Summary: God is angry with sin and indifference. The church cannot afford to reralize that God will bring us to account for how we live before a lost world.
Beginning with the Church Ezekiel 9:1-11
Introduction: In Jerusalem, the Temple was to be a sanctuary, a place that was to be set apart, consecrated, dedicated and purified. It was to be a place that radiated the presence of God to Israel and would send a message to the world that the Lord, He is God. In the New Testament, this mission has been given to the church, the collective body of believers who, as individual born again children of God, are temples of the Holy Spirit and His appointed messengers. God was angry with the sins of Israel but above all with the condition of those who were to be sanctified or set apart for Him. There are some strong lessons for us to learn as we observe God’s dealing with Jerusalem.
I. It is a mistake to think that God is indifferent to what happens in the church.
A. Ezekiel 8:1-6 “And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there. Then I looked, and there was a likeness, like the appearance of fire—from the appearance of His waist and downward, fire; and from His waist and upward, like the appearance of brightness, like the color of amber. He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the plain. Then He said to me, “Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was this image (or idol) of jealousy in the entrance. Furthermore He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far (or drive me away) away from My sanctuary? (parentheses – alternate rendering)
B. Exodus 34:14 “...you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”
C. It is a sin to worship or serve anything other than God. All worship, praise, honor, and adoration belong to God alone, for He alone is worthy. Therefore, when we take away His worship, praise, adoration or taint the same by our sinful actions God is rightly jealous.
D. The idols of sin in our lives provoke God to jealousy. Keep in mind that anything that usurps His name, His authority or His glory is an idol.
E. The sin of idolatry that plagues the modern world is a "me first" attitude that gives God the leftovers in though and life. – W. Werning
F. Sin within the Body of Christ provokes God to withdraw His blessing and power.
G. Ezekiel 8: 6 – ““Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far (or drive me away) away from My sanctuary?”
H. Ezekiel 9:3a “Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple.”
II. It is a mistake to believe that God does not know what is going on in the imagery of our hearts and minds.
A. Ezekiel 8:12 ASV – “Then said he unto me, Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in his chambers of imagery? For they say, Jehovah sees us not; Jehovah has forsaken the land.”
B. Psalm 44:21 “For he knows the secrets of the heart.”
C. You will never get by with covered-up sin. Whether it is sin committed by a deed or the sinful imagery of your mind and heart.
D. Some would believe that as long as one restrains his or her actions, lives an outwardly moral life it’s no big issue what his or her mind finds pleasure in.
E. “Those who sin secretly actually intensify their guilt, because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense. Hypocrisy is a grave sin in its own right. It also produces an especially debilitating kind of guilt, because by definition hypocrisy entails the concealing of sin. And the only remedy for any kind of sin involves uncovering our guilt through sincere confession. – John MacArthur