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What is Lent?
What is Lent?
Fasting & Self-Denial
The Temptation of Jesus
What is keeping me from closeness to God?
How can I become closer to God in the next 6 weeks?
Matthew 4:1-11; 6:16-18; 9:14-15
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Lent in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Fred Grissom
Seeking Gods Face, Philip F. Reinders
Fasting in Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster
God is On the Cross, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Philemon - Part 2 Transformation of Power
Who is Philemon?
What is Paul asking of Philemon?
How does this relate to us?
Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch
Jesus and the God of Israel by Richard Bauckham
Small Faith, Great God by Tom Wright
Philemon Part 1 - Transformation of Vulnerability
Transformation from Vulnerability
If we are to be a physical representation of Christs character, we must be quick to forgive and offer reconciliation.
Final Sermon on Colossians Series
Pastor William Knelsen
January 28, 2024
Church at Work and Home
Watch January 21, 2023 sermon from Pastor William here.
Set Apart and Transform
There are some examples of why being rooted in the Bible is essential for us:
2 Timothy 4
3 Questions to ask yourself:
Anyone who drinks this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst
One New Humanity - Ephesians 1, 2
The impact of our identity:
1. Our identity IN HIM grounds us:
2. Our identity IN HIM fills us:
3. Our identity IN HIM moves us:
Praying for the Future - Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6, NIV)
Christmas Eve Service
Listen to Pastor William's message from our Christmas Eve service.
Third Sunday of Advent: Joy
December 17, 2023 Pastor William Knelson.
Second Sunday Of Advent - Peace
How have you experienced peace this week? What might prevent you from experiencing peace in the coming week?
What is peace?
How does Jesus bring peace?
How do we experience peace?
The peace of Christ is not the result of everything being set right. It is how everything is being set right.
First Sunday Of Advent
First Sunday Sunday Of Advent
A New Life - Romans 6:4 - Baptism Celebration
Romans 6:4 - A New Life
Romans 6:4 and Baptism
What is the old life?
Sin - our old master brings death
What is the new life?
Jesus - our new master brings life
The burial symbolized in going under the waters of baptism marks the end of the old life. We come out of the water and are resurrected into new life.
A Renewed Church - Col 3:1-17
Colossians 3:1-17 - A Renewed Church
3:1-4 - Holiness and Renewal
3:58 - Characteristics of the Old Nature
3:914 - Characteristics of the Renewed Nature
3:1517 - Sustaining the Renewed Nature
Being a Christian is not about doing Christian things. Its about doing everything in a new way.
A Holy Church - Colossians 2:6-23
2:6-7 - Summary of the letters introduction
2:8-12 - Warning against false teaching
2:13-15 - Completeness in Christ
2:16-19 - Reject religious spectacles
2:20-23 - False means of attaining holiness
The Nation of Israel as Holy
Jesus as Holy
The Church as Holy
The church is holy on the basis of Christs victory on the cross and our continuous connection to him as our source of life.
A Mature Church - Colossians 1:24 - 2:5
What is Maturity?
Maturity through Wisdom
Maturity through Unity
Maturity through Faith
Maturity requires unwavering devotion to Gods way, without a hint of devotion to anything other.
A Flourishing Church - Col. 1:13-23
What is flourishing?
Flourishing through Redemption
Flourishing through the Rule of Christ
Flourishing through Reconciliation
True flourishing can only happen when we submit ourselves to the authority of Jesus as the only rightful ruler of all creation and as the only one who can promise eternal life.
A Wise Church - Col. 1:9-12
Review - A Fruit-Bearing Church
What is wisdom?
How do we become a wise church?
How do we know we are a wise church?
Wisdom is communal. Be curious about how God is revealing his purpose through others, especially those with whom you disagree.
Collosians 1:1-8 - A Fruit Bearing Church
Review - The Unique Greatness of Jesus Christ
Colossians 1:1-8 - A Fruit-bearing Church
Hope - Inward Confidence
Faith - Godward Trust
Love - Outward Embrace
Hope, faith, and love are inseparable characteristics of a fruitful church.
Colossians Series Introduction
Pastor William - October 8, 2023
John Peacock - Ephesians 1:17-19 - Oct. 1, 2023
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. ~ Ephesians 1:17-19a
1. Pauls prayer is that believers know God better:
How did Jesus see the Father?
