Nehemiah Part XXIX – What’s at the Center?

March 20, 2011 in

How will our lives be remembered? What will be at the center of the memories? The tales? The stories? It is this question that I would like you to consider as we conclude our study of Nehemiah. Nehemiah is dead. He passed away some 2500 years ago. But the lessons of his life continue to reverberate through history – and the lessons of your life will reverberate as well. Not only will they be remembered by those close to you and felt in the lives of your children and grandchildren, but they will be displayed for all eternity when the Book of Life is opened and the Ancient of Days reads your name. So what will be the tale that is told? What is at the center of your life? And is that what you want?

Nehemiah Part XXVIII – Marrying Unbelievers (13:22-31)

March 13, 2011 in

For the last three weeks we have observed two issues which required Nehemiah’s intervention. Despite their oaths to the contrary, our fathers had corrupted and neglected to care for the Temple of God as well as profaned the Sabbath Day. Rather than remaining resolute in their determination to obey the Lord, they compromised with the prevailing culture of unbelief surrounding them. This compromise with unbelief is highlighted poignantly today as we learn one of the causes of this compromise: our fathers were intermarrying with these unbelieving peoples and adopting their ways of thinking and living.

Nehemiah Part XXVII – Profaning the Sabbath, Part II (13:15-22)

March 6, 2011 in

When we read Scripture, we must read specific comments in their context. For example, if we only read Romans 14 and Colossians 2 where Paul repudiates the notion that Christians are bound to the 7th day Jewish Sabbath, then we might conclude that Paul prohibits distinguishing one day from another. All days are alike absolutely. However, to argue in this way is to misread the apostles – for the very apostles who reject the Jewish Sabbath themselves institute a Christian Sabbath which they call the Lord’s Day. Context matters. So today we are going to be using Nehemiah’s actions to help us understand what our Lord’s Day, our Sabbath rest should look like.

Nehemiah Part XXVI – Profaning the Sabbath, Part I (13:15-22)

February 27, 2011 in

Today Nehemiah deals with the flagrant violations of the Sabbath that was characterizing the Israelites upon his return as governor. Nehemiah’s actions give us occasion to consider two things: first, the relevance of the OT Sabbath law for us as the people of God and, second, the passion which Nehemiah demonstrates for the glory of God. This is the first of two sermons considering what Nehemiah’s actions and attitude teach us as Christians.

Nehemiah Part XXV – Concern for the House of God (13:4-14)

February 20, 2011 in

Today we witness Nehemiah dealing with the people’s unfaithfulness toward the Temple. Their sin takes two forms. The first is internal corruption – the service of the Temple itself is being twisted and distorted from its proper function to the personal use of an unbeliever. The second is a failure to pay the tithe – the nobles and people were likely so jaded by this internal corruption that they were no longer bringing the tithes for the support of the Temple system, including the support of the Levites. By observing the way that Nehemiah deals with these two problems we learn some important lessons about our own calling to care for the House of God.

Nehemiah Part XXIV – Remember Me, O Lord (13:4-31)

February 13, 2011 in

Humans are prone to forget things – some when young, some as we grow older, some all the way through. But though we are prone to forget, our text today reminds us that God does not forget – He always remembers. And this is cause for great rejoicing from His people. Indeed, it is the basis on which Nehemiah lived his life. He labored and strove and wept and fought to remove Jerusalem’s reproach in faith that God would not forget his labors – and it is this faith that shines through in the last chapter of His book.

Nehemiah Part XXIII – Purifying the Assembly (13:1-3)

January 30, 2011 in

Church discipline – the practice of excluding certain members from the community of God’s people – is a hot topic today. Many churches, disturbed by the notorious sin and false teaching in their midst, have resorted to the ancient practice of church discipline. The Church, they insist, is called to be a holy community, reflecting the character of God to the world and being distinct from the world.

Many other churches, however, disturbed by what they see as the intolerant and judgmental attitude involved in these actions, have pushed back the other way. Jesus fellowshipped with tax gatherers and sinners, they insist. How dare we assume a “holier-than-thou” attitude and expel sinners from the church?
Similar tensions existed in the congregation of God’s people in the Old Testament – including in the days of Nehemiah. The way in which they faced these struggles will prayerfully help us understand what the Word of God teaches on these matters and how we can faithfully serve the Lord in our day.

Nehemiah Part XXII – Delighting in our Duties (12:44-47)

January 23, 2011 in

When the people of God are under the influence of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of thankfulness,He leads them to a more faithful performance of their several duties – and leads them to do these duties with joy and rejoicing. But when that thankfulness, when the Spirit of God, is absent, the activity may still be going on but Christian community is not truly present; indeed, Christian community is rapidly disappearing and the entire structure may soon explode.

Nehemiah Part XXI – Dedicating the Wall (12:27-43)

January 16, 2011 in

In our text today, our fathers dedicate the wall that they have built. After the celebration of the biblical feasts – Trumpets (New Year) and Tabernacles (deliverance through the wilderness) – and after the renewal of covenant with God – things of much greater priority than the wall itself – we get to the dedication of the walls. The people join together in giving public thanks to God for what He did through them, dedicating the wall to His glory.