VBC – Sunday Morning 10-14-18
Open your bibles to Ezra chapter 7 and we will start reading there in chapter 7 and verse 1, you know, the beautiful thing. God the only true God is that he has a definite direct personal relationship with his people all gods. Millions of gods and world but they are a long ways off. They are God's that maybe man made with her hands. There may be God's at that people have heard about the live on Mount Olympus or they are whatever number of gods but here is a God in the Bible of the God and he has a definite direct personal relationship with Ezra the verse that we read the start off with was that the good hand of his God.
Was on him he knew that there was something a direct connection that God was working in his life and through his life. He knew that he had that with God and that was that's the key to what's going on in this chapter. So if you're here and you don't know the god of the Bible you may know about him.
You may know about other gods. I want you to know about a God who has a direct and personal relationship. He wants that with you. He wants you to know for sure that you know him that he knows you that you can be saved in the story where we are in our Bibles. We come to Ezra chapter 7 and there's a man Ezra he is the man of God and he shows.
Up on the scene. You got your Bible open in Ezra chapter 7 and verse 1 look what it says. Now after these things and the reign of artaxerxes King of Persia. Ezra shows up Ezra Circle his name your first time to really get introduced to him. Chapter 7 and verse 8. He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year and there's a lot of things that are very interesting about Ezra the man Ezra the preacher Ezra the leader Ezra the priest that I want you to look at the first one I want you to see about him was that he had a Godly Heritage a Godly Heritage and he honored his Godly Heritage.
Look if you what an Ezra chapter 7 and verse 5. His line, he names himself and in Ezra chapter 7 verses 1 through 40 says run any names all of his daddy's daddy granddaddy great-granddaddy great-great-granddaddy all the way back to Aaron the son of Aaron the chief priests all the way back when they got to the promised land all the way back when Moses came in and this guy's part of that family.
That is a tremendous privilege to come from such a long line of people that love God and serve God preachers born into preachers homes Christians born into Christian homes along time ago in Peru everybody. It came to visit. I'd have them say a word they speak to our church and they'd say I was born in a Christian home.
Well, a man came to me when his wife got pregnant. He was an older fella. He was maybe in his 40s and they were going to have a their third I think is our third son. He was going to be born and he came to me and he said I am going to be able to stop my son will be able to say what all those Americans say when they come and I said, what's that?
He said my son will be able to say I was born and raised in a Christian home. And that what a privilege to know his daddy was a Christian and his mama was a Christian what I really like about a wedge was he. Honored that he honored that he honored the fact that he had lived out all the faith of his family.
You don't have to come from a Godly line. But you know, if you don't you could start a Godly line. In my in my family I was I was my mother's family. My granddad wasn't a Christian. He did not know the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior. My grandmother went to a church service a little Baptist Church who got saved.
She came home and invited him to go to church and he told her he would have nothing to do with church. He want to go to church. They want to know about them people. So she kept going back every night and he got angry and said I will prove to her from the Bible. She's. So you got a copy of the Bible start reading the Bible but third night.
He can't she came home and said I think you need go to church me. So I will be going I got saved. I've been reading the Bible I found out about Jesus and he started a Godly line. He was a Christian. He's the first one in that side of the family that came down. And it came down to my mom and dad my mom and then my mom's family members.
There were like three missionaries that came out of that and it kept on down on my dad's side totally different story. My dad's dad was an alcoholic a drunkard on the bar. His wife died of an illegal abortion when my dad was 6 years old back in 1935. I think it was my my dad's mom died and dad got saved and started a Godly home.
I just wish you'd look at consider this as ra says let me tell you about my family. Let me tell you about my family. My family was a Godly family and if you don't have that privilege, I hope you'd start that privilege for your children now once you go in Meet Ezra chapter 7 and verse. Do you honor a Godly Heritage?
Do you have one? Can you start one? But then in Ezra chapter 7 and verse 6, here's what you find we find his relationship with the word of God his relationship with the word of God before I read the verse would understand. There's this God in heaven who didn't just say I'm up here and I'm going to be capricious I'm going to do what I want to do.
