Sermon #1502 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: I Was Spared!
Text: Ezekiel 9:7
Subject: The Wonder of Grace as I Have Experienced It
Tape # X-6a
The month of June is for me a distinct time of reflection upon the wonders God’s providence and grace as I have experienced them. Most of the very important events in my life have come to pass in the month of June.
· I was born 52 years ago last Monday.—A Nobody Born to Nobodies, Who were the Descendents of Nobodies!
· 35 years ago this month, the Lord God was pleased to stop me in my mad rush to hell. He revealed his Son in me and saved me by his marvelous free grace. I was baptized the next week, confessing my faith in Christ.
· Two weeks later, I met my wife. We began dating. Two years later, we were married—in June (June 1).
Six years later for most of the month of June I was in a hospital in
In June of 1980
· Then, four years ago, on June 2 the Lord gave us our first grand child—Audrey Grace.
Needless to say, I’ve had a lot to think about, so much for which to give thanks to God, as I indulged myself in a little reminiscence these past few weeks. No man alive has greater reason than I for humility before God and praise and thanks giving to him. No man deserves less and has received greater, super-abounding mercy than the one talking to you. Surely, goodness and mercy have followed (pursued) me all the days of my life!
I cannot begin to put in order the thoughts that have been going through my heart and mind these past few weeks. But I have put some of them down in order and want to share them with you this morning.
As I reflected upon my experience of God’s grace, reading the Scriptures and the experiences of others recorded in the Book of God, I could not help observing the fact that the experience of grace is always pretty much the same. Without question, it varies in many ways with us all. But the essential experience is much the same in all who are born of God.
1. First, I have spent a good bit of time thinking about eternity. Eternity!—Eternity!—Eternity!—O my soul, where will you spend eternity?—How will you spend eternity?
(Psalms 90:8-12) The Prayer of Moses the Man of God "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. 9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. 10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
2. Second, I have given much thought to the fact that there are some people in this world who shall be spared at last. There are some who shall be saved from eternal damnation.
(Malachi 3:17) The Lord God has written a book of remembrance called, “The Book of Life,” in which he declares—"And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
· A Loved People!
· A Redeemed People!
· So Precious that God Owns them as the Crown Jewels of His Crown of Glory!
· A People Who Shall be Spared!
3. Then, third, and I have really thought a lot about this—If I have read this Book right, and I know I have, those who are spared, those who are saved by God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ in any generation are but few.
(Matthew 7:13-14) "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
· Few in the World
· Few in the Church
· Noah’s Day
· Abraham’s Day
· Moses Day
· Our Lord’s Day!
· The Apostles’ Day
· Our Day
4. Then, fourth, I began reading Ezekiel’s prophecy one day last week. When I got to chapter nine and read verse eight, I was utterly overwhelmed by this statement of his experience. By the time I got to this verse, I had already begun reading Ezekiel’s words as though they were my own.
9:8) "And it came to pass, while
they were slaying them, and I was left (spared), that I fell upon my face, and
cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all
the residue of
I was spared!—That is what I want to talk to you about this morning. Grace is never glorious in the eyes of a poor sinner until it is experienced. But once experienced, there is nothing so glorious as grace—free, sovereign, saving grace!
I. Let me begin by telling you this—I was spared because God has spared me, because the Almighty said before the world was, “See, yonder, that poor wretch to born down in Southeastern North Carolina, that child going forth as a stubborn rebel from his mother’s womb, that worthless, useless, nothing—He’s precious to Me! He shall be mine in that day when I make up my jewels. I will spare him!”—Oh, how he has spared me!
I have been spared the wrath of God, spared death and hell, spared the eternal torments of the damned because God would not leave me to myself, because God Almighty sovereignly stepped into my life and snatched me from the jaws of hell by his omnipotent mercy!
Watch these two blessed, glorious words of grace—“But God”
A. When there was no hope
for any of our hopeless race, I was spared by blood atonement when the Lord God stepped in at
(Romans 5:6-8) "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
B. Though I lived as a rebel running from God, as Jacob ran from Esau, hiding in a far away, as Jacob did in Laban’s house, I was spared from hurt by God’s prevenient grace (Gen. 31:7).
