Summary: When a nation turns their back on God, God sends judgment. We are standing on the very brink of judgment from God - judgment which will begin with the church.
GOD’S JUDGMENT - STARTING WITH THE CHURCH
Introduction: When a nation turns their back on God, God sends judgment. Some time ago Billy Graham said it well, "If God does not judge America, He is going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." I believe that we are standing on the very brink of judgment from God. When God does send His judgment we need to understand that that judgment will start with the House of God which has failed to be the salt and light that it has been called to be.
I. THE CAUSE FOR JUDGMENT
A. God is a God of mercy but His justice and righteousness demand that sin be dealt with properly.
1. Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
2. Psalms 11:4-7 The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD tries the righteous: but the wicked and him that loves violence his soul hates. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loves righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.
B. The Example of Israel in Ezekiel 8 – "Look at what they are doing"
1. They Provoked God to Jealousy
a. Ezekiel 8:5 MKJV And He said to me, Son of man, lift up your eyes now to the way of the north. So I lifted up my eyes the way toward the north, and behold, northward at the gate of the altar the image of jealousy was at the entrance.
b. Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
c. God is not content to be a part of our lives God wants to be the center of our lives. He will not accept halfhearted allegiance or divided devotion. God will never accept the notion that He has to share our love and worship with anyone or anything else.
d. Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your might.
e. I will worship with all of my heart. I will praise You with all of my strength. I will seek You all of my days. I will follow all of Your ways. I will give You all my worship. I will give You all my praise. You alone I long to worship. You alone are worthy of my praise. – Ruis, David, You’re Worthy Of My Praise © 1986 Maranatha Praise, Inc. / Shade Tree Music (Maranatha! Music) CCLI License No. 754427
2. They Ignored God’s Presence
a. Ezekiel 8:4 MKJV And, behold! The glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.
b. Jeremiah 5:22a MKJV Do you not fear Me? Says Jehovah. Will you not tremble at My presence…?
c. "A former park ranger at Yellowstone National Park tells the story of a ranger leading a group of hikers to a fire lookout. The ranger was so intent on telling the hikers about the flowers and animals that he considered the messages on his two-way radio distracting, so he switched it off. Nearing the tower, the ranger was met by a nearly breathless lookout, who asked why he hadn’t responded to the messages on his radio. A grizzly bear had been seen stalking the group, and the authorities were trying to warn them of the danger. Any time we tune out the messages God has sent us, we put at peril not only ourselves, but also those around us. – Harold M. Wiest Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada
3. They Practiced Hidden Idolatry
a. Ezekiel 8:7-10 MKJV And He brought me to the opening of the court; and I looked, and behold, a hole in the wall. And He said to me, Son of man, dig in the wall now. And I dug in the wall, and, behold, an opening. And he said to me. Go in and see the evil abominations that they do here. And I went in and saw. And behold, every kind of creeping thing, and hateful beast, and all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around.
b. Isaiah 29:13 MKJV ...this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the command of men…