Summary: Study on Nehemiah 12, identifying the significance, process and fruits of celebrating God’s work in our lives.
Celebrate! – Nehemiah 12
Kids celebration message :
What has been the best thing happened in your week?
What has been the worst thing?
It’s easy to be thankful when nice things happen, harder to be thankful to God when not so nice things happen.
It says in bible – give thanks in all circumstances – (all situations) (1 Thess. 5v18)
No matter what happens in our week, good or bad – we should always thank God. Because, no matter what kind of week we’ve had – God is still the creator, still our heavenly father, he’s still the biggest and still the best, he doesn’t change and still deserves our thanks. That’s what I’m going to be talking to the adults about later.
Q. What do you think we always thank God for, even if we’re having a hard time?
Elicit answers from children (how good he is, that he loves us, that Jesus dies for us, that Jesus came back to life)
Let’s do that now: Pray (for things above and things kids said)
We’ve been looking at Nehemiah; looking at Nehemiah 12 today.
If you’re a visitor, here’s quick review of where we’re up to.
Quick review of previous passages:
The Jews : God’s chosen people, encounter disaster when they stray from God’s ways and protection. Babylon’s soldiers lay Jerusalem’s temple and walls to ruins, and lead all but the poorest from Jerusalem, into captivity.
The prophet Isaiah foretold that they’d be forgiven, refined by their suffering and would return from exile.
It takes time.
Nehemiah works in the court of king Artaxerxes, but feels called by God to rebuild Jerusalem, miraculously the King allows him to do this.
Despite opposition, the Israelites put huge effort into rebuilding the massive walls of Jerusalem, the city that was their cultural home, which has been uninhabited for 160 years!
Last session in church was– Being honest to God –
Neh 9 Wall had been completed – Ezra reads from book of law, Israelites have great confession of their sin & forefathers sin that lead to them being in exile and Jerusalem being ruined.
Neh 10 People recommit to God, powerful writing of an oath to obey God’s law again: leaders seal their names on it - recorded forever in Neh 10.
Neh 11 Holy city, built by God – needed a population, leaders settle there and people cast lots 1/10 go to live in city from their homes! – Huge sacrifice, obedience, leaders who settle are listed in Neh 11.
Neh 12 – Where we’re up to - Work is done, people are there -Time to celebrate!
Celebration quiz on Projector Screen:
Photos - Local and International: Who is celebrating and what is being celebrated?
Ask congregation to call answers out.
All of those examples of celebration were for a reason, in response to something significant, something good happening. Celebration is reactive, it’s something that we want to do. It’s human nature to want to mark special happenings and it’s enjoyable, it benefits us, it feels like a ‘right’ response.
Dictionary – “holding of festivities to mark a happy event, public praising of something.”
The bigger and better the event, the greater the celebration.
Fundamental to any celebration is ‘thanks’, giving ‘thanks’ to the person who has made the whole thing possible.
In Neh 12 we see a ding dong celebration of thanks for what God has achieved:
(Read scripture highlights of Chapter 12 here from bible)
As you’ve probably realised, the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls in Nehemiah as well as being a good demonstration of how God works through a leader and a corporate body, is a great analogy of what God does in our lives when he rebuilds them through Jesus Christ.
Like the Israelites in exile, we start from a place of utter ruin, a consequence of our sin, where there appears to be no hope, we’re born into a situation where we’ve strayed from God and are cut off. But God is calling us, and has a plan for us.
The rebuilding work starts when we request forgiveness for our sins. God can then start his healing work, there’s opposition and there’s cost.
But, a truly miraculous and wonderful new life is built, and it’s creator is very worthy of celebration.
By looking at this monumental event in history, and it’s fitting celebration, I hope, we can be encouraged this morning to celebrate God and his on going rebuilding work in our lives.
I’m talking about a lifestyle of celebration, where we thank God for significant works, but also apply an attitude of celebration to our daily lives.
Here’s how we’ll break it down, as Kairos is a Baptist church, there’s 3 points! :
· 1. Significance of celebrating God
· 2. Process for celebrating God