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Return to Me (Zechariah 1:3-4)

Sermon by Ps Justin Chia on 13 November 2022


Introduction


The book of Zechariah is one of the books of the minor prophets, which are about sin, punishment, behavioural change, judgement, and the hope of salvation and restoration.


Remember the four fundamentals – the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the righteousness, judgment and mercy of God, and the sovereignty of God over the nations. Matthew 7:15-20 tells us that a good tree bears good fruit while a bad tree bears bad fruit.


Message


Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.” ’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the Lord. – Zechariah 1:3-4


The “Lord of hosts” was mentioned many times. We know that when the bible repeats things, we should pay attention to those things. The Lord of hosts is the redemptive name of God. He is called Jehovah Sabaoth – the host of all creation. He is the god of the armies of Heaven.


These verses are a warning to us. The Lord is telling us to return to Him, by turning away from evil works and thoughts. The Lord calls us to return to Him; to return to God’s almighty power and His sovereign dominion. We learn from James 4:8 that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. “Return to Me” is a call to repentance. Repentance means an about turn (Acts 26:20; Matthew 3:8). The Jews were exhorted to complete the building of the temple, and this was related to the coming of the Messiah. In Jesus’ first coming, He was rejected and humiliated (Hebrews 9:28). In His second coming, He will be exalted and glorified (Revelations 22:12).


The book of Zechariah is symbolic, didactic, and prophetic.

· 8 visions (symbolic) – chapters 1-6

· 4 messages (didactic) – chapters 7-8

· 2 burdens (prophetic) – chapters 9-14


The first 8 chapters are about encouraging the remnants to rebuild to temple of God. In the last 6 chapters, after the completion of the building of the temple, it is about the anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. The key messages are about returning, repenting, rebuilding, restoring and the Messiah’s first and second coming.


1. Return to Me by repentance (Zechariah 1:14)


2. The first vision of Zechariah – the vision of the horses. God is watching and fighting your battles (Zechariah 1:7-17)


3. The second vision of Zechariah – the vision of the horns which are dark forces (Zechariah 1:18-21). The craftsmen referred to then were Haggai, Zechariah, the high priest Joshua and the governor. But now it refers to us – we are the craftsmen who are not fearful of the devil and will stand firm.


4. The third vision of Zechariah – the vision of the measuring line (Zechariah 2:1-13; 2:8; 2:5). It is about starting small and growing big – it is a future blessing.


5. The fourth vision of Zechariah – the vision of the high priest (Zechariah 3:1-10). This is a vision of future cleansing. We will be clothed with the robe of righteousness.


6. The fifth vision of Zechariah – the vision of the lampstand and olive trees (Zechariah 4:1-14). The lampstand represents the church. We are the anointed servants of God and we will be continuously refreshed.


7. The sixth vision of Zechariah – the vision of the flying scroll (Zechariah 5:1-4). This is a vision of judgment on those who disobey God. Hidden sin will be judged. There will be a curse (verse 4).


8. The seventh vision of Zechariah – the vision of the woman in a basket (Zechariah 5:5-11). This symbolises the hidden motive of the false church. The woman in the basket represents wickedness; there is a lid to cover them.


9. The eighth vision of Zechariah – the vision of the four chariots (Zechariah 6:1-8). There is mention of mountains of bronze. The word ‘bronze’ represents sin.


10. ‘Return to Me’ with obedience (Zechariah chapters 7 and 8). True religion is not found merely in external acts of religious piety but is based on a personal relationship with God.


The 2 burdens of Zechariah are found in chapters 9-14. Jesus is coming as judge and the righteous king (Zechariah 14:3-4). On that day, the enemy will be defeated (Zechariah 14:9, 16). On that day, there will not be anyone making money by using the name of the church (Zechariah 14:21). Holiness will be permeated in our souls (Zechariah 14:20).

Closing


The book ends with the promise that the Lord will establish His rule over all the earth. God’s blessing will be upon the repentant on, the returning one, and re-dedicated one. God’s blessings will only upon Christians who live an honourable life.


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