Opposed By Our Enemies

Opposition from Enemies

Book of Nehemiah Chapters 4 thru 6

The one thing we will always see as we are involved in the work of the Lord is, we will always be opposed by those in the world! Persecution is a fact of life for those who are believers and follow the Lord Jesus Christ!

Most of the younger generation have never heard of the Ten Commandments but that does not mean they are free to live as they want to.

This next generation has been led to be against anything that is good, because it carries with it a high price and they are only interested in things that are free, when nothing in this life is free!

None of these things change what the Lord has given His followers to do!

Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem with the blessings of King Artaxerxes but the king was 900 miles away and did not realize how the enemies of Israel would act.

The spirit of antisemitism flowed heavily through those nations that surrounded Israel just as it does today!

This comes because these Jews served Jehovah God, who requires obedience and who rejects sin!

God was beginning again to show favoritism to the Hebrew children and the neighboring nations wanted to stop anything they did!

*****Neh 4:1 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.

Before we see who this Sanballat is lets see who Eliashib is.

Eliashib was the high priest at that time, he did assist in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem but only that portion that connected to his house.

The truth is he and his family sided with the enemies of Israel.

Neh_13:4 And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah:

Neh_13:7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.

Neh_13:28 And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.

Tobiah was an Ammonite and a Gentile and a partner to Sanballat but married into the Jewish family of the High Priest.

Sanballat was a Moabite but his daughter was married to the son of Eliashib and would also be a priest of Israel, and what did God say?

Neh_13:1 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God “for ever”;

We should remember Gentiles could not enter into the Temple grounds.

Sanballat was a high ranking official of Samaria and would have been much better off trying to make Samaria a proud nation but he wasted his time seeking the destruction of Israel.

*****Neh 4:2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

When we see those who have a sickening hatred of the Jews today, we can know it is hereditary and is from a long history.

These that have hated the Jews have seen what Jehovah has done for this tiny nation, but they have also seen how God has loved them and the prophecies of them, yet they have no fear of God and it will cost them dearly in the end.

Gen_12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

This world of today is just like the those of the day of Nehemiah, and should be trying to get the blessings of God instead of the cursing of God!

Those who hate Israel will see complete destruction less they repent!

It had taken many years by great kings for the walls of Jerusalem to be built, no one could believe that these ordinary people could accomplish what Nehemiah had encouraged them to do.

When we seek God’s blessings, we can accomplish great things because He is always willing to help!

Now we see that Tobiah was also an enemy of Israel even though he was also in the family of the high priest.

*****Neh 4:3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

One of the first things people filled with hatred will do is to mock those they hate!

Tobiah was an enemy of the Jews but was married into a Jewish priestly family.

He actually had a room in the Temple that was reserved for the priest. This went against the Laws of Moses.

It was a mockery to the laws of God!

Remember the Jews wanted Titus stoned to death because they thought Paul had allowed him into the Temple

His son Johanan was married to Meshullam the daughter of another high-ranking Jew. They were also linked to Sanballat in causing problems for Nehemiah in rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

These two Jews and their families did not approve of what Nehemiah was trying to do.

The Samaritans and the Jews were already enemies, and these things just made the Jews hate them even more, so that by the time of our Lord Jesus, the Jews would not even walk through the nation of Samaria.

They mock and threatened the people of Jerusalem trying to stop the construction of the walls of the city.

Neh 13:4 And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah:
Neh 13:5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
Neh 13:6 But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:
Neh 13:7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
Neh 13:8 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
Neh 13:9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
Neh 13:10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.
Neh 13:11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.

Nehemiah prayed to the Lord against these evil men.

*****Neh 4:4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:
Neh 4:5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.

What is the strategy of the devil? Mockery, Scorn, Insult, Making fun of, Taunting, Ridicule, among other things in an attempt to cause us to give up the work of the Lord.

So many who begin a work for the Lord, fall into this trap and become dishearten and will just quit on the Lord.

So, what is an imprecatory prayer? It is a prayer that is prayed for some evil to fall upon an enemy.

Psa 5:10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.
Psa 5:11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
Psa 5:12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

This prayer is for those who are wicked, reap exactly what they sow!

Without repentance this is exactly what will happen because this is truth of the Word of God for us all!

Job_4:8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

We must understand that God will execute justice on all those who reject Him.

This one thing is hated by all those who are lost! They cannot stand anyone who will not allow them to do as they please!

Those who reject us, as we seek to do the work of the Lord, are not rejecting us they are rejecting God!

Nehemiah was not praying for emotional vengeance, Nehemiah was praying for God to deliver His people from these wicked people!

This is the only way this prayer should ever be prayed, for our deliverance from evil!

Jesus Christ gave us this example.

Mat 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Mat 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, “but deliver us from evil”: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen

What is perseverance?

1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Perseverance is when we know we are kept by the power of God till He takes us home, and we just need to keep going with the work God has given us to do, no matter what opposition we face!

What did Nehemiah and those with him do? They continued to build the wall ignoring the threats of this enemy.

*****Neh 4:6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

What does it take to do a work for the Lord?

We need a mind for the work!

What is earnestness? We could say that earnestness is an intense desire to please the Lord.

Earnestness is a zeal to accomplish what we set out to do for the Lord!

What is the truth of this world? Our world is full of Sanballats!

All the Sanballats are not dead yet, in fact there may be more now than there have ever been!

When we criticize the work of the Lord, we have become a Sanballat ourselves!

Sanballats stand up and say, “we as Christians are not able”.
Sanballats offer active opposition even when the work of the Lord is going on.
Sanballats even cause despair to their friends who are involved in a work of the Lord.
Sanballats refuse to pray for certain works of the Lord to succeed!

How are we to react to Sanballats?

We are to work together to succeed.
We must be willing to strive for success.
We must pray to the lord for His help.
We must set our minds to the work.
We must have a courageous trust in the Lord!

Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

When the Sanballats of the world have been ignored and that work is near completion, then we as Christians must be prepared for a frontal attack!

*****Neh 4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
Neh 4:11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.

The truth is, the more we know about our enemies, the better we can resist them.

What does the Holy Spirit say?

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

We must always understand, we will never have the strength to stand against this evil world alone, we must have with us, the Power of God!

Praying and standing guard are the very first things we must do to protect against the enemy’s attack!

We must understand that the enemy cannot take away our salvation, so we should know that our enemies want to ruin our testimony, and stop or hinder any progress we may have in our ministry for the Lord.

Knowing these things, then we know what to prepare for!

Satan is a persistent foe, but he is also already a loser, so we must understand a wounded lion is still a very dangerous enemy.

1Pe_5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

We must never forget we are in a war!

*****Neh 4:14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
Neh 4:15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.

We should get one thing very clear as we approach the Rapture and the Second Coming of the Lord.

We will have to fight for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We will have to fight for our sons and daughters.
We will have to fight for our spouses.
We will have to fight for our homes.
We will even have to fight to keep our nation, remembering our true home is in Heaven.

The war with Satan and his followers is getting closer every day. In fact it has been going on since the time of Christ!

When these things are firm in our minds, then we can continue on with the work of the Lord because He wants us to succeed!

If we are too scared to fight then that fear did not come from the Lord!

2Ti_1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

We cannot allow the works of Satan and those rulers in high places, to cause us to fear for our lives because our lives are already in the hand of the Lord!

It is well that we should know our enemies then we can better resist them!

We must understand that some of our greatest enemies are already inside the Church!

Neh 6:10 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.
Neh 6:11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
Neh 6:12 And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.

There was only one answer then, and there is only one answer now!

*****Neh 4:16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
Neh 4:17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.

How did Nehemiah counter the enemy?

Nehemiah placed people to work whose sole job was to look out for the enemy, and be prepared to fight to preserve the Children of God!

Every working soul was also given a weapon to keep near him or her.

We must be very clear. our God is much mightier than all the foes of the Church and if we will make our stand on the Word of God and not give in to the world, God will show His might to our enemies!

Confidence and faith go hand in hand!

Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

We must clearly understand that as far as life is concerned. salvation is much stronger than anything our enemies can throw at us!

Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

What is the truth of our world?

*****Neh 4:18 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.

Throughout history life has been to work and life has been warfare.

Most of these things are because of the curse of Adam.

Gen 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Gen 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

These things will not change until after the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of the Lord.

As Christians we will face these things every day, but we will find that our greatest enemy is ourself.

Our internal wars are our most severe battles and the most painful.

If we overcome this our greatest enemy, we will be ready for the Lord. If we cannot overcome these things, then all our lives we will be subject to the fear of this world.

Our enemies of the world are all those who oppose the Word of God, and reject the Lord Jesus Christ even though some of those we may call our friends and even our family.

The one thing we need to remember when the trumpet sounds, we will be going home.

1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Our strength will always be the Lord!

*****Neh 6:15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
Neh 6:16 And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

There are things that happen today that when the world observes them, they can only say that it had to come from God.

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to hold back the evil in this world and He cannot do that when the children of God are either too lazy to do the work or the church has quit on God.

We can say what we will, but both these things are happening in our Church today.

There is in reality a great falling away from the Church.

2Th_2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

There should be no doubt that we are in the day of that “falling away”.

Since this is true, then we could see the “man of sin”, the Antichrist come onto the scene at any time and he might already be here and has gone unnoticed.

The enemies of Israel in the day of Nehemiah had missed a great opportunity to cause harm to God’s people, not because they were afraid of Israel, but because they were afraid of the King of Persia.

Today the Children of Israel are safe from a true attack because they are allies of the United States of America.

If America ever withdraws the help to this tiny nation, or if America becomes too weak to help defend Israel, we will see that Israel will be attacked and then we will see that the prophesies of God will become a reality.

The job of the Church, at least here in America is more important now than ever, because we need to place our watchmen and gird up our loins, for we are in a war with the evil in our own nation.

We are foolish if we do not let our voice be heard.

God does not need any of us nor does He need our nation, His plan is going forward every day, but if we are on the Lord’s side, then we need to get busy!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

Rebuilding The Walls of Jerusalem

Rebuilding the Walls

Book of Nehemiah Chapter 2:9-20

In last week’s lesson we met a Jewish man named Nehemiah who was born in captivity in Babylon. Remember King Nebuchadnezzar had taken most of the Jews of Jerusalem to Babylon after he had destroyed the city.

