Zechariah 13 – 27 May 2012
This is the 2nd last sermon on the book of Zechariah.
I hope you have been helped by the study thus far.
I normally don’t share much about myself because I am here to tell you about Jesus Christ & not about myself.
But I do not want you to go away thinking that each of these sermons come easy.
It takes hours & hours of reading, studying, meditating and that which I lack a lot – praying.
And of course, preaching is not the only responsibility I have in this Church.
Neither is this the only responsibility I have in my life.
In 1997, I was sitting alone in my balcony at home at 11:30pm on a Tuesday night.
My wife & 2 small boys (at that time) were asleep and I could only turn on the lights in the balcony.
Five major deliverables for different responsibilities in my life were due before the end of that week.
And these included my next sermon on 1 Cor 8 and Sunday School lesson (for a class which included many of the young people seated here today).
And I had to attend prayer meeting that Wednesday night. How could I get all these done?
I said a simple prayer “Help Lord!” and launched into what I need to do.
And guess what, it had been like this for the last 15 years.
I had to continuously juggle at least 5 different responsibilities concurrently at any one time.
If not for the grace and sustenance of God, I would have collapsed under all that stress.
Now, I am sharing all these with you not because I want you to pity or emulate me.
Please also do not think that preaching is just another item on my “to-do” list.
Each of us have to give an account to God on how we handled the situations He placed in our lives.
What I want to tell you is simply that Christian commitment takes discipline and self-denial.
Christian profession can be very costly and may require you to even walk away from lucrative career opportunities.
King David set the example for us in 2 Sam 24:24 “..I will not offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God which costs me nothing”.
May I ask each of you “What is your profession of faith costing you today?”
Are you what some people call a “passive” or a “convenient” Christian?
Sometimes, we can be very stingy when it comes to serving God isn’t it?
We are willing to spend so much of our time on our jobs and studies, but we give God (as it were) the crumps.
Some of you are willing to stay up late for your personal interest, but can’t be here by 9:30am to prepare to meet with your king.
I know I sound harsh; I know there will be days of exception.
The question is whether we are making an effort to give God priority in our life.
This morning, I want you to understand the sacrifice that Jesus has made for you.
So hopefully, after this sermon, many of you will be willing to be living sacrifices to God.
I am going to cover Zechariah 13 in 2 sections as follows:
Section 1 – From verses 1-6, Zechariah tells us “2 things about our salvation in the gospel age”.
Section 2 – From verses 7-9, Zechariah tells us “3 things about the God who brought this salvation to us”.
Let’s now look at section 1 – “2 things concerning our salvation in the gospel age”.
The first thing Zechariah tells us about our salvation is that there will be continuous cleansing – v1
How many of you have ever used a basin to wash clothes or dishes?
What happens to the water in the basin as you wash the clothes or dishes?
The water gets dirtier and dirtier isn’t it?
In the old testament the priest had to wash himself before he could make offerings in the temple.
The Jews had to continually offer sacrifices for the atonement of their sins.
And Hebrews 10:3-4 tell us that “…in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year….but it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”
All the ceremonies and sacrifices were meant to be a foreshadow of the good things to come.
And Zechariah says in verse 1 that “a fountain” will be opened for “the house of David & the inhabitants of Jerusalem”.
A fountain gives us the idea of “continuous cleansing” compared to “washing in a basin”.
And whenever the prophets spoke about Jerusalem, they were generally referring to the Christian Church.
In other words, you who are part of the Christian church will receive continuous cleaning from your sins.
William Cooper puts it this way in his hymn:
“There’s a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.”
There is no need for us to make animal sacrifices for our sins anymore – isn’t that wonderful?
There is no need to approach a priest to confess our sins anymore – isn’t that good?
All we need to do is to turn to Jesus in faith & we can experience this cleansing.
Oh what a wonderful Saviour we have in our Lord Jesus Christ!
He provided this great fountain by which our consciences can be cleansed from our sins.
But how do you become part of the Christian Church that receives this continuous cleansing?
That’s the 2nd thing that Zechariah tells us concerning our salvation.
You become part of the Christian Church with a “change of heart”.
Now, there were 2 constant challenges faced by old testament Israel.
The first was the worship of idols.
The second was the presence of false prophets.
What is an idol?
An idol is anything that is more important to you than God should be.
An idol has a controlling position in your life where you are willing to do anything for it.
It can be your pride, family, children, career, making money, or pursuing achievement.
It can be that sin you are secretly harbouring in your thoughts and subsequently leading to action.
It can even be that desire for glory or social standing where you are willing to spend all your financial and emotional energies on.
An idol is anything that takes away your attention from God.
My friends, do you have idols in your life?
Well, Old testament Israel had idols, lots of them!
Sometimes, the Israelites would worship the idols.
Sometimes, they would worship the idols together with Jehovah God.
Sometimes, they would treat Jehovah God like an idol, expecting Him to fulfil their every whim & fancy.
But God says in verse 2 that He will “…cut off the names of the idols from the land”.
And He will cause “…the unclean spirit to depart from the land”.
In other words, all Believers will be “given a new heart”.
And with this new heart, they will put away their idols & submit themselves to the one and only true God.
The second challenge that old testament Israel constantly faced was the presence of false prophets.
The false prophets taught the people to turn away from God, just like Balaam did in Num 22.
