Mar. 7, 2004 broadcast
And All The People Answered
by George Sinkie
and welcome to the Berean Break, my name is George Sinkie and I am so glad
that you have tuned in to the program today. On todays program we
are going to learn some lessons that are taught in the Old Testament - not
that we live under the Old Law but because God desires that we learn principles
from it. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 15:4
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written
for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of
the Scriptures we might have hope.
Before we go into this lesson, lets
go to God in prayer,
Great God and Father, We thank You for
this day in our lives, We thank You for this time today, When we can share
Your word. Be with us that we will open our minds to Your will. Thank
You for Your Word that gives us all truth. Thank You also for Your
Son, Jesus. Who died for us that we can be saved. Help us to
obey Your will so we can obtain that salvation. In Jesus Name,
we pray !! AMEN !!
The Old Testament
is not the covenant that we live under today, but it still has a purpose
for us today. Those people who look at the Old Testament as merely
interesting reading deprive themselves of a great blessing.
The Old Testament teaches numerous lessons that can be helpful in
living the Christian life today. One such example lesson can be found
in Nehemiah 8:1-12. Lets look at this section of Scripture and
see what we can learn.
First, notice the assembly in verses one and
1 And all the people gathered as one man at the square
which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to
bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel.
Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and
all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh
Did you notice
how the people gathered together? The people gathered as one
man, indicating they possessed an attitude and atmosphere of unity.
Today, God desires that his people display that same unity. Listen
to the words of Jesus as He prayed to the Father concerning all who would
be His followers, John recorded these words in John 17:22-23,
22 And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given
to them; that they may be one, just as We are one;
in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the
world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou
didst love Me.
what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:10-11
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among
you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloes people,
that there are quarrels among you.
God wants His people to be united. Unfortunately, many people misunderstand
the Bibles teaching concerning unity. Denominations often reach
out to other denominations, proclaiming their desire for unity. But
Paul was not writing about unity among denominations! In fact, denominations
did not even exist at the time Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. Denominations
are all products of men and came much later. Paul was stressing the
need for unity in Christs church, not a denomination.
Many people want to ignore their doctrinal
differences, compromise the truth, and thus seek unity at all costs. But
how can we have the unity God desires? Consider Pauls words
to the church in Ephesus, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat
you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been
2 with all humility and gentleness,
with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,
3 being diligent to preserve the
unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit,
just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all who is
over all and through all and in all.
When men discard
their own creeds, catechisms, and opinions and instead choose to strictly
adhere to the plain teachings found in Gods Word, unity will be possible.
That leads us to another point we can see
here in Nehemiah 8 concerning the assembly, the people which include men
and women who had understanding, wanted Ezra to bring the book of the law
of Moses. These people had a desire to know Gods Word. Imagine
a dog running on a hot summer day. Now can you see the dog, hot and
tired after his exercise, sitting with his tongue hanging out, panting for
water because of his thirst? Friends, we ought to have that same thirst,
only for Gods Word. Consider what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm
opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Thy commandments.
said in the Beatitudes, recorded for us in Matthew 5:6
are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Do you have
a hunger for Gods Word? Do you seek out opportunities to hear
Gods Word? Do you study Gods Word regularly? Do
you read His Word often? Only Gods word, nothing else, can satisfy
mans spiritual needs.
Lets go on now in Nehemiah and see another
point. Notice these words from Nehemiah 8:3
he read from it (that is the Word
of God, GAS) before
the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until
midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and
all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
in Nehemiahs day were attentive to what they heard, indicating they
concentrated on what was being said. They listened carefully. Reading
the Bible will be of no benefit to us unless we pay attention to what we
Notice what the people were paying attention
to Gods Word! Many people today are led astray because
they pay attention to the words of men, contained in creeds and catechisms.
They pay attention to the philosophies of men. They pay attention
to the opinions of men. But they fail to pay attention to the simple
Word of God.
Also, this text from Nehemiah teaches us that
the Bible can be understood! Many people fail to study the Bible because
they believe they are incapable of understanding what it teaches. For
years religious leaders in man-made religions have promoted this false concept
so that their rulers can maintain control over the people. But friends,
think for a moment. What kind of god would give us a Bible that could
not be understood by the common man? An uncaring god! An unloving
god! But the God of the Bible is not unloving or uncaring. He
wants us to understand His will for us! God has given us a book that
can be understood by the common man. Notice Pauls words to the
church at Ephesus, recorded in Ephesians 3:1-4
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ
Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles
2 if indeed you have heard of the
stewardship of Gods grace which was given to me for you;
3 that by revelation there was made
known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
4 And by referring to this, when
you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ
merely rely on others to tell you what the Bible teaches. Go to the
Bible and check it out for yourself. Notice how Luke contrasted the
Bereans with those in Thessalonica, in Acts 17:11
these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received
the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether
these things were so.
point we notice from our text in Nehemiah is the peoples attitude.
Notice Nehemiah 8:5-6
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the
people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it,
all the people stood up.
Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered,
Amen, Amen! while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low
and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
stood when the book was read. This was a sign of their respect for
Further, Ezra blessed the Lord. The
word blessed can have several meanings, depending upon the way
it is used. The word blessed as used in our text from
Nehemiah, means to speak well of or to praise.
Here we also see that when the word was read,
the people answered, Amen meaning, let it be done
or let it be true. Friends, these people were in agreement
with Gods word. Sadly, many today choose to argue with what
they read in the scriptures. One example of this is when we read Mark
who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who
has disbelieved shall be condemned.
will say Amen, Amen to that teaching, but most people I share
this verse with, try to explain how baptism is not needed to be saved. I
even had one man give me a guarantee that baptism was not necessary for
salvation. Which would you trust your eternal soul to - Gods
word or a mans guarantee? I choose Gods word.
Our last point from our text is the peoples
awareness of their sins. In Nehemiah 8:8-9
8 And they read from the book, from the law of God,
translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the
Levites who taught the people said to all the people, This day is
holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep. For
all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.
were mourning because they had been convicted of their sins. They
had neglected Gods restrictions concerning marriage, failed to keep
the Sabbath, and had forsaken Gods house.
When we hear Gods word, we too ought
to be convicted of our sins and mourn. The apostle Paul wrote in 2
10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of
God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the
sorrow of the world produces death.
But same word
of God that causes us to mourn can also bring us joy. When we repent
of our sins and make the necessary corrections, we can experience the joy
of salvation, the joy of forgiveness, but we must obey Gods will to
have this joy.
What can we learn from Nehemiah? We
can learn that God expects us to assemble to hear His word, to give our
attention to His word, to have the proper attitude toward His word, and
to be aware of the changes His word demands of us.