Summary: Message 14 in our exposition of Nehemiah continuing the elements of Nehemiah's revival.
Chico Alliance Church
Revival Part Two Reflecting on God's Faithfulness and Our Sinfulness
ACTS ACCOUNTS Acts 2; 3:20; 4:34
Revival is not making ourselves better in order to please God. Revival comes as we realize His holiness and our helplessness and sinfulness and we cry out to Him in humility to change our hardened hearts. Only when we allow the Spirit of God to change our unbelieving, hardened heart will we notice a change in our unbecoming, sinful behavior.
The revival account in Nehemiah's journal is the longest written account in the Bible. So far we have focused on three elements. Do we long for revival? There is no genuine corporate revival apart from these five elements recorded in Nehemiah 9-10.
I. REBUILD THE WALL
II. RESTORE THE WORSHIP
A. FIRST, rally together with one mind and purpose. Heb 10:25;13:16
B. SECOND, read and study the Word of God together for understanding.
Nehemiah & ezra planned two Bible Conferences: one general conference and one conference for heads of households.
There is no genuine lasting revival apart from the word.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Heb 4:12;2Ti 3:17;1Pe 1:23; 2:2
Early church devoted themselves to the teaching of the Word. The Psalmist: "Revive us O, Lord according to Your Word." The people in Nehemiah's day spent time seeking to understand the Word of the Lord. They were led by Ezra who experienced God's good hand: For Ezra had set his heart to study and practice the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezr 7:10 What a contrast to earlier Israleites who: The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Isa 29:13
C. THIRD, as they listened and understood and sought to obey the Law, the people were deeply convicted. They began to weep and lament their sin. Before grieving over their sinfulness, Nehemiah encouraged them in the wonderful salvation that was theirs through God's abundant grace.
Rejoice together. Rejoice in our mutual heritage. Rejoice in our position in Christ Rejoice in his wonderful salvation. Rejoice in God.
An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one sings and rejoices. Pro 29:6
This morning we examine the FOURTH element necessary to bring about revival -- Reflection. Reflection on His faithfulness and our sinfulness.
D. REFLECT TOGETHER
NOW, we reflect together on God's abundant faithfulness and our appalling sinfulness. Following the feast days, that lasted a good portion of the month. Nehemiah calls them back for a day of reflection. The day is noted 24th day of the 7th month. There are several other noteworthy items mentioned concerning this meeting.
1. THEIR ATTITUDE
Humility demonstrated by their fasting and dress.
2. THEIR ATTIRE
They clothed themselves in sackcloth and dirt.
Sackcloth was a strong, rough cloth woven form long dark hair of the oriental goat or camel. It came to have symbolic meaning. Wearing of sackcloth was regarded as proper garb for serious and sober occasions demonstrating sadness, or penitence. Clothes can demonstrate attitude or feeling.
3. THEIR ACTIONS
a. Suspended eating (fasting)
b. Separated from foreigners
This separation was for the purpose of purity. Association with foreigners usually got the Jews messed up all the time. They would continually allow outside influence to infiltrate their practices. They would even emulate the worship practices of the pagans around them. God instructed them to come our from among them and be separate because they were to be special people.
So often we become tainted by our trafficking in this world. There come a time when we need to come apart, to separated from all outside influences for a time to allow the Word to do its cleansing work.
c. Stood and confessed sins
The people had been listening to the Word in two Bible conferences and were now feeling the conviction and realizing how far they had transgressed from God's standard of righteousness. As a result they stood to confess their sin and the sins of their fathers.
Old Testament Hebrew root comes from the word to use the hand, throw at or away, cast, confess, praise, thank. It is used in reference to sin or in reference to confessing the attributes of God or in expressing gratitude for His benefits. This was an act of public disclosure of my failure and God's faithfulness. The same word is used later as they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.
Pro 28:13;Dan 9:5;Dan 9:21;Psa 32:4
The New Testament terms for confession also can be used in two ways. It is a combination of the "one" or "the same thing" and the word "to say". Thus we could translate it, "to say the same thing", "to agree", "to declare or confess."