Eze. 47:1-12 GETTING IN OVER YOUR HEAD
Intro: Ill. This is a millennial vision. Ezekiel is envisioning a time when the
Lord will bring about absolute healing in the nation of Israel. A time when
the river of God's grace and blessing will flow from His throne and will
refresh the promised land. While this prophecy is for the nation of Israel
and will be literally fulfilled one day, there is application here for us tonight.
By way of introduction, allow me to share the following personal
illustration with you. Many years ago, when I was just a small child, I went
with my family to a certain place to swim. I was about 6 or 7 at the time and
had taken 2 or 3 years of swimming lessons and I was pretty confident that
I could swim in the deeper water. So, if my memory serves me correctly, I
ran to the area where the deeper water was and plunged in. Things went
well for a time, but after a few minutes, I was tired from swimming. Too
tired, in fact, to get myself back to shore. I remember struggling in the water
and I remember going under. I also remember the distinct feeling that I was
going to die. However, a much older and far more experienced swimmer
came to my rescue and pulled me out. What I learned as a young child was
that one should be careful about getting in over one's head.
I would like to ask you a question. How many of you can honestly raise
you hands this evening and tell me that beyond any shadow of a doubt, you
know that you are exactly in the center of God's will and that you are right
where God wants you to be in your spiritual growth? Any takers? I didn't
think so! The truth of the matter is, we all have plenty of room for
improvement! That's what this sermon is all about this evening. It's about
becoming more of what the Lord God wants each of us to be. It's about
leaving the shore of stagnant, disappointed Christianity and wading out into
the deep spiritual waters of the born again life. You see, what has
happened in the modern church is that many have become far too cautious
about giving their all to Jesus Christ. I really believe that there are many in
the church tonight who are afraid of getting in over their heads.
Let's take a few minutes this evening to look at Ezekiel's prophecy. I
want you to notice three aspects of this prophecy that apply to you and me
this evening. What I would like to do tonight is to help you learn to wade out
a little bit deeper for Jesus. I truth, I would like to see you get in over your
I. V. 1-2, 6-12 EZEKIEL'S VISION
A. He Saw A River - this river is type of the Holy Spirit, John 14:16-18.
There are three ways in which this river represents the Spirit and His
work in the life of the believer.
1. In Its Source - The throne of God. The Holy Spirit, like this river,
came directly from the Father's throne.
2. In Its Course - From the altar. Notice that this river came from
the altar, or the place where sacrifice was made. The Water of
Life, the precious Holy Spirit comes directly from the altar of
Christ's sacrifice, the cross - Matt. 20:28. The Holy Spirit came
only after the death of Christ on the cross, John 16:7.
3. In Its Force - Notice four great things about this river that made it
very special. These four things make the Holy Spirit special as
A. It had no Feeder Streams - There was no need for any thing
to flow into this river to give it force, size and power. When at
left the throne, it possessed all that it needed. (Ill. The
Mississippi is less that 3 feet wide where it begins, but after all
the feed streams flow into it, it becomes a mighty river. God's
river needs no feeder streams.
(Ill. What I mean is this, God doesn't need the world, anything
that is in it, and He certainly doesn't need me and you to get
His work done here in this world. God supercedes us! He
supercedes this world and He will get the job done in spite of
you and me. His river needs no feeder streams!)
B. V. 8 It could Heal - This river made the sea water pure when
it flowed into it. (Ill. The deadly effect of drinking sea water. It
will kill you!)
(Ill. I am talking about a river that has the power to heal this
evening. I am talking about the power of the Holy Spirit in your
life and mine. He can heal broken hearts. He can heal broken
lives. He can heal broken dreams. He is a Spirit who flows
with healing power tonight. I challenge you to bring that which
is broken to the lord Jesus and watch Him heal it by His power!
(Ill. Matt. 11:28; Luke 4:18 Jesus can take a life broken by sin
and through the working of His Spirit, bring healing to that soul
and glory into the heart of that life that was the slave of sin!).
