Gates That Matter

The Gates We Need to Rebuild

(Nehemiah 3)

July 29, 2018 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.     Introduction


A.   Nehemiah is a book about REBUILDING things. Fixing things. Mending things. Repairing, Restoring things – not leaving things as they are


1.    Which is exactly what is needed today!

2.    Bible believing Christians do not just look on, as the world tears itself apart – we get busy doing something to slow it down and fix those who have been broken by it!


B.   We are looking way back at about 445 years Before the birth of Christ (B.C.) – that’s 2,462 years ago!

C.   What was wrong with the city of Jerusalem?


1.    Heaps and piles of rubbish everywhere throughout the city streets of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 4:2)

2.    These were OLD wastes - they had been there for a long time – almost 160 years!

3.    This was the Result of a load of SIN on the part of God’s people (2Chron 36:11-21)

4.    3km of 15 foot thick walls that were broken through, and thrown down and piled up into heaps of burnt stones…

5.    Sounds like something so far removed from our “normal” life now, BUT…


D.   So many things are broken TODAY!


1.    MARRIAGE is broken – been that way for a very long time

2.    People’s MINDS are broken – unable to sleep, forgive, reason and think through their problems

3.    People’s TRUST is constantly broken – no one takes responsibility anymore for ANYTHING! Always blaming others!

4.    People’s HEARTS are broken – haven’t been happy for so many years

5.    People’s FAITH is broken – trusting in themselves, and in religious icons, and priests and prayers, and in fairies, and angels, and Bitcoins! Only to be constantly let down!

6.    Society is broken – believing that abortion is a good thing, and Same Sex Marriage is fine and dandy, and that no one should have to work! BROKEN!



II.   Review


A.   Since the first Sunday in January, we have worked verse by verse so far through the Book of Nehemiah up until chapter 7, verse 1.

B.   What Was Everybody Rebuilding? Three Things…


1.    They were repairing a long winding protective Wall around Jerusalem

2.    They were repairing Ten Main Gates into and out of the city

3.    And Ultimately, they were rebuilding their Nation


C.   There was more to those walls and gates than just brick and wood (Isaiah 60:18 “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.”)

D.   What was so important about Walls and Gates?


1.    They control what comes in and goes out

2.    Every HOME has WALLS, and GATES


a.     Walls, doors, windows, fences

b.    Why do we think that just because modern cities don’t have walls anymore, that we don’t need walls still?

c.     Don’t let the world talk you into just letting anything and everything into your home and heart and lives in the name of diversity and open mindedness!

d.    The TV and internet have been THE greatest invader of the home in history!


3.    Every BODY has walls and gates


a.     Your SKIN is a wall, backed up by both bone and muscle

b.    Your body has basically 5 gates in and out of your body


1)    Ear Gate

2)    Eye Gate

3)    Nose Gate

4)    Mouth Gate

5)    Refuse Gate

6)    And a Reproductive Gate


c.     When these gates don’t work, and crumble under attack (from germs, or abuse) you become crippled, or YOU DIE!




a.     It is like having several main doors AND delivery doors going into and out of a Shopping Mall

b.    You wouldn’t want rubbish to be taken out through the main front doors!

c.     That would be awful!

d.    So, there are specified gates for specific purposes


1)    Refuse goes out the DUNG Gate… NOT the Fish Gate!

2)    Sheep come in the gate where they are expected, and inspected – not in one end of the city only to get lost on the way to the market at the other end of the city

3)    Made it so that people didn’t mix fresh fish with dung – kept things very healthy


e.     The Bible is amazing! God didn’t have to explain germs and microbes and bacterial – He just commanded His people to do things that kept them very healthy compared to the other cities of the ancient world!


5.    So here, in Nehemiah’s Journal, as he is looking out at all the people, it must have been awesome to see hundreds and hundreds of people gather every morning, and take their places and work from sun-up to sun down, on a HUGE task; on something very hard, and get it done!


