Church as It Ought to Be

God Has Established the Right Way a Church Meeting Should Be Conducted!

Nehemiah 8

DATE: 26 Nov, 2000   AM          PLACE: BBC Blarney

Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Blarney, Ireland

I.         Introduction (1Tim 3:14,15)


A.      In Nehemiah, we are learning a great comparison with the Christian’s life – about how to protect what we have got.

B.       The best way to protect our walk with God, our families, our freedoms as Christians is not to leave the surrounding walls crumble, but rebuild them

C.       So up go the walls around Jerusalem. When they were finished, all the people gathered together, to start back living that Book!

D.      My what a meeting they had that day – went on for 8 days – a real revival!

E.       There is SO much in this chapter, so I am going to have to just skim through it

F.       Suffice it to say, you can’t improve on God’s way of having church. People have tried. But it leads to death! So many churches are dead to God!

G.       What kind of church are we going to have? The same as everyone else? Or…


II.       Lesson – Church as It Should Be (Nehemiah 8)


A.      All In Unity (8:1a)


1.        Tens of thousands of people have gathered together

2.        They all were “as one man”, in one accord, in unity folks!

3.        How could that happen?


a.       Either by drugs, or hypnotism (most rock concerts)

b.       Or at gun point – as with the old Yugoslavia

c.       Or by Jesus Christ! Changed hearts and LIVES!


4.        This shows one of the greatest identifying marks of Biblical Christianity (Ps 133:1; Philp 2:5; 1 Cor 1:10; 1 Pet 3:8). Doctrine unifies!


B.       With Desire (8:1b) – hunger, thirst


1.        They all with one accord desired the Book of God – the LAW


a.       It had been a long time – over 70 years – two generations lost

b.       Here they were, begging Ezra to bring out THE BOOK


1)       Not some lost documents, or copies full of errors

2)       Not some book of jokes, or self-help ideas

3)       But the BOOK OF GOD – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

4)       They knew the reason why Israel got into trouble. Because had gotten away from hearing and obeying God’s word!


2.        They all desired to hear from the man of God


a.       Ezra, not the governor (no matter how spiritual Nehemiah was)

b.       Known as “the scribe” – the preacher, publisher of God’s words

c.       Do you know what is the main attraction of a church?


1)       Not the music – though important

2)       Not the people – though also important

3)       Not the building, altars, paintings, etc

4)       It is supposed to be what the MAN OF GOD has to say from the pulpit. False churches modify the scene:


a)       Place two pulpits to the sides of an ALTAR

b)       Have one pulpit, but to the side

c)       Here, it is right in the middle of the meeting!


C.       With Hearing (8:8:2-5,18)


1.        These people were very attentive


a.       Hearing a man preach from a Book from on top of a pulpit

b.       This was the method of our Saviour (Luke 4:16-22)

c.       Everyone always has lots of diversions, and attractions that can take our mind away – but today’s programming is so wicked

d.       You wonder why you are not attentive?


1)       All that TV

2)       All the Nintendo, PlayStation, Gameboy junk!

3)       All the hours in front of a computer PLAYING!

4)       WE NEED REVIVAL from this stuff!


e.       What were they hearing? Just words from just any old book?


1)       No! They were listening to the heart of God in creation

2)       God’s commandments from Mt Sinai

3)       God’s judgment on Egypt, and even Israel when they complained and turned to idolatry

4)       God’s grace on old Noah and his family

5)       Man’s wickedness at every turn of history

6)       Mans redemption in the Lamb from the Garden of Eden on!

7)       Now that is what faith is built upon


f.        How long did the meeting last? 4-6 hours a day, for 8 days (36 hours) – see Paul in Acts 20


1)       Needed to hear LOTS of the Book – not just snippets

2)       Needed to know the context of the events

3)       Faith is related to the time spent in this Book (Rom 10:17)


2.        The people were very sure. Ezra had 13 men on the pulpit with him


a.       He was not a lone voice trying to impress the people

b.       These were 13 men who stood with him – as one voice, committed to the fact the that Book was God’s Book, and that man was God’s man!


