“Dedication & Delight” Nehemiah 12:27-47
INTRO> In 1646-1647 a group of protestant theologians got together at Westminster Abby, in England with the hopes to reform the church of England and to unite the church of England and the Scottish church together. In doing so they penned what is known as the “Westminster Confession of Faith” Which if you grew up presbyterian or lutheran, you know what i am talking about. They also wrote what is known as a “catechism”which is something used in a question and answer forum to teach children and new christians about the faith. Though i don’t agree with a lot in the Westminster Confession, the very first question, almost all christians can agree. “What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
CONTEXT> That is why we where created to glorify God (make much of him) and enjoy him forever. That is also what we see in our text today. The whole idea and scene that we have today is a huge worship service! Chapter 11 is how they repopulate the city and the list of the names of the people who moved back into the city and chapter 12 is the dedication of the wall and their work back to God. This is important to look at because we have seen in this book the people WORK, a lot. But what we see today is that the people stop and worship and enjoy they God that they have been working for.
Big Idea: Worshiping God is what drives working for God.
TRANS> The word “worship” It’s a churchy word but is a biblical word. Everyone worships, its why we were created. Worship comes from the old english word “woreship or literally worth-ship” Worship is the act of ascribing worth to God. *ILL> Tim Keller’s illustration of the antique necklace. You see we all worship. In Nehemiah 12 we see what worship looks like.
- Worship is viewed vertically. v27-30
- “dedication of the wall” we see that word used twice. We see that they have been dedicated to God’s work but we see now that they are giving this work back to God.
- “and the priests and the Levites purified themselves and the people” This was the ceremonial cleansing found in Leviticus 16:30
APP> What this is showing is that they are doing this for something greater than themselves. “The highest and most powerful human experience is to express our love to the most worthy object of our affection.” James MacDonald, Vertical Church
2) Worship is expressed emotionally. v27, 43
- Singing is mentioned eight times, rejoicing or joy is mentioned seven times, thanksgiving six times. This is language that expresses emotions.
APP> This is a slippery slope. But singing express emotion. Happy Birthday songs, love songs etc. When we worship God our emotions are involved, they have to be. Some of us come from one extreme or the other. Emotions sit in the passenger seat of the vehicle of worship. They do not drive our worship. *ILL> Me telling court nee that i love her blonde hair and blue eyes. Even if my emotions are sincere, they are wrong.
3) Worship is based Biblically. v31-37,44-46
- King David is mentioned 5x in these verses as a reference to how God was worshiped in the first temple.
- “required by the law”v44 “according to the command of David and his son Solomon.” Do you see what Nehemiah is doing, he isn’t sitting around guessing as to how God wants to be worshiped, he knows that God has described how he wants to be worshiped.
APP> The Word of God governs our worship to God. That why we make a big deal out of the bible here. The reading of the text, the scripture underneath the songs we sing. *ILL> Pastor Tyler going to the worship conference. When we worship we want to think rightly and feel deeply.
4) Worship is served sacrificially.43a
- “and they offered great sacrifices that day…” The word great deals with the quality and volume of the sacrifices that they offered to God. A sacrifice means something, it costs’s something a value. (sheep, goat,lamb) And when you sacrifice something valuable, for something more valuable. You are saying.. I love that more.
- “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7 They where hoping for the day that we live in! Whats the result of this?
5) Worshiped is practiced powerfully. 43b
- “ and the joy of jerusalem was heard from a far off…” I love this! Their Joy in their God was so loud! Can you imagine the sound from being a surrounding city?
ILL > 2016 has been a crazy year, none more crazy than the cubs winning the world series. Their championship parade was the 7th largest gathering in world history with 5 million people in one place. But the loudest moment was when they won their first world series game at wrongly field. It was reported that you could hear them chant “Go Cubs Go” over a mile and a half away. The noise was reported to register at 101 decibels, about the sound of a jet takeoff from 1,000 feet above. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-cubs-wrigley-field-noise-met-20161022-story.html
APP> We are often the loudest for what we love the most.
APP> As we close and we look at what biblical worship is here are a few questions:
- Is your worship more horizontal than vertical?
- What is the source of your joy?
- Do you find yourself always laboring for Jesus and not loving Jesus?
Big Idea: Worshiping God is what drives working for God.
“Worship is what we were created for. This is the final end of all existence-the worship of God. God created the universe so that it would display the worth of His glory. And He created us so that we would see this glory and reflect it by knowing and loving it-with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. The church needs to build a common vision of what worship is and what she is gathering to do on Sunday morning and scattering to do on Monday morning.” – John Piper