[SW241] 07/23/2016 message notes by
Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016
“A Violent Land”
Text: Ezekiel 8 and forward
Ezekiel addresses God’s people, with a word from the Lord. The land is filled with violence. Why? I prayed to the Lord, “I will not speak this unless You show me.”
Violence — Wrong, unjust gain, cruelty, damage, falseness, injustice, oppression, unrighteousness. It is violence in deed and in our dealings with one another, and it is violence in your dealings with the Lord.
In a vision, Ezekiel is taken back to Judah, to see sin among God’s people that is visible, and that which is not visible.
8:5 — Outside, north of the altar gate, in full sight, is the idol that takes the place of the Lord. He is a jealous God. He wants all of you. Our idols that we make are dead gods (Psalm 115). They are abomination to Him — loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, contrary to God’s nature. He is the only true and living God, and the only One who deserves our worship.
What is this idol that takes the place of the Lord? Prosperity. There are many big church buildings in the U.S. There is much preaching on prosperity, on naming and claiming, on the power of positive thinking, all centered on ourselves. There is political correctness, in order to keep the seats filled, so we can keep our buildings beautiful and our pockets full.
This idol of prosperity, which is visible to the whole world, takes the place of God. They serve it rather than God the Father and God the Son. They seek His hand, but are repulsed by His truth (Isaiah 6:10, Matthew 13:15).
What is the root of the idol of prosperity? I will show you later.
Brother Yun, one of China’s house church leaders, who wrote The Heavenly Man, was invited to the U.S. He was shown all of our big churches and parachurch ministries. He said, “You do not need more church buildings. You need revival.” A top leader in one denomination said he didn’t know what I meant by “revival.” Oh, my! I suggested he read about what happened in the Hebrides in Scotland in the mid-20th century. I was appalled that he did not know.
8:6 — But there is an even greater abomination to God, something even more loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, and contrary to His nature. It is hidden. It takes the place of God. I had to dig for it. What is it, Lord?
Sensuality and perverted sexuality. In many churches, our leaders — the elders — serve it. They think the Lord does not see them. But He does. We are to be a royal nation, a holy priesthood. But pornography is rampant, as is sexual abuse, pedophilia. Homosexuality is celebrated openly in some churches, so I can’t include that as a hidden sin any more.
What is the root of the idol of sensuality and perverted sexuality? I will show you later.
8:14 — But there is an even greater abomination to God, something even more loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, contrary to His nature.
Tammuz was a fertility and rain god who died every fall and rose again in the spring. Worship of him involved sexual promiscuity. And when he died every year, women mourned him with a particular kind of wailing, because when he died, the land became parched.
Why is that a greater abomination than elders and leaders who serve sensuality and sex? Even women of God, in whose womb He knits together His children (Psalm 139:13), worship and serve dead gods.
Among the women of the church are those who practice such things and wail at their parched spirits. Oh, that they would turn away from their sin and back to the endless fountain, Jesus Christ! With joy they would draw water from Him! (Isaiah 12:6)
What is the root of this licentiousness? I will show you later.
8:16 — But there is an even greater abomination to God, something even more loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, and contrary to His nature. It happens between the porch and the altar, in the inner court.
Men who are leaders/elders (see 9:6) worship natural light, with their backs to the Lord.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Light of the world, but they have turned from Him to philosophy, psychology, and business practices to fill their seats and pockets, to keep their dying denominations alive.
The Lord does not want a church with filled seats. He wants a church filled with Him! That will surely bring life to our deadness, just as in Ezekiel 37. And when the Spirit comes in, we will rise up into an army, to possess the land!
Like Sardis, they have a reputation for being alive, but they are dead (Revelation 3:1). I see dead men’s bones, lying in a boneyard (Ezekiel 37:1). Can these bones live? Lord, You know. Only by God’s Spirit coming in and filling each one heart!
What is the result of all of the practice of these abominations, these things that are loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, and contrary to God’s nature?
8:17 — First, by doing these things, God’s people and leaders repeatedly provoke (grieve, anger) the Lord.
Second, God’s people and leaders fill the land with violence — wrong, unjust gain, cruelty, damage, falseness, injustice, oppression, unrighteousness, violence in deed and in how we deal with one another, and in how we deal with the Lord.
The land is filled with violence,O wayward church, and you have no one to blame but yourselves. (See 2Kings 17:7ff.)
These are the difficult (literally, fierce) times of 2Timothy 3:5 —
2Timothy 3:1-2 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy . . .
2Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
Fierce times! That word was used of the Garesenes demoniac. These are demonic times.
What is the root of all of these abominations?
Love of self, and thereby, worship of ourselves. Christianity has become “me-centered” instead of “Christ-centered.”
Therefore, the land is filled with blood and the city with perversion (9:9).
What is the Lord’s response?
Verse 18 — Wrath, no pity, and He will not listen to those who commit all these abominations.
What will happen?
9:4 — Those who sigh and groan over all the abominations will be spared.
9:6 — As for the rest? Destruction, which will start from the Lord’s sanctuary, just as Peter warns —
1Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
With whom will the destruction begin? Why?
11:2 — The elders, because they led His people into these things. They devised such things. They gave evil advice to the church, to people who have no knowledge of God and are therefore easily deceived. They have said, “Go far from the Lord. You are saved.” (See Ezekiel 11:15.)
But the Christians who follow these elders and gather them to themselves will also be destroyed because of their lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) and thereby gathered such teachers to themselves (2Timothy 4:3). As Jesus said, when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a pit (Matthew 15:4).
Is there any hope for the church that has committed abominations, those things that are contrary to God’s nature?
11:17-18 — It will not be a complete destruction. Repentance is the only hope of those who have gone astray, as I myself have experienced when I turned away like the prodigal son (Luke 15:12).
The Lord always will have a remnant composed of those who repent and those who did not commit abominations against Him. Those who repent will confess their abominations to the Lord and ask Him to purify their hearts. He will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them — His Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27).
11:21 — But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and their abominations, He will bring their conduct down on their heads.
11:23 — The Lord’s glory, His presence, is on the mountain. His glory has lifted off His church.
He is standing on the mountain right now. He is waiting for you, O Christian, to repent.
Revelation 3:20 says He stands at the door of the church, and knocks. He is not inside the church, but outside, knocking. He is waiting for individuals to open to Him. Will you open? If you return to Him, He will return to you!
Beloved! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin (2Corinthians 11:2)!