God will make the way of escape. You have to take the way of escape. It's not like automatic, you just sort of sit around and veg out in the spirit and then the temptation goes away. You have to look for the way of escape that God makes and then you have to be the one to take what He has made. Take it.
What does that mean? Sometimes you gotta just use your legs. We can't always avoid temptation, but we can choose to not act on it. Today on Connect with Skip Hyten, Skip shares how God empowers you to have victory over your temptations. Before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that will help you experience hope and renewal in your life. Forbes.com recently published an article with 22 tips for how to completely change your life in one year.
Sounds complicated. The Bible tells a different story about how to change your life. The Bible says, repent and return to God. And it reminds us we need to always insert, but God into every situation.
Here's Skip Heitzig. But God is a phrase that appears 45 times in scripture. It's a game changing phrase. It means that no matter who you are, no matter what you have done, no matter how you may have failed, the truth is God can make things different for you from now on. But God. Discover the power of but God in scripture and why it's a game changer for your own life with the But God teaching series from Pastor Skip Heitzig. Our thanks when you give $35 or more to help keep this Bible teaching ministry on the air. Get your CD collection today.
Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now let's join Skip Heitzig in the series Expound 1 Corinthians. Today Skip starts off our teaching in the book of Ezekiel. And now I'm turning to the prophet Ezekiel. You can either turn there or not or just keep in mind this prophet. By the way 27% of the Bible is prophetic.
That's about a third, right? 27%, almost one third of the entire Bible is predicting the future. God through the prophets predicting the future. About half of those predictions are past tense have already been fulfilled. About another half we're waiting for them to be fulfilled. But because half have been fulfilled, pretty good indication the rest are going to be fulfilled.
Especially when you look at the detail. So in Ezekiel 36 and 37 it talks about the rise of Israel. Keep in mind Israel has been kicked out of its land. It went into captivity. God promised they would come back.
But in chapter 36 let me just give you a quick rundown. Verse 8 it says, But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you and I will turn to you and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it. All the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. That presupposes a destruction of sorts.
It presupposes a return into the land to rebuild it. I will multiply upon you man and beast and they shall increase and bear young. I will make you inhabit it as in former times and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, yes? I will cause men to walk on you, my people Israel. They shall take possession of you and you shall be tilled and of you and you shall be their inheritance.
No more shall you bereave them of their children. So God promises a restoration, a repopulation, even a spiritual restoration at the end of that chapter. But in chapter 37 we have an image, a picture of that principle. The principle is given in chapter 36 or the promise is given of Israel coming back into their land being strengthened, repopulating it, inhabiting it, growing stronger, producing fruit, etc. Chapter 37 is a prophetic image of that. Verse 1, the hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the midst of the valley and it was full of bones.
And he caused me to pass by them all around and behold there were very many in the open valley indeed they were very dry. And he said to me, son of man can these bones live? So I answered, oh Lord God you know. It's a good way to answer God when he asks you a question that you're not sure is the right answer, right? Lord you know all things.
What is it? Again he said to me, prophesied of these bones and say to them, oh dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones, surely I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live. Most of you are familiar with his vision of the dry bones.
What he sees in the vision is the bones coming back to life, the sinews, the muscles, the flesh and it grows into a strong army. Verse 11, chapter 37. Then he said to me, son of man these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They indeed say our bones are dry, our hope is lost and we ourselves are cut off. When would Israel have ever said that? Well they would have said that in the Babylonian captivity. They would have said that previously in the Assyrian captivity. They would have said that at the fall of Jerusalem and the incursion of the Romans and the destruction of the temple and the banishment of Jews from the land during 70 AD. They would have said that in World War II when six million were slaughtered in the ovens of Nazi Germany.
Or a lot of times that they could say we're done, we're kaput, it's over. Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, behold oh my people I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. I'm going to bring you as it were back from the dead.
I'm going to resurrect you as a nation and you'll be strong again in the land that I gave to your forefathers. Great, we got the promise, we got the picture. We keep moving on in Ezekiel, you say I thought you were teaching first Corinthians. I'll get there, it's a short chapter, so I'll get there. We covered half of it already. Chapter 38 of Ezekiel, we come to a challenge.
And this is where it gets interesting and contemporary. Now verse one, the word of the Lord came to me saying, son of man, set your face against Gog of the land Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say thus says the Lord God, behold I am against you O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws, lead you out with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet, Gomer, and all its troops. The house of Togarmah, Togarmah from the far north, and all its troops, many people are with you, prepare yourselves, be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you, and be a guard for them. The chapter, chapter 38, describes a coalition of armies that gather together at some point, it's never happened before in history given the names, and will come from the north and sweep down to attack and invade the nation of Israel, the chapter goes on to say. What's interesting is the people that are mentioned in this chapter.
