TEXT: Ezekiel 36:22-28
READING: Psalm 115:1-18
SUBJ: The determinations of God in salvation compared to the offerings and ideas of men.
AIM: That we should fully submit to the provisions of God in every aspect of salvation and delight in them.
INTR: Often there is a question with Old Testament Scriptures as to whom they apply. Some would insist on passages such as this as specific to Israel and only realized in a yet future Kingdom.
1. We are bound to honest exposition regarding the scripture – Old and New it is still the Word of God, and we are not to take liberties with it.
2. We are not always able to establish a clear interpretation, but we often see parallels elsewhere in scripture that suggest that there is legitimate application of principles or truths revealed as part of a larger picture.
3. Many concur in the thought that prophecy often has present and future or a more distant future fulfillment. The description of the work of the Lord here is certainly in keeping with that which is described in the New Testament.
THESIS: The ultimate hope conveyed to Israel and all true believers is in what the Lord said He would do and certainly not in the doubt and despair on the part of men created by the ideas of men. Either we trust the plan of God or men.
I. The determination of God despite the deplorable condition of Israel (vv. 22-24)
1. A certification of cause with God:
1) Not for their sakes
2) For His Holy Name’s sake
2. A matter of true name recognition – It was to be sanctified. Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
3. The heathen should have known by the life of the Israelites, but the opposite had occurred. 1 Peter 2:9 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 marvellous light:
4. Compare verse 24 with the calling of the elect from every nation. Romans 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
II. The means whereby God will realize His purpose (vv. 25-27)
1. V. 25 --The washing of regeneration and we note the emphasis on “will I sprinkle.” And “I will cleanse.” See Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
2. V. 26 New Heart and New Spirit
1) A new heart with new affections and desires. There is true attachment to Christ and a knowledge of His Love that another cannot know – Believers experience love that the world knows nothing about. – Ability to care comes from Christ – “He careth for you.”
2) A new spirit with newness of life and breath and reaction to God and delight to do His will. It is the creation of new character that is consistent with that of Christ our Lord. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)
3. The results of such a “heart transplant:”
1) (It is “I will” again). A stony heart removed – cannot be accomplished by the will of man.
2) (I will again). Replaced with a pliable and moldable heart that God can work with because it is derived from the very nature of His Son. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)
4. The result of a new spirit – He will put and cause the desired result (See Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.)
1) I will cause you to walk – Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
2) Ye shall keep my judgments – that is you will treasure them and you will like it!!! And will delight to do His will.
III. Further observation:
1. Men lay claim to the miracles that God alone can perform – New heart! New Spirit!
2. What God does is salvation. What man does is the result.
3. The call to man is not to reason, but to believe and in that way, promise is claimed.
4. Yet, “God has fixed it up so that man can have exactly what he wants” B. B. Caldwell. People fall on His mercy because there is no other way, and they trust Him because they want to – the opposite is true as well.
5. We are reminded that it is for His Holy Name’s sake and I for one do not want to presume that I could accomplish that in a million years – Salvation is of the Lord.