Nehemiah had never seen the city of Jerusalem but there can be little doubt that his parents had told him of God’s city of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah had great concern for those who had returned to Israel because God had softened the hearts of King Cyrus and King Darius and they had helped financed the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon that had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar.

Nehemiah was just a cupbearer for King Artaxerxes, who was now the King of Persia and he had learned of the turmoil of those who had returned to Jerusalem and he approached this king to release him long enough to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so his people could be safe from the neighboring enemies.

King Artaxerxes gave permission Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem as long as he would return to his job as his personal cupbearer. A cupbearer could be considered today as a butler.

Nehemiah was given documents of proof of his mission, access to the king’s forest and an armed escort for the trip to Jerusalem a 900-mile trip that would have taken at least 3 months.

So let’s pick up our story where we left off:

*****Neh 2:9 Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
Neh 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

Many good things had not taken place in Jerusalem because of a lack of leadership. Ezra had done what he had set out to do. The work on the Temple was completed and worship and the festivals where being observed but the city lived in fear of the neighboring enemies.

As things improved in Israel and the land began to blossom, the enemy began to take notice and began to hinder the lives of the Jewish people.

We must understand that the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem would not be something that would be allowed by most conquering nations because, if rebellion came again it would take much time to regain control of Jerusalem, but King Artexerxes allowed this to take place because he knew the enemies of Israel and refused to allow these things in his kingdom. Again another type!

The name Jerusalem means the city of peace but there will be no true peace in Jerusalem until the return of the Messiah.

We can think of those enemies now as Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon who still cause problems for Israel.

They did not want Israel to remain a nation then, and they do not now.

They were pained to see someone come to seek the welfare of these Hebrew Jews. They did not know at that time that Nehemiah had come to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

We have no recording of the trip of Nehemiah, so we know it was without incident.

What we do know is, that King Artaxerxes cared for his cupbearer so much, for the safety of Nehemiah that it would have been foolish to confront this armed escort that was with him.

These governors were no more that puppet rulers who could have been quickly removed and replaced had they caused them harm.

So Nehemiah came to Jerusalem.

*****Neh 2:11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.
Neh 2:12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.

After three day’s rest Nehemiah secretly looked at the task that needed to be done in secret, at night by the light of the moon.

He could not make plans until he evaluated the job that had to be done.

Nehemiah did not bring a large workforce, he would have to present his plan to God’s people to get this work done.

This is the same thing God does today. God does not have a work force, He presents His plan to God’s people.

Nehemiah was in love with Jerusalem and he had never even been there.

This is the way the church should be today!

We may never see this Jerusalem but as Christians we will see God’s New Jerusalem!

What does God say about these things?

Psa 51:18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Psa 51:19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

The walls of Jerusalem are as much about the city as the city of Jerusalem itself!

The walls would be built, and the gates would be repaired.

All those who reject safety and security of their nation, are no more than ambassadors for the enemy.

*****Neh 2:13 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

Let’s look at these gates:

1) Gate of the Valley was the gate that opened to the Valley of Hinnon. In the days of King Solomon this gate led to where children were sacrificed to the false gods Molech. No Jew would enter at this gate because it was considered to be unclean.

It was King Josiah who finally broke down these false gods!

2Ch 34:4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
2Ch 34:5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.

No one seems to know exactly where the “Dragon Well” was located though most of them believe it was the well that fed the “Upper Pool of Gihon”. Maybe the same as the “Serpents Pool” mentioned by Josephus.

2) The Dung Port was the gate where all the trash and the filth of the city was taken out of the city. It was located about 1500 feet from the Gate of the Valley.

*****Neh 2:14 Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.

The Gate of the Fountain was the gate nearest to the Pool of Siloam which is also called the King’s Pool, some say this was the only true well in Jerusalem, others say it was probably the aqueduct built by King Hezekiah to bring the waters of Gihon into the city. This Gihon was a fountain near the city of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah had to walk for a time because of the rubbish that was gathering where this gate once stood, his horse could not pass for that rubbish.

*****Neh 2:15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.
Neh 2:16 And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.

The brook would be the brook Kidron, which carried the filth of Jerusalem to the Dead Sea when the rains came, but from there Nehemiah could see the Eastern wall and then he returned to get his horse.

When Nehemiah had gotten to Jerusalem, there was no sign of anyone being in authority and he did not try to contact anyone to see who might be in charge.

It was possible that there was a sort of town council.

It was only after Nehemiah had surveyed all the walls that he confronted the residents of Jerusalem.

*****Neh 2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.

As Jerusalem had begun to grow into a city, they were at the mercy of their enemies who lived around them.

We know that as always, the rich survive but the poor are always at risk!

These words of Nehemiah brought assurance to these people and they went to work building the walls of the city.

Building the walls just seemed like an impossible task, but when you take a great big job and break it down into many small jobs then it no longer seems so impossible.

Jeremiah had described these things for us:

Lam 2:5 The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.
Lam 2:6 And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
Lam 2:7 The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast.
Lam 2:8 The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.
Lam 2:9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.
Lam 2:10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
Lam 2:11 Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.

All these things that Nehemiah described were the things that God had allowed to happen to Jerusalem and the Temple, because these people had gone against the commands of God!

Eze 5:14 Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.
Eze 5:15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it.
Eze 5:16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:
Eze 5:17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.

These people did not need a reminder of the conditions they had to live with.

What they needed was encouragement and “faith” in God that they could change things if they would become obedient to the Lord!

The one thing that we so easily do is to forget we serve an almighty God, who is able to provide our needs and keep us safe from our enemies.

What are we supposed to do?

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

What will God then do?

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

*****Neh 2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

When we witness to others, we need not tell them how great we are because we are a Christian, we need to brag on God.

We do not brag on God near enough today, yet God still loves us!

It is because we are obedient to God that things that most all things are better for us!

If these people would trust the Lord God of Israel, then they would be unstoppable in this world.

The hand of God was good on Nehemiah or how else could he have gotten favor with this Persian King.

We understand that the Lord works upon the hearts of people and just hearing again, “How Great Thou Art”, they quit being lazy believers and became obedient working believers.

All in all, God does not ask much of any of us! He asked us to believe Him and to do that we must accept that (all), (every word) of God is true!

Deu_8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Pro_30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Mat_4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Luk_4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

When we say we trust God, then we are saying that we believe what He says, each and every word!

We should remember that caution in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ!

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Ezra had made sure these people had the true Word of God and it was time for them to get busy for the Lord.

Again, God will not do for us things we can do for ourselves and there is no need asking.

If we are too lazy to do things that we are physically and mentally able to do ourselves then God will not help with those things.

God does the things that are impossible for man to do!

These people were in jeopardy for their lives because they were too lazy to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.

God sent a man of God, Nehemiah, to remind them of these things.

And of course, the enemy is always watching what God’s people are doing!

*****Neh 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?

A Horonite was known for their anger and fury and Sanballat had those qualities. These are some of the things that God says will cause us to sin.

Tobiah was a descendant of Lot and they have always hated the children of Israel, because they still thought that Lot should also receive the blessings of Abraham, but God does what God does and God says what God says, none of these things kept them from being blessed of God, but hatred and anger will never be qualities approved of God.

At this time this Geshem was the Chief of all the Arab nations, and through today the Arabs hate all the things of the Jews and would see the tiny nation of Israel disappear from the face of the earth, but God will not allow this to happen and those that defy God are foolish!

These Hebrews were not going against the King, in fact they were doing things that the King of Persia had already approved, so this time these Hebrews ignored them as they should have all along.

Nehemiah assured God’s people that if they were obedient to God, they did not have to worry about the King of Persia and in fact it was these trouble makers who had better worry about what the King of Persia might do to them.

We need some more men like Nehemiah today to challenge the Church to be obedient to the Lord!

As true believers, we also must challenge and exhort all others to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and join the family of God.

To be honest, God is not impressed with lazy Christians!

When we live self-centered lives instead of God-centered lives, we are most always in jeopardy of getting caught up in the sins of this world!

What are we to do?

1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

We are all to be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Tit 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Tit 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

We are all to to be present in the House of God when the time comes to do so!

Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

This is the truth of God, and it is the truth of our salvation, because we are in the family of God and it is still time for us to take a stand on God’s Word without worrying about what the enemy will do!

Our wall is the Lord Jesus Christ and He opens one gate and that is the gate of “FAITH”!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

God Prepares Some Man

God Prepares a Man

Nehemiah 1:2-10; 2:2-8

So far, we have seen that Zerubbabel had been sent by King Cyrus back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, the House of God.

We know that once the foundation of the Temple was laid, the work of the Temple stopped for about 18 years and God sent the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel (the government) and the High Priest (the religious leader) who had been beautifying their own homes and left off the work on the Temple.

After Haggai told them “Thus sayeth the Lord”, the work began again.

We know Ezra had come to rebuild the city and help with the Temple.

By this time there was over 100,000 people who had returned to Jerusalem and Judah.

All these people were at the mercy of their enemy and things were hard to accomplish.

It seems like Israel is always being attacked one way or another.

God sees all these things and God will send Nehemiah, a cupbearer, for the King of Persia to build the walls of Jerusalem.

Those who think God does not see what is going on in this world are foolish, God sees everything, and prayer is still the best way to get things done that we cannot do. God still expects us to do what we can do. He may not help us with those things!

Let’s begin at Nehemiah Chapter 1 and verse 1:

*****Neh 1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
Neh 1:2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

King Artaxerxes had been on the throne for 20 years and history tells us he reigned for 20 more years.

The ninth month Chisleu would correspond to our November and sometimes part of December. The Winter months so this King was in Shushan which was the location of his winter palace. The Summer palace was located at Ecbatana. Nehemiah would have traveled with the king no matter where he traveled.

Today this location once a magnificent city is now only a place of ruins. This is also the city where the events of the Book of Esther took place.

The event that we will learn is things that happen after a conversation and then a serious prayer to the Lord and not just one prayer but a continuous prayer.

Nehemiah had never been to Jerusalem, but we know that he had been taught the Word of God by his parents.

Nehemiah had a deep concern about his fellow Jews which in that day, may have been called the Hebrew people by the world.

Nehemiah had compassion for his people, and this is a great lesson for us here today.

In fact the entire first chapter will show us the compassion he had for his people.

As we go through this lesson, we will see the Nehemiah is in typology another type of Christ.

