Date: 30 March, 2017
Text: Ezekiel 18:30-32
Title: Keep Your Life from Ruin
Scotland has some wonderful ruins. You would be hard pressed to drive any great distance in Scotland and not come upon the ruins of some castle.
Some of our favorite castles in ruins are Tantallon in North Berwick/ Linlithgow Palace
- ruins are shells, skeletal remains, empty cavernous burned out buildings....
- ruins are no longer glorious. The tapestries are gone. The storehouses are empty.
- ruins are lifeless - no music, laughter, eating or drinking
- ruins have been destroyed by the enemy or destroyed by neglect.
Ruined castles are rugged and beautiful to us. But, if that was your home - you would be grieved to see it destroyed. You would sorrow at the life and beauty which was ruined. You would be heartbroken over the silence where life and laughter had previously been found.
GOD SPEAKS ABOUT THE RUIN OF MEN'S LIVES BY SIN IN OUR TEXT - Ez. 18:30
"Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin."
exp. Ruin in this case indicates a stumblingblock to your destruction - that you would be destroyed by iniquity- a shell, lifeless, no glory, etc.
WE KNOW THAT THE RESULT OF SIN IS ETERNAL DEATH BUT IT CAN ALSO LEAD TO PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
ill. Sadly - lives can be completely ruined by sin.
Wicked friends kill
Pro 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
- 3 thieves who broke into home in the States this past week - shot and killed by owner.
Wicked addictions kill
Drugs - Girl in our area this past year who died from drugs.
Alcohol - Funeral of man last year who died from alcohol.
Cigarrettes - cancer kills
Fornication - Sexually Transmitted Disease's, Abortions
exp. The context of our passage - is God warning Israel that he holds them individually accountable for their actions and that if they persist in their disobediece the wicked will die.
20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
ill. I spoke with a man from Ireland this week who says that he believes in God but doesn't care or think about Heaven or Hell. YOU CAN'T HELP SOMEONE LIKE THAT.
ill. Witnessing to John in South Queensferry - he agreed with much of what I had to say and took a John and Romans. YOU CAN HELP SOMEONE LIKE THAT - BECUASE THEY ARE READY TO LISTEN.
If you are ready to listen to God today - He wants to help you to live a life in victory over sin (death.)
YOU CAN KEEP YOUR LIFE FROM RUIN. Are you in danger of ruining your life by sin?
I. Change your mind. (How you think.)
Repent,... from all your transgressions.
exp. Repentance Biblically is changing your mind - change it to agree with God.
ill. Imagine being a reporter and with a video camera asking those who believe in God - Are you a person who agrees with God? Would you suppose that self righteous man (assuming he believes in God) would say, "Yes, I do agree with God." And yet, it would soon be apparent that they do not.
A. Most people today have no problem with someone taking God's name in vain.
exp. But, God disagrees - so much so that he clearly says that he disagrees.
Exo 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
question: Do you agree with God today that taking God's name in vain is sin?
B. Most people today defend their lies as "little white lies."
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
question: Do you agree with God today that lying is a sin worthy of hell?
C. Most people today say that living with someone is the same as being married to them and that sex outside of marriage is fine.
Heb 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. note: God's Word further says that Marriage is between a man and a woman. Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
question: Do you agree with God about marriage and the judgment against those who disobey God's command?
D. Most people today say that pride is a good thing.
Proverbs 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him. 17 A proud look, a lying tongue,
question: Do you agree with God that pride is an abomination?
E. Most people today say that good people go to Heaven.
ill. Do door to door with me one time and if it is a normal day - you will hear this several times.
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Galatians 2:16 ...for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
question: Do you agree with God that there is no such thing as a good person and that goodness can not justify anybody?
ill. Witnessing to man from Motherwell - if those who said to bin this foam said failure to do so correctly is punishable with hell - would you study the manual to see how to do it correctly.
exp. If you want to agree with God and repent in your mind - you must know what God says about it.
app. I don't know what sin you are struggling with today - but I do know this - you will never have victory over that sin until you agree with God about it.
Transition: If you want to keep your life from ruin - you must change your mind.
