To know God's love, to show God's love

Sermons by Gordon Walker

The Beauty of Holiness

In Ezra 9 we come to the heart of what is preventing the Jews returned from Exile from being an adornment to the house of God. They have given up on devoting themselves, as a people, to the LORD. They are intermarrying with unbelieving nations and forging secular alliances as the basis of their security.…

What the Work Requires

It’s one thing to have a dream, it’s another to have the means to make it a reality. Jesus said, Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Luke 14:28 And so, looking at…

Beautiful Lives

Ezra appears first, more than half way through the book named after him. Chapter 7 describes how, 57 years after the completion of the rebuilding of the Temple, Ezra receives a commission from Artaxerxes, king of Persia, to enquire into the degree to which the Law of their God was being observed in Jerusalem. He…

A Temple Prepared

At the end of chapter 6 we finally see the Temple completed. This is the task for which the exiles returned, it is the task the prophets urged them to complete … and yet this is not the end of the story. We need to understand this Temple as: Begun and Completed (by the Word…

Recovering our Passion

After the outburst of excitement and determination that brought back almost forty thousand exiles back to Jerusalem to rebuild the ruined Temple, resistance and the temptation of an easy life mean that 18 years are allowed to pass without a single brick being laid. Then, as Ezra 5 records, two prophets – Haggai and Zechariah…

The man who tried

On this Easter Sunday we remember how John 18:26-19:16 records Jesus being brought to Pontius Pilate, a pagan, a Roman, a man from an entirely different world, and a man (who boasted at least) that he held Christ’s life in his hand. And yet, convinced as he was of his innocence, Pilate could only try…

False Friends

Success attracts false friends, but how can you tell, and how should we respond to offers of such false friendship? Ezra 4 describes how the returning exiles navigating exactly those, very contemporary, challenges. And there are a number of truths that become evident: False friends can’t give true help False friendship is expensive to refuse…

First things first

Crisis and difficulty has an almost irresistible way of betraying what the real priorities in our lives are. It was so for the returning exiles in Ezra 3. Their behaviour when they returned to the ruins of the Temple show that they had learned: The first work is sacrifice The first need is passion The…

It’s always about the people

The second chapter of Ezra is one of those passages we often find unpalatable, but in the very emphasis on the details of small places, where the ordinary people lived, which makes it difficult to read issues two challenges to us. Do we, like Israel, have … An understanding of our place in God’s work?…

Promises Kept

In Babylon Israel were a people without a state, without a king, and very often, without even their own name. Daniel, Hananiah, Zerubbabel, all were given new names honouring false gods. God’s faithfulness in keeping the promise he made through Jeremiah meant, Remembering their real Name Remembering their real Home