Mar_6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

Fourteen times in the books of the Gospel the word compassion is used about our Lord and Master.

If we are to be like Christ, we are to have compassion, especially for our brothers and sisters in Christ!

What was the message Nehemiah had learned?

*****Neh 1:3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

As we know from last week, these Jews were suffering because God had brought a drought.

They were suffering economically.
They were suffering spiritually.
They were suffering because of the greed of those who had control, the government
They were suffering because they feared the neighboring nations.
They were suffering because they had no fear of God!

Yes antisemitism existed even in that day!

When Nehemiah heard all these things he wept for his homeland and those who were trying to live without God!

Nehemiah knew that two groups of his people had been back in Jerusalem for many years now and he was not expecting such bad news.

Psa 44:13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.
Psa 44:14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

These things caused Nehemiah to weep for his homeland.

Nehemiah had such a great job in captivity he had given no thought of returning to Israel and Jerusalem, but that would now change.

*****Neh 1:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
Neh 1:5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

These things broke the heart off Nehemiah, and we can watch as God immediately had plans for Nehemiah all along.

Nehemiah could feel the suffering of others in his own heart!

Nehemiah knew that Jerusalem was the most holy city in all the world, until Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city and the Temple.

He was hoping with all those who had returned, that things would have been much better.

God expects us to feel in our heart the needs of others! It is called compassion.

God expects us, when we are able, to help those with needs and we can do this through the Church if all the other needs of the Church are met.

Not many of us partake of fasting but sometimes fasting can clear our minds so we can see the needs of others, and the clear will of God

The greatest need of all is still salvation!

Salvation will open our eyes to the needs of others because to be saved is to trust the Lord and then try to be like Him!

Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

What we have seen is God had first placed the government back in Jerusalem along with the High Priest.

Next God sent Ezra to establish the Church.

Now God will send Nehemiah, a cupbearer, who had no great skills, to restore security to the city of Jerusalem.

God loves to use ordinary people with not many skills, because they know that they must trust in the Lord God to meet their needs!

And, Every step we take must be bathed with prayer!

*****Neh 1:6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

Nehemiah had not returned to Jerusalem because of his position in the court of the Persian King. So God would test him to see if he was sincere.

If our prayers are not sincere and bathed in faith, God will hear, but He may not answer until Nehemiah had enough faith to see these things take place.

God always knows what He is going to do, and God knew that Nehemiah was the man He would use.

While Nehemiah was only a cupbearer, he could learn the workings of government being so close to the King of Persia.

We should understand that God places us in places not only to witness to the lost, but to learn a skill that can benefit the Church, even if it is just a high paying job so our tithes and offerings, will be a great benefit

Some people are prayer warriors, some people keep the church going with those tithes and offerings, and some people give of themselves to keep the church going.

There is a place for every member to the church!

Al these things are to work with the commands of Jesus Christ!

The main thing is that when God calls us for His use, then we need to say yes. Self-sacrifice is the great test of faith!

By being obedient to the Lord, we step into the wonders of the plan of God!

We are of no use to God until we acknowledge His supreme power over all His creation.
We are of no use to God until we acknowledge His majesty, and His goodness, along with His greatness.
We are of no use to God until we acknowledge His faithfulness to those who love Him.

Nehemiah was an intercessor for his people, and he did not know it as of yet.

Nehemiah realized that it was actually a sin that was holding up the progress in Jerusalem.

We will find out that it is a great sin not to pray for the peace in Jerusalem and be commited to Israel as much as we are commited to our own nation also realizing that we are ambassadors for Christ to all nations.

It is always sin that interferes with progress made in our lives and our relationship with the Lord.

*****Neh 1:7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

By not keeping the commandments of the Lord we show the Lord that we do not love Him!

Deu 11:1 Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.

This not just for the Jews.

Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

When we are not keeping the commandments of the Lord, rightly divided, we are also very corrupt against the Lord!

*****Neh 1:8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
Neh 1:9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

Nehemiah realized why he was in captivity, it was because as a nation, Israel and Judah had forsaken the Lord.

Nehemiah also realized that God had allowed room for repentance and a great promise that God had made.

If they would repent, then God would gather these Jews no matter where they had been scattered.

Deu 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
Deu 30:2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
Deu 30:3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
Deu 30:4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
Deu 30:5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

We know from all these things written for us to see, that God did not break a promise then and God will not break a promise today.

How do we make America great again?

2Ch_7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

How will Israel be made great again?

2Ch_7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

It is the same for every nation where Christians are located!

Who was God talking to this day?

*****Neh 1:10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

We know that God has made certain promises to the Children of Israel and God will keep all His promises.

We also know that God’s timing is in His control.

When God’s makes a promise we cannot dictate when that promises will be fulfilled, but we can be sure that God will fulfill our needs until that time comes.

God did not need to be reminded that this was the same people He had redeemed from Egypt, but He tells us to study the Scriptures, so we know these things and it was OK for Nehemiah to mention this fact to show his own trust in the Word of God.

Isa 64:9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

We also know God has made many promises to the Church and God will fulfill these promises also, again in His own time.

God has not forgotten any of these things, for it is impossible for God to forget about His children.

The good fathers always remember their children! Jehovah God is the “Greatest” Father

Nehemiah needed to see the king and God made a way for him to do so.

*****Neh 2:2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
Neh 2:3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer. It was Nehemiah’s job to taste the wine to make sure it was safe to drink. If Nehemiah looked sick, then it could have been caused by the wine.

Certainly this king would have his eyes on Nehemiah to make sure he was healthy.

We should be able to see how God arranges things for our best interest.

Nehemiah was just some Jew who just happened to become the cupbearer for the King.

I’m sure the he was not to thrilled to be the one to make sure the King’s wine was not poisoned or spoiled.

In the end, Nehemiah had a great job but in reality, he was placed in that job just for the time that was coming now.

God always has a man in position for His plan to move forward, and I am sure He has some women in places also, just so His plan moves along as it should.

Nehemiah was not sick, he was brokenhearted, and it showed.

We will see how the plan of God is worked out with the utmost precision.

It took a lot of nerve for Nehemiah to address this king, but God had touched the heart of this king, so Nehemiah was treated more like a son than a stranger.

We can see all sorts of types in these passages!

The beginning of these things was the fact the Nehemiah had first prayed, in fact he had fasted and prayed because he had a true concern for his people.

Do we have that much concern for our children or our grandchildren that we would not fast and pray for our people just as Nehemiah?

We should pray first at the sign of trouble, we should pray often, and pray much, and sometimes we need to fast and pray and then we need to listen for God to answer. Remembering if it is according to the plan of God, He will never say no.

Salvation of our children and our families are in the will of God and part of His plan!

1Ti_2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Nehemiah stood in the gap and interceded for his people. We know of another, the Lord Jesus did so on a much grander scale.

As a father for his dear son, he asked, just what is it that you need?

And what did God say about our prayers?

Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

While this king was listening, Nehemiah wanted to be sure he asked for the right things and no one knew that better than God so Nehemiah made a real quick silent prayer.

*****Neh 2:4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
Neh 2:5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

Before we go too far, we must understand, there was no benefit for this king to allow the wall to be restored around the city of Jerusalem.

If Jerusalem rebelled again it would be costly to lay siege and wait on them to starve to death again.

Two groups had already been financed by Persia to rebuild the Temple so that to should not be asked again, but to keep the city secure, not from Persia, but from the locals such as Samaria, was a thing the king may consider, especially since God, Himself would put these things in the heart of this king.

Know this, that at any time this king could have refuse any or all the request of the Jews, but he did so willingly and gladly!

So Nehemiah requested and secured a royal commission to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls.

We should remember it was dangerous for Nehemiah to show a sad countenance in front of the king.

The kings in this day were always aware of plots to over throw the king or assassination.

When God touches a ruler’s heart, it is never about over throwing that ruler.

Nehemiah had prayed and he would speak the words God had given to him, and remember God’s Word never comes back void.

God’s Word will do what He sent it to do!

We must also remember prayers that are prayed out of an emergency, out of an immediate need, many times God will answer that prayer as soon as He receives it.

It was important that the things Nehemiah asked, to be pleasing to this king!

Here again we see another “type” to help us in our prayer life. We should never pray to the Father for things that are not pleasing our King, King Jesus!

Here again we see that Jehovah God was considered to be the Creator even by this pagan king and valued for this reason.

As far as Nehemiah was concerned, this matter needed to be settled this very day.

God answered and to Him be the Glory, and because God answered, this king gave Nehemiah much more than he asked for!

*****Neh 2:5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
Neh 2:6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

The truth is we seldom consider and study on what we need in our prayers. I’m not talking about those needs we all have that God supplies without asking.

I’m talking about that special need! Nehemiah had been making plans on what it would take to do these things, he would now ask the king for, but only after he had made his request to the Lord.

A true lesson is that God loves details! God loves for us to consider those things we pray for and then give Him the reasons those things are important to us, and most important we must have the faith that says to God, “I know you have the power to do this thing I’m asking”.

As Preacher Sam said, “God is Able”!

Luk 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

God, in answer to prayer, is ever ready to bestow what is best for us. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”

This was a silent prayer that Nehemiah prayed between the time he made his request to this king, and the answer he would give.

Another lesson we learn God is always listening. Nehemiah did not have to wait on God to finish what He was doing with someone else!

This shows us the “omnipresence” of the Lord God Jehovah!

Pro 3:4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path

We see that this king had grown affectionate for Nehemiah, not in any kind of sexual way, but as a friend and he wanted to know how long he would be gone.

*****Neh 2:7 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
Neh 2:8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Nehemiah knew that if he did not have proof of the things this king had promised, others in the government would deny him of any request because, Nehemiah was still just Jew, but the world forgets the Jews are still the apple in God’s eyes.

Zec_2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

What is the secret of our success as Christians? We must have God with us!

We do not need the machines of this world.

We do not need the methods of this world.

We just need to be obedient to God, so we know our prayers reach into Heaven.

Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Psa 66:19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

We just need more God!!!!!!!!

We cannot believe we have the power to do the things such as Nehemiah requested, without God!

What did Jesus say?

Joh_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.

Amen

Let’s Pray

Returning To the House of God

The People Return

Book of Ezra Chapters 7-10

We have already seen Ezra but could trace his hereditary all the way back to Aaron the brother of Moses.

He sought the king’s consent to return to Israel.

