Summary: The greatest challenge of the new year . . . new beginning. A new year gives us an opportunity to start over. A new job means a challenge to do better than the last job. They don’t know your past weaknesses, and failures.
A. NEW YEAR’S COMMITMENT
1. The greatest challenge of the new year . . . new beginning. A new year gives us an opportunity to start over. A new job means a challenge to do better than the last job. They don’t know your past weaknesses, and failures.
a. A new year is a chance to live better than last year.
b. A new church building, new ministry.
c. A new location, new outreach.
2. Nehemiah’s challenge: to build a new wall.
a. Nehemiah faced a new challenge to build a wall around their city. “Let us rise up and build” (Neh. 2:18). The wall separated them from their enemies. It gave them national identification. “So we built the wall” (Neh. 4:6). The new Thomas Road Baptist Church sanctuary will give us a new identity.
b. Building the wall (church) is man’s work. “So the wall was finished . . . in fifty and two days” (Neh. 6:15).
c. Building the wall (church) is God’s work. “When all our enemies heard . . . they were cast down . . . for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God” (Neh. 6:16).
3. A new place and new ministry.
a. The priest builds a pulpit from which to read the Word of God from morning till noon. “And Ezra brought the Word of God before the congregation . . . and he read therein . . . from the morning until midday before the men and women . . . and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law” (Neh. 8:2-3).
b. The people understood the scriptures. “So they read the book in the Law of God distinctly and gave the sense, and caused them to understand” (Neh. 8:8).
c. They signed a commitment. “We make a sure covenant and write it and . . . seal unto it” (Neh. 9:38).
B. COMMITMENTS ARE SERIOUS
1. We all make commitments or sign contracts.
a. A marriage vow commits . . . till death do us part.
b. Liberty students commit to live by the Liberty Way.
c. To get the family car a teenager commits to keep dad’s rules.
d. When a young person joins the military, they make a commitment to protect our country.
2. What does God say about our commitments?
a. If a man vows a vow unto the Lord . . . he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth” (Num. 30:2).
b. “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it, for He hath no pleasure in fools” (Ecc. 5:4).
C. WHY COMMITMENTS ARE IMPORTANT
1. Commitments establish priorities in life. If you don’t establish your priorities, someone else will.
2. Making commitments help you make real changes in life. If you don’t make a decision to change for the better, it won’t happen.
3. Commitments build character. “Character is habitually doing the right thing in the right way.” -Towns
4. Commitments mean you are serious about your God-given responsibilities.
D. NEHEMIAH’S COMMITMENT
1. The people made a commitment to God’s house. “We will not forsake the house of our God” (Neh. 10:39). “To bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all our trees unto the house of the Lord” (Neh. 10:35). Application: We must make a commitment to build our new church.
a. Commitment to obey Christ who is the head of the church.
b. Commit to live pure and holy, i.e., no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no X-rated films.
c. Commit to share Christ with unsaved.
d. Commit to invite friends and build up God’s house.
e. Commit to read daily the scriptures.
f. Commit to pray daily
g. Commit to tithe regularly.
h. Commit to faithful attendance, unless providentially hindered.
2. Their commitment comes at a time and place. “They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered . . . into an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our LORD” (Neh. 10:29).
a. When Nehemiah said, “And seal unto it,” the Living Bible translates it, “We now affix our names.”
b. You name equals your character. Good character – keep your word. Bad character – bad checks, unpaid notes, unreliable, never on time.
c. Nehemiah’s final commitment to God is reflected in their finishing the tent. “We will not forsake the house of our God” (Neh. 10:39).
Because This is the beginning of a new year.
Because The new church will be built this year.
Because “The Lord is my shepherd who leads me” (Ps. 23:1,2).
Because “The Lord supplieth all my need according to His riches in glory” (Phil. 4:19).