What does it mean to see & savour God’s word as a Community? (Nehemiah 8:1-8)

This sermon is part of the Expository Preaching Collective on the Book of Nehemiah. Follow the link below to know more about What Expository preaching is and Why is it important to us. (Click here)[/otw_shortcode_info_box]

Our text for today is from Nehemiah 8:1-8.

Let me give you a brief background of the story before jumping into the text.

God’s people lived in disobedience to His Laws and rebels against Him. Instead of worshiping the one true God they started worshiping man-made gods; and God gave them away into the hands of their enemy.

In the year 586 BC Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple of God was burned down by the enemy nation. Men, women and children were taken captives and given to slavery. They were taken away from their land and the walls that protected them were broken down.

But then 70 years later God brings them back to Jerusalem.

Last Sunday we looked at why God gathers His people. He brings them back to re-establish His worship because He zealously desires His worship above everything else and He pursues us lovingly.

He calls a man called Nehemiah and assigns him the task of re-building the walls of Jerusalem so that the people are protected and secure.

Against all the opposition and trouble Nehemiah with God’s help completes the re-building of the wall in 52 days. It couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of God.

We also learnt how the story of Nehemiah is a reflection of God’s redemptive work through His son Jesus Christ.

When God created the first man and women they sinned against Him and rebelled against His authority. In return God gave them away to Sin. And therefore every human being born in this world is born sinful, without a relationship with God who is our heavenly Father.

Because of Sin we deserved death – Romans 6:23

We became salves to Sin – John 8:34

God was unable to relate with us because of our fallen state.

But the good news is that God still loved us and to mend this broken relationship He sent His only begotten son Jesus Christ to died in our place for our Sin.

Romans 5:8 says “God demonstrates His own love for us in this; while we were still sinners Christ died for us”

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world He gave His only son Jesus, to die in our place for our sinfulness”

Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life is what God promises.

Yes, Jesus died in our place. But on the third day he rose again defeating death and is now seated on the right hand of the Father interceding for us.

Jesus is the better Nehemiah who came to re-establish our broken relationship with God for ever.

Nehemiah chapter 8:1-8 gives us another interesting picture on what Jesus accomplished for us.

Verse 1 says “And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the water gate”

What I found interesting is the word “one man”

In Ephesians 2:14-16, 22 we see this word mentioned again by Paul.

“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and mightreconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility….. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

There are two things we learn from the above passage.

1. United in Christ

That Jesus didn’t just save us from sin, slavery and death as individuals but He also unites us together to one another and presents us before the Father as one man, one unit.

He has broken down all the walls that separated us from one another. The walls of religion, caste, language, color etc.

The day we believed in the good news of the Kingdom and surrendered our lives to the one true living God, he broke every diving walls of hostility.

It implies that as a child of God I no longer have to live in isolation. We now have brothers and sisters in the Lord to stand with us through every circumstance in life.

And that is why we are called –

  • To love one another – John 13:34-35
  • To admonish one another
  • To encourage one another
  • To help one another
  • To be patient with one another
    – Thessalonians 5:14
2. Built together as God’s dwelling place

Ephesians 2:15 – We are built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. God dwells in the unity of His people.

Nehemiah 8:1 says the people came together as one man.

They came together and read out the Law of Moses that the Lord had given. They basically read out from the book of Leviticus where God instructs His people how to worship Him and obey Him.

What is clean & unclean in his sight, what sacrifices were acceptable to Him and which ones were unacceptable, guidelines on following the Sabbath etc.

Last to last Sunday we spoke about the Old testament Law and how it has been fulfilled in Christ and that we are no more are bound to that Law and its practices anymore. The Law is still important as it now points us to Christ and the Gospel.

What we learn from the act of the these people in Nehemiah is

  1. They set their hearts on seeking God’s word as a community
  2. They gave God’s word the highest prominence in their lives
  3. They put effort in understanding God’s heart and his purposes for them

The first things that stands out as an application for us is to set our hearts on Gods words as a community, giving his word the highest prominence ever and to put effort in knowing Him and knowing His purposes for our lives.

Let’s ask ourselves how are doing this aspect, are we committed to the Lord and His word more than anything in this world.

When we come together to see and savour His word He dwells among us and commands His blessings over us. He unites our hearts even more bringing uniformity in our thoughts and actions.

Our seeing and savouring of God’s word then transcends into service. Service to God and service to one another where Love is prevalent, Joy is the norm and Peace is the outcome.

God is doing a beautiful thing among us, lets engage with one heart and one soul bringing Glory to His name.