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Summary: Vision, Purpose, Mission, The Word of God

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A VIEW FROM THE INSIDE - A View from the Pulpit

March 25, 2018

Nehemiah 8:1-12 (p. 338)

Introduction:

Life has a lot of disappointments. But I doubt if there is one any greater than the realization that you’ve been abused. Webster’s Dictionary defines abuse as “a deceitful act…improper treatment…a corrupt practice.”

We live in a culture of abuse…it’s found reported on in every newscast…it has permeated every arena from Hollywood to the Olympics…Politicians fall daily from its reality and it’s accusations…sinful abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse.

But I’ve encountered an abuse that devastates believers and unbelievers alike, “Biblical Abuse.” And by that I mean the improper use of scripture…when someone takes God’s Word out of context…or uses it to propagate an agenda…twisting scripture to mean something it does not mean…lifting it out of context to be a prooftext for something God never intended. Those who don’t know better start believing it with all their hearts, only to discover later on that what has been taught is dangerous to their spiritual health and growth.

I think it’s the ultimate rip off for someone to disillusion others through the misuse of scripture.

This truth is something that weighs super heavy on me as I stand before you each Sunday. I truly understand that one day I will stand before God and be judged by how I’ve handled His words to you…as a teacher and preacher…Have I accurately handled them and challenged you to obedience…or have I “tickled” itching ears and compromised its power, have I been more afraid of hurting people’s feelings than speaking the truth with boldness and grace? Have I rightly discerned His truth or have I tried to share mine?

James says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (3:1) We’ll be judged more strictly because we presumed to represent God and His Word…we will be judged by how our life matches our words. Do we practice what we preach? And we’ll be judged by how accurately we teach its truth.

Nehemiah and Ezra have been used by God to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and also the spiritual foundation of God’s people. They had been in captivity in Babylon for 70 years…through Queen Esther and King Artezerxes the Jews were allowed to return home. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther all take place at the same time period…Ezra & Nehemiah are 1 book in the Jewish Bible.

Through the centuries, God’s people have gone through cycles where His word has been neglected or abused and the spiritual condition of His people deteriorates. In His grace, God sends revival and that revival always is found in a renewed emphasis on God’s Word.

Nehemiah 8 shows us a view from the pulpit…spiritual revival when people encounter God’s Word.

I. FOR REVIVAL, GOD’S PEOPLE MUST READ HIS WORD

Nehemiah 8:1 says, “All the people assembled as one man in the square…they told Ezra to bring out the Book…the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel”…The first 5 books…the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).

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