Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ezekiel 34 & 36 -- Playing Church?

Are we attending a church gathering? Or are we being the church who gathers?  I have this overwhelming sense that we must be who we truly are in Christ. It is not a game for our comfort and our leisure. It is not about us making friends and having a social environment that keeps us free from worldly things.  It is about reigning with God as He sets up His kingdom on earth, taking over the earthly systems with His heavenly rule.

He rules through the hearts of His people and calls us to walk by faith in Him.  It is not a game. It is not a social club.  It's the church of the living God.  I believe God is calling us to wake up and be the church. Be who we really are as His new creation.

I have been seriously impacted by reading Ezekiel 34 and 36.   About 600 years before Jesus came, God was laying out His plan, the fullness of the gospel to the prophet Ezekiel.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the passages, and we are living in the fulfillment.  I am amazed by these passages.  I encourage you to read them and see the gospel which is now fulfilled in Christ.  God was tired of a religious leaders who only served themselves and did not love His people. They did not love Him. They fattened themselves up and cared for themselves, but they did not bind up the broken hearted or set captives free.  They did not seek out the lost sheep. Instead they were profaning His Name among the nations.

God's people were not being His people. They were being no different than the world around them, whereas God wanted them to be His people proclaiming His Name, so the nations might come to know Him and live free.  So God was against His people and He determined to do something totally new for His Name's sake.  He was going to do an inside job on a human being, transforming the heart of a person. Within this transformed heart, He would place His Spirit and cause His people to obey His commands.  Jeremiah says that God would place His law in our hearts.

God was created for Himself a new humanity, a people who were chosen by Him, and in Whom He would dwell, living His life in and through them.  Through these people God would restore and bring all things back into alignment with Himself.

God has accomplished all of this in Christ.  And when we surrender our lives to Christ by faith, we enter into the fulfillment of this promise.  We enter into Christ and we receive a new heart that beats only for God.  We become His royal priesthood and His holy nation, a people who belong to Him that we might proclaim the mercies of the God who saved us.  God calls us to be who we are as His new creation. To believe Him.  To know that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  

God did not do all this so we could just survive and keep trying to work on ourselves.  The work has been done in Christ.  The work is finished. Now our work is to believe Him, that what He said He would do, He has actually done in Christ.  We are a new humanity. And we have the resurrection power of Christ living in and through us every moment of the day and night.  We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

Our hearts are not desperately wicked. They are new and holy before God.  We have been cut away or circumcised from the body of sin of the flesh. We have been sealed in God through His Spirit. We have been set free from the power of sin and death having been crucified in Christ. The old us is dead and we have been made new. We are holy beings, made by the power of God.  So He calls us to be who we are. We are light so live as children of light.  Live and reign and love and be all He created us to be in Christ to see His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

God is doing an amazing thing!  If only we would believe Him, dying to all we once knew and focus in on His Word, resting our full faith on Him who died to set us free.  I praise Him. He is Great and Loving. His understanding is limitless and His plan is without flaw.  Let's grab hold of the gospel, not wavering to the right or the left from the hope laid out before us. Let us run with endurance the race set before us. Let us rise up and believe, and in believing, become mature in our faith as faithful children of the Living God.

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