Saturday, March 20, 2010

Radical obedience Part III

5:25 p.m. Today's project is to continue in Ezekiel Chapter Three in order to prepare the substance of our message to rebellious exiles. That is exactly what unsaved people are: exiled from God and without a claim to citizenship in heaven. Ephesians 2:12b describes the unredeemed as "...having no hope and without God in the world." Ephesians 2:19 describes the believer: "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." The newly born again believer has leapt over a great chasm!Or more accurately, walked across on the outstretched arms of the crucified Christ!

The Holy Spirit convicts a believer of sin and God adds those that He wills to the church (Acts 2:47), so what part do we play in reaching the lost? God could prepare a Damascus Road experience (Acts Chapter Nine, where Jesus Himself appears to Saul of Tarsus) for every unsaved person if He chose to--our triune God is certinly omnipresent! Instead, the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians, "it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." (I Corinthians 1:21, NKJV). The NLT puts it this way: :"Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe." Our message of repentance and profession of faith is indeed a simple one in the eyes of the wordly wise!!

However, we know that there are components of an effective witness, and one must wait on the Lord for the opportunity to speak and the particular person to speak or preach to. We must pray and study the Bible, because the Gospel is presented throughout.

Ezekiel had a seven day waiting period before received his message, including a vsion of the beings, after the Spirit lifted him up. Note Ezekiel 3:14:

"The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. I went in bitterness and turmoil, but the LORD's hold on me was strong."

Have you ever felt utterly compelled to share a word from the Lord with someone, but bitterness and turmoil were your primary emotions? Yet you were inexorably driven to complete your mission? That was Ezekiel as he came to the colony of Jewish exiles on the Kebar River. There, completely overwhelmed, he waited seven days for the message he was to speak.

I have experienced the compulsion that comes from "the Hound of Heaven," as Shakespeare called God, andhave been all set to speak to a person, and then told to wait. And the Christian practicing radical obedience knows that not to speak is as critical as speaking, if God is leading you. It's His work, and His timing!
We merely represent Him.
Next, Part IV: the content of our message.

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