Sunday, March 21, 2010

Radical obedience Part IV

10:33 p.m. Today's project is to realize that as representatives of Christ, we must speak a message in His behalf: truthful, loving, and reflecting the awesome righteousness of God--in mercy, justice and judgment. II Corinthians 5:19-20 says, NLT, "For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!' "

We have an earth-shattering, life-changing message to give, but do we feel the power of it enough to PLEAD with the unsaved? Would we risk the embarassment of a heartfelt appeal given with all of our strength and Holy Spirit-graced eloquence, delivered with longing for their souls?

In Ezekiel 3:17-21, the prophet is appointed "a watchman for Israel," and warned that if he fails to deliver the message, he will be held accountable for the deaths of the unrepentant! Do we accept accountability for those we could be sharing with, and are even given "divine apppointments" to share with, but refuse to do so? I have dropped the ball more than a few times in my 30 years as a believer, but the Holy Spirit and my conscience compel me to make another opportunity to speak to the person, to be obedient the next time. Should I worry as to whether it's God's will for me to seek a sharing oportunity? Not when God already told me to witness to them! My efforts or yours don't always result in an immediate conversion, and maybe our timing isn't always perfect, but are you ever doing wrong by doing right? We are commanded to evangelize!

Ezekiel is then directed by God to perform several "prophetic sign acts" to get the exiled idol-worshiping Jews' attention. He is told by the Lord to be tied with ropes and speechless until time to speak; to map out the siege of Jerusalem; bear the sins of Israel on his body while lying on his side for 390 days, then turn onto the other side for 40 days signifying Judah's sin, while eating extremely small portions of food; shave his head with a sword and divide the hair into lots to be destroyed in different ways, all to demonstrate the disease, famine, slaughter and scattering of the Jews. (Chapters 3,4 and 5)

Only after these graphic public illustrations does Ezekiel pronounce the message from God of utter destruction: Chapter 5:15b, NLT: "You will be a warning to all the nations around you. They will see what happens when the LORD punishes a nation in anger and rebukes it, says the LORD."

We have a message of dire warning to give as well--eternity in hell! But can we deliver a message showing God's love that far outweighs His righteous obligation to mete out just judgment? II Peter 3:9 says, "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." That's why he sent His beloved Son Jesus to die in our place!

In Part V, we will craft a balanced message from balanced motives.

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