I'm going to treat people like I want to but a God who wanted to directly be involved with his people. So he wrote a book. He wrote a book and he gave us a book. It's what you have in your hands is the copy of that. He wrote this book so you can say I want to communicate with you and he gave us the Bible.
And so Ezra wants to know God as renault's God. He wants to know more about God and the way you know more about God is read the book that God had written for slick give you what in Ezra 7. This Edge or went up from Babylon. He was a ready scribe. I want you to Circle that word ready. He was a ready scribe.
That means he was capable. He was studied. He was prepared. He was skilled. He was a guy that would have said that when people talk to they said he knows his Bible. He knows what the word of God says. He's a ready scribe. He's the guy that knows what's going on in the Bible knows what's going on in in the in God's word second thing.
I want you to notice about his relationship. He's ready studied, but then I want you to notice his he knew that it was called the law of Moses, but it wasn't for Moses. Once you look at the verse are you reading as r76 for me? He was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given you need to underline that see sometimes it's easy to look at the Bible and say well it's a man's book and Men wrote it and so it was the law of Moses.
And so that's Moses's law and Moses opinion. That's Paul's opinion and what Paul had to write and that's Peters opinion, but see Ezra knew something at. Of us ought to know it was much more than the law of Moses. Look at the verse. It says which the Lord God of Israel had given God gave his law through men.
We got the Bible by people writing it but we know that though, they were writers. There's only one author and that was the Lord God Of Heaven. He recognized that the law of Moses the Bible came from God. Can I get an amen right there? You should know this morning that though it is. He six books written over fifteen or sixteen hundred years before t plus authors.
It's got one of a 40th of writers. It's got one author One purpose. It's the story of salvation of our God loving us and telling us how we could have eternal life. Now. Look what he does with the Bible how he prepares look at Ezra chapter 7 and verse 10. Ezra chapter 7 and verse 10. These are steps in our relationship with the word of God.
It says Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law as we stop right there. That's the first step. Look at this azra backed up and said I need to know God. I need to go speak to God and see you can't learn about God if you want humble yourself. You can't walk up to the Bible. Like somebody says I'm a really smart guy and I know a lot of stuff and I'm going to read the Bible in a critical way to see what I think about throughout will know as renew.
This is the word of God. I need to talk to God and I am going to humble myself. I want to recognize who I am. I'm going to recognize who he is and I'm going to act that way when I get to his. How would you talk to God if God Almighty were here? How would you talk to God? I think we'd all be like passing out scared to death.
I mean if the king of a country or the president of the United States walked in a room we'd all be you know, you can talk as big and tough as you want to but when in Big Shot show up your knees start knocking and this is the god of heaven. So oh Ezra said I'm going to talk to God. I will talk to God.
I'm a humble myself and I'm going to go seek the law. I'm going to get into the Bible and see what God has to say. So you got in a position to study the word of God to find out what God wanted. He approached the word of God like it was really God speaking. Y'all know you can take the Bible and you can read it like a book or you can take the Bible and say this is God's book and God speaking to me and I want to know what God has to say and that's how he came to.
The second thing he did there was he studied to practice not to know. Look at the verse as you're prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it. I wish you to underline that he didn't come to church to say preach us A good sermon preacher. He didn't come to churches. They tell us what the Bible says.
He went to the word of God and said when I find out what God says, I'm going to do it. I'm going to go to find out what God says. I'm going to do it. Can I tell you what? God says, the number one thing God says is to realize that you are going to die and go to an eternal punishment. She went forever.
All people are destined to die and suffer forever the wrath of God abides on them. But the god of Heaven says I love you and I don't want that to happen. It's only going to happen because you have chosen to ignore me you have chosen to do your own thing and when you realize that and you realize that God loves you and Jesus died for you then he says believe me.
Trust me. So as you come this morning in you approach the Bible prepare your heart prepare your heart to say I have sinned. I have failed God. I am not good enough to go to heaven. I can't do enough stuff and then you'll hear what he said. Trust him Bible says the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life.
You know, what you need to do this morning realize he has a free gift for you realize that Jesus died for you realize that Jesus paid for your sin realize that Jesus wants you to go to heaven you do it for those of you are already born again. Just let me say this. We don't come to church. To just talk about what the Bible says we come to church to say God you talk to us and tell us what you want from us how you want us live and how you working in our lives.
