Ezekiel — Lesson 10

Ezekiel 15 & 16

1. Chapter 15: The Useless Vine

A. Introduction to Chapter 15

1. Today's lesson covers the shortest chapter in Ezekiel (Chapter 15 with 8 verses) and the longest chapter in Ezekiel (Chapter 16 with 63 verses).

2. Chapter 15 contains a short parable about a useless vine, and we can infer from this parable that the people still doubted Ezekiel's message about Jerusalem's doom.

a) They were God's chosen people -- his choice vine. How could He destroy them as Ezekiel was prophesying?

b) They had been through two invasions and deportations already, yet they had not been destroyed. Jerusalem was indestructible. Right?

B. The Parable of the Vine (15:1-5)

1. God answers the people with the parable in verses 1-5.

2. God tells them that they are a vine and, as they all knew, the only thing a vine is good for is to produce fruit.

a) Its wood is too weak to make anything useful. It can't even be turned into a peg to hang things on.

b) And after it has been burned, it is really useless! If it wasn't worth anything whole, how much less is it worth when it has been charred by fire?

C. The Parable Applied to Jerusalem (15:6-8)

1. Verses 6-8 give us the explanation of the parable.

a) The vine represents the people of Jerusalem.

(1) This was a common symbol for Israel in the Bible. See Genesis 49:22; Psalm 80; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1.

(2) Usually the focus of the symbol is the fruit, yet Ezekiel ignores the fruit here -- suggesting there is no question of Israel producing anything good. Instead Ezekiel pictures a wild vine that, if it supplied anything, would supply its wood.

b) Although not producing fruit now, Jerusalem had always been intended by God to be fruitful.

(1) Jerusalem was never like other nations in strength and military power (i.e., the trees) except when it was trusting in the Lord and bearing fruit.

(2) God had chosen Israel to bring forth fruit and to be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:1-3), yet Israel had never been very fruitful in that respect. Now, Israel had stopped producing any fruit at all.

c) Jerusalem was not just a vine, but she was a charred vine.

(1) The better translation of verse 7 is "they have gone forth from the fire" rather than "they shall go forth from the fire." Jerusalem had already experienced the fire of God's judgment with the Babylonian invasions and deportations of 605 BC and 597 BC.

(2) The people may have thought this was a good sign -- Jerusalem had been burned but not consumed. Yet, her value was entirely gone. She was fit only as fuel for fire -- which would be her fate when the Babylonians returned in 586 BC and burned the city to the ground.

(3) She could not even serve as a tent peg. The Hebrew word used here for "peg" is used elsewhere to describe people who are dependable. Israel was neither useful nor dependable.

(4) Jerusalem was a branch among trees. Without God, she was the most insignificant of cities and Judah was an insignificant nation.

d) And why the fiery judgment?

(1) Yet again the Lord tells Jerusalem the reason for her fate -- she had been unfaithful to Him and to the covenant that He had made with her.

(2) Chapter 16 will paint a vivid picture of Jerusalem's faithlessness.

2. Chapter 16: The Unwanted Child

A. Introduction to Chapter 16

1. Not only is chapter 16 the longest chapter in Ezekiel, one commentator claims it is the longest prophecy in the Bible. It is certainly the longest allegory in the Bible. This single chapter is longer than Jonah, Nahum, Haggai, or Obadiah.

2. How can we describe this chapter? "It is tender and brutal. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking. It is beautiful and pornographic. It is frightening and hopeful."

3. "Basically what we get here is a peek into God's heart. ... What we get here is not history as it happened so much [like we get in 1 and 2 Kings] but history as it felt to God. These are not just the facts but the divine emotions."

4. Is God ever disappointed in his children? Does he ever feel rejected? Chapter 16 will answer those questions.

B. Summary of Chapter 16

1. The Birth (16:1-5)

a) Verses 1-5 describe the birth of Jerusalem and picture it as the birth of an unwanted child -- a child of mixed parentage that was left out in a field to die.

2. The Marriage (16:6-14)

a) Verses 6-14 describe the Lord's courtship and marriage to Jerusalem. He cleans up the child and cares for the child. After she has matured, he enters into a marriage covenant with her and adorns her with gold and silver.

