Summary: A sermon on Nehemiah 12 on characteristics of a great celebration (worship service). Must have preparation and participation!

Sermon for 2/18/2007


A. Gordon Dahl said, “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship.”

B. Worship really isn’t a fair word for what we do here on Sunday mornings. It is more like a celebration. Jesus Christ has risen and we celebrate this fact.

C. This is what Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem are doing in Nehemiah 12. They are celebrating the completion of building the walls of Jerusalem.

Thesis: To have an excellent celebration, we need preparation and participation.

For instances:


1. Praise Vs. 27-29

A. Those with the gifts of music need to come together and prepare.

B. Too professional we need to just come on Sunday morning and wing it. How well would that go over in the professional world?

C. Who are we doing this for? I appreciate Bud and the thoughts that he puts into this. I appreciate Twyla and the thoughts and time she puts into the worship. I appreciate all of the musicians and what they do.

D. “We are just doing this for the Lord so we can just wing it.” Oh really! (Col 3:22 NIV) Slaves obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (Col 3:23 NIV) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (Col 3:24 NIV) since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

E. This applies to anything that is done for the church.

2. Preaching. Vs. 36.

A. Some people think that I don’t work. I spend on average 10 to 20 hours.

B. Why? This is the time to hear a message from the Lord. Well, the Lord will just zap me with it before I get up here. Have you ever heard a sermon that someone didn’t prepare for and it was good? Maybe a few but that is rare.

C. One preacher said that on Saturday before he was to preach on Sunday he went to the hospital and ministered with those on deathbeds. Why? Because he wanted to be around the dying to help him realize the urgency of preaching the gospel.

D. Have 20 to 25 minutes to give the people what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. Must try to hold their attention in that time.

E. Meditations for communion and stewardship need to be the same way. Thought out and relevant. No wasting of words.

3. Purity. Vs. 30.

A. (1 John 3:2 NIV) Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:3 NIV) Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

B. Many people seem to be afraid of this word purity. They think it describes a goody-goody- two shoes, self-righteous kind of person. Purification in the Christian life comes from the same philosophy that motivates us when we wash dishes. We do not set our tables with dirty dishes, do we? If you do, don’t invite me to dinner! No, we wash dishes frequently because they ought to be clean. We do not want to serve our guests with dirty dishes. God does not want to do his work with dirty vessels!

C. We all need a cleansing in our hearts and lives from time to time. We all get dirty. The priests and Levites had to purify themselves because they were helping to lead the worship.

D. How can people see Jesus if those who are standing on the platform are not striving to be pure?

E. (1 John 1:9 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

F. Not that those on the platform are perfect, we are not Jesus Christ, but we need to admit our sins and failings to God. Renounce all pride and the focus needs to be to God. We are made clean through him.

G. They purified themselves to be worship leaders. That is, they put God first. They determined that God be at the center.

H. I know of a church who hired a man to play a musical instrument that was not a Christian. How can this man help to lead us to God?


1. Presence. Vs. 43

A. (Heb 10:25 NIV) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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