Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God will bless His people because of His name and despite their sins. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to trust God to take care of His people because of His name and to work on our sin issues.
Read Ezekiel 36:22-24
I. Holy Name. In our Sunday School material, the Lord sends a word through Ezekiel to the Israelites. The Lord wants them to know that they have profaned His holy name. But He will rescue them for His own name’s sake.
- God’s message. Notice in vs. 22 that the Lord sent word through Ezekiel. In like manner, God still sends a word through those He has sent as His messengers.
First, as believers, we are to be messengers/witnesses for the Lord. We should be telling and showing people that salvation and living for the Lord are real.
Second, we should listen to and obey what God is saying through those He has chosen. Every human being has some sin issues. But God can still speak through them. Let’s work on being messengers for the Lord and receiving the messages that He sends through others.
- For the name of the Lord. Notice in vss. 22-24 that the people profaned the Lord’s name, but the Lord was going to bless them for the sake of His own name.
First, as in the Sunday School material, when we sin, especially willfully, we profane the name of the Lord. That is, we treat His name with great disrespect. As children/people of God, we are a reflection of God.
Think about how where we go, what we do, and what we say always reflect on God. Second, God has enough concern with His name, His reputation, His character that He will do somethings to protect it.
In our text, He will bless His people, even though they don’t deserve it, as His way of protecting His name. Many of us are here today, not because we deserve it, but because God honors His own name.
Let’s live like we want to honor God’s name, instead of profane it. This kind of living should be known for being sure of our salvation through Christ and loving God and others, as we love ourselves.
Read Ezekiel 36:25-27
II. Holy People. The Lord will clean His people. In our Sunday School material, He will replace their stony hearts. With their new hearts, they will be moved to obey the Lord.
- Cleansing and new hearts. Notice in vss. 25-27 that the Lord promises cleansing and heart replacement that leads to obedience. First, we should thank God that He doesn’t just throw dirty people away and create new ones.
God is willing to clean up those who He considers dirty. Since God is willing to clean up dirty people, we should not lose heart about our dirtiness, and we should be careful about writing dirty people off too soon.
Second, God can replace stony hearts. The heart, in this context, is the place of beliefs, thoughts, and values. Some people are so hard hearted that instead of fixing their heart, God replaces them.
We should be thankful that God is
able and willing to replace hearts, instead of simply getting rid of the hard-hearted
people. We should also be willing to let God change our hearts – beliefs,
thoughts, and values.
Let’s work on living like those who have been born again through Christ. As Christians, we are not waiting on cleansing and a new heart, we already have them through Christ.
Read Ezekiel 36:28-30
III. Fertile Land. After the things mentioned above, the Lord has some plans to be bless His people. They are to live in the promised land. They are to enjoy abundance, instead of embarrassing famine.
- Spiritual and material blessings. Notice in vss. 28-30 of our Sunday School material that God has all kinds of blessings in store for His people. First, the greatest blessings on the list are being in fellowship with God and being saved from our uncleanness.
If we have all the abundance of the land without fellowship with God, we still have major problems. Thank God for His saving us from our uncleanness. We cannot take credit for our salvation or brag about our righteousness.
Second, God is able and often willing to supply material blessings – land, abundant food, and removal of disgrace. When we don’t appreciate the value of fellowship with God, we can make the blessings of God “little gods” in our lives. When we have fellowship with God, we can still have peace and joy, even when our material blessings are far from abundant. Let’s live like we appreciate fellowship with God and trust His ability to supply all our needs and more.
Read Ezekiel 36:31-32
IV. Repentant People. In our Sunday School material, the Lord wants His people to consider their shameful ways. The Lord’s goodness is given because of His own character and name. It is given despite the people’s evil and wicked ways.
- God’s grace. Notice in vss. 31-32 that the Lord wanted the people to remember that they were blessed because of His grace, not because of their righteousness. In fact, the Lord wants them to be ashamed of their evil and wicked ways.
In like manner, we should remember that all that we have is because of God’s grace, not our goodness. In fact, if God gave us only what we deserved, we would all be destroyed by God’s punishment by now.
Let’s live like we understand and appreciate the grace of God. Such living should include enthusiastic worship and serious effort to live by God’s will.
Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting God to take care of His
people because of His name, and let’s work on our sin issues. God has much for
those who obey His will.