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Faithlife

God's Cure For A Sleepy Church - Part 2

God's Cure For A Sleepy Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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To maintain a zeal and passion for God, we must have a zeal and passion for God's Word!

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

We, Ebenezer Bible Fellowship Church, are a local church of Jesus Christ, a subset of the universal church, both visible and invisible, who are called to be the incarnation of our Lord to this lost world. A bastion for the truth, which shines the light against the onslaughts of dark wickedness, leading our culture to know God through his son Jesus Christ by the faithful proclamation of the Gospel. But what happens when we get distracted from our primary function and fall asleep?
Last week Pastor Tim began a mini series on God’s cure for the sleepy church, taken from the book of . We saw that this cure begins with an Awareness of God and our circumstances being awaken by God’s Word; that awareness produces within us a Brokenness, hunger, and passion for God; this brokenness leads us to a total Dependency upon Him, as seen in our outcry to him in prayer.
This morning we want to continue with this theme, but look at what it is that keeps us from falling back to sleep after a period of God’s powerful movement in our midst. The children of Israel, after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, had returned and rebuilt the temple under Ezra, and now completed the wall around Jerusalem in just 52 days, certainly the powerful hand of God was upon them. So now what? How do they maintain that zeal, that passion for God? Here’s where we pick up the story in .

Text: (pg 403)

Main Idea: To maintain a zeal and passion for God, we must have a zeal and passion for God's Word!

1. The zeal and passion for God’s Word happens when we gather to hear it read (v. 1-6)

- to hear God’s Word read fosters unity (v. 1-2)

approximately 50,000 people, men and women came together to hear the reading of the word.
Nothing unifies God’s people like the reading of the word.
The word is for Jews, Gentiles, Male, Female, rich or poor.

- to hear God’s Word read creates anticipation (v. 3-4)

The stance of the people is that of people of God coming together to ratify or renew their covenant or commitment with God
Exodus 24:7 ESV
7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”
2 Kings 23:1–3 ESV
1 Then the king sent, and all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem were gathered to him. 2 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the prophets, all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. 3 And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.
The attitude of the people is one of anticipation of the words read, with the understanding of responsibility to be carried out.

- to hear God’s Word read breeds worship (v. 5-6)

By standing they expressed their reverence for the Law

As the word is read and the description of who God is and what he requires is made known, the people respond in worship.

2. The zeal and passion for God’s Word happens when we desire to have it explained (v. 7-9)

- to explain God’s Word means to expose its meaning (v. 8)

The meaning of expository, or expositional preaching is beautifully explained here:
The steps are:
Read - to declare what is written
Clearly - to be made free from confusion or ambiguity, paragraph by paragraph, with interpretation.
to be made free from confusion or ambiguity; made clear.
Sense - the idea that is intended by the writer
Understand - the purpose of expository preaching is that the people understand the reading
the idea that is intended.
to be made free from confusion or ambiguity; made clear.
The purpose of expository preaching is that the people understand the reading
Therefore, expository preaching is preaching that derives its message from the text; what the text says, the message says. We do not read into the text, but expose the meaning of the text.

- to explain God’s Word necessitates the use of Spiritual Leadership in the process (v. 7, 9)

God calls spiritual leadership to study and teach God’s truth to God’s people.
Ezra 7:6–10 ESV
6 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. 7 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. 8 And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 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. 10 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.
ezra 7:6-10
1 Timothy 3:2 ESV
2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

3. The zeal and passion for God’s Word happens when we yield to keep its commands (v. 10-18)

- yielding to God’s Word gives us a proper perspective of ourselves (v. 9)

4. The Zeal and Passion for God will continue when we

- yielding to God’s Word brings joy as a result of God’s strength (v. 10)

- yielding to God’s Word causes us to remember His faithfulness (v. 13-18)

The children celebrated the Feast of Booths which brought them into remembrance of the years of God’s faithful watch care for them in the wilderness when their stayed in tents.
This is much like our observance of the Lord Supper and Baptism; symbols of God’s faithfulness to us in salvation.
God’s faithfulness to us requires us to respond

So What?

Respond!

God’s faithfulness requires us to respond to what his word commands of us; as husbands, wives, children, citizens, leaders, etc. Do we read to understand so we respond as a constant renewal of our relationship with our Father?
Without the faithful reading, studying, and obedience the God’s Word, we will slip into lethargy, and fall asleep on the job.
Do you have a zeal and passion for God…then you must have a zeal and passion for God’s Word!
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