Ezra Pt13: The Joy of Dedication
16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy, 17 And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses. 19 And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat, 22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
Today is dedication Sunday, its a Sunday we have been building to throughout the book of Ezra, and actually brings us to the conclusion of Part 1 of Ezra as its a 2 part book really, with a gap of 50 or so years between the end of chapter 6 and the beginning of chapter 7. Do, we have a nice point to break this series until the new year.
Recapping through chapters 1-6 we know its been about the building of the temple, although thats the act, the main concern has been the attitude of God’s people in response to His word and His will.
Finally the temple has been rebuilt and the close of chapter 6 see the dedication of the place, the people and their purpose.
Dedication is defined in the dictionary as the act of dedicating or the state of being dedicated
The act of being dedicated or the state of being dedicated, that’s an important definition and we want to expound as we go through our passage of scripture this morning.
And as the Lord would have it, we have landed at this date, at this point in Ezra, just a the time that there has been requests for dedications from our people.
We have a baby dedication and a ministry dedication - Baby Valerie and Pawel & Joanna - So God has brought us to this point of dedication Sunday , and when we think about dedication and as we unpack the tail end of Ezra chapter 6, we will see that there is Joy in dedication
Firstly, there is the joyful act of dedicating places
The Joyful Act of Dedicating Places
16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy, 17 And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
The Dedication of the House of God
I mean this was a momentous moment
the temple had been rebuilt, and just as before it was a time of dedicating it to the lord
This was an old testament pattern
Let’s look back at
1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;
10 And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.
63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
As we look back we see the pattern of dedicating places to the Lord
and there was an associated joy with that
This is something that is done today also
Illustration: Milton Baptist Church - Breaking ground service - show pictures
There is joy in dedicating places
but ultimately its just an act of dedicating
remember our definition for dedication
Dedication is defined in the dictionary as the act of dedicating or the state of being dedicated
So although it can be a joyous occasion
we must recognise it as what it is - just an act
So there is joy in dedicating places, and we certainly see that at the dedication of the temple, then secondly there is joy in dedicating people, lets have a look at verses 18-20 of Ezra 6 where we see the joyful act of dedicating people
The Joyful Act of Dedicating People
18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses. 19 And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
Here the priests are set apart for the work of the levitical worship system
the priests where set for the service of God
The dedicating of the servants of God
we have done this with folks today
Valerie - Pawel & Joanna
But i want you to know that we are dedicating them into following the word of God
notice again verse 18
18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
set for the service of God....as is written in the book of Moses
5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 6 Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. 7 And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle.
set for service according to the word
Regardless of age - When we dedicate, babies, or adults
we are dedication them into keeping the word of the Lord
Living by it
we are committing them to the book, to the word of life
The Bible will not do them wrong if they keep the path
and thats our prayer over them
that baby Valerie would grow up in the nature and admonition the lord led by godly parents
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
our prayer for Pawel and Joanna is that they would stay true to God’s word as they reach the polish people with the Gospel and Love of Christ
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
It is a joyous occasion but we must recognise, according to our definition of dedication, that it is still simply an act
There is joy in dedicating places, there is joy in dedicating people, but we finish with the most important dedication of all, the joy of dedicated purpose. turn again to Ezra chapter 6 and look with me at verses 21-22, where we see the joyful attitude of dedicated purpose
The Joyful Attitude of Dedicated Purpose
21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat, 22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
Here we get to where the rubber meets the road
yes we can dedicate places
yes we dedicate people
but the bottom line is, its all about the dedication of ones heart towards the work and will of God
You see the passover was observed, the first time in at least 70 year!
and of course the passover marked the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt
it was a time of remembrance of the Lords hand upon his people
and of course there was joy in that remembrance
and for us today there should be joy in our hearts as we remember our deliverance
if we are born again, we have been delivered from the penalty our sin deserves
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
there ought to be joy in our hearts because we have been delivered, we have been redeemed
However what we are dealing with this morning is not the joy in a delivered past, but the joy in dedicated purpose
you remember Roy Castle from record breakers?
you remember his little song?