If you would let read with me and they'll throw it up here for you Acts chapter 1 and verse 1 you do before you teach what's so wrong with so many churches is people don't do before they teach in Ezra chapter 7 and verse 10. He said he saw he sought the Lord to do it and later. He would teach it acts 1:1 says Jesus even Jesus came and Acts chapter 1 verse 1 the former Treatise.
I've written of all that Jesus began both to do and to. Teach he did and he taught how many religious leaders. Teach but they don't live what they teach they say stuff but it's not what's coming out of their heart of their life. And Ezra said I'm studying the Bible to know what I'm supposed to do in Jesus did it before he taught it?
I just want to show you. I want to show you one of my favorite passages of the Bible that I think fits this verse I want you to go with me to James chapter 1 and verse 21. You need to look this first up you the market in that paper Bible you hold it in your hand so you can read it later and study it you see it is a matter of approaching God to learn what to do.
It's a matter of approaching God. That's how you'll get saved. That's how you live the holy life. You've been called to in James chapter 1 and verse 20 21. The Bible says wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Now, here's what it says in Tennessee hillbilly for you real quick. It says hey, if you're a born again people you need to get rid of all the filth out of your life. You need to lay aside all the junk that that's not wholly that's not God like you want to lay that apart. You want to get rid of that and you want to receive you want to accept you want to believe the word of God and you want to engraft it into your heart.
So it becomes a part of who you are. You take truth. And you incorporate truth into you till it becomes a part of who you are and that will save your soul. It's your I'm going to go to heaven because of trusted Christ. I'm on my way to heaven. I'm saved. I'm saved by the grace of God, but I still don't have the joy of my salvation may be I still don't enjoy all this stuff that's going on.
I still don't have victory over sin. I still can't live out who I am you can when you get in the book. And get the book in you you can when you understand what God says. So you receive with meekness the word you engrafted in you live becomes a part of you you change the way you think you don't think like an American you don't think like enough already and you don't think like a normal person you say I want to know what God thinks I want to thank like what he thinks verse 22 says be doers.
Not hearers we come to study the word of God to know how to apply it to our lives. That's what Ezra did Ezra went in Ezra chapter 7. He said man, I got to seek God. I got to seek his word, but I want to see get so I can apply it to my life. Not a doer not a hearer but a doer because if you're just a hearer, you're just tricking yourself.
There are a lot of people that are going to die and not go to heaven not have God's salvation because they heard and they heard and they heard and they heard but they never trusted. They never believed they never applied it. In verse 23, it says if you're a hero and not a doer you're like a guy that looks at yourself in a mirror and you forget what you look like when you leave and so you don't have any real changes.
Yeah, my wife spends. A long time in front of mirror and she is constantly worried about how I won't spend time in front of the mirror. Sometimes when I'm preaching. She's not on a front doing this for the tie and I look down and I'm like, well, you ain't got a time when she's trying to tell me your ties crooked.
I'm like, I don't care. I'm fine. I don't need to mirror. She says what your hair stick it up and she said would you do that to your hair for and she set up her going just like this the whole time and I look down and she's going I mean she must have fleas or something. I don't know. I look in the mirror and I just kind of forget I want to forget what I say when I look in a mirror amen, but when you come to God, you got to come to God saying I need to know what you say and I need to apply it to my life.
I don't want to just hear it. I want to live it. I want to apply it you want to continue so that you will do the work of God go back with me if you would to Ezra chapter 7 Ezra chapter 7 and verse 25. Then he taught the word in verse 10. The Bible said Israel prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord to do it and to teach Israel to statutes and judgments.
And so when you get there, you're going to look up Ezra chapter 7 and verse 25, but let me let me show you something if I knew. If I knew what would change your life if I knew what would give you joy and happiness and an abundant life if I knew that and it was working in my life wouldn't I be bad wrong if I didn't tell you about that?
So Sierra went over there and Ezra said I will seek God and I will learn and as renew God and in this chapter is going to about how God's hands on him. How God's directing him and how God's moving him and as relay men knowing god is everything and so once Ezra knows God and applies it to his own life as R goes out to teach it will give you what it is for chapter 7 and verse 25 and thou Israel after the wisdom of thy God that is in thine hand.
