The Times of Repentence--the Ezra Story

Memory verse: Acts 3: 19--"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;"

Time of the book of Ezra--538-515 B. C. for the first return; 457 for second return.

Theme: Repentance. The return of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple is symbolic of the Christian's return to God after he has sinned.

Objectives for the lesson:

1. The Learner Will Be Able To recognize that the physical return to Jerusalem after the captivity also showed, at least to some extent, a spiritual return to God. Students will analyze the repentance of the priests as shown in Ezra 10: 16-44.

2. TLW be able to understand Cyrus's proclamation and its prophetic significance.

3. TLW be able to tell the story of the rebuilding of the temple and restoration of relationship with God.

4. TLWBAT locate the events of Ezra on a timeline with 100% accuracy.

5. TLWBAT point out that when Ezra read the book, he left it open; when Jesus read it, he closed it (and relate the significance).

The Bible Story

I. The first return (Chapters 1-6) A. It was Cyrus king of Persia who wanted Israel to return to its religion. The spiritual preparation of the people--chapter 3.

Celebration and rejoicing over the re-affirmation of religious values (chapter 6). When a sinner repents, there is rejoicing in heaven. See Luke 15: 3-7.

The torment of the heart is meant to convict one and lead him to God--like those on Pentecost who exclaimed "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

God tells man what to do if he is not in a covenant relationship with Him. See Acts 2: 37-47. He also tells what to do if a Christian sins. Acts 8: 18-24.

II. The second return to Jerusalem.

Significantly again, it is an earthly king and even a symbol of idolatry who commands that the right things be done. Ezra 7. We are to be the leaders of right and wrong today. I Corinthians 6: 1-11. I Peter 4: 17-19.

There is joy when we truly repent and let God reign uppermost in our lives. Philippians 4: 7-9.

Do you have joy?

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