“And it came to pass when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.”
In the little book of Ezra immediately before the book of Nehemiah, in our bibles, the temple has just been rebuilt. In Ezra 6:15-18 the temple was finished, and dedicated; in 6:19-22 the Passover was restored; and in Ezra 10 seperation was restored.
In short, they had experienced revival at the house of God. God had blessed in a mighty way, in spite of opposition and hardship. They had been blessed with the restoration of the house of God, a place to worship again.
No doubt that God’s people, the world over, had heard the news that the house of God was being rebuilt. Merchants, traders, nomads and other travelers had not doubt broadcast what they were seeing when they visited Jerusalem. And Ezra met with one who could give him some news of the city and what he heard broke his heart. Look now at verses 3 and 4 again.
Notice exactly what we see here…
1. they had a place of worship
2. they had ecclesiastical separation
3. yet they had not separation from the world outside the place of worship.
Much of organized “religion” today is like this. We could go to the mall and survey the people and most of them will claim church membership, yet you can look at they way they dress and act and can’t tell them from the rest of the world.
In all honesty there are those churches around us in our day which are teaching that church is just a “come as you are” occasion. To be honest with you, I would be afraid to tell some people to “come as you are” because, though they may look and act Christian at church, when they go home, the walls are broken down.
I am not saying that we must give up all hobbies, acquaintences and activities in order to live a Godly life, but we are to be different.
Sadly enough most people who call themselves Christian are not living a lifestyle away from church which is fitting for a Christian.
2Timothy 2:19 “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
But we know better. We know that Christians are to be different. Even the lost world knows that we are to be different.
Look at the city…
Walls block access, or protect the city
Gates allow access to those who will abide by the rules of the city; This is controlled access, a protected way.
We the church are to maintain that separation which will protect the church and it’s testimony yet we are to remain accessible to those who would come in in the right way.
When we look at organized religion in our day we should feel like Nehemiah did when he got the news concerning Jerusalem. The walls are broken down.
1. was heartbroken (vs. 4)
a. it bothered him
b. people today are complacent
2. was prayerful (vs. 5)
a. he was moved toward God
b. people today motivated by the flesh
3. was hopeful (vs. 8-9)
a. he knew God’s word
b. people today can’t even recognize it
4. was purposed (vs. 11)
a. he knew that “Change must start with me”
b. people today think “Somebody ought to do
If we want to see revival in the church we must realize that it all begins with “ME”!
Then, and only then, can we begin rebuilding the walls one brick at a time.