February 19, 2023 - Preparing for the Lord's Day
Preparing for the Lord's Day
Rebuilding the Kingdom
“And they lived happily ever after!” That is how we want stories to end. Therefore, many of our favorite stories end with such statements. The conflicts and the tensions of life and relationships are resolved and the characters arrive in a place of peace and uninterrupted tranquility. However, that is rarely if ever the case. “Happily ever after,” is the way that fairy tales end, not historical tales. Real life never escapes the complexities and weaknesses of the human condition. Since man is fallen never has a true story ended with such unchanging bliss.
Over the past several months we have followed the history of God rebuilding his kingdom through the ministry of Ezra and then Nehemiah. We have been witness to the rebuilding of the temple, the rebuilding of the wall, and the rebuilding of God’s people. In the last several chapters we have seen the Lord lead his people through conflict, revival, repentance, commitment, and celebration. Chapter twelve would have been a satisfying ending to the tale. Nevertheless, Nehemiah does not end at chapter twelve but rather with chapter thirteen.
Twelve years have passed since the dedication of the wall. During this intervening time Nehemiah was called back to Babylon. On his return to Jerusalem, he finds that the very sins he rebuked and corrected twelve years prior have resurfaced. Again, he must deal with neglect of the temple, profaning of the Sabbath, and intermarriage with unbelievers. The very commitments the people of Israel made in covenant with God have been broken.
One might be disappointed that the book Nehemiah doesn’t provide a path to unassailable spiritual health. Upset that God’s Kingdom purposes were thwarted so quickly. Yet, one would suspect any other conclusion. For humans are prone to wander and need continual correction and guidance. The rebuilding of the Kingdom is not a one-time project. It is a continual process of growing, repentance, and healing. And what we will see in our final sermon on Nehemiah is that to rebuild the Kingdom we must continually look to the Lord for covenant faithfulness. To come prepared for the sermon, take time this week to read and to meditate upon Nehemiah 13, Psalm 85:6, John 2:13-17, Ephesians 4:26, Hebrews 13:15-16, and Westminster Confession of Faith 17.
As we gather to worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit this Lord’s Day, we will join our hearts in song, singing the Hymn of Praise “Give to Our God Immortal Praise,” the Acclamation of Praise, “Majesty,” and the Hymn of Response “We Are God’s People.” Let us come to worship this Sunday prepared to hear God’s Word, to receive it in faith, to love and treasure it in our hearts, and to practice it in our lives that we may continue to glorify and enjoy Him!
Text: Nehemiah 13
Title: A Hill to Die On
- You Must Never Compromise Worship (vv.4-14)
- You Must Never Compromise Work (vv. 15-22)
- You Must Never Compromise Family (vv. 23-31)