Dedication. Dedication. Dedication. That’s what you need. If you wanna be the best, and you wanna beat the rest. Oo-ooh! Dedications what you need.
now there is truth in that, no doubt.
but what i want to say to you this morning, and i want you to hear this Church
There can be no real attitude of dedication without separation
You see seperation is what you need, if you are to succeed in serving the Lord
for after the feast of passover came the feast of unleavened bread
lets look at this from scripture
15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
After the Passover night, the Egyptians pressed upon the Jewish people to get out of their land, and the only provision the Hebrews were able to take was dough which had no time to rise, it was without leaven, so that when they baked it the next day it was unleavened bread.
This bread is call matzah in the Hebrew, and it is a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, and if you take the time to look at what the jews do today around this feast then you will see a wonderful gospel picture- which we dont have time to look at this morning
If Passover pictures Israel's deliverance from Egypt, the feast of unleavened bread pictures Israel's deliverance from the life of slavery in Egypt
it speaks of deliverance from the bondage of slavery.
Leaven is a picture or type of sin in scripture, it speaks to us of corruption
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
With the feast of unleavened bread there is a picture of separation from the old live, the old ways, the slavery to sin, that we where all under
Passover was one day but the feast of unleavened bread was 7 days
7 is the number of maturity, perfection
you see calvary was one day, done and dusted, once for all forever
but the separation from sin and its practices is a lifes work of dedication of purpose
and to do that we need be willing to make sacrifices
we need to be willing to confess our faults and our sins before the Lord that He might purify us for His work
Look at verse 21 of Ezra 6 again
21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat,
you see here is the true biblical doctrine of seperation
seperation is a two way process
you separate from something to something
you see how they separated from the filthiness of the heathen , to seek the Lord
you see our separation has to be unto the Lord Himself
if we just separate from without the to, we create a dangerous vacuum in our Lives
Illustration: we see this with people that come out of Church that is teaching false doctrine, but dont separate themselves on to a Church that is teaching truth
seperation is biblical
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
but its not seperation to isolation
its seperation to participation
In the Lord’s work and His will
and thats not an act of dedication, its a state of dedication
and it’s a lives work, moment by moment
and that where we fight the greatest battles
and there is great joy to be found in serving the Lord with dedicated purpose
So, I hope you agree with me that we have see this morning, that there is indeed joy in dedicating places and people, but they are an event, they are an act of dedication.
The Joy of dedicated purpose, is not just an act of dedication, it is an attitude of dedication, it is a life of commitment to the Lord, to dedication to His work and His will each and every day we walk this earth..
There is Joy in dedicated purpose, in serving the Lord, and we have no greater example set before us that that of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he left the glories of heaven and became a little lower than the Angels, Emmanuel “God with Us”.
Why did he do this, dedicated purpose, he came to die upon Calvary’s cross, and he did not deviate from that purpose no matter who hard, or how intense that became
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
dedicated purpose - and even though the death He faced was horrific, even though it meant a physical pain that in and of its own was enough for any man, there was much greater pain in the spiritual seperation that took place between father rand son, something we can never truly enter into the depths of this pain, when Jesus cries from the cross
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
suffering, sadness, sorrow and separation — in that dedicated purpose
but there was also joy
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
you see, if we are willing to separate ourselves unto to the word, work and will of God, we will experience Joy
There is Joy in dedication brethren, the question is are you dedicated?
We want to do something a little different to close our service this morning
As the Lord has been moving us over this series into dedicating our lives to Him, we want to start afresh, and there is no greater place to start than at the Lords table, for it is the great picture of the passover, the picture of Calvary's cross, the bread representing the body of Christ and the fruit juice representing the blood that was shed for us.
So we want have the Lords table now, and I want to focus us in, n our lives before the Lord.
This is a time to get things right before God, to come to him, to dedicate ourselves to him
Followed by Lords Supper