Standing firm in faith - Ezekiel 9-15
Marked by grace to fulfill God’s plans
- God’s judgment always begins at the house of God, and the servants of God
Ezekiel 9:3-7 “Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.” To the others, He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark, and begin at My sanctuary.” they began with the elders who were before the temple. Then He said to them, “Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city.”
Ezekiel 9:9 “Then He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see!”
- A religion without godly justice
- Man-centered, humanistic religion
- Focusing on the seen instead of the unseen
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)
- A religion without mercy
- Distrust or offenses towards God
- God is separating the sheep from goats by making them
Jeremiah also prophesized over the people of God, reminding them of God’s promises
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 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 in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Returning to God (repenting) is the key to restoration
Ezekiel 11:17-21 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.”
Throughout the Bible, God reveals His plan of redemption through a series of covenants. After the extended story of the fall and ruin of humanity in Genesis 1-11, the story of the covenants begins.
Covenants are the results of restored relationships.
- The Abrahamic Covenant promised to Abraham and his descendants a land, a nation, and a blessing to extend to all nations. (Genesis 12:1-3)
- The Mosaic or Sinai Covenant gave Israel the law, the sacrifices, and the choice of blessing or curse (Exodus 19)
- 1st Pentecost – Stone tablets (stony heart)
- 2nd Pentecost – Outpouring of the Spirit (new heart)
- The Davidic Covenant that promised an everlasting dynasty, a perfect ruler, and the Promised Messiah (2 Samuel 7)
Offering means sacrifice. Sacrifice is a manifestation of Love.
From Chapter 12 to 13, we see the warning of God to His people – through Ezekiel, God speaks his judgment against Israel and Jerusalem that the wicked false prophets profaned God for their own gain.
- God wants to expose their wickedness and set the captives free.
- Prosperity gospel is not the good news John the Baptist, Jesus or early day church fathers preached.
2 Cor. 11:4-5 “You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. But I don't consider myself inferior in any way to these "super apostles" who teach such things.”
This is the gospel that was preached - Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
- Planting churches locally and globally
- Creating a platform for mission network
- Building ministry training schools
- Establishing a mission hub, an apostolic center in LA
In order for us to get to where we need to get to. I want to challenge you to give!
Did you give faithfully in 2017? If you can’t give your time, your ability or your tithe faithfully to God, how will the Lord trust you with more? We can never out-give God.
We owe the debt of gospel to the world. What are we going to pay it with?
- True giving will make your heart ache. Example: My girls fighting over one toy…
- “Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be your name.”
Being faithful to God and truthful to self – Ezekiel 14-15
“Noah, Daniel and Job could save only themselves by their righteousness”
Noah – Found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6)
- He was righteous, blameless among people and walked with God
- He did everything God commanded him
- Noah was building a huge boat for the coming “rain”. They never saw “rain” before!
Daniel – Going deep into the world but not losing the righteousness
- Building a life on the spiritual disciplines
- Without maintaining the spiritual disciplines, we will be influenced by the world instead of influencing the world.
- We can be savvy in cultures, but also serious in the Word. Live in the world, but not of the world.
Job – Feared God and shunned evil
Job 29:16-25 – Job lived out righteousness and compassion!
- He was a father to the needy, took care of the strangers, a protector of the weak
- He was generous to the poor, a judge to the city, a king to the troops
- He was a comforter to the broken hearted
These 3 men all suffered – mocked, castrated, painful body sore… barring extreme shame.
2 Cor. 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
- The measure of grace in our lives is proportional to the abundance of sufferings.
- The greater the thorn is in your life; the more sufficient grace you’d discover for your affliction.
Despite all the afflictions and sufferings, these 3 men continued to stand firm in their faith, and stay truthful to themselves.
Their commitment to the spiritual discipline, their absolute obedience to God during the server trials and tests becomes the substance to fuel their faith.
The message we preach is the message we live. We can not give what we do not have.
Everything begins with what you focus on
Daniel 2:21 “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”
- Giving wisdom to the wise? Giving knowledge to the understanding??
- When we walk in wisdom, God gives us more. When we walk in righteousness, we will reap more righteousness.
- Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness, they shall be filled. Filled with?
How you are going to live your 2018, will determine the message you are carrying.
Whatever you devote yourself on, you will reap from it.
Standing firm in faith in 2018
- Marked by grace to fulfill God’s plans
- Returning to God (repenting) is the key to restoration
- Offering means sacrifice. Sacrifice is a manifestation of Love
- Being faithful to God and truthful to self
- Everything begins with what you focus on