He was a scribe, a doctor of the Law of God.

Ezra had made sure that copies of the Word of God would be true copies and preserved for all generations.

Ezra had assembled the Old Testament canon up through his day.

But we can be sure it was God who had chosen Ezra for this great mission.

It was time for all those who were willing to go home to Israel and Jerusalem, to leave for the promised land.

Notice God only accepts those who freely choose to be in His family. God will never force anyone to accept Him!

It just makes good sense to be in the family of Jehovah God, Jesus will guide you into His family.

Notice also, it was not the King of Persia who would get the credit for releasing the Jews to go home, it was God who made tender the heart of this King, so these things could take place!

God has a way of getting His will done, regardless of the times and regardless of who sits in power!

God always works through some man to get His will done and this time it was Ezra.

Just as God had chosen Moses and just as God had chosen Joshua, God now chose Ezra.

*****Ezr 7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.

The first expedition of Jews to Jerusalem and home was led by Zerubbabel and was now complete, with a dedication to rebuild the Temple.

Ezra would lead the second expedition back home and he desired that Jerusalem could be rebuilt.

Later Nehemiah would lead a third group home with the intent to rebuild the broken-down walls of Jerusalem.

We can be sure each group would meet opposition, much like the opposition that confronts the tiny nation of Israel today.

No one but God Himself wants to see this tiny nation prosper, and they would be well ahead if they would only learn to trust God and be obedient to Him!

Ezra had to get permission to see the King of Persia and make his request.

Aren’t you glad that another gift Jesus Christ gave us, was the gift of answered prayer?

Those who love the Lord can reach into the throne room of our Father in Heaven without asking for His permission. He is ready to hear from His children at all times!

Ezra was a scribe and besides teaching the Word of God, it was Ezra’s job to reproduce accurate copies of the Scriptures.

God did not allow for error from His Scribes!

Many believe Ezra wrote not only the Book of Ezra, but he probably also wrote the two Books of Chronicles and the two Books of Kings.

What did Ezra believe about the Scriptures?

Ezra believed that the Scriptures were not just some human code written by some men.
Ezra did not believe that the Scriptures were just a national treasure of Israel.
Ezra believed the Scriptures were a Divine Gift of God, the Law of the Lord!

Without many questions, King Artaxerxes granted every favor that Ezra asked of him, so we can be sure that God had made the heart of this king to be tender toward the Jews.

How did God give His Words to be written?

Many ways for sure, but one way was giving His words to those who would write it down.

Psa 45:1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: “my tongue is the pen of a ready writer”.

*****Ezr 7:7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

This Artaxerxes may have been the husband of Esther, but I cannot say that is true.

Since the Temple was nearly complete then not only the children of Israel, but some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the porters and the Nethinims were also a part of these that returned to Jerusalem.

We are familiar with all but the Nethinims.

It is probable that these were at one time captured enemies of Israel, who were allowed to stay in Israel if they worked at the Temple and they volunteered for this duty from then on.

These are probably the same ones who had the foreign names (Ezra 2:43-58).

In reality these people had to obey the laws of Israel and were likely the ones who were water carriers for the Temple and workers of menial task at the Temple.

Today we can associate these people with those of the Church who work behind the scenes of the Church, who without them the Church would not function as it should.

We should understand that the trip from Babylon to Jerusalem was near 900 miles and by God’s favor this trip took only 4 months.

This roadway was infested with thieves and robbers and this road passed through many of the enemies of the Jews!

This group traveling with Ezra numbered at least 50,000 men, women, and children.

The year of this group was 458 BC.

*****Ezr 7:8 And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
Ezr 7:9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

We can be sure that Ezra was totally committed to the Lord God of Israel! Ezra was also a precious servant to his people!

If we remember Moses had stood before a King (Pharaoh) and said let my people go and that king had only hardened his heart and he refused and it cost him his life and his oldest son.

Ezra had been bold enough to stand before this Persian king and he just said how can I help you to do this thing!

Ezr 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
Ezr 8:32 And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.
Ezr 8:33 Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites;
Ezr 8:34 By number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time.

This group of Jews had traveled this long journey with hardly an incident to be reported, which means the hand of protection of the Lord was with them.

*****Ezr 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Ezra had a great testimony. Ezra had prepared his heart to not only learn the Word of God, but to learn the will of God.

If we do not observe the will of God as written in the Scriptures, we will never know the special will of God for our lives.
,
What is the will of God for every Christian?

1) 2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2) Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 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.

3) Rom_12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

4) These things are necessary so that the ultimate will of God will be done in all our lives!

Gal 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

It is the will of God that we be delivered from this present evil world!

None of these things can take place, until we have prepared our heart to seek the law of God!

This thing will never change!

If God said we live in an evil world, then how can we deny what God says?

None of us can be of service to God, until we have prepared our hearts to do so!

Ezra was a captive in a foreign nation, and he needed the permission of that government, not so much for him but to show to anyone who questioned the rebuilding of Jerusalem and Temple, the House of God.

*****Ezr 7:11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.
Ezr 7:12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.
Ezr 7:13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

The Holy Spirit decided that this letter was to be preserved so that all the world would know the decree of Artaxerxes, which was similar to those letters from King Cyrus and King Darius, his predecessors.

The first thing we notice is, that every Israelite from every tribe was given the permission to go back to Israel.

We should also notice that Ezra was made to be a representative of the King.

We should even notice that Ezra had certain qualifications. Priest, Scribe, and Scribe of the written Word of God, which would be the cannon of the Bible in that day.

Ezra had the right to encourage all Israelites to go home, but he could not try to force them to leave.

Remember they also had the words of Daniel and of Ezekiel.

Artaxerxes was known as King of kings, because he had so many kings, he had conquered, but he expected them to run the government of those nations according to the laws of Persia and not their own laws.

The difference with Israel was that he gave these Jews the permission to rule according to the Word of God and His laws.

By saying that Jehovah was the God of heaven, He was then God of gods. This king was not a true believer!

This king just chose to believe that Jehovah was the greatest of all gods, but there are no gods, but Jehovah.

It is here that we see that this king was well aware of the ten tribes of Israel that had already been captured by other kings in lands that he now ruled.

It seems that some of those people did go back with Ezra and Israel was to be reunited with all 12 tribes.

We will see this fact when Ezra gets back to Jerusalem and “twelve bullocks for all of Israel” were sacrificed.

Ezr_8:35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.

Ezra was sent of the King to rebuild Jerusalem and to complete the Temple which had already been started by Zerubbabel.

*****Ezr 7:14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;

Ezra was sent of the king to make sure that all Israelies lived according to the laws of God.

It seems that Ezra had a copy of the Scriptures in his hand this very day.

These Jews did not need this king’s permission nor his commands, because they had already been charge of God to obey all His Word, just as we have here today.

Now do not get me wrong, the commandments and laws given to the Jews and all Israelites, were never given to the Church but we live understanding the same principle of obeying the Word of God.

The Scriptures must always be rightly divided!

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Even though this is true, we must understand that we are to learn from all the Word of God!

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

God does not ever change, so the Ten Commandments applies to all people, except the Church is to gather on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and not the Sabbath (Saturday). The Lord Jesus Christ arose on a Sunday, therefore it is the Lord’s Day!

The other 603 laws of God to the Jews do not apply to the Church but many, if not all those laws are to be considered, for reproof, which means, (God points out our errors and we are to correct our ways), for correction which means to the Church to be (Christ like, or Christian), for instruction in righteousness, which means (God has given us the means of living according to “Divine Law”).

We next see that it was Ezra who would be held responsible for the free will offering from the king himself.

*****Ezr 7:15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
Ezr 7:16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

Now this was not money to rebuild the Temple, King Cyrus had already donated the funds to rebuild the Temple and to pay for the material and the laborers.

Ezr_3:7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

This king offered Ezra a military escort, but Ezra had bragged on God so much, that he could not show that God did not have the power to protect not only this silver and gold but also the people who were going home.

To be honest, we should be ashamed for not bragging on God enough!

Ezra was also authorized to ask for free will offerings from all those in Babylon who did not want to leave Babylon at this time.

It can be said that Ezra had found “Grace” in the eyes of the Lord!

So what was this money to be used for?

*****Ezr 7:17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 7:18 And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.

Most of these Laws can be found in Numbers Chapter 15.

Num 15:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 15:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you,
Num 15:3 And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:

They were returning to the Promised Land once again.

We should also note that any of this money that was left over, Ezra was to use at his own discretion.

History tells us Ezra used all that remained on the Temple. He kept none for himself, a true steward of God’s money.

Once things have been given to the Lord, such as money, then it should be used to promote the Gospel and never for personal use!

*****Ezr 7:19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.
Ezr 7:20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the
king’s treasure house.

We know that all the things of the Temple that Nebuchadnezzar had robbed from Solomon’s Temple had been returned to Zerubbabel so these things from the state treasury were not those things.

There is a list of these things:

Ezr 8:25 And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered:
Ezr 8:26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents;
Ezr 8:27 Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.
Ezr 8:28 And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.

Just so we understand, one commentary estimated that one talent of silver would be valued at about 250,000 dollars in today’s market. A talent of gold would be more than 1 million dollars.

These were the free will offerings offered from the King to the God of Jerusalem.

We all know that you cannot buy God’s love so we can only say this Persian King was well aware of the need for the Jewish people to return to be able to worship the God of Heaven in His own House.

In reality this pagan King had no idea that he was doing all these things because it was the will of God that caused these things to happen.

In the day of the third Temple, it will cost this world dearly as God will cause the world to finance the new Temple.

Ezra was an emissary of the King, so he could go to the Kings treasury and get whatever else was needed to build the Temple and restore the worship of these Jews to Jehovah. We can be sure that Ezra took no more than was needed.

The truth is, it will cost this dearly to be on the wrong side of God!

*****Ezr 7:21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
Ezr 7:22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
Ezr 7:23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
Ezr 7:24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.

This King sent a decree to all his treasurers that whatever Ezra needed to complete this work would be freely given to him.

Every ruler can be used of God to do His will!

Pro 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

It should be obvious that this king did not love Jehovah as he should, but he did have absolute fear the power of God, something most people of today ignore, or just do not believe.

Many of the church think of God only as an old grandfather, looking after His grandchildren but we serve an almighty God who we should have at least some of this same fear.

