|Messages By Ovid Need|
Hell, 2 - Matthew 28:19,20
Today we need to cover the second point of the message which we did not go into last week because of time, other than to give the overall thought.
The first point was the reality of Hell. It is a literal place of torment, lasting forever and forever. It is beyond any type of human description which we can possibly imagine. Our Lord mentions it 70 times, even urging a person to dismember their body if some member would prevent their avoiding this terrible place. NO matter what the cost, it is to be avoided at all cost.
Then the second point is on our responsibility as a Born again believer.
As I mentioned last week (and this will be another message in itself), the Holy Spirit deals with our heart to bring us to Christ into a covenant, an agreement. This covenant involves an agreement on our part to live according to the law of the covenant, which includes the words of Christ.
This involves an agreement that if we do not abide by the terms of the covenant, we will receive the curse of God (as Christians. 1 Cor. 5 is a good example of this), and if we do abide by the terms of the covenant, we will inherit the blessings of God. It is a sin to attempt to keep our end of the covenant in our own strength, rather we are to depend upon the Lord living through us, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The law of the covenant makes provision for unintentional failure, 1 John 1:9, Pro. 28:13, 14. And, some might say, "I didn't agree to anything." This is like a child saying, "I didn't ask to be born into this family. I didn't agree to anything." His birth into the family places the responsibility upon him.
To know what our Lord requires of us, then intentionally fail to follow His word, is presumption. Presumption places us in the realm of the wicked one for our chastisement, He. chs. 10 & 12. Persistent presumption places us on the road to destruction, with the ultimate end destruction of ourselves, our family, our church and our society.
Our primary text for today is found in Matthew 28:19, 20. This is called The Great Commission. Most of us view this as the great suggestion. If we have time or can work it into our busy schedule, or if we have the gift... (Someone said that the 10 Commandments are not the 10 Suggestions of God.)
Rev. 1:4-6 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Pet. 2:9, 10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
We have been made kings and priests to the Most High God, by the blood of Christ. With this privilege comes tremendous responsibility, and one of those responsibilities is to Go preach the Gospel to every Creature. People love to hear about their privileges as a Child of God, but few want to hear about their responsibility. This purchase by the blood of the Lamb, places the child of God under great responsibility. And one of those responsibilities is to go preach the gospel.
This command to go is part of the covenant agreement, just as sure as are the 10 commandment, and we will be blessed by God according to our relationship to this part of the covenant also, just a sure as to the 10 commandments.
This is such an important commandment to the Lord that this was the FIRST one given. It was given to Adam in the Garden, Gen. 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. This dominion was based in subduing all things according to the word of God.
Then this command to subdue all things according to the word of God is given again by our Lord after His resurrection, Mt. 28:19, 20; Mk. 16:15. I would suppose we could call it an 11th commandment.
Now, there are obviously four parts to this command in Mat. 28.
2.> preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, the basic part of which is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ in the place of sinners
3.> baptize the new believers
4.> then teach them to observe all of the responsibilities to the covenant God of their salvation.
I find it interesting that, when standing against the Biblical doctrine of election, people will use passages such as 2 Pet. 3:9 (The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.), yet they will not obey passages that tell us to go to every person with the gospel.
There are a great many illustrations of this command throughout the scriptures. One of my favorite and no doubt one of the more important ones, is found in Ezekiel ch. 3. This passage is almost identical to the one found on over in Ezekiel, ch. 33, but we will look primarily at this first one.
The parallels between Ezekiel and us today are striking. Ezekiel was a priest, as we are. Made so by the blood of the Lamb. Here in Ch. 3, we have the Lord giving a commission to Ezekiel, sending him to his own people. Even though the people were already broken and afflicted, they were not yet fully weaned from their false hope. Ezekiel was to warn them to lay aside their false hope with his message of warning of impending destruction.
We who are the priests of God, which is every believer, have been commissioned by the same Lord as was Ezekiel. Our commission is found in Mt. 28:19, 20, and, as the Lord told Ezekiel, we do not have to learn a strange language to fulfill this command to go. All we have to do is be willing to obey.
There are several points here in Ezekiel. We will not really tare it apart as I like to do. Rather we will only hit some obvious points from this.
