Today is Sunday September 05, 2010 and we are reading through the Bible in a year. Today's message comes from the reading of the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 17-19. If you would like to read the chapters along with us here online you can Click Here to read them or copy & paste this link onto your browser: http://www.imfollowingjesus.com/bible-september-5
Today's Message: Bring God's Blessings or Judgment
There is no better reward than the gift of eternal life as we believe in and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. Amazingly, once we get saved we are always saved, no matter how many times we sin. If you were to walk away from God right now, you would still see Him when you die because you are saved by grace not by works. Praise God! However, eternal life does not mean that a person living in sin will not face the consequences of those sins while here on earth. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” - I Peter 4:15-19. It seems that many people think that if they accept Christ into their lives it makes them exempt from suffering the consequences of their continued sins. Just as obedience brings God's blessings, sin brings His judgment, no matter how many think they have escaped the consequences, they are always accountable for their actions.
During the final days before the destruction of Jerusalem, the people of Judah endured much suffering before they were taken as slaves into Babylon. They were bitter with God and could not understand why they were suffering and why He was not protecting them. Through Ezekiel, God answers their questions, “What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” - Ezekiel 18:2-4. The House of Israel was putting the blame on everything that was happening to them on their forefathers, yet refused to justify their own actions. God is telling them that He is the creator and father of every living soul, even our children, and when a soul sins it dies. A soul is the core of a human being, without a soul we are dead, even though we may be alive physically, we are dead spiritually. However, when we repent and return to God the soul comes back to life.
The House of Israel are the Christian nations of today and many are bitter and angry with God. They are putting the blame of everything that is happening to them on God, churches, father's, mother's, or others instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. God addresses this as well, “Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, ….As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity. Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” - Ezekiel 18:14,18-21. Often we see other Christian's living in sin and never seem to suffer, yet whenever we sin, we seem to have endless suffering and are left with the question of why. However, no sin goes unpunished, we are accountable for all our actions. Things one thinks he/she has gotten away with, even forgotten, somehow always resurface and he/she will end up suffering for them. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” - I Corinthians 6:9,10.
My family just went through something similar to this, my father has three sons from another woman, all of them have been saved, but can care less about serving God. My father seems to always be there for them, yet we can go months without even talking to him. Last weekend he showed up driving a truck that I have been wanting and one of my half-brothers came along as well bragging about all these things that they have. When they left I felt a little discouraged and wondered why they were always getting blessed with the things that I have worked so hard for yet can not seem to get. A few days later my half brother was arrested, he was a fugitive and tried to impersonate himself as my younger brother (same father and mother). While we think that God may be allowing those who live in sin go free, He is not. He waits for just the right time and still protects those who remain faithful to Him. Praise God!
No one can escape the consequences of disobedience to the Word of God. God is the God of love, but He is also the God of perfect justice. The Israelite's suffered many horrible months of famine and pestilence before the city and Temple were destroyed. God said Himself that He does not want to see anyone die, but the truth is this, no one who lives a wicked life will live. “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the LORD is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.” - Ezekiel 18:23-27. Genuine repentance, turning to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness of all sins, is a sincere desire to faithfully do His will according to His Word. God is pleading with us here. He is telling us that He finds no pleasure in destroying our souls, and causing us to die. He is begging us to turn form our sins, to repent and to seek His ways. God offers us all eternal life and all we have to do to receive it is to accept Jesus Christ. It's that simple. Regardless of what state of wickedness anyone has lived, God has stated in these verses they are all forgiven, every last one of them and all we have to do is repent of them in Jesus Name. Jesus Christ's blood paid the price, and there is nothing that you can do except take what has been offered to you and in return, God offers us, by His Word, eternal life. Praise God!
Enjoy the rest of your day/night and weekend.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,