Proclaim What The Lord Says! (July 8, 2018)

Sermon Text: Ezekiel 2:1 – 5 

Pastor Daniel Schmidt

Last week, as we looked forward to our July 4thcelebrations, we talked about celebrating the Savior-God’s grace as Christian citizens by supporting the work of our government and by supporting the work of the church.  As we continue to celebrate the grace of the one true God that won the forgiveness of all sins for you and me through Jesus our Savior, today you and I give thanks that he has made you and me messengers of his grace.  By God’s grace, you and I are messengers of his Word.  Giving all thanks and praise to the Lord God for the forgiveness of sins that you enjoy through your Savior, Jesus Christ, share this Good News with others and PROCLAIM WHAT THE LORD SAYS!

Ezekiel was a prophet of the Lord who had been taken away to Babylon, following the first time the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem.  At the time of our reading from Ezekiel chapter 2, the final fall of Jerusalem had not yet taken place.  Among the exiles in Babylon, there were some who were telling the people that there would be no great destruction of Jerusalem; that they would soon be going home. But this was not true.  So the Lord chose Ezekiel to proclaim his true Word. It was a difficult message from the Lord that Ezekiel was to proclaim.  Ezekiel knew that Jerusalem would be destroyed.  But he also knew that in his great love for his people, the Almighty Lord would one day bring his people back to Jerusalem as he promised.

How could Ezekiel boldly proclaim what the Lord said: a message of destruction; a message that would be extremely unpopular with the people?  Because of whose word he was proclaiming!  It was the Lord God himself who chose Ezekiel to be his messenger. We are told in the verses before us, “He [the LORD] said to me, ‘‘Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”  2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3 He said: ‘‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day.”  Notice what happened to Ezekiel.  He didn’t come to the Lord, asking to be one of his messengers. Rather, God the Holy Spirit picked Ezekiel up off his feet and made him a messenger of God’s Word.  It is God the Holy Spirit who would give Ezekiel the strength he needed to face a people that would not want to listen to him.  As the Lord tells Ezekiel, “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’  5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Ezekiel didn’t have to wonder what he was going to say to the people. His message was the message the one and only true God had for his people.  Ezekiel didn’t have to worry about how he would be received as the Lord’s messenger.  Whether they listened to him or not, Ezekiel was to serve the Lord faithfully as his prophet, knowing that it was the one and only true God who was sending him to proclaim his Word.  If the people rejected what they heard from Ezekiel, they weren’t rejecting him but rather they were rejecting the Lord who sent him.

A lesson that Ezekiel chapter 2 teaches us is that the same Lord who sent out Ezekiel, also chooses you and me to proclaim what the Lord says.  You are to be like the Lord’s prophet Ezekiel and, with the power of God the Holy Spirit, boldly proclaim a message that may not make you the most popular with your friends, your neighbors or even members of your family.

But, for the sake of people’s souls, you are to go out proclaiming what the Lord says.  This means proclaiming the Law of our God; to show people their sin; to show people their need for a Savior.  This will not be a message that people like to hear.  Some may even become very angry with you.  How are you able to face such opposition as a messenger of the Lord? Because like Ezekiel, God the Holy Spirit stands you up on our feet and sends you out.  In his Word, the Lord of the Church says to each one of you, “Stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”  Because you do not go on our own, you are able to say, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says.”

And what does the Sovereign LORD say?  That is summarized for us in Romans chapter 3, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, sent by the Lord of the Church, empowered by God the Holy Spirit, proclaim what the Lord says!

The Lord told Ezekiel that there would be challenges that he would have to face as he went out as a messenger of God’s Word.  The Lord of the Church tells you and me that we, like Ezekiel, will have to face opposition to the message we have to share with people.  The sinful nature inside of every person doesn’t want to hear God’s Law. This sinful nature likes to think that there is no need for a Savior.  So, the Lord of the Church sends you and me out to people armed with his Word so that you and I are able to say, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says.” As forgiven messengers of God’s Word, you and I are given the wonderful privilege of proclaiming what the Lord says in his Word.  It is a task that the Lord of the Church gives to you and me, as he sends you and me out in the power of God the Holy Spirit.  Dear fellow messengers of God’s Word: go and proclaim what the Lord says! Amen.