What can I learn from this?
2. God has set a great HOPE before us:
How can this make a difference in our lives?
3. God has put great POWER at our disposal:
How can this power affect our lives?
Relationship: Where We are Seen and Known - John 4:1:-30, 39-42
We are seen
We are known and invited to know Jesus
1 Cor 1:27-31; 1 Cor 13:12
How do we begin?
Relationships with Each Other - Acts 2 & 10, Exodus 33, Romans 12
Why is it we try to live our lives as an island, separated from one another?
How come we push through struggles alone?
What makes us not want to share our joys with one another?
Romans 12 gives us a list of 16 traits we should strive for together. With that in mind, I would like to suggest 4 areas for us to practice, to take to heart
The Jerusalem church zeal for worship and brotherly love was contagious. Just as it has been contagious here. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor. God is doing something.
Spiritual Gifts - Romans 12:3-8
1. What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
a. A demonstration of the Fathers heart and purpose towards us. (James 1:17, Ephesians 2:10)
b. A testimony of Christs ministry through us. (Mark 16:14-18)
c. A maturing of the Fruits of the Spirit in His ministry among us. (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 4:1-16)
d. The Gifts are for Today; more than ever. (1 Peter 4:7-11, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
2. How do I know if I have a particular Gift?
a. It all starts with Abiding in Christ. (John 15:1-15)
b. Our role in seeking the Gift. (Luke 11:9)
c. The role of the Body to help identify a Gift. (Galatians 6:2-10)
d. Dont sweat it! (Proverbs 3:5,6)
3. Spiritual Gifts : Walk before you Run
a. When 1 Corinthians 13 starts to make sense
b. Can the Father trust you with the secrets of His heart? (Amos 3:7,8 Matthew 6:1-4)
c. The Holy Spirit does the driving. (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)
d. I prayed and nothing happened. (Luke 18:1, 1 Corinthians 4:5)
4. Stewarding the Gifts of the Spirit
a. Obedient and orderly: the Gifts are not a spectacle. (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)
b. Church is to be a place where it is okay to fail. (1 Corinthians 12:22-26, Colossians 3:12-17)
c. Counselling young people about the Gifts: Handle with care!
d. Don`t chase the rabbit! (Hebrews 11:6;12:18-21, Revelation 13:11-17)
Download the Spiritual Gifts Handout here: https://www.hemc.church/downloads/sb_hemc/Sept.10-SpiritualGiftsHandout.pdf
The Temptation of Christ and Our Own 40-Day Journey - Matthew 4:1-11
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
Cross scripture references: Luke 4:1-11, Deut 6-8, Psalms 91
What is the meaning of this scripture and how can we apply it to our life?
- What is the meaning of 40 days?
- How does this story give credibility to the Christian claim that scripture is authoritative?
- How did Satan misunderstand the purpose of Christ?
- How can we as Christians endure periods of temptation in their own life?
Pastor William Knelsen introduced himself as our candidating pastor and then spoke on Philippians 2:1-11.
How does God breathe life into our values? John 14 & 15
Values reflect our grounding
Observe: What are our values?
Insight: John 14. Jesus has modeled a pattern. What you witnessed. And what that means.
Invitation: John 14 Revelation extends an invitation. Obeying my commands is love in relationship.
Infilling: John 15: 1-11 Surrender to the pattern Jesus modeled. Abide in Me.
Overflow: John 15: 12-17 Loving one another is the fruit of Jesus pattern of abiding.
Spiritual growth continues when we purposefully live in a united and loving community that abides in Gods presence. (H.E.M.C value)
Celebration - Colossians 1:1-8
We may not drop confetti, launch balloons, or kill a fatted calf, but we ought to continuously celebrate the wonder of our salvation.
1. CELEBRATE YOUR SALVATION!
A. We are to celebrate the work of God in our lives. (v.3a)
B. We celebrate the work of God, but: we celebrate the work of God through the person of Jesus Christ. (v.3b)
C. Our celebration of Gods work through the person of Jesus Christ is manifested in a love for all the saints. (v.3c)
2. CELEBRATE THE SECURITY OF YOUR SALVATION. (Vv.5-6)
A. We celebrate hope.
B. Our hope is rooted in truth. (v.5)
3. CELEBRATE THE ONE WHO SHARED THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION! (v.7)
This morning a few members gave their testimony.