First of all, in verse 10, thus says the Lord God, on that day it shall come to pass, thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan. You will say, I will go up against a land of unwalled villages. Israel always had villages around its cities, around its towns, but today they don't.
Today they're unwalled villages and towns because it's a modern culture, a modern society, very, very wealthy one I would add, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, having neither bars nor gates, to take plunder, to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited and against a people gathered from the nations who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land, Shiba, Dedan, virgins of Tarshish, all their young lions, on and on and on. The coalition mentioned here are between a few different interesting names. The names of in antiquity are given in this chapter.
Let me give you their modern counterparts. First of all, there's Russia. That is Magog, Meshech, Rosh, all of that are areas to the north of Israel and the far north, the area of Russia. Persia is mentioned. That's the ancient name for Iran. Also in verse six, Gomer is mentioned.
That's the ancient name for Turkey. So here the text says that at some point in the future, these countries that include today Russia and Iran and Turkey and others are going to make a coalition together. And that has never happened before. Now it has happened. It has happened today.
It's in, it is, it is contemporary as you can get. Now when that day is, and I'm not here to predict when that day is, but it will come to pass, verse 18 of chapter 38. Don't worry, I'm about done here. And it will come to pass at that time when God comes against the land of Magog, against the land of Israel, says the Lord God, my fury will show in my face. For in my jealousy and in my, and in the fire of my wrath, I have spoken surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, all the men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at my presence and shall shake at my presence. The mountain shall be thrown down. The steep places shall fall and every wall shall fall to the ground. It goes on to describe that when that battle takes place, the coalition of these nations that come against Israel, that God will intervene and wipe out those armies and shake Israel and establish, now when that battle takes place is a debate among even evangelical eschatological scholars as to is it before the rapture of the church, is it after the rapture?
I've got my own ideas. However, you're seeing right now in Russia with Ukraine, with their presence in Syria, with their interest in Iran and Lebanon and Syria, and with the coalition with Erdogan and Turkey. By the way, the Russians have sold an anti-ballistic defense missile system to the tune of 2.5 billion dollars to Turkey. So they are, they have already formed a political alliance and coalition. And again, this has never happened historically, it has happened now.
So we're reading and hearing about this invasion into Ukraine and we just think, oh yeah, you know, that's another side of the world. We are watching an alignment take place unlike we have ever witnessed before. Now on one hand, it's very frightening but for those of us who are Bible believers, it's awfully exciting at the same time. And here's what I want to say, if there's ever a time for you to get right with God, it's now. If you're fudging and I've got time, maybe I've heard about this, now is the time to walk with God in faith. Because Jesus said in Luke chapter 21, he was giving signs for his coming, he said, when these things begin to take place, when they begin to take place, lift up your eyes and look up for your redemption is drawing near. So these things, these news, these tidings of Vladimir Putin and what's going on with the Ukrainian people and the the tragedy that is about to unfold in that part of the world, it is being set up and all of that causes us to lift up our eyes and look up because our redemption is closer than it's ever been before.
So because I was happening overseas, I thought we should at least frame that for you biblically so you know what to look for and you're not surprised when it happens. So all these things, verse 11, chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians, happened to them as examples and they were written for our admonition, our instruction on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. That's a timeless principle, is it not? It's a principle right out of Proverbs chapter 16.
Pride goes before us, destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. And then verse 13, no temptation, this is where we ended last week, no temptation has taken you except such as is common to man. But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it. All of us are common men and women and because we are common men and women, we have common temptations.
It happens to everyone who has a flesh, who has a fallen nature. We all get tempted. We all have unique areas in which we get tempted. I bet you have a hunch to what those areas are. And so the Bible says it's common that you'll get tempted, but God will provide a way, he'll make a way of escape.
Now here's the deal and I touched on it last week. God will make the way of escape, you have to take the way of escape. It's not like automatic, you just sort of sit around and veg out in the spirit and then the temptation goes away. You have to look for the way of escape that God makes and then you have to be the one to take what he has made. Take it.
And what does that mean? Sometimes you got to just use your legs. Turn around and run.
That's what Joseph did. When Potiphar grabbed his cloak and said, let's go to bed, you're handsome. My husband is not home.
Let's have sexual relations. He was smart. He realized I'm in a tight spot.
I'm in a tough situation. He just turned around and ran out the door. God gave him a way of escape. He took it.
He took it. For others of you, it's change the channel. Go to a different website. Get off the computer.
Stop talking to that person. Don't go near that facility, that place. God gives you a way of escape. Take the way of escape. With the temptation will also give you a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. You know, a lot of us flee temptation, but then we give the devil our forwarding address. I love what Martin Luther said.
