Thursday, April 17, 2014

SSS Study Kings and Prophets Week 8

S.S.S. Study Kings and Prophets
Family School at Faith Baptist Church
Week 8
The first and second returns of the remnant.

Ezra 1 King Cyrus the king of Persia commands that men return to Jerusalem to start rebuilding the house of the Lord. God used heathen kings to punish His people, now he uses a heathen king to provide for them. No matter how bad the politician, God is in control, Proverbs 21:1

Ezra 3:8-11 Just the foundation being laid was cause for much joy and celebration among the people, the importance and significance of the foundation cannot be overestimated. Without a proper, or solid foundation a million dollar building with all the best materials would crumble and collapse. In the New Testament we see a very important foundation laid. 
1st Corinthians 3:11    "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Matthew 21:33-46, Matthew 16:18, Christ is the rock upon which the church is built, Jesus is the rock and the cornerstone Acts 4:8-12 these are the same men Jesus spoke to in Matthew 21:33-46, look also at 1st Peter 2:4-8, and Matthew 7:24-27. Is your life built upon the rock that is Jesus Christ?

Ezra 3:12-13 Even though it is a matter of great rejoicing that the temples new foundation has been laid, there is much weeping by those who had seen the original. Today if we could see true revival as was seen in whales during the great awakening and in acts when thousands were saved and the world was turned upside down for Christ, I believe we would be in tears over how far our temple falls short of those before it. 
Note: We also see here that testimonies, lives, ministries, etc can be rebuilt and be useful in service and worship to God, but it would have been so much better to have never had that temple destroyed in the first place. 1st Corinthians 6:19-20, Every minister I have ever met who has a sin stained testimony, as great a redemption story as it is, all of them tell me, "I wish I had just always lived for God, that is the better testimony."

Ezra 4:1-3 Israel's old enemies offer to help with the project, but "Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel" knew that God wanted Israel to be separate from the wicked nations around them and therefore they wisely refused to let those people help. Today the modern ecumenical movement teaches that we should all work together as "Christians" regardless of doctrinal differences, Catholics, Pentecostals, and baptists, teaming up together. Some would ask the question "what's wrong with that, we all serve God right?". The problem is that the bible clearly warns us in 1st Timothy 4:1, Matthew 7:15, and John 10:1-5 (among other places) that false teachers will come and we are to flee from them. Never joining hands with them. 
People today call that hateful but the problem is that Christians today cannot seem to co-work with the world without conforming with it, or comment on sin without condoning it.
Ezra 4:4-24 These ungodly people who were told they couldn't help immediately turn from offering help to causing hurt, eventually convincing the Persian king to stop the work. 
Note: The reaction these men had is similar to two things, children's behavior, and the ecumenical modern church movement, if they cannot participate they hate, and if we opt out they freak out, often we are attacked and accused more by those who claim Christ's name but not His doctrine, than by the world.

Ezra 5:1-2 with the encouragement and help of the prophets, the people restart the work without asking permission. Right is right, no matter who is wrong. In Daniel 6 we find the story of Daniel and the lions den, and in Daniel 3:15-18 we find the three Hebrew boys standing up to the king and not bowing to his statue (image), knowing that he will try to kill them for it. See also the stoning of Stephen Acts 7.

Ezra 5:3-17 the wicked men again write a letter to the king, "they're working again!, those street preachers are here again!...". At this point many of us would have dropped the work and picked up the pen, hoping to write our own letter, give "our side of the story". These men knew that if they kept working God would take care of the issue. Hebrews 13:5-6    "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6    So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." 
The question is do we trust God enough to let Him fight our battles? Job takes it a step further Job 13:15.

Ezra 6:1-6 King Darius searches for wether or not the king before him, king Cyrus had given Israel permission to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, remember chapter 1 where king Cyrus wrote down his decree? 
Sometimes when we read the bible we may wonder why God included/didn't include certain details, but remember that Proverbs 30:5 tells us that every word of God is pure. The bible is a book in which there are no errors, or contradictions, but also no empty words.

 Ezra 6:7-22 Not only were they allowed to continue the work, but the wicked nations that had been a thorn in their side were now commanded to give them anything they needed. God provides, sometimes in unexpected ways. Yet again we are reminded of Gods power over men.

 Ezra 7:10-13 the second wave of remnant returns, Gods continued blessing, this time the new king Artaxerxes sends anyone who was "minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem,"  he also sends them with many treasures for the house of God and tells them in Ezra 7:18    "And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God." 
Then he says in in verse 20 that Ezra can have anything of the kings treasures that he needs for the work, 
Verse 21 he commands the treasurers of the nations around Jerusalem to give Ezra whatever he needed
Verses 25-26 he puts Ezra in charge and tells him that if anyone transgresses their law that they have the authority to make judgement on them, themselves. It is incredible what God can do through a heathen king! 
Ezra 7:27-28 we find Ezra's response to the situation, he praised God and he was strengthened. When God blesses us we need to praise Him, when were up, down, healthy, sick, injured, persecuted, lifted up, all the time we need to praise Him! Our wealth is our hurt here, we are so used to things that most of the world never receives that we do not see blessings as blessings, just expected things, 
Proverbs  30:8-9    "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9    Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." 
Just look at where the most people are getting saved, third world countries, slums, jails, prisons, not door to door, not in church, not in America.

Ezra 9 Ezra finds out Israel has sinned taking strange wives of other nations, after all that God has just done for them! Ezra's response is incredible Ezra 9:3    "And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied." 
Once his astonishment has passed he knows what must be done, it's time to pray, and it would do us well today to compare his prayer to our lives. Ezra 9:6-15.

In Ezra chapter 10 all Israel gets behind the man of God even after he preaches the "hateful message" of ye have transgressed, and they get right with God. When faced with our sin the right response is not anger, depression, or quitting, it is humble, heartfelt, soul stirred prayer, accompanied by action to get back on track, Israel gladly rid themselves of the sin, we just expect God to forgive us and let us keep it.
Memory Verse: Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

S.S.S. Study Kings and Prophets
Family School at Faith Baptist Church
Week 8
The first and second returns of the remnant.
Student Notes:

Homework:   This week write a five-ten minute (boys) sermon or lesson (girls) lesson, on a truth, doctrine, character, or passage that we have looked at during this Kings and Prophets study, you may use your workbooks for reference if you want to. These will be turned in.

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