The Church Flowing With the River of the Water of Life
Reverend Dr. Philip Lee’s sermon from Lord’s Day 2nd Service on November 24, 2019
The Living Waters that became a great river
There are many important messages regarding Ezekiel’s Temple. Among them, we see the river of living water that flows from the temple, which is very significant in the history of redemption. From the temple, the water trickles out from the beginning and flows towards the east (Ez 47:1-2). The water trickled out in small amounts, but the works of the “living waters” after going four thousand cubits becomes a great river. Thus, the work of the living waters that starts out trickling became a great river. What work does this great river do, and what is the work that arises from this great river?
The river of the water of life
After the river measured a thousand cubits, the river was a river that Ezekiel could not ford or cross for the water had risen, enough to swim in (Ez 47:5). The expression “risen” in Hebrew means to “rise up high.” Thus, God is in the highest and greatest place, for He is highly exalted (Ex 15:1). This living water began small but gradually rises and becomes a river that you cannot ford or cross. Spiritually, this river is speaking of the work of God’s Word. Jesus met a woman from Samaria who had five husbands in the past and currently with a man that was not her husband. However, the seventh man, the true husband that she met was Jesus Christ, and she was able to drink from the river where you will never thirst again (John 4:14-18). May this river of life be fulfilling for your families, businesses, and your lives.
The dimensions of faith
In the beginning, the river that flows from Ezekiel’s Temple measured up to the ankles, then it went to the knees, then to the loins, and the hips. Later on, it became a great river that you cannot cross. In this, we can see our own lives of faith. First, the water that comes up to the ankles represents those whose faith is that of little children for children cannot discern between good and evil, and their faith is that of an infant. Those with this kind of faith come to church, but they still love the world (Heb 5:13-14; 1 Cor 3:1).
Secondly, those whose faith with water that comes up to their knees may have one foot in the world and another one in the church, but they realize they cannot live this way. So they pray and bend their knees before God and confess, “I must trust in God only” (Acts 20:36; 21:5). To kneel on your knees is to be humble before God, and when we pray this way, there will surely be an answer.
Thirdly, there is a faith of waters that come up to the hips, which is a source of strength. When people work, the part of the body that is used the most is the hips. God commanded the people to gird their loins in preparation for the Exodus (Ex 12:11). Therefore we too must gird our loins and turn on our lamps and wait for the Lord (Luke 12:35). Jesus did not have a moment of rest, but He was always working (John 5:17).
Fourthly, there is the faith where the water has “risen.” When the water comes to your ankles, you can go anywhere you want, but it has nothing to do with God’s will (1 Pet 4:1-2). When the water comes to your knees, it’s a little more difficult to move. At waist level, it is even more difficult to move about. However, when the water has “risen” and your whole body is inside the water, the work of the waters of the river of life is a work of healing. Wherever the water goes, dead waters become living waters (Ez 47:8). The “sea” speaks of the fallen world, but this world that is dead comes alive when the rivers of living water flow. First, in this Dead Sea, there are many fish, but when the river of living waters go there, they will live (Ez 47:9). These fish are speaking of people (Matt 4:19). In these last days, the river of the living waters flows out into the world and people who don’t believe will receive the gospel and repent and return to God. In the New Testament time, it prophesies that people who come to believe in Jesus Christ will be a great number even amongst the Jews who crucified Jesus will repent and return to God (Rom 11:25-26). Secondly, if there are many fish, there need to be many people who catch them. Fishermen will stand by the river and spread their nets to catch them (Ez 47:10). Fishermen are those who will proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of the History of Redemption. So going forward, the many people who will proclaim Redemptive History will arise.