Rebuilding Together 2

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Arise And Build!  All Things Are Possible With God’s Help

Rebuilding Together 2

Nehemiah 3:1-32

       We are working on a series of messages entitled:  “Arise and Build!  All things are possible with God’s Help.”  These messages are begin taken out of the book of Nehemiah.

       I have been impressed to preach them, because they have to do with vision, leadership, and obstacles during the rebuilding of the walls of the city of Jerusalem.

       We are in the midst of a physical and spiritual building program, so it is appropriate for us to be considering some of the situations that come up during building programs.

       In the last message, we had begun to talk about the gates of the city and their significance.  The gates of a city were where business was transacted and government was located.  The gates of a city represented its security and its stability.

       Because of the sin of the Israelites, God had allowed them to be overrun by their enemies.  This eventuated in the wall of Jerusalem being broken down and the gates being burned with fire.

       But, God commissioned Nehemiah to rebuild the walls and to repair and re-hang the gates.

(So, as Nehemiah presses towards this task, we can see:)

I.     The Solidarity.

The people worked together to repair and re-hang the gates of the city.

       Last week, we tried to point out the importance of teamwork.

(Now, if we could look at a map of old Jerusalem, we would see that Nehemiah’s description of the work takes us around the city.  By looking at each one of the gates of the wall, we can see the things which corporate local churches ought to be working on.  There is a symbolism here.)

II.    The Symbolism.

(Excerpts taken from Nehemiah God’s Builder, Richard H. Seume.)

(Let’s continue to look at the symbolism of each gate.  We have already covered the first four gates.  Today, we begin with:)

E.    The Dung Gate.

Through this gate the refuse and garbage of the city was flung out into the valley below.

       We must be aware of the need of cleansing in the life of the Church.  There are times when God purges certain ones from among us, so that we may be healthy and grow.

       These are generally very painful times, but we must keep in mind that if God allowed those who didn’t want to go to remain among us, the New Season would be hindered.

       Gideon started with 32,000, but when God got through there were only 300 that He could use to bring about a mighty victory!!!

There are times that we need to do our own spring cleaning by repenting and confessing our sinfulness, i.e. both corporately and individually.

We are familiar with the individual application of repentance and confession, but we are far less familiar with the corporate application of these concepts.  Yet, later in this same book, we can see the application of these concepts in

Nehemiah 9:2 (NASB-U), “The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.”

There are times when we need to deal with more than our own sinfulness and the sinfulness of those around us; we need to deal with the sin and evil of our ancestors, which has flowed downstream and infected us!

       The stubbornness, rigidity, and closed-mindedness of previous members of this church have flowed downstream and infected us, just as the alcoholism, poverty, and depression have flowed down in our biological families and infected us!  What friends do you have, who have left the church, but you are allowing them to still speak into your life?

       John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote to The Church of Ephesus in

Revelation 2:4-5 (NASB-U), “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. [5] Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.”

This admonition is to all of us!!!  This is difficult for most people, because they see themselves through the radical individualism of America and as separate believers, rather than as members of a local body or church.  If we saw ourselves biblically, as members of a local body or church, then we could not exempt ourselves from what goes on in that church.

       Even as the body is affected when one small part of it is sick, so also the body of Christ is affected when one or more members of its sick.  And sometimes, the only way to get well is to surgically remove that sick member!!!

(Next we have:)

F.    The Gate Of The Fountain.

This gate was named “perhaps after the one natural spring which Jerusalem possesses - now known as the ‘Virgin’s Fountain,’ and near to the pool of Siloam, where the precious water from this spring was stored.”  Notice that it is after the Dung Gate.

       After the cleansing experience, we come to the rivers of living water spoken of by our Lord in two places.  The first place is in

John 4:13-14 (NASB-U), “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; [14] but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’”


John 7:37-39 (NASB-U), “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. [38] He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”’ [39] But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

After the cleansing or repentance and confession, whether that cleansing is salvific or restorative, we need the flow of the life-giving water of the Holy Ghost!!!

       I am saddened that Evangelicals have done away with the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Tri-unity of God, in favor of the Bible, the written Word of God.  Their Trinity is God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Bible!  But, the written Word of God is not the living Word of God, until He is made alive by the Holy Spirit!!!

       I see these two passages of Scripture as pointing to two different things.  The first passage points to the well of living water that represents the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is an indwelling well of living water that satisfies the thirst of those who are saved and it will spring up eternally!  Somebody praise Him!!!

       The second passage of Scripture points more to the river of living water that represents the baptism in the Holy Ghost.  In this baptism, the Holy Ghost is not just a well springing up, but a river that flows out to the earth to carry the person along as a witness of Jesus Christ!!!

