Summary: There is a day that we as Christians use for worship with each other. This day is special and should be kept special.
A Day Set Aside
Griffith Baptist Church – 1/04/09
Text: Nehemiah 13:15-22
Key verse: Nehemiah 13:17 - Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?
Premise: There is a day that we as Christians use for worship with each other. This day is special and should be kept special.
In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. At last he decided to build them a church. No one saw the complete plans for the church until it was finished. When the people gathered, they marveled at its beauty and completeness. Then someone asked, "But where are the lamps? How will it be lighted?" The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls. Then he gave to each family a lamp which they were to bring with them each time they came to worship. "Each time you are here the area where you are seated will be lighted," the nobleman said. "Each time you are not here, that area will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God’s house will be dark." -- Church Bulletin Bits
The importance of worship can never be minimized.
The importance of worship together is just as important if not more so.
In recent times, we have seen the attendance in our churches today fall off by vast proportions
Here, another problem arises for Nehemiah. The Sabbath day has been violated.
Why is this day so important? Why should we prize this day above all others? Before we answer that, let’s take a look at the predicament here.
1. The Problem Concerning the Sabbath Day
A. The Violation – 15-16
i. Two problems were evident:
a. The people were working and selling on the Sabbath (15)
b. They allowed foreigners to sell on the Sabbath (16)
ii. All of this was in violation of God’s command to keep the Sabbath holy:
a. The Sabbath was all about honoring God.
b. It was part of the commandments - Exodus 20:8-11 – 8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
c. It was to be kept regardless of the time of year - Exodus 34:21 – Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
d. They were not to work - Jeremiah 17:21-22 – Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden (carry no load or work) on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; 22Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
e. It even extended to animals and non-Jews - Deuteronomy 5:14 - But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
B. The Confrontation – 17-18
i. The nobles of Judah were the upper crust and the influential:
a. The nobles were lazy and did not help with the work (3:5)
b. Nehemiah had trouble with them before in the loan scandal they were involved in (5:7)
c. They were compromisers with Tobiah (6:17) [sent letters to Tobiah]
ii. Nehemiah’s message:
a. Didn’t you learn from history? Did not your fathers thus,
b. Don’t you know that God has judged before and will do so again? and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city?
c. Don’t you understand what you have done is profane (defile, pollute, desecrate) this holy day by your actions? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.
2. The Prescription Correcting the Sabbath Day
A. Closing the Town – 19
i. The gates were shut – no access to the marketplace or the temple