Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 9 months ago

The Useless Made Useful (Ez 15)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ezekiel 15

Ezekiel, Chapter Fifteen. God continues, through his Prophet Ezekiel, a word of judgment to Jerusalem and the people there. Let's give our attention to it. And the word of the Lord came to me, son of man. How does the wood of the vine surpass any wood the vine brand that is among the trees of the forest. Is Wood taken from it to make anything? Do People take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it? Behold, it is given to the fire for fuel. When the fire has consumed both ends of it, in the middle of it is charred, it is is it useful for anything? Behold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing, how much less when the fire has consumed it and it is charred. Can it ever be used for anything? Therefore, thus says the Lord God, like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and I will set my face against them. Though they escape the from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, and you will know that I am the Lord when I set my face against them, and I will make the land desolate because they have acted faithlessly, declares the Lord God. Well, here the word of the Lord comes to this son of man, the Prophet is Ekiel, and the word that comes to Ezekiel is a parable at these, a story teaching tool that uses these natural things and events and institutions of this world to teach a lesson. And God gives this word to is equel to make a point, and this point teaches a several things which will think about this evening. It shows...

...us that God's judgment is fair, shows us that God's judgment is complete, and it also reminds us that God wants us to know him. It's one of the main reasons he's doing what he says he will do here. He says it several times, and he's said it several times before this passage, that they will know that I am the Lord God. God wants us to know him and he speaks to us in this word of judgment. So let's let's consider it this evening. First, the parable. It's pretty straightforward. I think it's pretty plain in a lot of ways. He points us to a vine and if you've seen a vine right, it's not like the branch of a tree or the trunk of a tree. Ei there usually kind of thin Ezekiel either, or the word that comes to his Ze Heel. The Lord makes this point about it when it was whole and not burned. Even then it wasn't good for anything, he says in verse three. Do People take a peg from it to hang a vessel on it? Right, would you cut a piece from a vine and attach it to your wall to hang anything on? Well, no, you would never do that with a vine. You would use a branch or some other useful thing. So the vine is not useful. Well, it's useful for one thing, and that is to be fuel for the fire to be burned. Is What the Lord says. And then he says in verse four, behold, it is given for fire, to the fire for fuel, and when the fire has consumed both ends of it, in the middle is charred. Now is it more useful? No, even less so. If it wasn't good when it was alive and it's not good now that it has been charred and burned. Well, the point is plain, and he tells us in verse six, like the Wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I have given up. The inhabitants of...

Jerusalem a striking phrase. These are what have also been called in other places the chosen people of God, the people which God brought out of Egypt, which God sent play after plague and and and righteous judgments on on Egypt, to bring them out, people which were brought into the land under great leadership, faithful rulers and in people like Moses Joshua, judges, who who protected and cared for the people, not always perfectly, some very imperfectly, but nevertheless the Lord was always working through this. People think of David and Solomon, the prophets, and now he's Ekuel, among many others, calling out, speaking to the people over and over and again. And now the inhabits of the Druth of Jerusalem have be been judged. They've been judged and they have been judged as useless, not good for anything. And so God says, I will set my face against them. Though they escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them in you will know by this that I am the Lord when I set my face against them. How will they know, and how will we know, that he is the Lord when he were at rules in this judgment. There are several ways. One is that he is powerful. God is that was often treated by his own people as a no thing, as a nothing, as something to be ignored, as someone that you could bypass. And instead they gave them their attention to the bails and other false gods. They gave their attention to their corruption and their power, their money and murder and idolatry and many other things. That's what they gave themselves over and over and over again. They disregarded God, they disregarded...

