“A Call for Repentance!” Sunday School Lesson, Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32, August 16, 2015

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August 16, 2015

“A Call for Repentance!”

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy!  Blessings.

Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)

This week’s lesson is written in a different format:

Bible:

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

“The word of the LORD, came unto me again, saying,

What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,

And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,

And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;

He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,

Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly, he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,

And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour’s wife,

Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,

Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”

Introduction:

Emily Dickinson is quoted as saying, “The heart wants what it wants . . .” Many have used this saying time and again to explain the “I can’t help it” attitude of shifting the responsibility of their desires in another direction other than at themselves.

Another way of not answering the accountability call for one’s actions is to place the blame of it on another person. Theodore Roosevelt said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” That is because more likely than not, the troubles we face have been from some choices we have made along the way and are now suffering the consequences of those choices.

It means there is usually always someone to blame for what we go through and that someone is us, not another. No one wants to assign blame to self any more. It is hard for many to get with the words of that old hymn that expresses:

“Not my brother, nor my sister,

but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

 

It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer;

it’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

 

Not the elder, nor the deacon,

but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer;

 

It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer;

it’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

 

Not my father, nor my mother,

but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer;

 

It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer;

it’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer. (Hymn Source: Hymnary.org/Standing in the Need of Prayer)

 This is the problem those in captivity faced in today’s lesson. They played the blame game and refused to recognize that, “Hey, I messed up, too. I have sinned against God.” Rather, they assigned all their troubles to those who came before them and God sent Ezekiel to rectify their wrong thinking.

Lesson:

If you will allow me I want to take you on a short journey through the Bible. Once upon a time there was a great king who allowed the lust of his flesh to push him into sinful decisions that ended in a surprise pregnancy and murder. When confronted by the prophet of God, who pointed him out and said, “Thou art the man!” (2 Sam. 12:7), the Bible says, “David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. . .” (2 Sam. 12:13).

David confessed and owned up to his own wrongs. He did not cast blame on another for the choices and mistakes he made. He didn’t shift responsibility.

Jumping over to the New Testament we see a confused young man who allowed the things he wanted; the wrong lifestyle he thought he wanted to carry him away in greed from family and home. His prodigal ways drug him all the way to a pig-pen lifestyle. But, when he came to himself, he confessed his wrongs and said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son,” (Luke 15:21).

He, too, owned the responsibility of his wrongs. He didn’t shift the blame on his upbringing. He didn’t blame outward circumstances for where he ended up. It was the stuff that was going on in the inner man that drove him to sin. “I have sinned,” he exclaimed when he stood before his father in regret.

These two lives shine forth from God’s word as a true representation of what a repentant heart really looks like.

David’s heart moved him to pen Psalm 51 where he pleads:

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalm 51:1-3)

A true, repentant heart acknowledges! It admits that it has fallen short of the glory of God and is seeking restoration that only God can give.

Opposite of those examples we have Adam and Eve with the blame shifting on everyone and everything but themselves of why they now knew they were naked in the garden and feeling full of guilt.

Then, we have old king Saul who was commanded by God to “go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not . . .” (1 Sam. 15:3). Yet, he did not obey the command of God.

1 Samuel 15:9 tells us, “But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheet, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them . . .”

When approached by Samuel, Saul put the blame on “the people” (1 Sam. 15:15, 21) and never owned any of the wrong to himself. It appears in verse 24 that Saul confessed with his lips, “I have sinned,” but his heart, as most Bible students believe, was far from being truly repentant.

And, it is in the heart where God needs the work of true repentance to take place. The book of Jeremiah tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to the fruit of his doings,” (Jer. 17:9-10).

The “fruit of the doings” of the people Ezekiel was addressing in today’s lesson was the same injustices that Amos, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah dealt with concerning the people.

Another problem that arose with Ezekiel’s audience was their propensity to place the blame of their life on that of their forefathers. They had a proverb that said, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” What this meant is the fathers have done wrong and now the children of feeling the effects of it.

While it may be true to some extent that the actions of others can have a ripple effect and spread to other’s lives, it did not exonerate the people from accepting their own personal responsibility and turning themselves to God with a repentant heart.

God point blank told them, “Ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.” No more excuses, is the message He was trying to make loud and clear to them. No more finger pointing. No more blame shifting.

He said, “All souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” God does not deal unjustly with mankind. God holds each individual accountable for his/her own sins. Going back to our previous examples of David and the Prodigal Son, we see responsibility means ownership. Those to whom Ezekiel was addressing blamed their captivity; or as we say in today’s language, their current situation on the wrongs of others and not themselves.

God rebuked their wrong way of thinking. Only the one that sinneth . . . shall die. This issue was taken on in Jeremiah where it reads, “But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge,” (Jer. 31:30, emphasis mine). One will not be punished because of the sins of another. He only that sinned will be punished.

Just as many people will testify that salvation is personal. Sin, too, is personal (compare to Duet. 24:16). Later in Ezekiel it is broken down further, saying, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him,” (18:20; not in today’s lesson text).

“But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right . . . he shall surely live” (Ez. 18:5, 9). The just shall not only “live by faith” (Heb. 10:38; Hab. 2:4; Ro. 1:17; Gal. 3:11); but the just shall live! He that operates his/her life in the way of God’s word and does what is right will not suffer the punishment of the sinner both in this world and the world that is to come.

It all comes down to a life that matches up with the word of God. Jesus tells us, ““Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” (Mat. 4:4). This is the life the just man lives, therefore, the just man shall live!