C. V. 9 It could Revive - Everything this river touched was
transform with its life giving power. Notice that verse 9 tells us
twice that everything the river touches will live!
(Ill. When the Spirit of God moves into a life, there will be a
renewal. When God moves in, He will change things! He can
take that which was dead and make it live, Eph. 2:1-4. He can
and will give a drink of the water of life that will produce
everlasting life and eternal satisfaction in the life of the
(Ill. By the way, the Holy Spirit is what our churches need if we
are going to see revival and the power of God in our midst. We
need to learn to welcome Him and not be afraid of His power in
D. V. 12 It could bring forth Fruit and Freshness - Everywhere
this great river flowed, fruit sprang up.
(Ill. So it is with the presence of the Holy Spirit. When He
moves is, His presence will be manifested by fruit and
freshness in the life of the believer, John 7:38-39; Gal. 5:22-23.
(Ill. Contrast this fruit with that of the flesh!)
(Ill. All of these things picture the work of the Holy Spirit in saving and
using the believer for the glory of the Lord. When our eyes are open,
it is easy to see where the Spirit is moving and working.)
B. He Saw - Sadly, many hear the Gospel call, John 1:29, and they see
what the Spirit can and is doing in the lives of others, yet that is as far
as they get! However, that isn't far enough to save them Many, many
see the river flowing by, but they never get wet! For this river to do
you any good, you have to get into it, John 3:7. (Ill. The Ethiopian
Eunuch - Acts 8:36-37).
I. Ezekiel's Vision
II. V. 3-4 EZEKIEL'S VENTURE
(Ill. As the man in Ezekiel's vision measured the river, he carried Ezekiel
along with him. As a result, the prophet was led into every deepening
waters. God wants to do this same thing in your life tonight! Notice how
Ezekiel's venture speaks to us as believers this evening.)
A. Ankle Deep - This represents the step of faith that saves the soul,
Acts 16:31, Psa. 34:8. It is truly great to be saved, but it isn't the end!
Yes, He brought us out, but He also wants to lead us one. Many stop
right here and never go one step farther with God. There is much
more to being saved than just getting saved!
(Ill. This is where the waders stay! Those who get saved and refuse
to grow in the Lord are just dabblers. They spend all of their time in
the shallow end of the pool afraid to wade out deeper. They miss the
blessings of the deeper life. These people are in total, absolute
control of their loves.)
(Ill. Have you ever watched the children in the kiddie pool? They
remind me of a lot of church members this evening. Always yelling
and screaming, wanting somebody else's pool toy. Doing their best
to splash someone and push someone else under. Sounds just like
many of the folk in our churches, doesn't it?)
B. Knee Deep - The knees speak of prayer. This represents a life that
is learning dependence upon the Lord. This is the person who prays
and trying to live their life in faith before the Lord, Heb. 10:38. Many
never reach even this shallow level of maturity in the Lord. You need
to remember, however, that no person will ever stand taller than he
does on his knees!
(Ill. Those who are at this level know something of the power of the
river. They can feel its power as it rushes past, but they aren't really
affected by it. They are still standing on their own 2 feet. They are in
control of their lives and aren't being supported by the river.)
C. Loin Deep - The loins are emblematic of strength. This speaks of
spiritual power in our lives. When one has waded out waist deep into
the river, more of the river and less of the man is seen, Ill. John 3:30.
When we have waded out this far, we can feel the power of the river,
and others can see its effect on us, Eph. 6:10. This level of maturity
is rarely reached, but when it is, you can't hide its effects in your life!
It will tell on you! As deep s this level of spiritual growth is, it is still not
as deep as we can go!
(Ill. The few who are at this level of spiritual maturity, have lost some
control over themselves. They are often picked up by the river and
moved a few feet at a time, but still, they are close enough to the
shore to be able to stand if they need to. They are in control.)
