Summary: This sermon is about ensuring that you go deeper in your relationship with Christ
Dare to Go Deeper Ezekiel 47:1-12
The Book Ezekiel is a replete with visions and at the centre of the vision in this passage is that resource we can’t do without: water. Water is the secret of a full spiritual experience (See John 7:37-39) and is often the symbol of the word of God and of the Holy Spirit. The Word and the Spirit of God go hand in glove: the word activates the spirit, the word only works where the Sprit of God is active (Gen 1:2-3).
In Ezekiel 47, God was telling Prophet Ezekiel about wading into the deep spiritual waters of the Spirit-filled life. Can I ask you a question today? Are you afraid to wade into the deep because you think that God may require of you more than you are willing to give? Do you reason that if you don’t commit to the work fully then you won’t be found guilty of failing? Ezekiel saw the vision of a river that springs forth from God’s throne and that flowing river represents the power of the Holy Spirit. There are a few truths I want to share with you today, beginning with:
1. True Living Begins with the Beginning (Ezekiel 47:1)
The Bible says in John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In other words, Jesus was the word and remains the Word, he is also the author and perfecter of our faith, and in Him we have a true beginning. That exactly is where the profession of our faith should start. Ezekiel saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple, in other words, at the entrance or door of the temple. Jesus, the Bible tells us in John 10:7, is the Door, so the story begins at the door.
Without going through the Door, you cannot get to the Father. Christ is the beginning and the Door is inseparable from the cross. The altar in Ezekiel 47 speaks of sacrifice and sacrifice in the New Testament is signified by events at the cross of Calvary, where Jesus died for the propitiation of our sins. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Co 1:18).
2. The Further You Go, the Closer You Get (Ezekiel 47: 5)
When you have a deep relationship with God, He will show you things that are so deep, and sometimes scary, in terms of visions, prophesy and the like. I remember a couple of years ago I went to visit someone at the hospital with a pastor friend of mine and he told me as we were in the hospital room that there were no fewer than four demons in that particular room. He could see because he had the spiritual ‘eyes’ to see.
The Bible says this river grew large enough to swim in, yet there was no other river adding to it. No tributary streams pouring into it. How? It grew by its own self-supply from the sacred miraculous source in the temple (Hab 2:14). This tells me that God is the all sufficient one, you can’t help or support Him or add to His work. Once you tap into the River of Life, you will enjoy its sufficiency! Our sufficiency, the Bible says, is of God; who has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life (2 Corinth 3: 5-6).
3. The Deeper Depth, the Deeper Your Relationship with God
This passage talks about four stages of the flow of this river and as you take a further step, you are deepening your relationship with Christ, growing each time to be more like Christ.
Stage One: Ankle Deep (…led me through water that was ankle-deep…)
The first stage is when the water is at the level of the ankle. Christians at this stage are baby Christians who are not yet ready to swim, lacking in spiritual understanding. As newborn babes, the Bible says, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Pe 2:2) How often do you study your bible? Do you just read it the way you read a newspaper? Note that it is perfectly normal for a four year old to be in the Kindergarten, but when you are 14 and you are still at that level, you will discover that those around you will be looking at you in a funny way, and you won’t even fit into the Kindergarten chair, because it is no longer for you, it is for four year olds!
To grow, you need to study the Word of God (See Joshua 1). God’s first measurement was ankle deep water, a steady diet of the Word of God. For those who keep on complaining that they can’t understand the Bible, they are still in the very shallow end of the water, ankle deep, the beginning of the stream. Note that walking in ankle deep water requires little effort. The force of the water against your steps is minimal, you can easily choose to get in or out at will, you are one of the people the Bible says are easily blown to and fro by all manners of doctrine (Eph 4).