AN OT PROMISE fulfilled in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost:“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26-27
The promise was originally for Israel, but because of their rejection of Messiah, God in His infinite wisdom opened up salvation to all men. Throughout the book of Acts, we see the apostles and other disciples preaching, “Repent and be born again of the Holy Spirit, and the times of refreshing shall come”. We are witnesses that throughout the book of Acts the pagans are the ones who respond to the gospel message.
Scripture reveals that the wicked and those who were God’s enemies responded to the call to be forgiven and born again. The apostle Paul through Divine prompting washed his hands of Israel and went to the Gentiles. Here’s what I want you to realize: we were not worthy, or deserving of this unspeakable gift. We were by nature His enemy. We were not good and did nothing righteous to deserve this kindness.
We deserved the wrath of God and our future was hell. Notice the words of Ezekiel the prophet in this whole dissertation. Before the Lord says, “I will give you a new heart” (which most of the church quotes); He says:“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.” Ezekiel 36:22 NKJV
And then again a few verses after, “I will give you a new heart”, He reiterated His original words: “Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!”” Ezekiel 36:32 NKJVThe cross of Jesus was not because mankind was so worthy, quite the contrary, we were His enemies. There’s not one man who sought the Lord. There’s not one who did any good. All had gone astray. All have sinned and fall short. The cross was because of His great love (agape- of mind and purpose to reconcile mankind). God’s love is not some crazy emotional or romantic love. Agape is purposeful love.
The false love gospel makes salvation and His love all about you and how deserving you were. No wonder people are not grateful and remain rebellious and unrepentant. You believe the gospel is about you. Well, you have been sold a lie. God sent His Son to die on the cross for His name’s sake. He reconciled man to Himself for His name’s sake. He loved us for His sake.
It’s not about you. It’s all about Jesus. He is the worthy One. He deserves all honor and praise and glory. He alone reconciled man to God for His name. Pause and think about that. When the church gets a hold of the gospel truth, you will fall on your knees in repentance for your pride. You will humble yourself with awe and respect for an awesome and holy God who left all His glory to be dishonored and ridiculed by those He came to save.
He died for you not because you were worthy but because He loved His enemies. This truth should change your heart and change how you respond to others. This should produce in you a heart of gratitude, so much so that gratitude is the only thing coming out of you. Love suffers long and is kind. I can endure anything anyone throws at me. I can endure people’s hatred toward me. How? Because I know I deserve other’s spurn.
There is no goodness in me that’s not from Him. I know I did not deserve His kindness. I did not deserve salvation. I did not deserve a new heart and I certainly did not deserve any part of His Holy Spirit dwelling within me. But God, who is rich in mercy saved me in spite of myself, for HIS NAME’S SAKE. And not only did He save me, but He washed me whiter than snow, put a robe of righteous on me and called me His own.
He gave me a new heart to love Him, please Him and obey His commands. He gave me His Spirit to teach, guide, help and comfort me in this life. Hear me again- not because I deserved it, but for His name’s sake. Now I live as His child: loved, redeemed, reconciled, forgiven with a full heart of gratitude. If the true gospel of peace doesn’t humble you and put a heart of gratitude in you, then I have nothing else for you. #runyourrace
To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page