The Macedonian Call - Part 2

The Macedonian Call

The Father (God) in Phillipi

The Father Brings Salvation to Households

A good father takes the time to make each opportunity a teaching moment

Acts 16:11-15
So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

The Father Delivers from Demons

A good father opens our eyes to things otherwise unrealized.  His desire is to empower us and set us free.

Acts 16:16-24
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Father Frees Us From Our Prisons

A good father fights for us in our struggles.  Through Christ, our Heavenly Father sets us free from our prisons. 

Acts 16:25-40
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

Worship your way out of prison

*Have mercy on the ones who once imprisoned you that they too might find the salvation of God

 

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
- Nelson Mandela

 

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
- Nelson Mandela

 

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.” - Nelson Mandela

Jesus and his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins was the perfect expression of the Father’s love.  Christ’s resurrection from he dead is the perfect encouragement from the Father than forgiveness, a new hope and new life can be ours as we turn to him in repentance and faith.  

Second City Church - The Macedonian Call - Rollan Fisher 2018

The Macedonian Call - Part 1

The Macedonian Call

 

Part of theology is to understand and discern the ways of God.  We can discover what God intends for Christ-centered living by looking at how He’s interacted with and directed His people throughout Biblical history. 

To whom God has called you
To whom God has called you to minister
With whom God has called you to minister 

Acts 16:1-10 
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.


To whom God has called you

God calls you to himself in Christ as an individual.  (This is most important and is provided for as we turn away from our sins and put our trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and provision for new life through his resurrection from the dead). He calls you to his purposes as a part of his people. 

V. 1 - Timothy joins Paul, Silas, Luke and their missionary companions.  
Find your people, find your purpose.  
It is here that you are discipled and grow. 

Who you are doing things with is just as important as what you are doing for the Lord. 

This is true in marriage and all areas of life 

I Corinthians 15:33
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

“Find your people, find your purpose.”
-Jim Laffoon 


To whom God has called you to minister

2. God gives you a place and a people to whom you minister. 
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  
This includes your workplace, your friendship group, your neighborhood, your school, a city or a nation. 

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” - Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Godly counsel helps protect us from this. 

God steers moving ships. Paul was set apart for his missionary work in Acts 13.  This was not in question.  The rest of his ministry became his efforts to fulfill that call through prayerful planning and evangelistic efforts with the people with whom God had joined him.  The dream from God to reach the Macedonians (which inevitably resulted in the churches in Phillipi, Thessalonica, Berea, etc.) would come as they were on the move to fulfill that Acts 13 call.  The Acts 13 call would become the Macedonian call. 


With whom God has called you to minister

3. God gives you plans and purpose in the counsel of your people with whom he’s called you to minister.  
Find your people, define your plans. 

How Will I Know?

The Ways of God are building and interconnected.  He is a wise master builder and calls us to be as well.  

You don’t need to be a maverick. 

God has not left it to you to have the entirety of His Kingdom plans on your own.  It keeps you from being isolated, running solo and keeps you connected to the people/leadership with whom he wants you to advance His Kingdom. 

Proverbs 15:22 
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 20:18
Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.

Proverbs 24:3-7
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth.

There is room for you.  If you don't see something represented at the church, come forward and help create it.  We are the body and all the parts need to function.  If you don't see something, it may be because we haven't heard from you yet. 

Second City Church - The Macedonian Call - Rollan Fisher 2018

Resolve - 2018

Resolve

 

Resolve To Finish


Resolve: Why are we talking about this?

We’ve recently gone through the book of Ezra and learned why and how to rebuild the altars of worship in our lives. Once these altars are rebuilt and we are worshipping our Father in Heaven through Jesus Christ, we need to continue to produce fruit born out of worship for the rest of our lives until Jesus return. We need Holy Spirit empowered RESOLVE!

Definition of Resolve
Verb
settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter)
decide firmly on a course of action
separate or cause to be separated into components
Noun
firm determination to do something.

