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The Old Testament prophets were spokesmen for for their generation more than the future.

They were the proclaimers of timeless truths about God, humankind, and the critical issues of life.

“The Modern Message of the Minor prophets” is the theme for Sunday mornings for the coming weeks.

Today we are talking about God’s Spirit Makes the Difference.

Text

Zechariah 4:6 (AMP)

6 Then he said to me, “This [continuous supply of oil] is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [prince of Judah], saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of whom the oil is a symbol],’ says the Lord of hosts.

Scripture Reading

Zechariah 4:1-10 (AMP)

The Golden Lampstand and Olive Trees

4 And the angel who was speaking with me came back and awakened me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. 

2 He said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with its bowl [for oil] on the top of it and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it.

3 And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side [supplying it continuously with oil].” 

4 So I asked the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?” 

5 Then the angel who was speaking with me answered me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” 

6 Then he said to me, “This [continuous supply of oil] is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [prince of Judah], saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of whom the oil is a symbol],’ says the Lord of hosts. 

7 ‘What are you, O great mountain [of obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who will rebuild the temple] you will become a plain (insignificant)! And he will bring out the capstone [of the new temple] with loud shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

8 Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 

9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know (recognize, understand fully) that the Lord of hosts has sent me [as His messenger] to you. 

10 Who [with reason] despises the day of small things (beginnings)? For these seven [eyes] shall rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord which roam throughout the earth.”

Prayer

Father, you have given us the ability and the will to make a living for ourselves and our families.

We pray that you will give us wisdom to handle our money properly and that you will make us generous givers.

May we see the treasure of our hands transformed into the treasures of your eternal kingdom as we invest in Your work.

We have received much from You.

May we not only be receivers of Your grace, but channels to bless the lives of others.

May Your kingdom be advanced because of our gifts today.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

After Haggai had been preaching for two months about the need for rebuilding the temple, a Younger man appeared on the scene as a coworker.

An optimist, he had been called “one of the brightest, the clearest, the most hopeful to be found in prophetic literature.”

The general background of his ministry was obviously the same as Haggai’s.

The small group of returned exiles were seeking, against great odds, to serve the Lord in a land where they were hemmed in with little or no breathing room.

The prophets varied in personality.

Haggai was an activist, bustling with energy and practicality. 

Zechariah, being a priest, was a student of scripture and one that was likely to see visions and dream dreams.

One Bible scholar contrasts them; “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 the same consuming passion.

The temple had to be rebuilt so Jerusalem could become the centre 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 (1:1-6).

This appeal is followed by a series of eight visions (1:7-6:8) containing words of encouragement for the people as they dwell in the land without a temple, oppressed by hardship.

The third section (6:9-15) 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 (7:1-8:23) deals with a question about the days of fasting.

These days will be times of celebration when Jerusalem become the centre of true religion and a source of blessing to all the world.

The final part of the book (9:1-14:21) concerns a later 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 centre of holiness.

To cover Zechariah’s book in such a brief message is impossible.

But we can discover several key teachings that seem to summarise it’s them.

  1. 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 post exile community needed to avoid a repetition of this tragic mistake.

  1. Zechariah’s first message was a clarion call to repentance.

He said Zechariah 1:3 (AMP)

3 Therefore say to the Jews, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts (armies), “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and I shall 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 worshipped in Solomon’s temple, and the song 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!

B. After Zechariah gave a call to repentance, he probably advised the people to rebuild the temple.

Although we don’t have a record of those words, he must have mentioned the temple, because the first part of his ministry paralleled Haggai’s and proceeded the temple construction.

Every person and every nation must repent in order to please God in service.

Activism alone is often shallow.

Unless accompanied by a spiritual approach to life, no human works can advance God’s kingdom.

2. Vision keeps us from perishing.

Zechariah’s visions following his call to repentance, though varied, emphasised God’s presence with His people.

Think about this, Vision is the art of seeing things that are invisible.

A. God will always be with His people.

He had 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.

It is not a question of your strength but of God’s strength.

B. 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 the victory in our own strength. 

God must come into the battle 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. 

3. God will win.

The latter part of Zechariah’s prophecy is difficult to understand.

There has been disagreement for generations as to the fulfilment of things he predicted.

But one thing is certain, God will never be defeated.

His purpose 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.

We should pray that God will help us to be certain that we are 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.

Conclusion.

The theme of our text today runs throughout the entire book of Zechariah.

Human effort will not win the victory.

Assyria, Babylon, and Persia were nations that had been build on might and power.

The first two had already fallen and the third would fall soon.

Those who flowed 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.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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