Sermon #1524 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “I Will Cause You…”
Text: Ezekiel 20:37
Subject: God’s Method of Grace
Date: Sunday Morning—
Tape # X-34b
(Ezekiel 20:37) "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:"
How I delight to hear the omnipotent God of all grace, God who “delighteth in mercy,” say, “I will.” When God says, “I will,” that means it’s a done deal. When he says, “I will,” nothing can hinder him.—“You shall!” God never says, “I might” and “maybe you shall.” He never says, “I will if you will.” Oh, no! Not God! He says, “I will and you shall.” That’s a matter of certainty because the cause is in him. Look at the next word.
That is the title of my message—“I will cause you.” If we are the willing recipients of his grace it is because he made us willing in the day of his power. If we come to Christ, trusting him alone as our Savior and Lord, it is because he chose us and caused us to approach unto him. If we love him, it is because he first loved us. If we are alive unto God, it is because he gave us life. If we are redeemed, justified, saved and sanctified, it is because he redeemed us, he justified us, he saved us, and he sanctified us!
Hear me now, my friend.—If you are yet without Christ, I pray that the Lord God will not leave you to yourself. It is my prayer that the Lord God will graciously cause you this day to pass under the rod and bring you into the bond of the covenant.
(Ezekiel 20:37) "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:"
was God’s word to
Doctrine of Balaam
Being scattered among the nations of the world, living among pagans and idolaters, they behaved very pragmatically. They decided it would be wise and prudent, as much as possible, to pare off the rough edges of their doctrine, melt into the pagan society, mix the worship of God with the worship of idols, and become like the heathen around them.
The Lord God would not tolerate such compromise. He would not tolerate idolatry. Neither would his purpose of grace be thwarted. He would not forsake his own. Neither would he let his chosen forsake him. Therefore, he graciously intervened. — “And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, we will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.” Thank God for such grace!
It is as though he said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love. I chose to be my people. I redeemed you with the blood of my own darling Son. I will not lose you! I will not let you go!” Whether they delighted in it or not, he would not let them go. He pronounced a solemn oath concerning them, — “As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you.” They shall no more become Babylonians than of old he would suffer them to become Egyptians.
Proposition: At the appointed time of love all who were sanctified by God the Father and are preserved in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be called by the irresistible, saving power and omnipotent grace of God the Holy Spirit.—All who are the objects of covenant grace shall be made to experience all the blessedness of covenant grace.
Christ’s sheep shall never perish. Goats they cannot become! His chosen shall never be made reprobate! Run fast as you may to hell, the hardness of your heart, the obstinance of your will, the corruption of your life, and all the powers of hell combined shall never prevent the purpose of God. If you are his, you shall be his. He will make you willing in the day of his power. Sooner or later, he will “cause you to pass under the rod” and “bring you into the bond of the covenant.” He may drag you through hell along the way, but he will have you with him in heaven in the end.
Here, in this 20th chapter of Ezekiel, he tells us exactly how he will do it and why. Three times in this chapter, he says, “I do this—for my name’s sake.”—Now, watch this. When he gets done, his name will be honored.
20:41-44) "I will accept you
with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and
gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will
be sanctified in you before the heathen. (42) And ye shall know
that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the
Our text sets forth God’s method of grace towards his elect, the method by which he saves chosen, redeemed sinners, to the praise of the glory of his grace. If the God does not deal with you distinguishing wrath, he will display in you his distinguishing grace.
Yes, this chapter speaks of wrath, judgment, and the execution of justice. But I see within this black cloud of terror a bright light of infinite mercy, a silver lining of love. A golden thread of grace runs through the whole chapter. Though he here speaks of destroying rebels, throughout the chapter (when he addresses his elect remnant), he is describing his grace, his free, sovereign, irresistible, saving grace in Christ. In wrath, he remembers mercy. He never forgets to be gracious!
Spurgeon said, “He solemnly threatens judgments, but these are preparations for mercy. He preaches to them by the prophet concerning mercy and judgment, blended in effectual working for salvation. Lovingkindness underlies and overlays his wrath. He puts on a frown in order to smile. He deals hardly with his chosen that he may deal safely with them; killing them that he may make them alive; piercing them with the arrows of conviction that he may pour in the wine and oil of his healing comforts.”
