Summary: Remaining true to the covenant of holiness with God.
KEEPING OUR PROMISES -- NEHEMIAH 13
* Gen. William Booth of the Salvation Army: “I want you young men always to bear in mind that it is in the nature of a fire to go out; you must keep it stirred and fed and the ashes removed.”
* Nehemiah had left Jerusalem to return to King Artaxerxes.
* While gone, Israel slipped from the commitments made in chp. 10.
* He returns to Jerusalem and leads them back (sometimes forcibly) to faithfulness.
1. Separation Reestablished
* This is done to bring holiness to the people.
A) No Ammonites or Moabites in the assembly - v.1-3
* They had not given food or water to Israelites while in the Exodus and had sent Balaam to curse them.
* They became the enemies of God’s people.
* The “assembly” was the ceremonial worship.
B) Tobiah evicted from the house of God - v.4-9
* Eliashib the high priest has given Tobiah the Ammonite one of the treasury rooms to live in.
* Not only had he allowed an Ammonite into the assembly, but had let him take residence in the place of worship.
* He is given a place of AUTHORITY.
* Neh.’s eviction notice to Tobiah: Furniture in the street
* The room is purified.
C) Halt to intermarriage - v.23-29
* This was to prevent influence of idolatry (Deut. 7:3-4).
* Ammonites did child sacrifice to Molech.
* Moabites did child sacrifice to Chemosh.
* Nehemiah uses force to shame the men by plucking out the hair of their beards.
* Reminds them that King Solomon was led to idolatry by a pagan wife.
> No influence of sin in our worship.
> No enemies residing in God’s house with authority.
> No influence of sin in our homes.
* This means to rid ourselves of the things that we invite in and cause temptation.
- Pornography by magazine or internet.
- Violent movies or TV shows
- Unwholesome relationships with co-workers.
- Alcohol and drugs
- Engaging in unwholesome conversations.
2. Sabbath Reestablish - v.15-22
* This is done to bring honor to God.
* It is wicked to desecrate what God has sanctified.
- Desecrate = make common what is holy.
* Nehemiah warns, rebukes, reminds (v.18), orders (doors to be closed), and runs off traders (no sinful influence).
* Sabbath = holy day of rest and worship.
* KEY: Don’t do on Sunday what can be done anyday.
* Attitude toward the Lord’s Day is an indicator of our spiritual maturity.
> We must see worship as a high priority.
- No “consumer” mentality.
- We come to BRING honor to God.
> Remove your blinders and inhibitions and lift your praise to God.
> Our level of worship tells of our level of faith and understanding.
> Set the example for your family, children, and friends.
3. Support Reestablished
* This is done to bring honesty to the people.
A) Caring for the ministry and ministers - v.10-11
* When Levites had left for work in fields, Nehemiah’s question was, “Why is the house of God neglected?”
* If Levites did not have enough to live on, then their ministry would be left undone while they worked in the fields.
* 1 Cor. 9:7-12a - Don’t muzzle the ox...
B) Physical work - v.13
* Nehemiah appointed 4 men as treasurers.
* They were trustworthy men.
* 4 types of men: priest, scribe, Levite, and a layman.
- Any kind of person can do God’s work.
- No excuses: “But, I don’t know how to build, etc..”
* Don’t underestimate the worth of your presence in ministry
C) Tithes and Offerings - v.12-13, 30-31
* Tresurers were to properly disburse gifts = Handling.
* People were to be faithful givers.
* Nehemiah made provisions for contributions.
* Giving is another indicator of our faith.
> Commit yourself to tithing and giving offerings to God.
> Test the Lord in the blessings He will give if you will only let go.
1. Mountaintop moments cannot be maintained.
- We all need times of recommitment.
2. Conformity to the world is a constant snare waiting for the church.
3. Discipline is a constant need in our church and lives.
* Sanctify by Separation.
* Safeguard the Sabbath
* Support by Sacrifice.