Explore The Bible Study: Commissioned

7:02 PM

Do any of you remember the commercial from several years ago that showed a husband and wife getting ready to go out? The wife has a new outfit on; she is standing in front of a mirror; and she turns to her husband and asks, “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” We are left wondering how the husband would respond! Does he tell the truth or not? Do you think people really want to know the truth today, or do they want to know what makes them feel good? The Explore the Bible Study: Commissioned, will focus on the importance of telling the truth, even if it hurts.

As you examine God’s instructions in the passages today, consider the priority you place on sharing and showing the truth regarding the good news of Jesus Christ.

The study begins in chapter 3 of Ezekiel. We pick up the narrative just after God tells Ezekiel about the condition of those to whom he will be speaking the truth. Here is how God describes the Israelites in Ezekiel 3:5-7: For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or a difficult language but to the house of Israel— 6 not to the many peoples of unintelligible speech or a difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. No doubt, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not want to listen to you because they do not want to listen to me. For the whole house of Israel is hardheaded and hardhearted.

Notice what he says regarding how people who have never heard the truth respond in verse 6, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. Then notice how those who had heard the truth and even practiced the traditions surrounding the truth for generations were going to respond, the house of Israel will not want to listen to you because they do not want to listen to me.

Which of these two examples best describes our country's culture today? Which do you find it easier to do, go on a mission trip to share the gospel with those who have never heard the gospel or share the gospel right here at home?

Because most people in our country have at least heard something about the gospel at some point, we can understand the hardheaded and hardhearted attitude. We need to hear what God says to Ezekiel regarding consistently proclaiming His truth in this kind of setting.

First, we should understand that God prepares you to speak the Truth—Ezekiel 3:8-11

Having revealed to Ezekiel that his message would be ignored, the Lord promised to make him as unyielding, stubborn, and hardened as the Israelites. His strength would not only be through the resolve God would give him but in the words that would be given to him. Additionally, he wasn’t to chase the rabbits of personal opinions (his own or of those with whom he would be talking); It was to be what the Lord God says—The truth from God only. Finally, the condition for speaking was obedience and not their response. He was to do this whether they listened or refused to listen.

What fears do you have regarding sharing the gospel? In what ways have you been discouraged by the looks on the faces of others regarding the gospel? How can God’s instructions to Ezekiel in verse 9 to not be afraid of them or discouraged by the look on their faces help you become more faithful in sharing and showing the truth of the gospel?

Next, we should understand that God places us exactly where the truth needs to be spoken – Ezekiel 3:12-15

Most scholars assume the bitterness and anger described resulted from the commission he had just received from the Lord to go to a people who didn’t care. But, also consider the worship experience Ezekiel was having. He didn’t want to leave this and go to such a hard and difficult world to share the truth, but that was what God expected!

Because of this, Ezekiel reminds us that the Lord’s hand was on [him] powerfully. Despite the personal feelings he was experiencing, God was empowering him to move forward. Remember, Ezekiel is the writer of this book, so he is giving you a glimpse into his personal feelings as opposed to God's empowerment. Because of God, he could move forward with God’s plan.

God takes all of us out of our comfort zones and places us right in the middle of those who need to hear, but don’t necessarily desire to hear, the truth about the good news of Jesus Christ. We have a choice, to either sit around stunned, angry, or bitter by what we are seeing, to retreat to the comfort and safety we find when worshipping God, or to respond, through God’s power, by sharing the truth about the Good News of Jesus Christ.

What best describes you today? Do you sit around “stunned” by what you are seeing in the world today? Do you harbor an angry or bitter spirit toward those who don’t seem to care about Christ? Would you rather remain in the comfort of personal or corporate worship, or are you willing to let God take you out of that comfort zone so you can share the truth about Jesus? Do you recognize God has put you right where the gospel needs to be shared?

As a believer, we don’t have an option other than speaking the truth about the Good News of Jesus – Ezekiel 3:16-21

God told Ezekiel that he had made him a watchman over the house of Israel. Watchmen were responsible for guarding a city. They kept watch day and night for any signs of external or internal trouble. Watchmen at key positions might spot an enemy advance while the enemy was still far away. The more quickly the watchmen could identify a potential threat, the more quickly the citizens of the region could respond. Ezekiel’s role was to be a spiritual watchman: whenever you hear a word from my mouth, give them a warning from me. The people should heed the prophet’s warning, for the warning came from the Lord.

Today, as we share our faith with others, God does not hold us responsible for how people react to His message. However, He does expect us to exercise faithful stewardship in telling the truth about the good news of Jesus Christ. Additionally, we are to look for ways to warn brothers or sisters in Christ who have gone astray. We have a responsibility to both because of our relationship to God. While our salvation is not dependent on how many people with whom we talk regarding the truth of the gospel, there are other ramifications. We might end life with the regrets of knowing we didn’t do all we could do to warn others. We will also be judged by God for what we did or didn’t do for Him. But, basically, we should because it is the right thing to do. People need to be told the truth regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are His mouthpiece, his watchmen whom He has placed before a lost world so that they might hear the good news of the gospel!

Speak the Truth Even When People Don't Listen

Perhaps this illustration will help you understand the importance of sharing the truth about the gospel to those who are in danger. It’s the story of another tragedy that could have been aborted had people listened, and it’s a story of one man who did what he could do to help people understand. It’s the tragic story of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. Take some time to listen to the efforts made by this man to warn people of the tragedy and how the people responded. Take note at the end of the story of how people try to comfort him regarding having done all he could to tell the truth.

When you tell the truth about God’s Word and the gospel, then you aren’t ever a loser but a winner; no matter how people respond. The Lord has commissioned you to testify to a world that desperately needs to hear His salvation message. God’s plan to reach the world includes you and me—ordinary people whom God can use in extraordinary ways as we proclaim His truth. Some will receive it, and some will not. Wicked people may persist in their ways, or they may turn to the Lord. 

God may also use you to challenge wayward Christians to turn back to productive, faithful lives. Whether or not they listen is not your problem.

Do you know unbelievers who need to hear the good news? Who are the wayward believers you know who need to hear your words of godly concern?

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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