Perseverance Hebrews - 12:1-3
We have seen the blessing of faithfulness, and the disappointment of disobedience and luke-warmness, and yet in verse 1 the writer finds it necessary to remind us to run the race with endurance, or perseverance.
He finds it necessary to tell us to hang in there, to keep on keeping on.
Why is that?
Why is it that some people give up on the Christian faith? Why do some people quit? Why do some people give up on God?
I believe there are several reasons people fall away from being a Christ follower and being a part of the church.
I believe there are several reasons people get away from God.
REASONS PEOPLE DEPART
KEYS TO HANGING IN THERE
This morning my encouragement is for all of us to Persevere
Encouraging Stories of Jesus 6 - Luke 15:11-31
Lost things matter to God and because of that God spends a lot of time looking for his people.
Now to understand this story we need to start with the first two verses. Vss. 1,2
1. Now in the first story a farmer has 100 sheep, and one gets lost.
2. In the 2nd story a widow loses one of her coins and turns the house upside down to find it.
3. In the third story when the lost son returns home the father throws a big party and what do they do? They rejoice.
There are a lot of things I could point out about these 3 stories but there is really one common thread.
Whenever the lost are found the father rejoices.
The widow says rejoice with me I have found my lost coin.
When the lost son returns home the father throws a big party and what do they do? They rejoice.
If you are falling down, down, down in your Christian life there has to be something that stops us. We have to reach the end of our rope before we start thinking about going back home.
5 words tell his story.
Encouraging Stories of Jesus 5 - Matthew 13:31-35
When Jesus came on the scene He came as a teacher. 73 times we see this word (teacher). 73 times we see this word used in the gospels.
He was creative...He knew exactly how to speak to the people of His day, but the amazing thing is that everything He said still speaks to us some 2000 years later.
Jesus used something people could see to explain something they could not see so that they could understand the unknown.
Now in the text today He tells two parables, both with the same message.
1. The mustard seed.
Even though this seed is small Jesus takes this tiny seed and He tells us some important things about the church.
What does this mean? Jesus was pointing out to those who were listening that the Kingdom of Heaven was beginning right there and though its beginnings were small, all of that would soon change.
4 things God is telling us here.
2. The Yeast.
The kingdom of God is like heaven.
The Christian life is the yeast...it permeates the whole culture and causes it to rise. And as it does the world becomes a better place.
4 more truths in this passage as well.
No one knows how large the kingdom will grow no one knows how large HEMC will become but we do know it just takes a seed of faith to see great things.
Enouragement Stories of Jesus 4 - Luke 14:25-35
It is something we do not like to think about too often, but everything comes at a cost.
Anything that we do in life that is worth doing will cost us something.
This morning we are looking two parables, very simple but with a profound truth we need to get hold of:
There is a price to pay to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.
Jesus told us these stories/parables I think for two reasons:
I think that people tend to choose to serve Jesus on different levels of commitment. These are like concentric circles.
I call these the 5 circles of commitment.
Now look at what Jesus has to say about discipleship.
He gives us 5-word pictures here. Each one is like a snapshot, an image of a true disciple.
The Big idea here:
The Big idea here:
The Big idea here:
The Big idea here:
The Big idea here:
Who Is My Neighbour - Enouragement Stories of Jesus 3 - Luke 10:25-37
This parable is introduced by a dialogue between Jesus and a scribe.... the scripture calls the scribe an expert in the law.
This expert in the law comes to question Jesus and he stands up to test Him.
We do the same thing...Jesus gives us the commandments...He tells us what we need to do.... but we take it, and we want to redefine it ....and we say Jesus did not really mean what he said.
For instance, God says to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. But we do not do that...we fail, we slip, we fall...we sin and so we redefine the commandments to mean something else like we should just do the best we can.
That is why the scribe asked the question...who is my neighbor?
He wanted to limit the number of people he was required to love.
You know...give me a list!!!
Could this be what we do today?
Now here is the difference between true Christianity and false Christianity.
Now with that in mind lets look at the parable.
Now let me give you a Biblical definition of a neighbor.
What would you do?
What does it take to be a neighbor? Four things.
(1) Compassion....verse 33.
