Faithlife Sermons

God and His House

Foundations   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We are to care about the things of God more than ourselves

Isn’t is good to be back at the house of God
There are many things we take for granted in our lives
Coming together as a church is one of them
You never really know how good something is until it’s gone.
I want to ask everyone to please follow the social distancing guidelines
We ask that there is no physical contact,
Please try to stay 6’ apart
By all means feel free to wear a mask
And be filled with the Spirit of God this morning
We have been going through the book of Ezra in a series called, “Foundations”
Ezra is a book about new beginnings
It’s a book about God giving His people another opportunity to get things right
We are leaning what matters most to God and how that applies to the church.
Ezra is not a historical book as much as it is a theological book
That means the writer is not as interested in what happened as he is in what God did through these experiences.
Ezra is a book about God working with His people
It highlights God’s hands at work and God’s desires
An overarching theme of the book is the rebuilding of the temple
Temple Worship was central to Jewish religion
Now we don’t have a temple today, but we do worship in churches
The temple today is our physical bodies
But we still come together is place of worship to
This message is about the great value of the church
It is more than a building
It is more than a structure
God wants His people here every time the doors are open for their benefit
Ezra 6:12
“May the God who causes His name to dwell there....the house of God”

God has given His name to represent the church

What did the pagan king notice about the temple of God?
That His name dwelt there. They knew it was a place of God
The temple has many similarities with the garden of Eden
It was lined with cedar carved of flowers and and palm trees which resembled the garden
Adam is told to guard and keep the garden (the priests are told to guard and keep it)
The entrance of the garden was to the east, the same as the temple
God’s presence was there behind the holy of holies (God talked and walked with Adam in the garden)
When they came to temple they were literally coming to place of God.
It was where they could find forgiveness
It was where they could worship
What made the temple so great was the presence of God
The church today also speaks a similar message to world
When people ride by a church today the thought that comes to their mind is God dwells here
Church members sometimes stop and pray here because it feels more spiritual
There is something about the church that speaks of the presence of God
God is not bound to these four walls
Our bodies are the temple of the Lord today
BUT it does house His name
The church is only the church because it bears the name of God!
Thank goodness they don’t come to see us, they come to meet with God
Thank goodness they don’t come to fellowship, they come for the presence
Thank goodness they don’t come to hear me preach, they come to get a Word from God
We are a church because of the name we are under
And every church has a solemn duty to bring glory to that name
When I went to the church replant conference in Atlanta a guy named Mark Clifton was there
Great guy
Works for NAMB
He told a story about a church he pastored that had been in a long history of decline
There were about about 25 members left
Most of them older
The building needed work
And Mark said he walked out of church one day and thought lets start a new church
No need to try to restore this old church
No need to try to bring painful change to this place
And he said God laid on his heart, “What about a dying church brings glory to God”
What a truth for the church today
What about a dying church brings glory to God?
What about a church who has declining attendance brings glory to God?
What about a church who does not do their best for God?
What we must never forget is the name we are representing
Anyone who sees the condition of this church inside or out good or bad immediately relates it to the name of God
Anyone who joins our services and sees a half empty church immediately relates that to God
Anyone who comes to our events immediately ties them to the name of God
Everything we do as a church is done under the name of Jesus
And we must never forget we are representing God in this place
And if it ain’t bringing Him glory then we are the people who are expected to change it
1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB95
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
If that is true in your personal life then howe much more is it true for the church
We are here to bring glory to His name in EVERYTHING WE DO

God owns the church

Verse 12: “the house of God”
The title “house of God” is used 48 times in the book of Ezra alone
What would you say if you were coming to visit me today? You would say your going to Bro Jakes house
What would you say if you were going to Pat’s house? We’re going to Pat’s house
Why? Because we own them
We have rights over them
Our names are on the deeds
Not only is God’s name attached to this place, but He owns it!
It may be called New Palestine, but Jesus Christ has ownership of it
Acts 20:28 NASB95
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
The owner of this place, all its assets, this building, and even the people belong to the Lord
Paul said He (Jesus) is the head of the church
God owns it and has made us stewards of it
Verses 13-14

