Summary: The church will be in trouble when its people do not protect it and perform the necessary tasks to keep it what it ought to be.
Protecting God’s House
Griffith Baptist Church – 12/28/08
Text: Nehemiah 13:7-14
Key verse: Nehemiah 13:11 - Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Premise: The church will be in trouble when its people do not protect it and perform the necessary tasks to keep it what it ought to be.
Growing up on the Atlantic Coast, I spent long hours working on intricate sand castles; whole cities would appear beneath my hands. One year, for several days in a row, I was accosted by bullies who smashed my creations. Finally I tried an experiment: I placed cinder blocks, rocks, and chunks of concrete in the base of my castles. Then I built the sand kingdoms on top of the rocks. When the local toughs appeared (and I disappeared), their bare feet suddenly met their match. Gregory Elder
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (referring to Himself, not Peter) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The church is a wonderful institution.
We often see churches with very ornate structures and think how beautiful they are.
But the church is really only as beautiful as the people inside.
After returning from Babylon (13:6) Nehemiah makes a terrible discovery:
1. In his absence, Eliashib had allowed Tobiah to take up residence in the temple complex (7)
2. He tossed all of Tobiah’s household goods out and had the place basically disinfected (8-9)
3. The people failed to tithe and support the Levites and thus the Levites were forced to find work elsewhere, so the temple was neglected – 10
4. Nehemiah reprimanded the Jews for their neglect – 11-14:
a. This is about the same time Malachi ministered and wrote his diatribe on the tithe (Mal. 3:8-10)
b. Remember the promise they made earlier in 10:39b - we will not forsake the house of our God
c. Nehemiah than proceeded to correct the problem.
So, how does this translate to today and the local church? There are three distinct areas that need protection.
1. Protecting its Mission
A. Many churches are like that impressive invention which had hundreds of wheels, coils, gears, pulleys, belts, bells and lights which all went around and around and flashed at the touch of a button. When the inventor was asked about the function of the weird machine, he replied, “What does it do? Oh, it doesn’t do anything, but doesn’t it run beautifully?” From Dropping Your Guard by Charles R. Swindoll
B. The church is a supernatural body
C. Turn to Acts 2:42-47
D. The people of the church have an obligation, as a whole to:
a. We give honor to God together as one body
b. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 47Praising God,
a. We know that we should be fishers of men
b. 47And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
a. To each other and to those who have no hope
b. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
c. See also Eph. 4:11-14
a. It is the obligation of the people to support the work of the church
b. Sometimes, people complain about what is not getting done around the church, but do very little, if anything at all, to support it financially, materially, and in involvement.
c. God said, 10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, (Mal. 3:10)
E. We also have an obligation
2. Protecting its Reputation
A. The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. - Japanese proverb
B. Yes, a church’s reputation can be tarnished.
C. Look at these examples:
i. To workers - 1 Timothy 6:1 – Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
ii. To wives - Titus 2:5 - To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.