3. The Rejection (16:15-22)

a) Verses 15-22 tell us that the Lord's new wife does not trust in the Lord, but trusts instead in her own beauty. She makes idols of the jewelry she has been given and then offers the Lord's food to those idols. She even offers her own children to the false gods -- forgetting that she herself had once been an unwanted child.

4. Prostitution and Worse (16:23-34)

a) Verses 23-34 tells us how the Lord's wife first becomes a prostitute and then worse than a prostitute. She engages in prostitution with all of her neighbors, and her conduct is so bad that even the Philistines are shocked! Eventually she becomes worse than a prostitute -- because she pays her customers! "How weak-willed you are," the Lord tells her in verse 30.

5. The Judgment (16:35-43)

a) Verses 35-43 describe the judgment of the adulterous wife. The Lord uses her former customers as instruments to discipline her. She receives the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed innocent blood -- because she had done both of those things. The Lord tells her that he will put a stop to her prostitution.

6. Like Mother, Like Daughter (16:44-59)

a) Verses 44-59 tells us the depth of the perversion into which the Lord's wife had descended. We find that she is one of three sisters -- all of whom, like their mother, are perverse. Although all three sisters are known for their wickedness, the one that the Lord found and married is the worst -- making the other two appear righteous by comparison. God had judged the other two sisters -- how could he not also judge the third?

7. The Covenant Remembered (16:60-63)

a) His wife had been faithless to him. She had become a prostitute and then worse than a prostitute. She had offered her own children to false gods. Yet the Lord remembers the covenant he made with her. His wife would be restored, her sins atoned for, and she would be ashamed of her former conduct.

b) Let's now consider this chapter in detail.

C. The Birth (16:1-5)

1. The exiles were no doubt unconvinced by the parable of the vine. Certainly Israel had made some mistakes, but they weren't as bad as all that. After all, Israel was chosen by God.

2. God thus tells Ezekiel to confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices. Ezekiel would show the people just how corrupt they really were.

3. Verse 2 is important in interpreting this chapter -- it emphasizes that God is dealing with Jerusalem and its history rather than the history of the nation as a whole.

4. Jerusalem was conceived by the Amorites and the Hittites in the land of Canaan.

a) The city was not founded by the Hebrews, but by the heathen people of Canaan.

b) The land of Canaan in the Bible is also known as the land of the Amorites and the land of the Hittites, especially when the discussion involves the hill country of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. (See Joshua 1:4 and Amos 2:10.)

c) Some commentators see this reference to mixed parentage as a message to the people that their actions repudiated any relationship they had with faithful Abraham. (John 8:39, 44). They "spiritually" were descendants of the Hittites and the Amorites.

d) Remember the wives of Esau in Genesis 26:34-35 that "were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah"? They were Hittites.

5. Jerusalem began life as an unwanted child.

a) Joshua 15:63 tells us that the people of Israel failed to conquer the city of Jerusalem under Joshua. The city was uncared for by the people throughout the period of the Judges.

b) It was a widespread custom in the ancient Near East to eliminate unwanted children (especially girls) by exposing them -- and this is how Jerusalem is pictured here.

D. The Marriage (16:6-14)

1. The Lord saw Jerusalem in its despised condition, and He sent King David to rescue the city from the Jebusites. (2 Samuel 5:6-10)

2. He looked at the city and said "Live!" The city received blessings and riches from the Lord. It grew in population and matured as a city.

3. The Lord visited the city and claimed her in marriage by spreading his garment over her. (Compare Ruth 3:9).

a) The Lord entered into a marriage covenant with the Jerusalem as described in Psalm 132:13-17. She became the Lord's city, where he dwelt when David brought the ark there and purchased land on which to build the temple.

(1) Hosea also described the relationship between the Lord and his people as a marriage, and he drew on the experiences of his own wife's unfaithfulness to demonstrate Israel's spiritual adultery.

(2) God is married to his people even today. Paul describes the relationship between Christ and his church as a marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.

b) God lavished marriage gifts on the city (Psalm 45:13-15) and she became the royal city under King David and King Solomon.

c) Her fame and beauty became renowned throughout the land. She was called "The perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth." (Lamentations 2:15)

E. The Rejection (16:15-22)

1. God had warned Israel not to forget Him when they obtained all the blessings that had been promised for them. (Deut. 6:10-12). That warning was not heeded.

