9. Blessed to be a Blessing
Because God has promised to bless us abundantly, we should be a blessing to others.
“1 And the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lordof hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3 Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. 4 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.6 Thus says the Lord of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the Lord of hosts? 7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, 8 and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.”9 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets who were present on the day that the foundation of the house of the Lordof hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. 10 For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the Lord of hosts. 12 For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”14 For thus says the Lord of hosts: “As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lord of hosts, 15 so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not. 16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”18 And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace. 20 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” – Zechariah 8:1-23
I. The Basis of God’s Blessing: Character & Promise
II. The Path to God’s Blessing: Obedience
III. The Purpose of God Blessing: to Bless Others
Quick Thought: The Temptation of Blessing
In today’s sermon, we consider the blessings of God as a source of being a blessing to others. Ironically, the very blessings of God can also be a distraction in our lives as ones called to share the blessings of the Gospel with others and indeed in sharing the Gospel message. It is often easy for us to want God or commend him because of his blessings.
We are always in danger of selling Christianity on the basis of the benefits it will bring to the listener. Having said that, the Bible provides us with many examples to show that this is not always wholly inappropriate. Yet, at its root, the gospel we preach and believe must always be about growing more and more in love with God for his own sake and for his own glory. However, the glorious truth is that it is in seeking God for his own glory that we find our ultimate joy, for there is no one and nothing better that we could seek after or worship. In giving us himself, God is giving us the very best. It is a difficult thing; we will always skew it, both in how we live and how we communicate the gospel. So, may God help us to be faithful.
Life Group Questions
- Read verses 1-2. God has a “jealous love for Israel”, but as Deuteronomy 7:7-8 makes clear, the reason God loves Israel is that he “loves them”. Although this is a circular argument, it is also comforting. Why are God’s unconditional love and acceptance of His people difficult but comforting to grasp?
- Why is it important to affirm that salvation comes totally from God instead of being a “joint venture”?
- God calls his people to obedience; see, for example, verses 16-17. What can go wrong with discussions about Christian obedience if they are not discussed with the context of God’s unconditional love? Feel free to speak from personal experience.
- Describe a “holy” person. A. What does holiness look like in verses 16-17? B. How can we be holy and yet relate well to a sinful world?
- Read verses 20-23. Describe the scene here. Can we expect non-Christians to see our lives and be attracted to the God we serve?
- Living a holy life is not enough to lead someone to salvation in Jesus Christ. Read 1 Peter 3:15. What does Peter’s charge add to the equation?
- To what extent does a believer have to “have it together” in order to be involved in ministry to others?
- In the sermon, it was said, “My North African friend shared this proverb from his culture with me, “There is only one crime worse than murder on the desert, and that is to know where the water is and not tell.” God has led us to Christ, the living water. He has blessed us with His salvation, and He promises to bless us even more abundantly in the future. But He didn’t save us so that we could sit in the lifeboat feeling warm and cozy, oblivious to the lost of the world. He saved us so that we may become a blessing to others. If you’re saved, but you don’t have your focus on blessing others, you’ve only got half the picture.” What does this mean for you right now?
Close in Prayer.