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Rebuilding with Ezra

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I’d like to pick it up from where Pastor Mike ended the series on Job

God’s Will Prevails

Job 42:2 NIV
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
As we begin today a new series on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah
We will later on encounter 3 prominent kings in their generation
King Cyrus, King Darius and King Artaxerxes
These are kings of the Persian Empire, and one thing they had in common is that, they are all pagan kings
And they were all used by our great God of Israel, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ
They were all instrumental to the rebuilding of the temple and the wall of Jerusalem
The Scriptures says, no purpose of God can be thwarted
His will, will always prevail
The great evangelist Billy Graham said these...
“If You are ignorant of God’s Word, you will always be ignorant of God’s will” Billy Graham

Live a New Life

We know that when God led the Israelites out of the slavery in Egypt using Moses, it could have only been a short 40-day travel to the promise land
But we know also that it is because of their “disobedience” that their supposed 40-day journey, turned into 40-year of wandering in the wilderness
Joshua succeeded Moses in leading the Lord’s people in their quest for the promise land
Not all of them were able to cross the river
In fact, many of them weren’t able to cross the “River Jordan”, they died wandering in the wilderness
Joshua 5:6 NIV
The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.
It started as a joke that Agape Family has been wandering for 38 years now, and laughingly, we say.. we’re only 2 years away from the promise land
But hey! what started to be just a joke is beginning to make a serious sense now
At least to me, my own joke is now appearing to be real
It is now dawning very clear to me, that we, Agape Church family is in fact crossing the river Jordan, in deep spiritual sense
Are we ready to cross our symbolic “River Jordan”?
Paul said to the believers in Corinth
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
By the raising of hands, how many of you here were already baptist in the water?
And how many of you here were already baptist in the Spirit?
Spiritually speaking, Paul said to the Romans
Romans 6:4 NIV
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
And how many of your here were already baptist in the Spirit?
Are you ready to live a “new life”?

Cross then Rebuild

Some 90 years before King Cyrus, Jeremiah prophesied about the fall of Jerusalem, and the people of God will be held captives by Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon because of “disobedience”
Jeremiah 25:11–12 NIV
This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever.
Let me get everyone oriented here (show the map)
The original temple in Jerusalem built by Solomon was burned by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC (show the ancient Jerusalem)
Around 47 years after that, Cyrus conquered and defeated Babylon
The Lord moved the heart of King Cyrus of Persia in order to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah
He allowed the captive nations to return to their homelands
He did this in his hope that his benevolence would lessen the risk of revolutions throughout his Persian Empire
He thinks that happy citizens rarely rebel
Cyrus did not just let them go back to Israel, he also gave back to them the holy items Nebuchadnezzar plundered from the Lord’s temple
The family heads of Judah and Benjamin, along with priests and levites prepared to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem
But first, they started counting
They counted everything and everyone. They did an inventory! (I guess in our current situation right now we should also do that)
After that, they began their journey from Babylon to Jerusalem (show map of their trail)
Joshua, son of Jozadak and belongs to the tribe of Levi
Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and belongs to the tribe of Judah, and later on became an ancestor of Jesus
These two Led the rebuilding, they started with the Altar

Text: Rebuilding with Ezra

Ezra 2:68 NIV
When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site.
Let me try to break this down for you
First, they “arrived” in Jerusalem
Because they cannot rebuild in Babylon
They should depart Babylon and arrived in Jerusalem
In spiritual sense, we cannot live a new life while being in our old ways
We must

Embark towards living a new life

First, they “arrived” in Jerusalem
Because they cannot rebuild in Babylon
We should depart Babylon and arrived in Jerusalem
In spiritual sense, we cannot live a new life while being in our old ways
Jesus says, you cannot pour new wine into an old wineskin
Mark 2:22 NLT
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
Secondly, they gave “freely”
We must

Be Zealous in in giving

In other words, be enthusiastic when you give
Not by coercion
Not grudgingly
But freely
2 Corinthians 9:7–9 GW
Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry that you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver. Besides, God will give you his constantly overflowing kindness.Then, when you always have everything you need, you can do more and more good things. Scripture says, “The righteous person gives freely to the poor. His righteousness continues forever.”
Thirdly, they “offered” towards the rebuilding of the house of God
More than your treasures
More than your time
More than your talents
The true and proper worship is to “offer yourself” to God
We must

Reform the way we think

More than your time
More than your talents
The true and proper worship is to “offer yourself” to God
Romans 12:1–2 GNB
So then, my brothers and sisters, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
Pastor Mike said last week, that all things will only work for the good of those who love God if “we know”
Today let me tell you this using the words of Paul... “we can only know”, when we let God transform the way we think
And finally, when they rebuilt the temple, they started on the Altar
Why?.. because it is customary in their generation to sacrifice their burnt offerings at the altar
We no longer do that in our generation, because the ultimate sacrifice was done for us by our Jesus Christ
Hebrews 7:27 GW
We need a priest who doesn’t have to bring daily sacrifices as those chief priests did. First they brought sacrifices for their own sins, and then they brought sacrifices for the sins of the people. Jesus brought the sacrifice for the sins of the people once and for all when he sacrificed himself.
More than your time
We must
More than your talents

Come to the Altar

The true and proper worship is to “offer yourself” to God
Jesus is calling
Psalm 43:4 GNB
Then I will go to your altar, O God; you are the source of my happiness. I will play my harp and sing praise to you, O God, my God.
What is the relevance of all these to us today?
We are not rebuilding a temple.. not literally
1 Corinthians 6:19 AMP
Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
In the Bible says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
We cannot rebuild our lives in Babylon,
We have to cross our river Jordan
Fist we have to “cross”, then we can “rebuild”
Ephesians 4:20–24 MSG
But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.


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