His life mimics the commandments of God to not participate in the plagues of sin, here noted as: “eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols” (both are dealing specifically with idol worship and their shrines which God’s people were commanded to forsake). His life remains sexually pure in that he does not defile “his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman.”

Some of the injustices noted in previous lessons were the oppression of one’s fellow man and keeping their pledge; taking what little someone had and making life downright miserable for them. Here, we see the just man in today’s lesson keeps himself from those greedy attitudes that caused the people to go into captivity in the first place.

He does not seek to take what is not his by violence; preying on the weak of society. Rather, he devotes his life to helping those who can’t help themselves. He “hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment.”

He takes what is his fairly, without usury (interest) and without increase. He governs his life with a fair and balanced attitude that allows him to foster true judgment between man and man (without being bribed for favor).

He is able to do all of this because he “hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly.” The psalmist once said, “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living,” (Psalm 116:9). The word walk speaks of one’s life or conversation; their daily day-to-day affairs. Colossians 1:10 exhorts us, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.” Your walk matters.

The just man walked so, therefore he shall live.

But, then he has a son who does not mimic the life of his father. His father worshipped God and adhered to His commandments. He lived a life to please God, forsake the greed and the evil judgments of man. The son, however, is not following in the footsteps of his faith.

This is why we are told over and over again that none will get to heaven due to mamas, grandma’s, daddy’s or whoever’s faith. Parents, society, friends, acquaintances, chums, pals; none have a heaven or a hell to place people in. People have to have their own faith in God; they have to establish their own relationship with the Lord.

John 1:12 tells us, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name.” And, Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” These show us that faith is a personal issue.

Sin, too, as we discussed before, is a personal issue. Therefore, this son chose to be a “robber, a shedder of blood.” He chose to not help his fellow man but rather to “oppress the poor and needy.” He chose a life of idol worshipping. Basically, everything his father did that was good, he did the opposite, walking and living in a spirit of rebellion.

Our lesson tells us that because “he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.” He will suffer the consequences of his own choices.

The call for repentances goes out: “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Remove yourself from a life of sin. Make it up in your heart and mind that you want to live for God and not by a life of transgressions.

Remember when we discussed David as an example of biblical repentance? He cried out to God within Psalm 51 and asked God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit,” (Psalm 51:10-12).

This is the plea of God to Ezekiel’s audience. He wants them to turn to Him in true repentance of heart; seek His salvation and restoration that they might be saved. “Why will ye die?” He asked.

That’s what the call for repentance is all about: “Why will ye die?”

The Bible tells us that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9). From the beginning of time all the way to the prophesied end, God is trying to get people to heaven! He gives man chance after chance to change their course that they may be found on the side of life eternal. “Why will ye die?”

“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Once again we see the call for taking personal responsibility for one’s actions: “turn yourselves, and live.”

Philippians supports this by saying, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” (2:12; emphasis mine). It is an individual responsibility to turn to God, repent and accept His free gift of salvation.

To Ezekiel’s audience, if they would just stop trying to place the blame of where they are today on someone else, they could get to where God wants them to be. If they would accept the call to repent, they will live both now and into eternity.

Sin will always demand an answer. Jesus came to answer that call; to be the lamb that would save those who turned from everlasting death. As the Lamb, He is the answer to the sin of all humanity; past, present and future. He is the answer to sin to all who dwell in the north, south, east or west. And He is the answer to sin no matter the ethnicity or origin of a person. The Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).   “All” need the blood of the Lamb to save them from the effects of sin.

All mankind has to do is “turn yourselves, and live.” Answer the call to repent and be saved.

(Click here for PDF: The Call for Repentance Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below.  Enjoy!)

Below are activities to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

Word Search: A Call for Repentance Word Search  Answers: A Call for Repentance Word Search Answers

Crossword: A Call for Repentance Crossword  Answers: A Call for Repentance Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: A Call for Repentance Word Scramble  Answers: A Call for Repentance Word Scramble Answers

Draw the Scene: A Call for Repentance Draw the Scene (Use this PDF for accurate printing)

A Call for Repentance Draw the Scene-001

How Many Words?: A Call for Repentance How Many Words (Use this PDF for accurate printing)

A Call for Repentance How Many Words-001

Coloring Sheet: Repent Coloring Sheet (Use this PDF Link for accurate printing) Use this coloring sheet as is or print out on cardstock and turn into a memorable plaque.  Enjoy!)

Below are more Activities/Resources/Links for this week.  Enjoy!

“Ezekiel Crafts and Activities”

“Grape Stomp Game” (Although not originally for this lesson I love the idea of making grapes out of purple balloons and stomping them.  For us it means no more excuses.  Enjoy!)

“Grapes Crafts and Activities” (Easily incorporate into today’s lesson.  Enjoy!)

“Throw Away Your Sins Game” (Goes perfectly with our lesson.  Enjoy!)

“Sin Revealed” Activity from Kids Sunday School Place

“Sin Spoils” Activity from Kids Sunday School Place

“Object Lesson for Sin and Forgiveness” from Yahoo! Voices

“Children’s Activities About Sin” from Ehow.com

“A Heart for Jesus Activity” from Kids Sunday School Place

“Jesus Cleanses Us From Our Sticky Sins Activity” from Christianity Cove

“Covered By Christ Activity and Coloring” from Ministry to Children

“Forgive Us Our Sins” Coloring Page from Ministry to Children

“If We Confess Our Sins” Coloring Page from Coloring Page Spot

“Knock Knock Game about Pleasing God”

“Live Your Life for God” (Games and Activities)

“Children’s Bible Object Lesson on Sin” from Creative Bible Study

 

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