"ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED"
I. THE SITUATION: THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL HAD COME TO EZEKIEL TO INQUIRE OF THE LORD FOR THEM, BUT GOD WOULD NOT ACCEPT THEM.
A. The reason for His rejecting them.
1. The horrible abominations of their fathers that the Lord traced back in their history all the way to Egypt.
2. Their history was one of continual rebellion against God.
3. It was only by His mercy that they were not destroyed as a nation.
4. Over and over they provoked God to anger.
5. These men were continuing in the sins of their fathers.
B. Through the prophet Isaiah God had declared that His hand was not short that He could not save, neither was His ear heavy that He could not hear, but their sins had separated them from God.
1. This has been a perennial truth through the ages, sin will separate you from God.
2. You are unacceptable to God in your sin.
3. You cannot come to God laden in your sins, and expect God to accept you.
4. Sometimes the most reprobate persons will claim to be members of the church, or speak about their prayers.
a. They may come and sit in the pew, and sing the hymns, and maybe even drop something in the offering, but God has not accepted them.
b. They may have offered their prayers, but God has not listened to them.
5. Your sin is an affront to God. It is offensive to Him, God said that the hands they were lifting to Him in prayer were covered with blood. They had shed the blood of the innocent, they had sacrificed their babies to the god Molech, these hands that had thrown the babies into the fires are the hands now lifted to God in prayer, and God swore that He would not accept them.
C. The prophet then spoke of a new day when God would accept them.
II. "I WILL ACCEPT YOU WITH YOUR SWEET SAVOR." VS.41
A. The sacrifices were spoken as being a sweet smelling savor unto God.
B. The first mention of it was when Noah came out of the Ark and offered a sacrifice unto God, and God smelled the sweet savor and promised never to destroy the earth again with a flood.
C. In Exodus 30:34
Moses was commanded to make a special perfume for the Lord to be kept in the tabernacle of the congregation where God met with the people.
1. This perfume was to be made of equal parts of stacte, onycha, galbanum, and frankincense.
2. It was to be combined according to the art of the apothecary then beaten very small.
3. Some see in this a type of Jesus Christ.
a. The equal blending of His character, grace and truth; mercy and justice; Some men are strong in some areas, yet weak in others. There was a wonderful balance in the life of Jesus.
b. He went through a awesome crucible of suffering for us, as He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and bore the cross for our transgressions.
D. Our sins rise as a repugnant smell unto God, they cause us to be rejected by Him. If you should seek to come to him by virtue of your own righteousness, God would say, "What is that smelly thing, remove it from My presence." Our righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God. The smell of our sins far overshadows any fragrance of beauty that might come from our lives.
1. As the elders of Israel that were sitting before the prophet that they might seek answers from God, God would say also of you and me, "As I live, I will not be inquired of by them."
2. To even seek to come to God in my sinful state is an insult and an affront unto Him.
III. THE JOYFUL STATE OF BEING ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.
A. As Paul is writing to the Ephesians about the marvelous spiritual blessings that are ours through Jesus Christ, near the top of the list, he declares that we are accepted in the Beloved.
1. God had declared to the elders that the day would come when He would accept them with their sweet savor. Prophetically that day is still future, when they will finally acknowledge that Jesus is indeed their Messiah.
2. Oh what a sweet savor Jesus Christ is unto the Father.
a. God said of Him, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
b. His perfect life, and His perfect submission to the will of the Father was as a sweet perfume.
3. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come, that He would testify of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. Of sin because they believe not on Me, of righteousness because I ascend unto My Father. What is meant by that statement, of righteousness because I ascend unto My Father?
a. Basically, He is saying that My ascension into heaven is a testimony of the righteousness that God will accept to allow you an access to Him.
b. Anything less will not allow you access to heaven.
c. You may say, "But God, I am more righteous than Chuck, he honks at wild drivers on the freeway." and God will answer you, "That is very true, but Chuck is not My standard for righteousness, My Son Jesus has set the standards."
B. I can assure you that God will never accept the substandards that you are trying to present to Him, even on your best day you fall far short of the standard He requires.
1. The only way that you can ever hope to be accepted by God is through the sweet savor of Jesus Christ.
2. Jesus says, "Come, I will take you to My Father." And as the sweet fragrance of Christ surrounds me, I come into the presence of God, and He accepts me. That sweet fragrance of Jesus is sufficient to cover the smell of my iniquities.
3. God says to us, "I will accept you with your sweet savor."
4. That sweet savor is necessary to cover any sin.
a. Some say that they are not too bad.
b. I must confess some of you are very good, but none of you are good enough to be accepted by God without the sweet savor. God is pure, God is holy, He will accept nothing less than purity and holiness. The spices for the perfume were required to be pure and holy.
c. Their is only one person in all the history of mankind who lived a pure and holy life. Only one who could say "I do always those things that please the Father."
5. That sweet savor is sufficient to cover the vilest sins.
a. You may say I am a murderer, "The blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses a man from all sin."
b. But I have committed adultery, I have hurt the one I love by my folly, "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son cleanses a man from all sin."
c. But you object, I have taken all kinds of drugs, and have started others on a life of drugs that has destroyed them.
6. I will admit, your life really stinks, but God will accept you with the sweet savor of Jesus Christ.