This is the sermon that I will be preaching this coming Sunday morning, October 14, 2007. I got the idea for this sermon series from my Dad, Jerry Trammell. From 3 sermons that he preached under those titles. I’ve put his version already on this blog. As you can tell, my version is quite a bit different.
DISCOURAGEMENT, EXCITEMENT, AND LOVE
Ezra 3:9-13 Complete Apostles’ Bible – (9) And Jeshua and his sons and brothers stood, with Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, over them that performed the works in the house of God; the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brothers the Levites. (10) And they laid a foundation for building the house of the Lord; and the priests in their robes stood with trumpets and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the order of David king of Israel. (11) And they answered each other with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, saying, For it is good (Heb. Manuscript, He is good), for His mercy to Israel endures forever. And all the people shouted with a loud voice to praise the Lord at the laying the foundation of the house of the Lord. (12) But many of the priests and the Levites, and the elder men, heads of families, who had seen the former house on its foundation, and who saw this house with their eyes, wept with a loud voice; but the multitude shouted with joy to raise a song. (13) And the people did not distinguish the voice of the glad shout from the voice of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud voice, and the voice was heard even from afar off.
INTRO: This is the second sermon in our 3 part series, “Discouragement, Excitement, and Love.” Last week we looked at discouragement. We looked at 3 ways that discouragement can come upon us: (1) When we feel the opposition of others; (2) when we grow tired and fatigued; (3) When we lose our vision.
This week we are going to be dealing with the subject, “Excitement.”
This past Monday night (October 8th, 20007), the Dallas Cowboys took on the Buffalo Bills. Dallas was 4-0, with Buffalo being 1-3. Dallas was expected to win the game pretty easily with this star quarterback leading them, Tony Romo. I didn’t watch the game, I was actually doing a rough draft of this sermon on my home computer. Studying different translations, looking up texts, looking at commentaries, and fun stuff like that. After I wrote down my rough draft on a scratch sheet of paper to take it to the Church Tuesday to begin working on it, I checked the sports over the internet and say that it was 17-7 in favor of the Buffalo Bills. Tono Romo had thrown two interceptions that became touchdowns. I read that it said he was dejected and that believe it or not their star receiver, Terrel Owens was on the sidelines trying to cheer him up, instead of doing what he usually does, griping. Anyway, I went back to doing some more stuff. It was after 10, so I decided to go to bed and I turned on the TV in our bedroom just to check the score of the game, there were four minutes left and Romo and turned the ball over at least 6 times – 5 interceptions, one fumble. He was not having a good game at all. I turn the TV off and went to bed, I got up at 5:30 in the morning, did my devotionals in the Word at about 6 I turned on the TV to Espn 2 – Mike and Mike in the Morning. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Dallas did the impossible and came back and one the game, 25-24. And they did it in an impossible fashion. They scored a touchdown, missed the two point conversion, and then got the onside kick. Tony Romo completed some short passes to barely get them in their kickers range. They were 53 yards away. A very long distance for a field goal. He kicks the ball, and it goes in! But wait a second, just before he kicked, Buffalo called a time out! They have to kick again. There is no way that he can kick that distance again. He put everything into that kick. He will not have enough strength in his leg, a very smart call by the Buffalo coaches. But guess what, the impossible did happen. He kicked it again with time running out, and it went perfectly through the uprights. Dallas won! The excitement was electric! The commentators are saying that this game will go down in history as one of the most exciting, improbable wins in NFL history!
As we look at this subject of excitement, let me ask you this very poignant question: Do you have the excitement in the things of the Lord that you used to possess? If you don’t, why don’t you have it? People will blame it on a lot of things: It is the people’s fault in the church, it is my spouse’s fault, it is the Pastor’s fault, it is the worship leader’s fault. But do be quite honest, the fault doesn’t lie with anybody but you and you alone. You see, as Pastor, it is not my job to excite you, it is my job to preach the Word. For the worship leader, it is not his or her job to excite you, it is their job to lead us in worship. It shouldn’t be the sermons or our pet doctrines, or the songs in worship that brings excitement, but it should be our love for our Lord God.
We are going to look at this subject this morning, especially as it pertains to praise and worship.
1. Our worship to God should be laying a foundation.
Ezra 3:10-11 Complete Apostles’ Bible – (10) And they laid a foundation for building the house of the Lord; and the priests in their robes stood with trumpets and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the order of David king of Israel. (11) And they answered each other with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, saying, For It (or He) is good, for His mercy to Israel endures forever. And all the people shouted with a loud voice to praise the Lord at the laying the foundation of the house of the Lord.
The children of Israel had been in captivity for over 70 years, and the original temple had been laying in rubble and destruction for over 50 of those years. They had come into the land, and seeing all the destruction, plus their enemies now occupying the land that once belonged to them, they began to offer sacrifices, and starting keeping the festivals that was required by the Law of Moses.
Ezra 3:1-6 Complete Apostles’ Bible – (1) And the seventh month came on, and the children of Israel were in their cities, and the people assembled as one man at Jerusalem. (2) Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brothers, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer upon it whole burnt offerings, according to the things that were written in the law of Moses the man of God. (3) And they set up the altar on its place, for there was a fear upon them because of the people of the land. And the whole burnt offerings was offered up upon it to the Lord morning and evening. (4) And they kept the Feast of Tabernacles, according to that which was written, and offered whole burnt offerings daily, in number according to the ordinance, the exact daily rate. (5) And after this the perpetual whole burnt offering, and offering for the season of new moon, and for all the hallowed feasts to the Lord, and for everyone that offered a freewill offering to the Lord. (6) On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer whole burnt offerings to the Lord, but the foundation of the house of the Lord was not laid.
