Summary: The purpose of this sermons is to help us realize just how good we’ve got it when it comes to the Word of God and what our response should be to how God has blessed us.
The Word of God
September 14, 2003
A. Unused Spiritual Resources
During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.
When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, "Thank you."
But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, "If I may ask, what was in that package after all?"
She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, "Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds."
Like the contents in this package, the resources for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.
1. [Hold up Bible.]
2. We have the resources for growth and strength, but we must open the package!
B. Today as we come to the eighth chapter of the book of Nehemiah we see what happened when they decided to open the package.
C. [read text]
D. I see five things that happened when they opened the package….
I. The Book of the Law
Nehemiah 8:1 (NIV), all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.
1. All the people assembled as one man.
2. They assembled for the purpose of hearing the Book of the Law read.
3. Notice that Nehemiah did not say that everyone assembled, Nehemiah doesn’t say that each family assembled, Nehemiah doesn’t say that each tribe assembled.
4. They assembled as one man.
5. There was no division amongst them when it came to the Book of the Law.
6. They weren’t there individually, or by family, or by occupation; there was no division amongst them when it came to the Book of the Law of Moses.
7. I believe that everyone word in the Word of God is there for a reason and so I therefore believe that there is some significance to the fact that Nehemiah included the words “one man” in his description of this event.
8. Nehemiah could have just as easily have simply said that all the people assembled in the square before the Water Gate. (repeat)
9. But instead he included the words one man: all the people assembled as one man…
10. There was an unusual unity displayed when it came to the reading of the Book of the Law of Moses.
Nehemiah 8:3 (NIV), He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
Nehemiah 8:13 (NIV), On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law.
1. Nehemiah gave descriptive accounts of the first two days of this month.
2. He said this happened everyday for the entire month, but he only described the events of the first two days.
3. On both of those days, Nehemiah mentions that the people gave their attention to the Book of the Law.
4. On the first day in verse three he said, “And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.”
5. And on the second day in verse thirteen he said, “[they] gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law.
6. Not only did they display unity at the reading of the Law, but they also displayed attention to the Book of the Law.
7. The people were united and attentive.
Nehemiah 8:6 (NIV), Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
1. Before they even began to read the Law, they began to worship.
2. Ezra, the priest (whose book precedes Nehemiah’s in the Bible), leads out in the worship by praising God.
8. Then the people followed by shouting, “Amen!”
9. And they bowed down and worshipped God with their faces to the ground.