THE WHITEWASHED CHURCH

[SW383] 6/15/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“The Whitewashed Church”

 Text: Ezekiel 13:1-16, etc.

I want you to picture a wall, thickly covered with plaster to conceal what lies beneath. This wall is made of evil that desolates, and the thick plaster is made of witchcraft (the practice of magic). 

Who builds such a wall, and where is this wall? False prophets, teachers and leaders build it! Where is it? In Judah in the days of Ezekiel, and in the church, today! The Lord’s great desire is that you see this truth and repent, for  surely, He will forgive you, if you repent from the depths of your heart. 

Ezekiel prophesied from Babylon, where he was taken during the first of several waves of exile of the Jews in Judah. His words from the LORD were for those in exile, and those in Judah who had not yet been carried into exile. And they are for you, today.

The LORD was long gone from them — His glory (His weighty presence) had left the temple, then the outer court, and finally, Jerusalem itself (Ezekiel 11:23), because of the idolatry His people were committing. 

It is the same in today’s church. In many places, Jesus left the building long ago. 

What idolatry is being committed in today’s church? Idolatry of self, with millions, and even billions, of believers across the globe flocking to the “me-centered” gospel that is carried by false prophets, teachers and leaders in the church. 

This misleading, seductive gospel is fueled by the inborn sin nature. And those who speak it have no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18). 

I tell you the truth — though by speaking this truth, I am mocked in much of today’s church — the Lord will gladly crucify your sin nature and fill you with His Holy Spirit, O believer, if you will believe Him. 

Verses 1-2 —

The Lord commands Ezekiel to prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy. He was to say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, “Listen to the Word of the Lord.” 

If the LORD has to say, “Listen to Me,” then these prophets are certainly not listening. They do not hear from the Lord, or know Him at all, for if they did, they would never say what they say, and do what they do.

The false prophets in Ezekiel’s day did what all false prophets do — they prophesied from their own imagination. I tell you the truth, is the same today. Remember that the mark of true prophets is this — they exhort God’s people to repent, and warn them of the consequences of their sin.

Verses 3-5 —

Thus says the LORD, then and now! Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. Their end will be destruction!

Ah, but the people have no discernment that they are lying, because the people themselves are sinning and love their sin! By gleefully following false prophets, teachers, and leaders, they reveal that they are spiritually blind, and are still infants in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1). And by their gleeful following of such ones, they reveal that they do not know the voice of the Lord, or they would never follow the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5).

Because they are spiritually blind, they are happy when a false prophet says, “God’s grace will keep increasing, though you keep sinning,” and “You can’t help but sin.” Paul and I exclaim to them —

Romans 6:1   What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

O Israel, O church, your prophets have been like foxes (literally, jackals) among ruins, scavengers among what is left of Judah, and what is left of the church — they are carnivores who devour meat. They devour you, O believer!

Paul warns the Ephesian church of what was to come —

Acts 20:29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

False prophets stroke and stoke the sin of infants in Christ. True prophets climb up into the breaches — the places of sin and thus, spiritual weakness in the hearts of infants in Christ  — and repair the breaches by exhorting believers to repent and ask the Lord to crucify their sin nature and fill them with His Holy Spirit. But it is up to the infants in Christ, to heed or mock the true prophets the Lord sends them.

If the words of true prophets are heeded by infants in Christ, the Lord will build a strong and impenetrable wall around them, one that stands and refuses Satan’s temptations, just as Christ did in Matthew 4:1-7)! And they will stand in the day of the Lord, at the end of things, and Jesus says they will hear from His mouth, Well done, good and faithful slave.” 

But false prophets, teachers and leaders do not speak the truth. Instead, advocate and bless behaviors that are an abomination to the Lord, and elevate those who sin — even to pulpits and even to leadership of entire denominations!

“The day of the LORD” is an end-time reference. What will you do then, O Judah, O church, O infants in Christ? You certainly will not stand, but will be judged, if you have flocked to the sweet-sounding lies of false prophets, teachers and leaders who devour you and whose words destroy you. Hear Hosea’s words about false prophets —

Hosea 4:8 They eat up (feed on) the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.

They feed on you, beloved. Their only desire is to continue to lie and to have you continue to believe their lies and continue to sin against the Lord.

Verses 6-7 —

False prophets, then and now, see falsehood and speak lying divination. I will say this in the original Hebrew-to-English — False prophets see evil that desolates, and speak witchcraft.

They say, “The LORD declares,” when the LORD has not spoken to them at all! He has not sent them!

They manipulate their hearers, stoking and stroking them with their evil words. That is witchcraft! Therefore, by their actions and words, they make it evident that the Lord does not know them at all, nor do they know Him!

And yet these prophets hope for the fulfillment of their words. They hope their words will succeed in what they want their words to do. But their words will not be confirmed, because their words do not come from the Lord. 

In the day of judgment, when they stand before Him, He will say —

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice (do) lawlessness (sin).”

The LORD says to the false prophets in Ezekiel’s day, “Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The LORD declares,’ but it was not the LORD who has spoken?” I ask the same, of today’s false prophets, teachers, and leaders!

Verses 8-9 —

Therefore, the LORD tells all false prophets, then and now, that He is against them. Why? They speak vanity (again, evil that makes desolate) and see a lie (deceit)!

Therefore, His hand is against the false prophets, then and now. They will not be in the council of His people. That means they will not be in the holy, intimate place where those who obey Him will be. They will not be part of His heavenly kingdom.

