From Pastor Johnny

A Dedication Celebration Sermon Blog Day 2

Nehemiah 12:31-39

"So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs. One went to the right hand on the wall toward the Refuse Gate. After them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah, and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, and some of the priests’ sons with trumpets—Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph, and his brethren, Shemaiah, AzarelMilalaiGilalaiMaaiNethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went before them.  By the Fountain Gate, in front of them, they went up the stairs of the City of David, on the stairway of the wall, beyond the house of David, as far as the Water Gate eastward. 

The other thanksgiving choir went the opposite way, and I was behind them with half of the people on the wall, going past the Tower of the Ovens as far as the Broad Wall, and above the Gate of Ephraim, above the Old Gate, above the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate; and they stopped by the Gate of the Prison." 

           This celebration included the thanksgiving choirs. These choirs had as their primary function the thanksgiving and praise of God. In addition to the thanksgiving choirs, Ezra the Scribe (who served as the teacher and preacher) “went before them.” Praise and dedication must include praise and the Word of God.  

          The longest book in the Bible is Psalms which is a book of songs. The longest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119, which mentions God’s Word in almost every single verse of its 176 verses. This means that the longest chapter of the Bible (about God’s Word)is contained in the longest book of the Bible, that is primarily what praise and adoration of God is all about. Dedicating and celebrating what God has done will always include praise and His Word. 

A Dedication Celebration Sermon Blog Step 1

          Each summer this nation views a massive collection of fireworks, picnics,  parades, flag waving, and concerts for the purpose of dedicating and celebrating the  founding of this nation. When I was a little boy in White Pine, Tennessee, the biggest celebration all year was the Piney Festival, and it was for Independence Day.  We would have booths, food, a parade, fireworks, and concerts.   

          I spent much of my life and adult years in Warner Robins, Georgia which is a town of about 75,000 with an Air Force Base that employees approximately 20,000.  The biggest event all year is at McConell-Talbert Stadium, and it is to celebrate Independence Day.   

          We celebrate the coming into existence of our nation.  This is a dedication of sorts that we in America do every year.  Things that are of  critical and important nature are celebrated and dedicated by us with ceremony and big events.   

          Dedicating and celebrating are elements we see in biblical times as well especially through the Old Testament. Crossing of the Red Sea was a celebration with a song written and sung by Miriam, the sister of Moses. Building the tent of meeting for Israel was celebrated and dedicated. The re-entry into Israel under David for the Ark of the Covenant saw a celebration and dance party by King David himself. The final construction of the Temple for Israel saw a massive dedication with King Solomon. The re-establishing of the temple worship under King Josiah led to a worship service and dedication.  The rebuilding of the temple with Ezra warranted a dedication. And now, the rebuilding of the walls under Nehemiah. 

          God’s people can learn some steps about celebration and dedication from the celebration of this wall rebuilding. A project accomplished by God’s people is a project dedicated to the praise and glory of God. Consider five steps we might  take to dedicate and celebrate God’s work for His glory and praise?  

           Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the king and was powerful, influential, and wealthy. When we met Nehemiah in chapter 1, he was a lover of God and of God’s city Jerusalem. He learned of the destroyed walls. He requested a leave of absence from King Artaxerxes, who was the ruler of Persia 

          Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem with a team of his, and in a matter of 52 weeks, he led a rebuilding of the wall. By the time we arrive at Nehemiah 8, the post rebuild ceremonies are taking place including – the Feast of Tabernacles in chapter 8 and the worship service of Scripture and repentance in chapters 9-10 

          By chapter 11, the residents inside the city walls were few & it was discouraging and dangerous to the people. For that reason, 1 of every 10 Jews living outside were chosen to move inside the city. By 12:27 the Jerusalem residents were chosen, Levites were brought into the city to lead a dedication service, and the dedication service for the wall began. 

          It is in this dedication service that God’s people today can learn some things about dedicating and celebrating our accomplishments to the glory and praise of God. Whether it is a large project, raising children, gathering for Sunday worship, or going to work, this passage can teach a few thoughts about effectively living life to dedicate and celebrate our victories to our Savior.

Step 1: An Intentional Planning of Worship:12:27-30   

 Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem. Then the priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall. 

          When we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, worship is something that should be consistent and spontaneous. Oftentimes, worship can be spontaneous when we gather with other believers. Yet, most times, to be serious about seeing God magnified and praised in a corporate worship setting, we want to plan and be very intentional about it. Intentional planning of worship is NOT failure to depend on the Holy Spirit but it is passion to see God clearly magnified. 

          While worship is often spontaneous, I have found that my spontaneous worship is more powerful when I have consistently and intentionally planned to worship as well. What have you done to plan to worship this coming week – Monday through next Sunday? What is your plan for daily worship in prayer & God’s Word? Is it 20 minutes earlier to bed, or maybe 20 minutes up earlier? What is your plan for being sure your family is in worship with other believers this coming week?  

 

 

 

 

Set Apart Sermon Blog Day 4

The Participation in Worship: Nehemiah 10:38-39

“And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.”

            Note that, as all the tithes and offerings are received, they are then gathered at the temple storehouse to be sued for the things of God. They would be gathered at the temple, so that worship and service connected to the temple would be supported.

            Setting apart time, tithes, and efforts for public and corporate worship is a distinctive characteristic of the followers of Jesus Christ. True believers will prioritize setting apart time and energy for worshipping together with other believers.

            In today’s church community, post-COVID-19 shutdown, many have stayed away from corporate worship. Some of those staying away must do it because of health, but others have simply chosen not to return to corporate worship. In reality, true followers of Jesus Christ will be distinctively set apart by the priority of corporate worship.

FINAL THOUGHTS

          God’s people should live lives that are directed by Him and set apart from the world. When we walk in love with Christ, we will live set apart lives that are apparent to the people around us.

          Noted business & corporate speaker Halford Lucock said, "I was impressed several years ago when I read that Eugene Ormandy dislocated a shoulder while directing the Philadelphia Orchestra. I do not know what they were playing, but he was giving all of himself to it! And I have asked myself sadly, 'Did I ever dislocate anything, even a necktie?'"

          Does your life reflect passion and a set apart distinctive because of love for Christ? Have you ever truly given your life to Christ and been born-again? If so, then you will live set apart.

 

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