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Summary: How do you stop a rhino from charging? Take away his credit card!! :) But seriously, there are those who would stop the church from charging forward. How will the church combat these enemies?

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Introduction

1. Last Sunday Night, I told the (lame) joke about how to stop a charging rhino (you take away his credit card)…

• In spite of how lame that joke was, I did get a few laughs…

• During that service, we learned some of the challenges that face our missionaries…

• Disease, danger, wild animals, people & governments in opposition to Christianity, and many more…

• Any time that people undertake to build the church…

• There will be challenges…

• There will be opposition…

• There will be trials and troubles…

2. But we must endeavor to never give up…

• The church must “charge” forward…

• The Church must be built…

• The Church must grow…

• And I’m sure you realize that I’m not talking about the church BUILDINGS…

• I’m talking about the Church…

• The people…

• We must continue to bring people in to the “family of God”…

3. But, sometimes the church DOES stop growing…

• And, it’s really no joking matter…

• Sometimes something happens that DOES stop the church from charging forward…

• It happened in Ezra…

• and, in looking at what happened to the people of God in Ezra chapter 4…

• it is my hope that the people of God in Belleview Church of the Nazarene can avoid the same pitfalls.

Read Text: Ezra 4:1-6; 23-24

1. First of all, there will be opposition.

A. The church will not just grow while her enemies look on and do nothing…

• we see in our text, the enemies of God’s people heard about what was happening…

• so they put their heads together…

• and they came up with a very insidious plan…

• they came to the leaders of the Church…

• and they offered to HELP them!...

• I’m sure that the leaders would have been very tempted by this offer…

• Who WOULDN’T want some help in the re-building effort?

• They even gave a plausible reason why they wanted to help…

• They said, “we are just like you,…

• we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here."

• And we know, from reading God’s Word…

• That they DID sacrifice to God…

• BUT…that wasn’t the WHOLE truth…

• We find the rest of the story in 2 Kings 17

• In this chapter, we find read about the people who settled in this area…

• How they came to arrive there…

• Some of the trouble they got into…

• And in 2 Kings 17 verse 33, we find the rest of the story…

• “They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.”

• So, when they came to Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders…

• Their offer to help would have been very tempting…

• Who wouldn’t want some help…

• And their statement about worshipping God was also true…

• But they also served other gods as well…

• And their motive in offering to help…

• WASN’T so they could be helpful…

• But their offer to help was so they could get in on the inside…

• And slow it down…

• And disrupt the work…

• And try to throw a wrench into the works and clog it up.

B. I might point out that even today, we will see other groups trying to infiltrate the church…

• To change it from within…


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