KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
What do you say to people who refuse to listen?
Jerry A Collins
¨ How is a person rebellious toward God?
¨ How do we serve a person rebelling against God?
¨ What roll does Gods Word have when confronting rebellion?
God does not tolerate the attitude of rebellion. Because we are all sinners we find ourselves frequently having to confess our wrongs to God. That is different from ignoring Gods commands or refusing to recognize their authority over our lives. It is the attitude that reasons it was a bad command or it is an unreasonable expectation. You should have allowed me to modify it in light of my current circumstances (1 Sam 15:23). It is not a safe place to be because it invites the judgment of God into your life. Ezekiel had a ministry because of Israel’s rebellion against God. 93 times in Ezekiel he is described by God as Son of man 2:1. Stressing his humanity and emphasizing his dependency on the Lord for instruction. In the OT the HS did not indwell all believers but select persons temporarily for divine enablement in service to God 2:2. There are at least 12 things that constitute the assignment God gave to Ezekiel.
1. WE ARE CALLED TO SERVE GOD ACCORDING TO HIS WORD
The apostles were ‘sent ones’. The angels are ‘messengers’. No servant of God serves on his own to do what he thinks is right or what the people think is right but what God has commanded by His Word. 2 Cor 5:20 We are ambassadors for Christ... It is His message we represent. (Conversation with John in Jamaica witnessing of need of Christ for salvation).
2. REBELLION AGAINST GODS WRITTEN WORD RESULTS IN CONFLICT WITH GOD 2:3 In this case it is the written Law of Moses. Sin is something we do against God. They had a conflict with God and so did their forefathers. World defines conflicts horizontally between ourselves and others. Godly people see all conflicts not with the other person but between their own sin nature and the will of God (Joseph, David, Daniel, Paul). If I hate someone I have a conflict with God. If person hates me he has a conflict. If I do not hate him only he has the conflict and it is with God. All conflict in our lives must motivate us to eliminate any conflict we have with God that a conflict exposes. Now, the best good is defined not by what either of us want but what God says is the best good in His Word. Failing to do so is rebellion.
3. NOT ONLY ARE THEY SINNERS THEY ALSO REFUSE TO REPENT OF THEIR SIN 2:4 They are described as stubborn and obstinate. There is a major difference between I am a homosexual & I know it is an abomination before God & I am trying to change vs we’re here, we’re queer get used to it as stated on placards at a college march in MI a few years ago. It does not matter where you are in your walk with God, you never grow out of the need to repent. As long as you sin you need to repent. Change mind about your sin by agreeing with God about it, then change your life 4. TELL THEM NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE LISTENING BUT BECAUSE GOD IS SPEAKING 2:5, 7 Our responsibility is to declare the truth. Whether they respond is their own responsibility. God has something to say and we need to say that. Just because people refuse to listen to it is not justification for not teaching it! The Word of God is valuable not because or when people keep it but because its Gods Word.
5. FEARING HOW PEOPLE RESPOND TO GODS WORD CAN TEMPT US TO AVOID PROCLAIMING IT 2:6 We always fear in the direction of our hope and you can easily determine the object of your hope by what you fear. We live in an environment that constantly threatens our hope whatever the object of our hope may be. Fear in this life can only be eliminated by fearing God. Otherwise you will fear people and your circumstances. When you hope in God rather than the world the worldly fear most people experience dissipates. If your hope that people will like you, accept you, then you will avoid telling them what God says. If you fear God and the Bible never tells us to fear not God, then your hope is only in what it is God wants you to say or do. 6. PERSONALLY CONSUME GODS WORD MAKING IT PART OF YOU 2:8 While Israel had chafed under the bit of Gods Word and rebelled, Ezekiel was to open his mouth and receive and respond to Gods Word. We please God not by what we know but by what we apply. Application comes from the desire to get as close to the heart of God as possible rather than determining how much we can get away with. The key is the reception we give to Gods Word in our lives. God did not give us His Word to make us smarter sinners but rather holy saints.
7. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR PEOPLE TO NOT UNDERSTAND GODS WORD 3:4-6 These are fully capable of understanding a logical, reasonable verbal message spoken in their language. There is not even the need for translations or explanations. So there is no excuse for them not to get it. We have propositional truth that can be examined from God. People will refuse to understand because they refuse to listen. Why important to get Bible in foreign languages.
8. DONT THINK THAT BECAUSE YOUR MESSAGE IS TRUE THEY WILL LISTEN TO YOU 3:7 The gospel and knowledge of God is a sweet smell but to some it stinks 2 Cor 2:14-15. A big problem with our righteous leaders is they fear for their job security and since you always fear in the direction of your hope, the truth is compromised because people we minister too will not listen to the truth.
9. YOU NEED TO BE AS STUBBORN ABOUT THE TRUTH AS THEY ARE ABOUT THEIR SIN 3:8-9 God promised to make Ezekiel as unyielding and hardened as they were. Ezekiels defiance and determination would not waver with opposition to Gods message. We must not buckle under weight of expectations or appropriateness. 10. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO GOD FOR WARNING ABOUT CONSEQUENCES OF SIN 3:17 It is only appropriate for God to execute judgment in form of punishment, pay back or an eye for an eye. We are to discipline in the sense of discerning when and how a person needs to get back on the path of conforming to the character of God in his/her life of those within our care or sphere of influence. We d that by warning of consequences associated with their sin like a watchman who warns of impending judgment. 4 cases are presented here; (1) The unwarned sinner means both the sinner and watchman are judged by God vs 18. (2) The warned sinner and only the sinner is judged by God 19. (3) The unwarned righteous who has become a sinner both are judged 20. (4) The warned righteous and neither are judged by God 21. (LESSONS) A. Sin is sin whether or not the sinner knows about it being sin. B. Its a sin to not warn sinners that they are sinning. C. Its a sin not to warn the righteous of possible future sin. D. Its a righteous act to warn righteous people not to sin and for them to keep from sin. 11. DONT GO OUT AND CRITICIZE THEM WITH YOUR OWN OPINION OF THEIR EVIL JUST GIVE THEM GODS WORD 3:26 Dont condemn people for watching movies, not wearing certain dress in church etc., just teach the Word 1 Cor 6:9-10. Ezekiel had restriction son his public ministry and ours is restricted to Gods Word not opinions.
12. DONT TRY TO TALK THEM INTO IT OR MAKE IT SOUND EASIER OR CHANGE THE CONTENT OR SOFTEN THE DEMANDS 3:27 Dont manipulate to get a response. Dont compromise for one either. Jesus said He who has ears to hear, let him hear. They are responsible.