As this is Fair Trade fortnight, the service will also include a short clip about their work and there will be a demonstration of their wares and free samples in the Hub.
To demonstrate how serious they are in terms of their obedience to God, the people formulate a covenant which is signed and sealed by 84 people. Now comes the difficult part, delivering on it in five key areas:-
1 – Separation (v 30.)
The people had disregarded God’s Word (Deuteronomy 7 v 3) and instead of separating themselves from the surrounding nations they had inter married with them. But here they took a stand and put a stop to mixed marriages and made a commitment to separation for the sake of their faith.
Principle – A Christian should only marry a Christian (2 Corinthians 6 v 14.)
2 – Sabbath (v 31a.)
The people had ignored God’s Word (Exodus 20 v 8 – 10) turning the Sabbath from a day of rest into the same as any other day of the week involving business and trading. But here they took a stand and put a stop to all the buying and selling and made a commitment to keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest for the sake of their faith.
Principle – A weekly day of Sabbath rest that is different from the other 6 days (Exodus 20 v 8 – 11.)
3 – Stewardship (v 31b)
The people had conveniently forgotten God’s Word (Deuteronomy 25 v 4 & 5) and instead of allowing the land to lie fallow on the 7th year they had planted and harvested. But here they took a stand and put an end to the overuse of the land, by making a commitment to allowing it to have a Sabbath rest.
Principle – We are stewards, not owners of all that God has given us (Psalm 24 v 1.)
4 – Self sacrifice (v 31c.)
The people had overlooked God’s Word (Leviticus 25 v 10) when it stated that the 50th year was to be designated the year of Jubilee and that during that year all debt was to be suspended. But here they took a stand and lovingly reinstated the year of Jubilee giving all debtors a year of grace to earn money towards their outstanding repayments.
Principle – Love and do not take economic advantage of your neighbour (Matthew 22 v 38.)
5 – Support (v 32 – 39.)
The people had failed miserably when it came to maintaining the temple and supporting its ministry. But here they took a stand to pay their taxes, bring their wood, and give of their first fruits and tithes in support of the temple and all that it offered.
Principle – Maintain and support the ministry of your local church (Malachi 3 v 10.)
Challenge – Today we have no need of written binding agreements, supported by oaths (Matthew 5 v 34 & 37.) But the call to obey these five principles is still valid and should flow out of a joyful response of love.
Theme: “Signed, sealed and delivered”
Reading: Nehemiah 10 v 30 – 39
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes