“RESTORED BY GOD”
(A Series on Ezra: Building His Church)
Westgate Chapel 6/4/95 a.m. Ezra 6:1-12
PROPOSITION: Jesus came to earth to restore broken humanity and He still makes all who come to Him new...by divine decree...without enemy interference...and with all the resources needed. .
- THE book of Ezra, in the Old Testament, is the wonderful story of the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of the living God.
- THIS restoration was accomplished by a small remnant group of Jews who had been in captivity in Babylon for over 70 years, but had been allowed to come back to the City of God....by the Persian king, Cyrus.
- THE city of Jerusalem had been destroyed 70 years earlier by Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean army....as part of the discipline of God for Israel’s idolatry and rebellion.
- THE Temple had been leveled, the city of God had been burned and the majority of the people carried of as slaves to Babylon.
- JERUSALEM looked like a disaster area.
- BUT God had allowed all of this to bring His people to repentance....and ultimately back to Himself.
- AND now He is getting ready to restore the city of God and the Temple.
- AND the Old Testament book of Ezra records the story.
- THIS morning the story is about restoration....and we pick it up in chapter 6.
ii. restored by divine decree
- THE enemy had done everything in his power to stop the restoration of the City of God.
- IN chapter 4 the enemy tried to stop the restoration by....
* Joining the effort himself (4:2).
* Trying to discourage and frighten the people of the Lord by intimidation (4:4).
* Hiring counselors from within the City of God to work against them and frustrate the process (4:5).
* Lodging a complaint with Artaxerxes, then king of Persia(4:6).
- THIS enemy attack succeeded, and the restoration process came to a standstill....for 16 years.
- BUT God is in the restoration business....and he sent two prophets to Jerusalem to get things going again.
- AFTER this 16 year work stoppage, the Word of the Lord through Haggai and Zechariah revived the builders and they were on task not to be deterred again.
- IN Ezra 5 the enemy tries again to attack God’s restoration process.
* “Who authorized you to rebuild the City of God?”........Self-doubt (5:3).
* “Give us your names!”....intimidation (5:4).
* Then they write a letter to king Darius, asking him to look into the matter.
- BUT this time the attack of the enemy does not achieve its purpose....God’s people keep right on building even though letters have been written by the opposition to king Darius.
- EZRA 6:1-5 tells us about king Darius’ response to the enemy,
“King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon. (2) A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it: Memorandum: (3) In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide, (4) with three courses of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury. (5) Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the house of God.”
- THE restoration process was on track by divine decree...even though it is two Persian kings whose names are attached to them.
- REMEMBER Ezra 1:1 tells us that it was God who put it in the heart of king Cyrus to issue the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in the first place.
- GOD has always been in the restoration business.
* When Adam and Eve blew it in the garden of Eden and lost their pure communion with God...God came back with a plan for restoration.
* When wickedness was always on the hearts of earth’s population in Noah’s day....God had a plan for restoration.
* When Israel was in captivity in Egypt, slaves to the Pharaoh...God had a plan for restoration.
* When Israel was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar...for 70 years....God had a plan for restoration.
- FOR the last 6,000 years mankind has been in rebellion against God and has suffered the consequences of a broken life...physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- THE evidence of our brokenness is all around us:
* Violent crime.
* Alcohol and substance abuse.
* Child abuse.
- AND we have proven that we are incapable of restoring ourselves.
- ALL the kings horses and all the kings men.....
- THAT was why God sent His only Son, Jesus.
- BECAUSE man is in captivity to sin.....man is a slave to his own passions and is in rebellion against God.
- THAT condition puts us at great risk.
- WITHOUT God, mankind is broken and completely vulnerable to the attack of our enemy whom the Bible says has come to destroy mankind.....
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..” (John 10:10)
- BUT Jesus came and by His death on the cross He broke the power of our enemy, this adversary of our souls....Satan.
- IN Colossians 2:13-15 Paul describes what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross,
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (14) having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (15) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
- JESUS came to restore broken man to its intended purpose....to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit....a place of communion between Himself and His creation.
- I CORINTHIANS 3:16 says,
“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?”
- SO, the decree of God concerning you today is that through Jesus Christ you be restored from your broken condition to be a Temple of God’s Spirit.
