Preacher: Doug Small
Sermon: Ezra-Nehemiah partnership
Text: Ezra 7-9, Nehemiah 8
-Ezra: priest and pastor, moral and spiritual leader. Nehemiah: layman, political and social leader.
-We must be salt and light in the culture. God wants to be glorified in every aspect of the culture.
-There’s a current divide between church and culture. This is the devil’s work. He’s moved the church into the private sector, so that religion and Christians have no place in the public square. But this is where God wants to be. When religion invades the public square [eye, media] = city and nationwide revival!
-The church has been preaching a counter-culture message of truth. We can’t leave this. But we must also do the following if we expect the culture to listen and change.
1. Para-culture = preach love. Be priestly and incarnational. [Anecdote: A Hindu woman was saved through love and then truth. Then 230 Hindus followed her into the kingdom!]
2. Church diaspora, intra-cultural = power of salt. What broken places and people has God placed near you?
3. Prayer = prayer-walk a city and expect God to act!
-The church is in slices. We have no power/influence in various social sectors. But as individual Nehemiah/laymen Christians, we can influence each slice of the city.
-Revival: Nehemiah – process for city impact; Ezra – foundation of prayer; sovereign touch of God.
-Revival core = Ezra 7:8-10. Revival must be word-centered, not experience-centered. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law, obey it, and teach it. We must prepare our hearts for the word through prayer. It all starts with one person obeying and applying the word to his/her life.
-Power of one: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, Evan Roberts.
-We need revival that will paralyze a city and bring it to its knees in prayer and repentance.
-Four keys of revival [according to Evan Roberts]
1. Repent: the church has rationalized sin away. In addressing legalism, we lost holiness. The culture isn’t awed by the holiness of God. And neither are we. When sinners see us repent – when they see us model faith, repentance, and holiness – they will too.
2. Stop every doubtful habit. That includes sports and other entertainments. We can’t have anything that obsesses us that isn’t God. Our one obsession should be Jesus. If he isn’t, we must repent.
3. Go public with your witness. We can’t be undercover Christians. If we’re ashamed of Jesus on this earth, he’ll be ashamed of us before his father in heaven.
4. Humbly follow the gentle promptings of the Spirit. Obey when he speaks. Every day, prepare your heart to listen and obey.