Power Point Show MP3 audio
Scripture Reading: Ezra 10:1-4
The Price of Faithfulness
1. Israel and Judah had fallen into idolatry and immorality; God punished their sins with captivity (Deut 28:45-48); 2 Chrn 36:15-21 (586 B.C.). Remnant was allows to return in 536 B.C. and the temple was finally restored in 516 B.C. (Ezra 6:14-15).
2. Ezra returned to Jerusalem about 60 years later (457 B.C.) to revive the worship and purity of the people, Ezra 7:6-10.
a. Led by their rulers, Israel had fallen into sin by marrying pagan women, Ezra 9:1-2 (Deut 7:1-6).
b. Ezra was dismayed and stricken with sorrow, Ezra 9:3-4.
c. He prays a confessional prayer of national sin, professing guilt as he honors the grace of God that had saved Israel to this point, Ezra 9:5-15.
3. What follows (Ezra 10) is one of the most heart-wrenching yet hopeful episodes in Israel’s history. From it we learn what it means to deny ourselves in order to be right with God (Lk 9:23)
I. PUTTING AWAY SIN.
A. We can Never be Right with God when Sin is Present in our Lives, Isa 59:1-2; 2 Cor 6:17-18.
1. God defines sin and tell us what it does:
a. Sin is real and deadly, 1 Jno 3:4; 5:17; Eph 2:1-3.
b. Certain marriages were sinful in Ezra 9:2, 14; 10:10.
2. Sin of God’s people is just as damning, Rev 2:5.
B. Christians must Put Away Every Kind of Sin (1 Ths 5:22):
1. The old man of sin, Eph 4:22-24; the flesh, Col 3:5-9.
2. Sins of the heart and tongue, Eph 4:31-32.
3. Everything that hinders – no matter how dear it is to us, Matt 5:28-30 (18:6-9).
4. Israelites had to put away their foreign wives, Ezra 10:3.
5. Like ancient Israel, one must put away a spouse in a sinful marriage, Matt 19:9-12 (1 Cor 7:10-11).
a. The divorced person (except for the cause of fornication) cannot be in a sinless remarriage, cf. Rom 7:2-3.
b. Fornication (adultery) must be repented of by changing the mind and ceasing the sinful relationship, Rev 9:20-21
II. WHAT IT TAKES TO PUT AWAY SIN.
A. The Sacrifice of Precious Things.
1. Wives and children, Ezra 10:3, 10-11, 44.
a. The sinful nature of these marriages did not mean there was any less pain associated with repenting of them!
b. This keeps many from ending sinful marriages.
2. Jesus is our example of sacrifice, Phil 2:5-8.
3. A price will be paid to be a disciple of Jesus, Lk 14:25-33.
a. You must love Jesus more than your family. 14:26
b. You must love Jesus more than your life. 14:26
c. You must love Jesus more than escaping trials. 14:27
d. You must count the cost and pay the price! 14:28-33
4. Some refuse to sacrifice for salvation, Mk 10:17-22.
a. Some in Israel refused to pay the price, Ezra 10:15.
b. What about us: A job? Fashion? Acceptance? The world?
B. Self-Denial is Proof of Devotion to God, Gal 2:20; Phil 3:7-8.
1. Must admit our sin instead of defending ourselves in our sin, Ezra 10:2.
2. Self-denial shows fearful faith in God, Gen 22:12.
3. Self-denial shows we love Christ most, Matt 16:24-27.
C. Strong Emotions Occur Whenever One Puts Away Sin.
1. Emotions are often the reason one defends disobedience and continuing in sin (repenting, failure to obey commands of service, etc.).
2. Emotions cannot be allowed to override obedience to God! Prov 14:12; 18:2; 19:21
3. It is emotional to confess sin in our lives, Ezra 10:1 (1 Jno 1:9).
4. When the heart repents, the elimination of pride, hardness of heart and sinful actions produces a godly emotional release (Lk 7:37-38).
5. Reverence for God’s word will cause us to “tremble” whenever sin is exposed, Ezra 10:3, 9.
1. Yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this, Ezra 10:2.
2. Israel could still obtain mercy and forgiveness through repentance; and most did, Ezra 10:10-12.
3. Christians can “repent and do the first works” by putting Christ first and putting away every sin, Rev 2:5.
4. Offer yourself as a living sacrifice that God accepts, Rom 12:1.