Our Sunday School lesson came from Ezekiel 11:14-21. The lesson was entitled "A New Heart" Ezekiel was told by God to let the people know that wherever they were scattered God would be a sanctuary for them there! It is great for us to know that God is not confined to a geographical location? He can meet us and we can be in His presence right where we are! This news brought great joy to the Israelite captives because they were displaced and disconnected from the Temple.
He also promised to do something else for them. He said that He would give them a new heart, so that they could keep God's commands. I got real excited when we explored this part of the story. God knows that on our own power, we cannot keep His Word, so He gives us the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to assist us in doing His Will. What a Gracious God we serve. There were several other points in this lesson, but those were a few of the highlights we touched on.
Bible Study was off the chain! I will say this early. I have seminary training and know the difference between preaching and teaching, but today I admit that I raised up just a bit! We are continuing our series in Romans. Today we looked at Romans 4:18-25. This chapter deals with justification by faith. We see that through the life of Abraham that God justifies by faith, not our works, not our religious rites, nor by the law.
This is an awesome passage filled with promise! It has already been stated that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Having said this the text goes on to explain in verses 18-21, "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
This about knocked me over! I wonder today can we believe God in spite of what it looks like? All Abraham had was God's promise, but that's all Abraham needed! He was so confident that God was going to do what He said that Abraham forgot that he was almost 100 and Sarah was almost 90! Someone once said that we don't realize that God is all we need until God is all we have left!
He was not divided between God's Word and his wisdom, but rather was strengthened by his faith and had full confidence in the fact that if God promised it, God would perform it! That's a word for someone today. Stop looking at what's going on around you and remember what God promised you! It doesn't matter if it makes sense to anyone or even yourself, just trust His promise! If God promised it, God will perform it! If God tells you a duck can pull a truck, just be quiet and hook the duck up!
God will do what He said He will do! The problem is not with God but with us. We have to have the patience to wait and the perseverance to walk. What do you mean walk? There's a promise of blessing, but there's also a place of blessing, and you have to walk by faith from promise to place. I know what you may be thinking; there are pitfalls, potholes, problems, and persecutions, but there's also a promise of His Presence. If we walk by faith, God will lead us from promise to place by His Presence!
The lesson closed by letting us know that Christ died for our sins, but was raised for our justification! This is where it got real heavy! Christ’s resurrection was the proof, the demonstration and vindication of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice! If you ever question the fact that you're forgiven, go check out the tomb! He's not there! Above the tomb is a sign that says, "He is not here, He is risen!" Living He loved me! Dying He saved me! Buried He carried my sins far away! Rising He justified me, freed me forever! One day He's coming back, what a glorious day!
I'm still in a blaze from this Wednesday in the Word! Well it's late and I just found out that I have to preach at our District Board Meeting in a few hours, so let me get some sleep. Pray for us that the Lord gives us strength and power to preach His Word! I will post later to let you know how it went. Be Blessed!