Rededicating Lives Neh. 8:1, 5-6, 9-10; 9:1-2, 38; 10:28-29 Jan. 14, 2007
Recently I asked a waitress why she wore cross earrings. She gave a very general answer, so I asked her if she knew the Lord? She responded, “oh yes.” I then asked “how long have you known the Lord,” and she responded, “well I was saved at 16, but really started living for the Lord after my marriage.” In essence she related an experience we might call a rededication.
1. Rededicating Lives Through . . Conviction. 8:1, 5-6, 9-10
A. Conviction To . . Hear The Word of God. 8:1
1 all the people gathered together at the square in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe
to bring the book of the law of Moses that the Lord had given Israel.
B. Conviction To . . Honor The Word of God. 8:5-6
5 Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he
opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the
people said, “ Amen, Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
C. Conviction To . . Holiness from The Word of God. 8:9-10
9 Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the
people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink
what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because your strength [comes from] rejoicing in the Lord.”
Our text relates the conviction of God causing His people to rededicate their lives. The people were convicted to hear, honor, and respect the holy lifestyle taught in God’s Word. The desire to hear the Word of God being read speaks to the changing hearts of the people. Do you notice any difference in church settings as people listen and follow the reading of God’s Word? On one counseling occasion a man who desired to disobey the Bible took it out of the pastor’s hand and laid it on his desk and said, “now let’s talk.” This was not so with the people in our text; when the Word was read they honored it by standing to demonstrate respect and appreciation. The day of these actions became a holy day of remembrance.
2. Rededicating Lives Through . . Confession. 9:1-2, 38
A. The . . Attire of Confession.. 9:1
1 On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting, [wearing]
sackcloth, [and had put] dust on their heads.
B. The . . Attitude of Confession.. 9:2
2 Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed
their sins and the guilt of their fathers.
C. The . . Authentication of Confession.. 9:38
38 In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement in writing on a sealed document [containing
the names of] our leaders, Levites, and priests.
When people want to live closer to the Lord it affects their attire, attitudes, and agreements. Do you remember the story of the demon possessed man who lived in Gadarene? When Jesus cast the demon out of the man he was later seen, “sitting there, dressed and in his right mind.” (Mark. 5:15) I have heard many times that when we are in our right mind we will dress properly. When a Christian desires to be right with the Lord it affects the clothes one wears. In the Old Testament a desire for confession led one to dress in sackcloth. A lifestyle separate from sin comes with the attitude of confession, and we will seek the guidance of the Lord in the agreements we make. Today most of what is considered politically correct is biblically wrong. It would be good to see more people concerned about the Bible than society.
3. Rededicating Lives Through. . Commitment. 10:28-29
A. The . . Separating Obedience of Commitment. 10:28
28 The rest of the people—the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants, along with
their wives, sons, and daughters, everyone who is able to understand and who has separated themselves from the surrounding peoples to [obey] the law of God—
B. The . . Sworn Oath of Commitment. 10:29
29 join with their noble brothers and commit themselves with a sworn oath to follow the law of God
given through God’s servant Moses and to carefully obey all the commands, ordinances, and statutes of the Lord our Lord.
I remember a new Christian telling me he had stopped a particular action in his life. No one but the Lord told him about this lifestyle, but he desired to separate himself from sinful actions. In the text; the people desired a separate lifestyle. They honored the commands of the Lord related to whom they should associate with, or intermarry. The people of Nehemiah’s day made sworn oaths to obey the commands, ordinances, and statutes of God. A few years ago our convention asked professors to sign our doctrinal statement. Some objected, but today all of our seminary professors routinely do this. I think these are definitely the actions of those Rededicating Lives to the Lord. Amen? Amen!