May 9, Nehemiah 8-10

 

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Beginning in chapter 8 we learn some great lessons about worship. 

We first learn of the characteristics of worship.  Notice how the worship described in Nehemiah is characterized by these three things.

1.      All-together.  (8:1,2,17)  We need unified worship in our lives.  As the people of God, we are not free to do “our own thing” in worship. Rather, we should be lead in worship by the worship leaders.  I believe that it is unbiblical to do as you please in corporate worship.  Even if we spiritualize it and say “worship as the Lord leads you,” we are not keeping in the spirit of biblical corporate worship.  If we do our own thing in worship, the result will be confusion and bringing attention to ourselves rather than focus toward God.
2.      Attentiveness.  (8:3)  We must always ask ourselves, “Do we give attention to worship?”
3.      Awe of God.  (8:6)  True worship should leave us reflecting on our great God. 

The Components of their Worship

Each worship experience is designed differently.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with including different kinds of worship experiences from time to time.  However, every corporate worship experience should focus on these three items. (9:3)

1.      The Word of God
2.      Confession
3.      Praise

 The Consequences of Worship

True worship does not end when the service is completed.  True worship should compel us to “do something.”  True worship should result in a commitment of some kind.  See 10:28-29 for the renewal commitment of Israel.  The only hope for our own country is in true repentance of our sin.

Video and audio of a sermon series on Nehemiah by Steve Horn is available at https://www.fbclaf.org/media/watch-recent-services/#series-sort_nehemiah.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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May 8, Nehemiah 5-7

 

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Here’s my summary statement for the book of Nehemiah:  In the midst of a great work (see 4:19 again) for a great God (see 1:5 again) there will always be great distractions (see 5:1).  Chapters 5-6 reveal the distractions.  First, in chapter 5, we see that some of our distractions are internal.  Many Christians and churches get sidetracked by the internal distractions.  Chapter 6 reveals the external distractions.  If Satan cannot divide us against ourselves, he unleashes on us from the outside.  This is not the first time that Nehemiah encountered distractions from the outside.  Back in chapter 4, we read of the distraction of discouragement.  Now, in chapter 6, the distraction is more personal to the leader—Nehemiah.  So, watch the pattern.  First, Satan attacks the group with outside forces.  If the project stays on course, the enemy attacks from within the group.  If still the project stays on course, often we will see the leader attacked.  I had a deacon that used to say, “If God is blessing, then Satan is messing.”

May today find all of us using the shield of faith to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.  (Ephesians 6:16)

Video and audio of a sermon series on Nehemiah by Steve Horn is available at https://www.fbclaf.org/media/watch-recent-services/#series-sort_nehemiah.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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May 7

 

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The stories from the life of Ezra and Nehemiah give us several important lessons.

·        The Providence of God—God is always at work, sometimes in ways we do not see or understand, to bring about his Sovereign purposes.  This portion of Scripture has several significant examples of the providence of God at work.

 (1)   God raises up Cyrus, king of Persia, to allow the Jews to return toIsrael.

 (2)   When Tattenai and Shethar-Bozenai (Ezra 5:3) forced the Jews to stop their work on the temple, a search was made for the decree of Cyrus.  King Darius, now king of Persia, ordered the search.  Upon learning of Cyrus’ decree, Darius not only allowed for the work to continue, but ordered that the expenses be taken from the royal treasury (Ezra 6:8).

·        Authentic confession involves not only sorrow, but also resolve to turn from that sin.  Manasseh and all of the returnees under the leadership of Ezra (Ezra 10) are examples of this authentic confession.

·        God always provides Godly leadership to accomplish His purposes.  Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah (Ezra 5) are all key leaders during these days of the return of the remnant.  These Godly leaders are able to cast the vision for the people, have the passion and conviction to see the project to completion, have the charisma to be followed, have the courage to fight through discouraging times, and most of all have the faith in Almighty God that is contagious to those who follow.

Video and audio of a sermon series on Nehemiah by Steve Horn is available at https://www.fbclaf.org/media/watch-recent-services/#series-sort_nehemiah.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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May 6, Nehemiah 3-4

 

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In keeping with the theme of seeing some characteristics of a person who God uses to accomplish great things, we also see that Nehemiah had tremendous ability to lead others.  We see at least three examples of how Nehemiah motivated the workers.

(1)   He was able to communicate the urgency of the project. (2:17-18)
(2)   He made assignments that were personal to the workers. (3) Notice how he assigned areas of work relative to each individual’s house. (3:10, 23, 28)
(3)   He reminded them of God’s faithfulness (4:14)

The result of his ability to motivate is that the goal was accomplished in 52 days (6:15) primarily because the people had a mind to work (4:6). Their mind to work was brought about by the motivational influence of their leader, Nehemiah.

Video and audio of a sermon series on Nehemiah by Steve Horn is available at https://www.fbclaf.org/media/watch-recent-services/#series-sort_nehemiah.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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May 5, Nehemiah 1-2

 

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Nehemiah is one of my favorite OT books because of the many practical lessons that we can learn.  Nehemiah shows us first of all a passion for accomplishing great things for God.  God moved in Nehemiah’s heart to lead him to re-build the walls around Jerusalem.

What is your project that God has called you to build?  For students, the project may be education.  For adults, the project that God has called you to right now may be your family.  A God-project can be most anything that is God’s will for your life.  In Nehemiah’s example of “wall building” we can identify several characteristics of the person who is going to “accomplish great things for God.”

In the first couple of chapters, we see Nehemiah’s passion for the project.  Passion is the result of a personal interest in the project (1:2-3) and the result of God putting the project in your heart (2:12).  God gives us passion for different ministries.  Your passion may be evangelism.  For others, your passion may be discipleship.  Sometimes the passion is local; sometimes the passion is for the world.  We must be careful to motivate others toward those things that we are passionate about without letting our passions dictate feelings of superiority toward someone with another God-given passion. Likewise, we must not make others feel guilty if their passion is different from our passion, so long as both passions are from God.

Video and audio of a sermon series on Nehemiah by Steve Horn is available at https://www.fbclaf.org/media/watch-recent-services/#series-sort_nehemiah.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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