In addition, their names will not be written down in Israel’s registry. They will not be counted as citizens. They will not enter the promised land called Israel. And for today’s false prophets, their names are not written in the book of life. Only those who obey the Lord will enter His kingdom. Therefore, these false ones and their followers will not enter His kingdom. Instead, they will perish in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). 

Verse 10 —

Why will these things come upon the false prophets in Judah, and the false prophets in today’s church? It is definitely because they have misled (seduced) His people with their sweet-sounding words. What words? They say, ‘peace’ to sinning believers — today’s infants in Christ — when there is no peace between sinning believers and their Lord. 

Then and now, false prophets build walls of deceit, and plaster them over with witchcraft in order to conceal their deceit! 

The scribes of Jesus’ day were experts in the Law of Moses, but did not know the Lord. The Pharisees were the same, obeying the letter of the Law, but sinning in their hearts. Here is what Jesus says of such ones —

Matthew 23:27   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites (actors under an assumed character)! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

There are many actors under an assumed character in today’s church — even at the highest level of denominations today! They look good on the outside, because they have smeared whitewash over their witchcraft, so you cannot see them! But they are full of dead men’s bones and all impurity.

O blind believer! You do not look to the Word of God to see if what they say is truth. The Lord says then and now, My people perish for lack of intimate knowledge of Me,” and false prophets, leaders and teachers stand judged by Him already —

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed (perish) for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest . . .”

Today’s false prophets, teachers, and leaders are rejected by the Lord, but loved by blind believers who listen to those who do not know the Lord at all. And the blind ones who follow after the false ones do not know Him, either!

Verses 11-12 —

Therefore, the LORD says, Tell those who build a wall of deceit and thickly plaster it over with witchcraft , “Their wall will fall!” Their rickety wall made of lies will not stand! He will bring it down! 

He will send a flooding rain, and He will command the hailstones to fall, and a violent wind will break out. Jeremiah warns of that wind of judgment —

Jeremiah 4:11   In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people — not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too strong for this — will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.

When the Lord has blown His wind and rained His hail, the plaster of witchcraft that has concealed the false prophets’ wall of evil that desolates will fall! Then they will be asked, “Where is the plaster with which you have plastered it?” Suddenly, the deceit they have so carefully concealed will be exposed! He will do the same to today’s false prophets, teachers and leaders!

Verses 13-14 —

Again, the LORD repeats that He will make a violent wind break out, in His wrath (fury) toward the false prophets, then and now! Remember that when He repeats His words twice in a row, what He says will happen suddenly! 

And in His anger (breathing rapidly through His nostrils because of His great passion against them), there will also come a flooding rain to consume it, in wrath!

So, He will tear down the false walls of deceit that are plastered over with witchcraft. He will bring those walls down to the ground, so that even the bottom is laid bare! And the false prophets will be consumed in the midst of what they have built! 

Nothing is hidden from the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13)! He is revealing the hidden today, for the sake of His people — including you, O infant in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1)!

I tell you the truth, even now, the Lord is exposing false prophets, teachers and leaders. But many infants in Christ continue to follow them, because they love their words and do not know and fear the one they call “Lord.”

O infant in Christ, at the end of things, on the day of judgment, you will know that He is the Lord, and there is no other. You who have had no fear of Him will suddenly fear Him, but it will be too late. You and the false ones you have loved will be destroyed.

Verses 15-16 —

The LORD has described how He will spend (accomplish) His wrath toward all false prophets, then and now. The LORD will say to His people, “The wall is gone and the plasterers are gone.” 

The plasterers who plastered with witchcraft will be gone, and the wall they built of destructive deceit will be gone. The Lord will spend His wrath on the false prophets, teachers and leaders because they have seen false visions of peace for Judah, and for the church today. The false ones who plastered, and the walls of destructive deceit that they built, will never again be seen! The LORD God declares it. Therefore, it will come to pass!

What is His purpose for exposing false prophets, then and now? That His spiritually blind people will finally see that they have believed words that will destroy them, and have been manipulated with lies, and repent from their hearts. 

He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). Peter wrote that letter to believers!

Some will say to me, “Once saved, always saved.” But those words are not in the Word of God. If they were, Jesus Christ would not have written to the believers at Sardis that, unless they repented, their names would be erased from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). 

When you believed into Jesus Christ, you were saved from being under God’s wrath, and reconciled to God. But if you continue to rebel by sinning against Him, you will become the Lord’s adversary and lose your salvation —

Hebrews 10:26  For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries (of the Lord).

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says, “Then there remains no sacrifice for sins. Such people have rejected the sacrifice of Christ.”

Beloved, true prophets build strong walls of truth and speak the life-giving Word of God. Those who heed true prophets will stand in the day of the Lord, at the end of things.

But you will only stand if you heed the exhortations of the true prophets the Lord has sent! You must repent, and obey the commands of Jesus Christ to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high, and wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

Heed my exhortation today, that you ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (see Luke 11:13), and crucify your sin nature —

Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (the sin nature) with its passions and desires.

Then today’s false prophets, teachers and leaders will no longer have power over you, to draw you into sin, for you will be dead to sin (again, Romans 6:1-2). Therefore, you will no longer sin against the Lord. 

So, die to sin, and you will surely live! Die to sin, and you will surely stand! 

Lord Jesus, may these words open blind eyes to see the deceit and lies they have believed. I pray it in Your name. Amen.

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