The Church should be a well of living water, a fountain of eternal life-giving water, and a river of living water flowing out in empowered witness, which is authenticated by miracles, signs, and wonders.

(Next we have:)

G.    The Water Gate.

We all know of the sordid Watergate scandal, but this is the good Water Gate.  This is the only gate that did not need to be repaired.  The Water Gate is a type of the Word of God.  There is nothing wrong with the Word of God!  The Psalmist sings in

Psalm 119:89 (NASB-U) Lamedh.  Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.”

Listen to the words of an unknown author:

Last eve I paused before a blacksmith’s door

And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime.

And looking in, I saw old hammers on the floor,

Worn by the beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,

“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”

“Just one,” said he, then with a twinkle in his eyes,

“The anvil wears the hammers out you know.”

And so I thought, the anvil of God’s Word,

For ages skeptic blows have beat upon.

Yet through the noise of falling blows was heard

The anvil is unharmed - the hammers gone!

·        The Word of God is water to the thirsty.

·        The Word of God is bread to the hungry.

·        The Word of God is a hammer that breaks the rock to pieces.

·        The Word of God is the seed of God’s life.

·        The Word of God is a mirror that shows us ourselves.

·        The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet.

·        The Word of God is a light unto our path.

·        The Word of God is the two-edged sword of the Spirit.

·        The Word of God is milk to the newborn believer.

·        The Word of God is meat to the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

·        The Word of God is honey that satisfies the soul.

·        The Word of God is the fire of God’s personality.

The Word of God stands secure, impregnable, stable, everlasting, because the Word is an extension of the character of Almighty God!!!

(Then we have:)

H.    The Horse Gate.

Through this gate the king’s horses were led to their stables.  Since horses were used in battle, the Horse Gate suggests the Church’s warfare in an alien world.

       We must equip ourselves to do battle with Satan, the flesh and the world.

Matthew 16:18 (NASB-U), “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (emphasis mine).

The gates or power of death shall not overpower the Church!!!

Ephesians 6:11-13 (NASB-U), “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. [12] For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. [13] Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

We must begin to understand that in the wilderness there was rest with periodic warfare, but in the Promised Land there is warfare with periodic rest!!!

       We must repair this gate!  We must understand and prepare for spiritual warfare!!!

(Now we come to:)

I.     The East Gate.

There are a few possibilities concerning the identity of this gate, but let’s use the identity that we find in the prophecy of Ezekiel.

In Ezekiel 43:1-2, Ezekiel sees the glory of God return through the East Gate, in a vision.  Consequently, the East Gate represents for the saint the great moment for which the Church of Jesus Christ waits:  The coming of the Bridegroom from heaven.  Let us watch and wait!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NASB-U), “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. [15] For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. [16] For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. [17] Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. [18] Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Evangelicals put a great deal of emphasis on the Rapture.  They are interested in going up.  But, recently, this has been blunted by the materialism of America.  So, we must again learn to anxiously look for and await Christ’s return, in the sky!

At the same time, we must balance our waiting to go up, with our desire to grow up.  Why?  Because, they are actually related!  We can hasten our going up, by growing up!!!  We can hasten the return of the Lord, by growing up and becoming the Bride without spot or wrinkle.  The sooner we become the Bride the Jesus seeks, the sooner He will return for us.

(Lastly we have:)

J.     The Gate Miphkad.

Little is known about this gate.  The word only occurs one other time in

Ezekiel 43:21, “You shall also take the bull for the sin offering; and it shall be burned in the appointed place (miphkad) of the house, outside the sanctuary” (emphasis mine).

In the light of the expression “the appointed place,” it has been suggested that this is the “gate of mustering,” or “gate of review.”

       After Jesus comes again, then there will be the mustering.  For believers, this typifies the place where we shall be judged for appropriate rewards.  Paul calls this place the bema or judgment seat of Christ.  We must rebuild the importance of looking forward to judgment for rewards in the Christian life.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB-U), “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

       This is the motivation to live the Christian life!!!  Once we are saved, we should not just sit around and twiddle our thumbs until Jesus comes.  We should pursue a reward, so that we can honor and glorify Jesus Christ, when He ultimately reigns from the throne of David.

So, we are looking forward to receiving our rewards, honoring Jesus with those rewards, and then reigning with Him forever.

       You can count for yourself that there are ten gates mentioned in this account.  Ten is one of the perfect numbers.  It signifies the perfection of Divine order.  It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.  As the repair of the ten gates meant the wall was completed, when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ our Christian journey will be complete.  Let us work together in rebuilding the gates of Christianity and the Church, so that we may honor the name of Christ and receive a reward!

(Now is the day of salvation.  Come to Jesus, now!)

Invitation & Call to Discipleship

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