I. The passage actually starts with 2:1.
Two points here:
A. The Lord spoke to him, calling him Son of man.
B. The Lord commands him to stand upon his feet.. "Stand up like a man!" But the Lord knows that he cannot stand up without His Spirit, which the Lord provides in the next verse.
The Lord remembers that we are dust, and makes provision. Here we see that the Lord remembers that Ezekiel is only a man, made of dust and clay. Thus, the Lord is not laying anything upon him that he cannot do, or that the Lord will not equip him for.
How many of us look at the requirements and responsibilities which are placed upon us as a child of God, and say, "Woe is me! I cannot do that. I don't have the time, I don't have the abilities, I just don't have what it takes to be a great person for God." When we say this, we are trying to stand up before the Lord without the Spirit of God.
We are promised by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in Mat. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. We are promised in Matt. 28, Low, I am with you always, as we go, he by his spirit goes with us, empowering us.
We cannot emphasize enough today that the Lord will never require more of us than what He will equip us to do for Him.
II. 2:2, the spirit entered into him.
1:28, he had been overwhelmed by his own helplessness when he saw the glory of the Lord. Here he is brought to life and action by the power of the Spirit of God. God, realizing that Ezekiel is only a man, gives His Good Spirit to him. It is this Spirit of God that will enable him to fulfill the commission of God, not his own might and abilities. The focus is on the power of the Spirit of God, not on Ezekiel's abilities. And if we focus on anything other than Christ working through us, we will become so discouraged and depressed that we will not do anything for Him and eternity.
It is the Spirit of God which entered into us at salvation which will enable us to please the Lord, obey His commission, and glorify Him. No doubt one of our major problems is that we have not seen the glory of the Lord. If we had, we would live a life which would reflect His glory a lot more than we do.
Notice three points in this verse.
1. when he spake unto me.. a result of God's speaking unto Ezekiel was the Spirit of God entering into him. Everything from here on is based upon the Spirit of God which is now in Ezekiel.
2. set me upon my feet.. The Spirit set him upon his feet.
3. I heard him.. A result of the Spirit entering was that Ezekiel now heard the Lord speak.
Maybe we do not listen to the Lord speak to us. Maybe we read His word with a closed mind, if we read it at all.
III. 2:3, 4. The Lord is going to tell Ezekiel some sad news about the hardness and rebellion of these people. He is going to tell the prophet how they will not listen to him, how they will even persecute him, but the Lord doesn't tell him this until after the Spirit of God enters into him!
Again, we are reminded that the Lord prepares His people who have a desire to please Him. He did not expect Ezekiel to be able to face these facts on his own. Nor does He today. He prepares us even today with His Spirit at salvation, and with faith as we read and meditate upon His word.
The one time glorious people of God, the heirs to the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and on down through the saints of God, are now as hard as are the heathens.
They are a rebellious nation..., impudent children and stiffhearted. They are now a nation that can hear the command-word of God and it has no effect upon them.
They can hear reproof from God's word and they reject it.
They can stand up under the preaching of word of God with no remorse or shame.
They have lost all sensitivity to the word of God, they have no shame or sorrow over sin.
They have no holy feeling, nor desire to please the Lord who redeemed them from Egypt.
They are just like the heathen nations around them, and are going the same way.
This is the saddest of all places for any one to be, whether they are saved or not: able to hear the word of God presented, able to hear the requirements of God's word and no response to that word.
The worse place for you or I to be is to be able to hear the word of God and have no desire to do anything. And how many of us even in here today, can hear the requirements of God's word and: 1.) Have no desire to do anything. 2.) Never make an effort to move according to that word.
But again, the Lord did not tell this to Ezekiel, nor tell him to speak to these rebellious people, until after the Spirit entered into him. Ezekiel is being told that it is all hopeless, but he is to go anyway. These facts about these people, and the prospect of having to go to them would have been more than human flesh could bare, without the spirit and word of God.
But, the Lord did not expect 'human flesh' to bare these depressing facts. He sent His Spirit that Ezekiel could stand up under this load which was being placed before him.
We cannot emphasize enough that the Lord prepares His people who are willing to hear Him and do what He requires of them. He prepares them with His word and His Spirit.
