[SW142] 06/21/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Repentance and Public Confession”
Beloved, if we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin. Then the people are ready to be dedicated and purified!
Jesus is showing me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:
Chapter 1 — Intercession
Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision
Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength
Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare
Chapter 5 — Conviction of sin
Chapter 6 — Discernment
Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance/Public Confession of Sin
Chapter 12 — Consecration
Chapter 13 — Cleansing
First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.
Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!
But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us.
How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare! But remember that we cannot blame Satan for the sin that has caused the church to become broken down.
The next element necessary to the rebuilding is discernment. We cannot fight Satan without it, and only God can give it. Mankind’s natural discernment will never work — we see its results every day in the headlines.
Now we come to the next step in rebuilding the church:
If we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin, which prepares them for dedication and purification!
It is one thing to complete the wall, but more is required to complete the process of rebuilding — the wall must be dedicated/consecrated, and purified.
And so it is with God’s people, both then and now. Our hearts must be consecrated, our hearts must be purified so they are wholly the Lord’s! And only He can do it!
Nehemiah 8 and 9
It was the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of Tishri, the Jewish calendar’s seventh month, which would be October in the Roman calendar. A day of ruach, a day of blowing, a day for the wind of the Spirit to blow through the people, by way of the public reading and interpretation of the Word of God by the priests and scribes!
It was the Feast of Trumpets, the first of the Ten Days of Awe (a time of reflection and repentance), leading up to the Day of Atonement (peace with God), and followed by the Feast of Tabernacles (rejoicing over God’s provision in the wilderness and now, in the harvest).
Oh, beloved! When we reflect and repent, and ask for the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to cover us, we will rejoice over God’s provision that kept us in our own wilderness wanderings, and His provision in coming to tabernacle literally inside of us!
When Ezra brought the law before the people, to read and interpret it, they all were attentive. Their ears were to it, spiritually.
Their hearts were open to not only physically hear it, but heed it (James 1:22-25).
They once again revered the Word of God, after they strayed from it, sinned, were sent into exile by God, and then brought back into to the land by Him!
Ezra didn’t give a 20-minute sermon, beloved!
He read from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) from dawn until midday. His fellow priests and scribes stood with him. He was on a podium, above the people so they could see and hear. All the people stood up when he began, and did not sit down until he was done.
Then, after Ezra had read and interpreted the Word of God so the people could understand it, he blessed the Lord, the great God.
What else can we do when we read God’s Word and hear its interpretation with open hearts? We all simply bless the Lord for His greatness, His faithfulness, His love, His justness, and His righteousness!
All the people said, “Amen, Amen,” while lifting up their hands (v. 6).
And then they bowed low with their faces to the ground. Why? I believe the presence of the Lord was there, and when we sense Him, we bow in humility and submission, we bow under His great kabod, His majesty and the weightiness of His presence.
All of them wept when they heard the Word of the Lord (v. 9). They grieved, because they were convicted of how they and their fathers had grieved the Lord. What a picture of the true fear of God, true worship in Spirit and in truth!
They were convicted of their unfaithfulness, having been reminded through the Scriptures of the Lord’s great faithfulness.
But the Feast of Trumpets was not only a day to begin reflection and repentance, but a day of rejoicing and feasting because the Day of Atonement, the time of making peace with God, was coming!
So Nehemiah urged them to eat and drink and share with those who did not have anything prepared. It was a holy day, a day set apart. And beloved, Nehemiah reminded them, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”
It is our fortress. It is not our joy, but His!
John 15:11 “ These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
John 17:13 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.”
It is not our strength, but His!
It is not our life, but His!
It is not our love, but His!
They rejoiced as they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, and then, in Nehemiah 9:1, on the 24th day of the month, on the appointed day,they mourned and fasted. I tell you, this is the appointed day!
They publicly separated themselves from all foreigners (so they would not worship the things that the world worships), and stood and confessed their sins publicly.
For three hours, the Torah was read, and for three hours after that, the people confessed.
Then the Levites invited them to bless their God, and began to speak of His faithfulness, of all He had given them, of how He had provided for them and made them able to go in and possess the land, fighting against their enemies as they went in.
And the Levites recited all the ways the people had rebelled after faithful Abraham, whose heart the Lord found faithful before Him (v.7). As Abraham stood before the Lord, even seeing His angel, he was found faithful, full of faith in the goodness and mercy of God!
The people’s sins were many:
Verse 16 —
They acted arrogantly,
would not listen,
and refused to listen,
They forgot the deeds of the Lord,
tried to go back into slavery in Egypt,
and made a golden calf and worshiped it.
Verse 26 —
They became disobedient and rebelled against the Lord.
They cast His law behind their backs.
They killed the prophets who admonished them so they might return to Him.
They committed great blasphemies (acts of contempt) against the Lord.
The Lord let their enemies have at them, they cried out, He delivered them, they sinned again, He punished them by exiling them, He delivered them because He promised He would bring them back in 70 years from Babylon. He kept delivering all who returned to Him, for His own name’s sake and because of His great hesed, His faithfulness as a husband to His people!
The Lord delivered them from captivity in Babylon, but they were still slaves to the King of Persia, in their own land. This speaks to me of the believer who is still a slave to sin.
The people must be consecrated (Chapter 12), and purified (Chapter 13). We still have two messages to go, before we see the whole picture the Lord showed me!
The word to today’s church, today’s Christian:
The whole Word of God must be spoken and accurately interpreted.
The people must have ears to hear it, to heed it and not just physically listen, and revere it.
When the Word of God is spoken and the people have ears to hear it, they will repent. Let he who has an ear hear what the Spirit says!
The church must give the people a means to repent openly, to confess their sins publicly, before the whole congregation.
Let us have Ten Days of Awe, when every believer recaptures the fear of the Lord, the awe of Him, when they once again see His faithfulness and their unfaithfulness.
Peace with God will result, through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ!
Then, the rejoicing will begin, for on the mountain of the Lord, it has been provided (Genesis 22:14, the Akedah) —
—We have Christ, who not only is the means of making peace with God and establishing a face-to-face relationship with God, but also
—We have Christ who also makes the way for our hearts to be filled with His Spirit so our hearts are consecrated (made holy) and made entirely His, no mixture of affections, so we walk in His ways and thus, in His power!
Oh, believe God and not me, a rebuilt church and revival will result!