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Can Revival Happen Here? Sermon Blog Day 3 Nehemiah

Through Design of Definite Teaching: 8:7-12

“Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.’ For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, ‘Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.’ And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.”

Who are all these people standing around Ezra up on the platform? These people were busy ensuring that God’s people gained a secure knowledge of His Word and His Will. They were interpreting the Word into appropriate languages (helped the people to understand the Law) and taught the meaning and application of the biblical text as well (“gave the sense”). This revival in Jerusalem during the Nehemiah’s time involved intentional and focused teaching of God’s Word.

Revival in the Scriptures ALWAYS involves intentionality in teaching the Scriptures. This type of revival took place also in 2Kings 23:1-3 with young King Josiah.

“Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.”

How intentional are you to be certain that you are a part of and involved in accurate teaching of God’s Word – daily and weekly?

 In Days of Decided Trust:  8:13-18

“Now on the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law.  And they found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.’ Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.”

           Upon hearing the Word, one of the great avenues of response was the reestablishment of the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths.  This had been a commanded feast by God yet had been neglected. We know that the heart of the people changed because they sought to obey God’s Word. This is how we know that a heart has changed. It is by his or her desire to act on the Word of God.

When revival happens, people seriously obey God’s Word.

Can Revival Happen Here? Sermon Blog Day 2 - Nehemiah

In Days of Discouraging Times: 7:4-5

Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:

         The setting of Jerusalem after the rebuilding of the walls was both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. Having walls was an enormous boost, and yet as many of the wall workers traveled back to their homes in the countryside, many of the city dwellers realized just how empty it was.

      Also, with so few people actually living inside the city walls, Jerusalem remained vulnerable. Even with walls, the city needed more people inside its walls for security. Nehemiah explained that the city was large, spacious, and wide. There were a handful of people living inside the walls. There were still many houses sitting in ruins and unbuilt.

      This was a setting for discouragement and fear.  And yet, how often do we see God do some of His best work in some of the most discouraging times? What does life look like for you right now? Does it seem desolate? Does it seem uncertain? Does life seem fearful to you? Look up child of God! Our Savior specializes in doing great things amidst the discouragement.

 By Dedication to Delivering Truth:  8:1-6

“Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate [u]from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

             After taking a census of all those present in Judah. Nehemiah would have assigned some of the country dwellers to reside in the city. God’s people needed more security and more people to help with that inside the city walls.

            Once the security personnel was addressed, it was time to move forward beyond the rebuild for Nehemiah. His first, most essential act, after the rebuild was worship. This said a lot about the heart of Nehemiah. Ezra stood to read the Word, and  opened the book.  This would have been the Pentateuch – the first five books of the Bible. As he opened it, people stood.  As they stood, he blessed God. As Ezra blessed God, this was the response of the people:  

            1-        They answered, “Amen, Amen!”

            2-        Lifted up their hands.

            3-        Bowed their heads

            4-        Worshiped the Lord w/ faces to the ground

          The importance and emphasis of the Word here is clear. One simply CANNOT find revival and renewal happening among God’s people apart from a dedication to teaching and preaching His Word accurately and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

            I have a book on my shelf called Why Revival Tarries.  It is a classic book by a man named Leonard Ravenhill.  His desire was to see revival in the church.  Many called him a specialist in revivalism.  His writings and preaching were bent toward this.

            Out of 20 chapters, his conclusion on why revival tarries (or waits) for the church relates to either prayer or preaching and teaching the Word.

            What is your personal involvement in God’s Word?

            Daily what is your involvement in God’s Word?

            Weekly what is your involvement in God’s Word?

            Your involvement in God’s Word can say a lot about how truly prepared you are for revival – personal and corporate.

Can Revival Happen Here? Sermon Blog Day 1

Jeremiah Lanphier had hoped for more. But six people were six people. And did not scripture say, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of you’? So, on this day, September 23, 1857, at lunchtime, he did not moan about the small number who turned out in response to his advertisement.

“The United States was in spiritual, political, and economic decline. Agitation over slavery was breeding political unrest, and civil war seemed near. Just this year, financial panic had hit. Banks failed, railroads went bankrupt, factories closed, unemployment increased.

“In lower Manhattan, a Dutch Reformed church had been steadily losing members, largely because of population changes owing to immigration; they hired the layman Jeremy to reverse the trend with an active visitation program. Despite his visits, church members were listless. So, he rented the hall on Fulton street and advertised prayer meetings. He himself enjoyed close fellowship with the Lord and thought others might, too. Conditions in the United States got worse; maybe that was a good thing. Sometimes trouble makes people turn to God. The third week of Jeremiah’s program, his prayer meeting had forty participants and they asked for daily meetings.

On October 10, the stock market crashed. Suddenly people were flocking to the prayer meetings. Within six months 10,000 people were gathering daily for prayer in New York City alone.

“Other cities experienced a renewed interest in prayer, too. In Chicago, the Metropolitan Theater was filled every day with 2,000 praying people. In Louisville, several thousand came to the Masonic Temple for prayer each morning. There were 2,000 assembled for daily prayer in Cleveland, and St. Louis churches were filled for months at a time. In many places tents were set up for prayer. The newly formed YMCA also played an important role in holding prayer meetings and spreading the revival throughout the country.

“In February, 1858, Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald gave extensive coverage to the prayer revival. Not to be outdone, the New York Tribune devoted an entire issue in April, 1858 to news of the revival. News of the revival traveled west by telegraph. This was the first revival which the media played an important role in spreading.

“This revival that began in a prayer meeting in New York City became a great movement of God. What was the result of this prayer meeting revival? More about that later.” (Jeremy Lanphier Led Prayer Revival, Dan Graves, Christianity.com, June 2007)

But, for now, I have a question. Can revival like this happen again today? Can revival like this happen today in your church, community, and city? Real revival can happen in the midst of God’s people. Be sure to follow this blog the rest of this week for insight into some circumstances that will be present in this kind of revival.

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