Ezekiel 18
Am I guilty of something ?

Introduction

I’m happy to be with you once again.

On exceptional grounds, I want for the next 3 weeks to have a pause in our series of studies on the heroes of the faith. You know it’s almost Christmas, and so we will have the occasion to hear Farid and listen to a sermon more appropriate for the occasion.

For this day, I have chosen to develop my preaching on Ezekiel 18:29-32

I have titled my sermon: “Am I guilty of some wrong?”

Before reading this passage, let’s put things in their context.

When these words see come into being, we are in 592 BCE. The majority of Jews have been in captivity for a bit of time.

At this moment, God decides to send them prophets to put them back on the right path. He is going to send three:

The Jews to whom Ezekiel addresses himself are therefore in a bad situation. And just like anyone in such conditions, they are mad about what they have to suffer.

We can hear their bitterness, the negativity emanating from their hearts when they speak with one another through clenched teeth.

Nothing is ok anymore, and they know that it is God who is at the root of their problems. They know that it’s God who has taken back his benefits and sent his curses.

But, to their eyes there is something else greatly responsible for their situation. Look in verse 2.

The captives had created a proverb to explain their frustration. They said one to another: “the fathers ate unripe grapes and the children’s teeth were set on edge!” in other words: “Our parents made mistakes and we, the poor innocent ones, we suffer from it!”

So they were saying that their problems were due to the wrongs of their parents.

They blamed all their daily problems on their ancestors.

And it’s not only those on the side of the river Kebar who were saying this. The proverb was so widespread that Jeremiah in fact mentions it in his corner. See Jer. 31:29

To believe this proverb, God was basically unjust. He punished innocents, the children for the wrongs of their parents. The causes of the problem didn’t come from them but from their parents.

I. We are all sinners

Before going further today, let me try to show you where I see an application for we who live in the 21st century.

In his perfect law, God calls us to repentance for all our bad attitudes.

III. And then he invites us to get rid of our faults.

I love how it is said in Ezekiel 18, verse 31. Look…

Do you feel the force of the words God uses? « Fling far away from you all the transgressions! »

Like an insect one brushes off of ones t-shirt, one must toss far away the sin that is present in our life.

There is a feeling of urgency present in these words. He says throw away sin for why would you die?

In other words, sin leads you to death. And it’s now that you must rid yourselves of it and find life, not tomorrow.

It’s the idea of someone who played in the barbecue in his garden and who took out a burning piece of charcoal in the palm of his hand.

The longer one squeezes the fingers around it, the more it will wreak havoc. The more it will hurt. One must throw it away as quick as possible.

One mustn’t say: « One day, I’ll do it! In a few months, in a few weeks, I’ll try! » Right away you must do it. Right away one must rid oneself of ones transgressions, « I won’t live one more week, one more day, and one more hour with my faults. »

Understand the urgency of the text. It’s now that this should be done.

It is interesting to see how many times this word, “now” appeared in the Scriptures.

Hebrews 13:15 says: « … »
2 Cor. 6:2 says « … »
Acts 22:16 says « … »
In refusing baptism, if you haven’t already accepted it; it’s the liberation, the healing of God that you refuse. Jesus said to the Pharisees in Luke 7:30 « … »

God had a plan for all the Jews, but they didn’t see the need or urgency to respond to it. Thus they annulled the plan of God, the desire of God for their lives. Today do you annul the plan of God for your life in refusing the waters of baptism? In John 3:3-6 Jesus says a man cannot live unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

I return then to Ezekiel where God says « why would you die? »

God pushes us, but he doesn’t force us. It’s our choice. He won’t twist your arm to direct you to the right side. He won’t violate your freedom of conscience. But he puts us on guard against spiritual death, eternal separation from his presence.

In verse 32 it adds: « … »

Conclusion:

So if we accept his message, with all our heart, God will provide us with life. He promises in the Word, that he’ll provide us with help by the Spirit. We will receive from him the strength to overcome all tests (whatever our bad habits or negative situations of life).

We will have his assistance to master what we do not think ourselves able to master.

I finish then with a passage in Rev. 3:20 where Jesus says: « … »

No, he doesn’t stand at the door of our heart saying “if you don’t open, I’m going to blow louder and louder, until it falls down”. But he stands there and says: “I knock, if you open, I will come to your house and together we will live feasting because I will bring joy to your house.”
Today, through all these verses, God calls me, he calls us no longer to blame others, to accept responsibility for our faults and repent. He wants to give us a new heart and mind, but the question is: “will we let him?” Are we ready to do what it takes?

I’ll let you reflect upon it and finish with a song of invitation…