Sermon Response July 29, 2018
The Text Ezra 9
The exiles have returned from captivity to Jerusalem... the temple has been completed and dedicated... the worship of God at the temple has been re-established... but something is wrong. The people have sinned against God by marrying the “faithless” people of the land, and Ezra is devastated.
1. Read Ezra 9:1-2. How were the officials doing their job correctly by
telling Ezra about the sin of the people? In what ways would this be appropriate for leaders, parents, pastors, etc.? What keeps us from doing this for the people we lead?
What are your thoughts on the fact that the priests and Levites were also participating in the sin?
Besides breaking the law from Deuteronomy 7:1-4, why was it sinful for the people to marry the people of the land?
Read Ezra 9:3-6. How does your reaction to sin compare to Ezra’s? Do you find it easier to be “appalled” at other people’s sin rather than your own? Why or why not?
What do you think would happen if you grieved your sin as strongly as Ezra grieved this sin?
Read Ezra 9:7-9. Ezra recounts the grace and mercy of God. How does focusing on His grace and mercy help you overcome sin?
Read Ezra 9:10-15. Ezra recounts the guilt of the people and the separation from God that results because of their sin. How does admitting guilt and remembering the “wages of sin” help you overcome sin?
Write down a sin that you struggle with... look at that sin written on the
paper... How does that sin make you feel? Don’t share your sin with
the group, but share your feelings.
Now draw a cross over the sin and fill it in until you cannot see the sin
anymore. This is what the blood of Jesus does for your sin and He cannot see it anymore. He suffered a criminal’s death so that your sin would be paid for and forgotten. How does that sacrifice make you feel?
Dear Jesus, I have been set apart to be holy - dedicated to you and for your service, and in my sinful state, I am not worthy to stand before you in any capacity. But because of your death on the cross, I have been made worthy, not because I am good, but because you are righteous. I know that I cannot ignore my sin or I will never admit my need for you to save me, so help me admit my guilt... help me grieve enough to repent of my sin... and help me surrender to your Spirit so that I can live in righteousness. Amen.