(Genesis 31:5-7) "And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me."
(1 Samuel 23:14) "And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand."
(Romans 6:16-18) "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."
C. Though I was dead in trespasses and in sins, I was spared when God stepped into my life is regeneration (Eph. 2:4).
(Ephesians 2:1-5) "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved!)"
D. The Lord God not only spared me from wrath and death and hell so fully deserved, he spared this sinner, who had all his life been the instrument of evil, to be an instrument of good to the souls of men.—Spared To Preach The Gospel (! Cor. 1:26-31; Eph. 3:8).
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31) "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(Ephesians 3:8) "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"
E. I must tell you this, too,--The Lord God has for these past 35 years spared me from myself by his unfailing, immutable grace and faithful mercy (Ps. 73:22-26).
(Psalms 73:22-26) "So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."
II. Now, let’s look for a few minutes at the context in which our text is found. When Ezekiel declared with amazement “and I was left (spared),” a part of his amazement was the fact that he found grace in the midst of terrible judgment.
I have been talking about my
experience of grace. Let’s look at Ezekiel’s. His experience is my own. I hope
you can enter into it as well. He saw six men sent of God with slaughter
weapons in their hands, men sent from God to execute judgment upon the nation
9:8) "And it came to pass, while
they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried,
and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the
Really, the story begins back in chapter 1.
A. God’s Word came expressly to Ezekiel and the hand of the Lord was upon him.
(Ezekiel 1:3) "The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him."
B. When the Word of God came to him expressly, he saw the unveiling, the revelation of the glory of God, symbolized by the fire over the mercy-seat.
(Ezekiel 1:4) "And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire."
C. God’s Word, the revelation of his glory came to Ezekiel by the mouth of living creatures, cherubs, the angels of God.
(Ezekiel 1:5) "Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man."
If all this sounds familiar to you, it should. This is exactly the same thing the Apostle John saw and recorded in Revelation 4 and 5.
living creatures represent Gospel preachers. We know that because he heard the
voice of the Almighty through their lips in verse 24 and because they are
described as the men by whom God works in Ezekiel chapter 10. If God ever
speaks to us, if God ever reveals himself to us in this world, in any way, if
God ever teaches us anything it will be by the mouth of one of these living
creatures. God always sends his word to men by men (
· These men are directed, moved, and work by the Spirit of God.
· They are as burning coals of fire.—“He maketh his ministers a flame of fire!”
D. When Ezekiel saw the glory of God upon the mercy-seat (in the face of Christ—in his Sacrifice) he saw that the God of Glory is a God of absolute, unalterable purpose.
vv. 15-25—The Wheels of Divine
v. 26—A Throne—A Man Sitting on the Throne!
v. 28—The Bow of God’s Covenant
“This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord! And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one that spake ” (v. 28). He was utterly withered before the glory of God and fell as one dead!
E. Look at chapter 2. Here the prophet seems to be describing his own experience of grace.
1. He was raised as it were from the dead.
(Ezekiel 2:1-2) "And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. 2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me."
2. Then, the Lord God made him a prophet and sent him to a rebellious people (vv. 3-10).
a. He saw a hand (v. 9), the same hand John saw (Rev. 5), the hand of the Lamb of God, the Man sitting on the throne.
· A Hand to Help Him!
· A Hand to Guide Him!
· A Hand to Protect Him!
· An Omnipotent Hand!
· A Pierced Hand!
b. He saw a Book (v. 10), the same one John saw, the Book of God’s eternal purpose!
3. But God is not done teaching him yet. Look at chapter 3. God required him to eat the Book (vv. 1-3). God demands reconciliation, he demands that we bow to his purpose. But we never will. So he did not just tell Ezekiel to eat the book—He made him eat it (v. 2). And when he had eaten it, it was as sweet as honey (v. 3).—Here’s a prophet!—O God, make me such a man!
· v. 8—He is a man made strong by God.
· v. 10—He is a man who receives all God’s Word into his heart.