Set set the magistrates and judges which may judge all the people that that are beyond the river all all such as know the laws of God and you teach them that don't know. People ought to know people want to know the sad truth is that this Bible is such a big book that people look at it in there like scared to death the like I could never read all of that.
Not you I know you would read it but a lot of people are like that so big so they need you to seek God they need you to say, I'll go talk to God. I'll learn about God. I'll apply it to my life. I'll enjoy the benefits and when I know that I'll go tell other people about. Hey, man, I'll go tell other people what God's done in my life.
I'll go tell other people what God can do in their life. That's exactly what you could write 2nd. Timothy 2:2 right there beside that that's our new testament verse that which you have heard of me among many faithful Witnesses the same commit to others to Faithful Men that will be able to teach others.
Also. Here's a beautiful thing about Ezra Ezra knows God's with him. Ezra knows God's with him. Look if you would at Ezra chapter 7 and verse 6, this Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a ready scribe and the law of Moses which a law Lord God of Israel given and the King granted him all his request according to the hand of his lord of the Lord his God upon him.
Ezra new this I'm not just living my life. I'm just not just a coincidence. I'm not just a that's what happens guy. I'm living life on purpose. I have a life that has meaning have a life. It has purpose God's got his hand on me God's blessing me. I prepared my heart. I sought him I want to do what he says.
I want to teach what he says and God's working in my life. You know, I want God's hand on me. I want to know that God's use of me. I want to know that my life's counting. I want to do something special with my life. I want God's hand on our church so that our church is not just a normal church, but it's a church where God has his fingerprints.
It's a place where God is moving in a great, you know a god who's personally directly involved in your life. Amen. And so here we are and that's what Ezra's got going on Ezra. The man of God knows God's hands on him and chapter 7 and verse 9. He said according to the good hand of his God upon him and Ezra chapter 7 and verse 28.
He says as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me. Here's what Israel has said to you. I'm a nobody. I'm a nothing man God's with me. God's with me and when these people sing and play the instruments and stuff. They need God to be with them. And when the teachers teaching the Sunday School classes, we need God to be with us and when you step out the raisin teach your children, you need God to be with you.
And and when you run go to your business, you need to hand of God on you as far as like as was like, hey, I'll tell you something. I'm a nobody I might have come from a long line of people that love God, but God's got his hand on me. He's got his hand on you. The first question is do you know for sure you're saved on your way to heaven?
Do you know your sins have been forgiven? Do you know that things are made right between you and God the god of forever. The god of Eternity are things made right between you and him. Do you have that peace in your heart that comes from knowing your right with God and God's right, would you because things have been fixed you have that and then the second thing is that all that's his hand on you, but then the next thing is I need God blessed and working.
I want to leave here today. Step out here on my own and go do my own thing. I want to live a life on purpose with God's blessing in the chapter of the next thing you see are God's people and they're serving going me if you would to Ezra chapter 7 and verse 13. Now here's the beautiful thing the great God of the Bible.
The great God of the Bible doesn't force you. The great God of the Bible offers you great blessings. John said it will do you when you saw what the offered you see somebody greater than you you see somebody more holy than you you see somebody worthy of your offering well in Ezra chapter 7 these people are going to serve God because they want to look if you would in Ezra chapter 7 and verse 13.
I make a decree that that all of our people that all they of the people of Israel and of his priests and Levites in my realm which are minded of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem. Let him go with. So in this story The King says God told him to build the temple over in Jerusalem and the King came out to the people and said God of Heavens told me what to do.
And here's how God wants it operated. He wants those of you who want to go to go. I need you to know this morning that if you're not a born-again Believer, if you're not on your way to heaven, if you don't know your sins are forgiven. He's not going to force you. He loves you. He wants you to be saved.
He offers you salvation. He offers you forgiveness of your sins. He offers you this Abundant Life, but you're going to have to decide I will trust I will believe and those of us are going to serve God. There's no manipulating here. There's no guilt here. There's no beating up on you it ought to be about I love him and I want to.
