And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity…
I. THAT WE SHOULD DEDICATE A NEW CHURCH TO GOD IN A SPIRIT OF SOLEMN REJOICING. "With joy" (ver. 16).
1. The work itself a joy. As a material structure, embodying the skill and handiwork of man, it is a joy.
2. The purpose of the work a joy. It is built for the glory of God and for the good of man.
3. The spirit of the work a joy.
4. The completion of the work a joy.
5. The prospect of the work a joy.
6. The interest of the work a joy. Heaven rejoices m the finished sanctuary, in which its holy worship shall be conducted, and its redemptive purposes be promoted. Religious worship is a joyful thing; let us enter the house of God with thanksgiving.
II. THAT WE SHOULD DEDICATE A NEW CHURCH TO GOD IN A SPIRIT OF DEEP SELF-ABASEMENT. "For a sin offering" (ver. 17).
1. We must not be proud of our mechanical skill. Israel might be tempted to think that as a band of captives they had displayed great skill in building the house; they rather felt that God had built it.
2. When we have completed any great work for God we must not think that we have done anything worthy of praise; we must not commend our energy, devotion, or self-sacrifice; but we must remember our delay, our weakness, and how we needed the ministers of God to stir us to duty.
3. We must humble our souls before God in deep confession of sin.
4. We must come offering by faith the only sacrifice that can avail to make us and our imperfect work acceptable to God. The best house we can build for God is unworthy his acceptance; he can only accept it through the sacrifice of Christ.
5. We must come united in the sacred fellowship of the Church. Israel united in the feast.
III. THAT WE SHOULD DEDICATE A NEW CHURCH TO GOD BY INAUGURATING USEFUL MORAL AGENCIES. "They set the priests in their divisions" (ver. 18). The house will be comparatively worthless unless it becomes the scene of busy Christian toil and enterprise; it is to be a house of moral industry. The agencies are -
2. Varied. Priests and Levites; all kinds of workers.
3. Orderly - "in their course."
4. Useful - "for the service."
One course will relieve another. It is impossible to indicate the manifold agencies which ought to be set in operation by a new church, or to estimate the mighty impulse which should be given to the work of Christ on the earth.
IV. THAT WE SHOULD DEDICATE A NEW CHURCH TO GOD REGARDING IT AS THE REPOSITORY OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH AND THE SCENE OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP. "As it is written in the book of Moses" (ver. 18). "And killed the passover" (ver. 20).
1. The repository of the truth. The temple was the repository of the law of Moses; in it the law of Moses was recognised as of supreme authority. In the new church God's book must rule our thought, speech, and action; a law more complete than the law of Moses; for in these last days God hath spoken unto us by his Son.
2. The scene of worship. The new church is not merely for literary, scientific, philanthropic purposes; but for the passover, for Christian worship. See that it is used for its rightful purpose. - E.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,