THE GLORY OF GOD’S GRACE
Ezekiel 16:1-14 (NKJV)
God’s Love for Jerusalem
1 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: “Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.
6 “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.
8 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God.
9 “Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. 14 Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God.
In this passage, God is dealing with the city of Jerusalem. They have once again descended into idolatry and the Lord is trying to woe them back unto Himself. He does this by reminding them of His great love (LOVE) for them and of all the wonderful things He has done for them, in them and through them. This is a declaration of God’s grace on behalf of the people of Jerusalem. He reminds them that they were nothing when He found them. By using the image of a baby that has been cast out by its parents, God shows Jerusalem that they were unloved, unwanted and on the verge of death. But, He took them and blessed them and made them great among the cities of the world. His activity in the life of Jerusalem can be summed up in one word: GRACE!
However, there is another picture here. In these verses, we can see pictured the grace of God as it is revealed in the lives of everyone who places their faith in Him (in JESUS CHRIST) for salvation. In these verses, we are reminded again of what the Lord has done for each of us who are saved in Christ. These verses are chocked full of spiritual truths and “vitamins” that will help us if we take them and let them.
Today, I would like to take a few minutes to look into this great passage and preach for a while about The Glory Of God’s Grace.
As I do, I would like remind you that you are what you are by grace, 1 Cor. 15:10. Grace is what saves us, Eph. 2:8-9. Grace is what keeps us saved, 1 Pet. 1:5. Grace is what helps us day by day, 2 Cor. 12:9. Even the lost people in the world today owe everything to the grace of God!
With all that in mind, let’s look together at this passage which has the tremendous grace of God on full dress parade.
Let’s think together about the Glory Of God’s Grace.
I. V. 1-5 THERE IS A WRETCHED CONDITION
(Ill. In the description of this helpless infant, there is a perfect picture of how everyone of us was before we were saved. If you are lost this morning, then you need to know that this is a picture of how you are right now! It is truly a description of a wretched condition.)
A. V. 4a As Lost Sinners We Were Unclean – (Ill. This child had never been washed.) Rom. 3:10, 23; Isa. 64:6. Our sins had created a wide gulf between us and God, Isa. 59:2. We were separated from Him here and doomed to be separated eternally in the fires of Hell, 2 Thes. 1:8-9. We needed a spiritual washing!
B. V. 4b-5 As Lost Sinners We Were Uncared For – (Ill. This child had never had its navel cut, neither was it washed, salted or swaddled. No one cared if it lived or died! It appears as though everyone around this little baby hated it to the point of committing infanticide, v. 5c.)
(Ill. Satan, the world, and many in our own families did not care for us! That is why the Bible says that “the way of the transgressor is hard”, Pro. 13:15.)
Many were like King David in the Old Testament when He said, “No man cared for my soul.”, Psa. 142:4.
C. V. 4c As Lost Sinners We Were Unclothed – (Ill. This child had been thrown into an open field naked and exposed to the elements.) We were clothed in the rags of our sins, but in the eyes of God our lives were naked and open to Him. We stood in all the shame of our sins, Psa. 139:7-12, Heb. 4:13.
D. V. 5b As Lost Sinners We Were Unclaimed – (Ill. No one wanted this child. Neither mother nor father would claim it as their own.) Like this little child, we had been cast upon the sea of time by Satan and our own sins. We were orphaned and all alone in this world without God, Eph. 2:12. Oh yes, there were family and friends about us, but they could never satisfy the deep longings of the soul. We needed what we did not have, a relationship with the Living God.
E. V. 4-5 As Lost Sinners Our Situation Was Uncontrollable – (Ill. This newborn baby was totally helpless to change its condition. If someone did not interfere, then this child would surely die.)
My friends, when we were lost, we were in a shape that we could not change! We could not save ourselves. We could not bring life into our dead hearts. We could not get to God on our own! We were totally helpless!
(Ill. This is the condition of everyone who is outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ right now. You, like this little baby, and just like I used to be, are totally helpless to save yourself from an eternity in Hell. All of these things are true about you. You are in a wretched shape this morning and you need to be saved by the grace of God.)
(Ill. If the story ended here, it would be very sad. Thankfully, there is more to tell.)
