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:


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.


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