Warnings & Hope

Here are the sermon notes from 2/17/13.

I.  Hope for the Wicked: Ezekiel 18:19-23

Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

There is hope for the wicked.  People have the opportunity to repent, to turn away from sin and choose to do what is right.  We know from the New Testament that we are saved by grace, through faith, not by works.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)  We also know from James that “faith without works is dead”.  (James 2:17-18)  What needs to take place is that people turn away from evil, and towards God.  Faith precedes works, but works do follow genuine faith.  God continues to call to the wicked, and if they turn to Him they can be saved.

II.  Warning to the Righteous:  Ezekiel 18:24-26

“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.

It is important to continue in the way of righteousness.  We cannot count on an experience of the past.  Whether we are counting on a conversion experience, baptism, confirmation,  or church membership; if our faith is not current, then we are in trouble.  We are called to continue to walk in faith, obedience, and a living relationship with Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

III.  A New Heart:  Ezekiel 18:31-32

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

The concept of a new heart is not unique to the New Testament.  Although in the New Testament we use phrases like “born again” and ” a new creation”  these concepts have been a part of God’s relationship with humanity since the beginning.  It is God’s desire to bring us life, not death: forgiveness, not judgement.  “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”  (Romans 6:23)

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