E.   Nehemiah dedicates an entire chapter to repairing and rebuilding the Gates and Doors of the City – working counter-clockwise


1.    I am not going to claim that I understand these things perfectly

2.    I just want to give you some fundamental truths about the gates that amazingly still apply to you and me in the 21st century as believers

3.    Because amazingly, we all have the same gates that need to be maintained!


III.   Message – Let’s turn our focus on the GATES They Worked On


A.   The Sheep Gate (3:1) – Enter it for Forgiveness


1.    This was NOT the main entrance into this capital city. It was not the biggest gate either.

2.    But it was the ONLY ENTRANCE into Jerusalem for the sheep from Bethlehem that were used in the substitutionary sacrifice of innocent for the guilty.

3.    THIS was the priority gate – the first gate that had to be fixed – ahead of all other gates into and out of the city

4.    This kept their worship going!

5.    So, OUR work MUST begin on OUR Sheep Gate


a.     You have a sheep gate yourself

b.    It is the gate into your Heart and Soul – the real you UNDER your skin

c.     You guard it all too well!


1)    If someone you let in, hurt you, you slam it shut and keep them out for the rest of their lives!

2)    But the worst effect is that it never gets opened anymore

3)    Especially towards the Lord Jesus Christ


d.    Jesus is the Lamb of God

e.     Your heart is where Jesus enters – not your head, or your stomach (Acts 8:35-37; Rom 10:9,10)


1)    Act 8:35-37  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

2)    Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.


f.     Let the Lamb of God right into our soul – that’s how you get born again! Saved! Forgiven from all sins! (Revelation 3:20)


1)    Whatever is blocking His clear entrance needs to be cleared away

2)    Whatever you have locked and closed off from Him, needs to be released, and surrendered to His presence


g.    And He will SAVE, and Restore, and Rebuild from THERE

B.   The FISH Gate (3:3) – for Purpose – to catch men and bring them IN


1.    Then the very next gate to be repaired is the Fish Gate

2.    This gate was right next to the fish market in the city

3.    Repaired by the sons of Hassenaah – an unknown family


a.     They rebuilt everything necessary to make a solid, fully functioning Gate

b.    So that people could go out to the surrounding lakes and rivers and return with fish!


4.    Hmmmmm.

5.    The FIRST THING that Jesus does in the life of a follower is make them into fishers of men (Matt 4:18,19).


a.     Not make then intellectuals

b.    Not wealthy

c.     Not happy

d.    Not healthy

e.     But people who would watch Jesus, how he loved people, and learn from Him how to win souls to faith in Jesus!


6.    We need this gate repaired


a.     Christians used to be burdened about the lost, about the souls of men and women, boys and girls without Christ!

b.    The world, sin, and the devil hardens our thinking against the need for fishing for men!

c.     Luke 5:3-11

d.    You would think the disciples never got numb about soul-winning, but they sometimes did (John 21:1-6,19)

e.     And many of you are so numb towards the lost – and ashamed of Christ, and too embarrassed about going out door-to-door and engaging people with the GOSPEL!


7.    Every Church needs a FISH GATE that people are going out and coming back in with FISH! With new believers! That’s what Soul-Winning is – an open gate to the lost!

8.    Let’s keep it open and let’s keep going out and bringing people IN!


C.   The OLD Gate (3:6) – For Stability


1.    Now Nehemiah notices the work going on at the OLD Gate of Jerusalem

2.    Two men rebuilt the entire gate and adjacent walls: Jehoiada and Meshullam, and their families

3.    This was a very ancient gate that had been part of the original city that Joshua conquered about a thousand years earlier when this city was called Jebus

4.    It was evidently necessary to keep that old gate – AMEN


a.     Maybe out of respect

b.    Maybe as a reminder of their long history – that each generation needs to know that many generations came before them, and don’t need to be treated like they were so stupid, but are necessary to still honour all their labours


5.    This is the kind of gate that new believers need to go through – not ever despising some very old things you will find in Christianity, but keeping with some old ways.


a.     When I got saved, I thought this King James Bible was SOOO weird, so old

b.    I was young. I wanted a newer Bible.