God’s Definition of Resolve

Zechariah 4:1-7
And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. 3 And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” 4 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” 6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”

God’s Word and the Holy Spirit will supply our strength and grace to finish the work!
“Blessed, but not blessed”

Malachi 2:1-3
“And now, you priests, this warning is for you.
“And now, you priests, this warning is for you. not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.”

‘And now you priests’: We are priests, so this warning is for us

1 Peter 2:4-5
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
‘Resolve to honor my name’: We are called to abide in Christ, not only in name, but producing fruit that brings honor to Him. By resolving to abide in Christ through obeying Him, we honor Him.

John 15:1-17
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

“And I will curse your blessings”: Why are people blessed, but not blessed?
What does it mean to be blessed?

Psalm 32:1-3
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Called to be blessed in Christ through a posture of resolve.

Luke 11:27-28
27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

“Finished, but must finish”

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace
of our God and the Lord Jesus
“To this end”- The return of Jesus to be glorified in His saints
“Make you worthy of his calling”- to bring Jesus glory on the day He returns
“May fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith”- Jesus will work in you to desire and resolve for fruitfulness that brings Him glory
“By his power”- remember the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel? It’s by God’s Spirit and not our strength.
“So that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,and you in him””- When we abide in Jesus we are fruitful and He is glorified, and His glory is our glory because He is the head and we are His body.
“According to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus”- again, resolve is a posture of abiding in Christ to receive grace to produce fruit.
JESUS has finished His work through His resolve and this provided for our salvation
Now in response we must have the same resolve to finish the work he has entrusted to us

We are all called to produce the fruits of the Spirit, make disciples teaching them to obey Jesus by loving God and people, as well as to specific callings according to

Ephesians 2:10
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Application

Meditate on the resolve of Christ
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."”

Matthew 17:19-20 ESV http://bible.us/59/mat.17.19-20.esv
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a
Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not
welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.”


Luke 9:51-56 NIV
Test the posture of resolve in your own heart
Write down the heavenly vision to which you must apply your resolve
In your personal discipline and life (Galatians 5:22-23)
In JESUS’s kingdom work as a part of His church (Ephesians 2:10)
 

Second City Church - Resolve - Pastor Cole Parleir 2018

Memorial - 2018

Memorial

Memorial Day

Joshua 4:1-18
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the Lord told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day. For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people passed over in haste. And when all the people had finished passing over, the ark of the Lord and the priests passed over before the people. The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh passed over armed before the people of Israel, as Moses had told them. About 40,000 ready for war passed over before the Lord for battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Command the priests bearing the ark of the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.” So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.” And when the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up on dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before.

Memorials are essentially stories being told

God’s story in your life is important 


Faithfulness of God on Display

*Memorials tell the story of God’s faithfulness, grace, mercy, love and power. 

God supplies the vision and the destination, therefore you are able to measure his faithfulness by his promises.  

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan, they set up memorial stones 

God is telling an ongoing story of redemption in Christ. Your life is a part of that.  
You need to journal the stories of God’s faithfulness to you as memorial stones for your benefit and those who come after you.

“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

*Part of people’s paralysis today is hearing only the highlights of people’s stories, not the process that they went through to achieve their goals.  Think conferences, Instagram, even some preaching and teaching.  

*What are the miracles that God has performed in your life?  Before you knew him?  Since you’ve come to know Christ?

You need to tell the story over and over again.  

Filter for Today’s Trial

*Memorials give you a filter for the present trials as you continue on mission with Jesus. 

Jesus had a process that He went through to fulfill the Father’s call that is now forever memorialized. 

Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 7  In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Your confidence in God’s power to change your life, provision to supply your needs and purpose in advancing his Kingdom through life’s circumstances today is all based on the testimony of what he’s already accomplished in Christ.  

He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning in the end.  All things begin and end with Him. 

*How does the reality of what Christ has already done provide encouragement for you to approach his throne of grace in the midst trials today?
 

Faith for tomorrow’s High Call

*Memorials give you faith for tomorrow’s high call for you and the people with whom he’s joined you in Christ. 

John 14:1-6
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Our vision is of a new heaven and a new earth, ruling and reigning with Christ in his Father’s house. 

