Sometimes we are haunted by the things we have said and done. Other times we are not even aware of our ongoing disobedience to God’s commands. What can wash away our sin? What can enable us to grow in godliness? Only the blood of Jesus, given for us. The cross opened a fountain of grace and cleansing for all who look to the Son in faith. The One who was defiled continues to purify a people for Himself until the day when defilement will be no more.
Who would have predicted that God would secure the greatest victory of all time through the greatest suffering of all time? Yet that is exactly what He did on the cross. Zechariah 12 anticipates the final victory of God’s people, secured through the suffering of the One who was pierced for us. Jesus’ suffering secures our salvation and establishes a pattern of victory through suffering in our daily Christian lives.
The last sermon on Proverbs looked at wisdom and wealth, and we learned that ultimately, our wealth is not ours; it is a gift from God, and we are to steward it on his behalf. In this sermon we will look in more detail as to how we can discharge our stewardship of God’s wealth with wisdom.
In the Bible, God often uses the picture of shepherds and sheep to describe His leaders and His people; only the picture isn’t pretty! Left to ourselves, we frequently neglect, abuse, and take advantage of one another. We need a Savior who is both the perfect Shepherd and the perfect Sheep: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who is the Good Shepherd.
Though the people in Zechariah’s day had been set free from Babylon, they were still enslaved to sin. They needed a second, greater exodus through a second, greater Mediator: Jesus the Messiah. Even as believers who have trusted in the Messiah in our day, we continue to fall into patterns of sin that bind us. We need to daily rediscover the grace of the Gospel that liberates us from not only sin’s ultimate penalty, but its remaining power.
There seems to be a bit of irony in the book of Jonah. In chapter 1, it is the pagan sailors, not Jonah, who show us what true fear of the Lord looks like. In chapter 3, the wicked, violent Ninevites believe God and turn from their sins after what may have been a very short message from a prophet with a checkered past. In our New Testament reading, Jesus points out the irony of the fact that the Jewish people, who saw themselves as more receptive to God’s Word than people like the Ninevites, do not believe Jesus and turn from their sins, even though Jesus is an infinitely more faithful and competent prophet than Jonah, which he will ultimately demonstrate by fulfilling the sign of Jonah in more miraculous way.
Zechariah’s hearers longed for the day when their king would return to deliver them from their enemies, restore their land, and rule them in righteousness. God promised them Jesus Christ, the King who has come in glory and who will return in even greater glory to bring ultimate peace to His people.
How should Christians think about wealth? The church has struggled with how to handle worldly wealth. Monks take vows of poverty while the health and wealth preachers exhort their followers to give to God to get from God. Many of the Proverbs of Solomon, the wealthiest man of his day, address the issue of wealth and poverty, rich and poor. We’ll sift through the book to see what treasures can be mined to help us be wise about wealth.
Everyone from Barcalounger to BMW promises heaven on earth, but no one truly delivers. Every earthly comfort leaves us either disappointed or longing for more. Only God can deliver heaven on earth through the gift of His Presence and He is in the process of doing so through His Son, whom we have the privilege of proclaiming to the nations.
Rituals are wonderful servants but terrible masters. Once they take on a life of their own, they enslave us and obscure their original purpose. Religious rituals are especially dangerous, which is why God warns us to beware ritualistic religion that is devoid of Him so that we might experience true revival through our Lord Jesus Christ.