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Summary: The names of the gates of the old city of Jerusalem have rich spiritual meaning, full of powerful truths. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.

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Swing Wide the Gates, pt. 3

Nehemiah 3

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/SwingWideGates3.html

parts 1 & 2 are here:

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/SwingWideTheGates.html

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Quick review of first 6 gates... [slide]

1. The sheep gate.

v. 1 Thru this gate they would bring the sacrificial animals to be laid on the altar in the temple. It was the only gate that was 'sanctified.'

This gate reminds us of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

2. The fish gate.

v. 3 Thru this gate the fishermen would bring their catch from the Mediterranean. What does this remind us of? Soul winning!

Jesus said to follow Him and He would make us fishers of men. Do you know what that means? We have no right to call ourselves His follower if we aren't fishing for men!

3. The old gate.

v. 6 The old gate led to the new quarter. This reminds us of our never changing message. We may try new methods along the way, but our old message never changes.

4. The valley gate.

v. 13 It opened to a low place. Every believer needs this gate, which speaks of humility.

5. The Dung Gate.

v. 14 This was where the garbage was carried out. It led to the dump. This reminds us of repentance. It is important to take out the trash in our lives.

6. The fountain gate.

v. 15 This fed the water system of the entire city. Water for drinking is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

On screen is an overview of it all.

Now, the last 4 gates...

7. The water gate.

v. 26 No, this has nothing to do w/ Richard Nixon. And half of our crowd says, Richard who?

Our country has really come a long way. First we had George Washington who could not tell a lie. Then we had Richard Nixon and he could not tell the truth. Now we have Barack Obama and he cannot tell the difference!

Jerusalem was one of the few great cities of antiquity that was not built near a major river. So they had to depend upon reservoirs and springs. The water gate was near a very important water source. We just reminded you that in the Bible water for drinking was a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but water for washing is a symbol of the Word of God.

Psalm 119:9

9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Ephesians 5:26

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

When we get saved and Jesus washes away our sins it's like an all over bath. The Bible calls it the washing of regeneration.

Titus 3:5

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Salvation is an all over spiritual bath. But after we are saved and begin to trudge thru this filthy world we still need a daily time of cleansing and confession. Biblically, the washing of the hands and feet speak of this kind of daily cleansing.

In the OT, God's people worshiped in the tabernacle, then later in the Temple. Only the priests were allowed into the actual building. Before they entered it, every single time, they had to do some things.

Exodus 30:17-20

17 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.

19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:

20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not...

In the previous chapter it says that when a man became a priest he was given an all over ceremonial bath. It was a one time event. But every time he entered the holy place he had to rewash his hands and feet.

You and I only get saved once, but we need the daily washing off of what comes into contact w/ this sin polluted world.

The hands represent our work for God. We need to begin each day w/ clean hands, and at the end of the day we should scrub up before bed. We need people to come to church ready to minister w/ clean hands. I must do self inspection and cleanup before I get up to teach or preach, or sit down to counsel, or make a decision. And I don't care if you take the offering or scrub the commodes, do it w/ clean hands. And if the latter, please wash up afterward too!

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