Summary: God tells Israel as He works within them He expects them to conduct themselves in such a way that others will hear that God is with them. I believe what God told Israel is wise advice to us. If we follow these words we'll be a source of blessing.
That Others Might Hear
Introduction: Do we want to be blessed by God and to be used by God to be a blessing to others? I believe that God wants to do good to us, to use us and prosper this church. However, I believe that for us to receive the fullness of His blessings and to have an impact on the community of the lost we encounter daily, we must conduct ourselves in accordance with God’s Word. The message of Zechariah 8 is futuristic and looking forward to the Millennium. Israel has been set aside for a season. Verse 13, says that Judah and Israel had become a curse among the nations. But in the Millennium that would change. I like how the NLT describes what God is going to do with Israel in verse 13: “Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding...” God then tells Israel as He works within them He expects them to conduct themselves in such a way that others will hear that God is with them. I believe what God told Israel is wise advice to us. If we are to be a source of blessing we need to take the same steps in each of our lives.
I. Use our Tongues Wisely
A. “Speak the truth to one another”
B. James 3:6-10 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
C. Ephesians 4:15 “...speaking the truth in love...”
D. Proverbs 12:17-18 (NLT) “An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. 18 Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
E. When we speak truth in love, we do not hide reality including our intentions, motives, or agendas, desiring to do good, building up and not tearing down.
F. You have a tongue and a voice. These instruments of speech can be used destructively or employed constructively. You can use your tongue to slander, to gripe, to scold, to nag, and to quarrel, or you can bring it under the control of God's Spirit and make it an instrument of blessing and praise." - Billy Graham, The Secret Of Happiness, p 65.
II. Be Peacemakers
A. “Render judgments that are just and that lead to peace.”
B. Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
C. Proverbs 28:25 “An arrogant (or proud) man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.”
D. Smith and Jones were "on the outs" over a very trivial matter. This deeply concerned Deacon Brown, so he prayed that he might be a peacemaker. He called on Smith and asked, "What do you think of Jones?" "He's the meanest crank in the neighborhood!" "But," said Brown, "you have to admit that he's very kind to his family." "Oh, sure, he's kind to his family all right; no one can deny that." The next day Brown went to Jones and inquired, "Do you know what Smith said about you?" "No, but I can imagine how that scamp would lie about me!" "This may surprise you, but he said you're very kind to your family." "What! Did Smith say that?" "Yes, he did." "Well, if you hadn't told me, I wouldn't believe it." "What do you think of Smith?" asked Deacon Brown. "Truthfully, I believe he's a lowdown scalawag." "But you have to admit that he's very honest in business." "Yes, there's no getting around that; in business he's a man you can trust." The next day Brother Brown called on Smith again. "You know what Jones said about you? He claims you're a fellow that really can be trusted in business, and that you're scrupulously honest." "You mean it?" "Yes, I do," said Brown. "Well of all things," replied Smith with a happy smile. The next Sunday the former "enemies" nodded to each other. Brown continued his "meddling" until the next annual business meeting of the church when Smith and Jones shook hands and finally voted on the same side! Take a diplomatic page from the peacemaking notebook of this consecrated deacon and begin to practice his helpful methods, for God loves "a holy meddler!"