Php_2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

As we see the Prophets of God were shown some respect in almost every nation, and I believe many nations know all the prophecies of God today.

Some will just make note of them, others will try change those prophecies to their own advantage, but God will have His plan move along as only He can!

Notice that at this time there would be no taxes upon Jerusalem nor any part of Israel.

We can just imagine how these things stirred up the enemies of Israel.

The main thing we notice is, that Ezra was given the right to teach all these Jews the Law of God and not the false gods of this pagan king.

This was something was not normally allowed to conquered nations!

Another thing that Ezra was allowed to do, he was allowed to execute judgment according to the Word of God, with the power of this king behind this order.

Justice would be carried out by Ezra or the Persian government at the request of Ezra.

All the laws of God would be observed, and any local laws would be observed, all according to the Word of God.

*****Ezr 7:25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.
Ezr 7:26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

Notice it was not Zerubbabel the Governor of the land of Judah, but it Ezra who would appointed the Judges and Magistrates.

The Jews would not have to face the magistrates of pagan laws, but only the Laws of God and we know that the Jews not only had the “Ten Commandments” but also a total of 613 commandments given to the Jews in everything they did, in every portion of their lives.

Psa 119:98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
Psa 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
Psa 119:100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
Psa 119:101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Psa 119:102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
Psa 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psa 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

We should remember all those who came home were those who came of their own free will, they were ready to serve the Lord.

Ezra was blessed.

*****Ezr 7:27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:
Ezr 7:28 And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.

Ezra did not bless this pagan king, but he praised the Lord for putting such thoughts in the head of this king.

You see this is an example of the way we should feel!

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God does not ever put bad thoughts in the heads of rulers, but God can put good thoughts into the mind of any evil man!

Rev 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

So how do all these things relate to the Church?

We must understand, that being a Christian is also being a Temple of God, which is to grow in the “Grace” and “Mercy” of God!

It is our job to lead people to the “Promised Land”. (Heaven) (Only God can forgive their sins)

It is our job to come out from the world and live according to the Word of God, and to introduce all we can to the Messiah, who is the only way to get to Heaven.

That Messiah is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

We must acknowledge that we are the ones sent by the Lord and God does still call certain men and women for special work!

Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

From the time the second Temple was built, Israel did all they could to remain free from foreign domination and they did until the time of the Romans, just as the Prophet Daniel had said.

Today, those who love the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior are the Temple of God, and God expects to live a holy life in obedience to the Word of God, “rightly divided”, and know it is Jehovah God who sits of the throne and directs this world as He see fit!

The most important thing God does is make sure everyone gets an opportunity to know the truth and the “Gospel” that saves is that “Truth”!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

Getting Your Priorities In Order

Reordering Priorities

Book of Haggai

Last week we saw that the 70 -year prophesy of Jeremiah had been true and many of those of Israel in captivity were released by King Cyrus to return home and to rebuild the Temple.

It got off to a great start, but it soon ran out of steam and came to a complete stop, as these people began to think of themselves instead of the House of God.

So God sent the Prophet Haggai with a new message.

This is a great lesson for the Church today.

Sometimes God may seem to silent and it seems prayers go unanswered and we wonder what has happened.

We must understand that 100% of the time it will be because we have moved away from God and not that God has forgotten about us.

God is always listening for us, but God will not answer if we have unconfessed sin. We must confess “all” our sin and repent if we want God to answer our prayers! (Psalms 66:18)

Our lesson today is aimed toward those churches that were one time on fire for God, but have now ceased and are cold or just luke warm.

Our lesson is also aimed at the Christian who was once on fire for God but now have ceased even going to church.

Why does it seem God is silent in America today?

God has been asked to leave!
Many of the Church have rejected the truth of God and allowed the world to dictate what God means when they cannot know the truth!
Many have rejected the Word of God and listen to false science!
Many have forced God to take a back seat to our own personal pursuits!
Many have allowed the government to influence the Church!
Many have just worshiped self and left off to worship God!

So what was the message of Haggai?

*****Hag 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
Hag 1:2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.

According to modern calendars the first message of Haggai came August the 29th of 520 BC.

The first message was aimed at Zerubbabel who was the governor assigned by King Cyrus to be in charge of Judah (a puppet king) and the reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon, which Nebuchadnezzar destroyed.

Zerubbabel was a descendant of the royal line of King David. In the Book of Ezra he is sometimes called by Sheshbazzar, which was his Persian name.

In Haggai we will see Zerubbabel called the “Signet” which means a seal or a signet, which means he had absolute authority in Judah but still a puppet of Persia.

To be honest it is our duty to serve the Lord, just as it was these people of Judah on this day.

These who had return from captivity had decided it was not time to finish the work on the Temple, but it was time for them to do as they pleased.

They had allowed their neighbors to dictate their behavior!

Ezr 4:23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
Ezr 4:24 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.

Shimshai was a trouble maker and these Jews did not question his authority but just went to their homes and left off the building of the Temple.

What does God say?

Pro 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Pro 29:26 Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.
Pro 29:27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

So God sent His Word by Haggai.

*****Hag 1:3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Hag 1:4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?

God’s people had forgotten that they were God’s people!

We do the same thing today!

They were not to fear those around them. God had said they would go home after 70 years in captivity, and God did not say this just so they would be ruled by Samaria or foolish men harassing God’s people.

One thing we must understand is, God will not do things that we can do ourselves!

God helps us with things that we cannot do ourselves!!!!!!!!!!

God simply said, if it is not time to complete the work on the Temple, then was it time to dwell in their ceiled, houses, houses already secure from the elements?

These people were celebrating in their homes while the House of God still lay in ruins just partially rebuilt.

Nothing much more than the foundation had been laid.

Nothing looks worse than a building that began as a great plan, but now lay in ruins because it could not be completed.

If things were as bad as these people made it out to be, then how could they sit in their homes in safety with no worries?

If we think back to the time of King David, these people were nothing like David at all.

2Sa 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2Sa 7:2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.

The thoughts of David were why the first Temple was built, and these people who had been released from bondage by King Cyrus, who had bragged on the God of creation, were not as obligated to serve the Lord as they should have been.

This is a picture of the Laodicean Church Age of today!

The Lord has reached down and pulled His people out of the miry clay of sin, surely, we have a duty to commit to the work of the Lord.

Today we are the Temple of God and when we are first saved, we are babes in Christ, surely, we feel the duty to grow in Christ!

We should not need anyone to urge us to get closer to God, but thank God for our Pastor, who continues to teach us the truth.

What does the Bible teach us to do?

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We must be building onto our Temple at all times!

It was not time for these Jews of Judah to be sitting around doing nothing when the Temple of God needed so much work to be done.

It is never time for us to stop building onto our temple, which we are.

1Co_6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

We have a duty to be busy working on our own Temple at all times!

The first message of God through Haggai, was aimed directly at Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest.

We must remember when Haggai spoke, he was saying what God told Him to say and to whom God told him to say it to.

Neither of these men could deny that the prophecies of Jeremiah and of Isaiah had been true just as the words of Haggai would be true and not just true “but be the truth”.

*****Hag 1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

This something we all should do every day. We need take a look at our Christian life as compared to Jesus Christ and consider our ways!

These people were guilty of selfishness and covetousness.

What does prophecy do?

We could say that prophecy is God in communication with the Church.

We know that God was speaking to these Jews, but we also know that God has the same message for the Church today, and these words of the Old Testament has lessons that we are to learn.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

We need to take a close look into our mirror every day to see if we are who we say we are!

These Jews were neglecting the only thing that could save them, when times did get hard!

God did not expect these people to live in tents while the construction of the Temple was going on, but God did expect them to finish the work they had started at the Temple.

Everything they did since returning to their homeland would determine how God would react to them!

Lev 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Lev 26:5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

God had not changed, and He never will!!!!!!!!!!

*****Hag 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Even though they were now free, this was no way to live. Never enough food and not enough clothes to stay warm.

To live in sin soon becomes a life of misery!

When we get our priorities out of order, things just do not go well for us!

It is a fact that when we forget where our blessings come from, we will not get blessings that we could have had!

God is always standing ready to dump a truck load of blessings out upon us!!!!!!

By not having a place of worship these people were robbing God.

They were robbing God of His worship.
They were robbing God of His truth.
They were robbing God of His tithes.

Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Gathering to worship the Lord is much, much more than these things.

We lose opportunities to learn the Scriptures.
We lose opportunities to carry our burdens to the Lord.
We lose opportunities to fellowship with each other and pray with one another and for one another.
And most important we lose opportunities to fellowship with the Lord.

Remember the power of the Church lies in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit abides in each of us.

These Jews were more interested in gaining riches for themselves, but those riches were as if they had their money in a bag and that bag had a hole in it, those riches were being lost.

Job 20:28 The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.
Job 20:29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God

Though drugs have become more popular with the lost, still the over powering enemy of the working class is alcoholic beverages.

Pro 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Pro 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
Pro 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Pro 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Pro 23:34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
Pro 23:35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

No matter who we are, we need to consider the things we do and how those things affect our lives.

*****Hag 1:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

These Jews had received the command of God to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. They had started off with the right attitude, but now it had been 16 years since they had last worked on the Temple.

The materials were on the job site!

They knew the will of God!

They were lacking in commitment!

We must understand to receive the blessings of God, we must be a blessing to God!

God really only asks us to do one thing and that is to obey Him!

If God has saved us it is our duty to be obedient to Him!

Psa 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Psa 119:60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

Before we can ever be glorified, we must glorify the Lord in what we have now, and it is not to hard nor is it asking too much of us!

*****Hag 1:8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
We must understand that what pleases God is when we are at work to grow His Kingdom, and also to work and support our families.

These are not two separate things these are one thing that we do for the glory of God!!!!!!

We cannot do this thing if we are not obedient to God.

The Jews were free and living in hardship simply because they left off to do what the Lord God had asked them to do.

It was the Temple that would hold this people together for several centuries to come.

God loves to see His people busy!

We know that the Lord never changes, so it is obvious when the house of God lies in waste, as many do today, then God will not be very pleased.

It does not matter so much what the world is doing, as it matters what the people of God are doing!

Remember Haggai is addressing these things to Zerubbabel the Governor and Joshua the High Priest.

If the government and the Church did not solve this issue, then their freedom did not mean anything!

