Sermon #2005 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “The Time of Love”
Text: Ezekiel 16:1-14
Subject: Grace Portrayed in Ezekiel 16
Date: Sunday Evening — August 26, 2012
Tape # AA-76
Readings: Bob Poncer and Allen Kibby
Let’s open our Bibles to the Gospel of Ezekiel, Ezekiel chapter 16. Here is a marvelous, instructive picture of grace, God’s free, sovereign, effectual saving grace. — “Where sin abounded grace did much more abound!” — “By grace are ye saved!” Here is the grace of God drawn out in a portrait before our eyes by the pen of Inspiration. Here is the history of every heaven-born soul. The title of my message is — “The Time of Love.” Here God the Holy Spirit tells us what the Lord Jesus Christ, our great Savior does for chosen sinners in “the time of love” by the mighty operations of His grace. Are you there? — Ezekiel 16. Let’s read the first fourteen verses of this chapter. O Holy Spirit of God, come upon us this hour and teach us from your Word, for Christ’s sake.
“1 ¶ Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations (The first task of every prophet sent of God is to make you know your abominations! He is not faithful to your soul who does not force you to see your sin!), 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity [is] of the land of Canaan; thy father [was] an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. 4 And [as for] thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple [thee]; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. 5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.”
“6 ¶ And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live. 7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: [thy] breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou [wast] naked and bare. 8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time [was] the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. 9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. 10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. 11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. 12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. 13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment [was of] fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. 14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it [was] perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”(Ezekiel 16:1-14)
Proposition: This poor, outcast, polluted infant, resurrected, washed, anointed, nourished, and renowned for the perfection of beauty, is a Divinely inspired picture of every sinner saved by the grace of God.
Divisions: I see three things in these fourteen verses.
In verses 1-5 we are told what we were by birth and by nature, what we were when the Lord Jesus came to us. This is the state and condition of all men.
(Ezekiel 16:1-3) “Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity [is] of the land of Canaan; thy father [was] an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.”
God said, “I’m going to tell you, where you came from.” You came from pagan idolatry, that’s where you came from. You’ve heard of Canaan, “Cursed be Canaan.” That’s what God said to Noah, “Cursed is Canaan.” This is what He is saying, “You folks came out of Canaan.” “Your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite and the day that you were born, in your beginning, your navel was not cut, neither where you washed in water, you were not salted nor swaddled at all, none eye pitied thee, to do any of these things to you, but you were like a newborn infant, unwanted, cast into the open field, to the loathing of your person in the day that you were born.”
(Ezekiel 16:3-5) “Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity [is] of the land of Canaan; thy father [was] an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. 4 And [as for] thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple [thee]; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. 5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.”
That’s your beginning. Do you see what we are by nature?
They tell me that long, long ago, among some of some pagan nations, if a woman was expecting a child and it was an unwanted child, or when the child was born, if it was deformed, or even if it was a girl, they wouldn’t even wash it or clean it. When the child was born they would take it and throw it out in a field and leave it to die. The poor thing wouldn’t last long. It would die very quickly. Then the beast and buzzards would devour the infant corpse.
What a terrible, terrible picture. But God said that’s your beginning and mine. We are, by nature, the cursed children of cursed parents of a cursed race, — “Your mother was a Hittite, and your father was an Amorite and your birth was of the land of Canaan, and none eye pitied thee, and when you were born you were cast into the open field to the loathing of your person!” We are all, by nature, wretched, despicable, deformed, outcast, unwanted, and polluted, dead and decaying, its flesh rotting in the open air, in the stench of its own blood.
God’s command to me as His preacher is to show you what you are by nature. It’s not a pretty picture! But you will never trust Christ until you are forced by His grace to see, acknowledge, and confess what you are by nature — Sin!
You will find no better picture of our state at birth in Adam than the story of this poor, outcast, polluted infant.
We were born in sin of fallen parents (Psalm 51:5; 58:3). We did not come into the world as those who might stand or fall but as those who had already fallen.
(Psalms 51:4-5) “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
(Psalms 58:3) “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”
Ours was a state of total depravity and total inability (Romans 5:12). This poor, outcast infant is helpless, hopeless, and without any power or ability to help itself. It cannot even cry. It is dead (Ephesians 2:1-12).
(Ephesians 2:1-12) “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;) 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
“11 ¶ Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”
There were none to help this poor infant and none who would if they could (v. 5). — “None eye pitied thee.” That is just the state we were in when the Lord called us by His grace.
This is a loathsome sight but a true picture of fallen sinners! As Isaiah said, — “From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness, but wounds, and bruises and putrefying sores” (Isaiah 1:6). If there is any help for such awful creatures as we are, it must come from our God (Romans 3:10-26).
(Romans 3:10-26) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14 Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
“19 ¶ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
It’s an awful, awful sight to see that baby lying out in that field, unwanted, helpless and hopeless. That’s what we are by nature and that’s how we come into this world. We don’t come into this world innocent and then reach an age of accountability and suddenly become sinners. We’re born sinners. In Adam all die, by one man’s disobedience, death passed upon all men. In Adam all die, by the sin and transgression of Adam, death passed upon all men. We were born that way. That’s what we were by birth and what we are by nature. But, bless God, that’s not all that there is in the picture.
