Summary: Correctly handling the Word of God. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
True statements about the Bible written by children:
• (1). The first book of the Bible is called Guinessis.
• (2). Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark.
• (3). Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.
• (4). Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten amendments.
• (5). The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.
• (6). Solomon, one of David’s sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.
• (7). When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
• (8). Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.
• (9). The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 decibels.
• (10). The epistles were the wives of the apostles.
• (11). One of the opossums was St. Matthew who was also a taximan.
• (12). A Christian should have only one spouse. This is called monotony.
• The place: Persia, (Persia is the old name for Iran)
• The year: around 445/444 BC, the 20th year of King Artaxerxes reign.
• The main character: is a man called Nehemiah – who was cup-bearer to the king.
• While on duty at the palace;
• Nehemiah learns that the walls of Jerusalem, the capitol city of his homeland,
• Were broken down and destroyed,
• So he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild them,
• And King Artaxerxes sent him back to his homeland (Judah);
• Nehemiah was sent back as governor of the province with a mission to rebuild the walls.
If you know the story:
• You will remember that during the rebuilding of the city walls;
• Nehemiah faced great opposition and many difficulties:
• As we pick up the story in chapter 8 the wall is finished.
• We might say; “The task is done – job complete!”“
• But not Nehemiah!
• He is not going to put his feet up and say:
• “Everything is looking good, the task is done.”“
• “What an impressive wall”
• Or even dwell on the fact that the city is secure and safe.
The lesson for us in Chapter 8 is this:
• After reconstruction,
• There is also a need for re-instruction.
• Having met the practical and physical needs of the people;
• It is time to meet the spiritual needs of the people.
• So after reconstruction of the walls,
• There is now a need for re-instruction of the Word of God.
• Notice: As you read this passage,
• Observe that there is no mention of the wall.
• Our attention now shifts from the vision to rebuild the wall and its reconstruction;
• To the author of that same vision - not Nehemiah but God himself.
• Now before I point out 4 observations from this passage as it relates to Ezra & the scroll,
• Let’s read the text and allow the Scripture to set the stage (verse 1-4).
“all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.
2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
4 Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam”.
Question: Got the picture?
• Lots of people. A priest named Ezra.
• The scroll of God-an ancient copy of the Hebrew Scriptures.
• A pulpit.
• And a great interest in what God’s Word had to say.
Now for the four observations:
• Each having to do with the careful manner in which God’s Word was handled;
• And then applied!
• A grey-haired old lady,
• A long standing member of her community and church,
• Shook hands with the preacher after the service one Sunday morning.
• She told him:
• “That was a wonderful sermon, just wonderful.
• Everything you said applies to someone I know.”
• Henry Ward Beecher once gave a very striking account of a sermon by Jonathan Edwards;
• Beecher says that in the detailed doctrinal part of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon;