VIDEO RECORDING OF THIS SERMON
AUDIO RECORDING OF THIS SERMON
Ezra 9:9 is a good picture of what we are to do after we get saved or after we get right with God following a big detour into sin. Before we were saved or while we were on the detour, we were bondmen to sin, like these Jews were. We were holden with the cords of our sins, Prov 5:22. It didn’t look like there was any way we could get loose. Yet, God extended mercy unto us.
God extended mercy unto us not only to forgive us but to also get us to change. He gave us mercy to leave the old life and start anew. Bob Jones, Sr. said, “There’s no stain on any page of any tomorrow. Turn a new page, and start on a clean sheet, and write a clean record by the grace of God from now on. Be everything you can be from now on by the grace of God.”
In order to do this, God extended mercy unto us:
To give us a reviving. When the Jews were in captivity in Babylon, Ps 137:1-6, they hanged their harps upon the willows. When Cyrus made the decree for them to return to Judah in Ezra 1:3, he said let them go up to Jerusalem. Ezra 1:5 says, “all them whose spirit God had raised to go up” went.
In Ezra 3:10-11 when the builders laid the foundation for the temple the people “sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord… all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord.” Their harps were no longer hung in the willows. They were once again singing “the Lord’s song.”
Prov 21:16 says, “The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.” That’s where we were. When we turned, God extended mercy unto us to come out from the congregation of the dead and to give us a reviving. We could take our harps off the willows, gather with the saints of God, and sing together and shout. God gave us a reviving.
Sing, I’m free, free, free, I have been set free. I have met the man, the man from Galilee. He took away my sins, my heavy load of sin. And now I’m shouting glory, Hallelujah.
Sing, Oh, it’s wonderful to be a Christian. Oh, it’s wonderful to be God’s child. Oh, it’s wonderful to have your sins forgiven. Oh, it’s wonderful to be redeemed, justified, forever reconciled.
Have you been revived? Have you been singing the Lord’s song? If not, you need to get your harp off the willow and start singing with the saints of God. We are alive. God in his mercy has given you a reviving.
To set up the house of our God. Ezra 4:1 the children of the captivity builded the temple. This wasn’t easy work and they had opposition. In Ezra 4:23 their adversaries made them to cease by force and power. In Ezra 5:2, despite their adversaries “then rose up Zerubbabel and Jeshua and began to build the house of God.” Ezra 5:8 says, “this work goeth fast on and prospereth in their hands.” In Ezra 5:16 we see that this wasn’t quick work. The Bible says, “since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.” In Ezra 6:7 we find that God blessed them with protection as they continued to build. We read the decree, “let the work of this house of God alone.”
When you get saved, your body is now the temple of the Holy Ghost. You are not your own, you’re bought with a price. When you get saved, or when you return like the prodigal son, it’s time to set up the house of God. This doesn’t happen by chance or by just sitting in church. God gives you mercy to set the house up. Go to work on it. Remove things that don’t belong in God’s house. Bring in things that do belong in his house. Set the house up.
Nehemiah threw “all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber,” in Neh 13:8. Then they cleansed the chamber. And then he brought the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense, Neh 13:9. He took out the bad and replaced it with the good. Do the same thing in your house. Set it up right.
Build character, build good godly habits, build a good family, build good relationships, build upon good Biblical principles, build on good ethics, and so forth. The devil will fight you and some of your old friends will fight you, but keep building. Don’t stop.
To repair the desolations thereof. In Neh 2:17 Nehemiah saw Jerusalem lie waste. Sin can do much damage to your body; but by God’s mercy you can repair the desolations thereof. When Hezekiah and Josiah repaired the temple, they had to set men to the work, they had to spend money on the repairs, and it was a lot of work.
There’s some damage you need to repair. When possible, you want to be so thorough in your repairs that the desolations are no longer apparent. Have you seen footage of the destruction from bombing during WWII, for instance? When you visit those cities today, it is not possible to see the desolations that were there. The debris has been removed and the buildings have been repaired. Repair the damage done to your family because of your sin.
When you see a beautiful object made of gold, you never consider what that gold looked like when it first came out of the mine. You only behold what it looks like after it has been refined and shaped in the hands of a master. Be like that gold.
In Kiev, I saw a building that was bombed. Instead of tearing it down and rebuilding, they removed the debris and rebuilt only that part which was destroyed. You can see the old and the new. Sometimes, the scars of sin remain after the repairs. But as Bob Jones, Sr. said, “You may not be all you could have been, but, from now on, you can be all you ought to be.”
To give us a wall. The wall around Jerusalem was originally built as a defensive fortification to protect the city. That’s what walls are for. But the wall was also a reminder of the need to maintain separation from the influences of the countries around them; influences like false god worship and intermarriage. But they didn’t separate. They brought the abominations of the other nations into their city and into the temple. Thus, when the Chaldeans laid siege to the city, the wall was not enough to protect them. They fell and their city and wall were destroyed.
The same thing happened to you when you were out in the world. Your failure to separate from sin and sinners caused destruction in your life. Your condition is best illustrated by the condition of the wall after the fall. In Neh 2:13 the wall was broken down, and the gates were burned with fire. In Neh 4:2 we see heaps of rubbish which was burned. In Neh 4:10 there was much rubbish.
Nevertheless, when the Jews decided to build the wall and do the work, the wall was finished in 52 days, Neh 6:15. In Neh 6:16 they perceived that this work was wrought of our God. When you get God’s help to give you a wall, you can get a good wall built.
You must build the wall for your separation. Depart from evil. And your wall is for your protection. Keep evil out. If you don’t build a good wall, and use it to keep evil out, you’re going back down just like the Jews did after Jesus’ ascension. Don’t let this happen.
Conclusion: Thank God that you are saved and thank God that you are no longer on the detour. If either of these is not true in your life, get this fixed today. Now that you are in the right relationship to God, revive, set up your house, repair your desolations, and build your wall. If you have not done these or some of these, go to work on them now. You will be strong and well fortified when you do.