Back to series

Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Messages for the Modern World from an Ancient Prophet is the theme we are working through and is based on Ezekiel’s prophecies.

This prophet lived in a foreign country during perilous times.

He found God to be very real and present, just as we can find Him to be today.

Today we are talking about Is Responsibility Individual or Collective?


Ezekiel 18:20 NKJV

20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Scripture Reading

Ezekiel 18:1-23 NKJV

A False Proverb Refuted

18 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 

2 “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:

‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

3 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.

4 “Behold, all souls are Mine;
The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine;
The soul who sins shall die.

5 But if a man is just
And does what is lawful and right;

6 If he has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife,
Nor approached a woman during her impurity;

7 If he has not oppressed anyone,
But has restored to the debtor his pledge;
Has robbed no one by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;

8 If he has not exacted usury
Nor taken any increase,
But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity
And executed true judgment between man and man;

9 If he has walked in My statutes
And kept My judgments faithfully—
He is just;
He shall surely live!”
Says the Lord God.

10 “If he begets a son who is a robber
Or a shedder of blood,
Who does any of these things

11 And does none of those duties,
But has eaten on the mountains
Or defiled his neighbor’s wife;

12 If he has oppressed the poor and needy,
Robbed by violence,
Not restored the pledge,
Lifted his eyes to the idols,
Or committed abomination;

13 If he has exacted usury
Or taken increase—
Shall he then live?
He shall not live!
If he has done any of these abominations,
He shall surely die;
His blood shall be upon him.

14 “If, however, he begets a son
Who sees all the sins which his father has done,
And considers but does not do likewise;


Who has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife;

16 Has not oppressed anyone,
Nor withheld a pledge,
Nor robbed by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;

17 Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor
And not received usury or increase,
But has executed My judgments
And walked in My statutes—
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father;
He shall surely live!

18 “As for his father,
Because he cruelly oppressed,
Robbed his brother by violence,
And did what is not good among his people,
Behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

Turn and Live

19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. 

20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 

23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?


In Jesus name we pray.



Responsibility is a battle scarred word.

It has been misunderstood, misapplied, manipulated, and kicked around.

It has been the victim of extreme fickleness.

One day we love to, praise it, defend it, and cherish it, the next day, under a different set of circumstances, we ignore it, evade it, run from it, and pretend it doesn’t exist.

At times responsibility is hard to live with, but there is no escaping it.

Run away from it, and it catches up with you.

Pretend that its not there, and when you round the next corner, it will be staring you in the face.

This is God’s sovereign plan.

So whether the focus is on our country, our God, or ourselves, we must deal with the matter of responsibility.

Inspire of all the problems we face today, those of Ezekiel and his people, ten thousand strong and miles from their homeland, were far worse.

It was time for God to “come to grips” with the issue.

Thus, in a private audience with His young prophet Ezekiel, God dealt with responsibility.

  1. The first thing God dealt with was the past.

There is an attribute of God that is baffling to us humans, for who life and time are divided into past, present, and future.

With God, there is no past, and in a manner of speaking, no future.

He is above and beyond time.

Because He is the eternal God, who has no beginning and will have no ending, He exists in the eternal present.

When Jesus was defending His deity, before His enemies, He said in John 8:58, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

He said “I AM”, Not “I was.”

But nonetheless, a human being has a past, and it exists, and often demands to be heard, to be dealt with.

Any way you look at it, when we are born, we come into a world that is filled with circumstances we did not create.

The heavy hand of the past rests upon us.

Look at our young soldiers who fight in wars they didn’t start and often know little about.

Likewise, Ezekiel and his people in exile were caught in a situation they did not create.

But in that almost impossible dilemma, God had called them to make their lives count for Him.

Because of the compounded sins of their fathers before them, they were kept away from their homeland and from all they had counted dear.

It was easy for them to become cynical. 

They had a proverb that went like this, Ezekiel 18:2, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’

And when these Hebrews quoted this proverb to each other, they were trying to cover up their guilt with some barbed jokes against God and His justice.

