Summary: In order to continue with restoring the Lord’s people to his will, Ezra shows an important assessment one must consider.
Assessment for Restoration
Preached at the Laurel Church of Christ
On February 16, 2002
I. Joe Wright is the minister of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS. On January 23, 1996, He was asked to be the guest chaplain for the Kansas State House in Topeka. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer stirred controversy, and one member of the legislative body walked out. Others criticized the prayer. The controversy didn’t end there. Later that year in the Colorado house, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wright’s prayer as the invocation. Some members there also walked out in protest. Paul Harvey got a hold of the prayer and read it on his program. He got more requests for copies of it than any other thing he had ever done. Here’s what he prayed.
”Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that: We have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it pluralism. We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternate lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it a choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the airwaves with profanity and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will…Amen”
II. Mr. Wright hit the nail on the head with this prayer to the Kansas State House.
A. We are in a time that needs spiritual renewal.
B. We need to be reminded just who we are and how we are to be
C. With being in such a time, it only makes since to study God’s plans for restoration.
III. Some may ask why Ezra, matter of fact, many have probably never heard sermons from the book of Ezra.
A. We may have studied it and passed right over the significance, but no more…
B. We are find real application in the book through God’s restoration plan
IV. One of the steps in first aid training the continually discuss the notion of assessing the situation.
A. For Example: someone is being electrocuted by a live wire: begin by assessing the situation; Or your in the wilderness a half an hour from civilization and a party member is bitten by a poisonous snake: assess the situation.
B. Proper assessment of one’s spiritual life will provide directions in preparation for restoration.
C. Ezra gives us insight on how to assess the situation.
I. Step 1: Recognize the Need for Returning to God (1:1-4)
A. God is a god of comfort – He wants you to return
1. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
2. Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”
3. God wants to comfort those who have strayed from them.
B. Look around and see the signs the so-called “Christians” of the world are divided, bickering and hypocrites across the world.
1. Against the very words of Jesus hope for His followers
2. The real issue that must be confronted is this question, “Which church is God’s church?”
3. Matthew 16:16-18 “Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”