Summary: Why do we do share the good news of Jesus? Using the post-exilic prophet Zechariah, God is going to teach us about evangelism. He’s going to teach us the “why” of evangelism. Why do we do it?
“The Lord Wants Hearts That Say, ‘I’m going’”
They’re going: I. Seeking their Lord (20-21)
II. Standing on his foundation of peace (22)
Dear Fellow Servants in Jesus’ Service,
I have an outstanding offer for you today. This is for anyone who is interested. We’ve got a member in our congregation who is willing to fly you and your spouse, if married, down to Aruba to spend a weeks vacation in the warm tropical climate. Your hotels and meals will be covered. You’ll be given spending money. And any wages you have lost from your job will be reimbursed to you. Following that week in Aruba, you would be flown to Honolulu, Hawaii to spend a week vacationing in this Pacific island hot spot . You would enjoy the warm, sandy beaches and the blue ocean waters. The same deal would apply to the money and reimbursements. What do you think? Not bad. What would your response be? I know what my response would be: “I’m there! I’m going!”
Now were that story true, that would be nice. The sports nut would have the same response if the circumstances surrounded the Super Bowl. “I’m going!” The musically minded would have the same response if the trip involved Radio City Music Hall and Broadway in New York. “I’m going!” When first hearing those words spoken at a service on evangelism, you might automatically think first of the hymn, “Hark the Voice of Jesus Crying!” We sing, “who will go and work,” and then “Here am I! Send me!” “I’m going!” But our lesson from Zechariah shows us that the Lord wants someone else to be saying, “I’m going!” See if you can pick out who it is. READ ZECHARIAH 8:20-22.
Did you notice who says it? It’s those with whom we share the gospel in our evangelism efforts. It’s those to whom we go. This morning, using the post-exilic prophet Zechariah, God is going to teach us about evangelism. He’s going to teach us the “why” of evangelism. Why do we do it? It’s because God tells us that he, “The Lord Wants Hearts That Say, “I’m going!” They’re going I. Seeking their Lord; and II. Standing on his foundation of peace.
I. Seeking their Lord
A. Zechariah was sent by God to encourage the returned exiles to return to God and continue in their building project of re-constructing the temple in Jerusalem. Imagine the frustration and heart-wrenching sites they came back to when they walked into the old front yard after being gone 70 years. The Lord wanted to make sure that his people knew that he had not wiped them from his memory banks. He remembered them. The name Zechariah means “The Lord remembers.” Part of Zechariah’s job was to remind God’s people that though their houses and church had been flattened and looked like a nuclear bomb had exploded over Judah, the Lord remembered them. He was directing their attention beyond Jerusalem in Palestine to Jerusalem in Heaven.
B. “This is what the LORD Almighty says: Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and seek the LORD Almighty. I myself am going’” (20-21). Notice right away that we don’t have to wonder who the speaker is: it’s the LORD Almighty. A truth from the LORD Almighty, the Ruler and King of all is about to be stated. This is the ninth time in this chapter that we hear the phrase: “This is what the Lord Almighty says.” Earlier in this same chapter the Lord had made this promise, “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem” (8:3). He’s not talking about that physical city Jerusalem that has undergone some severe battles and been the war ground between feuding factions; he’s talking about his Church. Were the Lord to take a census of his city Jerusalem, his Church, he should have come up with a population of 1 – him. That city’s walls should have towered so high that no one could scale them to get in. Just like the people outside it had towered so high with pride in themselves. The drawbridge should have been shut tight with no entrance in sight and no back door. Just like the people outside it had shut tight for themselves their time, talents, and treasures. And those inhabitants of all those cities should not have even been given the chance to come to Jerusalem. Just like the people outside it didn’t want to give others a chance to hear about their Savior because they were too embarrassed of him. He, by all rights, should have mowed them down with a hell-fire they had never even dreamed of because they were his enemies and weren’t like him - holy. Those saying, “I’m going to Jerusalem!” would have heard the booming voice of God say, “You can’t come in!” Where was your home and mine? On the outside of Jerusalem’s walls with everyone else. That thing we have called sin guaranteed it.