In America today, the government, through taxpayers, does nothing but feed those who are too lazy to work, while the Church sits on its hands and does nothing to curb sin, not only in our nation, but even allow it inside the church.

A lazy church is a useless church!!!!!

Now, Muslims are elected in to the government along with every liberal minded kook that comes out of the closet.

Freedom is not on the top of the list of the things we need in America today!!!!!

The people who truly needed help were the same ones who did not get the help they needed because they had become lazy and useless to the Lord God.

The Church needs to get back to the business of being obedient to what “Thus Sayeth the Lord” and work for the glory of God, and many of the problems we face as a nation would go away.

The forest around Jerusalem had not been touched in 70 years and much of the material that was needed was already on the Temple Mount. It was time to get busy about the work of the Lord!

We must keep our priorities in order!

Tit 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

When these people had left captivity, they had expected everything to be so wonderful.

They needed to be awakened to the fact they lived in a cruel and evil world just as we do today, and we need the Lords help in everything we do, but if we refuse to glorify God in the things we do, that help will never come when we need it the most!!!!!

*****Hag 1:9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
Hag 1:10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.

When we forget that the Lord is in control of our environment, and everything else, and start placing the blame on things such as global warming, or any other dreamed up thing we are on our way to more misery.

Look around at what is going on in our world and you can see that God has withdrawn His hand of mercy!!!!!

All the things that assured a good life was lacking, because these people had neglected the God who had caused them to be set free.

When we allow the house of God to lie in waste, we can be sure our own homes will go to waste.

When we expect too much from others, and do not give back to our God in our time and our tithes, our nation will lie in waste.

We are foolish to ask why our government is like it is, when we reject the God who places the right people in the right positions.

We have the freedom to vote and more than a 100 million stay home and forget how important this freed is!!!!!!

When God does place someone in position who has faith in God, and we do not do everything we can to help them, we are just digging a hole so deep that we will never come out of it.

This could be said of our President today.

When we look for much and it comes to little, we can only blame ourselves.
When we bring that little home and even it blows away, we can only blame ourselves.
When we neglect God and the House of God, we cannot expect to receive the blessings of God!

Isa 17:10 Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:
Isa 17:11 In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.

Why is America suffering? It has nothing to do with global warming silly people, it because the Lord thy God has control of the heavens and the earth.

You see, God proves by facts, that it is He that sits on the throne in Heaven and He will deny these things sometimes, and in some places, to show us we are not being obedient to His Words. The only ones who know His words are those who are the true Christian.

God can blow away wages just as well as He can blow away our necessities, when we are suffering and do not know why.

Sometimes we just need to sit down and meditate to see why we are suffering so much in this world!

The biggest reason we all suffer so much, is because we have not obeyed the Word of God!

God does not play favorites, He has the same love for each of us and the same discipline for disobedience!

As Haggai confronts Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest, we can see that God was laying the blame on the government and the Church.

They had not led the people in the right direction, and it was the people who suffered the most, while these two and many others lived in their fine homes and lavish lifestyle.

These things never change, God will hold every government accountable for the suffering of the people and the Church for allowing the government to go without Church leadership.

Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

When we get our priorities out of wack, there is only one place to go and that is to the Lord God Jehovah.

We know Him as Jesus Christ!

During this time when the rebuilding of the Temple had stopped for 16 years or more, God had to do some things for this people to take notice.

*****Hag 1:11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

God sees the labor of our hands and if our hands are not Holy hands, then the things we do with those hands, will not be Holy.

There is no way the work that comes by our hands will prosper, without using them part of the time for the Lord and being committed to Him 100% of the time!!!!!

If the labor on the Temple had not ceased, God would never have brought a drought upon this people. It is just that simple!

A great lesson for the Church is, as long as the House of God lies in waste, God will not bless the labor of Church hands in America.

Gen 31:42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

The Lord will only bless the work of our hands when our priorities are in the right order!

When our own interest comes before the work of God, God will see, and God will not allow those interest to be fruitful.

What has God warned the Church?

1Pe_4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The Church needs to wake up to these warnings and get her priorities right!!!!!

When we do not heed the warnings of God, we are placing ourselves and our families in jeopardy!

What many see as climate change may be just God telling us we need to get back to the truth of God!

Or, could it be close to the time when the Antichrist will stick his evil head into the world and claim to be the Savior.

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

If there is not a great falling away today, then explain why so many churches have closed their doors and many of the rest have become lazy in the work of God!

There is always the spirit of the Anti-Christ in our world.

1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

These that had returned to Judah with a priority to build the Temple were facing an economic catastrophe and it was of their own doing!

The question we should ask is, when will we ever learn from our mistakes?

You there is a reason that our history is not being taught in our schools, our youth will never know of all the mistakes that have made that our nation has learned and have made us the great nation that we had become but today are going backwards!

These Jew quickly understood.

*****Hag 1:12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.

We must understand that the Word of God in the mouth of God’s servants, will have no effect until God’s “authority” is realized and “acknowledged”!

What is wrong in America today? We have forgotten that Jehovah God is the King who sits on the throne in Heaven!!!!!

We must look at the message of the Lord, and see that God does not ever change!

God loves His people. God teaches us these things so we can remove all doubt of His sovereignty not just over the people but also all of nature!

1) God will always act to protect the integrity of His Holy Name!!!!!

Mal 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?

2) God will always act to correct His people of their sinful ways:

Deu 11:10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
Deu 11:11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
Deu 11:12 A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
Deu 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
Deu 11:14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
Deu 11:15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.

3) God is the God of second chance: (praise the Lord)

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

The truth is God will discipline, God will correct, and God will train, the ones He loves, and He shows us how He does things in the Word of God.

We already have the instruction manual. It’s called the Bible!!!!

We are to learn from these mistakes made by these, God’s chosen people, and through this day, Israel remains the apple of God’s eye!

The Church is still God’s redeemed and the Bride of Christ!

We must understand that God dealt with nations during this era, but today God deals with individuals.

When our priorities are not right, then we can expect the same or very similar things from our Creator, the true Ruler of all we see, and all we cannot see!

Pro 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
Pro 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Pro 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Pro 3:14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

We can expect our Father in Heaven to do whatever it takes to keep us as His children, who He loves us more than we can understand!

When the Lord speaks to us by the Holy Spirit, it is in our best interest to listen to what He says and be obedient to what He teaches us!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

The Second Temple

The Work Begins

Book of Ezra

Six months have passed since we began our study of the Book of John and now, we will spend some time in the Old Testament.

In 539 BC the Persians and the Medes under King Cyrus had defeated the Babylonians in a fierce battle for world domination just as the Prophet Daniel had predicted.

It was Isaiah that had predicted that Cyrus would do these things about 100 years before Cyrus had been born.

Isa 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

Isa 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
Isa 45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
Isa 45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

It was Jeremiah who had said that Jews would only be in captivity for 70 years.

Dan_9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem.

Jer 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Jer 25:12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

The Book of Ezra was written by Ezra and Ezra was a Jewish Priest.

There were three groups who returned from Babylon, but not one group included any from the Northern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom had been carried off by the Assyrians and never returned to the Promise Land during this period.

Cyrus had captured all the lands of the Babylonians which included the land of the Assyrians and any of those Jews who had remained could have the same freedom to return to Israel.

Let’s begin:

*****Ezr 1:1 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,
Ezr 1:2 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.

Cyrus was the son of Cambyses, king of Persia and Mandane the daughter of Astyages, king of Media.

King Cyrus claimed himself to be the liberator of all peoples.

He allowed any group that were captured by the Babylonians to return to their homeland not just the Jews, after all he now ruled all those homelands.

He had first allowed Zerubbabel to lead the first group of the Jews back to Jerusalem. So many things had happened that were against the Word of God that not much work was done in Jerusalem.

It was Ezra who led the second group charged with the rebuilding of the Temple which was financed by King Cyrus and any free will offerings.

Cyrus also returned to the Jews all the valuables stolen from the Temple of Solomon.

Later Nehemiah would lead a third group of Jews back to Jerusalem charged with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.

By all these things we should have no doubt that it is God that puts in place the leaders of this world!

A lot of things are said about the Jews good and bad, but one thing stands out, they are dedicated builders of their nation when they get the opportunity!

They were cured of their idolatry, that had come between them and Jehovah.

If we ask what is wrong with our world today, it should be obvious that all our problems come because of sin.

We see that Cyrus was a king who believed that all his success came because of the Lord God of Heaven and Earth.

Cyrus was no Christian, but he knew where his power came from, he was not an atheist.

To the Jews, Cyrus was Kuresh, the King of Persia.

We should be able to see that God can touch the heart of any ruler at any time as He says in the Book of Isaiah.

Isa 45:13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.

God knows what is going to happen in this world before it happens!

God knows that the Jews want to see Israel survive even if many of them will never make it back home!

What did Cyrus ask the Jewish people?

*****Ezr 1:3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 1:4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

Cyrus did not demand that all the Jews leave, and many did not, but he did allow anyone who chose to go home and be a part of the rebuilding of the Temple and there homes the freedom to do so.

We should understand that these things were all recorded in the history of Persia and are all true.

The Persia we are familiar with are now the nations of Iraq and Iran.

Any Jew that was alive from the time of captivity would remember the preaching Jeremiah and Isaiah and the other prophets that had come true and they knew it was their sin that had brought on all these things.

All these are lessons for the Church. We can see again that God will always do what He says, and it is God who places rulers into power.

Our Holy God still rules this world!

The date of this proclamation of Cyrus was 538 BC the very first year of his reign over Babylon.

Cyrus had a personal reason for these things he did.

He wanted all people to pray to their god for a long life “for him” even after he had stated that it was it was the Lord God of Heaven who had given him the victory.

Just as so many do today, he had thoughts of all people worshiping the same God which is not true. Jehovah God is a jealous God who will not share His worship with others.

What did Jehovah teach the Jews?

Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exo 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Deu 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Many of the Jews were ready, for they knew what God had said to the prophets.

*****Ezr 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.
Ezr 1:6 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.

We should clearly understand that the chastening of the Lord is never about punishment it is always about reform. The Jews had been given the task of preserving the Word of God and they could not do this if they ignored the Word of God!

It is much like that today, the chastisement we go through is not about punishment it is about keeping us moving in the right direction toward eternal life in God’s Heaven.

God was working on His people all the time they were in captivity! They had been cured of their idolatry! They now rejected all pagan gods!

