It’s time to dive into God in 2021. Today we are going to go deep into Ezekiel 47. After 2020 and the big reset of life due to the pandemic, we have a golden opportunity to grow in a unique way this year. But we live in a world that is desperately low on hope
IS THERE ANY HOPE?
On December 17th 1927, the submarine USS S4 was sunk off Massachusetts, with 6 survivors trapped in the forward torpedo room. As rescue divers approached the stricken vessel in the bottom, they heard a tapping sound. Running out of air, the survivors were tapping in Morse code, “Is there any hope.” Those sailors all perished in their undersea grave, but our society is today tapping out the same message… “is there any hope?”
Look around at our society. People are so confused about so much. Time honoured rules of morality have been thrown out. We are told we are not allowed to even have an opinion, that life is so precious we have to lockdown and wear masks, but this same government murders babies by the millions. We tell our young people to change partners, change preferences and change sex, but they are more confused than ever.
Australia in 2021 is full of fear, devoid of hope and dying of spiritual thirst, yet we have the water of life.
WATER OF LIFE FOR A SUNBURNT LAND
Dorothea Mackeller wrote,
I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping planes
Of ragged mountain ranges, of drought and flooding rains
I love her far horizons, I love her jewelled sea
Her beauty and her terror, the wide brown land for me!
Our nation is dying of thirst right now. Coming off 2020, I’ve found many people looking at 2021 with great negativity fearing that lockdowns, restrictions and fear are to become common in 2021. Aussies are tired, they are fearful and they are jaded. Parched. Thirsting for relief and hope.
They’re asking us, asking anybody in 2021, “Is there any hope?” It’s time to dive into God.
They tried politicians, and all they got is legislated out of existence, with conflicting laws and double standards. They turn to the media and get nothing but sensationalism, fear and more bad news. They’re tired and thirsty and without hope, but we the church have hope to share in Jesus Christ.
They trouble is, many Christians are not living that hope. They don’t dive into God. Many Christians I meet are in the same state as everyone else, full of fear, under pressure, full or regret and without hope.
Our nation is spiritually dying of thirst, and we have the water of life.
John 7:37-39 (ESV)
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” This he said about the Spirit.
We have this Spirit within us if we dive into God, we have the water of life, but…
WATER WE GOING TO DO? IT’S TIME TO DIVE INTO GOD
Psalms 46:4 (ESV)
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
As believers, we have access to a river of life flowing from the very throne of God with refreshing water. We can break the spiritual drought Australia faces in 2021 if we dive into God. To the woman at the well Jesus said,
John 4:13-14 (ESV)
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
It’s true on a personal level, but also a national level. The prophecy of Isaiah can come true for any nation, including ours…
Isaiah 44:3 (ESV)
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
If we are honest, the problem is we don’t want it enough. We don’t really want to dive into God.
FAKE IT TILL WE MAKE IT?
We say we want revival, but at what cost? We don’t want a real Rolex, we would rather shop at the markets and get a cheap imitation for $20. We might look good for a while, but pretty soon we will tarnish and break.
But I believe this is our moment. With such great need and thirst in our nation, this is our time to shine. Country club Christianity is over, it won’t cut it any more, it’s time to stand for what is right and true, and it’s time to dive into the river of God.
Psalms 107:2 (ESV)
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from troubl
THERE IS A RIVER, TIME TO DIVE INTO GOD
Some of you old timers might remember a song…
There is a river, and it flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to this water; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry
Revelation 22:1-2 (ESV)
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
The reason our culture is drying up is that there’s no spiritual water flowing out of the sanctuary into the world. But we aren’t going to get the water flowing down the streets of our communities, bringing life where there is death, until it begins to flow down the aisles of our churches. If God’s presence doesn’t show up among his people, if we don’t dive into God, how will it show up in our neighbourhoods, in the nation, and in the world?
Revelation 22:17 (ESV)
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Yes that verse is looking ahead to heaven, but the river flows today, in the same Spirit who lives within us if we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Jesus says we have the river within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. We know we have it, but we fail to live it.
The Question is, PLAY IN THE SHALLOWS OR GO DEEP
Psalms 63:1 (ESV)
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Do you really want God? I mean really want Him enough to dive into God? Do you long to bless Him, make Him happy by the life you live? We choose, you and I choose how we are going to live. In 2021, are you going to plunge in deep or play in shallows?
Ezekiel 47:1 (ESV)
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.
Ezekiel 47:3-5 (ESV)
Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through.
This river speaks of the healing and life-giving power of the Holy Spirit of God (cf. John 7:37–39; Zech. 14:8). No matter how deep you want to go into the things of God, the opportunity is there to go even deeper. It’s tragic that too many linger in the shallows when they could be enjoying the depths.
Where you live depends entirely in you. Today in 2021, I want to challenge you about where you will choose to play. You can go ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep or deep deep.
1. ANKLE DEEP
Those living at the shoreline only ever wet their ankles. They are saved, they’ve dipped their feet in, but most of their flesh is untouched by the water of the Spirit of God. They never dive into God.
