Wednesday, August 29, 2012

THE PREACHER: LEARNING FROM EZEKIEL

1. Called by God, Ezek 2:1ff. Ezekiel was literally spoken to by God and chosen to preach. Today's preacher is called through the Gospel, pricked by the need, moved by the truth, compelled by the message of God's love. The Preacher today feels compelled every bit as much as did the Prophet. Paul said he was God's Ambassador as though God were speaking and pleading through him. Though our call is not the same as Paul's, the mission goes on and the Preacher is the one through whom God speaks. "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the very utterances of God;..." 1 Peter 4:11. As Paul was compelled to speak of the love of God, we too know that judgment is coming. Like Paul, we too are moved by the "fear of the Lord" and by the "love of Christ." 2 Cor. 5:11,14. 

2. Tells the Truth to the Lost, Ezek 2:4. Ezekiel wasn't to merely "preach to the choir".  “I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’" The stubborn and obstinate people needed to be preached to. Likewise, the mission is the same today for God's preachers to speak the message to the lost and dying world.

3. Is Fearless and Brave, Ezek 2:6. Ezekiel would face the threats of godless men without fear. The workers of iniquity do what they must to silence the man of God. They mock, shun, ridicule, malign, and even kill the speaker of truth. But the man of God, like Ezekiel, does not let these concerns hinder his mission. 

4. Loves the Word of God even if the message is hard to hear, Ezek 2:8-3:5. Many preachers have quit preaching because the accompanying difficulties of sharing it. The book or scroll which Ezekiel was told to eat, very similar to John's description in Revelation 10, tastes as good as honey to the man of God. The preacher loves God's truth and relishes eating it. No matter how difficult it is to preach and carry it out, he loves the truth. Wouldn't it be nice if it were only sweet and not bitter too? The word of God, the book, is not only filled with messages of well-wishing from a loving God; the book pronounces lamentations, mourning and woe. The man who loves the word of God must embrace the mission of telling it too. 

5. Is a hard-headed man, not easily swayed or moved from his mission, Ezek 3:8,9.. To Ezekiel, God said, "I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them, though they are a rebellious house." Ezekiel 3:8,9. The stubbornness of the godless people must be matched with a dogged, unwavering determination to preach regardless of the receptivity of the people. 

6. The word of God is in the Preacher's heart and it powerfully stirs his soul, Ezek 3:10,14. God said for Ezekiel to take the word into his heart, and Ezekiel says, "and I went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD was strong on me." If the message of God were only to reside in the head, it would be without passion. The passion was in Peter and the Apostles on Pentecost as they "solemnly testified and kept on exhorting" for men to be saved, Acts 2:38-41. About three thousand repented and go baptized. The stirred spirit was in Stephen before the Jews killed him. He said to them, "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did." Acts 7:51. The passion was in John the Baptist who called on the crowds to repent of their sins and to "bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance." He was stirred in his spirit to call on Herod and Herodias to put away their adulterous relationship - baptism wouldn't have made it right then, and it doesn't make it right today! In our preaching in the world, there must be in the man of God the powerfully convicted spirit. If there's no passion, the word has not yet left the head. 

Ezekiel was the prophet of God. The Preacher today is not supernaturally endowed as the Prophets were, but the Preacher today has the same mission and must have the same fearless qualities and motivations as did the Prophet. 

Preacher, be like Ezekiel or go find another line of work. Spoken with love. Dan 

No comments:

Post a Comment

HAVE YOUR SAY, PLEASE COMMENT


To email Dan Mayfield: Click Here