God’s gives messengers to the church

“and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggi and the prophet Zechariah”
Now you must understand a little background to get this truth
The building of the temple took 21 years since they laid the foundation
They experienced opposition
They experienced discouragement
They experienced slander
And then they just quit
Now God loves His people too much to let them do nothing
God knows what we need most in this life
God knows our needs better than we do
Scripture says He has the hairs of head numbered
For those of us who are losing hair that’s a full time job
And so God gave the people of God prophets to speak His message to them
These prophets spoke what God wanted them to speak
God sent his prophet to rebuke and to encourage them
The Scripture says, “and they prospered”
They not only got the temple built, but they prospered because of it
We don’t have prophets today like they did in the OT
But we do have messengers of God that He gives to the churches
Ephesians 4:11–12 NASB95
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
When we come together as a people of God in the house of God, we must come expecting a Word from God!
If God gives a convicting message then its for the benefit of the people
If God gives an encouraging message then its for the benefit of the people
God knows what the people need
We do not have prophets today, we have messengers
And God gives His church a message in every service
Do you know why the pulpit is in the center of the sanctuary?
Because it is the central part of the service
No church can operate exclusively on preaching!
The prophets preached and the Jews finished the temple
For preaching to mean anything to us is requires a response
It may be encouragement
It may be rebuke
Verses 15-17

God gives the restoration to the church

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament 6:13-22: Completion, Dedication and Passover Celebration

6:17. dedication sacrifice compared to 1 Kings. See the comment on 2 Chronicles 7:5–7 for dedicatory activity for Solomon’s temple. The actual number of sacrificial animals in the dedication ceremony for the second temple is much smaller than at the time of Solomon (1 Kings 8:63): 22,000 oxen versus 100 bulls; 120,000 sheep versus 200 rams and 400 male lambs. The sin offering of twelve male goats is according to priestly ritual (Lev 4:22–26; see the comment on Lev 4:13–32) and fits into Ezra’s attempt to reestablish the idea of a twelve-tribe coalition, now reborn through the exile experience and prepared to resume its covenantal relationship with Yahweh in Judah and Jeru- salem.

Verse 16 “they celebrated with great joy”
God’s design for the church is a joyful time
Our service is a time of celebration and thanksgiving
It should be something we look forward to each week
We worship on Sunday the first day of the week to fill us for the upcoming days
Joy is a byproduct of a healthy church
If the people come out smiling its a good sign
Verse 17: “The sin offering for all Israel twelve goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel”
Notice how Ezra mentions the twelve tribes of Israel
He also mentions the number of animals offered
100 bulls
400 lambs
12 male goats
All of this is a reflection back on the dedication of Solomon’s temple:
1 Kings 8:63 NASB95
Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the Lord, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
All of this makes the point that God has reestablished what once was
Israel once had great worship
Israel once had great unity
Israel once had sweet fellowship with God
And they lost it all because of their sin
But Israel is now functioning as it once did
God specializes is restoration
And I know this subject has been talked about already but here Ezra brings it up again
I think God wants us to know he can restore this place
I think God wants us to rest assured His hand is able to do anything!
I have heard over and over that church will never be like it was
The people today are too cold toward God
No one wants to come to church anymore
No one has any interest in God
None of that matters to God
He’s not bound to one time frame only!
He is not the God os the 80’s and 90’s
HE is the Alpha and Omega!
He is the beginning and the end!
If we want to see God do a great work in this place then all we have to do is get on board with it!
God uses whomever is usable!
He gives the direction and the people go!
It takes both God and man
Its not all God and no man
Its not all man and no God
Its man responding to God
We are going to have a time to respond to this message
It’s going to be a little different
We have two sets of stairs here
If you need to make a decision then come and pray
You can also do it from your seat right there
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