I love him and I want to now look how they gave money the king gives because he wants to in chapter 7 and verse 15 the Bible says the carry the silver and the gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered. Freely offered some interesting in the chapter and we times Gods goes that they wanted to freely offered the people gave look how the people gave in chapter 7 and verse 16 and the silver and ago the dockets find in all the province of Babylon and the Freewill offering the Free Will offering of the people and the priest offering freely they gave because they wanted to.
They gave because it was in their heart they were in love and it came out of them to want to do something for God. They're in love with God. They want to serve God they're in love with God. They want to give to the things of God. It was a free-will offering are you a giver? Are you a generous Giver?
Are you showing your love by God for God by giving his it born in your heart to say man. I love God I want to serve. Do you live all week long? Thinking his hands on me? I'm serving him. I'm giving him a time. I'm giving my life. Here's what was going on. The preacher of their day wasn't Israel's resist kind of leading things here.
He's a scribe. He's a priest he but the man the preacher of the day one of the two main preachers of haggai, you know, what a guy told him in haggai Chapter 2 and verse 8, he told them the silver is mine. God said the silver is mine and the gold is mine. In other words King you might have gold in the bank, but it's my goal say you might have silver in the bank, but it's my silver.
Hey people you might have gold and you might have silver but it's mine. You see the people began to realize that you don't own this Earth. You're really not in charge of very much and the piece of land that you claim as your own was owned by somebody else a few hundred years ago, and we don't even know who they are.
And we're just going to be here for a short time and we're moving on we're going somewhere else, but it all belongs to our god. Do you recognize that everything belongs to God? including you. And including me I'm not my own. I'm doubly his he made us and he purchased those of us that are born again.
We're not our own. Do you acknowledge that you're only an administrator a manager of God's Goods that he's placed in your hands because they're going to give this money freely and willingly you know, why what why would I give so freely? Why would I give my money to the things of God and to do things for God because I love him and because I want to because it ain't my stuff.
Anyway, that's not good English, but it's true. It's not mine. I want to honor God with what is he is our you Faithfully managing God's Goods. Do you realize that it's not about you and what you want but it's about him and what he wants it's not about you and what you want. It's about him and what he wants as a Christian.
Do you live life surrendered to his will. Because in the book of Ezra Ezra is God's man Ezra seeking God God's got his hand on Ezra. Ezra was doing what God wants him to do. The people are given their money. The people are given their lives and they're all doing it because they want to they realize it's about God and Ezra chapter 7 and verse 18.
They are seeking God's will for their life. It says and whatsoever shall seem good to thee and to thy Brethren to do with the rest of the silver and gold that do listen after the will of your God. What's God say? What's God say? Last time you asked that when's the last time you said that with your money and so what do you say God?
When's the last time you said what your calendar and said? What do you say God? When's the last time you send out with your life and say what do you say God? Can we be honest? I'm afraid we don't do that very much. They were seeking God's Will and Ezra chapter 7 and verse 23. It said whatsoever is commanded by the god of Heaven let that be done.
So these people the king and Ezra and these people all knew one thing. It's all about God. And that brings us to the last thing. It's the hand of God the good hand of God on us the whole chapter the heroes, not Ezra. The heroes not the people the stories really not about the offering and to be blunt honest.
The story's not even really about the temple the stories about God. He's the hero. He's the ones raising up the money. He's one is touching their hearts to make them want to do stuff. He's the one that said worship me. It's about him first off. I see that because in Ezra chapter 7 and verse 9 we started with this Ezra said I'll just tell you what's going on here.
If you'd like to know, it's God's hand on me. If you want to know what's happening in our lives right now Ezra said Ezra chapter 7 according to the good hand of his God upon him. God always has a man God always has a people it's not the person but it's the hand of God on God's man. Pray for God's hand on your life.
God work in my life. Pray for me that God's hand will be on me. And God will work in my life pray for our church that God's hand will be on our church. It's all about the God of Heaven. Amen. We're here serving him. We want to serve him. The king sent them because of the word of God. They are going to go build this Temple, but it wasn't an Earthly Kings idea and it wasn't Ezra's idea and it wasn't a people's idea.
