Summary: So every time there are opportunities in the church they will be met by opposition. Opportunity and opposition go together.
Against all likelihood
Ezra 4-6 7/15/07
We have been preaching through this little book of Ezra. The book of Ezra talks about the small remnant of Jews that went back to Jerusalem after being captive in Babylon for 70 years. Their purpose was to rebuild the temple of worship. So, they were to go back home and reestablish worship in Jerusalem.
The book of Ezra has two divisions. The first 6 chapter’s sort of hand together. In the 6 chapters you find a national restoration. You will also find a key person heading all of this up and his name is Zerubbabel who was a young prince.
Chapters 7 through 10, we will look at later on, talks about a spiritual reformation. These chapters tell us about a movement of God and God using Ezra in a mighty way.
Now over in chapter 3 we talked about them laying the foundation for the temple. Once the foundation has been laid then we can build. I told you last Sunday that a foundation is very important. The foundation has to do with the size, the shape and the strength of a building. If we use Jesus as our foundation in life then we have a strong foundation that will last eternally.
Now what we are going to learn this morning is that every time that God’s people go to building, the devil goes to battle. God is in the building up and edifying and the devil is in tarring down and destroying. So every time there are opportunities in the church they will be met by opposition. Opportunity and opposition go together. When the Lord goes to blessing, the devil becomes very unhappy. That is the reason we have to be very careful that we don’t allow the devil use us to tear down or stop the movement of the Lord. In Ephesians we are told not to give any time for the devil. We give him a little time in our lives and he will use it to tear down and work against the Lord. When God’s people say lets arise and build, you can bet the devil will arise and tear down. Remember this, opportunity and opposition goes together. That is what we are going to be talking about this morning.
Notice first of all THE OPPOSITION.
In the first 5 verses in chapter 4 we have an account of opposition when God’s people start rebuilding the temple. I want you to notice that the opposition comes in a form of compromise. Let’s read verses 1-2. Now what they were saying is let us help you build the house of God. These people worshiped many gods not just the one true God but many. When we look at this on the surface, it doesn’t seem bad. But we need to examine it closer.
Now look at the rest of the verses. Zerubbabel said we have nothing in common with the world. He said God’s people will build God’s house. He was saying we don’t need the world’s money to build the house of God.
Folks listen and listen well; a church isn’t run like a business. A lot of people have good business heads on them and know nothing about how to run a church. First of all a church is to operate on faith. We are faith people and live by faith and who share our faith. I have heard some say I live by faith and share my faith but when a decision comes up in a business meeting, faith is thrown out the window and they see as the world sees without faith.
Listen Zerubbabel said we don’t need the world’s management and the world’s money but God’s people will build God’s house. This sort of aggravated the enemy so they hired the world’s lawyers to hinder the work. So what we have here is opposition. Opportunity and opposition go together.
Not only do we see opposition but also I want you to notice THE ACCUSATION.
Beginning in verse 7 we have the account of the enemy writing letters to the powers that be making accusations against the workers of God. They told the king if you allow this to go on the people will not pay taxes and you know how bad we will hate that.
Down in South Carolina, I had a man who I had just ordained as a deacon of the church. At first he was committed and dedicated but later he only comes on Sunday mornings and not real regular with his attendance. He came to my office one morning and I told him of my disappointment and he got mad. He said, “I officiate ball games and I don’t get to come to church often.” I come when I don’t have a game to call. Later he wrote a letter to almost all the people in the church and said when you get rid of him I will be back. Fortunately, I never responded to the letter and he came back to church.