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​Fearless (Ezra 3)

The Lord has stirred the heart of Cyrus who is the king over Persia, the world empire in 539 BC. The Lord has stirred him to decree for God’s people to be able to return to Jerusalem so they can build a temple. The significance of this event cannot be overstated. For God to call for his temple to be built means that God wants to be with his people again. Even though the people had deeply sinned and experienced judgment by being removed from the land, the Lord has not stopped desiring to be with his people. So the Lord offers hope in the darkness, moving Cyrus to allow the people to go back and worship the Lord. Those whose hearts had been stirred by the Lord returned to Judah. They return to nothing but have been given resources and wealth to begin to restart the work…

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​The Preparation of the King (Matthew 3:1-12)

The Gospel of Matthew is teaching us who Jesus is by recording the events about his arrival in the first four chapters. God promised through the prophets that he would send a prophet before the glory of the Lord arrived. Isaiah said it would be a voice calling the wilderness (3:3; Isaiah 40:3-5). Malachi said that the Lord would send Elijah to turn the hearts of the people (Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). Notice how the Lord prepares the way for the arrival of his king in the first six verses of Matthew 3…

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​The Heart To Restart (Ezra 1-2)

Our Sunday night theme that our series will center on is Return, Rebuild, Renew. I believe we need this theme after what we have gone through with this pandemic. It is time to hit the reset button. It is time for us to find a new beginning. It is time to return, rebuild, and renew the work of God for 2022. So this is what we are going to look at this year on Sunday nights. We are going to look at different books of the Bible that will encourage us return, rebuild, and renew ourselves to the work. We are beginning our journey in this theme in the book of Ezra.

One of the amazing pictures of God that we are repeatedly presented with is that we have a God who will make a way for his people. Even when circumstances appear impossibly dark, God will make a way for his people. The history of God’s people looks to have come to its cataclysmic, destructive conclusion. When you read the Kings or Chronicles account, Israel’s history ends with Jerusalem destroyed and the people taken into captivity in Babylon. How can God ever be with his people if they refuse to obey his word, defile the promised land, and must be taken off the land for their disobedience? But listen to the opening words of the book of Ezra…

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The Obscurity of the King (Matthew 2:13-23)

Matthew has been showing us pictures of who the Savior will be and what his mission will be. Matthew 2 contains four prophecies that show the obscurity of the Christ. We looked at the first of these prophecies last week. The Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, a little town to be counted among the clans of Judah (Micah 5:2), will no longer be little in the eyes of people. The other three prophecies of Matthew 2 also highlight the obscurity of the king. But these pictures of obscurity are also going to present to us three more important pictures of Jesus that are to encourage our faith and help us see the nature of our Savior…

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