...his prophets, they disregarded as temple, they disregarded as law God had instituted. He had surround them with everything that they could possibly need to be righteous according to the law. He'd given them a land, he'd given them a temple. According to instructions from Heaven, he'd set up a priesthood meant for ministering all of this. He had given them specific sacrifices. He's told them this is how you please me, this is how your sins can be forgiven. He's given them everything. He's given them rulers, he's given them laws, he set up this whole country, and yet they proved themselves faithless. Faithless they he says, they have acted faithlessly and God is going to show them now that he is not like the idols that they have made. He is not a socalled God. He is the one true living God and when he decides to destroy, he will destroy. He reminds us that we must take him seriously, very very seriously. The scriptures tell us that our God is a consuming fire, and this is not the only thing that we might consider and look at. We have the flood. We have sought them in Gomorrow. We have event after event after events, small things and a big things, local things, worldwide, things that point over and over and over again to the point that God is not one to be mocked, messed with, laughed at, ignored and disregarded. And when God comes with judgment against his people, they will see that, they will learn it, and so will the rest of the world. The other thing that we come to know about God is that he is fair. He's not doing this out of spite...

...or for fun or anything like that. He's doing it because they've acted faithlessly. He is prosecuting the Covenant that they agreed to uphold over and over again, that he has warned them over and over again. He has given them opportunities to turn and too repent. He's given them signs, he's given them countless things, and yet they refuse. They refuse to be his faithful bride. Instead, as the scriptures say, they whore after other gods in adultery. Over and over and over again, God is going to be fair, he is going to prosecute and his covenant and that judgment is going to be complete. We learn that God again, it does things a fully, he does things well. Of the useless will be destroyed, they will be removed. And all of this God teaches us about himself. He teaches us that he upholds his name, that we might think we can exchange his glory for the things of this world, but we can't. It's a fool's errand it's a dead end and it does end in judgment. Our blessing here tonight, and the blessing that many people have had ever since ezechiel recorded these words, was to hear them and be warned. was to hear them and hear the seriousness of them and see in ourselves are total innability to obey the law as God has required us to obey it, the law which we know we ought to do the law which is good, the law which is of Righteous, and yet we don't do it. Israel here is a microcosm of the whole...

...of humanity, and that's on purpose. God set things up in this way in history to teach us these lessons, to show us who we are and who he is, so that we could finally come to a dead end in ourselves and say there's nothing I can do. My Sin has corrupted me, my heart is engulfed with with unrighteousness. I keep going after idols, I keep fearing other things. I am useless because of my sins. God tells us these things. God is using these things in history to impress these truths on our hearts, truths which are made clearer and or at least emphasized by versus like Romans three and twenty three, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, glacis undred and seventeen, for the desires of the flesh are against the spirit, they're against him, they war against him, or Romans eight five, for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh. That's how fleshly people live. That's how worldly people live. When we set our minds on the things of the flesh, it's because we live according to the flesh and we will die according to the flesh, if that is where we will remain. That's what Ezekiel fifteen teaches us. It teaches us that, like Galatian six eight, says that the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. You plant these kinds of seeds and there's certain kinds of plants that grow effusions. Five six, let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

God doesn't wink its sin. God is capable of judging sin, and he does, and he does here and will in Jerusalem, and one day it's important that we all know that, when Jesus comes, he will judge the whole world completely and perfectly forever, just like this, destroying the unrighteous and all who have acted faithlessly and rebelled against him. So the question for us, then, is what hope is there if we know that we are born with this fleshly sinful nature, if we see how much inability there is in us, how much corruption in us, is in us, how much flesh there is in us? What can we do to be saved? What must we do to be saved? Is there any hope? And of course there is, because there's more chapters after Ezekiel fifteen and a whole new covenant which speaks about the promises of freedom from the condemnation that comes through the law. God continues to speak even after he judges Jerusalem. In fact, he will bring people back to Jerusalem to show the things that he is going to do in Christ. In order to have hope, in order to belong to something different, in order not to reap that corruption and judgment, the scriptures tell us that we must be born again, we must be made useful. John Three, three Jesus says to Nicodemus. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. But that holds out a little hope, doesn't it? Well, how can I be born again right as the as? There is the good...

