Battle of Agendas II

 
Ezekiel 36:22-32 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
 
 
What causes two opposing ideas, processes, philosophies, beliefs, ethics, moralities, personalities, passions, goals, purposes, and wills to clash? Even when the opposing forces are after the same thing the friction is caused by one feeling superior to the other.  One of the forces has to yield or chaos will always be present.  Basically two Kings can’t rule the same kingdom.  So thinking back to the first post of Battle of Agendas where I quoted Galatians 2:20, the Apostle Paul yielded to Christ and forfeited himself.  The only way Paul could deny himself is if he saw that the greater goal was greater than him.    But yielding to a greater goal would only be temporary and would not last.  As soon as the apparent goal is met or within reach we would overthrow the other force or person.  It is obvious that Paul’s denying himself and Christ living through him was the driving power behind all that Paul did.  Paul didn’t deny and yield himself to an idea or principle but he did so to a person.  People within a company do not yield to the mission statement but to the CEO and that CEO is a person and with that person comes authority, power, purpose, will, and glory.  So this has me thinking that we have something mixed up as we start each day yielding to an idea or better yet a set of Laws and Principles.  Our yielding never last, we purposely yield to those things hoping to overthrow the King when our agendas are within reach.   With this in mind how could we ever fully deny ourselves to the point of being crucified with Christ? How could we say that it is no longer me living to save my life or to achieve my agenda but it is Christ who lives in me?  How could we say the the life we live here on earth within this world, that we do it by faith in Jesus? To speak like this is to speak of a person and not an idea.  
 
I am in this mindset when I wake because I’m convinced that life and living it is about me.  In my heart, my purpose is centered around the achieving of my goals and I use the “idea” as support in reaching them.  But what would happen if I met the person and replaced the “idea” with Him?  How does Ezekiel 36:22-32 help us with this?  These versus talk of the Person (God the Father) speaking of His agenda and how it impacts those he love.  These versus represents the purposes of Christ’s work on earth, for us and in us all for the agenda of God.
 
“Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned” 
God speaks here saying something that is earth shattering as it crushes my thoughts as I start my day.  When our eyes open we all have the thought of God waking us up because He needs us to do something for him.  We wake up thinking either we woke up ourselves to accomplish our mission or God woke us up because he needs us and even at times that we have earned it.  But in this Old Testament scripture, the Holy Spirit gives God’s New Testament mission statement known as the Gospel.  It is not for our sake that God does anything.  What God does for us, our goodness has no bearing on it; not one bit.  “Blessed and highly favored” has nothing to do with you and I, and nothing we will ever do will change that.  Our good deeds cannot and will not manipulate God into action as all of our good charity work and loving things we do not in faith are unclean (Isaiah 64:6).  God acts on our behalf and works things out for our good all for the sake of His Holy Name which we profane.  Our sinful and selfish hearts, unloving ways towards our neighbors, taking the Lord’s name in vain, our discontent and all the things we do that belittle God curses what He says is Holy.  His Name.
 
 All of the things that I mention puts us in the worse possible light, as it clearly describes sinners.  The characteristics mentioned presents weak, feeble and desperate people.  The children of Israel are seen the same way and God selected them purposely as God will always use the weak and foolish things of this world.  When the healthy see God using the sick to accomplish God’s purposes, which always seem impossible because they are; the world will know that He is Lord.  
 
Deuteronomy 7:7-9
7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
 
 
“And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
The glory of God name is first and foremost as, God is for God and He knows the condition that we are in.  He has promised to crush the serpent’s head and choose for Himself a people for His own possession.  He has promised to adopt a people that will belong to Him for the glory of His name.  God knows that these people have to have a the power needed to be His people.  Within God’s agenda He puts His Spirit within us and powers us with a gift of faith to walk accordingly.  Jesus Christ accomplishes this, now Paul can say ” It’s no longer I that live but Christ living in me and the life he walks is in faith in Christ.  God does this all for his name sake.  So looking at my agenda I can see that is will always lack the glory of God because I am even powerless to achieve my own weak goals.  
“Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you.”  This verse is so true as when I think about what I lusted to do with my life, I loathe myself but God saved me from me.  And he did it for His sake but if He was to act for my sake; all I would get would be justice in hell.  But because of His glory, because God is for God; He acts for Jesus’ sake as he hands us over to the King of Kings.  We can be independent all we would like but we don’t own ourselves as we are either slaves of sin or righteousness.  Whether dead or alive, we live to please the Lord and we die to be with the Lord as Christ is Lord over the living and the dead (Romans 14:7-9).  Because God does so much for us we can get confused about what the point is.  Sometimes we purposely distance ourselves from scripture so we can’t know what the real point is.  It amazes me that even if we look at the two great commandments Jesus gave; love God and love your neighbor as yourself that it never dawns on us.  God is first and we are not really third because there are billions of neighbors on this planet.  Yet, we come away with thinking its all about us as we refuse to yield to God’s agenda.  
 
There’s a class called Perspectives in World Religion, and near the end, they’ll unpack what they call cat and dog theology. Here’s how they break it down. A cat goes, “My owner feeds me, cares for me and cleans up after me. I must be God.” A dog goes, “My owner feeds me, cares for me and cleans up after me. He must be God.” That’s why when you come home your dog is all over you and your cat couldn’t care less. Far too many evangelicals are feline in their theology. “Well God loves me, and He’s for me. I must be the point.” When you’re the point, everything falls apart.Matt Chandler
 
 So we are these cats battling to be god refusing to yield, refusing to let God be for God and never once has it crossed our minds why it’s so important that we are not the point and that our agendas should not win out.  Since God is God and God is for God, John 3:16 is made true.  But it goes beyond that, to save us Jesus had to teach us the law giver is above the law.  Jesus had to show us that the law isn’t going anywhere, ever!  Jesus preached to law to wake us up to how horrible our agendas are.  Only way God could vindicate His holiness before their the world was to make us righteous by giving us a new heart but how His Spirit cant dwell in unclean temples.  Jesus had to live out and fulfill the law completely then pay the penalty for our breaking of it.  After which Jesus gave us His righteousness so all of Ezekiel 36:22-32 can happen.  In the process of all of this something amazing is going on. “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,”  God is keep his promise as he is loving the Godhead with with all His heart, Spirit, Mind, and strength and God is loving His neighbor as Himself.  So as long as God is for God, he will give us all things because He gave of Himself who is Jesus the Son of God and Jesus came to serve not to be served (Matthew 20:26-28).  He did it all for His name sake and Galatians 2:20 is His agenda.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
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