Date: 17 April, 2016
Text: Ezra 5:1-11
Title: They Could Not Cause Them to Cease
Proposition: We must never cease in doing the work of the Lord in our church!
Have you ever read a Bible story of anyone doing anything for God without any opposition?
David and (?) Goliath
Daniel and the (?) Lion's den
The three hebrew children and the (??) fiery furnace
Jonah and the (?) whale - now that was his fault but God was going to test his servant.
Surely, every Bible story reminds us that just because you have an open door does not mean that you have a free pass to take the land that God wants you to take!
ill. Paul - 1 Corinthians 16:9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
ill. How did Israel receive the promised land. God did it? But how did he do it?
Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
ill. Caleb had the right idea.
Jos 14:12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
exp. Sometimes in Christianity we can hear a sanctified fatalism which says, "If God wants it to be done, it will happen. I'm just happy to be wherever God wants me to be." Caleb would have been wrong to have said that and he wouldn't have conquered God's promised land.
app. Note, other believers have said, "God wants it to be done. It's not going to be easy. But, I'm going to give myself to doing it trusting that God will be with me." Caleb was that kind of servant of the Lord.
now: Fast forward in Israel's history to their disobedience to God. Their bondage in Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem.
In Ezra 1 - God begins bringing them back into the land by helping them begin rebuilding the temple walls of Jerusalem.
Ezra 1 ¶ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
note: God raises up at that time a group of people who believe Him to go to get the work done by effort and sacrifice.
Ezra 1:5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.
6 And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.
exp. Things go pretty well until some adversaries get involved and bother the builders to the point of finally getting God's work to stop.
Ezra 4:1-6 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;
2 Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.
3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.
4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6 ¶ And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
The response of Ahasuerus, "21 Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.
22 Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?"
24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
now: Fast forward again to chapter 5 of the book of Ezra. God isn't going to let his people long be content. He is going to take them forward to finish His work.
1 ¶ Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.
2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.
3 ¶ At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?
4 Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building?
5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius
exp. The enemies are back - BUT THIS TIME THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE THE WORK CEASE.
We must never cease in doing the work of the Lord in our church! What do we need to keep God's work going forward?
I. We need God's great providence.
5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.
6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:
7 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace.
exp. They had the eye of their God upon them FOR GOOD! The enemy COULD NOT CAUSE THEM TO CEASE - because God was on their side.
A. Favor in God's eyes mean God is alert and listening.
Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
ill. Watching the rocket seek to dock with the ISS. There were times when communications was lost with the command centre. That was the most dangerous time for the rocket. When communications were established ground control could assist in their docking maneuver with the ISS.
exp. When you have God's eye upon you for good - you have communications established.
ill. King Asa - 3rd King of Judah - II Chronicles 14:2,7 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:7 Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
app. If you have God's eye, He is ready to hear your call.
B. Favor in God's eyes mean God is alert and answering.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
exp. If God's eye is upon you - you do not just have communication - you have intervention.
ill. Noah - Ge 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
exp. That is an important verse for Noah. Without grace in God's eyes, he is included in the destruction of the world. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
note: Grace in the eyes of the Lord - meant....
1.) Wisdom and revelation - boat building 101.
2.) Protection for himself and his family.
3.) Strength to finish a very big project.
app. God is ready to show himself strong - if we have found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
C. Disfavor in God's eyes is due to disobedience.
exp. Remember our verses about the eyes of the Lord - "are upon the righteous" ... "in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect." "but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."
ill. King Zedekiah: Jeremiah 52:2-3 Zedekiah ....did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
3 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
app. How does God see your heart today. He is going to respond to you based upon what He sees.
Ps 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
note: We need God's providence (on our side.) to keep the work from ceasing. (So be pure and be praying.)
II. We need God's great power.
8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.
9 Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?
10 We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.
exp. I love these statements by these unbelievers. "the house of the great God....builded with great stones....this work goeth fast on...prospereth in their hands."
note: When God is in it - it will become obvious to the world that God is in it!
Acts 5: 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Acts 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
app. The temple in Jerusalem was God's work being done by God's men and it was being done in God's power! We can not build a church in Loanhead - BUT GOD CAN.
Zec 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
app. May God help us to do something which demonstrates that HE DID IT BECAUSE IT IS FAR TOO GREAT FOR US! We need God's power, God's providence....
III. We need God's great passion.
11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up.
exp. They try to get them to stop but they are passionate about what they are doing.
· They serve the God of Heaven.
· They are working on His house.
· They are restoring a historic property which was built by a great king!
A. We serve the God of Heaven.
Matthew 28: 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
exp. You and I didn't decide to do this great work for God. We just obeyed the command of the God of Heaven to do this great work!
B. We are working on His house.
Mt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
exp. Free Baptist Church is not "our church" it is God's church. Jesus owns it - because he bought it with his blood.
Ac 20:28 .... the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
app. We aren't building something to bring glory to us - WE ARE BUILDING SOMETHING TO BRING GLORY TO GOD!
C. We are restoring a building built by a great king!
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
app. Our great king Jesus - died to make this work possible. The great king of Israel - JESUS CHRIST - (NOT SOLOMON BECAUSE A GREATER THAN SOLOMON IS ON THE SCENE) started this building and is continuing it with us.
final app: Are you passionate about God's work? They men had God's great passion, God's great power, God's great providence and they weren't going to cease!
IV. We need God's great provision.
exp. King Darius is going to respond in a shocking way. The enemies of God have written to him to stop the work of the Lord. Instead of preventing God's work - HE WILL PROVIDE FOR GOD'S WORK.
Ezra 6:7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.
8 Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.
9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:
10 That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
11 Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
12 And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.
exp. I imagine that the rulers in Jerusalem had heard about this letter to Darius and were praying for God's intervention. They could little have suspected how greatly God would bless this letter FOR THEIR GOOD.
ill. Mr. Flipavitch - knifed playground balls, took us before the city council and then amazingly - defended us.
App. When you have God's providence, power and passion - you don't have to be afraid of the "what if's?" God even has control of the heart of an ungodly king.
Pr 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
conclusion: We ought not think that doing God will in establishing Free Baptist Church in Loanhead is going to be easy. Satan is going to seek to get the work of God to cease.
BUT - We must never cease in doing the work of the Lord in our church!
What is going to keep God's work from stopping?
We need God's providence - favor in His eyes.
We need God's great power - to be seen by the world.
We need God great passion - we serve the king and this is His building.
We need God's great provision - He has to give us favor in the eyes of those who assist us.
Are you pure in God's eyes?
Are you burdened to see God do something which shows our community His power?
Are you zealously doing the work of the Lord?
Are you praying for God's great provision?
May God help us to step up to build Free Bapist Church for His glory.