2. As soon as the Lord crowned the city with beauty and fame, she began to trust in that beauty rather than in the God who had given it.

a) She used her beauty (verse 15), her garments (verses 16, 18), her jewelry (verse 17), and her food (verse 19) in turning away from the Lord.

b) She fell in love with the blessings of God and forgot the God who had blessed her.

3. She began to commit spiritual adultery with every nation that surrounded her.

a) Solomon started this spiritual adultery by making treaties with the surrounding nations. It was customary to seal a treaty with marriage. Solomon's many wives attested to his reliance on treaties rather than on God. These foreign wives brought their foreign gods into the Lord's city.

b) Once she turned her eyes away from her husband, it was no surprise that she soon found herself far along on the path of corruption. These verses describe in graphic detail the pagan rituals that were brought into and practiced in the city.

c) She entered into every kind of religious abomination -- even offering her own children to the pagan deity Molech. (Jer. 32:35, Lev. 18:21).

(1) Ahaz and Manasseh were both guilty of this horrible practice.

d) The vivid graphical language in this chapter has been greatly softened by our English translations. Ezekiel left no doubt (at least in the minds of his Hebrew readers) about the depth of the city's perversion. Jewish tradition reserved this chapter for study by only the most mature students.

4. She forget what God had done for her when she had nothing and deserved nothing. She forgot that He had rescued her and elevated her to royalty and beauty.

a) People sometimes have very short memories! Suddenly this unwanted child was a self-made person who had no need of God.

b) The situation looks very bad now, but it soon becomes much worse!

F. Prostitution and Worse (16:23-34)

1. Jerusalem did not just practice these abominations, but she became what one commentator described as a "militant advocate" of the heathen practices.

a) She established the pagan high places in every street. She did not wait for the abominations to come to her -- she went out and sought them like a prostitute seeking customers.

(1) These high places would have been used for the fertility rites that were practiced as part of the Canaanite religions. The city's prostitution was both figurative and literal.

b) (Jeremiah 3:2) "Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; And you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness."

c) Just how bad was Jerusalem? Verse 27 tells us that the Philistines were embarrassed by her behavior!

(1) (Jeremiah 6:15) Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush.

2. Jerusalem also began to play the harlot with Egypt.

a) Egypt had lusted after Israel throughout the period of the United Kingdom.

b) Later kings prostituted themselves with Egypt while prophets like Hosea and Isaiah condemned their spiritual and political adultery. (2 Kings 18:21).

c) From Josiah's time the Jews were in strict confederacy with Egypt, and, to ingratiate themselves, they practiced the Egyptian idolatries. They were allured by the riches and grandeur of Egypt.

d) The very people to whom Ezekiel was speaking hoped that Egypt would come to their rescue against the Babylonians! In the very next chapter, Ezekiel will describe an appeal to Egypt made by the puppet prince Zedekiah.

3. Jerusalem also sought "relations" with Assyria and Babylon.

a) Ahaz sought relations with Assyria (2 Kings 15:19-20) and Hezekiah sought relations with Babylon (2 Kings 20:12-19).

b) These alliances generally were accompanied by demands that the weaker party (always Judah!) worship the gods of the stronger party as an acceptance of its patronage.

c) The combination of religion with politics is not unique to our present day!

d) Jerusalem's "customers" took advantage of the city, but were at the same time disgusted and ashamed for it. Jerusalem found no satisfaction, but craved insatiably for more.

4. Jerusalem did not wait for these nations to come to her. Instead she sough them out and bribed or paid them to enter into a relationship.

a) Hosea 8:9 (For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers.)

b) As one commentator notes, a prostitute may have the excuse of stark necessity, but Jerusalem had no excuse. She "scorned hire" and instead paid those that took their pleasure of her.

c) Not only was Jerusalem a faithless wife, but she was a disgrace to prostitutes!

d) The Jews went around borrowing religious rites and idols from their neighbors -- but no one came to Jerusalem to borrow hers.