3.        The people were very respectful. All stood at the words being spoken. They were fully convinced that Book was right!


D.      Lots of Understanding (8:7,8) – didn’t happen by accident though


1.        Preaching meant Pastors taking the time to explain

2.        Preaching meant preachers reading distinctly. None of this mumbling with a low voice. |When Christ spoke, everyone heard every word (Mt 4:4)


a.       Gave the meaning. Reasoned through the truths

b.       Taught people God’s word (held back nothing – Acts 20:27) not man’s opinions, or what some book said about the Book!


1)       Never criticized what they read, and never corrected the Bible

2)       Just taught people “Bible” words


a)       Salvation – God saying, “I love you!”

b)       Propitiation – full payment for every sin!

c)       Imputation – transfer of righteousness

d)       Atonement

e)       Justification

f)        Sanctification


E.       Responding(8:6,9-12) There are 5 ways to react to the preaching of this Book


1.        Amening – to the good, the bad, and the ugly (Neh 5:13) – Hear, hear. Yes, yes! I believe it! It’s True!

2.        Surrendering – this is where the raising up of hands comes from


a.       Not hypnotic, but brokenness – like waving a white flag!

b.       Repentance – God, you are right, and I am wrong in this

c.       Do you know what church is to some people – a battle man! For those of us who are tired of fighting God, it is just sweet surrender

d.       Oh that people surrendered to


1)       Jesus Christ – that is SALVATION! Forget religion, sinfulness

2)       The words of this Book – quit constantly questioning, and get some answers that settle the heart!

3)       The call of God – isn’t ANYBODY surrendered?

4)       Righteous living – on MONDAY thru SATURDAY!


3.        Worshipping (8:6)


a.       True worship only begins when people have gotten right with God

b.       Now, every word they say, every thing they think, every act they do IS worship! When you go and are part of a Bible preaching church, fixing lunch is WORSHIP!

c.       People make worship a ceremony –without repentance it is dead


4.        Weeping (8:9-12)


a.       Some decisions were being made. Decisions that were hard – they wanted to not just be “hearers” only, but doers!


1)       Get right with their husbands

2)       Go back home to their wives and families

3)       Pay back someone you swindled years ago

4)       Get rid of some pornography

5)       Get back into the Bible DAILY

6)       Get behind their preacher and local church


b.       Some people were being broken for good – not a passing feeling, but something that they wanted to keep forever

c.       You see, these people were broken at the hearing of what God said about them!


1)       Like a judge coming out and passing sentence because of the evidence

2)       And then presenting the Lamb in your place

3)       All with you watching, and realising it should have been you


5.        Fellowshipping (8:10-12)


a.       Now the joy flows

b.       Now the people can trust one another

c.       Now people begin to feast, care, and love each other (Jude 12)


F.       Coming Back for More (8:13; Heb 10:25)


1.        Came back the next day for more of the same

2.        Knew they needed this – it was their life-blood

3.        The Christians in the first century were no different (Acts 5:42)


III.     Conclusion


A.      Folks, you can’t improve on God’s way of having church. People have tried. But it leads to death! So many churches are dead to God!

B.       What kind of church are we going to have? The same as everyone else? or


1.        One with true unity? The mind of Christ!

2.        One with Desire, and Hunger and Thirst?

3.        One with hearing ears, instead of dull of hearing?

4.        One with understanding? Searching the word and seeing if so or not!

5.        One with people who respond, and get closer? Or fight the Holy Spirit?

6.        One with people who just keep coming back for more? Or look for every excuse to be busy elsewhere?


C.       Well, the kind of Church Jesus DIED for is right here in Nehemiah 8! That’s what we ought to be – all for HIM!

D.      Starts with salvation – people getting born again

E.       Next we need some people to surrender to this ol’ Book of books!

F.       Let’s come back for more tonight! AMEN? AMEN!