Pastor James J. Barker

Text: JEREMIAH 20:1-9


1.     We are told in Jeremiah 20:1 & 2 that Pashur, the son of Immer the priest, opposed the preaching of the prophet Jeremiah.   In fact, Pashur actually smote Jeremiah and put him in stocks (20:2).

2.     It is a fact that the fiercest persecution usually comes from the religious crowd.  It was the religious crowd that persecuted our Lord and had Him crucified.  It was the religious crowd that persecuted the apostles.  And it has always been this way.

3.     J. Vernon McGee said, “This physical persecution of Jeremiah began in the organized religion of his day.”

4.     “Today the Word of God is being hurt and hindered the most by the organized, liberal church which has rejected the Word of God” (Thru the Bible).

5.     Jeremiah witnessed the devastating consequences of life without God.   He knew what it was like to be rejected and mistreated by those who reject God’s Word (20:7b).

6.     Being beaten and put into stocks was the first of several acts of persecution the leaders inflicted on Jeremiah.  They threatened to kill him.  They falsely accused him of treason.   They threw him into a filthy pit full of muck and mire.

7.     Jeremiah was imprisoned until King Nebuchadnezzar finally let him out (39:11-18).

8.     Jeremiah told Pashur, “The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magor-missabib” (Jer. 20:3).  This name means, “Terror on every side” (Scofield margin; cf. 20:4). 

9.     Jeremiah named the king of Babylon as the enemy that would soon invade Judah (20:4, 5).  Over 100 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had already identified Babylon as the invader (cf. Isa. 39:6).

10. Pashur mistreated Jeremiah, but God judged wicked Pashur and his family (20:6).

11. Jeremiah preached to a people that refused to listen to God’s Word.  Jeremiah was heartbroken over their rebellion.  He is called “the weeping prophet.”  This is the last of his recorded laments (20:7-9).



1.     Jeremiah 20:8 refers to Jeremiah’s message as “the word of the LORD.”  It literally burned in his heart and in his bones (20:9).

2.     Jeremiah cried out in despair that the LORD had deceived (persuaded) him (20:7, 8).   Of course, we know that God did not deceive Jeremiah.  But Jeremiah was in despair.  As Matthew Henry said, “Good men are but men at the best.”

3.     God had promised to deliver Jeremiah out of his sufferings, but He never said He would deliver him from his sufferings.

4.     But Jeremiah was in great anguish.  And he said, “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name” (20:9a).

5.     Jeremiah felt that God had overpowered him, and that God had given him a message that was overwhelmingly negative and offensive, and that it brought him nothing but heartache.

6.     This is the great theme of the book of Jeremiah (cf. Jer. 6:10-16).

7.     Jeremiah had a fire in his bones.  His message was a message from God.  It was a message that men did not want to hear.  It was a message of doom and judgment.  But he could not hold it in (6:11).

8.     Jeremiah was by nature a tenderhearted and sensitive man.  He bewailed the fact that God’s message resulted only in constant reproach and derision (20:8).

9.     There is a form of Christianity today that is foreign to the Word of God.  Preachers today do not want to be scorned the way the people scornfully mistreated Jeremiah. They want to be popular with the worldly crowd.  This is one of the reasons why our country is going to the dogs!

10. Jeremiah felt he had to stop preaching (20:9a).  But God’s Word burned in his bones.  God would not let him stop because the Word of God was a burning fire shut up in his bones and so he had to keep preaching (20:9).

11. Let me add this before moving on – Jeremiah was a prophet who preached the whole counsel of God.  It grieved him that his listeners refused to heed God’s Word, but nevertheless Jeremiah delighted in God’s Word.  He said in 15:16, “Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.”



1.     The prophet Jeremiah had to preach.  Harry Ironside said, “A burning fire must have vent, and if the word of God be thus surging up in one’s breast he simply must preach.”

2.     Jeremiah was upset at the idolatry of his people.  We are reminded of the apostle Paul when he entered the great city of Athens.  Acts 17:16 says, Paul’s “spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.”

3.     Then what did Paul do?  He did the same thing Jeremiah did.  He spoke out.  The Bible says, “Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him” (Acts 17:17).

4.     The Word of God burned in Paul’s heart too – “as a burning fire shut up” in his bones.  That is why Paul said, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16).

5.     Paul had this fire in his bones when he told the Galatians, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).

6.     God hates false religion and so did the apostle Paul.  “Let him be accursed” means, “Let him go to hell.”   

7.     God hates sin.  Therefore the prophet Jeremiah hated sin.  The fire in his bones represents Jeremiah’s holy indignation against sin.

8.     In fact, when you read the Bible you notice that all of God’s true servants had this fire in their bones – this holy indignation against sin.   Let us just consider a few examples.

