. He had been talking negatively about himself. He had been putting himself down and been self-destructive regarding his potential. God corrected him. He told him in verse 7 to stop speaking as if he couldn’t accomplish anything. He told Jeremiah in verse 8 not to be afraid of having dominion. Listen, negative self-talk isn’t going to do anything but talk you out of having the dominion God intends for your life. God told Jeremiah to stop it. God is telling us to stop it.
Telling ourselves we are fat, stupid, ugly, damaged, a loser, unloved, or whatever other destructive labels we are wearing, will undermine our ability to have dominion, and quite frankly they are a slap in the face to God as our Creator. Don’t take my word for it. Get into the Word of God and read what He has to say about you.You are not a lost cause. You are not a disaster. Stop saying so. Turn to your neighbor and tell them to stop it!
God told Jeremiah to stop saying he was only a child and would never be able to have dominion. He told him not to be afraid of his God-given destiny to exercise dominion.
Besides, our destiny and dominion aren’t dependent on our abilities. What did Jeremiah say at the end of verse 9? “I have put my words in your mouth.” Jeremiah didn’t even need the words to accomplish God’s plans. God would give them to him. God will give us what we need to occupy the place and execute the role He has designed for us.
We read about Jeremiah’s dominion in verse 10: See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
There was some stuff that Jeremiah was supposed to help eradicate from the life of Israel. There was some stuff he was supposed to address and completely destroy in and through his persuasive words. There was some stuff he was also supposed to plant in their thinking, to plant in their hearts. He was also supposed to encourage them with some news ideas, some new ways of thinking, some new ways of living. Sometimes something has to be torn down before the right thing can be built in its place. This was the mission of Jeremiah, and what an important mission it was!
I don’t know what dominion God created you to exercise, but I know it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. The enemy of God is our enemy. He is destroying our young people. He is leading people down dark alleys and is taking their lives by assassinating their worth and value. Listen, you don’t need self-esteem because your assessment of yourself is way too low. You need God-esteem. You need to see your life, your value, and your worth from God’s perspective. You need to embrace your distinguished label. You need to pursue your God-given destiny, and you need to exercise dominion.
I guess what I am trying to say is: You have a decision to make.
Do you want the made for more life for which you have been distinguished? You can have it. It is yours in Christ Jesus. Today you can walk away from negative self-talk and self-destructive behaviors, and students I don’t have to spell out for you what I mean. You can get out of abusive relationships. You can make good decisions. You haven’t ruined your life. You aren’t in too deep. It isn’t too late. You can get help for your addiction, your sexual confusion, and the pain that has entered your life because you have been the victim of other people’s heartless and cowardly comments, accusations and power plays. You can stop devaluing yourself through sexting and you can quit trying to make yourself feel better through cyber bullying. You can hear what God is saying and choose to trust Him. You can find your significance in Him!
You were made for great things. Big things. You were made to change the world in some way. This morning, will you embrace the more for which God created you?
Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do what God has gifted you to do. Don’t let someone try to push you from your place of dominion. Don’t allow someone to destroy your God-given destiny.