...question to that. If I can change in a way, if my nature can no longer be that with which I was originally born with and can have something new, maybe there's hope they're, especially when it's Jesus who's saying it. And indeed he says, and John Three six, that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. If the flesh is Paul says, wages war against the spirit, it'll be good news to us to know that the spirit also wages war against the flesh and the spirit of God, it's more powerful than the flesh. Continuing on in John Three, we read and John Three thirty six, that whoever believes in the sun has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the sun shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. That's the place in which we are, that's what we are born into. But when we put our hope and we put our hearts, when we put our trust in the son of God, in Jesus Christ, who is come to rescue us from this I'm rescue us from this judgment we have, we receive. What does the Scripture say? Eternal Life, not everlasting judgment, not useless to the fire, but instead everlasting life. Indeed, Jesus will even talk in John of he'll use the image of a vine and he'll talk about us being united to him in such a way that we have life and have it abundantly, and we are, instead of being useless, become this creature that grows and flourishes in in Christ Moist First Peter Three, blessed be the God and father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy,...

...he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We can be born again because God comes into this world and he works in us. He changes us, he changes our hearts, that which we are unable to do. He is able to do that which we are stuck and controlled by. He's able to break those bars of iron, he's able to unlock the door and let us free, to set us free to a new life, a living hope, not a maybe hope, not a wishful hope, a living hope, one that is alive, one that we could describe and even name, as Jesus Christ himself. First Peter Again, twenty one hundred and twenty three says, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed, seed to be judged, we might say, but I imperishable of he says that has happened through the living and abiding word of God. Is Ze Heel hears the word of the Lord and it is a word of judgment, isn't it? But a Zekiel will also declare, not here in this chapter but in the coming chapters, is the Lord reveals it to him, a word of living hope. And that's how God speaks to us, both in the law and in the Gospel. He takes our sin seriously, he points them out, he presses his finger and he makes it go out, and then he also speaks to us that healing promise of the son of God, and through that word he brings us to life beloved. Through his spirit, he effectually causes calls us to himself and, as Peter says, he causes us to be born again. So Second Corinthians Seventeen. Therefore, if anyone is in is in Christ.

He is a new creation. We don't have eternal life by believing in Christ, just as like a mechanism that sort of flips the switch for salvation. But when we believe in Christ, we also are in Christ. We become a new creation, Paul says, a creation that is of the Holy Spirit, a creation, as he says. He goes on to say the old has passed away and behold, the new has come. And this creation that God makes, let me ask you, do you think this creation that he makes, when he dwells us with this Holy Spirit, when he draws us into Christ, when he sets before us this living hope, do you think God makes us useless or useful? He makes us useful and he does not fail at that. He doesn't, not at all, not a little bit. Second Timothy, to twenty one, says that as we cleanse ourselves from all of these things, receiving that through faith, we become vessels for honorable use through Christ. Not vessels or mixing things up now, but not vines as a fit to be thrown into the fire, but vessels useful for a household set apart. Is Holy, useful to the master of the House, and he says ready for every good work. Isn't that good news? Second Timothy hundred and seventeen says that the word of God is profitable for us. It does all these things in our hearts and in our lives. To do what? To make us equipped for every good work. He takes this useless vine and he makes it something useful, he makes it productive, he makes it, I'm valuable. Second or tight as three. One says that God makes us ready for every good work, and he does this by causing us...

...to remember and to live in the work that God has already done for us. That's our hope. We become a people that are not cast away as useless and faithless by God and so judgment, but through the word of God and his causing us to be born again, we become a people that are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit of God. We are given gifts and and tools that are put to use for his service. We become creatures that are no longer that are no longer but fit to be cast aside, but are fit to be wrapped up in his love and belong even to the new heavens and the new earth. This is our hope in Jesus Christ, and as you hear this word of judgment, in is he heal, let it be a warning for you again, if you need it, and we all do, let it be remind you of how incapable you are of fulfilling the law and how much you need Jesus and Jesus alone to save you from your sins and how much you need the spirit of God to unite you to him and to give you this living hope that is yours, that when and we are in Christ, we can know we are useful new creatures and we will not fear this judgment, but instead we will have that living hope of Christ and heaven. Let's pray.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (617)