They longed for the Living God!

They had a new devotion to the Lord’s sanctuary, the Temple.

You see we must have a devotion to the House of God!

Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Nebuchadnezzar had captured Jerusalem in 604 BC.
The proclamation of Cyrus was in 538 BC.

Leaving time for the people to gather their belongings and make the long trip to Jerusalem, the work on the Temple began May 534 BC the 70 years had been completed just as Jeremiah had said by the Holy Spirit.

What caused Cyrus to do these things, besides wanting a prayer of thanks from these Jews?

His own advisers had told him of the prophesies of the prophet Isaiah.

If we cannot see the hand of God in all these things, then we do not understand the Lord as much as we think we do!

Just as God had done in Egypt, He had encouraged those who lived among the Jews to make a free will offering to them.

Cyrus would provide the funds for rebuilding the Temple.

Cyrus would provide a military unit for their protection for a time.

These people needed a free will offering in order to sustain themselves until they could get their homes rebuilt and grow their own crops.

We have missions and ministries that cannot survive today without free will offerings.

2Co 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2Co 9:9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

After a rough start the children of Israel began the work of rebuilding the Temple.

*****Ezr 3:9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
Ezr 3:10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.

Verse 9 is not part of our lesson, but it is hard to miss that name Jeshua. In Hebrew it means “he will save”. In reality it is another form of the name Joshua which in the Greek is Jesus.

Jesus is the foundation of the Church and if you cannot accept the work of Jesus for your salvation, you cannot be saved!

For those who use typology, we can see the importance of this man named Jeshua!

In the Book of Nehemiah this same Jeshua was one of the men who gave the meaning of the Laws of Moses.

Neh 8:7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
Neh 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

We know that our Lord Jesus Christ has been involved in the safe keeping of the Word of God from the beginning.

Now this man was not Jesus in any way, but he could be considered a type of Jesus.

Even before the foundation of the Temple was laid the altar was repaired and offerings were made to Jehovah God.

A continuous burnt offering was made, and all the feast were kept during the rebuilding of the Temple.

These people had learned by a sad experience that they were dependent upon God!

The materials for the Temple were gathered from many nations such as Tyre and Sidon and the forest of Lebanon.

Have you ever noticed how God utilizes nations to move the Gospel?

The Romans built new roads to move their army quickly, but God used those same roads to proclaim the “Gospel”.

Today we see all sort of modern ways to communication but at the same time these things can be used to spread the “Gospel”.

We must never be afraid of these things. We must send the “Gospel” out in every way we can use because we know that the Word of God will not come back void and the Word of God cannot be stopped.

Christianity must be a uniting force and not be forced upon anyone like it was during the time of the crusades. God’s Word will make a way because it’s He who sends it!

The priests in their apparel blew the trumpets, the Psalmist with the cymbals, there was something going on at God’s House and all were invited to lay a stone on the foundation!

You want to build a Church, this is the best way!

There was singing and shouting, and praise being offered to Jehovah God for His true Word.

*****Ezr 3:11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Psalm 136 which is probably used here, tells of the great power of God but the emphasis is on God’s goodness and God’s mercy.

Mercy can be understood as compassion for those who miserable! These Jews were in captivity for 70 years. Some fared well, but I suppose many of them were no more than slaves.

God had realized these things from His beginning, and He decided, He would be more like a Father than as a Deity who cared not for His creation!

God not only has “mercy” he also expects us to show mercy even to our enemies.

Mat 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

When we understand the mercy of God, we can begin our climb out of the miry clay of sin and then we will also praise the Lord for His goodness.

A good man knows the difference in right and wrong and he will choose right every time!

Without God’s goodness and God’s mercy, we would never get to see God’s “GRACE”.

Today the morality level and the goodness level in America, is almost nonexisting!

Being back home was a great feeling for the Jews.

Many of them had never even seen Jerusalem as they were born in captivity, but during those years their parents had continued to share the Word of God with them.

Many of those who had seen the Temple of Solomon knew that this rebuilt Temple would not possess the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple.

The things we will miss if we do look closely are:

1) This became a working church
2) They all worked together
3) They were obedient to the Word of God
4) They worked without ceasing
5) They celebrated singing worship songs
6) They were thankful

We know that today the Bible says we are a Temple of God. How are we working compared to these Jews?

1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

What did Paul preach?

1Co 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

We must realize that a Temple that has fallen will never be as grand as it was before it fell and we must remember that today each Christian ia a Temple of God!

The second Temple would not ever reach the splendor of Solomon’s Temple. If we allow our temple to fall back into sin and return to the Lord with full forgiveness, we will never be the witness we could have been!

*****Ezr 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
Ezr 3:13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

The first and the second Temple were built in the exact same place, they had nearly the same foundation, they were both built with the same design.

The Temple that we raise, that our forefathers saw, is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself the Chief Corner Stone.

We have the same “gospel”, we have the same Savior, and the same Holy Spirit who lives within us for conversion, edification, support, and comfort!

For the Jews the first Temple surpassed the second Temple because it was built with better materials.

But we today as sinners who were not fit to be a Temple of God, are built into a glorious Temple of God.

As a Temple of God we must be Holy!

1Co_3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Just as the second Temple was dedicated to God. so we are to be dedicated to God.

This is where the Church of today fails the most!

In fact there are so many that have rejected the truth of God, the Church is tarnished.

We must remember Jesus did not say the Word of God was true, Jesus said the Word of God is the “Truth”!

There is no higher authority anywhere on this planet and there never will be, until the Lord returns!

Joh_17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Ezra is considered to the father of Jewish religion and he gave his life to keep the Jews in line with the Word of God.

This the same period when the Pharisees got started and this began with good intentions to keep the people in line with the Word of God.

It later days, the they begin to add their own interpretation, their own words, making their own words, the words of man, to be greater than the Word of God.

Again this is the same thing happening in our world today. The Church has allowed the world inside the Church and the words of man and politicians to be greater than the Word of God.

Some people today cannot discern the truth from the man-made laws because they refuse to study the Word of God themselves and they depend on some man to lead them in the right way. It is a shame!

When the world gets inside the Church then the work of God will cease.

*****Ezr 4:24 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.

We must understand that the tactics of Satan and those who reject the only God, Jehovah are wicked!

If they cannot bend the goodness of the Church to their own wishes, they will change their tactics and call the good bad and the bad good.

They will hire politicians to frustrate the work of the Church.

They will seek out men with no scruples who will deliberately use their influence and their pocketbooks, in an evil cause for their own gain!

When we get away from the promises of God and listen to the false promises of the world, the Church will cease to exist.

If not for the Holy Spirit this would take place!

As our world removes more and more of the history of our lives, they gain more control.
As the world takes control of the minds of our young people, they gain more control.
As the world tramples on the Word of God, they gain more control.

We must wake up to these tactics, take our stand on the Word of God, and refuse to move until the Lord comes.

We are not to be timid with the Word of God, we are to be bold!

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

When the Church will not take a stand, the world will roll right over us, as we see today!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

Jesus Taught In His Glorified Body

Jesus Taught in His Glorified Body

Book of John Chapter 21

As we close out our study of the Book of John. we will get another view of the “glorified body” of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ appeared to the disciples the third time on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

John uses the term Tiberius because of politics. The name this sea had been changed by the time John wrote this book.

Peter had invited the disciples to go fishing and at least 6 of them had gone with Peter.

As the day had dawned the Lord Jesus appeared on the shoreline, while these disciples were several yards off shore at least a hundred yards.

So let’s allow our Savior to speak:

*****Joh 21:1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
Joh 21:2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
Joh 21:3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

After what things?

1) After Jesus had met with Mary Magdalene.
2) After Jesus had met with the other women who had come to the tomb but had left leaving Mary Magdalene behind
3) After Jesus had met the two disciples on the Emmaus rode.
4) After Jesus had met with Peter.
5) After Jesus had met with the disciples without Thomas.
6) After Jesus had met with the disciples with Thomas.

It is after these things that Jesus met with the seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee.

What did Jesus prove to these disciples on this occasion?

Jesus Christ proved that the disciples could do nothing without Him.

This something we all need to know! Without the Lord Jesus Christ we are nothing.

Joh_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.

The men in typology were fishermen but they had labored all night and caught nothing.

When they knew that Jesus was on the shore and told them to throw the net on the other side of the boat which should have no difference at all but with the Word of the Lord, they became true fishermen!

Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

It is the same when we witness for the Lord! If we do not have the Words of Jesus, the Gospel of Jesus Christ we will never bear any fruit!

If we cannot be true to the Word of God, we are useless to Him!

The Lord Jesus resurrected from that death to prove He is God and that we must depend upon His strength!

Jesus continued to show Himself for as long as it took to make sure their faith was solid.

Jesus does the same thing today when He test our “Faith”.

The body of Jesus was the same body that had died upon the cross, but it was a glorified body!

What is the promise to each of us that believe?

Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

We should be able to see that there will be some differences in our body after physical death. Our Spiritual body will be made perfect while our earthly body cannot be perfect.

*****Joh 21:4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

It should be obvious that even though these disciples could not tell if this body was Jesus, they could still tell that He appeared to be a human being and not a something that was not a man. They were too far out in the sea, to see clearly.

It was just breaking dawn. Jesus walked over to the shore line but still they could not tell until He began speaking loudly.

When Jesus speaks, we will know Him!

*****Joh 21:5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
Joh 21:6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

We should be able to tell by the words, of Jesus that He was expecting “a no” answer. Normally one side of these boats would make no difference in fishing, but the Lord knew exactly where the fish were because He directed them to be there.

These disciples had to be on the right side, and we are always to be on the right side of the Word of God.

If these disciples did not have enough faith to pull the net in and place it on the other side of the boat, they would have never caught those fish!

John knew as soon as he heard these words that it was the Lord Jesus standing on that shoreline!

We should understand that there is always a reward for being obedient to the Word of God.

Being on the right side of the Word of God is to be “justified”!

The reward for being obedient to the Lord, was not just the amount of fish that were caught, but the Lord had prepared them a meal on the shoreline.

In typology, the ship they were in represents the Church. The right side, points to those who have chosen the Lord, the elect.

Jesus is the first of the elect:

Isa 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

The Church is the true, choosing the “Grace of God” over the laws of man.