Here the prophet is given great news: "They probably will not pay any attention to you." They are known for their rebellion, for their hardness to the word of God, for their stubbornness in sin. Three times since the Spirit entered into Ezekiel, he is told by the Lord that the ones he is being sent to are rebellious.
As we read the word of God, and as Christians who know the power of that Word, we would think that anyone, upon hearing the word of God, would fall under conviction right now.
We would think that God's people, especially, would rejoice at the teaching of God's word. We can expect that the heathen would not appreciate the truth, but God's people!
The prophet is prepared with the prospect that they probably will not pay any attention to him, but not until after the Spirit enters into him.
In fact, the rest of the chapter indicates that the ones he is sent to will mock and persecute him. WHAT A PROSPECT! Yet they will know that he was speaking the word of God.
How many people do we encounter who are like this? But we have no choice but to confront them with the word of God.
V. 2:6. Evil cannot endure under the preaching of the word of God against the evils of the age. The result of the Prophet speaking the word of God to these people who did not want to hear it are given:
1. They will take action against him with things which would cause the natural man to be fearful.
2. They will speak against him.
3. The marg. reading for briers and thorns, is rebels. They will openly rebel against the word of God that he is trying to deliver.
4. Scorpions.. Would be ones intent on harming him, even killing him because he presents a message from God which they do not want to hear.
5. They will make faces at him, seeking to scare him, and to confound him so he cannot deliver the word of God.
A pastor who stands against the evils of the age, will not be successful and prosperous in the world's eyes, in fact, he will be despised, 3:7. People who desire to live their own standard will not like to be disturbed, and will be offended. Preach against drinking and the ones who love it will flee. Preach the Biblical perspective of a woman, and people will flee. Preach Biblical standards of morality, and people will flee. Preach a Biblical view of social issues, and people will flee.
I made people mad when I said that scripturally we had no business in the Gulf war. The Star, Saturday, had an article EX-ENVOY TO IRAQ MAY HAVE MISLED CONGRESS. She told congress that she has delivered a stern warning to Iraq over any invasion of Kuwait. The cables she sent to the State Department were kept secret, but somehow the Washington Post obtained copies of them. It turns out that the report that Saddam made of the meeting with her was true. They reported that she had told them that the US viewed the dispute with Kuwait as an internal border dispute and the US had no opinion in it. This assured Saddam that he could do what he felt he should, and the US would not interfere. Then after he did it, Bush refused to talk with him about the promise the US had made in the matter.
History will reveal some things that will no doubt embarrass us.
And we need to be prepared for people that we try to witness to according to the word of God, and His standards amidst the accepted standards of the world. We will offend when we stand on God's word.
Someone told me of a unsaved person who attends a Baptist Church where some of our former members now go. This unsaved person enjoyed going there because they left the services feeling uplifted. If the preaching uplifts the ones who are in open rebellion to God (unsaved), then it is not God's word which is being preached.
IV, and most important for us today. Vs. 7, 8, the response of the people could not determine if he obeyed God or not.
A. 2:8, "Now listen to Me," says the Lord. The Spirit has entered into Ezekiel, he is not required to do anything in his own power or strength, Nor of his own will. Just like you and I, this is not his idea of a good time, nor is it his idea of a receptive people to go to. But he is not going of his own will, nor is he delivering his own message. He is going at the will of God, delivering the message of God for God.
B. If he did not go and speak the words of life as instructed by the Lord, he would not be any better than the rebellious people that he was being sent to. If he did not go, he faced the same result for rebellion as did the ones who would mock him.
Now notice this important point for us.
1. We do not take a stand with an unpopular message from the word of God in the face of the standards of the world, because there might be someone receptive to it.
2. We do not go and preach the Gospel to every creature because of the prospect that some one might hear us and believe, although we have the confidence that it is the power of God unto salvation to those who are the called of God.
We go because we are commanded to go. If we don't go in obedience to our Lord's command, we are in as much rebellion as are those to whom we are sent.
And with this we will quit for now.
Do we really believe that hell is real?
Do we really believe the word of God?
Are we going to be as rebellious in this area as are the ones we are to go to with the warning?
May God give His Good Spirit to us that we might be able to stand upon our feet and obey Him in this area, no matter whether anyone listens or not.
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