I. Ezekiel's Vision
II. Ezekiel's Venture
III. V. 5 EZEKIEL'S VICTORY
(Ill. At this point, Ezekiel has reached a place where the river is in control.
It takes him where it will. He has no power over his destination. He is at the
mercy of the river!)
A. This represents the highest spiritual level that any believer can reach
in this life. (Ill. Couldn't pass over! It just doesn't get any deeper than
B. There are three reasons why I can say that this is the deepest you can
ever get as a Christian.
1. When you are this deep, you have gone beyond your own
ability - Ill. Ezekiel was at the total mercy of the river. (Ill. Far too
many like the safety of the shore.) The person who has reached
this level of spiritual maturity has moved beyond himself and has
placed himself under that control and command of God.
(Ill. This is what true spiritual maturity is all about! It is about
coming to the end of ourselves and realizing just how big this thing
really is, and that there is no way that we could ever do it on our
own. We must come to the place where we realize who is in
control! Phil. 4:13.)
2. When you are this deep, you have ceased to support yourself
- (Ill. Ezekiel was no longer wading, he was just resting. He wasn't
in charge, he gave himself over to the power of the river!) Ill. this
is where God wants to bring you and me to. He wants us to reach
the place where we learn to rest in Him and allow Him to support
us and carry us through this life. It will no longer be you trying to
run around and get things done, it will be you resting in the power
of the Holy Spirit watching the Lord conduct His business as He
caries you along with Him.
3. When you are this deep, you have given yourself up to the
will of the river - (Ill. Ezekiel was going to go where the river took
him) This is how the Lord wants us to be. He wants us to loose
sight of ourselves, our goals, our ambitions, our dreams and He
wants us to be totally, 100% surrendered to Him and His will for
our lives. God is looking for surrender from you and me, Rom.
4. When you are this deep, you are just happy to be carried by
the river - The will of the river becomes your will also. This is
where we are all commanded to be - Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:25; 1 John
2:6. (Ill. Basically, Ezekiel was all wet! He was into something that
was way over his head. That, my friends is where God wants to
Conc: Do you know what the secret to real revival is? It is nothing more
than for God's people to get to the place where they are as deep in Him as
they can get! That's what it is! It isn't for that ankle deep crowd! Those
knee deep folks will get a ripple every now and then. Even those who are
out there to the loins won't feel the force of God's power like they should.
It is only when we throw ourselves on the mercy of the river and allow the
Spirit of God to have the absolute right of way in our lives that we can
experience true and genuine revival.
Now, I want you to notice 2 things that are so deep and profound that
you may have missed them during this message.
1. Notice this statement in verses 3 - 4, "He brought me through
the waters." Some of you are holding back on total commitment
to the Lord this evening because you are afraid that if you fully sell
out to Him that you will drown. God will never let you down! Some
of this saints have walked through some mighty deep waters over
the centuries and God brought them all out!
A. Job, Job 1-2
B. 3 Hebrews, Dan. 3
C. Daniel, Dan. 6
D. The Disciples - John 6 (Feeding the 5,000 and the storm!)
My friend, what the Lord did for them, He will also do for you! (Ill. Isa.
43:2; Isa. 45:7)
2. The deeper you go, the harder it is to jump out - When you are
in the kiddie pool, you can jump in and out whenever you feel like
it. Even when you are knee deep and loin deep, it is just a short
hike back to the safety of the bank. However, when you have
placed yourself at the mercy of the river, it's a whole lot harder to
get back out again. What I am saying is that an ever deepening
spiritual life is a hedge against failure. Get in as deep as you can!
Just how deep are you this evening? Are you still in the shallows? If so,
wade on out, because the water is fine! Besides, you can't do the
backstroke in the kiddie pool! You've got to get out there pretty deep to get
where your feet no longer touch the bottom. What are you going to do?
Some of you have never even gotten into the water. Make tonight your night
to give it all up to Jesus. Will you do it?