Revelation 21:1-8
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Our great High Priest Jesus has passed through the waters of death through his sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  He is the Messiah, the great soldier of God fallen for our never-ending freedom. Through his presence, Christ has parted the waters giving us access to God’s eternal life.  

Second City Church - Memorial - Rollan Fisher 2018

Rebuilding the Altars - Part 7

Rebuilding The Altars

Elements of Worship

Ezra 6:6-12
“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill. May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”

Ezra 7:7-28
And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel: “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace.  And now I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king's treasury. “And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God. “And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.” Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

  • Encounter - this is what the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants helped facilitate in preparation of the sacrifices for worship

  • Formation - this is what Ezra the teacher of the Law/Word of God helped facilitate

  • Mission - this is what King Darius and Artaxerxes represented, as those influenced by the one true Lord of Heaven and Earth

Cultivating a Heart of Worship

Psalm 84:1-12
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!  2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.  3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.  4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.  6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.  7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah  9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!  10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.  12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Serve - This is what the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants did before the Lord.  As a priesthood of believers (I Peter 2:9), this is what we do in our various expressions to build God’s church today

Sow - This is what King Darius and King Artaxerxes were stirred to do in providing for the building of the temple and the ongoing worship that took place thereafter

V.1-2 Sing - the Psalms were songs that declared the reality, character, disposition, power and person of God. When sung over and over, these truths find a way into our hearts

V.3 Sit - like the swallow, we find a place to sit, feed and have the excitement, vitality and expectation of our youth renewed continually at the altar of God

V.4-7 Strengthen - Time spent with God is returned with strength of spirit, soul, mind and body.  We find this while alone with God but most especially in the gathered worship of the saints

Psalm 87:1-3
On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah

V.8 Supplicate - This is where you are making your requests known to your Heavenly Father. Knowing that he both kindly and supernaturally answers gives you continued encouragement, excitement and motivation to approach his throne.

V.1 Stay - The dwelling place is the domain where you live, it is not the place you “visit” or “frequent”

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” -John Piper

The Results of Worship

Hope and Joy 

 

Romans 14:17-19
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Jesus is to be the hero of every message

John 15:1-17
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

To the Saint

To the Skeptic

To the Prodigal

What is the Joy of our Salvation?

  • The Cross of Jesus 

  • The Father’s Forgiveness of Sins - Freedom from Guilt and Condemnation

  • Freedom from Destructive Patterns 

  • The Holy Spirit and his Fruit

  • The Promises of God’s Word

  • A Life of Purpose and Answered Prayers

  • Christ’s Resurrection Followed by Ours

  • Family Provided by our Heavenly Father 

  • Healing and a Glorified Body

  • The Rewards of Heaven - Ruling and Reigning with Christ

  • Eternal Life 

  • Unbroken Fellowship with the Risen Lord as in a return to the Utopic Garden of Eden where mind, body and soul were in proper order and health in the presence of the benevolent Creator.  This is the sozos, the salvation, rescue, deliverance and restoration of God, where he once again makes all things whole

 

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Second City Church - Rebuilding the Altars - Rollan Fisher 2018

Rebuilding the Altars - Part 6

Rebuilding The Altars

Ezra 6:6-18
“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God.The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill. May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.” Then, according to the word sent by Darius the king, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what Darius the king had ordered. And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia; and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.

*It took YEARS to rebuild the temple for worship to God.  

Ezra 4:24
Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

A 15 year hiatus...

Ezra 5:1,2
Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them.
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.

Ezra 6:14,15
And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia; and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.


Ezra 7:1-28
Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants.And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel: “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace.  And now I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king's treasury. “And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God. “And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.” Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

“Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a stone; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is room for you    

Ephesians 4:15-16
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

2 Timothy 1:3-14
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Second City Church - Rebuilding the Altars - Rollan Fisher 2018

Rebuilding the Altars - Part 4

Rebuilding The Altars

Enemy at the Gate

When you endeavor to build a life of worship to God, you mustbe aware of the adversaries that come to destroy that devotion.  In doing so, you canprayerfully define your relationships to overcome the derailments that would steal both your faith and calling in Christ. 

