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Israel - the unproductive vine

Spiritual reformation is something our city and country desperately needs. The Lord uses Christians to make it happen. Ezekiel saw the reaping of what was sown spiritually in Israel for so many years. Pray for Australia to turn to the Lord.

Ezekiel 14:Idolatrous Elders Condemned

1 Then certain of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.

2 And the word of the LORD came to me:

3 "Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?

4 Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him as he comes with the multitude of his idols,

5 that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.

6 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

7 For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I the LORD will answer him myself.

8 And I will set my face against that man; I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

9 And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the LORD, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

10 And they shall bear their punishment---the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike---

11 that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord GOD."

Jerusalem Will Not Be Spared

12 And the word of the LORD came to me:

13 "Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast,

14 even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD.

15 "If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they ravage it, and it be made desolate, so that no one may pass through because of the beasts,

16 even if these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate.

17 "Or if I bring a sword upon that land and say, Let a sword pass through the land, and I cut off from it man and beast,

18 though these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be delivered.

19 "Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast,

20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.

21 "For thus says the Lord GOD: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!

22 But behold, some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out; behold, when they come out to you, and you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, for all that I have brought upon it.

23 They will console you, when you see their ways and their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, declares the Lord GOD."

Ezekiel 15:Jerusalem, a Useless Vine

1 And the word of the LORD came to me:

2 "Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest?

3 Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it?

4 Behold, it is given to the fire for fuel. When the fire has consumed both ends of it, and the middle of it is charred, is it useful for anything?

5 Behold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it ever be used for anything!

6 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

7 And I will set my face against them. Though they escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, and you will know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.

8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly, declares the Lord GOD."

Things to think about…

  1. Some elders were taking notice of the messages that Ezekiel had been giving, Ezek 14:1,2. But they were still taking idols to their hearts. Should the Lord then turn around and accept their prayers. The answer is no. Religious observance says nothing of the heart or obedience. The Lord wants both of these to be aligned. How does your Christian faith match the character of a believer as shown in the Word of God?
  2. In Ezek 14:12-23 three pillars of Israel's godly characters are mentioned – Noah, Job and Daniel. Noah and Job were part of the very ancient past, but Daniel was a contemporary with Ezekiel. Do you think that God would do a mighty work of grace and allow spiritual giants to walk through the land in our day? Ezekiel had no shame in mentioning Daniel as being a mighty example of faith and practise. Who in your opinion has a Christian witness that displays Christ's character in our day? Pray the Lord raises up more of the same.
  3. Though Ezek 15 is short, it has many lessons for us. Israel was now a fruitless vine. Grape vine wood is not strong. Good really for kindling and that's it. The Lord calls Jerusalem a useless vine, good only for burning. God's presence was gone, Ezek 10:18, there was not no life in her. We are called to bear fruit, John 15:5, otherwise we, like the Israelites of old, are only worthy of the burning of judgement, John 15:6. Accountability and the practise of stirring one another up in love and good works is vital. Encourage someone today with a word from the Lord.

Vision Point

CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.

Sunday morning's message on "That's not the God I serve" from John 6:52-71.

1.Jesus tells people that they need to eat His body and drink His blood. People grumble about it. Why were they grumbling?

2.Jesus tells them not to grumble as only those who are called by the Father will understand. How do you interpret what Jesus means here?

3.It says many didn't follow Jesus from that point on. Jesus lost His thousands of followers. How should this passage by applied to today's churches.

4.The Apostle Paul talks about those who would fall away in the latter days 1Tim 4:1 and 2Tim 4:3,4. Pray for the church and the Pastor to teach and preach the truth privately and from the pulpit. Pray for each other to have ears to hear.

Prayer Points

1.NSW parliament as they discuss abortion decriminalization laws.

2.More Sunday school teachers

3.Those who are not well – Flu and other conditions. 3 needing heart health prayer – Murray, Andre, Darrel.

4.CBC's ministries for this term

5.Our outreach initiatives as well as the Axiom podcast.

6.Next Sunday's messages. Ezek 10"God has left the building" in the morning, "Tell me about yourself"– Axiom 6pm.

7.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop.

8.Recharge – Pray for someone to take over Recharge.

9.Church finances – Pray all expenses are met and that we can again support Digital Harvest and One for Israel.

10.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.


Praise Points.

1.New folk at church on Sunday

2.Our Lord's tangible presence at Sunday night's prayer service

3.New ministries being considered – Outreach opportunities and Church services

4.Unity, love and peace


Announcements

1.Willey group - Hosting morning tea on Sunday morning.

2.Members Meeting – 18th August after the morning service.

3.Playpatch – Back this week. Carly Backwell leads this ministry.

4.Recharge– back this week. Pete Alback leads high schoolers from 7-9pm Friday nights at church.

5.Kids at Church – Primary school aged children.

6.Mapleton Women's retreat – Fri August 23rd- Sun Aug 25th. Cost $175. More details here https://www.anewconference.org.au/conferences/mapleton


This month's catechism question...

Q. 3. What has Christ given us to teach us how to pray?
A. The Lord's Prayer.

Bible Reference – Matt.6:5-15; Luke11:1-13.


"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3

Pastor Jay

Israel - the faithless bride
Offering peace, when there is no peace