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A. As I pointed out last week, Chapter's 7 & 8 began the second "phase" in the book of Nehemiah.
1. The first part being the construction of the walls.
2. The second, being the re-instruction of God's people - of the law of Moses.
a) During their captivity many of the requirements of the law were abandoned.
b) Much of the law and many of the practices were a thing of the past.
3. The walls were complete. The following days were wonderful!
a) As the word of God was read and explained, it brought about a change in the people.
b) Revival took place in Jerusalem.
c) Because, the word of God got into in the hearts of the people.
(1) Heb_4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God [is] living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(a) In other words, the word of God is able to lay us open like a skillful surgeon exposing the cancerous killers in our lives.
(b) And when we re-act to the Word of God the way He intended for us to, revival is the result!!!
B. Chapter 9 deals with the many years and events that led to the revival in Jerusalem.
1. Since Heb_13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
a) Those same principles that brought revival in Nehemiah's time, will bring revival in our own hearts, today!!b) In order to understand and apply the "steps" that led to revival we must first attempt to understand the meaning of revival.
1. Revival is not evangelism!
a) Evangelism is winning the unsaved for Christ.
b) Revival has to do with the Christian.
c) Evangelism is the permanent, continuing work of the church.
d) Revival is a gracious outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
(1) It is possible to have a certain amount of success in evangelism without a genuine revival! Because:
(a) The Lord has told us through the prophet Isa_55:11 (NKJV) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper [in] [the] [thing] for which I sent it.
(2) But, genuine revival in the hearts of God's people will bring large scale evangelism! (Ex. healthy sheep beget little sheep)
(3) Much evangelism that the Lord would like to do is thwarted by the coldness that exists in the hearts of His people!
(a) But, when a cold heart is lit on fire by a genuine revival from the Holy Spirit, evangelism will take place! BIG TIME!
(b) The people of God today need genuine revival!!
(c) So let's take a look at how the Lord brought REVIVAL to His people!!
II. STEP #1 = ACKNOWLEDGING THE GOODNESS AND MERCY OF GOD
A. In stead of being self-consumed, in most of Chapter 9 the people begin to praise the Lord.
1. Neh_9:6-15 (NKJV) You alone [are] the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.
7 "You [are] the Lord God, Who chose Abram, And brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, And gave him the name Abraham;
8 You found his heart faithful before You, And made a covenant with him To give the land of the Canaanites, The Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, And the Girgashites--To give [it] to his descendants. You have performed Your words, For You [are] righteous.
9 "You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, And heard their cry by the Red Sea.
10 You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, Against all his servants, And against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself, as [it] [is] this day.
11 And You divided the sea before them, So that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; And their persecutors You threw into the deep, As a stone into the mighty waters.
12 Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, And by night with a pillar of fire, To give them light on the road Which they should travel.
13 "You came down also on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven, And gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments.
14 You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, By the hand of Moses Your servant.
15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, And brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, And told them to go in to possess the land Which You had sworn to give them.
a) They praise Him for what He is!
b) They praise Him for whom He is!
c) They praise Him for His covenant with them!
d) They praise Him for His deliverance!
e) And they praise Him for His tender guidance throughout their history
2. They also acknowledge that all this love was undeserved!
a) Neh_9:16 (NKJV) "But they and our fathers acted proudly, Hardened their necks, And did not heed Your commandments.
b) Neh_9:30-31 (NKJV) Yet for many years You had patience with them, And testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You [are] God, gracious and merciful
(1) REDPATH - "I think we could come to the conclusion that God's mercy with a sinner is only equaled and perhaps outmatched by His patience with the saints, with you and me."
B. 1st step for revival = We must take time every day to acknowledge God's goodness and mercy in our lives, though undeserved! No matter what our circumstances! HE IS WORTHY!
1. Neh_9:3 (NKJV) And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God [for] [one]-fourth of the day; and [for] [another] fourth they confessed and worshipped the Lord their God.
III. STEP #2 = RECOGNITION OF OUR SINFULNESS
A. Neh_9:33 (NKJV) However You [are] just in all that has befallen us; For You have dealt faithfully, But we have done wickedly.
1. God intended them to live in freedom but, Neh_9:36 (NKJV) "Here we [are], servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we [are], servants in it!
a) Although the walls were up and they were back in Jerusalem, they were still under the dominion of Persia.
