Text: Ezekiel 18:5-17
Sermon-in-a-sentence: The victim delusion will cause you to lose sight of your identity.
Ezekiel 18:5-17 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,  And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,  And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;  He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,  Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God .  If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things ,  And that doeth not any of those duties , but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,  Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.  Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,  That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,  That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. …
* we are all victims- Truth be told we are all victims. Victims of other’s words, actions or attitudes. Victims of the evil of this world, and evil people. Some are truly victims of heinous acts like murder, slavery, rape, human trafficking, etc…
* the Jews had embraced this delusion- when I say they had embraced it, I mean they took it hook, line, and sinker. They viewed themselves not just as victims, but as victims of God’s judgment upon their fathers. As we said last week these Israelites looked at their present condition under the judgment of God and they blamed their forefathers. There was no personal responsibility taken, they simply considered themselves the victims. So as victims they just lived how they wanted to live. (If God is going punish us for what our grandparents did, then why should we bother with living how God says to live)
* our culture likewise is engulfed in this delusion- Everyone it seems today is a victim. Somehow though the term victim has evolved greatly in our culture. Several generations ago, a victim was someone who suffered some form of physical injury because of physical aggression. Now days a victim is one who suffers physical injury, verbal injury, economic injury, emotional injury, and I’m pretty sure before long it will include even thoughts.
* this delusion seems to control the narrative in our culture today- the platform from which most social discussion proceeds seems to be this platform of a victim. If you don’t have a victim story, then don’t even speak.
On the show, The Voice, it seems every new contestant has a story, a story meant by producers to stir up your sympathy, and usually it is the story of a victim. Victims to disease, divorce, tragedy, alcohol, etc…. Some of the stories emphasize the concept of ‘overcoming’ but still they are rooted in the basis of being a victim.
I. Analysis of a Victim: Character
Delusion says you are a ‘victim’. A delusion is a consuming, overwhelming condition of the mind. A thought that engulfs the mind, emotions, and will. Because of its consuming nature everything in life is affected- including words, actions, and choices.
David Koresh… for those of you who recall the events in 1993, a man named David Koresh, which was not his birth name, led the members of his cult into a showdown with the FBI. The confrontation ended with some 80 cult members dead and the loss of several FBI officers. David Koresh was a deluded man, who believed himself to be Christ.
The delusion we are speaking about today is this one embraced by the Jews of Ezekiel’s time and like any delusion it caused them to not even recognize their own character.
God says you are a sinner.
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
God says something very specific about our character, he says we are sinners! Paul called himself the chief of sinners. Scripture says we are sinners, we come into this world as sinners, we live as sinners, and we will die as sinners. The question is are you a saved sinner or a lost sinner? Have you accepted the forgiveness that Christ offers for sin? Or are you lost, wandering through this life on the road toward an eternity apart from Christ?
Let me tell you this morning, there is an indicator of delusion, something that should cause us to sit up and pay attention. When believers refuse to even acknowledge their own sinful condition, there is a delusion!
The Word of God says we are all sinners, no matter how much I love you, I have to remind you that you are a sinner. Sadly, believers seem shocked when they go to the preacher and he reminds them of that Biblical truth.
II. Analysis of a Victim: Identity
Delusion says you are a ‘victim’. As I said before, everything gets lost in this delusion of a victim, character is forgotten about, also identity seems to be forgotten as well. In this delusion everything is swallowed up in that one concept of being a victim, to the point of even forgetting what God says about us. There is no identity outside of being a victim.
Like most lies the devil tells, if it is embraced it will consume your mind, energy, and life!
God says you are adopted into his family. You are a child of God!
Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:…
Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
You are a child of God! You are washed in the blood of Christ! You have an eternal home in the presence of God! Your sins are forgiven! Your eternal destiny is sealed! The Comforter resides within you! You have the promises of God to rest upon! You have the Word of God in your hands! Every week you can gather in worship and fellowship with your church family!
What is your identity? Scripture says that if you know him as your Savior, you are an adopted child of God. How sad it is when believers so willingly trade their identity in Christ for this victim delusion.
III. Analysis of a Victim: Duty
Delusion says you are a ‘victim’. This victim delusion is so consuming that believers lose sight of their identity in Christ, and with that forget the duty we have as children of God. To embrace this delusion will make you less and less effective in your work for Christ.
There are several components to our duty before God.
God says your duty is to
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
God says your duty is to
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
God says your duty is to
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
This is perhaps the most difficult duty at times for believers. To truly forgive as Christ has forgiven us is a beautiful act. We may skip over it but there are significant spiritual truths in God’s Word concerning forgivenesses.
- Refusal to forgive will stunt spiritual growth.
- Forgiveness is one of the ways we imitate Christ.
- Forgiveness is not forgetting.
- Forgiveness is an active choice each day to not remember the offense.
The Jews in Ezekiel’s time had become consumed with this delusion. They had used it as a license to sin, and they blamed God for it all.
Believers have you accepted this delusion that Satan has extended to you? Is your mind consumed with being a victim? Have you lost sight of your identity in Christ, your character as God sees it, and your duty to Christ?