sermon intro video: http://storylineframework.com/2009/12/03/ezra-sermon-into-video-word/
2009 has been flat-out crunk for CBSM. We’ve gone on awesome trips including a high school conference at Southern Seminary, Student Life Camp at Covenant College, BASIC Mission trip to Detroit, and ADVANCE Mission Trip to San Diego. We’ve had great events at our place such as our Back to School Bash, HarvestFEST student night, and our Disciple Now Weekend. We’ve had crazy stuff happen like having to cancel our All-Nighter because the mayor personally shut us down because of the Swine Flu epidemic. Over 2009, we’ve witnessed God save several teenagers, several get baptized, some called to full-time ministry, and so many lives changed for the glory of Christ. Our Wednesday worship services, Sunday AM small groups, and Sunday PM SMT’s have all grown by leaps and bounds. There is definitely a huge common denominator in all of this. For the events and trips that totally flopped and epically failed, it has always been because of the poor preaching and teaching of God’s Word. For the events and trips that were a huge success, it was always because of the awesome preaching of the Word of God.
So notice, not only in our student ministry, but also in our lives, how crucial the Word of God is. Do you understand what the Word of God really is, how true, how powerful, and how beneficial it is? Do you realize what the Word of God is really getting across to us, really teaching us, and really pointing us towards? Let me ask you this. How different would your life look if you really loved, believed, depended on, read, studied, meditated, and obeyed God’s Word on a constant basis? Do you get how important it is for our lives in order for God to get His truths and wisdom into us?
The book of Ezra is mainly all about God’s Word starting a rebellion. This is a rebellion again sin, a rebellion against the world, and a return to God, His ways, and living His life. The book of Ezra teaches us tons of stuff about this dude. First, the Bible says that Ezra is the great grandson of Hilkiah and the descendant of Aaron (7:1-5). This is crazy… Hilkiah was the priest who found the book of the Law in the days of the young king, Josiah. Aaron was the first high priest of Israel. Ezra’s family is stocked with priestly studs. One reason I want you to love God’s Word isn’t even ultimately for you, but it’s for your future family. I want you to start a rebellion against sin and a revival back to Christ just by you personally loving God’s Word, and then that starting a tradition in the lives of your future kids, your future grandkids, and on and on for many generations in your family line. Ezra was in a super spiritual family.
Second, Ezra left Babylonia (7:6). What was he doing there? God was disciplining His people by having them conquered, captured, and carried away by Babylon in 586 B.C. Fifty years later, Persia conquered Babylon, and God had the Persian King free the Israelites to return to their home land. Zerubabbel led 50,000 of them back to Jerusalem, but the majority of them stayed. Ezra was one of the Israelites that eventually left what had become comfortable to him, common to him, and easy for him. But he got up and left because he wanted to go back to God’s land and leave the world and sin behind. I know of a girl in our student ministry who is having a hard time in her world because her school is just being nasty to her because of her stance for Christ. If she is reading this right now, or if you are like her…please know it is difficult to leave the world behind, and often it can be painful. But leaving the world behind and following Christ is so worth it. We must leave the world and sin in order to love the Word of God.
Third, the book of Ezra also tells us that Ezra was a scribe (7:6). A scribe would take God’s Word and copy it over and over again by hand so that there were multiple copies for people to read. Scribes treasured God and His Word. They would take baths before writing the names of God, and they would throw away entire scrolls if they made a mistake in their copying process. Like Ezra, love God’s Word by treasuring it and treating it with caution. Take God seriously in His Word. Obey every word of His.
Fourth, the book of Ezra shows us that God had His hand on Ezra’s life (7:6). You know that God is working in you and using you when a pagan king pretty much gives you permission to do whatever you want to do for the glory of God! God worked some awesome miracles through Ezra, and it seems to be because Ezra had such a heart for God and His Word. You might wonder why God doesn’t seem to be working in your life or using you much at all. I would ask you, how much do you love God and His Word? Why would God work in or through anyone who doesn’t love Him or His Word?
Lastly, the book of Ezra says that he decided in his own heart to study God’s Word constantly, to live it out continually, and to teach it to others convincingly (7:10). What a sweet goal that would be for your life. Could you imagine if that was your life ambition…if you decided to study, live, and teach God’s Word for the rest of your life? How would your life look different? How would your home look different? How would your church and your ministry look different? How would your relationships look different? It would be amazing the things God would do through you for His glory!