9.     Remember how Moses felt when he came down off the mountain and saw the Israelites all naked and dancing and worshipping the golden calf.

10. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation” (Ex. 32:7-10).

11. Moses interceded for the people and God held back His judgment.  Then Moses came down and heard all that terrible music and he  saw the golden calf, and the dancing, and the Bible says, “Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it” (Ex. 32:19, 20).

12. Moses was the meekest man in the world, but he had a holy indignation against sin.  The Lord Jesus was meek.  He said in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

13. And yet our meek and lowly Saviour “went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves” (Matt. 21:12).

14. He said to those corrupt moneychangers, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13).

15. Think of the prophet Elijah up on Mount Carmel, calling out, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21).

16. Think of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron.  The false prophet Balaam had misled the Israelites.  The Israelite men were committing adultery with the heathen women.

17. Not only were the Israelites committing adultery, they were also committing spiritual idolatry by worshipping the false gods of the Moabites and the Midianites.  Numbers 25:3 says, “and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.”

18. The anger of the LORD was kindled against idolatry and immorality, and it was burning in the bones of godly Phinehas.  Numbers 25:7 tells us that Phinehas took a javelin in his hand;

and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both the man and his Midianite girlfriend through her belly with the javelin.

19. We are living in a very soft and effeminate day and age, when most people would not agree with Phinehas.  But God certainly did.

20. God said in Numbers 25:11, “Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.”

21. Beloved, we need this holy indignation against sin.  We need this burning fire in our bones.  John R. Rice said, “A fire in the bones means a holy indignation against sin, taking God’s part against sin, warning of God’s judgment on sin.”

22. Bro. Dave called me from Pittsburgh last night and told me he is reading a biography of Billy Sunday.  We need more preachers like Billy Sunday.  Billy Sunday had a fire in his bones.  He had a holy indignation against sin. 

23. Billy Sunday said, “I’m against sin.  I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!”

24. The fire in Jeremiah’s bones represented a holy indignation for sin.  Do you have this holy indignation for sin?   Does it bother you that the political leaders of New York State are trying to pass a homosexual marriage bill?

25. Does it concern you that most people here in Elmont do not attend Sunday School or church?

26. Does it break your heart that most of the teenagers in the public school have already lost their virginity?   The National Center for Health Statistics recently came out with a recent report saying 37% of the babies born in America are born out of wedlock. 

27. When you consider all the garbage on television, and all of the rotten rock and hip-hop music, and all the filth coming out of Hollywood, we should not be surprised at the increase in immorality and STD’s and homosexuality and other perversions.

28. Most preachers today will not preach against sin.   There are not too many Jeremiahs around today.  We need men like Jeremiah.



1.     Jeremiah was known as “the weeping prophet.”   He said in Lamentations 3:48, “Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.”

2.     Jeremiah was a man of deep feelings and sensibilities.  He wrote in Jeremiah 9:1, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”

3.     Then Jeremiah went on to say, “Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men” (9:2).

4.     The people were all adulterers and treacherous men,”but the prophet Jeremiah kept preaching to them because he had compassion on them.   It is not insignificant that many people identified the Lord Jesus Christ with the prophet Jeremiah.

5.     In Matthew 16:13, our Lord asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” 

6.     “And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matt. 16:14).

7.     Jeremiah said in Lamentations 2:11, “Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.”

8.     Jeremiah wept as he saw the Chaldean army destroy the city of Jerusalem. For forty years Jeremiah warned Judah of God’s impending judgment for their flagrant disobedience of His commands. However, the many messages of judgment were mixed with the promise of mercy if only they would repent.

9.     Jeremiah warned them of their stubborn unbelief and obstinacy. He warned them of the inevitable calamities, yet he also stressed God’s mercy and compassion.

10. This compassion, and this holy indignation against sin, and this burning desire to preach God’s Word no matter what, were manifestations of the power of God working through the prophet Jeremiah.  It was the Holy Spirit using Jeremiah to preach God’s Word.



1.     Surgeon said, “If God appoints that sin should be punished, we are not to rebel against his righteous ordinance, nor to close our minds to the consideration of divine justice: God's judgments are right, and what is right we must rejoice in. Moreover, by the threatenings of the word many are led to forsake their sin, and thus the warning itself is a means of grace. To tenderhearted Jeremiah I have no doubt it was a trial to say, ‘Your city will be destroyed, and your women and your children will be slain.’ But when he considered that some might be led to repentance he would with tearful vehemence deal out the thunder of the Lord.”

2.     Perhaps there is someone here today who might be led to repentance and saving faith in Christ. 

3.     Invitation: Christians need the fire.  Lost need the Lord.

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