Ankle deep living is a life lived where we are master of our own actions and reactions. Ankle deep water won’t sweep you away, you live barely aware of its presence. At ankle depth the waters of God’s Spirit are too shallow to control us.
The other grave danger of playing in the shallow end is that this is where the muck is pushed by the tide, so an ankle deep believer lives in the mess of sin and carnality. He makes a decision for Christ, but never is set free from gossip, argument, nightclubbing, drinking, smoking, swearing, sexual partners, porn, drugs, unforgiveness, and so on.
2. KNEE DEEP
At knee depth it is again very easy to step out of the flow of the Holy Spirit’s tide. There’s a tug on my heart, I can feel the tide drawing me just a little, but I can still easily resist it and not dive into God.
However, the knee deep saint takes pride in being able to look back at the ankle deep Christian and say: “I’m deeper than you!”. Full of spiritual pride but devoid of spirituality.
3. WAIST DEEP
The Christian who is waist deep is more faithful. They are not living in sin, they turn up regularly to church, but they are still living in a comfort zone.
There’s a definite and noticeable tug, but we resist the prospect of being all in for Jesus. We see the others as shallow and ourselves as deep. This is where so many church goers are at, but it often comes with a legalistic, religious pride. You’re wet to a degree, you look committed, but underneath you are still not yielded, and you cover it up with Christianese and good works.
4. DEEP ENOUGH TO SWIM IN
This is where the current of the river carries us along. We yield complete control to the Holy Spirit, and rather than trying to entertain the indulgences of the flesh, rather than pridefully looking down on the spiritual struggles of others, these people who dive into God are in the flow of the Spirit.
At this level, we don’t hold back, we don’t play religious games, we go totally all out for Jesus. These are the people who change the world, and many of you are at this place.
Smith Wigglesworth perhaps summed it up well when he said: All of me-none of God; less of me-more of God; none of me-all of God!
THE RIVER BRINGS LIFE IF WE DIVE INTO GOD
The Ezekiel passage tells us what the river causes when it flows…
Ezekiel 47:7-9 (ESV)
As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
So the river of the Spirit of God brings life, and life abundantly as Jesus promised. The Hebrew word translated fresh is RAPA, which means to heal, to restore and repair. The river of God brings healing and restoration to all who dive into it. Ezekiel then mentions what happens in the shallows…
Ezekiel 47:11 (ESV)
But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt.
You see, if you are not where the river flows, if you’re playing in the shallows, it’s stagnates and becomes swamp, a mozzie infested cesspool. This chokes the life out of you. If you play in the shallows you’re in dirty, filthy, stagnant water. If you stay in the shallows, you will not bear fruit, you don’t bless anyone and you yourself dry up and die inside.
But then Ezekiel shares this next verse…
Ezekiel 47:12 (ESV)
And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
The river of God brings life and also brings fruitfulness. If you want to bear fruit for the Lord, plunge into the river of His Spirit. Then you will be the righteous man talked about…
Psalms 1:3 (ESV)
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
GO WITH THE FLOW
So at the start of 2021, I am again calling you to commit to getting serious with God and flow with His Spirit, making this year the best ever for Jesus, by going deep with Him.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Right now, I feel like we are all kids standing on the edge of a river or pool. Remember doing that? Then we join hands and jump into the deep together. This is the moment we can join together and dive in deep to the Spirit. To experience
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
As a scuba diver, I can tell you that going deep is exciting, dangerous, and exerts more and more pressure, but there is a rich reward. In 2021, it’s time for us to step out of he shallows into the deep, letting the mighty river of God flow around us and carry us towards our destiny.
So finally, here’s 3 steps we can take to enter into the flow of the river of God?
1. PRIORITISE READING HIS WORD
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
This is not an ordinary book, it’s God’s Word. We need to prioritise reading it, studying it, memorising it and most if all, obeying it and living it. That’s why we have the Bible reading plan. Come join us and let’s connect with God’s Word together. We need to dive into God.
2. PRIORITISE MEETING TOGETHER
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
So many people are neglecting meeting together, but if we are to dive into the river and bear fruit, church is the place to be. We are better together. My job here at Ignite is to open a way for you to minister and bear fruit. And let you dive into God.
3. PRIORITISE SEEKING GOD’S WILL
So many Christians float along just existing, just living the best they can, but God doesn’t want you to just muddle through until you die. He has a plan and destiny for you. He has things for you, ministry for you, blessings for you.
But to move into what the Lord has for you, you need to be the one who plunges into the deep. Holding back, keeping your feet on the bottom so you can control things, does not allow God to lead and guide you. You need to seek God’s will over your own. So many Christians spend their time telling God what they want Him to do rather than saying, not my will but Yours be done, O Lord. Listen to what Joshua said to the people of Israel about to possess their destiny.
Joshua 22:5 (ESV)
Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
So will you join me in committing to reading God’s Word, attending church and seeking God’s will over your own will. Will you step out of the comfort zone, out of the shallows, and come with me into the deep and dive into God.