Ezekiel 11:19-20 19 “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.”
The Five “I Will” Statements from God (summarized):
I will give them the same desire, disposition, and mind (heart)
I will put new life within them (spirit)
I will remove their hardness of heart
I will be their God, and they will be my people
I will judge those who reject me
As I read this verse this morning and used it to direct my prayer for my “ONE”, I was struck by the sheer mercy, power, and reach of our God.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by both our sin and our commission to reach the lost. We know our thoughts, we know our desires, we know our sins. We know that we are not really good at being really good. In fact, it is very difficult—if not impossible—for us to suppress this awareness as we read the Bible. We read that we are supposed to reach others with the gospel, but our problem with sin prompts us to wonder if we are capable or fit to tell others about Jesus—after all, won’t others see our deep depravity and doubt the validity of our message?
Herein lies the rub… we are not the means of salvation or the power of salvation. We are simply the microphone of God to a lost and dying world. You are the means by which God has chosen to announce His work, but you are not the power of salvation! We are a fragrant aroma to the dying, but we are not the healer or physician to the dying—God alone is that! This is what God conveys to us through the book of Ezekiel.
Though we are sinners, God changes our passions and gives us His passion. He takes a multiplicity of desires within us and morphs it into a single growing desire for Him. He gives us new life by giving us a new spirit—HE causes us to be born again to a living hope (1st Peter 1:3). He breaks our hard hearts down with a message of hope, joy, peace, and promise of blessing. He shepherds us with compassion and scoops us up in His arms so that we become His people. However, He also judges those who reject His compassion and mercy.
Think of it like this, God knows your sin and proclivity to sin, yet calls you to Himself as a sinner and declares that HE will transform you! We don’t transform ourselves. Others do not transform us. Systems, programs, and methods do not transform us. GOD TRANSFORMS US!
Why say all this?
As we spend this year engaging others with the gospel, an immense temptation exists in us to refuse proclaiming the gospel because of our awareness of personal sin. The truth is God knows this and works in us to reconcile this! Our job is to hear, believe, trust, and obey. It is God that makes us fit to serve. It is God that makes us righteous. It is God that empowers us. It is God that loves us so we can love Him. It is God that should be at the center of our vision—not our own navels! We are sinners and we will sin until the day we die; however, God knows this and commands us anyways to go to the lost. Refusing to obey God because we are aware of our sin does not make us less of a sinner, it makes us worse of a sinner!
The message the world needs to hear is that Jesus saves sinners—of which I am one!
With this gospel in view… PRAY FOR YOUR “ONE” AND ASK THE LORD TO DO THE WORK THAT ONLY HE CAN DO WITHIN THEM—AND ASK HIM TO USE YOU IN THE PROCESS! I love you and look forward to worshiping with you this Wednesday at 7pm!
In Christ, Pastor Darin