INTRO: I have a great love of the books of the major prophets. Each of the four books bearing a prophets name and imprint is different from the others. And Ezekiel is most assuredly different from Isaiah, Jeremiah or Daniel. It is filled with drama, vivid word pictures, symbols. Not a few of the word pictures find their way into the book of Revelation revealed so many years later. Although Ezekiel lived among the people, he was a truly solitary figure. Little about the information we have of him would suggest he lived a normal life in a normal setting. My guess is that this is not a book of the Old Testament which is studied often; it is not easy to study. While I am guessing, I would guess that the best known statement from this book is the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezek 18:20).
A. Ezekiel, the man
1. he was a priest of Israel (1:3)
2. he had apparently been taken from Judea into Babylonian exile (1:1) - his transportation occurred prior to Jerusalems destruction by Nebuchadnezzar
3. he lived at Telabib by the Chebar River (3:15)
4. he was married (24:18)
5. and he was Gods prophet (2:5) whose ministry continued at least 22 years
B. Son of man
1. this is the way God addresses Ezekiel throughout the book (90+ times)
2. why? perhaps to compare the lowliness of the messenger to the majesty of the message and Him Whose message it is
3. note Mt 8:20 - this was a way in which Jesus referred to Himself, too
4. Son of man would be an identification with humanity
5. but Dan 7:13 prophetically refers to the Son of man as the Messiah!
C. Ah Lord God...
1. Ezek 4:14 - 9:8 - 11:13 - 20:49
2. there is not doubt of Ezekiels great humility and compliance
3. but in these four instances he does speak to God of his concerns
4. of His concern for his ceremonial purity; of his concern that God may not spare even a remnant; of his desire to speak to the people in plain language
5. Ezekiel was a deeply spiritual man of great love and sensitivity for Israel!
II. SOME OF EZEKIELS HIGHLIGHTS?
A. A summary of the book in three passages...
1. Ezek 10:18,19 - 11:22,23 - 43:4,5
2. because of Israels apostasy, God abandons the temple ... and Jerusalem!
3. the early portions of this book speak of the ultimate fall and destruction of Jerusalem ... and the horrible things which will be happening there
4. but the book also speaks of the great restoration and of Gods return to His house
5. I am reminded, though, of Mt 23:37,38 these prophetic words speak of the final end of the Mosaic system and the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.
B. The lesson of the watchman - Ezek 3:16-21
1. what does the watchman do? ...give them the warning from me (3:17)
2. what if the watchman does not do his job? ...his blood will I require at thine hand (3:18)
3. what if the watchman does his job and no one listens? ...thou hast delivered thy soul (3:19)
4. later, at Ezek 33:1-7 this figure is seen again
5. another great truth is found here ... if the watchman fails to do his job and people are lost, he is guilty for his failure - but the people remain lost!
C. The lesson of idolatry - Ezek 14:1-8
1. clearly, must of Ezekiels message had to do with Israels idolatry
2. Ezek 6:3-6 - ..I will cast down your slain men before your idols...
3. after Josiahs reforms, idolatry (with its abominations) quickly returned (see 2 Chron 36:14)
4. but the great lesson of idolatry is this: idols are not necessarily graven images! any heart devotion which separates us from God is an idol! (14:7)
5. before we condemn the idolatry of graven images, perhaps we should check our hearts for the presence of idolatry there!
D. The lesson of personal responsibility and accountability - Ezek 18:19-24
1. v. 20 most assuredly shows the doctrine of inherited sin to be false!
2. in these verses there is the greatest of hope for even the chief of sinners
3. when a sinner repents and turns to live in righteousness he shall live
CLOSE: I especially enjoy the closing words of this great book: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there. The church of our Lord is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22) ... the Lord is here! And the great lessons of the book of Ezekiel are so needed and relevant here ... where the Lord is.
Cecil A. Hutson
23 February 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
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
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
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)
You Must Be Baptized
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!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
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)