God’s Spirit Makes the Difference
First off let me say, AMEN!!
To the degree that you agree and walk in this truth is the degree to which you are God’s person.
Sorry but it is just the truth of the Gospel.
After the death of Jesus the disciples were trembling behind closed doors waiting for the authorities to come get them.
Then Jesus came among them and they were better, but did not do much to spread the Good News.
Then the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were willing to risk it all to proclaim the Good News.
Being willing to obey the prevailing authorities is to be willing to not spread the Gospel.
New York is ready to close any church that defies the order to not assemble.
Which just happens to be a guarantee of the constitution by which this country was formed and is to be governed.
If people do not stand up for our constitutional rights they will be gone.
Some believe that this is a time for seeing if citizens actually care about the guaranteed constitional rights.
Text for today: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, Says the Lord.” Zech. 4:6 whole text Zech. 4:1-10.
You know that I believe that until we are filled with God’s Presence we will not be able to accomplish much for His Kingdom.
So this week is right up my alley, so to speak.
Zechariah is a contemporary of Haggai.
He appears on the scene shortly after Haggai began telling the people to get God’s house built.
It is said that Zechariah is one of the brightest, the clearest, the most hopeful to be found in prophetic literature.
The background is the same as Haggai.
A small group of folks had returned to their homeland and were trying to rebuild their lives hemmed in with little or no breathing room.
Though both encouraged the people to put God first the two prophets varied greatly in their personalities.
Haggai was an activist, bustling with energy and practicality.
While Zechariah, being a priest, was a student of Scripture and one likely so see visions and dream dreams.
It has been said of them that Haggai will handle the hammer and nails, but Zechariah will supply the blueprints of the Utopia.
The Spiritual insight of the idealist will be wedded to the practical drive of the realist.
Both men, however, had they same consuming passion.
The temple had to be rebuilt so Jerusalem could become the center of universal religion.
Reading and interpreting the book of this mysterious man of God is not easy, but a simple outline should help.
The book opens with an earnest appeal for the people to return to the Lord.
This appeal is followed by a series of eight visions containing words of encouragement for the people as they dwell in the land without a temple, oppressed by hardship.
The third section has been called a historical appendix to the symbolic messages.
Zechariah is urged to crown Joshua as high priest and declare him the “Branch” who will rule over the people.
A fourth division deals with a question about the days of fasting.
These days will be times of celebration when Jerusalem becomes the center of true religion and a source of blessing to all the world.
The final part of the book concerns a later day situation when the nations are restless and threaten Jerusalem with attack.
The small community in the city and the people scattered among many nations are assured of God’s help in gaining victory over their enemies.
The book closes with a graphic description of the Lord’s universal reign, with Jerusalem being the center of holiness.
To cover Zechariah’s book in such a brief message is impossible.
But we can discover several key teachings that seem to summarize its theme.
It begins with the priority of repentance.
Before either nations or individuals can be right with God they must face their sin and forsake it.
Zechariah began his ministry with a strong announcement regarding sin.
The children were warned against following the paths of their fathers.
The previous generation had turned a deaf ear to the words of the prophets and had failed to change their ways.
The postexilic community needed to avoid a repetition of this tragic mistake.
Zechariah’s message is a clear call to repentance.
“Return to me, declares the Lord Almighty, and I will return to you”.
The result of the previous generation’s sin was their captivity.
When individuals look back at the blessings a previous generation has missed because of sin, they should determine to follow God in their own lifetime.
The disobedient predecessors of Zechariah’s generation once worshiped in Solomon’s Temple and the songs of the Levites rang through the arches of the Lord’s house.
At one time. The banners of Judah had struck terror into the hearts of their enemies.
But those days were gone forever.
Next is the statement that vision keeps us from perishing.
Zechariah’s visions following his call to repentance, through varied, emphasized God’s presence with his people.
Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way: Couldst thou in vision see, thyself, the man God meant; thou never more wouldst be the self thou art, content.
God has promised to always be with His people.
God has chosen Israel for a redemptive mission, to bring the Messiah into the world.
They were a small people in a large world, but no one should ever despise small things.
Although God’s work may have a feeble beginning, he will bring it to pass.
This can happen because it is not a question of your strength but of God’s strength.
Also know that God has the power to break through evil.
He will do this to bring salvation to his people and dwell with them.
But for this to be done, sin must be punished and God’s holiness must prevail.
Only God can break the deadly grip of sin and remove its contaminating presence.
An ideal land is one where sin is banished, but we cannot win that victory in our own strength.
God must come into the arena for us.
He promised Israel that he would do this in Jesus Christ.
The victory is not complete until he returns in glory, but the promise is here now.
Always know that God will win.
The latter part of Zechariah’s prophecy is difficult to understand.
Scholars have disagreed as to the fulfillment of the many things he predicted.
But one thing is certain: God will never be defeated.
His purposes in history will triumph.
In Jesus Christ redemption has come to the world.
Those who have received Christ are on God’s side and will emerge victoriously when history is consummated.
During the dark days of the Civil War, someone asked Abraham Lincoln, “Mr. President, have you prayed for God to be on our side?”
He replied, “No, I have not prayed that prayer. But I have prayed another. I have prayed that God will help me to be certain that I am on his side.”
This is what matters!
God is righteous and righteousness will win.
The mark of wisdom is to find out where God is going and go with him.
The theme of our text runs throughout the entire book of Zechariah.
Human effort will not win the victory.
Assyria, Babylon, and Persia were nations that had been built on might and power.
The first two had already fallen, and the third would fall soon.
Those who followed their actions would likewise rise and fall.
But God’s kingdom will go on forever because it is a spiritual kingdom.
We would be wise to build our lives, not on material things that fade away, but on spiritual things that last forever.
It is good preparation for living in the kingdom that lasts forever!