Now while they didn’t at this time begin to lay the physical foundation, they did lay the spiritual foundation, they began to follow the Lord their God in the way prescribed by Moses. In vv. 7-9 they begin to make preparations for actually starting the physical foundations. They raised money, gave the money to the Stone Masons and carpenters, provided, food, drink, and oil for those bringing in the huge Cedar Trees from Lebanon, the appointed people 20 years old and upward to do the work, not leaving out the priestly duties to be performed as well.
Now what can we learn from this? I want you to think of our worship to God as laying a foundation. We are offering our sacrifices of praise, offering our bodies in worship to Him, and as we lift up His name in praise and song, it is laying a foundation to hear from Him.
Romans 12:1 NKJV – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Hebrews 13:15 NKJV – Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
2. Our worship should outshine the sadness in our lives.
Ezra 3:12-13 Complete Apostles’ Bible – (12) But many of the priests and the Levites, and the elder men, heads of families, who had seen the former house on its foundation, and who saw this house with their eyes, wept with a loud voice; but the multitude shouted with joy to raise a song. (13) And the people did not distinguish the voice of the glad shout from the voice of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud voice, and the voice was heard even from afar off.
The Priests, Levites, and some of the older men were weeping because the dimensions of the second Temple was much smaller than the first Temple. Some of the older men had seen the Solomon’s Temple, the size, beauty and grandeur of it, I’m sure when they saw the size of this foundation, that disappointment and discouragement set in and they began to weep loudly. In the book of Zechariah, the prophet had to give a Word of the Lord to offer up encouragement in place of that discouragement.
Zechariah 4:8-10 Complete Apostles’ Bible – (8) And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, (9) The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands shall finish it; and you shall know that the Lord Almighty has sent Me to you. (10) For who has despised the small days? Surely they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet of tin in the hand of Zerubbabel: these are the seven eyes that look upon all the earth.
Now this is the part that I like, while those who saw the former glory were upset and weeping, the crowd itself became so excited in their worship and thanksgiving to God that they began to lift up such a great shout to the Lord that it literally drowned out the sound of the weeping. They weren’t looking into the past, they were looking into what God was doing for them there and now, plus the expectation of what He was going to continue to do through them and for them.
Oh, what a great lesson that can be learned here. Let’s be honest, if we focus on the blessings of the past and look where we may be now, we will get discouraged. The blessings of the past are good to look at in the sense that it shows that God is in control, but it is bad to look at if it discourages the blessing that we have received now. Even if those blessings may seem smaller, they are no less important and just as powerful. I was talking to someone the other day and they began to weep, saying how they wish that they could see the power of God supernaturally heal the sick, touch lives. Now I really appreciate that person’s heart. I know they have a pure, honest heart before God. I told them to look at things a little differently – I used Katlyn as an example. I honestly believe that God is working through her in this hearing process. What the Doctors said wouldn’t happen, is starting to happen. Oh, we can get disappointed and discouraged that it isn’t immediate, or we can get exited because we see God working in the small things. Another example is Dora’s sister, being real sick, yet God is strengthening her. Or Margie with her financial miracle in the midst of Glen having his home going. There are so many things that we have seen God do at this church that let’s be honest, it may seem small, to us, but it isn’t to Him. They are genuine miracles, His hand is moving if we would just stop and look.
I think the passage in Isaiah is a good one for us to take to heart.
Isaiah 43:18-19 Complete Apostles’ Bible – (18) Remember not the former things, and consider not the ancient things. (19) Behold, I will do new things, which shall presently spring forth, and you shall know them; and I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land.
God wants to do new things in this body of believers. It wants to stretch us to places that we haven’t gone before. He doesn’t want us to set back and admire the past nor does He want us to weep over the past. The past is just that, the past.
3. Ways to produce Biblical excitement.
Psalms 5:11-12 Complete Apostles’ Bible – (11) But let all that trust in You be glad in You: they shall rejoice forever, and You shall dwell among them; and all that love Your name shall rejoice in You. (12) For You, O Lord, shall bless the righteous: You have compassed us as with a shield of favor.
Because we have put our complete trust in Him – we should be glad in Him. God is trustworthy. He hasn’t failed us yet, and He will never fail us. I encourage each person to put their trust in Him.
We should rejoice because the Lord promises to dwell with us forever. Paraphrasing the ESV – “He will spread His protection over us.” Enemies, naysayers, and persecutors will come, but we have the assurance and protection of the Lord from destruction.
Since we love the name of Jesus – rejoice in His name. Every chance you get, in word, song, and action – lift up the name of Jesus.
He promises to bless the righteous. It is not our righteousness that He blesses. It is the righteousness that we have obtained through the cross of Christ. We are blessed because of the righteousness of Jesus, and the fact that we have received it by faith and faith alone. We are covered with His favor as a shield.
Psalms 5:12b ESV – … you cover him with favor as with a shield.
Stop right there and let this one fact set in – you as a Christ-follower are covered with the Lord’s favor. This right here alone should cause excitement to swell up in you.
CONCL: Excitement is not something that is conjured up, or pumped up, but it should be a reality of life. If our life is hidden in Christ – then our excitement should be in Christ. Don’t weep over the past, but rejoice in what God is doing now, even if it feels small. Rejoice over the fact that God is in control, loves, you, and surrounds you with His favor.