This week we conclude our sermon series entitled ‘Nehemiah’. With preaching from Nathan Gordon and our worship service led by Beverley Sills.
Context of chapter 13
Over the past two weeks of sermons, the atmosphere in Jerusalem was evidently at an all-time high. The walls were completely renovated, the people rededicated their lives to God and made solemn pledges to uphold God’s laws. Nehemiah after a 12-year leave of absence finally returned to Babylon, however upon his return to Jerusalem Nehemiah found the spiritual condition of the people had drastically changed in a negative way.
During the pandemic, the pursual of normality has been evident across the nation as people’s lives have been plagued with restrictions to a normal way of life. From a spiritual perspective sometimes God’s will can seem uncomfortable and challenging (Ask Elijah, Moses, David, Paul, and the list is endless). We may even want to just live a normal life without the added pressure of living outside of our comfort zones, and seemingly for the Israelites, they found it all too easy to slip back into the old way of doing things that were contrary to Gods will.
The book of Nehemiah is about rebuilding the wall of a great city, but it is also about Spiritual renewal – rebuilding a people’s dependence on God. When we take our eyes off God, our lives begin to crumble.
- Temple Reforms 13:4-9
- What needs attention in the church?
- What can I do to help improve an area within the church?
- Our bodies are also described as the temple of the Holy Spirit – what needs reforming in our temples? (1 Cor 6:19)
- Priority reforms 13:15-22
- The people in Judah were treading wine presses on the sabbath, buying, and selling goods etc. The sabbath day was instituted by God to be a day of rest.
- What are the main priorities in our lives?
- Is God first on our list of priorities?
- Relationship reforms 13:23-29
- Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab
- Children grew up without knowing the language of Judah
- Might not be a person but could be something that is hindering our relationship with God.
- Example of Solomon
- Contrast to Ezra (9:3) same issue 20 plus years before
House group Questions
- After some time away from Israel, Nehemiah returns to find that many of Israel’s promises made in their covenant in chapter 10 were being violated. What were some of the violations that Nehemiah found upon his return to Jerusalem?
- Why do you believe Nehemiah was so angry regarding Eliashib allowing Tobiah to live in the temple storeroom?
- What do you think is the relationship (if any) of Nehemiah’s absence combined with the people’s sinful behaviour?
- How should God’s people appropriately “stand up” for what God says is right and true?
- How do you think people and churches can hold consistently to God’s teaching and avoid the inconsistent obedience the Israelites demonstrated in this chapter?
Sermon Title: How quickly do we regress to normal?
Bible Reading: Nehemiah 13
Preacher: Nathan Gordon
Worship Leader: Beverley Sills