2. The Lord intends for every Christian to live and walk in freedom
a) But, though the walls of salvation through Jesus Christ are up and we are free within those walls, we are living in a world under the dominion of another king!
b) Inside the parameters that God has set, we are free, outside of those parameters we become slaves!
c) That is why we are told in Gal_5:1 (NKJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
(1) Sin entangles and enslaves. It is outside the walls. It is outside the will of God for our lives!
(2) But, unfortunately, even as Christians we occasionally go outside the walls of safety and freedom.
(a) That is why within the lives of some Christians there are varying degrees of slavery!
(b) With some, it is major - like drugs, alcohol, or adultery.
(c) But often, the subtle enslavements are even more dangerous!
(i) Things like envy, jealousy, greed, gossip and wanting what God has not provided MAKE US SLAVES OF THE FLESH!
B. So, our second step for revival is admitting our condition and our need for Christ!
1. Jesus died for all sin but there is one He will not forgive!
a) The one we will not admit!
(1) 1Jn_1:9 (NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
b) He will not forgive the sin we will not let go of, the one we will not let Him forgive!
(1) Because, there has been no genuine repentance!
c) Which brings us to our 3rd step necessary for revival.
IV. STEP #3 = BROKEN HEARTEDNESS
A. Neh_9:1-2 (NKJV) Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads.
2 Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
1. Without a broken heart over our sin, there is no repentance.
a) Acknowledging the sin in our lives is absolutely necessary, but, without a broken heart there will be no change!
2. Notice in Neh_9:1-2 their broken-heartedness compelled them not only to confess their sin but also to separate themselves from the source of that sin. (In this case the mixed marriages.)
a) Psa_51:1 7 (NKJV) The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise.
b) "God only plants the seed of His Life in a soil that has been broken up by repentance." REDPATH
c) If we do not allow our hearts to be broken over our sinful condition we become hardhearted, cold and indifferent!
3. The 3rd step for revival is a broken heart over sin!
V. STEP #4 = THE RENEWAL OF OUR OBEDIENCE
A. It is very important for us to understand, revival is not just an emotional commitment or acknowledgment. . it is an action!!!
1. Neh_10:29 (NKJV) these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God's Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes:
a) They restored their family altar as well as their social life!
b) They committed themselves to knowing, understanding, and doing the will of God in their homes and outside their homes.
B. The renewal of their obedience also affected their church life!
1. Neh_10:39 (NKJV) For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary [are], [where] the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers [are]; and we will not neglect the house of our God.
2. Nehemiah spends a great deal of time emphasizing 2 areas of obedience in Chapter 10. Faithfulness in stewardship and faithfulness in worship!
a) In Exo_30:13 every male 20 years and older was required to give 1/2 shekel or a 1/4 oz. of silver in support of the priesthood when he was formally enrolled among God's people. = approx. $1.25
(1) They had stopped!
b) They were also required to give to the Lord the Tithe, the firstfruits of everything!
(1) Neh_10:35-37 (NKJV) And [we] [made] [ordinances] to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord;
36 to bring the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as [it] [is] written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks, to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God;
37 to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, [the] new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities.
(a) They had stopped this also!
(b) Nehemiah re-instated all this and told them to give to God what was God's
(i) Jesus said the same thing in Mat_22:21 . . ."Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
3. It affected their worship ( Neh_10:39 ) we will not neglect the house of our God.
a) Heb_10:24 (NKJV) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as [is] the manner of some, but exhorting [one] [another], and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(1) The Hebrew word for "neglect" that Ezra used here is = AW-ZAB = "to fail or leave"
(2) They commited to not fail nor leave their worship in the house of the Lord and all that it entailed!
A. For genuine revival to take place in our hearts, our church, or city or our country - these 4 steps MUST take place!
1. ACKNOWLEDGING THE GOODNESS AND MERCY OF GOD
a) Even when we don't deserve it!
2. RECOGNITION OF OUR SINFULNESS
a) How much we need a Savior!
3. BROKEN HEARTEDNESS
a) A truly repentant heart!
4. THE RENEWAL OF OUR OBEDIENCE
a) A fresh new commitment to be faithful and obedient!
b) A commitment to stay within the walls of His provision and out of the grip of slavery!
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Brown, John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 9". Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany