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Lesson #15

  • Memory verse: 2Cor 6:14
  • We have come to the last chapters of the book of Ezra and discover something very sad and something very uplifting.
    • In our study we have learned that Solomon’s temple represents the way God wants the believer to live his Christian life, making faith choices and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.
    • We have also learned that Zerubbabel’s temple in the book of Ezra represents the way the carnal Christian lives his life, making flesh choices and living according to his own will and desires.
    • Now we are going to see what happens when the believer lives a carnal Christian lifestyle.
  • Read Ezra 9:1-5
    • Ezra arrived in Jerusalem 75 years after the first group of Jews had returned to the Promised Land. The temple was already finished.
    • What was the prevalent sin among the people that Ezra discovered?
      • The prevalent sin of intermarriage with pagan people started small and quickly included those in leadership.
      • Why was it so important to God that the people not marry pagan people?
        • =1= God did not want the blood line to Christ polluted. (2)
          • Remember that the Jews were supposed to maintain a pure bloodline to Christ, the Messiah. Notice that Ezra calls it a “holy seed”. (2)
          • They were to keep their written genealogies faithfully so that when the Messiah came, it would be evidence of the true Messiah.
        • =2= God did not want the Jews to compromise their faith with pagan idolatry.
          • Remember that this exact same sin of intermarriage with pagan people caused idolatry and false religion to get a stronghold even in Solomon’s temple.
          • It is for this reason of idolatry that God permitted the destruction of Solomon’s temple and the Babylonian captivity.
      • The New Testament believer has the same admonition as the Old Testament believer.
        • Your memory verse (2Cor 6:14) says that the believer is not to be unequally yoked with a non-believer.
        • That warning is for marriage, a business partnership, or any other legal contract where both parties are legally equal one with the other.
        • 2Cor 6:14 gives us the reason for not entering into an unequal yoke.
          • The world perspective of the believer is one of spiritual light.
          • The world perspective of the unbeliever is one of spiritual darkness.
    • The Israelites did not learn the lessons of history and so they are repeating the same sins again.
      • This is the reason Ezra was so upset that he tore his clothes and pulled out the hairs of his head and beard.
      • These actions are actions of extreme mourning and sadness.
      • Ezra trembled because he knew from past experience that God punishes sin because He is a Holy God.
        • Ezra knew that God punished this sin severely in Israel’s history.
        • What would God do to Israel in the future?
    • Ezra’s response:
      • What did Ezra do about the situation?
      • He prayed.
        • Notice the way in which Ezra prayed. (5)
          • He fell on his knees. This is an action of humility before God.
          • He spread out his hands before God. This is an action of complete openness before God.
        • The Apostle Paul tells New Testament believers the same thing in different words.
        • Read 1Tim 2:8
  • Read Ezra 9:6-15 Ezra’s prayer
    • What is unusual about Ezra’s prayer?
      • Notice that he does not say, “Their iniquities are increased.”
      • He identifies himself with the sinful people of Israel. “Our iniquities are increased.”
    • Ezra recognizes God’s supreme justice in judging Israel for her past sins of idolatry and intermarriage. (7)
    • Ezra recognizes God’s grace: (8)
      • In God’s grace, He has spared a remnant of Jews and enabled them to survive and return to the Promised Land.
      • “…to give us a nail in his holy place…”(8)
        • What does this phrase mean?
          • The “nail” is a type or prefigure of Jesus Christ.
          • When the Israelites travelled through the wilderness with Moses, they lived in large tents. The center post of the tent had a nail or peg. It was on that nail that the Israelite hung everything of value to him. When the enemy attacked suddenly or the trumpet sounded to move the camp, the first thing a man grabbed was everything that hung on that nail.
          • All the blessings of God hang on Jesus Christ, our nail.

Jesus is our nail in the Holy Place.

Our salvation and blessings hang on Jesus Christ in the throne room of God.

This is what is of utmost value eternally for the believer.

        • We also find the “nail” referred to in Isa 22:22-23 which takes us a little deeper into its meaning.
          • Read Isa 22:22-23
          • Jesus was nailed on the cross on the earth so that we would be nailed firmly in a sure place in heaven for eternity.
          • The believer is of utmost value to God and so he is nailed in the throne room of heaven.
    • Ezra’s talks to God about revival: (8-15)
      • “…lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving…”(8)
        • The Bible does not use the word, “revival”, but that is what Ezra is asking God to do among his people.
          • The revival began physically when the first group of Israelites returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity. (9)
          • Ezra pleads that the revival will continue spiritually in the hearts and minds of the people.
        • While the Bible does not use the word, the fact of revival is certainly present in many places in the Bible.
        • The word “revival” means to be in a spiritually low or dry condition and then brought back to vitality and life.
      • Revival includes:
        • The recognition of sin as God sees it. (10)
        • Confession or repentance for sin. (10)
        • Humility with recognition that man deserves nothing from God. (13)
        • Recognition of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. (15)
        • A plea for God’s mercy as the only solution. (15)
  • Read Ezra 10:1-19 Revival
    • God answered Ezra’s prayer and a revival broke out among the people of Israel.
    • How do we know there was a true revival?
      • Indifference to God and His Word dissolved.
      • There was an intense conviction of sin against God.
      • The people recognized that they had broken God’s Word either in ignorance or on purpose. (3)
      • There was an intense mourning over their sins. (6)
      • There was a great desire to make things right according to God’s Word.(5)
    • Read 1The 1:9
      • Turning to God comes first before turning away from idols.
      • For the non-believer, faith in God comes first. Then there is conviction to repentance.
    • The result of revival:
      • In the book of Ezra, during the time of the Mosaic Law, the people made a harsh division among the people. (7-8)
        • Everyone within three day’s journey was to gather in Jerusalem.
        • Those people that were indifferent to the summons, would forfeit their possessions and be removed from the Promised Land.
      • The removal of foreign wives:
        • Notice that the removal of foreign wives began with the leaders. They made themselves the example for all the people.
        • Then there is a list of all those who gave up their foreign marriages of which some of them had children. (20-44)
      • Spiritual Truths:
        • It is easier to be obedient to God in the first place rather than to go back and try to undo a sin.
        • True revival has personal costs.
  • Conclusion:
    • As a conclusion to the book of Ezra, we can list some principles that we have learned in our study.
      • =1= God has a perfect plan for the life of the believer as exemplified in the floor plan of Solomon’s temple.
      • =2= God’s plan includes permitting the Holy Spirit to cleanse and change your life to make it pleasing to God.
      • =3= The believer in Jesus Christ gets off track when he makes flesh choices instead of faith choices.
      • =4= Flesh choices result in the walk of a carnal Christian as exemplified in the temple in the book of Ezra.
      • =5= The walk of the carnal Christian suffers a loss of blessings and protection, and a leanness of the soul.
      • =6= Repentance and revival of a carnal lifestyle is very difficult to work your way out of, but not impossible.
      • =7= Only by the mercy and grace of almighty God, will the humble, carnal believer be lifted up to walk in God’s perfect will forsaking God’s permissive will.

May God Bless Your Walk With Christ

The End

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