Sermons

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…

• To dilute our message…

• To try to stop the church from charging forward…

• To soften our message…

• To change our stance on things…

• We’ve already seen some denominations embrace certain practices that are against Scripture…

• One such example is homosexuality.

C. But, we must be like Zerubbable and Jeshua…

• We must stand for what’s right…

• We must stand for the truth…

• NOT truth as WE see it…

• But truth as GOD sees it…

• How do we know God’s truth?

• It is revealed in HIS Word!

• Thankfully, God’s people in Ezra’s day didn’t allow compromise to affect the church…

• And we see that Zerubbabel and the others said “no”…

• And the church kept charging forward.

D. Thankfully, we at Belleview Church of the Nazarene has thus far turned a dear ear to those who would seek to compromise our standards…

• We must continue to charge forward in God’s truth as revealed in His Word.

2. When those opposed to the Church were unsuccessful getting the Church to compromise…

A. They resorted to Discouragement and intimidation.

• Verse 4 of our text tells us that “the peoples around them set out to discourage the people…and make them afraid”

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