I. There Is A Wretched Condition
II. V. 6-9 THERE IS A WONDERFUL COMPASSION
(Ill. God pictures Himself as One passing by. Who sees the child and stoops down to rescue it from a certain death. In this picture, we can see what the Lord has done for everyone who places their faith in Him.)
A. V. 6a He Came To Us – (Ill. Knowing this child’s inability to come to Him, God made the first move). I am grateful this morning that God knows about our condition. I am grateful that He always makes the first moves in salvation, John 6:44. It encourages my heart this morning to know that the Lord is the One who is seeking and saving sinners today, Luke 19:10; 1 Tim. 1:15.
(Ill. I remember my condition when I got saved. I was not looking for Him, but thank God, He was looking for me!)
B. V. 8a He Had Compassion On Us – (Ill. The Lord saw this little infant and loves it and knew instantly what had to be done to rescue it. He knew what to do and he did it!) (Ill. Thank God, in spite of our sins and our wretched condition, God still loves us! He looked upon sinful man and saw what needed to be done and He did it. He paid a great price to make salvation available for you and me – Rom. 5:8; John 3:16. God’s answer for our need was the cross of Calvary.)
C. V. 6b He Commanded Us To Live – (Ill. The Lord tells this child to live.) His command is the same for us. When He comes to us in grace and we respond to Him in faith, His command to us is that we live. He didn’t save us to watch us die, He gives us everlasting live through His Son, the Lord Jesus, John 6:47; John 3:16.
(Ill. God takes those dead in their sins and causes them to live through the blood of His Son.)
D. V. 8a He Covered Us With Himself – (Ill. The Lord stooped down and spread His skirt over this infant thereby covering its nakedness.) Did you know that He did the very same thing for you and me when we got saved? That’s right! When we got saved, we entered into a place of shelter where we are forever covered by the Lord. In this shelter, we are safe from His wrath, Rom. 5:9. We are protected from Hell, John 10:28. We are shielded from those who would harm us – Psa. 57:1
E. V. 8b He Claimed Us As His Own – (Ill. The spreading of the skirt over another was used to claim that one as your own. When a man found a young woman that he desired for his wife, he would spread his garment over her claiming her for his own. This is the picture here. Jerusalem has grown up, v. 7-8, and God is claiming her for Himself.)
When we were saved, we were also claimed by the Lord. He adopted us into His family, Eph. 1:5, and we are His forever, John 6:37.
(Ill. At one time we were unwanted, uncared for, and unclaimed, now we have been accepted by God and are His, Ill. Heb. 11:16.)
F. V. 8c He Made A Covenant With Us – (Ill. God entered into a covenant with this one He had claimed. A covenant is different than a contract, because a contract can be broken. A covenant, on the other hand, is eternal and binding)
Ill. When we got saved, God also entered into a covenant with us. He gave us a salvation that is eternal and that will never pass away. Once you are His, you are His forever!
(Ill. If we can lose our salvation, then words like eternal, everlasting, forever, mean absolutely nothing! If we can be lost then verses like John 6:37; 1 Pet. 1:5; John 10:28, etc are best cut out of the Bible and burned as trash. No, salvation is a forever deal. Once it is yours it is always yours!)
G. V. 9a He Cleansed Us – (Ill. God took this one He loved and “thoroughly washed away” all the impurities from her.)
Ill. What a picture! When the Lord saved our souls, He didn’t whitewash our lives. He washed us whiter than snow, Isa. 1:18. Every stain that sin had left in our lives was forever cleansed away by the blood of Jesus. When God saved your soul, He washed you absolutely, perfectly and purely clean! He did it right – Ill. I John 1:7; Psa. 103:12; Micah 7:19.
H. V. 9b He Cured Us – (Ill. Next, the Lord is pictured as anointing this one with oil. Oil was used as a medicine in those days. He cured this one from all the ailments that afflicted her.)
Ill. In a spiritual sense, we have experienced the same thing. For when the Lord saved our souls, He cured us of the old life. When we got saved, we were healed from the curse of our sinful natures and were made new creatures by the power of God – 2 Cor. 5:17.
