Ezekiel 7_10-27 By what standard
By what standard?
Judged by our own standards
Lords Day 13-08-06 6.30pm
Call to worship
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5)
Doxology Hymn no 331: “Majesty”
The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless the house of Israel, He will bless the house of Aaron,
He will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 115:12-13, 15)
Prayer of Adoration and Invocation
Hymn: “O Lord my God” (MP 506)
Offering and Dedication
While the stewards wait upon the offerings, all remaining seated sing:
Hymn: “Meekness and Majesty” (MP)
Prayer for others
Scripture Readings Luke 14:15-24
Sermon “By what standard?”
Let’s for one moment say this is true: the way we live is the way we die. The standards we apply for living are the standards God will apply to judge us by when we die. What is important to us while we live is going to be important for God to judge us by when we die. The way we think about God while we live, is the way God will take as standard to apply to determine our eternal destination. The way we serve God while we live is the way God will judge us by when we die.
This is hypothetical for the believer who found salvation in Jesus Christ. We know we will not be judged by our performance. We will not be judged according to our shortcomings; we, those who seek salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, will find complete salvation in the righteousness of Christ. Although we strive to be holy, we will never reach a level to fully repay God’s grace. This is what the Bible teaches by saving grace, justification, adoption, sanctification and perseverance. For this we thank God in Jesus Christ.
Those who have found grace in the eye of God and have accepted salvation in Jesus Christ will never rest to remain as they are. They will live a life of gratitude to please God and grow in their sanctification. They will fight against sin, overcome evil and grow in holiness before God. To them their own life will never be their standard, but the life of their Saviour will be their standard, ever growing to be like Him in their conduct, speech, prayer, works of service and commitment to the cause of the Gospel.
Living by grace is to constantly remember their lost-ness in sin and how God stretched out his hand of forgiveness to rescue when is was least expected and never deserved.
Living by faith is to constantly applying the standards of God’s Word to a life which is now under the control of the Saviour through the Holy Spirit. It is a life of obedience and commitment.
Living in hope is to constantly set the eyes upon Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father where we have an anchor for our souls and from whence we expect our eternal inheritance in Him will come. This inheritance stands firm and cannot be corrupted in any way.
; Uncertain standards to live by: a life without God
For the unbeliever the question is not hypothetical; it’s real: What is important to him while he lives is going to be important for God to judge him by when he dies. The way he thinks about God while he lives, is the way God will take as standard to apply and determine his eternal destination. The way he serves God while he lives is the way God will judge him by when he dies.
My question tonight then from the Word of God is: What standard do you apply to live by and what standard do you expect God to judge you by when you die?
; Let there be no uncertainty about two things: we all will die; we all will be judged.
The minister, a man of peculiar gift, talent, skill and personality, had tried to make an appointment to the farmer who was always to busy to attend worship or give any of his time or talent to the work of the Lord. Every time he was just to busy. It was time to prepare the ground for the harvest; or it was time for the harvest to be planted; or it was time to bring in the harvest. It was time for the stock to be drafted, time for it to be dosed, time for it to be counted, time for it to be marketed, time of it to be sheared. He was always just too busy for God.
The minister, driven by concern for the eternal wellbeing of the farmer’s soul before God, worked out a way: he fronted without an appointment, only to find the farmer on his tractor. The farmer recognised the minister, but kept on driving his tractor, not leaving a hint that he would stop for one minute to spend time on the minister. As he approached the end of the paddock, slowing down to turn around, the minister was ready to with one jump get on the tractor. He shut down the throttle, and as soon as the noise of the engine died down, he burst out in a short prayer. It more or less went like this: “Lord, old John here cannot find time to worship You. So Lord, I pray that You will show him that maybe You have no time left for him. But by your mercy I pray that he will find peace with You before your time for him runs out. Amen.”
He got off the tractor, bid the farmer farewell and left.
It was late that night that the minister heard a knock on his door. It was the farmer. “What do you mean I have no time for the Lord? And what do you mean the Lord might not have time for me?”
“Well,” the minister said, “lets talk about time. I do not know when either I or you will die. But let’s say God’s time is running out for you, on what grounds to you think God will allow you into heaven.”
The farmer with the rugged hands and the signs of years of sunburn on his face stood trembling. “I am scared to death that God’s time for me is running out. I need peace with God. Will you pray for me?” he asked the minister. He found peace with God.
; To the chapter in Ezekiel: Nothing will be left which was considered to be the standard of success (verse 11), or which provided security. Buyer and seller will be on the same footing: no-one has lost or gained anything (verse 12).
To stay put or to flee has exactly the same result: there is terror both within the city and without (verse 15).
Outward repentance without the accompanying inward repentance of the heart is useless (verse 18).
Riches of the world will mean nothing. That which brought esteem in the eyes of people, that which provided status, that which was the sign of blessing and success will become worthless. Silver or gold cannot save. What provides security now is worthless in the big picture of eternity.
; What people spend their time and energy on, distracting them from God now, will become that standard in the eyes of God to judge them by: it has not eternal value, it will not save (verse 19)
Although people do not worship the God of heaven, they worship another. It might be idols as in the day of Ezekiel, or it may be idols in chasing after the wind of pleasure, hedonism, self-realisation, sport, achievement, or even nothing. If this is your god, let this god save you in the day of judgement.
Having another god, or even having no god does not take away the reality of death and the judgment which follows. It is not for Christians only. The God of the Bible is not the choice of Christians only. Point is there is no other choice.
I am too busy for God, God can wait, He is only a God for emergency. My money is my own – God says keep your money, I don’t need it. My time is my own, I don’t have time for God; are you sure God will time for you? Do does not really see what I do, He is not really omniscient or omnipotent. Well if you think this of God, you will need far more than this to save you one judgment day. I can get away with meagre time and dedication to the Lord. What if He then applies the same standard on the day of judgement?
God says: “I will deal with them according to their conduct, and by their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (verse 27)
The result of a life without God: all security crumbles
; No peace in times of terror
; Disaster upon disaster; bad news following bad news
; No believable proclamation from the prophets, the priests or elders
; No hope in political leaders
Judge: to act as a king/ruler
Judge: to at as an advisor
Judge: to act as legal executive
Judgment of God: All the above, especially in the absence/negligence of earthly kings, inaction of elders as advisors and executioners of judgment.
Conduct: a way of living, setting a standard by way of customs and manners (the walking of a way – like killing the grass through constant use of the same route).
Standard: what is deemed to be the norm by which something is measured (like paying a person a wage in the form of a certain amount of money for a certain amount of work done. Repay of verse 7:3, 8, 9).
If your trust is in Jesus Christ, fear not. He then is your salvation, your righteousness, your brother because of your adoption into the household of God; the Father will sanctify you through the work of the Holy Spirit and Christ will persevere you till the day of his return. Are you falling short of the glory of God? Trust in Him, love Him, obey Him, lean upon Him, follow Him, and dedicate your life to Him. He is your Saviour.
If Christ is not your Saviour, you’ve everything to fear. Most of all this: He will use your standard of living to be the standard of your eternal destination. What a frightful thought. AMEN.
Hymn no 205: “No weight of gold or silver”
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)