September 25, 2022 - Preparing for the Lord's DaySeptember 22, 2022 Preparing for the Lord's Day
Preparing for the Lord's Day
Rebuilding the Kingdom
It seemed an impossible calling. The authority of the Catholic church had stood for centuries. Both the ecclesiastical and political powers stood against the reform of the Church. However, the Lord raised up a German Monk, Martin Luther, to lead the movement to return the Church to Biblical truth. At first, his work was mocked. The Pope said that they need only wait till this drunk German sobered up or fell asleep. Next, his work was threatened. He was brought before an Imperial Court to recant his views. Next, he was placed under the ban when he refused to recant. The ban meant that his life could be taken without punishment.
Despite all these impediments to the work of reformation Luther continued to find success. In a generation, the Protestant Reformation became the most powerful religious force in modern history. When reflecting on the prospering of the reformation work Luther wrote that it was not his power that brought about the Reformation but rather the Word of God. He said,
The Word created heaven and earth and all things; the Word must do this thing, and not we poor sinners. In short, I will preach it, teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise, I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends… the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.”
How is the work of rebuilding the kingdom accomplished? How does the work of God prosper? It prospers not by human power but rather it prospers by the power of God’s Word. In our passage for this Sunday, the work of rebuilding the temple is opposed. The people of God are discouraged by the seemingly impossible nature of the task. However, what we will see is that God spends His Word to prosper their work of rebuilding the temple. Despite the opposition of their enemies, the work of God’s people flourishes as they obey God’s Word, trust His providence, and work for His Glory. To come prepared for the sermon, take time this week to read and to meditate upon Ezra 5-6, Deuteronomy 29:9, 1 Kings 2:1-4, Psalm 1, Isaiah 53:10, and this article on Haggai and Zechariah.
As we gather to worship our loving Father this Lord’s day, we will join our hearts in song, singing the Hymn of Praise “How Great Thou Art”, the Acclamation of Praise “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”, and the Hymn of Response “Amid the Fears That Oppress Our Day”. Let us come to worship this Sunday prepared to hear God’s Word, to receive it in faith, to love and treasure it in our hearts, and to practice it in our lives so that we may continue to glorify and enjoy Him!
Text: Ezra 5-6
Title: Prospering God’s Kingdom
- God’s Kingdom is Prospered by Obeying His Word (5:1-2; 6:13-18)
- God’s Kingdom is Prospered by Trusting His Providence (5:3-6:12)
- God’s Kingdom is Prospered for His Glory (6:19-22)