I. V. 9b He Consecrated Us – (Ill. Oil is also a picture of the Holy Spirit.)
When the Lord saved us, He put His Spirit in us, 1 Cor. 12:13. Rom. 8:9. At the moment of salvation, we became the living Temples of God, 1 Cor. 3:17; 6:19. As such, we are set apart for His use and have been consecrate for His glory. Therefore, we have no right to do anything with our life, or with this body, that doesn’t glorify the Lord God of Heaven.
(Ill. As you can see, everyone that has been saved by grace has been blessed with some pretty tremendous gifts of grace. However, it doesn’t stop there.)
I. There Is A Wretched Condition
II. There Is A Wonderful Compassion
III. V. 10-14 THERE IS A WONDROUS CHANGE
A. V. 10a We Have Been Clothed – (Ill. This verse tells us that the Lord clothed His chosen one in the finest of garments. He clothed her in glory and beauty.)
Ill. He has done the same thing for you and me. All we can see today are these outward appearances. The bodies and these clothes are all we can see with our human eyes. If we could see with the eyes of God this morning, we would see that every child of God has been gloriously clothed by the Lord above! At the moment of salvation, we were clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself, Isa. 61:10; Phil. 3:9; Rom. 3:22; Gal. 3:27.
(Ill. The robe that was given to the Prodigal – Luke 15:22)
B. V. 11-14 We Have Been Made Comely – (Ill. These verse describe all the things God gave her and blessed her with to make her look the best she could possible look. He took her, changed her completely and made her life a thing of great beauty.)
Ill. He has done the same for everyone of His saints. By saving us, blessing us, changing us, gifting us and using us, He has made us far better than we ever could have been otherwise. He can take the most wretched of lives and transform them into trophies of His grace and power. When God saves a soul, it is the greatest miracle that He could ever perform! When He comes in, there is a drastic change in that life, 2 Cor.
C. V. 12 We Have Been Crowned – (Ill. The Lord took this woman and made her His queen. He blessed her and raised her up to sit with Him in His throne. He literally crowned her life with His glory.)
Ill. He has done that for His saints as well. He saved us by His grace and has promised to be with us all along the way home. Then, when we get home, the Lord is going to take us and reward us for those things we did for Him along the way. Things that He empowered us to do. Things He gifted us to do. Things He allowed us to do and still He is going to reward us – Rev. 22:12. There will be crowns to cast at His feet when we get home – Rev. 4:1-11.
D. V. 14 We Have Been Changed – (Ill. The Lord tells this one that there had been a day when no one cared and no one wanted anything to do with her. But, He came to her made a difference in her and now she is the envy of the world. He made a change in her and all the world wanted what she had.)
Ill. What a picture of what the Lord has done for you and me! When He found us, we weren’t loved, wanted or cared for, but He loved us, He cared for us, He wanted us! When He came to us, He changed us by His great power and made us new creatures through His grace, 2 Cor. 5:17.
Now, we are different than we were before. Now, others look upon us with envy. They may never admit it, but they would love to have our peace. They would love to have a new life like ours. They would love to be in a relationship with God. They would love to experience the same kind of change that we have experienced. They can if they will come to Jesus for salvation as we ourselves have done.
The Lord has taken a bunch of unwanted, unloved people, saved them by His grace and set them out on display and He says here is what grace can do for you too!
Friends, I don’t know where this message finds you today. You may like that little baby that has been cast away and left to die. You may feel unloved, uncared for and unwanted today. Let me encourage you for a minute. Jesus Christ loves you. So much so that He went to the cross and died for your sins. If you would only come to Him and ask Him, He would save your soul, right now, today.
Saints of God, if we continued to read in this chapter, we would have found that Jerusalem took these blessings from the Lord and despised them. It says in verse 15 that they played the harlot against God. That is, they ran after and they served other Gods. Some of you may have done the same thing! Oh, you’re saved, but you are not living like it this morning. God has changed you, but you have gone back on Him. In your heart, you know that you are cold and not where you need to be. I invite you to come to Him today. For, just as He saves the sinner, He also restores the saints. He will forgive you if you will come to Him, 1 John 1:9.
Some may just be glad that you are saved. It may have been a while since you bowed before the Lord for no other reason than to say, “Lord, I love you and I thank you for saving me.” Maybe you just need to come and be a blessing to the Lord this morning.
Whatever the need, there is help and hope in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. You come if He is calling.
Praise His Holy Name!