5. Listen to God's great disappointment in verse 30 -- "How weak is thy heart!"

a) Moving ahead 2500 years, how does God feel when he looks down at his wife today? When he looks at the church, does he see the beautiful bride of Christ adorned with truth and purity --- or does he say "How weak is thy heart!"

b) Does he see the loveless church in Revelation in 2:1-7?

c) Does he see the compromising church in Revelation 2:12-17 that permitted false doctrines to be taught?

d) Does he see the corrupt church in Revelation 2:18-29 that tolerated sexual immorality?

e) Does he see the dead church in Revelation 3:1-6?

f) Does he see the lukewarm church in Revelation 3:14-22 that was neither hot nor cold?

g) How terrible to be a disappointment to God!

G. The Judgment (16:35-43)

1. Jerusalem had engaged in obscene, spiritual adultery with the surrounding nations, and God would use those same nations to judge her.

2. Those nations that she had loved and the others that she had hated would all strip her bare of all the riches and blessings that God had given her, and the surrounding nations would then see the barrenness and nakedness of the city without God's blessings.

a) Babylon destroyed the city, but Ezekiel 25 will tell us that the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Edomites, and the Philistines all played a part in its destruction.

3. The city would face the prescribed penalty for adultery and murder -- death by stoning. Then she would be hacked to pieces.

4. Her houses would be burned and her punishment would be a public one.

5. Jerusalem's idolatrous abominations came to an end in 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar finally had enough and destroyed the city.

6. The city was destroyed, but a remnant was taken to Babylon. God's anger subsided and he sought out the remnant.

a) "Anger is an essential element of divine love. God's love is inseparably connected with His holiness and His justice. He must therefore manifest anger when confronted with sin and evil."

H. Like Mother, Like Daughter (16:44-59)

1. The figure changes slightly here to make a comparison of Jerusalem, Sodom, and Samaria -- the three sisters.

2. All three were the daughter of their Hittite mother and their Amorite father.

3. A common proverb applied to all three sisters -- Like mother, like daughter!

a) All three had inherited the false perverted religious practices of their mother, the Hittites.

4. All three were bad, but Jerusalem was far and away the worst.

a) God tells Jerusalem that Sodom never did what she had done, and Samaria (the wicked capital of the northern kingdom) had not committed half the sins that Jerusalem had done.

b) (Jeremiah 23:14) "Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They commit adultery and walk in lies; They also strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah."

5. Verses 49-50 tell us about the sin of Sodom.

a) What was the sin of Sodom? She had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. She was haughty and she committed abomination.

(1) Are those the sins that we generally think of when we think of Sodom? God lists "abomination" last -- which is generally the only one that we think of.

(2) But there was more to the sin of Sodom than sexual abomination. There was pride, there was fullness of bread, and their was abundance of idleness. Also, there was a lack of concern for the poor and needy and there was haughtiness.

(3) "The sin of Sodom as described here, very different from the traditional interpretation, has much to say to the affluent Western world of today."

(4) One 1849 commentary I read said: "Such is the depravity of human nature, that plenty, and a freedom from toil and danger, often prove people's ruin; and therefore if we were truly wise, we should be as much afraid of prosperity as we are of any of those supported evils which are the frequent objects of our fears."

(5) Paul said in Philippians 4:12 that he knew how to be abased and how to abound.

b) What then was the chief sin of Sodom? The one listed first here is pride.

(1) God hates a proud look. (Proverbs 6:17)

(2) (Peter Kreeft) "Nothing distinguishes Christian morality from pagan morality more sharply than their opposite attitudes toward pride."

(3) Pride puts self before God. It is essentially a lust for power. The deepest reason Gods hates pride is that it keeps us from knowing Him.

(4) (1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world.

(5) (Proverbs 16:18) Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

c) So what did God do with Sodom? He took her away as he saw fit!

d) And what about Jerusalem? She was worse than Sodom!

(1) If God failed to punish Jerusalem then He would owe Sodom an apology!

(2) And what about Samaria? God had sent Samaria off into Assyrian exile, and Samaria had not done half of what Jerusalem had done.