Identifying Your Adversaries to Building a Life of Worship
What to Do About These Adversaries

Identifying Your Adversaries to Building a Life of Worship

Ezra 4:1-6
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers' houses and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria who brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses in Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.” Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

Two adversaries:

Syncretists

These are human adversaries taken captive by the devil to discourage you from building a life of worship. They muddle the wisdom of the world with the truth of God and make the appeal that you can live in agreement with both.  In this case, as well as the next, you can be your own adversary with syncretism filling your own heart. 

“In contrast to ethical relativism, Christianity sets forth a system of absolute moral values and affirms that God has placed within the very structure of this universe certain moral principles that are fixed and immutable.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Purple Book/Discipleship Challenge
Make sure that the counsel that you both give and receive is in agreement with the Word of God

Reign of Cyrus - 559 (536 for Exile return) - 530BC
Reign of Darius -  began 522 BC

14 years of diversionary counsel

Your adversaries will try to discourage you over the course of TIME with fear-inducing, frustrating counsel (v. 4,5)

i.e. - 

The Fear: 
“If you live a life of purity, you’ll end up alone and without love.”

The Truth:

“There is so much frustration in the world because we have relied on gods rather than God. We have worshiped the god of pleasure only to discover that thrills play out and sensations are short-lived.”
 –Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Fear: 
“If you put God and his Kingdom first, there’s no way you will miss living your best life.”

Cardi B and Chance the Rapper’s song has become an anthem of sorts

The Truth:
Mark 8:34-38
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

The Fear:
“If you stand on Biblical convictions, you will be thought narrow and hateful.” 

The Truth:
When in fact Biblical conviction makes us more loving, merciful and graceful in the face of sin because of the redeeming cross of Jesus Christ. 

“By opening our lives to God in Christ, we become new creatures. This experience, which Jesus spoke of as the new birth, is essential if we are to be transformed nonconformists . . . Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.” –MLK

Many of the discouragements can be summarized in THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT

“When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love him.“
-Elisabeth Elliot


Ezra 4:7-16
In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and Mithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows: Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the governors, the officials, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River. (This is a copy of the letter that they sent.) “To Artaxerxes the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired. Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste. We make known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.”

Ezra 4:17-24
The king sent an answer: “To Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now the letter that you sent to us has been plainly read before me. And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it has been found that this city from of old has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid. Therefore make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me. And take care not to be slack in this matter. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?” 23Then, when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their associates, they went in haste to the Jews at Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease. Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Accusers

The Accuser of the brethren is the devil’s name.  He accuses you before God day and night (Revelation 12:10).  He makes accusation against you in your own thoughts and towards your brothers and sisters in Christ.  When you allow the accuser to fill your heart, you will be too discouraged to build the life of worship that God intends for you.  When you allow the accuser into your relationships, you will seperate from the ones with whom God has paired you because you have begun to mistrust their character, intentions, heart and goals.  When this happens, the construction of the house of God for worship that you were commissioned to build with others will come to a halt as well.

What to Do About These Adversaries

“The more you pray, the less you'll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You'll feel more patient and less pressured.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose of Christmas

2 Timothy 2:20-26
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

People will either be a wet blanket to your faith...

Or a fire-starter

Syncretism is an enemy of true worship to God. You want to build along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  Those who do not can dilute your devotion. 

*With the pure in heart - build 

To the divided hearts - minister

By the Holy Spirit and the fruit of peoples lives, you must be discerning enough in your daily relationships to know the difference. 

Come meet Jesus today so that he might cleanse you of syncretism and through his redeeming blood drive the accuser out of your life by the cross! 

Second City Church - Rebuilding the Altars - Rollan Fisher 2018

Rebuilding the Altars - Part 3

Rebuilding The Altars

Rhythms

Ezra 3:1-7
When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem. Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. They set the altar in its place, for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening. And they kept the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required, and after that the regular burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the appointed feasts of the Lord, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia.

