Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn

                                                                   Faithfulness – A Key Step to Happiness

Oct 14 2012:                           “The Further we go the More we grow!”

Sun AM Worship                                               

Text Eze 47:1–12  (King James Version)  

  “Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people.”

                                           The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, “If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;”

 

Introduction: There was a game show on the television many years ago called, “To Tell the Truth.” Three people would be questioned on the show by a panel of four people to determine who was really what they said they were. After the questioning was over the panel was to vote on who they thought was telling the truth. Each one of the three people gave answers to the panel and each one knew something about who they were supposed to be, but only ONE gave all the right answers. Sometimes the whole panel was fooled. Sometimes the panel picked out the right person.

Do you think the QUESTIONING PANEL of the WORLD knows what a “Real Christian” is supposed to be like?

Eze 47:1  Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.

Eze 47:2  Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

Eze 47:3  And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.

Eze 47:4  Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.

Eze 47:5  Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.

Eze 47:6  And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.

Eze 47:7  Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.

Eze 47:8  Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.

 Eze 47:9  And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

Eze 47:10  And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.

Eze 47:11  But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.

Eze 47:12  And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

 

 Let’s pray. Father,  Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.  

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice. Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

What is the largest problem facing the church of today?
Possible answers:
1. Is it a lack of belief in God? - No
2. Is it a lack of ability to do God’s work? - No
3. Is it a lack of people in God’s church? - No

1. The largest problem facing the church TODAY is a lack of courage to do that which God has called and enables us to do.

It take’s Real Courage to walk with God with un-restrictive bands of Faith that follows wherever he may be leading us.

 

3. Courage is the power that it takes to be a strong Christian and to build a strong church.


4. The problem arises when Christians and churches do not have the courage to follow God wherever He leads them. Thus they end up doing only what is safe and acceptable and go nowhere for God.

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much no suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Andrew Jackson said, “One man with courage makes a majority.”

Ezekiel had been given a vision from God during the time of the captivity of Israel in Babylon. He had been a priest but during the time of Babylon’s captivity became a prophet with a message of hope and restoration for Israel.


God gives Ezekiel a vision of waters flowing out from under the threshold of the door of the Holy Temple of God and these waters become a river.


What does this vision mean?
It is obvious this river has a prophetic meaning. Why?

Because of ITS SOURCE. – “The threshold of the Sanctuary

1. The river is flowing out from under the “Threshold of the Temple of God’s Throne.”
2. The river is actually coming out from the “door” of God’s house. – Let us not forget that Jesus said, “I am the door” John 10:7

Because of ITS COURSE. – “Came down by the altar”

1. By the way of the “altar.”
2. The altar stood for a place of Sacrifice.
3. The altar stood for a place of Prayer.
4. This river came “Down” in its direction of flowing.
5. This river of Grace finds its way to lowest and most needy places in the world.

Because of ITS FORCE. – “Everything shall live whiter the river cometh”

1. Wherever this river flows it brings “Life.”
2. It had power to “Heal.”
3. To bring for “Fruit” and “Freshness.”
4. The river has the ability to “Feed” you.
5. The river has the power to “refresh” you.
6. The river has the power to “cleanse” you.


Joh 7:37  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

Joh 7:38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

 

Time for a “Definition” for the River. – It’s “Grace.”
1. Grace comes from God.
2. Grace is provided through the greatest Gift God ever gave the human race, “Jesus!”
3. The “Door” of Grace is opened through Jesus.
4. Grace comes into our life by Prayer.
5. Grace is an “undeserved gift” given to us by God.
6. Grace is ever reaching down to lowest levels of life to find us and give us life.
7. Grace brings life, healing, refreshing, cleansing, and sustaining our hungry hearts.

1. Ezekiel stated the divine man that was ushering him through this vision of the river began leading him deeper into the river.
2. Ezekiel’s first journey into the river took him out from the bank 1,750 feet and found that the depth of the water was only to the “Ankles.”
3. The divine messenger brought Ezekiel another 1,750 feet further into the river and the water was to the “Knees.”
4. Ezekiel was led another 1,750 feet further into the waters of the river and found the depth to be to the waist.
5. Another 1,750 feet was measured out by the divine messenger and the water’s depth was found to be so deep it could not be passed over.

This “River of Grace” is so deep and wide that man cannot cross over without “Total Dependence” on the “Divine Leadership” of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. With each step of obedience Ezekiel found himself going deeper into dependence upon the Grace of God.