(3) Jerusalem was so self-righteous, yet God tells her that she is instead so evil that she makes Sodom and Samaria appear righteous by comparison! (verse 52)

e) Just as haughty Jerusalem had abhorred Sodom and made its name a byword for corruption (verse 56) [a byword that remains to this very day!], so Jerusalem would become a byword to Edom and the Philistines (verse 57). Imagine becoming a byword for corruption to the Philistines!

6. Verses 53-59 have always been troubling for the premillennialists.

a) If all of scripture is to be taken literally, then Sodom will someday be restored to its former position. Also, the northern kingdom will be brought back as an independent kingdom.

b) But what about Jude 7? (as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.)

c) And what about Ezekiel 37:22? (and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.)

I. The Covenant Remembered (16:60-63)

1. Verse 60 begins with "Nevertheless" -- a beautiful word!

a) Who would have thought that the first 59 verses of chapter 16 would be followed with a "Nevertheless"?

b) We are all familiar with Isaiah 55:8. ("For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.") We may be less familiar with its context. God is speaking there of his willingness to forgive!

2. Jerusalem was being disciplined under the Mosaic covenant.

a) The Israelites had entered into the Mosaic covenant with an oath. (Exodus 24:7-8, Deut. 29:10-21).

b) The curses for breaking that covenant had also been agreed to. (Lev. 26:14-39; Deut. 28:14-68).

c) Judah, represented by her capital Jerusalem, had broken that covenant exactly as described in Deut. 29.

(1) We are all familiar with Deut. 29:29 ("The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.") but we may not be as familiar with its context.

(2) Deut. 29:22-28 describes what would happen if the people turned their backs on the covenant and served other gods. God told them the land of milk and honey would become a land of salt and sulfur.

(3) The people no doubt wondered if this would ever come to pass. God told them that those secret things belonged to him. What was revealed (the law) belonged to the people so that they could avoid the curses it contained.

3. Yet when the judgment is complete, God will remember the covenant he had made with Abraham -- that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Genesis 12:3).

a) Jerusalem would be reestablished and once again be given preeminence. Her former evil sisters would be given to her as daughters.

(1) Just as God had promised, he would bring blessings to all families of the earth through Abraham -- and those blessings would even be available to the likes of Sodom and Samaria!

(2) Those blessings would not come from the old covenant ("my covenant with you" in verses 60 and 61), but from the new everlasting covenant in verse 60.

b) God himself would make atonement for her and restore her. After all that had happened, God would accept her back. There would be a new Jerusalem!

(1) Verse 63 tells us that God himself would make the atonement. Generally in the Old Testament it was the people who did the atoning, but here God looks ahead to the day when his Son would come into this world to make the perfect atonement.

c) (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- 32“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. 33“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. 34“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."

3. Lessons for Today

A. The Church exists to bring forth fruit unto God.

1. (Ephesians 2:10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

2. When we cease bearing fruit, we become a useless vine.

3. John 15 and Ezekiel 15 should be read together.

4. (John 15:5) "I am the vine; ye are the branches."

B. We must always guard against the sin of ingratitude.

1. According to a French proverb, ingratitude is the mother of every vice.

2. We should be the most grateful of all people. (Ephesians 1:3) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."

a) "There was no beauty in us by nature, but everything to cause abhorrence to the Holy God. And if we are washed and clothed, decked with gold and silver, arrayed in fine linen, silk, and broidered work, eating fine flour, and honey and oil, exceedingly beautiful and arrayed in royal estate, it is all of grace -- of the exceeding and eternal grace of God. There is nothing of it at all in which we can boast ourselves." (F. B. Meyer)

3. Luke 17:11-19 is an example of man's ingratitude to God. Ten lepers were cleansed -- yet only one came back to glorify God, and he was a Samaritan.

4. As King Lear said, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!"

5. (Psalm 103:2) "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

C. God is faithful even if his children are faithless.

1. (2 Timothy 2:13) If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

2. God remembered his promise to Abraham despite the faithlessness of Jerusalem.

3. God's promises may be conditional, but his faithfulness is not.

D. God is Love in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

1. The same father who ran down the road to meet the prodigal son is the God who said "Nevertheless" in verse 60 and accepted back his faithless wife.

E. God loves the New Jerusalem (the church) just as he loved the old Jerusalem.

1. (Hebrews 12:22-24) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)