First Christian Church
November 14, 2021 2nd Service
      • Bible Trivia
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  • Alive In Us
      • 1 John 4:14CSB

  • Your Love Awakens Me
      • 1 Corinthians 15:57CSB

  • Same Power
      • Psalm 57:11CSB

  • There Is A Kingdom
  • INTRODUCTION
    Have you ever forgotten something that was important not to forget?
    Maybe it was a step in the process of building something, or perhaps it was a birthday or anniversary.
    It is easy to forget what is essential.
    When we forget what is essential, we usually find ourselves in some trouble or the dog house. 😀
    One of the things that can cause us to forget what is essential is information overload.
    We are so overloaded with information these days.
    Information overload can contribute to pushing out and forgetting the information we need, the most critical information for our lives.
    It's easy for people to forget important matters.
    The pace of life is another contributing factor.
    In our fast-paced, information-driven society, the present is closer to mind than the past, whether it's where we left the car keys last night or what happened twenty years ago.
    God constantly challenges his people to remember and prescribes rituals to help us do so.
    In the book of Joshua, God commanded the Hebrew children to build an altar after they crossed the Jordan to remind future generations of what happened in the wilderness (Joshua 4).
    The Jewish feasts and festivals, like Passover, were created to help people remember God's faithfulness in history (Leviticus 23:4–8).
    God knows we tend to forget important things.
    Today we will look at an event that will help punctuate why we need to memorize and remember God's Word.
    We touched on the event we are going to examine today a couple of weeks ago.
    From the story of the rebuilding of the Temple, we will see some principles that will apply to help make sure we allow God's Word to be in the forefront of our minds.
    Our Big Idea of the Message is: God will reclaim and recall to our minds the truth we have forgotten.
    One of the blessings of memorizing the Word is that even when we seem to forget it, or when it seems our proverbial hard drive is full, God will help bring to mind what we have put into our minds as we need such wisdom!
    We will use the story of the decree of Cyrus as a metaphor for the Word of God in the message today.
    Let's begin with Ezra 5:17-6:5
    Ezra 5:17–6:5 (CSB)
    17 So if it pleases the king, let a search of the royal archives in Babylon be conducted to see if it is true that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. Let the king’s decision regarding this matter be sent to us.
    1 King Darius gave the order, and they searched in the library of Babylon in the archives.
    2 But it was in the fortress of Ecbatana (Ek BANT TANA) in the province of Media that a scroll was found with this record written on it:
    3 In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued a decree concerning the house of God in Jerusalem: Let the house be rebuilt as a place for offering sacrifices, and let its original foundations be retained. Its height is to be ninety feet and its width ninety feet,
    4 with three layers of cut stones and one of timber. The cost is to be paid from the royal treasury.
    5 The gold and silver articles of God’s house that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon must also be returned. They are to be brought to the temple in Jerusalem where they belong and put into the house of God.
    SERMON

    I. Forgetting what is essential.

    As we covered a couple of weeks ago, we remember that the Jews spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon.
    King Cyrus of Persia defeated the Babylonians in 539 BC.
    The rise of Cyrus was prophesied in the Bible by Isaiah years before it happened.
    Also, according to God's revelation through Jeremiah concerning the timeline of the captivity, the 70 years in Babylon waw reached.
    Cyrus made a decree in 538 that said that any Jew wanting to go back to Jerusalem was allowed to rebuild the Temple.
    Two years later, in 536, the work of rebuilding the Temple began.
    During the time of rebuilding, the Jewish people faced a lot of opposition from those surrounding Jerusalem.
    The opposition became so intense that from 530 to 520, the efforts to rebuild the Temple came to a halt.
    Cyrus dies in 530 BC.
    One thing that is important for us to grasp is that in the Medo-Persian Empire, once a King issued a decree, that decree could not be changed or revoked, even when the King who issued the decree died.
    With that said, once Cyrus died, his order was not being followed, and it was forgotten.
    The decree of Cyrus was essential to the Jews being able to complete the task of rebuilding the Temple, especially since Cyrus was financing the project and providing the protection needed for the Temple to be rebuilt.
    Since the death of Cyrus there Persia was on its second King, who is now King Darius.
    It had been 18 years since Cyrus made the original binding decree.
    In the passage we read, we find that King Darius had to have the archives searched to find out if a decree was made.
    The Jewish people had not forgotten the decree, but the Persian Empire had forgotten.
    When you look at your life, what is the most crucial thing in your life?
    We can say one thing, but what we do shows what is important to us.
    We can say our kids are important yet spend no time with them.
    We can say our spouse is important but then put no real effort or time into them.
    When we forget God's Word, it will lead us down a destructive path.
    Psalm 119:11 (CSB)
    11 I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.
    The Psalmist reminds us of the importance of keeping God's Word in us.
    When we do not make God's Word central to our lives, we forget an essential element to our lives.
    I think it is good to memorize the Word because it stays with you.
    We have a memory verse group at FCC, in case you are interested.
    Another way to memorize is to read the Word and study it so much that it becomes ingrained into your memory.
    When Rachel was a little one, a lady from our Church, Regina Schulte, gave Rachel a book, One Tiny Baby.
    It was a book about the Birth of Jesus.
    Robyn and I read it so much to her we had it memorized. (READ WHAT YOU REMEMBER!)
    The Persians forgot what was an essential document for the Jewish people, and that oversight caused many problems and delays.
    After some research, the scroll with the original decree from Cyrus was found.
    Think about this for a second.
    Had Cyrus not issued the decree, it would not have been found, and the work would have ended.
    John 14:26 (CSB)
    26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
    This promise was made to the Apostles by Jesus; however, notice that part of the work of the Spirit is to help us recall what Jesus taught them.
    Part of the work of the Holy Spirit in us is to do the same.
    Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth and bring to mind what he had taught them (John 14:26).
    God might use a Persian king to remind his people of his promises, but, today, more than likely, the Spirit of the Lord that dwells in each believer will bring to mind God's Word, God's will, and God's promises.
    However, the Spirit will not help you recall what you do not have.
    In other words, if you have not spent time in the Word, there is no teaching for the Spirit to help you recall!
    Commentary on John (I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life)
    Jesus never promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the Christians of all ages into the truth, except in the limited context of this original promise, ENABLING them to REMEMBER what Jesus taught; and this is still the work of the Spirit.
    Let's look at verses 6-10
    Ezra 6:6–10 (CSB)
    6 Therefore, you must stay away from that place, Tattenai (TAT IN I) governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai (SHEATH ARE- BOZ IN EYE), and your colleagues, the officials in the region.
    7 Leave the construction of the house of God alone. Let the governor and elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its original site.
    8 I hereby issue a decree concerning what you are to do, so that the elders of the Jews can rebuild the house of God: The cost is to be paid in full to these men out of the royal revenues from the taxes of the region west of the Euphrates River, so that the work will not stop.
    9 Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to the God of the heavens, or wheat, salt, wine, and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—let it be given to them every day without fail,
    10 so that they can offer sacrifices of pleasing aroma to the God of the heavens and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