God wants us to forget the past.

God said to Ezekiel, “I am tired of hearing the people quote their sarcastic little proverb. I am weary with hearing them live in the past and feel sorry for themselves because of the consequences they are suffering as a result of their father’s sins. 

True enough, their father’s may have eaten sour grapes.

But tell your people, Ezekiel, that they cannot escape responsibility for themselves and for their own sins and shortcomings!”

2. How God deals with the present and the responsibility He has placed upon us.

When children are born into this world, they must be cared for immediately or they will die.

A baby is an individual who is different from every other individual in the world.

When the child reaches the age of responsible choice, they must make moral decisions.

It is not always easy to make choices, and most of the time we would rather have other people make them for us.

This is the situation Ezekiel faced.

His people were ignoring their moral responsibilities.

They wanted to accept the neighbourhood standards, they wanted to drift with the tide.

They were in Babylon, and wanted to live like the Babylonians!

They felt God had failed them and was punishing them for their father’s sins.

So they decided to forget about God.

Then it was that God gave Ezekiel a word for his people.

Ezekiel 18:4, “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.

And we can state the same truth positively and say, “The soul that is righteous will live.”

What is life?

It can mean mere existence, or it can mean an awareness of God and His desire to become involved in a person’s life.

What is death?

It can mean the end of our biological functions, our physical life, or it can mean alienation and separation from God.

Here, of course, God is speaking to His people about spiritual life and death.

It is a tragic lie of the human nature that in a time of prosperity a person is tempted to credit himself with the blessings he enjoys.

But in times of adversity, he is tempted to blame all his trouble on his forefathers, his enemies, or God.

There is nothing wrong with examining as carefully as possible the historical events that have brought about a particular tragedy, the consequences of which we are suffering.

But in the midst of the tragedy, we must remember that individuals are still responsible before God for their actions.

Nobody can be righteous for you, not your parents, your church, and especially not your country.

And you can’t be righteous for anyone else.

But neither can one generation keep another generation from receiving spiritual life from God.

No person can hide spiritually behind his family, his tribe, or his nation.

Each one of us is individually responsible to God for the way we live in a world we did not create.

3. How God deals with the future in regard to our relationship with Him.

We live in a day of organisation, we as individuals sometimes wonder if our life matters much one way or the other.

It does!

Let me give you a serious illustration.

A man, a husband, a father says, “My wife takes care of the religion in our family.”

What is he doing?

He is destroying his own spiritual life, and he is endangering the spiritual lives of his children, all in an easy, gracious, and nice manner.

He is not an evil man by societies standards.

His personal ethics may be up to the standards of his community.

But he has simply not made room for the almighty God in his life.

Spiritually he is dying on his feet!

Ezekiel was preaching to a group of people, most of whom were pleasant and nice.

They were not cursing God, but neither were they willing to accept the responsibility of serving Him.

But listen to God’s word to them, words that apply as much to us today as they did to those people in ancient Babylon, “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die, for I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies says the Lord God, therefore turn yourselves, and live!

In all of this, God was saying, “I care for you! I made you so that you can respond to My love.

Indeed, you may live at a time in history when things are bad.

And the consequences you are suffering may stem from problems you did not create.

But wherever you are right now, in whatever valley of shadow you may find yourself, you can make life count if you will turn to Me!”


We could call these events in which Ezekiel participated a “dress rehearsal” for God’s final triumph on earth.

These people to whom Ezekiel prophesied and through whom God had chosen to bring His Son into the world were not important socially or politically.

They were exiles!

But God promised He would return them to their home.

Before they could return, however, they had to become spiritually fit.

They had to receive a new kind of life that only God could give them.

And so it is with us.

God wants to bring humankind back to Himself, but He will not, He cannot, until people repent of their sins and receive God’s free gift of eternal life.

That is the personal responsibility of each one of us.

We stand alone in this choice.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: $10.00

I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us


©  2022 All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968, no part of this Article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission. 

Visit us at 












Gary Hoban

Refinery Life Church Australia

Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: $10.00