Divisions: I want to show you three things in this passage of Scripture.
1. The Covenant of Grace
2. The Method of Grace
3. The Object of Grace
I. The Covenant of Grace—First, in verse 37, the Lord God describes his saving operations of grace as bringing chosen, redeemed sinners “into the bond of the covenant.”
(Ezekiel 20:37) "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:"
When God saves a sinner, he takes the sinner away from
(2 Samuel 23:5) "Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow."
There is nothing revealed in Holy Scripture that is more important, nothing we more need to understand and understand clearly than the distinction made between the old, legal, law covenant of works and the new covenant of grace.
A. Adam and Christ
In the garden of Eden, our father Adam was our first covenant head and representative. He stood before the Lord God upon legal footing, upon a covenant of works. We are not told how long Adam and Eve lived in the garden before that covenant of works was broken by Adam’s transgression; but it was not long until he had hurled himself and all our race into sin and death, under the wrath and curse of God’s holy law.
Many find fault with this divine arrangement. I rejoice in the wisdom and goodness of our God.
· Had there been no fall, there would have always been the possibility of a fall.
· Had we not all fallen by the disobedience of one representative man, we could not be saved by the obedience of a representative man.
· Adam’s fall was typical of and made the way for Christ’s obedience and our salvation by him.
(Romans 5:12) "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
(Romans 5:18-21) "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (19) For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
(1 Corinthians 15:21-22) "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
(1 Corinthians 15:45-49) "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (46) Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (47) The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. (48) As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. (49) And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
(Romans 8:1-4) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
B. Law or Grace?
Are you under the law or under grace? Do you seek to be saved by a covenant of law and works or by a covenant of grace?
1. Multitudes vainly imagine that they can climb up to God upon the ladder of their own works; but it is a futile, damning delusion.
We have all broken the law of God in every point from our youth up, and continue to do so. Yet, if we would be saved by law obedience, God demands perfect obedience.
(Galatians 4:21) "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?"
(Galatians 3:10-11) "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."
2. Blessed be God, there is another and a better covenant, which is not a covenant of works at all, but of free, rich, sovereign grace.
This covenant of grace was made in old eternity with Christ the second Adam, our better Covenant-Head. In that covenant the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God took hold of the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16) as our voluntary and absolute Surety, pledging himself to save his people, and assuming total responsibility for the salvation of our souls.
As our covenant Surety, the Son of God promised to obey the Father’s will—to do and suffer the will of the Most High—to bring in everlasting righteousness by his holy obedience to the whole will of God—to satisfy all the demands of God’s holy law and justice for the punishment of our sins—to assume our sins as his own—to put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself upon the cursed tree—to pour out his Spirit upon his redeemed—to give us life, keep us in life, and to raise us up in glory at the last day, presenting us faultless before the presence of his Father’s glory—and in doing so to save all that the Father gave him.
God the Father trusted his Son, our Surety, with his glory and with our souls.
(Ephesians 1:12) "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ."
Upon the grounds of Christ’s perfect obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, a great multitude shall inherit the reward of his obedience; for, being chosen by God, and having the Lord Jesus to be our Representative, we are made to live by his fulfilling and honoring of the law.
(Galatians 3:13-14) "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
The great question for each one is this— Am I under that new covenant? that covenant of grace and peace? —that covenant “ordered in all things and sure”? You can answer that question by this one, Are you in Christ Jesus? Are you resting wholly on him alone? If so, mark this: the Lord has said by his servant Isaiah, “I have given him for a covenant to the people.” If you have Christ you are in the covenant of grace; if you are trusting in him, God has made with you an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure (Jer.31:3, 31-37; Ezek. 36:25-32). Roll the promises of God in the covenant over in your heart and rejoice in free, everlasting, immutable covenant grace.
· “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”
· “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more!”
· “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
· “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”
C. God’s Purpose
Now, listen to me.—God’s purpose in everything he does, has done, or shall hereafter do, is to bring every sinner chosen in everlasting love and redeemed by the blood of his darling Son “into the bond of the covenant.” He says, “I will bring them into the bond of the covenant.” And he will!
(Romans 8:28-32) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
This is what was aimed at in eternal predestination; and what is aimed at in all the works of providence. God’s aim, God’s purpose is to bring his own out from under the bondage of the law, and place them under the bond of the covenant of grace. And God always hits his mark. He always gets his way. He always does his pleasure.
