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Ezra Reads the Law

Nehemiah 8:1-12

Quick Facts:

Nehemiah is among the historical books of the Old Testament.

Authorship – The memoirs of Nehemiah.

The events of the book are from 446 B.C. during the reigns of the Persian king, Artaxerxes.

Nehemiah was a Jewish leader who had attained status in the Persian court as a cupbearer to the King.

The letter was written to the returning exiles to Judah and Jerusalem confronting their failure to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem

The time period would make Nehemiah contemporary with Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Pastor’s Notes:

This section of Nehemiah reminds the believer of the importance of the Word of God as presented by the Apostle Paul:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The challenge of this lesson is to: “study (the Bible) to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Interesting fact: Early Catholicism did not allow the laity to possess a personal Bible.

God’s people are centered on the proclamation of God’s Word (Nehemiah 8:1-2).

People gathered together to hear Nehemiah proclaim God’s Word. They responded to the preaching of the Law by repentance

NOTE – the people’s desire to hear the Word of God/the Law.

The most important component of a worship service is the Word of God

Discuss: Is the Bible prominent in the services of FBC Atkins? Why or Why not?

Discuss: If you could design a worship service at FBC Atkins what would it look like? What would be your expectations?

God’s people revere God’s Word together (Nehemiah 8:3-6).

Note – Nehemiah didn’t preach a sermon; he read out of the Book of the Law for 6 hours while the people stood and listen attentively .

Not a preacher’s sermon, but “The Gospel of Christ … is the power of God” (Romans 1:16).

Discuss: What determines a good sermon?

At one point in the sermon Ezra praised the God of Whom he was reading … the people responded by lifting their hands, shouting “Amen,” bowing down as a part of their worship.

The stood to honor God – they bowed down to worship God. Honor and humility are vital to any worship service…

Discuss: How do you feel about open/public/ecstatic demonstrations of worship such as lifting hands and shouting….

“You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!” – Sunday school quarterly

God’s people respond in repentance and accountability (Nehemiah 8:7-12)

NOTE – There was both preaching (proclaiming) and teaching (explaining).

The proclamation and explanation of the Law brought conviction, brokenness, repentance, and ultimately the joy of obedience.

Conviction resulting from the preaching of the Word is a good thing; it is God working through His Spirit to do a work in one’s life. Conviction is designed to bring one closer to God.

NOTE – While preachers and teachers are called to explain the Word of God, it is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit; therefore it is imperative that we seek and allow the Spirit to illumine our minds and when necessary break our hearts

Challenge: to pray for those who preach and teach you the Word of God; to show appreciation.

Theological Theme: The Christian Community/ the Church must be centered on the Word of God.

Christological Theme: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation…” (Romans 1:16).

Missional Theme: “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).

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