Summary: This message challenges us to take a serious look at the attitude of the Church and its efforts in reaching the lost.
Scripture: Ezekiel 22:30
Title: “Bridging The Gap”
Introduction: The situation of Jerusalem is not a pretty one!
· Sinning is the order of the day.
· The sinning business is growing at an alarming rate unchecked.
· Those with the responsibility of addressing the problem have also been sucked into the quagmire.
· It was like reading this morning’s newspaper!
· It seemed as if no one cared about the morals of the land.
· Ezekiel catalogs the sins of the people of God in this chapter. (Ezk. 22)
Three times the Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel:
1. The first time, the sins of Jerusalem are named one by one.
2. The second time, Jerusalem is melted down and found to be dross.
3. The third time, the prophets and the priests and the princes are accused of conspiring against the Lord.
The three groups are compared in our time to:
1. The Preachers,
2. The Religious Leaders,
3. And the Political Officials. (Sounds familiar doesn’t it?)
· With these three powerful groups opposing God it is no wonder the rest of the people of the land had followed them into the ways of sin.
· God has put up with it as long as He can & something has to be done!
MAIN POINT – “How In The World Has Happened?”
Answer: A “Gap” began to be created in the relationship between God & His people through ‘rebellion’. (A Tearing Down – A Breaking Down of Commitment, Devotion)
· God had sent prophets to warn the people if they continued to rebel they would be driven from the land and dispersed among the nations. (Lev. 26:14-45; Deut. 28:15-68)
· 1 Sam. 15:23 NLT “Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols”
· God’s people had LOST their respect for AUTHROITY & LEADERSHIP!
· The result of their refusal to OBEY God was; they LOST God’s protection & He withdrew Himself from them and they wound up in CAPTIVITY!
· Even in the midst of God’s punishment they had not changed!
MAIN POINT – (“The List of Their Sins”)
· Murder and Idolatry – Fathers and mothers are contemptuously ignored – Resident foreigners are forced to pay for protection – Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed – You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest – People accuse others falsely and send them to their death – You take part in lewd activities – Men sleep with their fathers’ wives – Committing adultery with neighbors’ wives – Defiling daughters-in-laws & who rape their own sisters – Hired murderers – Loan racketeering – Extortionists everywhere – Never even thinking of the commands of the Lord.
[The sinfulness of the people of the land had become so total that God sought for a person of prayer who would intercede for the sinful city, BUT “Found None!”]
· This didn’t happen over night! – Erosion is a slow but steady process!
Let me restate: This list of sins are raging every day in our communities across our
Country & and nothing SEEMS to be working!
MAIN POINT – “God’s Looking For A Few Good Men” (People) ‘This is the Remedy’
· Ezk. 22:30 NLT “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land.”
· “I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.” (Something had caused a gap in the wall)
· Getting people to God is an ongoing problem.
· Finding those who are willing to do the job is a very difficult to say the least.
· A GAP has been created by: Christians who have died; Christians who have turned their backs on God; Christians who have grown weary of the weight of the cross; and IMPROPER INFORMATION.
· Someone has left the GATE open and someone is going to have to BECOME the GATE.
· We’ve looked at the GAP – We’ve talked about how bad it is to have this GAP – But the time has come for someone to step up and fill the GAP.
· God needs people to become HUMAN BRIDGES to ‘restore’ the way for people to come to the Lord.
· It’s hard for me to believe that things are as bad today as it was then!
· I still believe people care about each other, but people have to be taught how to help.
MAIN POINT – “I sought for a man and didn’t find one!”
· I don’t believe we are that FAR ALONG yet! (What do you think?)
· When genuine LOVE & CARE is shown to the non-Christian it will have a positive effect on them in bringing them to Christ. (This has to be done because they just don’t know WE care!)
If we don’t do stand in the GAP who will? – Who will keep the lost from going into ?
I want to make a difference! – Don’t you? – Don’t let them say, “No one told me”