Summary: Satan is busy today in his efforts to destroy the work of His People.
A. What is your attitude towards the work of the Lord?
1. Every Christian should be interested in the growth of the Lord’s work
2. We should be doing all we can to help build up the Church.
B. Ezra and Nehemiah had a zeal for the Lord’s work
1. Ezra wanted to restore the Temple after the return from captivity.
2. Nehemiah wanted to rebuild the Walls of Jerusalem.
3. Both faced tremendous opposition to this great work.
C. Satan has a Mandate to Stop the Lord’s Work
1. He wants us to stop or slow it down as best he can.
2. He will use every method he can to make that happen.
3. He is an expert in hindering the spreading of the Gospel, and he will even use professing Christians to accomplish that.
I. SATANIC LIES Ezra 4:2
A. The offer of help from God’s enemies
1. Satan is very crafty and cunning - always has been since Eden - lies & half-truths
2. The enemy always seeks to slip in to take over the work of the Church
3. Paul warned that grievous wolves would devour the flock - Acts 20:29-31
4. So watch out and be on your guard - not all "helpers" are there to help.
B. We are tempted to compromise with Satan and his cohorts
1. But we make a serious mistake when we do - in doctrine, or on any other matter. His agenda is very different from ours! We build up - he tears down.
2. Satan is like a roaring lion, and his aim is to discourage and defeat, and he will have many counselors vv.4-5 No shortage of people to get his work done.
3. We must use discernment, know our enemy and stand against him - v.3; Eph.6:17
II. SLANDEROUS LETTER Ezra 4:11-16
A. Satan will not give up easily in his efforts to stop the work of the Lord
1. If Lies don’t work, maybe slander will - against the work and workers
2. Expect it - he will drag up dirt, and instill fear and use scare tactics to win people over. This is what he does here in the letter to Artaxerxes.
3. He uses rumor and innuendo to circumvent the work of God.
B. Nehemiah also received a slanderous letter from Sanballat & Tobiah 6:5-9
1. Let us consult together - meaning compromise and murder vv.10-13
2. Is it not amazing what so called religious people will do to stop you from doing the Lord’s work - resort to all kinds of character assassination attempts.
3. Nehemiah is not deterred - and the wall is completed.
4. We must do the same - keep on doing the Lord’s work - and Satan and his followers will have no answer to that. I Cor.15:58
III. SOVEREIGN LORD Ezra 6:6-16
A. Sometimes it seems that the enemy has succeeded in stopping God’s work
1. Sometimes it seems the evil one wins
2. For 15 long years the work was delayed because of the Kings decree which forbid it to continue
3. But just as Nehemiah’s wall was completed, so was Ezra’s temple.
4. God raised up the prophet Haggai and challenged the people to resume the
work they had earlier begun - Ezra 5
5. Darius issues a decree allowing the temple to be finished - 6:6-8
B. God’s work can sometimes be delayed by the enemy, but it cannot be forever stopped.
1. Our Sovereign Lord will intervene and give us the victory over Satan
2. This is the message of Acts and Revelation and everything in between
3. And when the victory is ours, there will be great rejoicing 6:15-16
C. Prayer - “Help me Lord to remain strong in the face of hard opposition. Keep me true
to my assigned task of building up your sp. temple today. May I never be intimidated by the enemy or compromise my convictions!” (Source - Ron Hembree)
1. Often we give up too soon, because of discouragement.
2. We must learn to pray and persevere until the work is done.
We need to be with Him all the way. No in-betweens or neutrality. And when we do, we make the work of the Lord, saving souls a priority.
As a church let us go forward together, and build up the work of the Lord. The wall and temple was built because the people had a mind to work - Neh.4:5 “Let us build up the wall of Jerusalem that we be no more a reproach...let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work...the God of heaven he will prosper us” Neh.2:17-20; Matt.6:33
GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU.....I Jn.4:4
THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE LORDS CHURCH Matt.16:18