2. With each venture of forward progress more of Ezekiel was submerged in the river with less of Ezekiel being visible.

3. God will never throw us into things over our heads without first preparing us.

Eph. 2:8 – 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

2Pe 3:17  Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.


If there was a stream of water anywhere within reach that would do all these things for whoever stepped into it every one of us would be making arrangements to go get into this river.

I really believe that there are many in the church today that are afraid of getting in over their heads.

I. WATERS TO THE ANKLES. (v. 3)

a. For this RIVER to do you any good, you have to get into it!


b. Ezekiel was being LED by this divine messenger. (v. 2 “he led me about the way…”)

c. If we OBEY the leading of the Holy Spirit of God He will lead us into a DEEPER EXPERIENCE with God in our Christian walk.

d. I believe the “Waters to the Ankles” were representative of our introduction into Christianity. (When we were saved)


e. There was only a LITTLE BIT of the man of God covered by the waters. More of the man was sticking out of the waters than was covered by the waters.

f. This is WADING water, shallow water, much like when we were children wading through a mud puddle.

g. The divine messenger led him through the waters they didn’t stay in that depth very long.

h. The GREAT PROPERTIES of the waters didn’t have as much effect on the man of God as it does further on down the river.

II. WATERS TO THE KNEES. (v.4)

a. After measuring down the river another 1/3 of a mile the waters had increased to a depth to the knees.
b. Knees very well could refer to PRAYER. Our Christian walk begins to deepen during our Prayer Life.


c. A Christian doesn’t GROW unless PRAYER becomes a regular PART of everyday life. (This river flowed down by the ALTAR)


d. Going Further is always going to be a part of Christianity. “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Mt. 26:39)

e. The waters were already having a GREATER EFFECT on the walk of the man of God. (It more difficult to jump up and down and act like a kid in knee deep water!)
f. A strong prayer life will change the way you act!

III. WATER TO THE LOINS. (Waist) (v. 4)

a. The divine messenger led Ezekiel down the river another 1/3 of a mile and the depth of the river had increased to the waist.
b. The waters were covering about ½ of the man of God. We now see much less of the man of God sticking out of the water.
c. The waters have had a much greater effect on the walk of Ezekiel. He has slowed down because of the water.
d. Ezekiel is now giving in to the power of the waters of the river.
e. At this point the river has captured a greater part of Ezekiel’s thinking.
f. The FURTHER we GO the more we GROW!

IV. WATERS TO SWIM IN. (v. 5)

a. Ezekiel makes a tremendous discovery after measuring out another 1/3 of a mile he can’t find any bottom to this great river.
b. Ezekiel is now in over his head! This represents the HIGHEST LEVEL that any believer can reach in his life.

c. Ezekiel has reached a PLACE where he is beyond his own ability. (He has placed himself under the command and control of the Lord).


d. This is WHERE God wants all His children to be!

e. Now Ezekiel has to SWIM! (By the way, it takes FAITH to swim!)
f. Swimming didn’t occur until the man of God got in over his head!

 

 It takes a BALANCE of YEILDEDNESS and EFFORT on your part to be able to SWIM!

Too many Christians resolve themselves to just sit on the bank of the river and watch someone else do the SWIMMING!

Where are you in your experience with God? What is the depth where you are today?

It’s sad when Christians stop short of their potential! Too many are 1/3, 2/3, or just “a third mile downstream and been saved 20+ years!”

 

Very few have traveled downstream and found a river to swim in! (A little further!)

There are only two types of people when it comes to growth: those who are growing and those who are resisting growth.


There is a price to pay to grow. Commitment is the price. It take Courage and Determination to get there and take real commitment to stay there.

If what you did yesterday still looks BIG to you, you haven’t done much today.

Mat 11:12  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

 

I am moved by the quote of John Kennedy while he was president, “I make no easy decisions, all the easy ones are made before they reach my desk.”

It is way past time for us to completely be yielded unto the spirits leadership!

 

Luk 22:40  And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

Luk 22:41  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Luk 22:42  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Luk 22:43  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

Luk 22:44  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

 

The message of Calvary is that this world will crucify you, but you endure it for them, and some standing by will see that, will kneel, and believe! Stephen in Acts 6 played a huge role in Saul’s conversion. Saul saw him being stoned saying, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge!" Saul saw Stephen bless his persecutors

 

Joh 4:21  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Joh 4:22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Joh 4:25  The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

Joh 4:26  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.