Not feeling sorry for someone...it means you are motivated with a passion to do something.
(2) Contact...verse 34.
This man had more good excuses than either of the other two men. But he did not let obstacles stop him.
(3) Care ... care enough to act.... verse 34.
He actually did something.
The scribe/lawyer was willing to talk about who his neighbor was...but that was all...just talk.
Jesus said go and do likewise.
(4) Cost...it will cost you time and it may cost you money to be a good neighbor.
This man paid two pence which was about two days wages. We do not know what it might cost.
But we do know these two things.... Jesus said to do it and we know it will be worth it.
Encouragement Stories of Jesus 2 - Luke 16:1-15
This morning we come to one of the most unusual parable Jesus ever told.
It is a parable about money which really should not surprise us because of the parables Jesus told, 19 of them dealt with handling possessions.
So, look at this passage with me. (READ) Luke 16:1-15
Now the moral or the key understanding of this parable is in verse 8.
Notice here that Jesus recognized that there are really only 2 kinds of people.
Some are what He called people of this world and the others are what he called people of the light.
Here is the difference.
Let us look at the principles: Some money lessons Jesus gives to us. (4 of them: verses 9-15)
(1) Your best investment is in people that you can take to Heaven with you.
(2) Your management of Gods money determines if He can trust you with true riches.
(3) Money is a great servant, but it is a terrible master.
(4) Money is temporary, but Gods Word is permanent.
Jesus said (Matthew 6:19-20 LB) Jesus said we should invest our money in people because people have a soul, and they will live forever.
When we invest in Gods work, we are investing in reaching lost people.
Encouragement Stories of Jesus - Matt. 9:14-17; Luke 5:33-39
This morning I would like to begin a series on encouragement taken from the stories of Jesus known as the parables.
One of the things I really enjoy about the stories that Jesus told is that He always knew how to get right to the point.
These stories leave us with word pictures that cause us to want to do something.....
Lost sheep that need to be found
A house built on a poor foundation that needs to be corrected
Half built projects that need to be finished
These stories can do at least 4 things for us.
(1) They show us the Humanity of Jesus
(2) These stories reveal the heart of God.
(3) These stories move us into action.
(4) These stories cause us to see how the power of God can change any situation.
We see in this text 3 short stories this morning.
1. First there is the story of a wedding.
2. Then there is the story of the cloth. Verse 16
3. The third is the story of the wine. Verse 17
How to Encourage Your Pastor
Pastors have a very special calling on their lives, and they need to be appreciated, cherished, and encouraged as much as possible.
I read an article recently that stated that many pastors are retiring or changing careers these days, because it is such a challenging and difficult job. I truly know and understand the challenges that Pastors face on a regular basis. I know the crazy schedule that one keeps and the tireless hours one works on behalf of the church family.
Jesus said that he came that we might have an abundant life (John 10:10), and I know that this is true for pastors as well.
So, here are some Bible verses to encourage you to encourage your new pastor.
1. Isaiah 40:31
2. Jeremiah 3:15
3. 1 Corinthians 15:58
4. Galatians 6:9
5. Philippians 4:19
6. I Timothy 5:18
7. Hebrews 13:17
You might also consider the following:
Give him encouragement after the mediocre sermons, not just the home runs. He probably needs it more after those ones, and this reinforces that it
is God who is speaking through him and making his work fruitful.
Consider writing your encouragements in a note or email. This enables you to unpack your thoughts with more detail and may be more meaningful and
memorable to your pastor. One way or another, do encourage your pastor in his preaching. Not only will it help him, but you might even find yourself getting more out of the sermons as a result. One of the best ways you can care for your new pastor is caring for his kids. Being a pastors kid is hard. Most pastors worry about this for their kids.
Here are three ways you might be able to help:
Do not have different standards for the pastors kids. Do not expect them to be more spiritual or knowledgeable than anyone else. That is more likely
to make them rebel against the church.
Respect their privacy. Many pastors kids are quite visible within the church, and if they are shy this can be difficult. Show an interest in them, but do not pry into their life or pressure their involvement throughout the church.
Pray for them. One of the most awesome questions you can ask your pastor is, How can I pray for you and your family? He will appreciate the and your family part of that sentence.