    II. Reclaiming what was forgotten.

    King Darius sanctioned research found that what the Jews in Jerusalem claimed concerning why they were attempting to rebuild the Temple was true!
    The King told those seeking to stop construction to quit getting in the way of the task at hand.
    The disputed decree that had been forgotten by many was now reclaimed, and the work would continue!
    The Historical Books, Vol. VIII: Commentary on Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (Darius’ Reply to Tattenai, Governor beyond the River)
    “This order must have stunned Tettanai (TAT IN I) and his companions.” Not only did Darius confirm the existence of the decree of Cyrus, he added his own authority and power to back it up, and even commanded the expenses of the project to be borne by the tax revenues which Tattenai controlled; and that probably meant that some of the expense would come out of Tattenai’s (TAT IN I’s) own pockets.
    In life, the things we have forgotten and drifted from, need to be reclaimed.
    I know of many folks raised in good Christian homes, which once they went to college only to see them forget what they were taught.
    It is heartbreaking to see.
    Why do you think we are in such bad shape as a nation?
    We have forgotten the Biblical principles this nation was founded upon.
    Now we are trying to survive as a nation with no objective standards.
    As a nation, we need to reclaim the BIBLICAL principles the country was founded upon
    What Darius did was reclaim what was forgotten.
    We have to do the same in our lives; we need to reclaim God's Word in our lives.
    We need to read God's Word as it was intended for us, not a rule book to enslave us, but a love letter from God to free us!
    After the Jews built the altar and temple foundation, they were opposed by local forces, shutting down their construction project (4:7–24).
    Years later, when they started to rebuild, a question was sent to King Darius to check the records and find Cyrus's original decree to the Jews to rebuild the Temple (v. 7).
    When the document was found, the Jews were able to finish the Temple. God helped reclaim what was forgotten.
    Let's conclude with verses 11-12.
    Ezra 6:11–12 (CSB)
    11 I also issue a decree concerning any man who interferes with this directive: Let a beam be torn from his house and raised up; he will be impaled on it, and his house will be made into a garbage dump because of this offense.
    12 May the God who caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who dares to harm or interfere with this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued the decree. Let it be carried out diligently.

    III. Disobedience to the Word comes with a price.

    I will not spend much time on this point since we hit it a bit a couple of weeks ago.
    So not only does Darius reclaim the original decree, he built one on top of the original!
    Darius clarifies that you will obey the decree, and if you do not, the price will be high when you are caught trying to hinder the work!
    In life, we can choose to disobey God.
    You are free to live your life as you choose!
    However, if you choose to live your life outside of a relationship with Jesus, the price will be high.
    The price will be so high that one cannot fathom how expensive it will be.
    I am not trying to scare people to Jesus, but when you choose to live apart from Him, you really should be fearful of your eternal future without Him.
    Jesus does not WANT you to be a part from Him; this is why He went to the cross for you!
    CONCLUSION
    We must be intentional about remembering.
    Scripture memorization is a great way to keep the truth of who God is and who you are before your eyes, in your mind, and deep in your heart.
    Like a permanent tattoo on your skin, let God's Word be etched forever in your soul.
    Our personal challenge from the message is: We should memorize Scripture, keeping God's truth in our hearts and minds.
      • Ezra 5.17CSB

      • Ezra 6.1-2CSB

      • Ezra 6.3CSB

      • Ezra 6.4-5CSB

      • Psalms 119.11CSB

      • John 14.26CSB

      • Ezra 6.6-7CSB

      • Ezra 6.8CSB

      • Ezra 6.9-10CSB

      • Ezra 6.11CSB

      • Ezra 6.12CSB

  • Lord I Need You
  • Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise)
  • Even So Come
  • We Remember

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