c.     I even tried my hand at rewriting the King’s English into my own English. I still have the books I “rewrote” into my own words – so arrogant I was

d.    It took a few years of me complaining to my pastor and to some of my teachers that the ‘thee’s’ and ‘thou’s’ were not my thing, before I was challenged to look at the HISTORY of the work of translation, and the facts behind it

e.     Just like the 8th Amendment – there was a load of work that went into that amendment, and was thoroughly fought over

f.     And no “new” generation ought to take it lightly thinking that it needs to just be dumped for some newer improved version!

g.    So goes with the old hymns, and simple church meetings


6.    Truths:


a.     Not everything new is better

b.    Not all history should to be forgotten!

c.     Christianity does not revolve around YOU and your likes and dislikes

d.    If you are a new creature in Christ like the Bible says - changed on the inside to love the things that GOD loves…

e.     Then, stick with old ways that worked


1)    Like Bible preaching from a straight up preacher of God’s word instead of a nice, fancy talking, politically correct “minister”

2)    Like one man, one woman, for life

3)    Like sticking with a King James Bible

4)    Like making PRAYER a priority instead of performance and entertainment

5)    Like emphasizing repentance and humble serving one another

6)    Like soul-winning – going out into the highways and hedges


D.   The VALLEY Gate (3:13) – Open to the Will of God


1.    Two groups – two work crews – were busy repairing this gate and wall


a.     Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah – a small town about 16 km west of Jerusalem

b.    I like these little tid-bits of testimonies about these workers throughout this chapter!

c.     Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah all just got along together, and built the gate together, and set up the doors together, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof

d.    AND they kept working and finished MORE than just their Gate – they repaired the wall for an additional thousand cubits until they reached ‘the dung gate’.

e.     In other words, they built their assigned gate, AND kept going, building 1,500 feet of 15 foot thick wall! That is a lot of work!


2.    But here is the thought about the Gate itself…

3.    This was a gate that led out into a valley


a.     The valley of Hinnom

b.    Joshua 15:8  And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward

c.     A rather large ravine that would become known as a place to avoid because the people threw every piece of rubbish and trash into it and burnt it there


4.    Sometimes, THAT was the direction God’s people needed to go


a.     Valleys generally were beautiful

b.    They are where most crops were grown, and lilies bloomed

c.     But, it was NOT always pleasant to travel through a valley

d.    Valleys are where battles were fought – not on mountaintops

e.     And where you will find dangers, and the hard times, and the scum of life

f.     When a Christian starts living by the world of God, and settles for the old, right ways, they will immediately find themselves often alone, in a valley, and facing enemies (giants) like David did (1Sam 17; Psalm 23)!!!


1)    1Sa 17:3  And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

2)    Psa 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.


5.    Don’t be afraid to go through the gate into the valleys the Lord has for you to walk through!


a.     It is out in those valleys that we spend the best time with Jesus! (Heb 13:13)

b.    So, Keep that gate into the will of God always open and ready to go through!


E.   The DUNG Gate (3:14) – we need this Gate to Dump Any Filth that Builds Up in Us


1.    A yukky thought

2.    But this was a very necessary gate in the life of a city


a.     There were no underground sewage pipes in those days

b.    People had to hand-carry out all their wastes – could NOT just leave that stuff around – attracted flies and diseases and death

c.     It was through this gate that all forms of ‘dung’ were carried OUT of the city and dumped on a burning pile of rubbish out in the valley of Hinnom


3.    Amazingly, a LARGE number of people volunteered to repair this gate… NOT!
Nope! Only one man and his family rebuilt this gate!


a.     Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem;


1)    He built it (oversaw it), and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

2)    There is so much I wish I could teach you right now about this guy. Even though he was the ruler of a part of a nearby town, he is so humble, because he was raised by such a godly, god-fearing family called the Rechabites!

3)    You should learn all about them in Jeremiah chapter 35!

4)    They owed their very lives to the grace and mercy of the God of Israel; and Jerusalem was their place of salvation

5)    And he was willing to rebuild the lowest of the gates, out of gratefulness!


