Summary: Pentecost 12(B) - God’s word powers his ministry for faithful prophets and for rebellious people.
GOD’S WORD POWERS HIS MINISTRY
EZEKIEL 2:1-5 - August 7, 2005 - Pentecost 12
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Today we will talk about power. We know that in our society power is something people spend a lot of time and effort trying to obtain. The one who has the power rules. Our nation is the last of the powerful nations in this world. Other nations are jealous of that. We look at the Christian church made up of believers, and where do we find that power? As we learn in our text, we find the power in God’s word. Simple as that is the power of the holy Christian church--not in the word of man, not in our feelings or emotions, but simply in God’s word.
The Apostle Paul spent much of his early life persecuting those who were followers of the Way, because he thought that was what God had called him to do. We know that the Lord called him out of the darkness by the power of His word. From that time on the life of the Apos-tle Paul was changed, changed so much that he realized there was no greater power than knowing Christ Jesus and him crucified. In the book of Romans he writes: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (Romans 1:16). That is the power of God that you and I have in our hearts. That is the power of God that Christ has planted in us by faith in the word of God.
GOD’S WORD POWERS HIS MINISTRY:
I. For faithful prophets
II. For rebellious people
I. FOR FAITHFUL PROPHETS
It would be interesting today, when you have the opportunity, to read the first chapter of the book of the prophet Ezekiel. We find the Lord comes to Ezekiel in a very miraculous way. The Lord God gives Ezekiel a very miraculous vision. A windstorm comes up and Ezekiel hears the voice of the Lord. In that windstorm there are four creatures that are almost too hard for him to describe. Each one has a different face, a different description, and they come with a wheel. In that wind and in the midst of that vision Ezekiel realizes this is the glory of the Lord. So what does he do? At the end of chapter one, Ezekiel says, "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speak-ing"(1:28b). So we see Ezekiel lying face down on the ground. Ezekiel is there to worship God. Than, our verses begin in chapter 2: "The Lord said to me, ’Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.’" The Lord did not come to scare Ezekiel. The Lord came to speak to Ezekiel and give him a message, not a message just for his ears, but a message for his people.
Ezekiel continues: "As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me." Imagine that! Ezekiel hears the Lord speaking to him. Ezekiel is greatly encouraged. He stands up and he listens to that message that the Lord has to say to him. It is going to be that word from the Lord that is going to give Ezekiel power to go to this na-tion that has rebelled against God. This going to be Ezekiel’s calling. "He said: ’Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me.’" When Ezekiel goes there, he is going to tell them what the Sovereign Lord says. Actually Ezekiel was already there, because in the history of the children of Israel they are in the fifth year of the Babylonian captivity. They had rebelled, and God sent the enemies of Israel to take them out of the Promise Land. Now Ezekiel was there with them, and he was to speak with them to remind them of their rebellious ways, their wickedness and sin.
This work would take a faithful prophet. God’s word will empower Ezekiel. It is that very word of the Lord that empowers prophets of today and pastors and teachers. It is that word which we heard in our first lesson (1 KINGS 19:9-18) about Isaiah when he wanted to hear the voice of the Lord. Is it in the whirlwind? Is it in the fire? Is it in the earthquake? No! It is in the still, small voice when Elijah said, "This is the Lord." The Lord still finds us and says, "This is the Lord." He guides us into all truth, and the truth is what we find in God’s word. The Lord reminds us not to add to it, not to subtract from it; but instead we have the word of the Lord which is God’s divine power, the power to change men’s hearts, the power to change our lives, the power to change lives of any rebellious person; so that he may be called out of darkness into light, and then thankfully be called into service of the Lord. Listen to this from John: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13). Jesus spoke to his disciples as speaks to us today.