Thursday, April 20, 2017
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I have some friends who live near this industrial area - it's a steel mill type of industrial. You could take me there blindfolded and I'd know where I am, because the mills produce a distinctive aroma - OK, smell? Stink? Yeah. All day long you can smell this sulfur-like, rotten eggs type of odor. When you go there for the first time, you sniff and you go, "What's that?" Funniest thing - the people who live there answer, "What's what?" They've lived around that stench so long it doesn't even register anymore. It's gross, but they've gotten used to gross.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Immune to the Smell."
The prophet Ezekiel was called to represent God in a time when people's lives were creating a moral stench. God shows the prophet what He wants done in these words, in our word for today from the Word of God - Ezekiel 9:2-4. "And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate...each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at this side and said to him, 'Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.'"
God seems to be saying, "I'm looking for some people who don't gloss over sin - people who grieve over sin." That kind of person was hard to find then, and they're hard to find now. That kind of person was special then; they're special now. That's why God says, "Mark them." They are God's heroes in any culture, including ours. People who don't get so used to living in the middle of sin that they don't notice the smell anymore.
Chances are, you come in contact with a lot of sinful garbage each day. Lying that's just considered smart business, a flippant attitude toward sexual purity, adultery, a flippant - "who cares" approach to a sacred act of love created by God for a lifetime bond. When we're around a casual attitude toward sin we tend to get used to it. It doesn't break our heart anymore. It still breaks God's heart and He's looking for people who've got His heart.
We hear people treat God's name and Jesus' name like dirt - Jesus, the name at which every knee will bow. We're spiritually seduced by attitudes that are really just dressed up idol worship, but still we've stopped being bothered by it - like living for money, living for a guy or girl, for the next party, for conquest. We live in the middle of the stench of gossip, backstabbing, disrespect, hard-heartedness, and callousness toward stuff that killed our Savior.
It's time we prayed, "God, please give me back my sense of smell." Unless we daily get with God and see what He sees, we'll be worn down and we'll be eroded until sin doesn't really look all that bad.
Imagine someone telling drunk driving jokes to a man and the man just isn't laughing. You ask him "Why?" He says, "Because a drunk driver killed my son." That's why God is not laughing at the sin that we tend to take so lightly. If you want to see what sin looks like, go to Skull Hill and see God's Son hanging on a blood-stained tree, screaming, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" We'll grieve over the sin in us and the sin around us when we remember what sin did to our Savior.
Ask God to make you what Romans 16:19 calls "wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil." Sin stinks. It's the rotting odor of eternal death, no matter how glamorously it is perfumed. Don't ever get used to the smell.