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Laying a Solid Foundation for True Worship

(Ezra 3:1-3, 6-7, 10-13)

Join in God’s efforts to lay a foundation for true worship (Ezra 3:1, 1 Kings 5:17, 7:10, Isa. 28:16, 58:12,
Heb.11:10, Matt. 7:24-27, 16:18-20, 1 Cor. 3:10-12, Eph. 2:19-22, Rev. 21:14)

Get excited about what God is doing

People gave a great shout of praise when the foundation was laid (Ezra 3:11, Ps. 98:4-5)

What’s involved in laying a foundation?

What kinds of mistakes/problems sometimes occur with foundations?

What are the characteristics of a good foundation?

True security (a reliable foundation) lay in trusting God (Phil. 3:12-14, 4:10-13, 1 Tim
6:17-19)

Sacrificial (Priestly) worship demonstrates trust in God (Ezra 3:3-7)

God’s 2 covenants, with Israel, and with the followers of Christ, were both
instituted by sacrificial acts. In Exodus 24, there was an animal sacrifice and a
verbal commitment of obedience to the law. Christ Himself was the sacrifice
instituting the New Covenant and Christians are called to follow His example.

Sacrifice is not about giving up what was ours, its about giving back what is His.
Who is the more faithful steward? Us or God?

You don’t need to wait for the “temple” to be completed before you begin
sacrificial worship, in fact, sacrificial worship is an integral part in the process
leading to the completion of God’s work in you as “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1
Cor. 3:16)

Despite fear of opinions of others, worship/sacrifice openly and regularly (Ezra


3:3, Joshua 1:9, 1 Cor. 16:1-2)

In I Chronicles 21, when King David was looking for a place to build a temple,
God directed him to buy the land Araunah the Jebusite was using as a threshing
floor for his wheat. When King David offered to pay Araunah the full price,
Araunah insisted he wanted to give it to David at no charge. Most of us would
have jumped at the offer of free land, but David refused to accept the gift. Instead
he said, “...I will not sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (I
Chronicles 21:24) Then David paid the full price for the land that would be used
to build the Temple. It’s not a sacrifice if it cost nothing. Many Christians only
give on a level they can comfortably afford; they seldom make a real sacrifice.

In Malachi, God is carrying on a conversation with His people. In Malachi 3:9


God is brutally honest about a problem many people face. He says, “Will a man
rob God? Yet you rob me.” But you ask, “How do we rob you?” “In tithes and
offerings. You are under a curse, because you are robbing me.” But God never
chastises us without giving us some positive direction. The solution is found in the
next verse: “Bring the whole tithe (10 percent) into the storehouse, that there may
be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will
not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you
will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10)

Proverbs 3:9 says to “honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all
you produce.” Are you honoring God with your gifts? He also promised in I
Samuel 2:30, “He who honors me, I will honor.”

The big question is not “should I tithe?” Your biggest question is, “Can I trust
God’s promise?”

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously
will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart
to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2
Corinthians 9:6-7, Lev. 19:5)

When you sacrifice a material possession to God you demonstrate you love God
more than your possession.

A real sacrifice always gets Jesus’ attention (e.g. Mark 12, the Widow’s 2 coins)