Rom 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Rom 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

The casting to the net represents the preaching of the Gospel.

The promise of finding the fish, is the assurance Christ gives of the success of His Word, the Gospel.

Isa_55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

It is Jesus Christ that has blessed the Word of God and carries with it the promises of God!

The Church is to obey the Word of God for the Church to gather the fish.

What’s that old saying? “I catch them, but God cleans them”, is still the truth!

But, Simon Peter could not wait to see the Lord again.

*****Joh 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
Joh 21:8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
Joh 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
Joh 21:10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

Each of us who are genuine will experience the super natural care of the Lord.

Jesus showed to these disciples the reality of His surroundings, so they could believe that He was certainly the “Risen Savior”.

The fish upon the fire represents all those who will be tried by the Lord to see if they are true to the Lord.

1Co_3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

Peter dove in the water and swam to shore eager to see Jesus. The other disciples stayed in the ship (the Church) to make sure the fish made it to shore safely.

The message of the Church must always contain the truth of Jesus Christ!

Act 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
Act 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
Act 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
Act 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Then Simon Peter helped to bring in the fish:

*****Joh 21:11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
Joh 21:12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
Joh 21:13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
Joh 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

Peter drew in the fish and noticed not one was lost. The Lord will not lose any of the fish caught by His disciples!

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

We can find the Gospel in everything that Jesus did when He walked among us!

There are many great thoughts on the number 153 fish. One theory is that the Lord blessed 153 persons during His time upon this earth.

By talking, hearing and eating the Lord Jesus Christ proved He was in a living body of flesh but was a glorified body.

Remember a glorified body is a body of perfection and we do not have any clue of what a perfect body would look like!

A glorified body is real, and it is a perfect body and as believers we will each have one, one day soon.

After worship, and joy, and the peace we get from knowing Jesus Christ, the next great thing we get from the Church is fellowship.

Jesus had prepared a meal, not from the fish that these had caught, but with fish and bread He had gotten Himself.

The Lord is always giving us gifts that we do not deserve!

Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Jesus Christ is everything we need, and He is the only one who knows what we need!!!!!

These disciples began to understand that they knew what Jesus wanted them to know. Not like a brain washing but the truth!

When we understand the Lord, we understand the truth of life!!!!!

John lets us be aware that this was the third time that the resurrected Christ had appeared to His chosen disciples.

We must clearly understand that the success in catching fish or men, comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus just wants us to be busy about the Masters, work.

If souls are not coming to the Lord, it is not because there are no fish.

Joh_4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

The facts are that the Church has far too many men ready to put the brakes on the progress of the Church!

Just as the Lord does not relieve us from labor in this world, (he that does not work does not eat), Jesus also will not relieve us the labor for souls until the day we die. Remember it is the Lord that will call us home “when he is ready”!!!!!

We must remember why the Apostle John was writing this epistle!

Joh 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Not till after they had dined did Jesus show us what it is to be a disciple!

*****Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

There are many things we feel in our doings from day to day, but it is the feelings of love that move us the most!

Peter was a natural born leader so in the presence of the other 6 Jesus went straight to Peter. Not so much because he had denied the Lord but to insure Peter clearly understood his mission.

We are never to take worldly objects and love them more than we love the Lord Jesus Christ!!!!!
We are never to have idols we cherish more than the Lord!!!!!

We all have close friends and family and most have spouses, of which I no longer have, but we are to never love them more than we love the Lord.

In fact we will never love them properly until we put the Lord Jesus Christ first in our lives!!!!!

The truth is Jesus loves all of us more than we can ever understand so He is our example to learn what love is all about!

We must always remember the length of suffering the Lord has done to show us what true love is all about.

Jesus Christ gave us the gift of His love while we were mired in sin, showing Him nothing but hatred.

If we are observant as we look out over the world of today, we see more hatred than we ever have, and hatred is the absence of love!!!!!

The leadership of Peter needed to be reinforced publicly before those that gone fishing with him.

We know when the Lord Jesus called Peter by his full name the conversation was very important!

The most important trait we must have as Christians is the love we have for our Lord and our God, Jesus the Messiah!

We must understand that we are nothing and can accomplish nothing without Christ Jesus!

1) The first question Jesus had to Peter was “did he love the Lord more than he loved these other men”.

Jesus could have also been talking about the family of Peter.

One more thing is that Jesus was talking about Peter’s love of fishing and his business.
Remember Peter was a business man along with James and John as partners who were also amongst these other men.

Our love for the Lord must be true and must be sincere!

Every true Pastor has loved Jesus more than their family and their career. As disciples we are to be no different!

Jesus ask for “agape” love, but Peter did not respond with agape love but “phileo” love.

You need to look these things up yourself so you will know the difference. We are all to know the difference!

There are even some who have made up their own Christ and not the Christ as described in the Scriptures.

Jesus Christ is the God of the Bible and we had better understand that!

2) The next question Jesus asked Peter was “did he love with God’s love”.

We are not only to love Jesus more than anyone else in our life, but we are to love everyone else with the same love that God has shown to us.

Our example is still John 3:16 but let’s look at some other passages also.

1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1Jn 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

It takes time to learn this love and show it to others, but this is what the Lord was asking Peter and the same love Jesus ask of every disciple.

3) The third question Jesus asked Peter was “do you really love Me as your brother”.

Jesus now asked with “phileo” love. It takes time to learn the love of God but until then we must be loyal not only to the Lord but also to our brothers and sisters in Christ!

We must be loyal not only to Jesus Christ but also to the entire Word of God.

There is no modern interpretation of the Scriptures. The Scriptures have said what they have always say and God’s Word is just as vital today, just as it was in the time of Peter and this was something Peter needed to lock into his heart.

Words are wonderful but if those words do not originate from a heart dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, then they are meaningless words!

Without the love of God as described here, Peter could never have done the things the Lord has asked him to do.

We owe a lot to Peter today because we know he learned the love that Jesus was insisting on this day on the shore of Galilee.

Peter could now feed the sheep of the Lord!

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Some of the flock will be one way:

1Pe 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Some of the flock will have progressed:

2Ti 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Then there is the special ministry of the Pastor:

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Then the Lord got up close and truly personal with Peter.

*****Joh 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Joh 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

We need to understand as Christians, the Lord requires a total commitment in following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who is that “another”.

What do we know about the Apostle Peter?

Peter lived for about 36 more years after this day with Jesus and he was tied to a cross upside down (because he insisted) and when the nails were driven in, he was carried by another to the place he was crucified.

Before Peter was saved, he, more or less did what he pleased, and this is the thing we must give up. We must follow the lead of the Holy Spirit!

If we cannot give the Lord Jesus full control of our bodies, then we are “foolish Christians”

Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Tradition says that the wife of Peter served with him in his ministry and she to, was martyred the same day as Peter, right in front of him so the last thing he saw was his dead wife.

Peter was to die the death of a martyr, but not John!

On seeing his wife’s death before his own eyes, it is said that Peter rejoiced because he knew she would be waiting on him in Heaven when he got there.

We must understand that the call of Christ will bring some persecution.

We are to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in everything we do, until the day we go home to be with the Lord!

This was the life that Jesus told Peter he would have, and Peter stood true all his days.

We will all die unless we are among the few will go home at the time of the Rapture.

2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
2Co 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
2Co 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
2Co 5:12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.
2Co 5:13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

Jesus said to pick up your own cross and follow Him and this is what Peter did.

Peter turned to see John following and Peter asked Jesus what would John be doing in his ministry.

And Jesus firmly said:

*****Joh 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
Joh 21:21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
Joh 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

Peter may have thought all the Apostles would minister together as a group, but Jesus told Peter that this was not going to happen.

Peter had gone into business with John and his brother James and they were very close for many years.

Peter wanted to know what lay ahead for John.

We know that for some reason, John was spared from a martyr’s death and lived a long life.

I believe that since John was to take care of Mary the mother of Jesus, that he did not suffer as much persecution as did Peter and we know the James the brother of John was the first to die a martyr’s death when he was beheaded.

We should understand that when Jesus said these things to Peter, it was not a revelation of the will of God for John as some believed.

Jesus was dealing only with Peter as Peter would remain the head of the Apostles till, he died.

If and when we called of God to do anything, then we need to concentrate on that calling and not on what is happening elsewhere or with other ministries.

Not that we are not to help when called upon, but that we are not to allow our own calling suffer for helping others!

We are to focus our energy and our efforts on fulfilling the will of God for our own lives.

We must also understand our motivation to serve must remain our love for God, and not our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are to do the same.

We are certainly to love one another, but Jesus Christ is the one who is to the first in our love.

Our power to serve comes from the Holy Spirit, and we need to pay close attention to Him!

The one more thing we are to understand being a Christian in the full will of God, this will not keep us from growing old or from suffering as we grow old.

We must understand that Paul was a great Apostle only because of that thorn that caused him so much misery.

If we become too rich in material things or physical comforts, we may forget that it is the Lord who will provide.

If we become rich, then those most of those riches are to be used in the ministry or the ministry of the Church.

As Christians we are to live without the favor of this world.

We cannot do without devoted followers.

What would happen to the Apostle John was to be no concern of Peter’s.

What was said to Peter about John was misunderstood. Remember it is John who has given us these passages by the Holy Spirit, and we can believe what John is saying.

*****Joh 21:23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
Joh 21:24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

Since John did live the longest of all the 12 Apostles, then he could give the Church the truth of how the early Church withstood the world around it.

The Church is like a ship on course through this world, taking the message of Jesus Christ to all ports of call and the Church will sail boldly as long as the world is not allowed into the ship (Church) that would cause the Church to sink.

We can see that many a ship are sinking, or struggling today because they have allowed the world inside the Church doors!

In truth, as Christians we should forward to death. Not to rush our death in any way, but to know the joy of a job well done and going to the one place that has no part of the world and that is Heaven!

We can understand that the specific form and the manner of our death is predetermined and arranged by God Himself!

The death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has made a dramatic change to this world we live in.

We can only imagine what this world would look like without the Church or our own nation without the Church.

If we were to understand a miserable future, then the Church would have been useless all these years.

The Lord has promised an eternal life in Heaven. A place where we cannot even imagine the beauty of, where God accepts His adopted family and we will eat as His table for an eternity!

John could not tell us somethings because the Holy Spirit did not require them.

*****Joh 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

Amen

Let’s Pray!