But the time will come when the people of God will be able to recognise who the false prophets were.
With the “New Heart”, they will be able to discern right from wrong, truth from falsehood.
With the “New Heart”, they will be willing to even severe ties with their loved ones for the sake of following God – verse 3 & 6.
With this “new heart”, even those who once practice falsehood will turn away from their falsehood – v4.
They will even acknowledge their sins and effect a clear change in their lives – verse 5.
My friends, here is the great salvation for the people of God – the true inhabitants of Jerusalem.
The Holy Spirit will open the eyes of His people.
They will see and understand their sins.
They will be able to discern right from wrong because the Holy Spirit teaches them.
They will turn away from their idols and towards the one true God.
They will be willing to give up even their family relationships because of their loyalty to the one true God.
And even though indwelling sin continues to haunt them, their consciences are continuously cleansed by the ever flowing “fountain of blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins”.
My friends, especially the youths who have grown up in our Church, has God been speaking to you?
Has God the Holy Spirit been showing you the many idols that are taking away your attention from Him?
Has He opened your eyes to understand what is right and what is wrong?
If so, you must not harden your heart and subdue the prompting that the Holy Spirit is giving you.
You must not let Satan keep you on his side.
You must listen and respond to this call of repentance and faith in God.
And just like the prodigal son who realised his folly, you must turn back to God now!
Profess your allegiance to Jesus and your faith in Him!
Let this day be a day of salvation like the prophet has proclaimed.
And after proclaiming about our salvation in the gospel age, Zechariah continues in verses 7-9 to tell us “3 things about the God who brought about this salvation”.
The first thing he tells us is that Jesus is God and Man at the same time.
The LORD says in verse 7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion”.
Who is this “Shepherd” referred to in verse 7?
In John 10:11 Jesus says “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
So we know that this Shepherd referred to in verse 7 is Jesus.
And the LORD God Jehovah says in the 2nd part of v7 that this Shepherd is “the Man who is His Companion”.
In other words, Jehovah God is saying that Jesus is with Him in the triune God-head- Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
Friends, this is the mystery of our God, the Holy Trinity.
We cannot understand how it is, but we preach it because that’s what the scriptures tell us.
The Father, Jehovah God is equal with Jesus, the Shepherd of His people & the Man who is His Companion.
Yet, Jesus is God and distinct from God the Father.
Dear Christians, this is your God, the God of the bible.
Give diligence to knowing and serving Him, your God.
The second thing that Zechariah tells us is that Jesus will be “struck” in order to earn salvation for us
In Matt 27:31, Jesus quoted from Zech 13:7.
This was the incident just before He predicted that Peter would deny Him.
Jesus says “…All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”
Jesus confirms that He is the “Shepherd” referred to in Zechariah 13:7.
He is also confirming that He is the Man who is the “companion” of Jehovah God.
And Jesus was the Shepherd who laid down His life for His people.
The Apostle Peter tells us concerning Jesus in 1 Pet 2:24 “…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.”
Christian friends, this is your God who gave Himself for you.
Is there anything that you cannot give to Him?
This is your God who has reviewed Himself to you in the scriptures.
Listen very carefully to Him now as He tells you the third thing about Himself in this passage.
The third thing that Zechariah tells us about God is that “Jesus/God has reserved a remnant for Himself”.
Verse 8 says “..That two third in it shall be cut off and die, but one third shall be left in it:”
God has reserved for Himself those who would not bow down to idols.
Jesus said in Matt 22: 14 that “Many are called, yet few are chosen”.
He is telling us that there will be a remnant of people He has chosen for Himself.
And He will refine and test this remnant of people.
Verse 9 – “I will bring the one third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested.”
And instead of complaining and murmuring in the process of the test, this remnant will “call on His name” – verse 9.
And God will answer them.
And God will acknowledge that “These are His people”.
And each of the remnant will rejoice and acknowledge that “The Lord is my God”.
Friends, the real test of a believer is not how he starts his spiritual life in Jesus Christ.
The real test is how he will persevere and complete his spiritual life on earth victorious in Jesus Christ.
I am happy that many of you have found faith early in your life.
But remember – perseverance in the faith is the affirmation of your calling.
Perseverance in the faith is not because of your works or because you are good.
Perseverance in the faith is because God keeps you going in the faith.
A true Christian may face great challenges in his life.
And yes, he may fall into sin, sometimes very grievous sins.
Yet he will return and be washed in the glorious fountain of cleansing by Jesus’ blood.
And as he matures in the Christian faith, he will see more and more of his own filthiness and worthlessness.
And he will wonder and appreciate even more that great salvation and rest he has in Jesus Christ.
Many will fall away in this great “purging” exercise.
Oh may we not be numbered amongst those who would fall away.
But the remnant of God’s people will persevere till the end because it is the Lord who preserves them.
Are you one of the remnant of God?
Is God speaking to you this morning?
Has he shown you given you a “change of heart”?
Has He opened your eyes to the great fountain of cleansing?
Has he shown you the idols in your heart that you must repent of?
Has he given you the discernment to know that you must respond to this message of salvation?
If He has, please talk to me after worship today so that the Church leaders can pray for you.
Talk to me so that we know how to help you.
Talk to me so that we can pray for you that you can break the hold that Satan has on you.
Oh, may God speak to each of you individually and may this be a day of salvation for many.
Let us sing a hymn in closing.