Explaining Ezekiel’s River of Life

Ezekiel 47.1-12

Ezekiel has lamented the failure of separation from the world, and now the river symbolises the church’s positive work in the world. Here is the meaning of its secret source and miraculous expansion, with our soul-winning priority, and the incidental yet mighty social benefits in times when there is great acceptance and blessing of souls.

In this series of Bible Studies we consider some themes in this mighty and deep prophecy of Ezekiel. There are many applications arising from it for our own challenge and encouragement.

Ezekiel was, for example, directly commissioned by God. This applies to all of us. Now Bible believers, sadly, haven’t universally considered that each person has a commission. And so it’s quite common to come across Christians who know the Lord, walk with Him, and have trusted in Christ. They can speak of God’s goodness to them across the years. They think of themselves, in a very humble way, as recipients of the grace of God. But they don’t think of themselves as having received a personal commission from the Lord. A commission by which they’re accountable to him, to serve him, to bring forth fruit, and to please him.

Ezekiel experienced a personal call. Have you had that? Have you been reading your Bible or you’ve heard a message and it’s come to you: I am a commissioned man, a commissioned woman, commissioned to serve the Lord all my life until I see Him, and to be His and His alone, to be a servant of God. And you feel afresh that you are called by God – not just to be a Christian, but a  servant of the Lord.

Ezekiel was a priest, having been taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. He was there for five years before he had this tremendous burden laid on him by the Lord. He’d no doubt functioned to a limited degree as a priest even before this call. He was among the other captives. He wasn’t somebody who was parachuted in from outside, but was well known to them, and an example to them.

Now he was going to have an immensely unpopular ministry. But when he began, he couldn’t be blamed for anything. They couldn’t dismiss him on account of his character. They wanted to dismiss him because his message was not welcome. But they couldn’t say ‘oh, we know what a rogue he is.’ He was someone who could be commended. He was unblameable, having suffered the same rigours, ill-treatment and fear, as a fellow captive. He understood them. He had been proved.

It is a pattern for ministers today – they must first be proved in the local church, as Sunday School teachers, active church members alongside others, active evangelists. Only then can they be called higher.

These applications – along with many others – arise from this remarkable book.

Related Resources

Paul’s Blueprint for a Working Church

It is a glorious sight to see a church where the people work willingly to press forward the Gospel and to keep the coals of the testimony glowing hot. Pastors and elders will need to initiate a programme, enthuse God’s people, train the young, and so implement the work. Let us build working churches, for these are growing churches.

The Work of the Future Gospel Church

With further inspired insights into the Gospel era the prophet describes an entirely new order in which the church will proclaim Christ and His accomplished salvation, sing a new hymnody extending the book of Psalms, and labour as the church militant in evangelism. Full Service Recordings: Home » Sermons » The Work of the Future Gospel Church Related Resources … Continued

The Loss of the Working Church and its Restoration (1)

A survey of the texts and how to honour them
Pastor Buss examined a frequently-buried aspect of church life, yet so prominent in godly evangelicalism of the past, namely, the operation of the working church, viewing the church as an organisation of willing activity for the Lord. He surveyed the texts and the means of honouring them within the voluntary principle.

The Loss of the Working Church and its Restoration (2)

A study of the working verbs of the New Testament
Pastor Ibrahim expounded the ‘working’ verbs that call all believers to contribute to the service of the church family. In an age when a false view of church liberty has taken so many believers out of commitment to the Lord’s service, the working verbs cry out for renewed attention and reflection.

The Doctrine of the Working Church

Do we but barely fulfil the work of the Gospel in our church? Pastor Ibrahim will outline the exhortations and the outworking of the calling of believers to work together for Christ.

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