Ambassadors of God
The calling on our lives as Christians is to fulfill the Great Commission.
What is the Great Commission?
We find it in:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We have been called to take God’s word to every nation and make disciples in as many places as possible. Our church was placed here in Bolingbrook so that the people in this very community would come to know the name of Jesus.
I love how chapter 1 of Ezekiel ends.
28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
Ezekiel sees this great vision of the God, falls down on his face and he heard the voice speaking. If we were seeing this play out as a Netflix mini series, we get to this climax of seeing the awesome and astounding vision and just as God begins to speak we see “To Be Continued...” flashed across the screen before it fades to black.
1 And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” 2 And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. 4 The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ 5 And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7 And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house. 8 “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” 9 And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
As I described last week, the Israelites were like the kids who are always in time out.
In this instance, Israel is in the 5th year of their exile in Babylon and they are still rebelling against God.
Sermon Point 1:
Ambassadors of God have a Difficult Mission
God commissions Ezekiel for a specific mission. Ezekiel’s mission was to take God’s message to the people so that they would be convicted of their sin.
We see this happen in the New Testament in Acts where Peter delivers his sermon at Pentecost.
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
God calls Ezekiel to take his word to the people in his own nation. The only problem is that the people don’t want to hear this message.
In the television series and movies Mission Impossible, the Impossible Missions Force agent receives a message describing a mission that needs to be done and says, “Your mission should you choose to accept it...”. These agents carry out covert missions against dictators, crime lords and evil organizations.
Ambassadors of God have a difficult mission. Why?
Ambassadors of God have a difficult mission. Why?
Because people are difficult. People are messy. People are broken.
God uses the word rebellious constantly to ensure Ezekiel gets the picture of what he was about to walk into.
Unlike the TV show and movies, this mission is not impossible.
When speaking about salvation in Jesus says:
27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
I’ve urged you all to identify one person in your life who does not follow Christ that you could intentionally be praying for. Praying that the Lord would open opportunities for you to have gospel conversations with them.
Are they going to be begging you to hear about who Christ is and what he’s doing in your life?
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
God did this work for us. God does this work every day.
We were once a difficult audience but once grace softened our hardened hearts, we were changed.
When you feel intimidated by being an ambassador for God, just remember how He rescued you and what he did for you.
Sermon Point 2
Ambassadors of God Will Be Provided For
8 Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10 Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 11 And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”
I referenced Mission Impossible earlier and the agents were expected to use their experience and ingenuity to complete the task they were given. Or some of you remember the show MacGyver where this military trained guys is put in several precarious situations and could make a bomb from bubble gum, a shoe string and gun powder.
God gives Ezekiel (and us as well) all the tools need to do the job we’re tasked with.
Ezekiel literary means, “God strengthens”.
Even though the audience would reject the message and have hardened hearts, Ezekiel would be even more determined to deliver the message they need to hear.
The primary tool provided to us is through the Holy Spirit. Everything depends on the spirit.
We have a ton of examples for God’s messengers being filled with the Spirit for the purpose of delivering the word of God.
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,
31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
You see our problem is not with receiving the Spirit, our problem is in relying on Him.
In the book Spirit Empowered Preaching, Arturo Azurdia says this:
“The greatest impediment to the advancement of the gospel in our time is the attempt of the church of Jesus Christ to do the work of God apart from the truth and the power of the Spirt of God.”
Sermon Point 3
Ambassadors of God Must Respond
17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
Ezekiel would be held accountable for what he did with the word of the Lord.
Ezekiel (and us) are given a message and it’s up to us what we will do with it.
If Ezekiel withholds the message, there would be peril for the people and their blood would be on his hands. If he proclaimed the message but they still failed to to repent, then their blood would be on their own hands, but Ezekiel would be saved.
Brothers and sisters, what are we doing with the message we have been given?
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
We know that those who don’t submit their lives to Christ are destined for destruction.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Why are we not Watchmen like Ezekiel trying to warn everyone we can?
How many people in Bolingbrook haven’t heard that Christ not only came and lived amongst us but was beaten and killed for our transgressions. He conquered the grave and was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of the Father?
Who at your workplace doesn’t know that Jesus is coming back to judge the world?
13 before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
How many mothers and fathers tuck their kids in bed at night but cannot or will not share the hope of Christ with their children?
WE… are NOT responsible for someone hearing the gospel and rejecting it, but we ARE responsible for making sure they hear it.
Sermon Point 4
Ambassadors are Prepared by God
27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.
God has prepared Ezekiel his prophet for his assignment.
God causes Ezekiel to be mute and bound in his home for over 7 years so that when he does finally speaks, others would know that Ezekiel was being used by God. People would know Ezekiel was on a mission with a word from the Lord.
I wonder if our friends and family see us that way?
When they hear us, are we speaking for God?
When they see us, are we on mission for God?
I want to be more like Ezekiel.
Whatever God wants me to say
Wherever God wants me to go
However God needs to prepare me, I am His.
If Ezekiel’s mission was difficult it pales in comparison to Christ’s mission.
Despised and rejected
says he was led like a lamb to the slaughter
Jesus was nailed to the cross and suffered our transgressions
The shackles of death that were meant for us were put on him
Jesus is the greater “Son of Man” that gave us the good news of the gospel