Summary: This sermon challenges us to realize the great need for Christians to stand up for the things of Christianity.
Scripture: Ezek. 22:23—31
Title: “Standing In The Gap”
Introduction: Ezekiel catalogs the sins of the people of God in this chapter. The three main groups of people that are guilty of gross sins are the preachers, the religious leaders, and the political officials. With these three powerful groups opposing God it is no wonder the rest of the people of the land had followed them into the ways of sin. Even in the midst of God’s punishment they had not changed.
In our passage today God makes it clear how sinful Israel has become.
Ezek 22:4 you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made.
Ezek 22:7 In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the alien and mistreated the fatherless and the widow.
Ezek 22:8 You have despised my holy things and desecrated my Sabbaths.
Ezek 22:12 In you men accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.
The sin of the people had gotten so bad that God had begun to SEEK out a person who would PRAY for the SINFUL city, but He found none.
Because God found no one to pray, He must go on with His plan to punish the people.
Nowhere in the Word of God has the need for intercessory prayer stated more clearly than here in these verses.
Never before has there been a greater need for God’s people to take a STAND for the things of God!
I. THE GAP.
a. People don’t care about each other, as they should!
b. We need to take a fresh look at our culture and realize we are in the midst of a REVELUTION, things are changing so rapidly that it is hard to KEEP UP!
c. A GAP has been created by: Christians who have died; Christians who have turned their backs on God; Christians who have grown weary of the weight of the cross; and IMPROPER INFORMATION!
d. Where are the FATHERS, MOTHERS, of the home?
e. Someone has left the GATE open and someone is going to have to BECOME the GATE!
f. There’s never been a greater need for REAL MEN in America than there is today!
g. We’ve looked at the GAP – We’ve talked about how bad it is to have this GAP – But the time has come for someone to step up and fill the GAP!
II. TAKING A STAND.
a. We are where we are today because someone took a STAND for our FREEDOM; our PRIVILEDGES; our RIGHTS as a CITIZEN of this great country; our CHRISTIANITY!
b. Standing in the GAP is not very popular! It has caused some to be IMPRISONED; some to be OSTRACIZED; some have been BEATEN; some have even been CRUCIFIED!
c. Taking a STAND requires COURAGE!
d. Standing in the GAP is a PLACE of GREAT DANGER!
e. If you are to stand in the GAP you must be BOLD!
f. If you are to stand in the GAP you must be READY TO FIGHT!
g. You may find your GAP in: your HOME; in your WORK PLACE; in your SCHOOL; or somewhere in SOCIETY.
h. If we do not take a STAND for God we are sure to face destruction as a people and a society!
III. “A MAN AMONG THEM.” (v. 30)
a. God didn’t find one person among His people that would PRAY!
b. On the positive side one person can by PRAYER bring a REPRIEVE from God’s holy judgment against sin. (“A man” one man!)
c. God is SEARCHING the HEARTS of this CONGREGATION this morning asking the question, “Who will STAND in the GAP for the people?”
d. “Why, God wouldn’t use someone like me!” If you examined the great leaders of the Bible like Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Elisha, and many others, you would find they were ordinary men who allowed an extraordinary God to use them!
e. In New York in the 19th century there was man named Jeremiah Calvin Lamphier. He decided to have a prayer meeting for businessmen on September 23 1857. The meeting was to last one hour. For the first ½ hr. he prayed alone. In the next ½ hr. another five people joined him. The next week there were 20 and the following week 40. Then they decided to have a daily prayer meeting. That soon went to a 100, and after three months to a 1,000. This was the beginning of a great revival in America in which 2 million were saved. It began with intercession of ONE MAN!
f. “It is yet to be discovered what can be done by the man that gives himself wholly to the Lord.” D.L. Moody