God is Sovereign
This morning, we are pleased to welcome Jon and Evelyn Siebert. Jon and Evelyn are field coordinators for Northern Canada Evangelical Mission and have decades of experience ministering to Canadas indigenous peoples.
The Mt. Nebo Pivot: From the Desert into the Promised Land Deuteronomy 4; Isaiah 43:18-19
This morning we are pleased to welcome Lynn Dietz, regional minister for the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada as our speaker for the service.
Every God-ordained pivot needs the anchor point of Gods voice,
presence, sovereignty and creativity.
The Anchor of Gods Voice
The Anchor of Gods Presence
The Anchor of Gods Sovereignty
The Anchor of Gods Creativity
A Slow and Subtle Drift - Nehemiah 13
A Slow and Subtle Drift
The message for us today is that we must be on our guards lest we give in to the natural tendency to do the same: to inch away to subtly drift into lives of compromise and complacency.
Four Areas of Compromise:
1. In their Religious life: 4-9
How do we compromise today in or religious life?
What name does Tobiah go by in your life?
Does your temple need clearing out, cleansing, and then being filled with the things of God? Tobiahs junk, if you will, can fill our lives and our churches. Is it time to clean house?
2. In their Financial Dealings: 10-14
Robbing the preacher
Some Contemporary Compromises:
3. In their Use of Time: 15-22
Too busy to slow down
Some Contemporary Compromises:
4. In their relationships: 23-29
What is the problem with the mixed marriages mentioned here?
Some Contemporary Compromises:
Camp Day 2023 - Indroduction To Local Camps
This morning we welcomed 3 local camps to share their 2023 camp plans: Convenant Bay Bible Camp (https://covenantbay.ca/) Rivers Edge Camp & Retreat Center (https://riversedgecamp.org/) and Camp Silversides (https://www.silversides.ca/) shared their plans for 2023 and invited our congregation to attend their camps. Please reach out the the specific camp you're interested in to register and ask questions. Also remember that HEMC does have camp scholorships available to help the financial burden on individuals attending camps in 2023.
Standing by our Promises - Nehemiah 13: 1-31
This reminds us that the most spiritual person, and the best church body, can find its standards subtly eroded as we gradually accommodate to the pressures of contemporary worldliness. At the dedication in chapter 12, the builders celebrated their moral victory in a battle against secularism and materialism, but they had certainly not won the war.
The Submission Promise
The Separation Promise
The Support Promise
The Sabbath Promise
As we wrap up this chapter, and our series on Nehemiah, I want to give to you my top ten lessons from this book.
1. It is never too late to do what is right.
Even though Gods people had messed up pretty bad, it did not disqualify them from service or ruin their relationship with God. Do not let your past keep you from doing what is right. It really does not matter what you have done. What matters is that you begin right now to renew your walk with God.
2. Do not play around with sin.
Nehemiah dealt with sin decisively and abruptly. Most of us underestimate our sinfulness and overestimate our goodness. Friends, do not flirt with sin. Do not get cozy with compromise.
3. Remember who God is. He is great and awesome.
That means that He is large, and He is in charge! He is also goodall the time. Even when bad things happen to us, He is good. And, He is gracious. He does not treat us as we deserve, but always grants us grace and fresh starts.
4. Cultivate a lifestyle of praise and prayer.
God desires for each of us to worship Him with reverence and with joy, both individually and corporately. As we do, we will also cry out to Him in confession and supplication.
5. Move out of your comfort zone.
Most of us are way too comfortable with the way we are living. We tend to default to what is predictable and easy. God wants us to be available to Him. When He asks us to do something that stretches us, let us be ready to move!
6. Do not let difficulties derail you.
When hard times come, and they will, do not bail on God. God allows tough times in our lives for a purpose. Use them to get closer to Him and ask Him to develop your character through the process.
7. Seek to resolve relational ruptures.
As we spend time with people, we are bound to have conflict and disagreements. Each of us sin against others, and others sin against us. Do not allow this conflict to go underground. Meet face-to-face and seek resolution.
8. Say yes to Gods priorities and no to the devils distractions.
God wants us to live purposeful lives, focused on those things that matter to Him. The evil one seeks to get us off track through busyness and selfishness. Commit yourself to Gods priorities, specifically as it relates to your time, your talents, and your treasures.
