Enjoy God, Embrace People, Experience Growth

A New Heart and a New Spirit

Scripture: Ezekiel 36:22-32

I. A new heart and a new spirit goes with cleansing from your sin.

A. We see the problem between God and His people Israel in vs. 22-23. Three times in these two verses God says that Israel has profaned His name. Because of Israel’s sin, the nation did not deserve for God to do anything good for them. But God was still going to act for Israel. Why? For the sake of His great name. The only way that we can change is if God does radical surgery on us. He has to give us a heart transplant (vs. 26).

B. Our sin makes us dirty. So, what do we desperately need? Cleansing (vs. 25)! We cannot clean ourselves. All the soap in the world will not get the dirt of our sin cleansed. But God can make us clean. And He has made us clean through Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. What Jesus did on the cross has been pictured for us in baptism. Jesus has purified us of our dirty sins. He has washed our sins away just like dirt is washed away by water.

II. A new heart and a new spirit goes with wholehearted obedience within you.

A. When God promises to give us a new human spirit, He is promising to change our motivations which we bring to our choices and actions. The purpose of that change in motivation is that we might wholeheartedly obey God (vs. 27). But we need something more than a new human spirit to change. We need the Spirit with the capital S (vs. 27). We need the Holy Spirit living inside us if we are going to change and obey God.

B. We now have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us to defeat sin. How do we tap into that power? We pray for it. Ephesians 5:18: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” We can pray, “God, fill me with your Spirit.” A person who is drunk is living under the control of the alcohol. But a person who is filled with the Spirit is living under the control of the Almighty God of the Universe.

III. A new heart and a new spirit goes with God removing your disgrace and blessing you.

A. Israel was living in disgrace when Ezekiel prophesied to the nation. They were no longer living in the Promised Land of Israel because of their sins against God. But in spite of their sin, God is promising His people a new exodus (vs. 24). God also promised that God, people and land would once again enjoy blessed and harmonious fulfillment (vs. 28-30). But God wants us to remember our sins (vs. 31). It is good to have a healthy sense of shame over our sin and wickedness (vs. 32). At the same time, you rejoice in the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God.

Application:
Ask for God to fill you with His Spirit this week.

Sources:
The book of Ezekiel
Commentaries on Ezekiel by Christopher Wright, Ian Duguid, and Daniel Block

Sermon Discussion Questions

1) Can I do enough good works to cleanse me of my sin before God? How does baptism symbolize that we have been cleansed of our sins?

2) Why do we need the Holy Spirit according to Ezekiel 36:27? Does the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives mean that we will no longer sin?

3) What disgrace were the Israelites living under in Ezekiel’s day? Why does God want us to remember the shame of our sin?