He said, you can't stop birds from flying around your head, but you can certainly stop them from making a nest in your hair. So the devil does tempt your flesh because you are a common man, common mankind, men and women. And temptation will knock at the door, but it's your fault if you invite temptation in to come to dinner. So when Satan knocks at the door, say, Jesus, would you answer that, please? And call upon the name of the Lord. Call on the name of Jesus.
Ask him. You'd be surprised just what a simple, heartfelt prayer during a moment of temptation can yield. Therefore, back to the point of what we began with. Therefore, and now we'll finish the chapter. See where we are? Look at it.
Come on, not a problem. Therefore, my beloved. I love that about Paul. You know, the Corinthians were not the easiest people to get along with. They were divisive, some like Paul, some like Apollos, some like Cephas.
They were divided as to what leader they followed. Some of them challenged Paul's authority over them as an apostle. And even with all that challenge and all that blowback, I love that the apostle, take this to heart pastors, staff pastors, men and women of God who lead groups. Therefore, my beloved. Even with that, I didn't say, therefore, you idiots, you lowlifes who don't trust my authority.
He said, my beloved, I love you deeply and dearly. Flee from idolatry. Flee from idolatry.
Now again, let me frame this for you. He said the children of Israel were given their liberty. They fell into idolatry in the wilderness.
They abused their liberty. You have freedom in Christ. You live in Corinth. And I told you that in Corinth, it was replete with idolatry. They were polytheistic. That is, they worshiped many gods.
They were also polydemonistic. They believed there were demons everywhere in the air. And they believed that demons attached themselves to food.
Remember that a couple weeks ago? And that they would alight upon the food and they would work their way into your life by a person eating that meat. The only way to get rid of it in paganism was to sacrifice an animal or sacrifice the meat or dedicate the animal or the meat to an idol, to a god. The god would be so flattered that you called upon him or her in that sacrifice that they would neutralize the demons on the food. True story.
That's how whacked it was. So it was a city filled with idolatry. Idolatrous notion. So Paul, writing to Corinthian Christians, says, therefore my beloved, flee from idolatry. Now he's going to explain that in detail and answer all of these issues that we have been sort of using other examples to fortify.
Now he's going to kind of bring it all to a close. Keep in mind, they're still wondering, okay, they sacrificed idols. They sell the meat in the market. Also, I have unbelieving friends who invite me over to their house and they serve me meat that may or may not have been, probably was, offered to an idol in the city. So, I'm going to tell you that I know that the idol is nothing.
It's fake news. Not a real god. Not a real goddess. There's only one true living god.
So what's the big deal? I'm not participating in idolatry. And it also seems, according to most scholars, that the Corinthians were, many of them, Corinthian Christians believed they could go to pagan festivals to celebrate the idolatry. So I'll go to pagan festivals with the idea that I want to use this as a platform to lead people to Christ. So I'll go to these pagan festivals, but I won't really worship the demon god or goddess that they're worshiping, but I'll be there so those people weaker in the faith or just starting out in the faith or considering the Christian faith can see me there and I can use that as a platform to witness.
So just keep that in your mind as we go through this. Therefore, my beloved, flee idolatry. I speak to wise men.
Judge for yourselves what I say. Use your logic here. Use your mind. I was going to say, lose your mind.
Don't do that. Use your mind. Now here's an example.
He's going to give a couple examples, then he's going to make the point. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ, the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? He is speaking about the Lord's Supper. And in those days, the Lord's Supper was often accompanied with a meal called a love feast, an agape feast. They would gather the church together. They would have a meal together sharing in what people brought like a potluck.
Some Christians like to say pot faith because Christians don't have luck and so they get to make a big deal out of it. Anyway, I've been around too many Baptists that have told me that so. And then at the end of the meal, they would take communion together. And by the way, the Lord's Supper, we also call it communion and here's why we call it communion because it shows up in verse 16.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ, the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? So when we take the Lord's Supper together, there's two dimensions. There's a vertical dimension, us with God, we're communing with him, and there's a horizontal dimension, we're communing with each other. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series Expound First Corinthians. Now, here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this one coming your way as you help connect others to God's truths. We are called to worship the Lord with our lives, surrendering ourselves over to him so that he can work in and through us. We want to encourage and inspire you in your walk with the Lord. That's why we share these messages to equip you in your faith. And your generous support today means we can continue to connect you and others to God's Word.
Here's how you can make that possible. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.
800-922-1888. Thank you. Tomorrow, Skip Heitzig shares how love can guide you to encourage and influence others for Christ. The third test mentioned here in verse 23, all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. That's the test of charity, love, what he mentioned in the previous chapter.
Yep, you have knowledge, you can do all things, but I've been telling you, you should balance that out with how you love people who are watching what you do. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, a connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
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