As long as the vision of heaven is always changing, the vision of earth will be exactly the same. No ideal will remain long enough to be realized, or even partly realized. The modern young man will never change his environment; for he will always change his mind. -

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

“I divide each biblical command into four parts, thereby fashioning a garland of four strands. That is I think of each commandment as first, instruction, which is really what it is intended to be, and consider what the Lord God demands of me so earnestly. Second I turn it into a thanksgiving; third, a confession; and fourth, a prayer.” This turns every biblical text into “ a school text, a song book, a penitential book, and a prayer book.” - Martin Luther

Ezra 3:8-13
Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to supervise the work of the house of the Lord.And Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the sons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers. And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord , according to the directions of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord , because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.

How do I know that God’s who He says that He is, that his promises are sure and that I can trust what things are reaffirmed in the rhythms of my devotion?  I know it all by the sacrificial death on the cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

John 2:18-22
So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Second City Church - Rebuilding the Altars - Rollan Fisher 2018

Rebuilding the Altars - Part 2

Rebuilding The Altars
  1. A History of the Breakdown and Rebuilding of the Altars for Worship throughout the Bible
  2. God's Provision for Rebuilding Your Altars
  3. Why Your Mentality Towards Building is Important in Worship
  4. The Filter Through Which All of Our Building Should Come

A History of the Breakdown and Rebuilding of the Altars for Worship throughout the Bible

Jeremiah ministered from 627BC until after the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC, a period of about 50 years (Jeremiah 25:3-7).

Daniel took place in Babylon from around 605BC (when Daniel participated in his teens in the first Babylonian deportation) to 536BC (around the date of his last prophetic writing when he would have been in his eighties)

Returning Exile Group #1: 536BC

Leader: Zerubbabel the governor and Jeshua the high priest commissioned by King Cyrus to restore proper worship and their associated ceremonies.

Haggai - exhorted the Israelites in the face of opposition to continue the rebuilding of the temple which was completed in 516BC.  It is not known if Haggai lived to see its completion. 

Zechariah - his ministry began in 520BC overlapping Haggai’s

Esther was queen in Persia around 487BC, 30 years prior to Ezra’s efforts.  She was amongst those who chose not to be a part of the first return to Jerusalem. 

79 years later.....

Returning Exile Group #2: 457BC

Leader: Ezra the scribe commissioned by King Artaxerxes to teach the Mosaic Law to the people in Israel

13 years later.....

Returning Exile Group #3: 444BC

Leader: Nehemiah to restore the walls of defense around Jerusalem. 

God's Provision for Rebuilding Your Altars

Ezra 1:1-11
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel— he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” Then rose up the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem. And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered. Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels; all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.

God’s provision for you to build a life of worship is:

  1. A place (Jerusalem - i.e. your church), 
  2. Your resources that you dedicate as an expression of obedient worship and
  3. A people with whom to build the altar of worship

v. 3 - You help build your church (the house of the Lord represented the place of building altars for worship)

v. 3, 5 - All of the people of God were exhorted by Cyrus to go. Not everyone went. There were waves of people (see history above)

Why Your Mentality Towards Building is Important in Worship

God in his nature is a wise master builder. 

In whatever you’re doing, in EVERY season of life, you want to ask yourself the question,

"What am I building for the Kingdom of God?"

That means

No matter where you are in life :

Regardless of your lot in life, build something beautiful on it.

- Zig Ziglar

 

In your singleness:

You can't build a foundation of sin now for a life of purity later.
- Craig Groeschel, Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working

In your Marriage:

"The greatness of marriage is correlated with the size and passion of the dream two loves have of their life together."  -Neil Clark Warren

 

No matter what you do:

“A job is a vocation only if someone else calls you to do it for them rather than for yourself. And so our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests. Thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person.” 

― Timothy J. Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Plan for the World

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

The Filter Through Which All of Our Building Should Come

1 Corinthians 3:5-15
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

One Practical Way to do this is to take:

*The Discipleship Challenge

If you’ve not done the Purple Book, now is your time.  

If you have already, now is your opportunity to take someone through to see Jesus receive the fruit of his sinless life, sacrificial death on the cross, burial and resurrection from the dead to redeem us all!

Second City Church - Rebuilding the Altars - Rollan Fisher 2018