Secondly, now watch this: — The Lord God declares what He has done for us by His grace.
(Ezekiel 16:6-7) “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live. 7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: [thy] breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou [wast] naked and bare.”
“I passed by thee.” — One day, David said, “Lord, I looked into the heavens, and when I consider Thy heavens, the sun, the stars, the moon, the things You’ve made, what is man that Thou are mindful of him?” He came where we were. I passed by you, I passed by you and I saw you. I saw you polluted in your blood; I saw you just as you are. The hymn writer said…
“He saw me ruined in the fall,
Yet loved me notwithstanding all!”
We didn’t see Him, but He saw us. We didn’t love Him; He loved us. We didn’t want him; He wanted us. — “But, God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” — “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and sin, hath quickened us together with Christ.” — I passed by you and I saw you. I saw you polluted in your blood.
Our Lord Jesus came into this world to save sinners. I wish I could get that across to all the people to whom I preach. Christ died for sinners. — “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I’m the chief.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
(Hebrews 13:20-21) “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The Son of God came where we were in our flesh. He took our nature, obeyed the law (Galatians 4:4-5), took our sins and shame upon Himself, and redeemed us to God by His blood (1 Peter 3:18).
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1 Peter 3:18)
“I saw thee polluted in thy blood.” — He saw us as we really are, yet He loved us! Mercy is for the miserable. Grace is for the guilty. And salvation is for real sinners (Matthew 9:10-13). — “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6,8,10).
“I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, live.” — In the same way that our Lord stood before the grave of Lazarus (whose dead body was already decaying) and called him forth to life, He quickens us (dead sinners) and makes us to live in Him (Ephesians 2:l; John 5:21). When our Lord quickens a sinner to life through His word (James 1:18), death gives way to life, darkness becomes light, inability gives way to strength, and our enemies flee away. The same power that raised Christ from the grave raised us (Ephesians 1:19-20). Yes, the Son of God commands the dead to live; and when He does the dead live John 5:24-26.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;” (John 5:24-26)
Perfection in Christ
We were dead. Christ gave us life. He said, “Live,” and we began to live! But there is more. Look at verses 8-14. Here the Lord Jesus tells us what we are in Him, what He has made us by His grace.
(Ezekiel 16:8-14) “8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time [was] the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. 9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. 10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. 11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. 12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. 13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment [was of] fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. 14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it [was] perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”
“Thy time was the time of love.” — Not our love for Him but His love for us (1 John 4:10). — “We love Him because He first loved us.”
“I spread my skirt over thee and covered thy nakedness.” — He took away our reproach, our shame, and our guilt and made us righteous and holy by His obedience and death in our place at Calvary (Jeremiah 23:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
“I washed thee with water.” — He cleansed us with water and blood.
“Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure (justify and sanctify),
Save from wrath and make me pure”
“I anointed thee.” — Poured out my Spirit upon you.
The anointing of oil is the Holy Spirit. Every believer has the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that quickens us; it’s the Holy Spirit who regenerates us. It’s the Holy Spirit who reveals Christ to us. It’s the Holy Spirit who begets faith within us. It’s the Holy Spirit who teaches us. It’s the Holy Spirit that comforts us. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Believers don’t pray for the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit. We pray for the leadership of the Spirit and the blessing of the Spirit and the teaching of the Spirit and the direction of the Spirit, but they have the Spirit. — “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. As many as are led by the Holy Spirit are Sons of God.”
“I clothed you with broidered work.” — Do you know what broidered work was? It was those beautiful linen veils in the temple. Those Jewish women sat for days and days and days, and hand embroidered those veils. They were purple, and red, and blue, just beautiful! God said, “I clothed you with that special needlework of glory of the grace of God and the graces of the Spirit, love, joy and peace.” All those things that are so beautiful.
“I shod you with badger’s skin.” — Badger’s skin was tough and lasting but soft. We will walk through this world through many trials, and God enables us to bear these trials, and He comforts us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
“I girded you with fine linen.” — Who wore fine linen? The priest did. We are priests, we are priests of God. That’s right — God’s priest! Every believer is a priest. — “He hath redeemed us by His blood and made us Kings and Priests to God.” I put broidered work on you, I shod you with a soft, yet tough badger skin shoes, I put white linen on you like the priests wear.”
“And I covered you with silk.” —Who wears silk, the King? It’s the King-Priest. We’re His people and He put a crown on your head and mine, and we will reign with Him forever!
Listen, — “And your renown” — He’s talking about you and what He did for you and what He made of you and what H made you from, and where He found you and what you are now, — “Your renown went forth among the nations for your beauty and it was perfect.” The reason is because it is all Christ, and your perfection was my comeliness which I put upon you.
That’s grace, rich, free, abundant, sovereign, saving grace! Praise God for His abundant mercy! Praise God for His great, abundant grace! May He make it yours for Christ’s sake! May this very day be for your soul “the time of love!”
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