God totally did crazy things through Ezra’s life (Ezra 7-10). In Ezra’s study of God’s Word, he became so convicted of his sin in his own life and in the lives of God’s people as a whole. So because of his conviction, Ezra taught, preached, and read the Word of God to Israel who were still left in Babylon. It says that the people trembled at the hearing of God’s Word, that they confessed their sin before God, and they returned to God, His land, and His laws. Remember that only 50,000 of the whole nation returned the first time with Zerubabbel. Guess how many returned when Ezra tried to get more… 2,000. Yup, that’s it. But that’s a huge 2,000 considering none of them decided to leave the first time. There may be some of you reading this now who need to return to God, and God has been calling you back several times before. As long as He’s still calling you, its not too late to return to Him, to have your life changed, and to enjoy Him forever.
So here is my last challenge to you in this year of 2009: BE AMAZED WITH GOD’S WORD! Be amazed that even though parts of it are almost 5,000 years old, God still speaks to us through it just as strong as ever. It is still fully true and absolutely relevant for our lives. But if you do struggle with being amazed with God’s Word, there is a secret behind it you must know. Its all going to come together right here for you. Here’s the hidden key that makes everything else make sense…you can’t be amazed with God’s Word without being amazed with Jesus Christ, because He IS the Word of God! The way to be more amazed with God’s Word is to be amazed by Jesus. Likewise, the way to be more amazed with Christ is to spend more time in God’s Word, which is the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17). “How can I be more amazed with Jesus Christ?” you may wonder.
Not only is it the end of 2009 right now, but it is also the Christmas season. Christmas is not ultimately about “spreading Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear”, or just enjoying your family, or just getting everything you want. Christmas is not even about a “8 pound, 6 ounce tiny infant baby Jesus.” I honestly don’t think Jesus wants us to celebrate Christmas or worship Him by singing “Happy Birthday to baby Jesus.” I know I don’t want you to show up to my house on January 5th and sing “Happy Birthday to baby Chip!” Rather, Christmas is all about celebrating God becoming flesh.
God becomes flesh through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is called the Word of God in John 1:1. That is because the Word of God is written, is about, and points to Him. John goes on to say that Jesus was there in the beginning which means that He has always eternally existed. Some say that Jesus isn’t eternal, but He started existing when He was born of the virgin Mary. That is a lie from the Devil! John then tells us that Jesus was with God which means Jesus is distinct from God the Father. Jesus is not God the Father and God the Father is not God the Son. Some say that God is only one person and He just shows up in different ways like Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is also absolutely false because here John tells us that Jesus was with the Father. God is not suffering from multiple personality disorder! John then tells us that Jesus was God. He’s saying that Jesus is fully God…you can’t get any more God than Jesus Himself! Some say that Jesus isn’t really or fully God, but that He’s just a man that was chosen by God or called God by His followers. That is completely ridiculous when God shows us right here that Jesus was, is, and always will be…GOD!
So, I think we got that Jesus is fully God. Also we must understand that Jesus was born as fully man…a real human being. John tells us that Jesus because flesh (with real skin, bones, muscles, organs, etc.) and lived among us. Some say that Jesus wasn’t really human, but He was just a ghost because a divine God could not become a physical man. That completely goes against Scripture! Others say that Jesus was really just “God in a bod” meaning that He was fully God but He just had a human shell. No, Scripture teaches us that Jesus really had a human mind, biological needs, and emotions. Think about this. Jesus had to be both fully God and fully man for the gospel to be 100% true.
- Jesus had to be fully God because only fully God can fully fix our sin problem.
- Jesus had to be fully God because only fully God can live in perfect sinlessness.
- Jesus had to be fully God because only fully God can raise Himself from the dead.
Not only did Jesus have to be fully God, but He also had to be fully man for the gospel…
- Jesus had to be fully man because God cannot be born of a virgin.
- Jesus had to be fully man because God cannot be tempted with sin.
- Jesus had to be fully man because God cannot become sin or cursed.
- Jesus had to be fully man because God wanted to give us an example.
- Jesus had to be fully man because God cannot pay the penalty for man.
- Jesus had to be fully man because God cannot die or shed blood.
- Jesus had to be fully man because God wanted Jesus to rule humanity.
This is a really tough concept, but God’s Word becoming flesh is much like the Wizard of Oz. Have you seen that movie? 2000 years ago, God swept back the curtain and revealed the Person behind His voice, His glory, His purposes, and His aim. It was none other than His Son, Jesus Christ!
Right now, I just want you to be amazed, to marvel, to be in wonder, to be in awe, to worship, and to love God, His Son, and His Word. God came to us because we would not go to Him. God loved us because we hated Him. God became us, because we would not become like Him. God saved us because we wanted to kill Him. Tremble at the glory of Christ, found in His Word, and set your heart to study it, obey it, and teach it. This is God’s Word. Jesus Christ is God’s Word who has been revealed, who has taken on flesh, who has come to us, and who has made salvation possible!