The List from Ezra 2

Today, I preached at Hesston MB from Ezra 2 and my title was "The List".  Below are notes from the message:


Introduction: What lists have you been on during your lifetime?  There are good lists. School-Honor Roll/Music or Drama Program/Team Roster  Work-Most Successful/Membership in organizations (professional or civic) Personal-Most Popular/ Best Looking/Most intelligent/ Republican/Democrat/Independent/Other?  Family-Good Parent, Spouse, Child Church- Good Christian
There are also bad lists that we don’t want to be on.  Hypocrite? Unpaid taxes? Felon? Addict? Gossip? Judgmental? Ashley Madison?

Today’s passage from Ezra 2 is about being on a list.  I told Brad that it was convenient to be gone this week since this is a difficult passage to preach.  Isn’t it just a bunch of names?  Why does it matter?  We will see people included and excluded from the list. If every Scripture points to Jesus, what about Ezra 2?

Read Ezra 2:1-2; 59,62

·         Made it! (vs. 1-2)

o   Ezra first recorded the 11 civil and religious leaders who were prominent (v. 2)[1] Then Ezra listed people by their 18 families and clans. Next came a listing of inhabitants from 21 towns and villages[2] Then the priests & temple servants[3]

o   Why important?

§  Though such a list of names and locations seems unnecessary to us, it would have been of great encouragement to the original readers.[4] It focuses on the individual and the entire group or remnant who survived the exile.

§  This list is a reminder of God’s faithfulness to a faithless people. God never abandoned his people. It shows God’s grace (we often think grace shows up in the NT with Jesus) as this remnant returns from captivity for their sins.

§  It was important to show that this community, though small and weak, continued God’s plan for Israel.[5]Through this community and their descendants we have the Scriptures, and through this community Jesus Christ came into the world.[6]

o   Even horses, mules, camels and donkeys made the list (vs. 66-67)

 

·         Missed it! (vs. 59,62)

o   Some were excluded because they could not trace their roots.

o   The 652 returnees who could not clearly trace their ancestry (vv. 59–63) were listed last. The priests who could not delineate their genealogies were not allowed by the governor[7]

o   The purity & holiness (set apartness) of the people was to keep God as hero of the story. From this remnant, God would send Jesus who would be completely pure and holy which He would impute (give) to us as believers.

o   For me, it’s like playing the Mennonite Game.  If you go and look at my family’s roots, I would not be included on the Mennonite list.

o   Finding one’s name on a list is frequently satisfying and encouraging; that one is expected, valued, and privileged[8] but the opposite is true as well.

 

·         Redeemed

o   In my introduction, we talked about lists. Most of the lists we are on or not on are based on what we DO

o   Bad List: I am a sinner.

§  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

§  There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10)

§  As Christians, it does no good to compare our sins to others.  Well, at least I didn’t or haven’t __________ Jesus makes sure we understand all sin is equal in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22; 27-28)

§  The world needs us to stop hiding & minimizing our sins. As we honestly admit that we fail, we struggle, we sin, the world will realize we are more similar than they think.  But we don’t just wallow in our sin.  Being a sinner is bad news but this points us to the good news-we need a Savior.

 

·         Better List: Christ died for sinners like you and me

o   it is based not on what you DO but on what Jesus has DONE

§  15  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (1 Timothy 1:15)

§  You are forgiven. Jesus paid the price for our past, present, and future sins. (Ephesians 1:7)

§  You are reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

§  You are fully accepted. Jesus took your sin at the cross & in exchange gave you his righteousness. Therefore, we do not have to worry about what God thinks about us because of Jesus. (Romans 5:9-10)

§  You are loved unconditionally. (1 John 4:10-11) Propitiation- The satisfaction of the righteous demands of God in relation to human sin and its punishment through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ upon the cross, by which the penalty of sin is cancelled and the anger (wrath) of God averted.[9] God calls you beloved not based on whether you are lovable or how you will love him or others, but instead because He is loving.

 

Closing: (4:40) As I close, I am going to play a song by Matthew West called “The List”.  As you listen, I want you think about the lists in your life.  But more important I want to hear clearly what Jesus does with your lists.
 
Love (Jesus) Keeps No Record of Wrongs.
Love (Jesus) tears the list in a million little pieces.



[1] Martin, J. A. (1985). Ezra. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 656). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[2] Martin, J. A. (1985). Ezra. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 656). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[3] Martin, J. A. (1985). Ezra. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 656). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[4] Martin, J. A. (1985). Ezra. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 656). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[5] Breneman, M. (1993). Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (electronic ed., Vol. 10, pp. 73–74). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[6] Breneman, M. (1993). Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (electronic ed., Vol. 10, p. 79). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[7] Martin, J. A. (1985). Ezra. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 656). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[8] Breneman, M. (1993). Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (electronic ed., Vol. 10, p. 77). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[9] Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

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