Summary: We need to understand how the Baptism in the Holy Spirit prepares us for God’s miracles.
June 21, 2009
Text: Ezekiel 47:1-12
Subject: Sermon # 3 – Seven Steps to Receive God’s Promises
Title: Stand in the River
We continue this morning with our sermon series on the seven steps to receiving God’s promises. Last week we saw that the first step is to consecrate yourself. That means setting yourself apart from the worldly desires and the lusts of the flesh and to allow God to have pre-eminence in your life.
The second step, as told to Israel by Joshua, Stand in the River.
As I told you last week, the main work in consecration or sanctification is separating yourself from sin by giving your life to Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be set apart from the world. That is the first step and it is God’s grace at work in your life. Interestingly enough, the second step is also an act of grace, and like the first act it requires that the recipient ask for it. It is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and is available to all the saved who ask for it. Acts 2:38-39, 38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Have you ever gone to the gas station to fill up - you know your tank is about empty so you put the nozzle in to start it. The next thing you know the automatic shut off kicks in at about eight gallons. You know your tank holds sixteen gallons. So what is your next move? Do you take the nozzle out and say, “Well, I guess that is all God wants me to have today. I’ll try again some other time.” Or, do you say, “I came to get filled up and I’m not leaving here until I am!” That is the attitude that God wants you to have. That is why He told the Israelites that even though it didn’t make any sense, to go stand in the river.
Jesus said, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church.
I. THE SOURCE OF THE RIVER 1The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). There have been many explanations of the vision of the temple that Ezekiel sees. Some say it is the Temple that will be built in the last days in which animal sacrifice will resume. Others say it is a picture of the Temple that will be built during the Millennial Reign of Christ. Still others say it is symbolic of the Church, the temple of the Holy Spirit both individually and corporately. If you are the temple, in the light of what is flowing from it, you might think that the last interpretation is the right one. However, if you look at the river in connection with the description of the River in Revelation 22 we may begin to see something different in mind. 1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Do you see the connection between the river as seen by Ezekiel and the River of Revelation? Now, about the temple… Revelation 21:15-21, John sees a picture and gives a beautiful description of the eternal city. 22I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. So let’s look at it from that perspective. The Temple is the eternal temple or God. The Temple faces east but the River is flowing from the Temple on the south. That means that the place where the river flows from is on the right side of the temple – right where Jesus is right now – seated at the right hand of the Father. And it is from Jesus that the River of the Holy Spirit flows. John the Baptist said in Mark 1:7-8, “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” OK, so how do we make the connection between this river that Ezekiel sees and the Holy Spirit? Jesus does that for us. John 7:37-39, 37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.