4.    Thank God for people who care not where they work, but simply wish to serve and be a help! Like at MEN’S CAMP and YOUTH CAMP, and BIBLE CLUB! Serving in the Kitchen, helping with Sports, preaching, praying, cleaning up, …

5.    What does this Dung gate mean for US as Christians?


a.     We need to make sure we have a direct route and an open gate to someplace we can dump our shame and our filthy thoughts, and our evil communications out of our mouths!

b.    The cross

c.     This gate leads to purging (Heb 9:14)

d.    Illustration


1)    What does your house smell like when you DON’T flush the toilet?

2)    What does it smell like when you ignore the buildup of rubbish in your kitchen?

3)    Well… What do you think your mind and heart smell like to GOD when we keep all that dead and dying stuff around inside?


e.     Philp 3:7-9 tells us how we should see all the “good” that we think is in us

f.     As well as Isaiah 64:6

g.    Evidently we all need a very big gate to keep the filth flowing OUT of your thinking and feeling that is just pure garbage, rubbish, dung

h.    You PURGE, eliminate, dump, clear out, flush all that stuff OUT

i.      Never bringing any of it back in!

j.      It is IN you whether you admit it or not (Mark 7:18-23)

k.    So, Grab whatever is stinking right now in your heart, or in your thinking and throw it away (2Cor 10:4,5) like you would dung!

l.      Especially the dung of…


1)    Your own Pride and arrogance – thinking so highly of yourself. I find this so very hard!

2)    Wrath and constant anger

3)    Lust and pornography

4)    Greed and discontentment


6.    Let’s take a moment right now and check and see if OUR dung gate is sealed shut or open, and let’s determine to take out the rubbish right now!

7.    That’s what REPENTANCE is – throwing away and even burying the rubbish of our past habits and sinfulness – out the dung gate, and onto the cross!

8.    Pro 28:13  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them (dumps them on the cross) shall have mercy.


F.    The FOUNTAIN Gate (3:15) – For Drinking


1.    A man named Shallun the son of Colhozeh, and his helpers built the wall and repaired its gate right next to the pool of Siloah


a.     Shallum was the ruler (mayor) of part of the nearby town of Mizpah – famous for being where Saul had been crowned the first king of Israel

b.    And yet, here he was, down and dirty in the grunt work of heavy lifting and block laying and sweating and back breaking work


2.    There were fresh water fountains under Jerusalem that fed into pools used for water inside the city of Jerusalem


a.     This was fresh clean filtered water from deep underground

b.    It fed into a pool called the Pool of Siloam

c.     The water was used for drinking, and special washings


3.    But the GATE accessed THE FOUNTAIN just outside the city walls!

4.    Here is the truth!


a.     This is a picture of letting the Holy Spirit flow freely in your life

b.    Jesus invites all to come to HIM and DRINK (John 7:37-39)  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 

c.     After you have dumped/put off the old man and his sins,  you can drink from a clear fountain – that fills you and satisfies your thirsts

d.    See John 4:4-18  The woman needed living water, but needed to face and let go of the dung/sin in her life – that is when she tasted of the WELL of eternal life!

e.     When you realise that it is THE SIN YOU LOVE that is keeping you from loving God and His words – and you decide to HATE those sins - well, THAT’S when this Bible will become precious to you, and you will LOVE reading it and drinking from it


G.   The WATER Gate (3:26,27) – For Washing


1.    This gate was rebuilt by more of the Tekoites (Cf 3:5) – we saw them already hard at work on the Fish gate and wall

2.    This Water gate opened out to the small river called the Kidron brook, where the general population went to get water to wash with


a.     This was washing water – not really for drinking

b.    It was used as bath water and for washing clothes

c.     You would often find hundreds of people on the sides of the river washing their family clothes

d.    And you would find people carrying buckets of the water back home for weekly baths


3.    The word of God is OUR source of washing (Eph 5:25,26; Ps 119:9)

4.    Every Christian needs access to a good bath on the inside

5.    We often neglect to get the water of the word and only take dry baths – which don’t work

6.    We need to let the word of God wash through us and over our thoughts and worries and frustrations

7.    Your water gate is your time just reading the Bible

8.    There is no other way to explain it or describe it – it just works!


H.   The HORSE Gate (3:28) – for the King’s Use


1.    The horse is the strongest and most versatile work-animal for sure


a.     It can do so many things on a farm


2.    But the Jews didn’t normally keep many horses. They had donkeys for most of their work.

3.    Horses were kept for one great purpose


a.     For the king and his men to ride upon

b.    2Ki 11:16  And they … went by the way by the which the horses came into the king's house… 

c.     This gate was only opened for the king’s horses to go through

d.    It was opened for war and for when the king travelled

e.     Whenever this gate was opened, something big was going on


4.    The same is true in the Christian life


a.     OUR Horse-Gate is Prayer, which OUR King uses to defeat our every enemy

b.    The horse gate is me allowing God to work through me as I pray (Col 1:29)  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily


