Scripture text: Ezra Chapter 6 Preacher: Rev David Sutherland Date: 22 June 2014
This is the sixth and final sermon on the theme “Building up the house of God”.
The first five chapters of the Book of Ezra describe the hopeful return of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem to rebuild the ruined temple, and the subsequent set-backs and opposition which hindered the progress of the work. Chapter 6 records the glorious completion of the temple. The decree by King Cyrus, which had inaugurated the project eighteen years earlier, is tracked down in its unlikely storage location and reinstated by King Darius. The provincial governor and his associates, who hitherto had opposed the building of the temple, now find themselves funding the work and providing support for its operation. The temple is completed and dedicated, and Passover is once more celebrated in Jerusalem. We are left in no doubt as to the cause of this sudden turn of events, for the chapter closes with the words “. . . for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”
Building on the lessons found in Ezra, this sermon focuses on the King of the Church, Jesus Christ — on His kingly role, on His chosen relationship between church and state, on His will for the church to reach out with the Gospel message, and on the joyful and united worship of Him, in complete submission to Him.