Summary: Pentecost 19 (A) - Ezekiel calls to all: "Repent and live!" Sinners are to repent of all sins. Then they will live in God's forgiveness.
“REPENT AND LIVE!” (Outline)
October 3, 2010 -
PENTECOST 19 -
INTRO: Ezekiel chapter 18 ends with the Lord’s words: “Repent and live!” Who can resist the Lord’s gracious invitation to eternal life? Yet we know that thoughtless thousands and a multitude of millions will choose death instead of life. If God wanted he could use his booming voice over the entire earth to proclaim, “Repent and live!” Or God could send angels throughout the world to declare: “Repent and live!” Instead the Lord calls on us to call out to others, “Repent and live!” This is our blessed privilege to share God’s call to forgiveness with sinners in this fallen world. “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 CORINTHIANS 5:20). Now we may not always feel like God’s booming voice. We may not always act like angels with God’s holy message. How can we sinners declare “Repent and live!”
The Lord God Almighty encourages us in our Christian calling through his prophet Ezekiel.
“REPENT AND LIVE!” I. Repent of all sins. II. Live in God’s forgiveness.
I. REPENT OF ALL SINS
A. This was another bleak time in the history of the children of Israel. They were captives in Babylon.
1. Israel had been warned year after year by prophet after prophet. They loved wickedness.
2. Israel followed their own evil ways. They closed their ears and hardened their hearts.
3. Israel’s disobedience finally brought about God’s judgment upon them. They were unhappy.
B. Verse 25. Israel blames God for their present situation. “God is not fair. God is unjust.” Really?
1. Verse 26. Israel turned away from God. Israel rejected the Lord. God now turns from them.
2. Verse 29. Again, are God’s ways really unjust? The way of Israel is unjust and unrighteous..
C. Verse 30a. The sins of Israel were great. The Lord will also judge every individual. Sin is serious.
1. Note the words: “declares the Sovereign Lord”. God is serious. Each one is responsible.
2. Verse 31b. The Lord God Almighty wanted Israel to repent. God did not want them to die.
D. “Repent and live!” This is God’s clear call to all who would love to live rather than suffer the pangs of eternal death. Read today’s Gospel (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man decided that life on earth was far more important than eternal life. Sin blinds all too many to the grace of God’s free forgiveness. No one can escape sin. Sin affects and infects each and every one of our lives. We are born with sin as the very enemies of God. There is no escaping sin. We have no excuse before God. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (ISAIAH 64:6). Even those “good things” we like to take credit for can easily become sins of pride. We know what the wind is like. Our sins sweep us away like the wind.
E. Our lives turn into a battle against sin. As believers we do know what is right in God’s sight. Our daily challenge is to do that which is pleasing to God. It is not always easy. The world would have us focus on all what is good in this life. Satan tries to tell us that being righteous is simply not worth the ef-fort. Our own sinful flesh leads us astray time and again. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing” (ROMANS 7:18,19).
F. What are we to do to “repent and live”? Well, first, we know that we cannot rely on our own strength or ourselves. On our own and by ourselves we are lost and condemned creatures doomed to eternal torment in hell. Our only hope, which is also our sure hope, is to put our total trust and complete confidence in our gracious God. “Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD” (PSALM 25:6,7). We see our sins. We repent. We rely on the mercy of God.
“REPENT AND LIVE!"
We confess our many sins. We repent. We turn from evil. We turn to God.
II. LIVE IN FORGIVENESS