Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ezekiel 33: Kingdom is not Talk but Power

Ezek 33:30-33 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord .’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

The people under Ezekiel's ministry enjoyed listening  to his messages. They even had long and deep discussion about his messages after they got home. They enjoined listening to Ezekiel's messages like they enjoyed listening to good music. They would rather talk and discuss about love than to do anything about it: "With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice" (Ezek 33:31-32). 

Unfortunately, this is not peculiar to people of Ezekiel's time. Even today, it's possible to be attending church like attending a concert -- to get an emotional high rather than to learn what to do to please God. I always cringe when congregation members tell me after my preaching that they have "enjoyed" my sermons. Of course, I hope they like my jokes, but I don't preach to entertain but to exhort God's people to renounce their self-focused lifestyle in order to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Jesus taught us the parable of the two houses -- one built on sand and the other on rock -- to warn us against listening without doing. If we listen without doing, we will become unstable believers who are like the house built on sand; when the storms of life hit us, our house would collapse. But if we practise Jesus' teaching and obey His commands, we will be like the house built on a rock formation; when the storms of life hit us, we will remain standing. Exciting and edifying sermons alone will not transform us--until we put them into practise. In fact, we don't need to listen to sermons to put Jesus' teaching into practise. We can read them in the Gospels.

It's not just the listening to God's word that will lead us to life but our practice of it. It's only through our submission to Christ as Lord and King expressed in our obedience to His teaching and commands that we will experience God's life and power.

  • Matt 7:24-27 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Let's not just be hearers only but doers.

Father, help us be doers and not hearers of Your word. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your comments.