If you are his, though as yet they care nothing about it, he will bring you to know and realize that you are standing in the covenant of grace, with Christ as your Covenant-Head. He will, at the appointed time of love, bring you “into the bond of the covenant.”
D. The Bond of the Covenant
The grace of God experienced in salvation, covenant grace binds us to our God. Blessed be God, it is a fourfold bond that cannot be broken.
1. The Father’s Immutable Purpose
2. The Son’s Effectual Blood
3. The Spirit’s Unbreakable Seal
4. The Love of Christ Shed Abroad in Our Hearts—“The love of Christ constraineth us!” (2 Cor. 5:14)
Grace is mightier than law can ever be. Grace, and the gratitude arising from it, form a stronger bond to hold the soul from straying than the hope of reward can possibly be. Grace is stronger far than the fear of hell. God by grace holds us with the cords of a man, cords from which we never desire release. We are God’s own people, and he is our God. He holds us, and we hold to him. Christ is our husband, and our hearts are knit to him. The bond of the covenant unites us to the thrice holy God, and none shall break the sacred union. Blessed, blessed fetter!
“Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrain’d to be!
Let that grace, now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee.”
This, the bond of grace, breaks never,
Though creation’s columns bow!
This foundation stands forever—
We are one with Jesus now!
Now, let me show you how God brings sinners “into the bond of the covenant.”
II. The Method of Grace
This chapter speaks clearly and instructively about the believer’s experience of grace, the method by which God brings his own “into the bond of the covenant.” Without question, God’s gracious operations include…
· Eternal Election
· Accomplished Redemption
· And Effectual Calling.
No sinner can be saved apart from the election of grace, the effectual, sin-atoning, redeeming blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit’s effectual call. Equally absolute and certain is the fact that every chosen, redeemed, called sinner shall be saved. But we cannot know anything about these secret works of grace until we are brought into the personal experience of grace by God’s gift of faith in Christ.
But this salvation, eternal life in Christ shall never be the possession of any sinner unless God steps into our lives and rescues us from ourselves. If God almighty waits for us to turn to him, if he waits for us even to decide to turn to him, we will forever perish in hell; because we are all, like Israel of old, determined idolaters.
Here is a people bent upon idolatry forever, a people bent upon idolatry to whom God had given his Word and ordinances! But the Lord God takes an oath by his own holy name and declares—“That which cometh into your mind (that which you plan and scheme) shall not be at all!”
(Ezekiel 20:32) "And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone."
Now, look at a few passages in this chapter with me, and let me show you how the Lord God saves his people, how God almighty saves us from ourselves. When God comes in saving grace, this is how he commonly works.
A. First, He makes the heavens as brass to your soul. He says, in verse 31 (last line), “I will not be inquired of by you.”—Every man, before God begins to work in his soul, presumes that God is at his beck and call, that he can come to God whenever he likes, however he chooses. But once God puts his finger in your heart, he seems to be utterly unapproachable. Before he sets the prisoner free, he makes you his prisoner.
“My son’s in hell.”
B. Second, once he has shut you up and made you, as it were, a prisoner under the sentence of death, the Lord God graciously stretches out his mighty arm of omnipotent grace to separate the precious from the vile.—Thank God for that distinguishing grace by which he separates the sheep from the goats, by which he brings his people out of the rest of Adam’s fallen race (1 Cor. 4:7).
· Sovereign Election!
· Blood Redemption!
· Omnipotent Grace!
(Ezekiel 20:33-34) "As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: (34) And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out."
When God comes to save, he comes with…
· A mighty hand and a stretched out arm—Irresistible Grace!
· Fury poured out—Justice Satisfied!
· Sovereign claims “to rule over you.”
C. Third, the Lord graciously brings his own into the wilderness, alone with himself to make himself known to you by the revelation of his grace.—“I will bring you into the wilderness of the people” (v. 35).
Hosea and Gomer
(Galatians 1:11-12) "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (12) For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
(Galatians 1:15-16) "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, (16) To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:"
The Adulterous Woman (John 8)
· John 16:8-11
You have chosen rebellion; but if the Lord God has chosen you, he will deal with you with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and make you to know his fury against evil.
