Ezra 4:1-3 (NIV) 1When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, 2they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” 3But Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”
When the people of God get serious about worshipping God, the Enemy always incites our enemies to try and distract us. We see the same statements today. “We all worship the same god. All religions basically teach the same thing. Let us help you.” It may be possible to work together on some social issue, but when it comes to the temple of God, we have nothing in common. We do not serve the same God! We do not teach the same thing! The temple must be holy. That was the problem that brought about the captivity. The worship of Jehovah was mixed with religions of the nations they had displaced. We must be honest about the differences in our faith. If we believe Jesus is the only way to God, we should not be bashful about it, but instead have a loving boldness to share the truth for the sake of their eternal destiny.
Some pastors are not concerned if all the staff knows the Lord as Savior. They believe everyone has a natural gift and can use those gifts for the church. That idea ignores the spirit of this passage. When it comes to building the temple, we need sanctified servants of God, or we will find the work is corrupted and compromised by the enemy.
Once they were told that they could not help, they hired advisors to do two things. The first was to discourage them. The second was to make them afraid. That is the enemy’s tactic to this day. If he can’t get in directly, he will try to cause discouragement and fear. Those are attitude problems. Don’t give in to them for a moment.
Encouragement: Be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might and build!
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (NIV) 18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
The world cannot understand why Christians are so concerned about sexual sin. Indeed, we seem to be overly concerned about the sexual sins of the world when they know no better. The Apostle Paul helped the Corinthians, who lived in a very immoral society, to understand why it was important for them to avoid this type of sin. Sexual sins affect your body. The Christian’s body is supposed to be dedicated to God like the vessels of the Temple, for holy use. When it is used for sexual sin, it is defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit.
He warned them to flee from sexual immorality. The best way to avoid temptation is to run from it. If you linger around temptation, eventually it will get to you. Don’t just walk away, run! Sexual immorality, while capturing your body, will also capture your thought life. Compromise becomes the rule instead of the exception. It is very similar to drug addiction. Once it has your body, it is very difficult to be free again. That is why the Apostle tells us to flee from it.
Obedience in this regard is in your own best interests, but Paul adds that we should be thinking of Christ’s interests. He bought you. He paid the highest price that could be paid, because it was Satan’s asking price. Since you were redeemed from being his slave and are now Christ’s servant, honor God with your body. Sexual immorality dishonors the One who paid such a high price for you. If you are in sexual sin, or lingering near the temptation of it, stop and consider the cross. Would you dishonor that by yielding your body to immorality? Then consider how you can flee from it. Take practical steps. Find a trustworthy friend to keep you accountable.
Remember: The cost of giving in is higher than you can imagine. Glorify God with your body.