1)    Prayer is ME opening that gate and the Lord Jesus going to battle

2)    Amazingly, He wars through my prayers

3)    He can SPEAK through my lips

4)    And best of all, he can use MY life (like a horse) for His purpose


c.     When this gate is open, MY King can come and go as He pleases and make my enemies flee

d.    This horse-gate is my prayer life. It is how God works through the likes of me


5.    How broken down is your PRAYER gate?


I.     The EASTERN Gate (3:29) – For Anticipation


1.    This Gate faced exactly to the east from the Temple

2.    It led out to a path to a garden at the base of a hill called the Mount of Olives – the Garden was the Garden of Gethsemane

3.    This gate was the gate the king entered after a battle to return and sit down on his throne in victory!

4.    Right now, even to this day, this gate is sealed shut

5.    But One day, this gate will open for the King to enter!


a.     Eze 44:1-3  Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince.

b.    The prince is our Messiah, Jesus,who will break through this closed and sealed door at His second coming!

c.     One of the main themes of the whole book of Ezekiel is THIS gate! And who will come blasting through it!

d.    Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.


6.    The eastern gate is the look and the yearning of the believer for the soon coming of the Son of God for His kingdom, and for His bride, the Church


a.     Php 3:20,21  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself

b.    2Ti 4:7,8  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing


J.    The LAST Gate was the MIPHKAD Gate (3:31,32) – it means the Judgment Gate


1.    This was the gate where people from all over Israel could line up and enter a courthouse just inside the city, where their cases would be heard and judged

2.    It led to a courtyard – where a COURT was held, and where people faced judgment

3.    To us, this Gate reminds us that one day WE will all have to face the judgment


a.     Whether you like it or not, you will have to go through this gate, and stand before the Lord Jesus Christ

b.    Heb 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment


1)    Not for our sins against God – that was placed on Jesus

2)    But for our dealings with one another – whether we ever took our second chance life seriously, or threw it away


c.     2Co 5:10,11  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences


4.    So, Be Ready to pass through that gate – how?


a.     REPAIR the concern you USED to have about how you lived your life, how you have flippantly used your words, how you treated other people, how flippantly you abused the name of the Lord… how barely you every did anything for Jesus…

b.    Know that you WILL have to face the consequences of such a flippant, carnal life

c.     Purge all that sin out the dung gate onto the cross!

d.    And then hope to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”




A.   Ten Gates


1.    They control what comes in and goes out


3.    They are part of your Christian life now, and are under YOUR control

4.    The question is, are they working, or broken down?


B.   This is why Nehemiah dedicated the rest of his life – to the rebuilding and repairing of these gates


1.    Neh 1:3  And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

2.    Your pastor has dedicated his life to helping YOU repair these same controls into and out of YOUR life


C.   The Sheep Gate – Have you let the LAMB OF GOD enter it for your Forgiveness?

D.   The FISH Gate – that’s your FIRST Purpose – to catch men and bring them IN

E.    The OLD Gate – For Stability of your life – not constantly reinventing the wheel, so to speak

F.    The VALLEY Gate – be OPEN to the Will of God, no matter where it leads

G.   The DUNG Gate – we need this Gate to Dump any filth that builds up in us

H.   The FOUNTAIN Gate – For Drinking and refreshing ourselves

I.     The WATER Gate – For Washing when we get dirty

J.     The HORSE Gate – for Working and Battling

K.   The EASTERN Gate – For Anticipation

L.    The LAST Gate was the MIPHKAD Gate – it means the Judgment Gate. You had better be ready to go through that gate one day soon!