Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We miss out on the joy of the Lord when we don’t get out of Babylon because we think that’s all there is

Missed Opportunities Ezra 1:5-2:7

We all have opportunities come our way

Choices are made on a daily basis

Some of those choices are spiritual in nature

In this story in Ezra we find the Jews facing a choice in regard to going back to their homeland

A. The opportunity they were offered

A. The decree of Cyrus gave them the privalege of moving back to Palestine

B. The Lord had moved Cyrus’ heart to give them several things:

1. assurance of safety


3. gave back to them the temple vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken

4. even those not going along sent wealth the meet needs

5. Cyrus gave them the transportation to get there

6. He even forced others to help them

C. There seems to be a guarantee of success as they leave Babylon

1. not every detail had been worked out

2. BUT Cyrus had taken this as his personal project and this would help guarantee success

D. This was a unique opportunity that was a real challenge, we don’t know of any other captive people that this happened to…it could only be a move of God!

1.the opportunity was to return to the land that God had given them

3. And not only a return but with the help of their captor!

B. Reaction to the opportunity

A. There is a discription of the people returning. This is recorded in Chapt 2

A. it was obvious that only SOME of the captives chose to return

B. Notice the number in 2:64-65

Ezra 2:64-65 The whole company numbered 42,360, besides their 7,337 menservants and maidservants; and they also had 200 men and women singers.

C. Those who returned but hardly more than a remnant

B. Most people chose to remain in Babylon

A. we don’t know how many, but the number was signifcant

B. In Esther, there were enough Jews in Babylon to destroy 75,000 of their enemies in only two days of fighting

C. The fact that so many remained is truly strange in the light of the kind of opportunity which faced them

C. They were not unlike folks today, there were several reasons they decided to stay

A. some were comfortable there

B. some were too deeply involved with the life of Babylon to effectively break away

C. some were afraid it would cost them to much to leave

D. Some were afraid of failure

E. Some failed to see the enormity of the opportunity they had (Many times we miss out what God is dropping in our lap)

C. What can we learn from this account in Ezra?

D. We too many times want to stay in Babylon

7. its comfortable

8. we know what to expect

9. lots of our friends are here

10. we begin to believe this the norm


4. This week I was in California at the Saddleback church with about 3500 other church leaders from all 50 states and 22 foreign countries

5. Saddleback is a very large church in S. Cal that has about 15,000 each weekend in attendance

6. The reason for the size is that people are finding Jesus there and are discovering for themselves the joy of being in ministry to one another

IV. We miss out on the joy of the Lord when we don’t get out of Babylon because we think that’s all there is

A. God had so much more for these folks…HE HAS SO MUCH MORE FOR YOU AS WELL!

B. The Israelites that were going back had a task…to rebuild the Temple

C. We too have a task, the building up of the body of Christ

D. We have the task of doing the ministry God has called us too

E. What’s unfortunate is we have this ministry thing all turned up side down

1. we clergy have done this to you

2. you have assumed that we are to do all the ministry and you are consumers of that ministry


4. It’s the one that are called out to be pastors and teacher and apostles and prophets and evangelists that are to equip the saints for ministry

5. It is the job…the function of the church…that’s you…to do the ministry

6. What happens when that’s turned upside down is no one is satisfied.

7. The clergy are frustrated, they can’t do it all, and can’t do what God primarily called them to do

8. The church is frustrated because the of the church’s calling that they aren’t doing

9. The end result is both clergy and the church being at odds because of this impossibility

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