Sermons

Summary: God’s call to be a watchman on the wall is extended to all who claim Jesus Christ.

SERIES: “EXCERPTS FROM EZEKIEL”

TEXT: EZEKIEL 3:16-21

TITLE: “ARE YOU LISTENING?”

INTRODUCTION: A. Two men were talking over coffee one day. One said: "I’m concerned about my

wife. She talks to herself a lot these days."

The other said: "Mine does too, but she doesn’t know it. She thinks I’m listening.”

B. We start a new series today: “Excerpts from Ezekiel”

--a little background information to get us started:

1. Biography

a. “Ezekiel” = “God strengthens”

b. Ezek. 1:3 tells us that he was born into a priestly family

c. Rather than serving as a priest, he served God as a prophet

--Prophetic ministry lasted 22 years

2. Background for Ezekiel’s work as a prophet

--a capsulization of several hundred years of Old Testament history:

a. The nation of Israel – God’s chosen people – had continually been disobedient

to His will

b. Sometime around 930 BC, after King Solomon died, the kingdom split into a

northern kingdom – designated as Israel – and a southern kingdom – designated

as Judah.

c. Around 722 BC, the Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrians

d. The Southern Kingdom managed to hang on for just a bit longer

1). A new empire had become the world power in the meantime

--The Babylonians

2). The Babylonian king – Nebuchadnezzer – subdued Jerusalem in 697 and

10,000 Jews – including Ezekiel – were taken into exile in Babylon

--This is the setting in which Ezekiel began to prophesy

1). God’s people had continued in disobedience for years and refused to repent

e. Eventually almost every Jew was carried into exile in Babylon because they

continued to rebel against the Babylonian occupation

--On Aug. 14, 586 BC, Jerusalem and the temple were burned and destroyed

C. Ezek. 3:16-21 – “At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of

man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak

and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, You will surely die,

and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to

save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for

his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his

wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved

yourself.”

Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a

stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for

his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you

accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he

does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved

yourself.’”

1. God’s people had failed to heed the prophets who came before Ezekiel

--Nor did they listen to the warnings that Ezekiel gave

2. Ezekiel’s job was difficult – seemingly almost impossible

--God had already warned him about their unwillingness to listen

a. Ezek. 2:3-4a – “He said, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a

rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their father have been in

revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are

obstinate and stubborn…’”

b. Ezek. 3:7 – “‘But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they

are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and

obstinate.’”

3. Ezekiel understood that this mission was possible only because it was a God-thing

and not of human origin

a. One phrase is repeated 42 times in Ezekiel: “the word of the Lord came to me”

1). For Ezekiel, delivering the message was about being obedient to God

2). On the other hand, those who heard the message needed to know that they

weren’t rejecting Ezekiel.

They were rejecting God

b. God’s call to Ezekiel came in a series of visions

--Ezekiel describes it this way in Ezek. 1:1 – “In the thirtieth year [literally my

30th year], in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles

by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.”

c. Ezekiel saw the issue as more a matter of obedience rather than a chance to do

something great

--He was faithful in the performance of his duty

D. Ezekiel heard God’s call and responded with faithful action

1. When FDR was president, he often endured long receiving lines at the White

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