Key Verse:

“I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. – Ezekiel 20:37-38 NKJV

The Two Sides

Over the last few weeks, we have talked about the good works of the Lord and our faith in those works.  At the end of the day, all of us want to know that our faith in the Lord will be rewarded.  We all want to go to heaven!  Some of us probably have heaven on our minds every day; there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  We are curious beings and that curiosity has never been able to figure out what actually happens after we pass on from this world.

Lately, I’ve seen more and more “studies” done about the afterlife.  Last week I read an article about a study that apparently proves that we know when we die.  I won’t go into great detail about the article, but apparently the brain is still active for another 20 seconds after the heart stops pumping blood.  Science is absolutely amazing, and what we choose to study and learn from repeated studies is incredible.  However, I must say, I am happy that I do not need science to know what happens after my heart stops pumping.

I often shake my head at these type of studies and proposed theories.  Why, you may ask?  You see, I already have the truth and the truth that I have has set me free from such thoughts!  People be so focused on this ole body but the body is nothing without the soul!  The body is going to die, regardless, but the soul will live on!  I don’t need science to tell me this – I know that I am a spirit that is living in this shell.  That said, this leads into my sermon for today; It’s a very interesting lead in, but it is a lead in regardless.

Paul says (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14): I will not have you be ignorant concerning those that sleep in Christ.  Those that rest in Christ will rise again and He will bring them with Him.  You will also notice that Paul mentioned a group who are sad and have no hope; this is a group that does not know about the return of Christ and those that will be with him.  This, in other words, is a group that does not believe in Christ – the y have no hope.

Let’s notice that there are two sides present here – a side that has hope and a side that sorrows and have no hope.  I want us to understand that point because it is very important for us to understand.  We often think that it is us versus another person, but we are caught in a spiritual battle between a side whose hope is the Lord and a side who is choosing to rebel against the Lord (have no hope).  All of us have a decision to make (spiritually).  Which side will you choose to stand on: the side of righteousness or the side of rebels?

How the sides will be defined

First and foremost, let’s make this very clear – these two sides will not be defined by man.  These two sides are not manmade, and thank God for that!  There are some folks today who truly believe they are righteous, but they are some of the biggest devils walking.  To understand how the two sides will be defined, I want to take a look at the full passage of scripture for today’s sermon (Ezekiel 20:30-42).

In this scripture, we see that the Lord has something to say to ancient Israel – I am going to tie what He says to Israel, to the world today.  God says (v.30) to Israel, are you polluting yourselves in the manner of your fathers.  We must remember that Israel, especially during the time of Ezekiel, was a nation that had turned from the Lord to worship idols.  We live in a world today that has the word from God, but still chooses to go after idols.

God goes on to say (v.31), as He lives He will not be inquired of by ancient Israel.  Again, the Israelites were too carried away in offering up their offerings to idol images – idols that could absolutely nothing for them.  I again must say, God has offered to hear and answer our prayers today, but we refuse to offer up our prayer to the Lord.  We much rather hope and place our faith in these idols that we have made with our own hands.  This is a clear rejection of the Lord.

Then God says (v.35) He will plead face to face with Israel in the wilderness.  This was done by the prophets, but we must remember that we live in a world where the Lord literally walked this world and made His case as Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ taught the word of God; taught us how we should live and who we should have faith in.  He told man to love one another, to have faith in the Lord, and ask for all things in His name.  Yet here we are today, still living in complete rejection of God!  We are repeating the past mistakes of ancient Israel today by choosing a side that lives in rejection of God.

So God says (v.37), “I will cause you to pass under the rod and into the bond of the covenant,” to ancient Israel.  Again, since we are tying this to the world we live in today, we can see Jesus in this scripture.  Jesus is both the rod and the covenant.  The rod is used to herd the sheep, but the rod can also be used as a divider.  Jesus divides the believer from the non-believer.  Through Jesus Christ, those that believe will be saved (John 3:16), and that is the covenant – the Lord’s promise to mankind.

Lastly, we see the Lord say (v.38) that He is going to purge out the rebels and keep them out of the Promise Land.  This is not the only time we see God make mention of purging out rebels in scripture.  A purge happens at the Rapture when only the Church is called up to join Jesus prior to the Great Tribulation.  This division also is seen again when Jesus separates the sheep (the righteous) from the goat (the non-believers) prior to the Millennial Kingdom.  So I ask you again today, which side will you stand on?  I don’t know about you but I want to be standing by my Savior, Jesus Christ!  I want to stand with the King!

We are living in a special time, not because it is the end times, but because we are living in an age that was wrote of in scripture – the age of the Church.  Lately I’ve began to look around and notice even more so today that the genuine and false followers of Christ are also being revealed.  Jesus said that you will be able to recognize others by their fruit and it’s becoming more and more clearer.  That said, we are still living in a time where the Lord is giving opportunity to all to turn to Him – this is how gracious God is.

If you want to join me in standing with the king, then I ask you to open up your heart and receive His holy world!  The Lord can save you from your sin and all unrighteousness.  The only sin the Lord will not forgive is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit because doing that is a rejection of His only begotten Son which is a clear rejection of the Lord.  We must choose a side before we leave this world.  Trust me, you do not want to stand on the side opposite of the Lord – you will not win doing such a thing.

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