Summary: When we repent, let God reshape, and let God replace, then we can celebrate the fact that there is now room on our Spiritual plates for God’s will in our lives.

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“Cleaning Our Plates”

Ezekiel 36:24-28 (verses taken from NKJV unless noted)

Wakelee Church ~ September 12, 2004

Theme: When we repent, let God reshape, and let God replace, then we can celebrate the fact that there is now room on our Spiritual plates for God’s will in our lives.

Visual: A plate full of food representing different areas of life...job, family, hobbies...and the like.

Introduction – It’s amazing to me that many people come to church each Sunday looking for the the Holy Spirit to "fill" them, but to be honest they’re relunctant to remove, or repent of, anything from their plates to make the room so that God can reshape and replace.

This morning, you’ll have the opportunity to do just that.

Illus. - “Eating from a dirty plate…” [Laurie Beth Jones]

[“In this country, it is not only improper—it is technically illegal to be served with a dirty plate. Salad bars post signs indicating that the health department requires that each time you step up to the buffet, you must do so with a clean plate.

Yet every day many of us step up to God’s banquet with a dirty plate, and then wonder why we aren’t served. Jesus, too, insists on a clean plate for everyone.

Jesus could not have motivated his team if he had not given each of them a clean plate. Former prostitute? No problem! You will become my example of precious, holy love. Former coward? No problem! You will become a legendary leader. Former skeptic? No problem! You, Paul, will go on to declare the Gospel in new and exciting ways. No more lingering germs or stains. Clean plate. Clean plate. Clean plate.

The danger in having the grunge of resentment on your plate is the poison that can come from it. Are there some unwashed portions---even on the underside? Are we harboring grunge-filled resentments or clumps of baked-on anger as we continually ask for second helpings? Have we forgiven ourselves?

It finally occurred to me that the only one hurt by the grunge on my plate is the person who eats from my plate…myself. If I hold on to it, thinking that the other person is being punished, thinking that I’m being noble, thinking that I have the right too, thinking that I cannot live without, I am wrong.

That’s why Jesus said we had to get rid of it—not only so the object of our anger could be set free, but more importantly, so we can.

Every one of the people Jesus worked with—those who walked forward—was given a new, bright, robe of righteousness to wear and very clean feet. No left over sins, unwashed resentment, or half-baked disappointments, lingered on the plates that Jesus handed out. Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” (John 13:8). Jesus gives cleans plates.]

How do you clean a plate? 1. Clean off the remnants…repentance. 2. Wash the plate for the next

use…reshaping. 3. Use it for the next meal…replacing.

Our text for this morning said, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols…” (Ezekiel 36:24-28) – God is in the plate cleaning business.

I. Repentance…

Luke 15:7 – 99% didn’t think they needed saving – We like to focus on the one that the shepherd went to find, but here how Jesus finished that parable…”I say to you that like wise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents [listen now] than over the ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. “

Was Jesus saying that only certain people needed repentance? Of course not. But it was saying that there is a slew of people of there…99% by Jesus’ count…you have no need…or no clue that they do need…repentance.

Isn’t that the message of 2 Chronicles 7:14. When the one who realizes their need for repentance,

becomes humble, begins to pray, and begins to seek, then God hears, forgives, and heals.

If you‘re looking for a how-to formula on repentance here it is…get humble, pray, and seek and then God will hear, forgive and heal.

This morning we’re going to give you the opportunity to do just that…

Congregational Act of Repentance - #891 – Prayer of Confession

II. Reshaping…

If the first step is repentance, then the second step is reshaping. The Bible is rich with many

“reshaping” occurrences.

The potter in Jeremiah 18:1-4 – didn’t patch the vessel, he reshaped it.

Jacob in Genesis 32:34-42 – didn’t just discuss religion, but wrestled with God himself, being

reshaped right down to a broken hip, as he searched and eventually received God’s blessing.

The Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21 – didn’t accept Jesus’ excuse that God’s reshaping was for

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