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SermonForgiveness Requirement is Repentance
An all-creatures Bible Message

Forgiveness Requirement is Repentance
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
2 April 2017
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Ezekiel 37:15-28
Mark 6:12
Luke 13:5

Forgiveness requirement is repentance, and it always has been.
 
Humans always seem to want to bend this heavenly requirement to have God accept them into His heavenly realm with their unrepented sins, which will never happen, for sin cannot exist in the heavenly realm of God; the two are totally incompatible.
 
We are to love God with every aspect of our being, which has to include the whole of God’s creation (humans, other animals, and the environment we all live in), because God lovingly created everything.
 
And, this love must include our truly desiring to live in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.
 
As an example, we must feel the pain and suffering of every living being whether human or other animal and desire to free them from their pain and suffering, for that is all part of heavenly love and living in God’s heavenly will.
 
However, if anyone is indifferent to, or an actual participant in causing this pain and suffering, they are turning their backs to God and following the ways of the devil and his minions, and this includes what we put on our plates and eat.
 
This is really what Ezekiel 37:15-28 is all about, but as we look at this passage of Scripture, we need to remember that the forgiveness requirement is repentance.

15. The word of the LORD came again to me saying,

When we begin to hear the voice of God, we need to pay attention, for when He begins to talk to us, He usually speaks again, but we need to make sure that it is God speaking to us, and not the devil.
 
God’s word is always based on love and does not contradict the Bible, particularly the things that Jesus taught us, all of which is in the heavenly will of God.

16. "And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, 'For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions'; then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.' "

When God spoke to the prophets, He often used symbolism like this; He even used it in the vision of the sheet He used with Peter to tell him it was okay to enter the home of a Gentile; it had nothing to do with killing and eating animals, which Peter recognized.

17. "Then join them [the sticks] for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.

Separation and strife is never from God; it is from the devil, this is why we believe that God had Ezekiel bind the sticks together.
 
The devil convinces people to separate themselves from God and His heavenly will, as well as from other people, so that they will not enter heaven, including convincing them to disregard that the forgiveness requirement is repentance.
 
God always wants us to come together in heavenly love and peace, and to work together to bring His heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, and to free His creation from its present corruption.
 
The devil always wants the opposite.
 
And we need to remember that all of the corruption of the earth came from the devil convincing people to do what he wanted, and not the things that God desired, such as convincing Eve and Adam to disobey God, and convincing others to kill, such as Cain killing Abel, and all the warring madness and killing that is going on all over the world, including the horrible suffering and death inflicted upon billions of animals every year.

18. "And when the sons of your people speak to you saying, 'Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?'

God used this symbolism of the sticks to attract the attention of the people so that they would ask Ezekiel what the sticks meant, because it sparked their curiosity and interest, which made them more likely to listen to what the prophet had to say.
 
Unfortunately, today most people seem to prefer “tweeting” to one another rather than having meaningful conversations, and this even includes the president of the United States.
 
This is a real tragedy!
 
So God tells Ezekiel how to respond to the people…

19. say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand." '
 
20. "And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.

Having the sticks in his hand, when talking to the people, will help the people be more attentive and listen to what the prophet says.

21. "And say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD," Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;
 
22. and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms.

This is God’s way of telling the people that He will forgive all their former sins, but that doesn’t redeem and save them; they still have to truly repent and seek to live in God’s heavenly will here on earth as it is in heaven, for they must remove all willful sin from themselves before the Holy Spirit enters into them and changes them.
 
Sin and God cannot exist together.
 
Think about what we are told in Mark 6:12…

12. And they went out and preached that men should repent.
NASB

If there wasn’t a spiritual connection between repentance and forgiveness, then why would Jesus send His disciples out to preach this?
 
The simple answer is, He wouldn’t.
 
Forgiveness requirement is repentance.
 
Note also what Jesus told the people in Luke 13:5…

5. "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
NASB

To us this is further proof that God’s forgiveness requirement is repentance.
 
Then God tells us what happens when we do repent.

23. "And they will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.

We hope and pray that all of us are willing to have God accomplish this in our lives.

24. "And My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances, and keep My statutes, and observe them.

Since Ezekiel is writing this well after the death of King David, the David mentioned here is in the line of David as is Jesus; this David is Jesus, and all these things will happen when we follow the teachings and leadership of Jesus.

25. "And they shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons, and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant shall be their prince forever.

Jesus may not be physically walking among us today, but we all can walk spiritually with Him by following the things He taught us, which is really living in the heavenly will of God.
 
Then Ezekiel tells us, for God…

26. "And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.

This is what God really wants for us, but the vast majority of people in the world don’t seem to want to change their worldly ways and receive these heavenly gifts.
 
They don’t seem to want to accept the fact that the forgiveness requirement is repentance.

27. "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

We’ve heard a lot of church goers refer to themselves as children of God, but their corrupt ways of living say that they are really children of the devil.
 
Again, living in God’s heavenly will is what God wants for each and every one of us, but we also need to be willing to receive it on God’s terms.

28. "And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever."   
NASB

If we look around the world today, it sure doesn’t seem like any nation knows the Lord and His heavenly will; they may say that they do, but their lifestyle says something else.
 
Think about all the pain and suffering that is on most people’s plates.
 
We won’t have God’s sanctuary in our midst unless we learn that His forgiveness requirement is repentance.
 
Amen.

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