- RESTORATION is a divine decree.
- LISTEN to Jesus tell the crowd at the synagogue of Nazareth why He had come in Luke 4:18-19,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, (19) to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
- RESTORATION is a divine decree.
- IT was in Ezra 6.....for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem.
- IT was when Jesus came and died and rose again.....for the restoration of the new Temple...you and me.
- IT still is today...a divine decree.
- II CORINTHIANS 5:17-18 says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (18) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation...”
- IT is God’s #1 business....restoring broken lives.
- HE has provided for it...He has decreed it!
iii. restored without enemy interference
- BACK to our story in Ezra 6.
- EZRA 6:6-7 says,
“Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you, their fellow officials of that province, stay away from there. (7) Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site.”
- GOD provided for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem to continue without ever being stopped again by enemy interference.
- AND through Jesus Christ we have been given the same authority over the enemy of our souls.
* I John 3:8 says that...
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.”
* Colossians 2:15 says that Jesus stripped Satan of his authority to have any legal right to the life of the believer.
* Colossians 1:13 says that Jesus has....
“.....rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves...”
* I John 4:4 says that...
“....the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world..”
* James 4:7 says that we can,
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
* Ephesians 6: says,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (11) Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.”
- JESUS has won the complete victory over the power of the enemy to destroy your soul.
- AND He who indwells you is able to restore you and keep you without enemy interference.
- THAT doesn’t mean that Satan won’t try to intimidate you, to roar and growl around you....but no weapon formed against you can prosper.
- THE enemy has NO legal standing against you.
- YOU don’t have to scream at him to try and scare him.
- YOU don’t have to work up your courage against him.
- JESUS took care of him on the cross and you are on high ground...purchased for you by Jesus.
- AND as long as you are in Christ....walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh...Satan has no place to land in your life.
- IN Ezra 6...the enemy was told to “stay away and not interfere” with the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem.
- JESUS has told Satan the same thing about you.
- SO stand your ground by faith.
- IT is ground that was paid for by Jesus’ precious blood.
iv. restored with the resources needed
- BACK for one last lesson on restoration from Ezra 6.
- DARIUS tells the enemy in 6:8-12,
“Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God: The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. (9) Whatever is needed--young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem--must be given them daily without fail, (10) so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons. (11) Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be made a pile of rubble. (12) May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.”
- ALL the resources that you need to live a restored life in Christ have been provided.
* The work...has been paid in full.
* The Sacrifice....has been paid in full.
- AND your daily needs have been provided by your heavenly Father who sees in secret and knows what you need before you even ask.
- PSALM 84:11-12 says,
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (12) O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”
- THERE is no shortage in God.
- PAUL writes about the riches of God available to us who are in Christ in Ephesians 1:18-21,
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (19) and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, (20) which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, (21) far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
- THERE is no shortage in God.
- II Peter 1:3 says,
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
- HE has exactly what you need and will provide it...sometimes from what the enemy has stolen from you in the first place.
- HE supplied exactly what the remnant need to restore the Temple in Jerusalem.
- HE will do the same for the restoration of your life today. You are His living Temple. He has already invested His only Son. He won’t stop short now.
- RESTORATION has always been God’s heart and intention for you.
- BACK in Joel 2:25 God promised,
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten--the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm--my great army that I sent among you.”
- JESUS’ ministry proved that promise.
* In John 8, when that woman was caught in adultery and dragged broken and shamed to Jesus’ feet......He restored her soul and her womanhood.
* In Luke 19, when a crooked businessman named Zacchaeus repented of his corruption....Jesus restored his life.
* In Mark 5, when Jesus encountered a demon possessed wild man who had terrorized his town for years and couldn’t be tamed with chains...Jesus restored him and left him clothed and in his right mind.
* In Luke 17, when Jesus ran into 10 lepers who had been cut off from society....He restored their health and their reputation.
* In Acts 9 a religious bigot named Saul was restored through an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.
- FOR the last 2,000 years Jesus has been restoring broken lives that Satan has tried to destroy.
- I WOULD like to read you some excerpts from a letter that I received last week.
- I HAVE the permission of the person who wrote me to read you a 20th century account of God’s restoration business.
- (READ Jim Neff’s letter)
- HOW about you?
- WOULD you like Him to restore your broken life today?