9. Believe the promises of God and act upon them.
While it can be helpful to make promises, or vows, to God, it is more important to believe the promises of God and act accordingly. We do not have to perform for God. Instead, claim what God has promised to do for you and ask Him to give you the tenacity to take Him at His Word.
10. Allow God to use you.
God takes great pleasure in using people who are available to Him. You do not have to be a super saint or a spiritual giant. God delights in using ordinary people like us so that His extraordinary power can be unleashed in our lives.
Taking Time To Give Thanks - Nehemiah 11:1 - 12:1
These believers exhibited four counter-cultural traits that have application to us today. This is how God wants us to live.
4 Traits to Emulate
1. Move out of your comfort zone.
Are you willing to leave your comfort zone for the sake of the kingdom? What is God asking you to do that may stretch you?
2. Commit to holiness.
Have you committed yourself to holiness and purity? Are you living your life separated from the world because you are set apart for His use?
3. Mobilize for ministry.
In the remainder of chapter 11, we see that God has always used a wide variety of people. I see three different groups in this passage:
We are saved to serve. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Let me encourage you to find your ministry niche and discover the joy of serving in your area of giftedness.
4. Adore God in worship
4 worship guidelines from verses 27-47
Making Investments that Last - Nehemiah 10:1-39
This morning we are going to learn about 4 vows, that the people of God made in Nehemiah 10.
The law governing oaths and vows is found in Numbers 30:2: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said. Ecclesiastes 5:4 says, When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no
pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. Since an oath involved the name and possible judgment of God, it was not to be taken lightly. Jesus also warned against using empty oaths in Matthew 5:33-37.
This leads me to raise a question. Are vows of any use today? I think they are for at least two reasons.
First, they help us focus.
When you make a vow, you are saying that you are going to do something
Second, vows allow us to express our love.
That is why couples make vows during a marriage ceremony. They are the language of love. Love is more than just a feeling; it is a commitment or
promise to be married until death do us part.
God is a covenant-keeping God, even when we do not keep our end of the deal. You may have made some promises to God in the past that you have
not kept. You may have broken some vows. If you have, you are not alone. As a result of hearing Gods Word, the Israelites made four decisions.
Vow #1: Submission to Gods Word
Vow #2: Separation from the World
Vow #3: Sabbath for Gods People
Vow #4: Support for Gods Work
This passage covers an impressive series of promises to support Gods work in a variety of different ways and gives us 7 insights into how our giving can
support Gods work today.
Tithing can be a great blessing, and I recommend it highly, but there are at least three dangers:
1. It is easy to give with the wrong motives.
We can give out of a sense of duty or fear, or even greed (If I tithe, Godmust prosper me!)
2. Thinking that we can do whatever we want with the 90% that remains.
3. Giving only the tithe and failing to give love offerings to the Lord.
Someone has said that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:21: Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Let us determine to be like the believers in Nehemiah 10:39: We will not neglect the house of our God.
Resurrection Faith - Easter Sunday
Grant Sikstrom - April 9
Putting First Things First - Nehemiah 9:1-37
Putting First Things First
Nehemiah 8 focused on Gods Word as it was read, interpreted and applied; in chapter 9, the people respond in prayer with genuine sadness about their sins.
Listening to God through His word and responding to Him in prayer are twin aspects of every believers experience. There can be no spiritual growth without the regular cultivation of this dual privilege and discipline.
Here is another way to compare the two chapters. In chapter 8, Ezra and Nehemiah comfort the afflicted. In chapter 9, the comfortable are afflicted.
Joy and grief are two sides of the same coin. After a thrilling encounter with God, which causes them to break into celebration, the believers now come face to face with their own depravity.
This prayer in Nehemiah is not that long, but its a great model for us to study so that we can learn to put first things first.
The Greatness of God (1-6)
The Goodness of God (7-30)
The Grace of God (31-37)
Friends, no matter what you have done or who you have become, it does not matter. Jesus wants you to come home. In verse 38, it says that the people made a binding agreement and put it into writing.
That means it was personal. It was practical. And it was public.
What do you need to do this morning?
First of all, do you personally see God as great, as good, and as gracious?
Personalize your faith by making it real.
Based on who He is, what is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do right now?
What practical step does He want you to implement?
How can you make your decision public?
You could call a friend and tell him or her.