23 Nov 2013 Service – Tan Ye Peng
The Book of Ezra describes 2 returns from the Babylonian captivity:
Ezra 1-6: First 6 chapters is about Zerubbabel,he was to rebuild the temple.
Ezra 7-10: Under the leadership of Ezra, he came back to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people.
The people were not living according to God’s word, so Ezra felt very burdened and came back to rebuild their spiritual condition.
What you do rebuild will depend on who you see you are. If you are defined by your career or job, then you will come back to rebuild your job. If it’s family, then you would want to rebuild your heritage or ancestry.
But Zerubbabel and the people were not going back to build their own things but the temple of God. Because they know that their identity is tied to God. No God, no Israel.
When they had the opportunity, the first thing they thought was to rebuild the worship of yahweh.
Do you see your identity based on your personal things, or based on God?
Your identity is tied to faith in God! The church is significant because it is our spiritual home.
But rebuilding the House of God is never easy.
#1 There were a lot of Opposition
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the Lord God of Israel, Ezra 4:1 …. Adversaries..
4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. 4-6
#2. The rebuilding of the temple prospered because of the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah
It was the Word of God that sustained the people’s efforts to rebuild the physical temple.
14 So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. Ezra 6:14
14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”
#3 He restored the teaching of the Word of God
10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10
Ezra knew that in order to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people, he had to study the Word of God, do it himself, and teach it to the people.
#4. Ezra could then restore the spiritual condition of the people
10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments, Ezra 9:10
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Overcoming Trials and Temptation
A. Wilderness: “Command that these stones become bread”
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matt 4:3-4
Jesus gives us the key to our victory, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
B. Pinnacle of the Temple: “Throw yourself down … He will give His angels charge over you.”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
Jesus said,”It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”
C. Exceedingly high mountain: “All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Jesus said to him, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”
Jesus overcame the devil by the Word of God. We will overcome the devil by the Word of God!
Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee
Jesus ministry was not according to what he wanted, but according to the word of God.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
Journeying with Jesus will always bring you to a place of healing (spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically).
Healing happens in 2 ways:
A. Renewing of your mind
Most of the time, sickness and diseases are caused by the mind.
Jesus wants to heal your mind and change the way you think.
B. Presence of God
Through the touch.
The devil comes and finds that your life is empty. He gathers more demons and comes to attack you.
43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
But if you keep filling yourself with God’s word, he will leave you.
Stand under God’s word, submit yourself and obey him.
To understand is to simply obey. If that’s what You say, I will believe. Capture me with Your fishing net, I will follow You. Because otherwise, we won’t know how to live.
To truly understand is to stand under.
Parable of the Sower
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’
If you don’t understand this Parable, you won’t understand the other parables, it is a central Parable.
#1 Wayside Ground. (Never start)
The devil will come and tempt you when you are not filled with the word of God!
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
#2 Stony Ground (Only start)
Only start. Only good at starting, but when trials come you stumble and give up.
20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
#3 Thorny Ground (Start but stops)
start but stop. You don’t want to be 100 percent caught by God. You become unfruitful.
22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
#4 Good Ground (Start to completion)
There is no problem with the Word. To bear fruit, we need endurance.
23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Understand… Stand under.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses,[a] Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
Feeding the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”
They were in a deserted place because John the Baptist was beheaded, it was a sensitive period.
Disciples were thinking : we need to stay low profile, and there was not enough food.
But God said you give them something to eat!
19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Jesus Walks on the Sea
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Little faith here doesn’t mean small amount of faith, but little in duration… Why did you not continue in your faith? Why was it aborted? Peter was distracted.
If you Persevere all the way, you will be fruitful!
34 When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.V34 -36
Respond to God in Faith!
1 Kings 17:10-16 The miracle provision will not end!
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’”
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.