Summary: This sermon suggests four steps to move on to our high calling base on the experience of Ezra.
MOVING ON TO OUR HIGHER CALLING
(delfin l. corona)
Listening to the media in the last few days: the threat of volcanic eruption in the Philippines, current conflict in the Middle East - Israel against Lebanon that brings many Overseas Filipino Workers to a place of misery, the heat wave in New York, the increasing momentum of human depravity and corruption in all corners of the world, and more…, only confirm what the Word of God declared several hundreds of years ago: this world is not getting any better! The unfolding of each new day brings more deposits of trouble and layers of darkness add up each tick of a second.
In pessimism the secularists drop their heads and surrender life to fate. Mustering all courage some can manage to say: ‘come what may!’ blinded by the god this age that cessation of life in this world would mean the termination of all evil and their present sufferings; or at best, annihilation of all forms of life. The weak in “fate” resort to committing suicide in the same sort of blindness.
In optimism, on the other hand, the People of the Word with their heads lifted up thanksgiving and worship to our Almighty God, possess a vision that sees light beyond the thickest cloud. While it is true that this world is doomed to death, it is our fundamental belief that in the midst of darkness, at the height of the highest evil that Satan can do, a ray of that Heavenly Light at the appointed Day of the Lord that the Father alone knows when, will break through the darkness to usher in the second coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords who will establish His Kingdom on earth forever and ever. What a day will that be!
In the intervening time, before that Glorious Day, the purpose of God for the church, individually and collectively, must prevail and must be given our first concern. Therefore, the challenge is for us to “MOVE ON TO OUR HIGHER CALLING” – to prepare the world for His eminent return.
What does it take to do that? May I suggest four steps in parallel to the experience of Ezra in the Old Testament. (Ezra chapter 7:1-10).
1.Spiritual preparation – Ezra prepared his heart, v10
2.Mental preparation – Ezra studied the Word of God, v10
3.Practical preparation – Ezra obeyed the Word of God, v10
4.Institutional preparation – Ezra created a system of imparting the Word of God, v10, 6
Ezra – means help, by calling he was a scribe
1.The "scribe" who led the second body of exiles that returned from Babylon to Jerusalem in B.C. 459. He is the author of the book of Scripture which bears his name. He was the son, or perhaps grandson, of Seraiah (2 Kings 25:18-21), and a lineal descendant of Phinehas, the son of Aaron, 7:1-5
2.A Scribe – is a person who takes the duty of studying, multiplying copies of, and teaching and preaching the Word of God.
In detail, note: “THE STEPS TO FULFILL THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD”
I. SPRITUAL PREPARATION - Ezra prepared his heart, v10
Prepare – (Heb) kuwn meaning to be firmly establish, stable and ready. It also speaks of being securely determined to accomplish.
Ezra acted wisely in preparing his heart.
1.The heart - the center of life
•Pr 4:23 – out of the heart comes the issues of life
•Pr 27:19 – a man’s heart reveal himself
2.God can stir up a man’s heart towards doing good and eventually fulfill God’s purpose,
•1:1-4 – God placed a desire in King Cyrus heart
•1:5-11 – God planted a holy desire in the heart of many Hebrews to return to Jerusalem
3.Man’s heart can be influenced by the force of evil and hinder God’s purpose:
•Ezra 4:1-3 – Satan set up the people to compromise
•Ezra 4:4-5 – Satan slandered the people to the King
•Gen 6:5-6 – man’s heart is continually evil
•Jer 17:9 – man’s heart is deceitfully wicked
4.The danger of unprepared heart
A man in the ministry without heart preparation will pose danger
•Will build his own kingdom not God’s Kingdom
•Will preach for his reputation not for man’s salvation
•Will establish his name in the guise of preaching the gospel.
•Will be legalistic in ministry approach, not easy to work with, insubmissive,
5.But there is good news: God is able to change our hearts – and He is not finish with us yet
•Mal 4:6 – God can soften our hearts
•Pr 21:1 – hearts of kings are in His hands
•Ezek 36:24-30 – man’s heart can be changed, empowered, established, enriched …. But this takes a lot of preparation:
II. MENTAL PREPARATION - Ezra prepared to study God’s Word