His love to you shall show itself in wrath against your sin. You will be made to see that God is angry with the wicked every day. He will make you taste the bitterness of your sin and the fury of his wrath. You shall hear the sentence hell ringing in your soul.—“If he turn not, he will whet his sword, he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.” You will feel the arrows of his holy wrath piercing your heart and sticking in you soul. You will long for pardon. You will pant for mercy.
Israelites were happy in
God brings his elect into distress and loneliness, into utter isolation. He says, “And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people.” He brings the object of his mercy into a wilderness, not like the wilderness of sin where there were no inhabitants, but “I will bring you into the wilderness of the people.”
This is, truly, a terrifying wilderness. Here you walk in among of crowds, hoards of men; but you are totally alone. You mingle with the great congregation, and yet feel that none can enter into the secrets of your soul’s trouble. How wretched to sit here and feel that there is not another man like you in all the world. You have come into a howling wilderness wherein is no water of joy, or track of hope. God knows how to turn the heart of stone into flesh! He knows how to make insensible sinners sensible of the sin! He knows how to make the comfortable disconsolate!
We know what you are going through. We’ve been there. We remember when we were in your condition, in the wilderness—when the ministry seemed a wilderness. I went to hear the gospel preached, hoping God would speak to me. Others were converted, but there was nothing for me. The very house of God was a wilderness to my soul. The heavens were brass. The Book of God was a book sealed with seven seals. How I wept, because no man was found who could open the Book. Then, I saw one, a Man, as a Lamb slain, rising up in the midst of the throne of God. With nail pierced hands, he opened the Book to my soul!
This is God’s way of bringing chosen sinners to himself. He digs them up by the roots, that he may remove them and plant them by the rivers of waters in the garden of the Lord.
Look at Lamentations 3 for a minute.
(Lamentations 3:25-36) "The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. (26) It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. (27) It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. (28) He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. (29) He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. (30) He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. (31) For the Lord will not cast off for ever: (32) But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. (33) For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. (34) To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, (35) To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, (36) To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not."
God does not afflict willingly; but like a wise father he will not spare the rod and spoil the child. Self-confidence must be killed; carnal confidences must be destroyed; self-righteousness must be slain. The Lord will turn your sweetness into bitterness, and your light into darkness, that you may be fully weaned from your own ways, and may be made willing to be saved by sovereign grace.
D. Read on. What is the fourth thing God says he will do? He says,—“and there will I plead with you face to face” (v. 35)
When God comes to plead with you face to face, you will cry out with Job, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” When he lays judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, the hail soon sweeps away your refuges of lies. He says…
20:36) "Like as I pleaded with your
fathers in the wilderness of the
did God plead with
E. Look at verse 37 again. Here is the result of God’s pleading. He says, fifthly, “I will cause you to pass under the rod.”
What does this mean? What is this passing under the rod? When a shepherd counts his sheep as he calls them and brings them out he makes them pass through a half-opened gate, and there he numbers them. They would all come rushing through, but the shepherd blocks the way, and as they come out one by one, he touches them with his staff, and counts them.
So, too, the Lord Jesus Christ, our great and good Shepherd, makes his chosen to pass through a strait gate, where only one can come at a time, and there and then he counts them.
· When the Son of God causes us to pass under his rod, he causes us to willingly come under his rule.
· He causes us to come under his protection, looking to him to take care of us.
· He causes us to look to him for provision.
· He brings us into “the bond of the covenant.”
Have I been describing you? Have I been talking about your experience? I am sure I have, for some. May the Holy Spirit apply his Word prisoners of hope this hour, for Christ’s sake!
III. The Object of Grace
I am done when I have shown you the object of grace, God’s ultimate design and purpose in saving sinners like us the way he does. He has a great, glorious purpose in his great work of bringing us into “the bond the covenant.”
A. “Ye shall know that I am the Lord” (v. 38 last line).
B. “I will accept you with your sweet savor” (with your sweet Savior! – v. 41).
C. “I will be sanctified in you before the heathen” (v. 41 last line cf Eph. 2:7).
D. “Ye shall remember” (v. 43).
(Ezekiel 20:43) "And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed."
E. I have done this “for my name’s sake” (vv. 9, 22, 44).
20:44) "And ye shall know that I am
the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my
name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt
doings, O ye house of