II. Change your direction. (What you do.)
and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
A. Follow Jesus COMPLETELY. "turn yourselves from all your transgressions"
exp. We live in the New Testament - so I'm putting this in the context of our relationship to God by faith through Jesus.
exp. Did you notice that you're not allowed to hold onto any transgressions or it doesn't work.
ill. Jesus words to the rich young ruler - get rid of the one thing keeping you from surrender to God.
Luke 18:20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
exp. He may have felt like those things were being kept, but it is unlikely. However, the whole thing was wrapped up in his love for money. If he would obey Jesus with his money, the rest would fall into place.
app. Is there one thing keeping you from turning to follow Jesus? Are you willing to let God help you deal with that one thing?
B. This turning is not mental but physical. "Turn yourselves from all your transgressions."
ill. How would you feel if someone you loved was murdered and the murderer attended the funeral with show of grief while still holding murder weapon in his hand?
exp. When someone gets saved it is true that is by grace through faith. However, if you truly believe Jesus died beause of your sin - you don't pretend to love him with the weapon in your hand.
Act 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
exp. The Apostle Paul said to the Jew and Gentiles turn to God NOT JUST IN FAITH AND PROFESSION but in WHAT YOU DO. "Do works meet for repentance."
app. Don't think today that salvation is just an empty profession of faith in Jesus. The Bible says that salvation has to come from the heart. Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
app. Believer - don't think you can repent of your sin by just saying, "Please forgive me while holding onto your sin. Pro 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
Transition: Change your mind, change your direction, ....
III. Change your possessions. (What you have.)
31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed;
exp. There is such a thing as a transforming change in the life of someone who truly repents.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
ill. Ephesus Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
ill. Gal 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
ill. Welsh revival - Production in the mines went down because the miners no longer swore at their mules. Pubs and jails were empty.
note: There are certain sins that you can guard yourself from just by changing your possessions.
- Get rid of wicked music.
- Get rid of or put protection on mobile devices and computers.
- Get rid of magazines
- Don't stay around wicked people.
app. "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby YE HAVE TRANSGRESSED."
transition: Change your mind, direction, possessions.
IV. Change your heart. (What you desire.)
and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
exp. This was OT Israel - they didn't have saving grace by faith through Jesus. They didn't receive the gift of God's Spirit. They were to change their heart by dealing with sin. They were to change their spirit - by dealing with sin. God would then refresh their heart.
Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
ill. If you sit in a room with the windows closed, filth all around, eating rubbish, you will be depressed. But, if you open the blinds, open the windows, clean the house and get good food, your heart and spirit will be refreshed and renewed.
exp. As believers we have something much more wonderful than that - but similar - the Spirit of God is grieved by sin, our heart is burdened by sin - there is a freshness to repentance and cleansing.
ill. We all experience the initial freshness of that NEW HEART AND NEW SPIRIT AT SALVATION.
app. If you change your mind to agree with God, change direction and possessions - YOU SHOULD EXPERIENCE THIS CHANGE OF HEART BY GOD'S GREAT GRACE. AND IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Change your life. (What you are.)
32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
exp. Satan wants to ruin our lives - but Jesus wants to give us abundant life.
Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
ill. Jonathan Goforth's story telling assistant - Wang - story teller with good job - became opium addict - started gambling to buy drugs - life was destroyed.
"He looked down at his food and spoke softer. 'I started smoking the opium pipe. The smoke hurt my throat, keeping me from speaking loud enough for the large numbers of people to hear my stories. I lost my job and needed money. That's when I started gambling.
When I believed in the one true God, I stopped gambling and smoking the opium pipe. To pay my debts I had to sell everything. I had no food. No place to live.'
After hearing his story, I saw why God sent Wang to help. He was a gifted storyteller who could share what God had done for him. "Wang, would you like to help me on a regular basis?'"
app. You can have an abundant life - if you will give your life to Jesus. Jesus gets no pleasure if you die in your sin. Why not turn to Him and live!
1.) Change your mind. (What you think.)
2.) Change your direction. (What you do.)
3.) Change your possessions. (What you have.)
4.) Change your heart. (What you love.)