Nehemiah: Lessons in Building (Part 13)

Nehemiah 13 vs.1-3. The mixed multitude was separated from the people in compliance with the law read on that day. A. This is the essence of true revival and rebuilding: a submissive return to the precepts and commandments of the word of God. REV 2:5; 1CO 11:1-2. 1. There is no peace where the order of the law is abandoned. 2CH 15:3-5 ct/w PHIL 4:9. 2. Is the church in disrepair or disorder and wondering how to make sense of its own confusion? Go back to the Scripture and obey it. 3. Is the soul in disrepair or disorder and wondering how to make sense of its own confusion? Go back to the Scripture and obey it. B. The law was clear concerning the Ammonite and the Moabite. DEU 23:3-5. 1. Not only were these of the "mixed multitude" under censure for their ancient indifference to Israel, there was the danger of infection with their idol gods and ways to be considered. 1KI 11:7 c/w JER 32:35; PSA 106:35-38. 2. The gospel church is similarly instructed to separate itself from the "mixed multitude" of unbiblical religions and unbelieving members to "enlarge" itself. 2CO 6:11-18. 3. The believer is also instructed to separate from his life the "mixed multitude" of the sinful ways of the old man. COL 3:5-10. 4. Israel that day "heard the law" (v.4). Israel that day "separated from Israel all the mixed multitude" (v.4). Let us build the church and the soul likewise. JAM 1:22; PSA 119:60. vs.4-9. The enemy had an alliance with the priest who was thick with them. c/w v.28. A. Expect the enemy to come within the house of God. ACT 20:29; JUDE 1:4, 12; 2PE 2:1, 14. B. It is bad enough when the enemy troubles us from without but even worse when given a place within. How many churches have ministers who are also members of occult fraternities and manipulate their Lodge brothers into places of influence in the church? JAM 4:4 c/w EPH 5:11-12. C. A chamber had been prepared for this enemy within the house of God. This was not ignorance nor accident but presumptuous action which merits greater judgment. LUK 12:47-48 c/w PSA 19:13. 1. Wilful sufferance of sin in the church is a knowing of "...the depths of Satan..." (REV 2:20-24). 2. As believers, we are not putting on the Lord Jesus Christ when we make "provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof" (ROM 13:14). 3. Mind that Eliashib had to eliminate the things of God's order to make room for error. This is the way of the flesh and tradition: the commandment of God must be laid aside in order to accommodate it. MAR 7:6-9. D. These things had happened while Nehemiah was away from Jerusalem. v.6. 1. Eliashib was not the first priest of Israel to defile his office while the leadership was absent. EXO 32:1-5. 2. Let N.T. priests be zealous to do good whether their minister is "in house" or not. GAL 4:18; PHIL 2:12. E. Nehemiah cast out Tobiah's stuff and restored the chamber to its proper use. 1. Godly ministers have a zeal for the cleansing of God's house. JOH 2:13-17; 1CO 3:16-17; 5:6-7; 2TI 2:20-21. 2. Casting away error is a great work of Christ's builders. 1CO 3:9-10 c/w ROM 13:12; 2CO 10:5. vs.10-14. Nehemiah restored the maintenance of the Levites which had already failed since its establishment in NEH 12:47. A. With the abuses of Eliashib, it might be no wonder that Israel had abandoned support of the Levites. B. Abuses within the ministry result in the house of God being forsaken and the law trodden down. v.11 c/w 1SAM 2:12-17; MAL 2:8. C. Nehemiah earnestly contended (v.11 c/w JUDE 1:3) and "set them in their place" which stirred the people to resume their tithes (v.12). Sometimes leadership must be pro-active. 2CO 10:11; 13:2. vs.15-22. Nehemiah diligently abolished the abuses of the Sabbath. A. The Sabbath laws were exclusively for Israel. EXO 31:12-17. B. Correcting abuses of the sabbath under the N.T. would include: 1. forbidding N.T. saints to be judged by such shadows. COL 2:16-17. 2. warning against unbelief / not resting in Christ. HEB 4:10-11. 3. warning against drawing back from Christ. HEB 10:28-29; 38-39. vs.23-31a. Nehemiah sternly rebuked those who had married strange wives contrary to the law at DEU 7:3-4. A. He would not be swayed in this matter where he stood on the word of God. B. He even cursed, smote and plucked off the hair of the offenders. v.25. 1. In his own way, perhaps he was "in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves..." (2TI 2:25). 2. Under similar frustrations, Ezra plucked off his own hair. EZR 9:3. 3. "Ezra, in this case, had plucked off his own hair, in holy sorrow for the sin; Nehemiah plucked off their hair, in a holy indignation at the sinners. See the different tempers of wise, and good, and useful men, and the divers graces, as well as divers gifts, of the same Spirit." (Matthew Henry) 4. But, "though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal..." (2CO 10:3-4). C. He chased away the priest who had allied himself with the enemy. v.28. D. He prayed to God against those who had defiled the holy offices. v.29. E. Nehemiah was bringing the nation back to the terms of the covenant that they had made. F. Nehemiah never swerved from his purpose; he was unmovable. 1CO 15:58. v.31b. The book begins and closes with a prayer of Nehemiah. Through all, Nehemiah was a man of prayer as well as a man of the book. "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, WHICH IS ABLE TO BUILD YOU UP, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (ACT 20:32).
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