A Heart To Build

Bible Book: Ezra  1 : 5
Subject: Stewardship; Building for God; Dedication; Loyalty

A HEART TO BUILD

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Please turn to Ezra 1:1-7

 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods ... (NKJV)

Here is the account of the beginnings of a great adventure in building a place of worship for the Lord. The story behind this passage is far too complex for us to consider in its entirety today; however, we do need to know that God’s people were being challenged to take incredible steps of sacrifice and commitment in order to build a temple for the Lord. The people of God had been in Babylon and Persia for a number of years. The Temple in Jerusalem lay in ruins. Now the opportunity came for the people to rise up and go back to Jerusalem to build the place of worship. For this Temple to be built, a particular and committed people had to arise to get the job done. That was true then, and it is true now. To build a place of worship to the Lord requires some very important people to be in place. When Cyrus made it known that the people could go back and build, he stated that all those who had their hearts stirred by God’s Spirit should rise up and go forth to get it done.

Today we are going to look at a preliminary idea for a worship center here at The Church The Loves. What is required of us to erect such a building? What kind of people must we be in order to complete this task? Let me share with you seven principles regarding the people whom God will use to build for His glory and for His name.

I. A Single Minded People

From the very beginning of the project mentioned in the Old Testament passage before us, enemies rose up to try to stop it. When Nehemiah went back to rebuild the walls, enemies rose up to discourage and divide the workers. This is always the cas, for Satan knows that the best way to defeat a great task in God’s name is to divide the people seeking to do the work. I have been told that it was in the middle of a previous building project some years ago that Satan created havoc, division, and problems here in this church. I have only heard about those times, but the story is the same everywhere. God’s people must realize that to build is to draw closer and closer together, lest the enemy find a way to divide us. Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Secondly, notice that to build requires ...

II. A Serving People

The people who build must be people who serve God, one another and community where God has placed them. There are some saved people who sit on the sidelines and let others do the giving, working, praying, visiting, singing, etc. They will never build a place of worship to the Lord. No! It will be the ones who are already serving or who have a heart to serve God. We might well say that an idle people usually worship idols, but an altered people are ready to build an altar of worship. If God has altered you, changed you, saved you, commissioned you, then you are the ones whom God can sue to build to His glory.

Then notice ...

III. A Sacrificial People

No building is ever built for the Lord without sacrifice. The people who rose up to go back to Jerusalem to build the Temple had to make incredible sacrifices in order to erect God's Temple. They gave up their homes, their vocations, their families and went back to do the work. Others gave up life savings to be used for the materials.

There will never be a worship center built without some sacrifice. Every worship center you see is a place of sacrifice. Just think about it, what kind of sacrifice was required for you to be saved?

A. Sacrifice of the Son of God

Jesus gave His blood to redeem the people who are a part of that place of worship.

But, then we have to ask what kind of sacrifice is required to continue the work Jesus began?

B. Sacrifice of the Saints

Those who are saved through the Lord Jesus Christ must give out of God’s blessings to them in order that a building may be erected that honors Christ.

So, we've seen a Single Minded People, A Serving People and a Sacrificial People, now let's consider ...

IV. A Sincere People

A building project tests sincerity. It is easy to talk of love for our Lord, but when we are called upon to work on some committee for long, difficult and sometimes thankless hours, it can test our sincerity. When we are asked to contribute as we have never before contributed of our resources it can test our sincerity. When we must agree on plans that cannot possible include everything we all want, it will test our sincerity. Only a truly sincere people can build a building to the glory of God.

V. A Steadfast People

Building requires a steadfast people. Building requires that we go on with our normal ministries, while taking on a difficult and new ministry – a ministry of building. This means dedication for the long haul. This requires commitment that must be maintained over a long period of time. It takes months and years to build, and often long years to pay for a worship center. It is not a task for the lazy, the timid and those who quit when the going gets tough.

Many years ago, in Japan, a group of Christians met for outdoor worship. Hecklers would come to shout at them and throw rocks at them. This continued for some time. Eventually the situation got so bad that the Christians had to discontinue the outdoor worship for a while. When a time of peace returned, the Christians decided to build a building for indoor worship. They went to the spot where they used to worship and built a small building. They used part of the rocks that had been thrown at them to build the structure.

That is what we must do. We must not let the devil discourage us. If he throws rocks, we will simply pick them up and use them to build to the glory of God.

VI. A Sure People

Building is for the people who are sure. That is what the king said. He said that those whose hearts God had stirred where the ones to build the building. The task goes to those who are walking with God and who can feel and sense in their hearts that God is in the plan. In fact, if God is not in the plan, the work is futile; but, if God is in the plan and we are too lazy or tight-fisted to complete it, what will the Lord do with us? When we are sure of a matter, then we are ready to trust God through all the problems, costs, work and sweat that will be required to see it through.

Notice finanlly ...

VII. A Saved People

It may seem elementary, but the people who build for the Lord must be the people who know the Lord. They must be the people whom God has touched and into whom God has placed a new heart.

We read in Ezekiel 36:26 ...

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Those who are saved are a people with new hearts! The world does not build the church. We do not build the church with car washes, food sales, and flea markets. Those who are saved have to rise up and take on the task of bringing glory to the One who will one day bring them to glory.

Look at Ezra 3:2ff.

  • In spite of fear, they built.
  • In spite of enemies, they built.
  • In spite of cost, they built.

They did it because God had stirred them in their hearts, by His Spirit, to build to His glory. So let us rise now and build this new structure to the glory of God and for His work.