Look if you would at Ezra chapter 7 and verse 14 the Bible says for as much as Thou Art scent of the king sent of the king and of his counselors according to the law of thy God. Here's what's going on. We're just respecting God. We're just doing what God wants our lives ought to be based on what the word of God says our lives ought to be based on serving him studying him looking for him.
The Bible is our only rule of faith. In practice, it's all about God israa God's hand on him. What's really going on with the people? God said y'all do what you want to do. God worked in their lives Temple all about God now they're going to worship in Ezra chapter 7 and verse 17 that thou mayest by speedily with this money Bullock's Rams Lambs with their meat offerings in their drink offerings an offer them upon the altar of the House of your God, which is in Jerusalem offer on the house.
The altar of your God, it's House of your God in Jerusalem, Israel while we going to back to Jerusalem because it's our home country. No no to worship God why we go build a temple to worship God why we go give money to worship God why I've Got Hand on me to worship God it's all about. The Lord It's All About God.
We should live wanting to worship Him and please him no matter what it cost and Ezra chapter 7 and verse 20, they were told do whatever is needful for the house of your God. and in the story. Ezra finish his chapter 7 and he says and by the way, in case you don't know whose idea all of this was. It was God.
Look at it. Look at Ezra chapter 7 if you would in verse 27 blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which have put such a thing as this in the king's heart Earthly you're looking at it and you see this King and his Kings over you're saying I got an idea. Let's build the Temple of your God. And you're like what a good King and then you got all these people then they give all their money and all their time and everything and they go build the temple and they go have an offering and they go worship God and you got to Ezra and and everybody seems men are such good people.
And Ezra says at the end of chapter. He says I'm not really all the way back over here when the first idea came it was God. It was God. He was God put it in his heart. It was God's handle me as I did my stuff. The people weren't made to do this by the king the people did it because they wanted to it's God.
We got to Jerusalem, it's God. We offered sacrifices. It's God. Here's a question. Do you realize you're a human being and you're going to die and it ain't that long to you do? Do you realize do you realize that after this death something else is going to come along and the Bible says you're not going to get reincarnated.
You're not coming back and something else a Bible says pretty clearly you're either going to go to a place to be with God in heaven and joy and comfort and abundance or you're going to go to a place of Eternal suffering. Now man, always comes up with ideas to kind of soften that well, you don't really go to Eternal forever suffering other things can happen.
Maybe it would be a place called Purgatory where you could get cleaned up and then go to heaven or maybe you'd come back in another life to pay for what you did wrong in this life. Well, the Bible said that's none of that's true. Well said no, that's true. Bible makes it clear everything about your life revolves around this does the god of Heaven know you?
And do you know the god of Heaven? The one and only true God. Do you know him? If you know him, you'll go to heaven. How do you know him? You know him when you admit humbly like Ezra did at the start of the story in Ezra said man, I got to prepare my heart. You came this morning, maybe a Hearts not prepared.
Maybe it came just a little bit proud. Maybe you came just little bit defending yourself. Maybe he came just thinking about how good you are, but you prepare your heart and you say I need God. I need what only God can do. I'll need what that guy for talking's Kansas say or do I need God when you get to that point you prepare your heart.
You'll be ready to hear him. And when you hear his what he's going to say you're in trouble, but I love you. You're headed to a horrible future, but I don't want that for you. I've already done everything for you so that you can go to heaven. I've already done everything so you can enjoy now and then I've already done it all I've paid the sin debt.
I died on a cross. I paid your sin. I was buried I rose again. You can be saved invite you this morning if you hearing you never trusted Christ today's your day. Today you accept the free gift that God offers you through what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary? If you're not saved if you're not born again, if you're not sins are forgiven, if you don't know God today's your day.
But then if you're a Christian here, some of you are kind of like the Jews wandering around in the desert in the wilderness, and you're not enjoying the Christian Life. It's not what it's cracked up to be you like it's a what I thought was going to be but that's not God's fault. That's you because you need to prepare your heart to seek him.
You need to humble yourself and say God. I need you and I'm here for you to speak to me and teach me and then you stand up and do what he says and he will bring that joy in your life. So today's the day to get right the days of date of God to work in your life.