· v. 12—He is a man moved, motivated by and consumed with the glory of God.
· vv. 14-15—He is a man with a burdened, broken heart.
3:14-15) "So the spirit lifted me
up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but
the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. 15 Then I came to them of the
captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the
· v. 16—He is a man God has made to be a watchman over the souls of men.
· Vv. 22-27—He is a man shut up to the will and glory of the Lord his God.
F. In chapter 4 the Lord God gave Ezekiel his message.
sent his prophet to the nation to warn them of wrath and impending judgment.
But, in the midst of the warning, he gave a picture of hope.—Ezekiel was
required to lay on his side, first on his left for 390 days and then on his
right for 40 days. Each of the 390 days represent the 390 years of Israel’s
open rebellion and turning to idolatry in setting up the calves at Dan and
Bethel. The 40 days on his right side represent the 40 years of idolatry under
Manasseh’s wicked, idolatrous reign in
But watch this (v. 4)—Ezekiel was required to lay on his side as one man bearing the sins of many, and bearing them to the full extent of their just punishment!
(2 Corinthians 5:21) "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
In chapters 4, 5 and 6, he declares this—God will punish sin. Sin must be punished, either in you, or in a Substitute, in a suitable man whom God himself shall send.
When we get to the 8th verse of chapter six, the Lord, in wrath remembers mercy and promises that some shall indeed escape his wrath through the sacrifice of that Substitute.
· V. 8—A remnant shall escape.
· V. 9—They shall remember me.
· V. 9—They shall acknowledge their sin.
· V. 9—They shall loathe themselves.
· V. 10—“They shall know that I am the Lord!”
H. In chapters 7 and 8, the Lord God showed his prophet the end of the matter—The judgment that must come.
which is here spoken to
7:1-3) "Moreover the word of the
LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord
GOD unto the
Now, let me tell you some things about God’s judgment.
1. The judgment of God is always just.
God swore to pour out his wrath upon this people because they went awhoring after other gods—worshipped Tammuz and the sun in the house of God!
8:17-18) "Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light
thing to the house of
You won’t go to hell for what Adam did in the garden. You will go to hell because you have earned the everlasting wrath of God by your own treasonous rebellion against the King of Glory! Eternal damnation, the judgment of God is that which men and women have willfully brought upon themselves.—This will be the very hell of hell. You will know that you fully deserve all that you suffer. You will never be reconciled to it. But you will know that you deserve it.
2. Judgment is preceded by a great separation of grace (vv. 3-6).
A man clothed with white Lenin (Christ), with an inkhorn in his hand was sent to put a mark upon the foreheads of God’s chosen remnant.—Hurt not the earth until the 144,000 have been sealed in their foreheads (Rev. 7; 2 Pet. 3:9).
· Noah must be in the ark before the rain falls.
· God’s elect must be called before judgment falls upon the earth.
3. Judgment will begin at the house of God.—“Begin at my sanctuary” (9:6).—“Judgment must begin at the house of God!”
4. Judgment shall be executed by the hands of the Mediator so obstinately despised (vv. 4-7).
(Ezekiel 10:4-7) "Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory. 5 And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh. 6 And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. 7 And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out."
Up to this point Christ is seen upon the mercy-seat. He is the mercy-seat. But now, he is taken up from between the cherubs. In that great and terrible day, when God no longer deals with sinners in mercy, there will be no mercy!—Hope is gone forever.—“The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son!”—Then shall men cry, “Hide us from the face of the Lamb!”
III. When the city was utterly destroyed, when judgment was over, in Ezekiel’s vision, he cried, “I was left!”—Now, look at the response of that one who has been spared to the goodness and grace of God (9:8-10).
9:8) "And it came to pass, while
they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried,
and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the
A. He fell on his face in astonished humiliation and gratitude.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see!
B. He made intercession for others, that God might yet have mercy upon those around him.
C. Once all God’s chosen remnant has been saved and every rebel has been cast into hell, the Man in the white Lenin garment shall have finished all his mediatoral work.
(Ezekiel 9:10) "And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head."
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28) "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."
Application:--Will you be spared?