Summary: #4 in the Nehemiah Series. A continuation of the rebuilding of the gates of Jerusalem paralleled with the rebuilding of our lives in Christ.
The Book of Nehemiah Series #4
THE JERUSALEM GATES # 2
The Gates of Spiritual Progression - Part 2
By Pastor Jim May
Last week we began a study of the gates of Jerusalem that Nehemiah and the Israelites rebuilt under the direction of King Artaxerxes (Cyrus) of Persia. God had sent judgment upon Israel for its idolatry and proclaimed that for 70 years Israel would be enslaved to a foreign power. Now those 70 years of captivity for Israel were coming to an end. God’s punishment had been accomplished and Nehemiah was commissioned to rebuild Jerusalem.
Nehemiah and his small band of workers began the task of rebuilding the city walls by building the Sheep Gate. We noted that this gate was the way into the city for the sacrificial lambs that were bound for the temple. In a spiritual sense we learned that this represents our entrance into the family of God through the spiritual “Sheep Gate”, Jesus Christ our Lord as the sacrificial lamb, slain from the foundation of the world for the remission of our sins.
After the Sheep Gate they rebuilt the “Fish Gate”, the “Old Gate”, and the “Valley Gate”. Finally, last week we finished our study at the “Dung Gate”.
Each one of these gates have a great significance in our lives.
The Fish Gate representing the fact that we are made fishers of men.
The Old Gate reminding us that we are to stay in the paths of holiness and righteousness and not be pulled aside with every wind of doctrine.
The Valley Gate reminds us that we are often sent into the valley experiences of life where we must face trials and tests so God can test our faith and prove our commitment to him.
The Dung Gate is where we are forced to cast aside the weights that so easily beset us in our service to the Lord and where we are force to allow the power of the Holy Ghost to burn away every sin so that we can begin to turn around and become victorious in our walk with the Lord.
This is where we will begin this week.
Looking at the layout of the gates on the screen, you can’t help but notice that after we have finally laid aside the things of this world and we begin to move on that we will come to a sharp corner in the wall. Until this time we have been building southward. Each section of the wall and each gate that was rebuilt were symbols of how we must correct and reconstruct our relationship with God through the means that he has provided for us to approach him.
We have just rebuilt the Dung Gate and we have turned the corner. What lies ahead? What do the gates of Jerusalem still have to say to each of us? Let us continue to build the wall of separation and protection along with Nehemiah and rebuild the gates so that we may discover some great truths that are hidden in this story.
As you will notice in the picture of the outline of the city of Jerusalem, once we have completed the work needed at the Dung Gate, then the walls of the city make a sharp turn northward. What does that sharp turn represent to you and I?
When you have had the garbage washed from your life and every little weight and sin that so easily besets you is burned away then you can really start to live a victorious life.
Some people take a long time to get past the Dung Gate. They love to hang on to the things of the world too long. They aren’t ready to forsake all to follow Jesus. Until that day comes, when we finally surrender our will to His completely, we must continue to go back and forth from the Valley Gate to Dung Gate, time and time again, until we are finally cleansed and we forsake our old life of sin.
Once that has been accomplished, then we are finally ready to begin our life in Christ and to take steps of faith toward that heavenly Jerusalem and a closer walk with God.
Nehemiah continued to build the wall until we came to the next gate. One brick at a time; one stone at a time; lay the stone upon the foundation, add the mortar to hold it in place and then keep on keeping on until the work is done and we can move on to the next section.
Isaiah 28:10-11, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people."
One day at time, one step at a time, and one prayer at a time – little by little we build a strong wall of separation from the world and get one step closer to Jesus.